Kingstonians can now look forward to how their first-ever Poet Laureate will capture and enrich the vibrancy of civic life and encourage literary arts in the community. Kingston City Council approved the appointment of renowned Kingston poet Eric Folsom to the position last night.
“I do feel amazed. I look at everything waiting to be written, so much to say about Kingston and ourselves. Just figuring out where to begin will take some imagination, and the possibilities are exciting. Amazed and humbled, perhaps an inch or two from total shock,” says Folsom, who will serve the city as a literary ambassador and an advocate for poetry, language and the arts within the community.
Folsom is the author of three books of poetry: Icon Driven (2001), What Kind of Love Did You Have in Mind? (1997) both published by Wolsak and Wynn, and Poems For Little Cataraqui, published in 1994 by Broken Jaw Press.
His poems “ReSet” and “Arpeggio” will appear at www.cityofkingston.ca/poetlaureate/ for the enjoyment of Kingstonians.
Folsom has been at the centre of Kingston literary life since making his home here in 1974. He was an editor for Quarry Magazine, has taught at The Upper Canada Writers’ Workshop, St. Lawrence College and in the Limestone District School system. For seven years he organized and hosted a reading series, Cargo Kulture, which brought poets from across Canada to town. He ran the literary quarterly, Next Exit, giving voice to several generations of emerging writers. Folsom has been Ontario’s representative for The League of Canadian Poets, reviewed books, read on Stuart McLean’s The Vinyl Cafe and his work has been published widely in Canadian literary journals and anthologies. Most importantly, Folsom’s work is respected by fellow writers, and widely-appreciated across Canada and internationally.
Serving a four-year term, Folsom will be the spokesperson for the literary arts in this city – home to Kingston Writersfest and a prodigious number of celebrated authors. He will be required to write a poem during each year of his appointment that addresses aspects of life in Kingston. He will read the poems at the Mayor’s annual New Year’s Day Levee.
“This is a very exciting moment,” says Colin Wiginton, Manager, Cultural Services. “The Poet Laureate program is intended to recognize the achievements of a local poet whose work exhibits excellence and resonates with the people of this community. It also embodies the City’s belief and support of the arts and recognizes the importance of the literary community here in Kingston.”
The position of the Poet Laureate will increase awareness of Kingston as a centre of writing excellence and increase the profile of the literary arts within the city and beyond. It also means that Kingston joins 18 other cities across Canada that have embraced this cultural ambassador position, including Toronto, Victoria, Edmonton and Barrie.
Folsom was selected by a Nominating Committee appointed by the Arts Advisory Committee, which chose him for the high quality of his writing, his deep familiarity of Kingston’s history, his enduring interest in new literary voices, and his demonstrated ability to showcase Kingston as a centre of writing and artistic distinction.
Media contact information: Cindie Ashton, Communications Officer, 613-546-4291, ext. 3116 (cell 613-329-3462). Or call the City of Kingston’s media hotline at 613-546-4291, ext. 2300.