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New poem from Jason Heroux marks the start of 2021

Poet Laureate Jason Heroux at KFPL Central Branch reopening in 2019. Photo by Phillip Stafford.

Jason Heroux, Kingston’s Poet Laureate, has written a poem to mark the beginning of the 2021 new year. The poem, Civil Twilight, is inspired by the question “where do we go from here?” and Heroux says it aims to reflect the current collective experience and offer hope for the future.  

“Poetry and the written word can help us make sense of what’s happening in our communities and the world. As we face the winter season, and are in the middle of another lockdown, Jason’s poem aims to inspire us and capture this particular moment in time,” says Danika Lochhead, Manager, Arts and Sector Development, City of Kingston.  

Civil Twilight  

Yesterday went for a walk in the dark.  

It won’t ever return. I don’t know where  

I’ve gone, it said. Its voice traveled far  

as light from a star. It took years to hear.  

The past is no longer what or how 

it was. The fallen snow can’t say why it fell.  

Our silent bell has forgotten its sound. 

Lost river, we followed your flow 

now show us where we go from here. 

Feel free, tired day, to rest your head, 

the sky will darken wondering  

what’s next. In this blue hour  

of sundown, civil twilight, remind us 

to witness tonight the light that’s left

Poet Laureate 2020 Year in Review  

2020 was the second year of Heroux’s four-year term as Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate functions as a spokesperson for literary arts within the community, increases awareness of Kingston as a centre of writing excellence, fosters creative writing in and about Kingston, and attends both community and City-led events across the community to promote and attract people to the literary world and enhance the profile of the literary arts within the city and beyond, according to a release from the City of Kingston, dated Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.  

Throughout 2020, Heroux continued to celebrate the contribution of poetry and literary arts to life in Kingston and nurture creative writing locally, according to the City. He wrote seven original poems – three for the City of Kingston and four through community partnerships – hosted seven workshops and mentorship sessions, represented the City at five events, and initiated a “Poetry in the Time of a Pandemic” project that commissioned local poets to write poems to respond to the experience of life during COVID-19.  

A recap of Heroux’s second year as Poet Laureate can be found on the City’s website: https://www.cityofkingston.ca/explore/culture-history/arts/poet-laureate.  

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