Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 9:30 AM

New Poet Laureate for St. John's

Mary Dalton new Poet Laureate picture

Poet Mary Dalton has been chosen as the new Poet Laureate for the City of St. John’s, and was officially welcomed in the position at the public City Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019.

Mary Dalton is the author of five books of poetry, several chapbooks, and prose miscellany Edge. A longtime teacher of creative writing (poetry) and the founder of the SPARKS Literary Festival, Dalton will serve in the honourary position for a two-year term.

“I am looking forward to working with the City on various projects to strengthen interest in poetry in general and the poetry of St. John’s in particular,” comments Dalton. "St. John's is rich in poets and poetry, both past and present, and is one way this city reflects itself to itself. Experiencing the city through its poetry can deepen our sense of its history, landscape and culture, and even deepen our sense of community."

The Poet Laureate is an honour bestowed by the City of St. John’s as a way of acknowledging poets and the valuable contribution of poetry to civic life. The Poet Laureate will act as an ambassador for poetry and will integrate poetry into a variety of official and unofficial civic events.

"We have so much world-class literary talent in St. John's and the Poet Laureate position is a wonderful way to acknowledge how engaging with poetry enriches our communities and civic life. Many people around the world have been influenced by Mary Dalton's work and Council is proud to bestow this honour," said Councillor Maggie Burton, Council Representative on the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee.

Mary Dalton is the fourth Poet Laureate for the City of St. John’s. The inaugural position was held by Agnes Walsh from 2006 to 2009, Tom Dawe was the City’s second Poet Laureate from 2010 to 2013 and most recently George Murray held the position from 2014 to 2017.