At last night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Paterson welcomed Sadiqa de Meijer as the City of Kingston’s new Poet Laureate. This honorary four-year term position, timed to coincide with the tenure of a new City Council, celebrates the contribution of poetry and literary arts to life in Kingston.
Sadiqa de Meijer was born in Amsterdam to a Dutch-Kenyan-Pakistani-Afghani family and moved to Canada as a child. De Meijer has established her reputation both nationally, as a Governor General’s Literary Award winner and multi award-nominee, and in Kingston, as a dedicated and talented artist. She recently received a 2022 Mayor’s Arts Award.
“Over the past twenty years, I have watched Kingston/Katarokwi unfold into new forms,” de Meijer said. “I’m looking forward to translating this shifting place into poetry, to creating collaborative projects with local residents, and to bringing poems to the city landscape.”
According to a release from the City of Kingston, de Meijer was appointed to this role by a working group, which included outgoing Poet Laureate, Jason Heroux, writers, publishers, and teachers, all with a strong knowledge of poetry.
“Sadiqa’s work has brilliance and depth; it is accessible and profound, quiet, and deep-cutting and she brings a diverse and inclusive voice to the role of Poet Laureate,” said Danika Lochhead, Manager of Arts and Sector Development. “We look forward to seeing what she creates and sharing it with the Kingston community.”
Her first official event as Poet Laureate will be at the Mayor’s Levee on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, where she will read a new, original poem created for the occasion, the city said. Learn more about the Poet Laureate program on the City of Kingston website.
Recognizing Jason Heroux
The City of Kingston would also like to acknowledge the outgoing Poet Laureate, Jason Heroux, for his remarkable contributions and achievements in this position over the last four years. During the pandemic, Heroux developed programming that responded to the challenges of the moment, creating and sharing poetry created by local poets that aimed to provide hope for the future, according to the release. The city noted that he was actively involved in the local literary community, provided mentorship opportunities for emerging poets, and raised the profile of poetry in Kingston and beyond.
Read his poems that he wrote as Poet Laureate on the City of Kingston website.