By Emily MacKinnon
There’s a job opening at city hall. It runs for a year and a half. You get paid $3,700. You get to travel across the province, and it helps if you can write poetry.
The job is the Mayor’s Poet Laureate.
The Mayor’s Poet Laureate is defined on HRM website as “a resident poet or spoken word artist who has achieved excellence and whose work is of relevance to its citizens.”
The current Poet Laureate, Shauntay Grant, is a slam poet writer, musician and broadcast journalist.
“Generally, a poet laureate’s main role is to serve as a literary ambassador,” said Grant, via email. The target audience, according to Grant, is young teenagers.
“They’re old enough to appreciate it, and young enough to be really impacted by it.”
Nominees for the prize must have resided in the HRM for two consecutive years prior to the year they are named Mayor’s Poet Laureate. They also must be professionally published in at least one of several mediums. These mediums can be print (books, literary journals or periodicals), audio (CDs, tapes) and/or video (TV, DVDs or tapes).
Siobhan Wiggans, Arts Programmer for HRM’s Community Relations and Cultural Affairs, is in charge of the selection process for Mayor’s Poet Laureate. Wiggans said nominees must include a resume, cover letter and a one-page letter outlining their goals and intentions as Poet Laureate. , Applicants should also include three examples of published work.
“It’s quite a process,” said Wiggans. “But then, it’s quite a position as well.”
The Mayor’s Poet Laureate is a relatively new position, dating back to 2001. Sue McLeod held the position from 2001-2005. Lorri Neilsen Glenn took over from 2005-2008. Grant became HRM’s third Poet Laureate in 2009.
Applications are being accepted until March 28.