Skip to main content

THE PARLIAMENTARY POET LAUREATE

ABOUT CURRENT POET
LAUREATE
FORMER POETS
LAUREATE
POEM OF
THE MONTH
NOMINATION
PROCESS
CONTACT

ABOUT

The Position

Created in 2001 as part of the Parliament of Canada Act.

  • The Speakers of the Senate and House of Commons appoint the Poet following an open nomination process;
  • Chosen candidates are appointed for a two year term;
  • Appointments to the position alternate between French and English each term.

Speakers announce ninth Poet Laureate

The Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons have appointed Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer for a two-year term as Canada’s ninth Parliamentary Poet Laureate.

Read the press release

Role of the Poet Laureate

  • To write poetry, especially for use in Parliament on important occasions;
  • To Sponsor poetry readings;
  • To advise the Parliamentary Librarian regarding the Library’s collection and acquisitions to enrich its cultural materials and
  • To perform other related duties at the request of the Speaker of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Commons, or the Parliamentary Librarian.*

FAQ

Why does Canada have a Parliamentary Poet Laureate?

Many countries around the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States have appointed official poets laureate to help expand the understanding and appreciation for written poetry. Canada has also recognized this through the creation of this position.

How does one become the Poet Laureate?

Nominated candidates must meet eligibility and selection criteria. In order to give equal representation to Canada’s two official languages, Poets Laureate are selected alternately from each official language community. Literary artists working in oral traditions are also eligible. The Parliament of Canada recognizes the diversity of Canada’s literary scene and encourages the participation of poets from all communities.

Who chooses the Poet Laureate?

The Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons select the Poet Laureate from a list of nominees determined by the Selection Committee which includes:
- the Commissioner of Official Languages
- the Librarian and Archivist of Canada
- the Chair, Canada Countil for the Arts and,
- the Parliamentary Librarian as chair

Is the Poet Laureate compensated for their work?

The Poet Laureate receives an annual stipend of $20,000 as well as a budget for travel, programming and administrative expenses.

Must the poet write in both official languages?

The Poet Laureate may create work in either official language, and the poetry may be translated or adapted into other languages.

Who owns the property rights of the work created by the Poet Laureate?

The intellectual property of all work published remains with the Parliamentary Poet Laureate.

To whom does the Poet Laureate report?

The Library of Parliament is the steward for the Parliamentary Poet Laureate.

*The Poet determines his or her specific activities within these parameters.