Poet Laureate of Cobourg

These posts include poetry written for occasions in my role as Poet Laureate and some of the related projects and events.

  • Poet Laureate of Cobourg

    Our Canoe: A Poem for Canada Day 2020

    So much has changed since our last Canada Day.

    Our town has large Canada Day traditions with a parade, festivals, fireworks, live music, delicious food. We invite anyone to join us. Our beach, parks and streets are packed with thousands of people. Last year I read a new poem at Victoria Hall. It is a tradition for the Poet Laureate to share a poem on Canada Day in Cobourg.

    This Canada Day 2020 is quiet. Reflective. Today I feel grateful for a town and a country that so far have done everything they could to keep me safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. Thank-you! Watching the virus spread across the planet and witnessing how governments respond, support, or protect their people has helped to shine a light on our own communities. I feel blessed.

    Since March I’ve thought about my about my ancestors more, wondering what they would think of our world today. Since we can’t come together as a country or a community in the same way this year, I decided to celebrate with all my grandmothers and grandfathers. This Canada Day I want to acknowledge my Métis and Anishinaabe ancestors alongside other Indigenous, Métis, and Inuit peoples of Canada.

  • Poet Laureate of Cobourg

    Poetry Walk Gallery

    Isolation has helped me to see more clearly what’s important to me. I walk every day. I always see something different. Here are some of the images and words I’ve collected on my neighbourhood #poetrywalk since March 2020. Poetry is everywhere.

    Follow me on social media for more!

    Explore Cobourg as a poet and share your discoveries using #poetrywalk.

  • Poet Laureate of Cobourg

    World Poetry Day 2020: A Poem for Peace

    Today is World Poetry Day. Due to the wide reaching impact of COVID-19, I need poetry today. Join me in spending some time today reading and/or writing poetry. Use poetry to find hope and express gratitude.

    During times of uncertainty I find it helpful to turn to nature. As I write this post a cardinal and a robin sit on branches on the tree outside my window watching me. The sun shines again this morning. New buds arrive each day. Birdsong is confident and abundant. While my days have changed drastically, the lives of birds remain the same as they have every Spring.

    The natural elements remind me that everything has its season. Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk. The picture at the top is from my walk. When I came home I wrote this poem.

    I offer this poem to the Town of Cobourg and its residents. I hope you are able to find moments of peace whether you are at home or outside for a walk.

  • Poet Laureate of Cobourg

    Earth Day: Call for Submissions

    To celebrate Earth Day and National Poetry Month in 2020, let’s create an e-Chapbook. This will be a free PDF collection that will be distributed via email, social media, and posted on this blog.

    The focus of the collection is on celebrating Earth. The current working title is “Light in My Eyes: An Earth Day Collection.”

    What if everyone valued our natural landscapes and resources? What if we could reverse climate change? What if we lived sustainably? What if our planet had enough for everyone and we only used what we truly needed?

    What do you love about Earth? When you listen to trees, what do you hear? What is beautiful? How does nature make your life better? What if water was protected? What do we know about clean air? What do we need from Earth to survive? To thrive?

    How do you celebrate Earth?

    Let’s capture what we love about Earth and what our greatest wishes are for its future.

  • Poet Laureate of Cobourg

    In Winter: A Poem for Eric Winter

    In Winter
    In Winter the sun winked
    from over the lake
    welcoming our voices to
    wind Cat to King.
    We meet poetry in kindness
    as he sips sweetly
    hugging our words
    as we share poetry.
    We taste his twelve ways
    of graceful inspiration
    his voice inviting creation,
    offering spaces for all of us to raise
    a community of poetic relations.
    A story of a witty
    Laureate unwilling
    to live flatly
    on the page…
    He sways and he sings
    verses outside of time
    building ballad opera  
    among habitats
    for laughter and sanity
    a legacy of shelter,
    a town of poetry:
    In Winter, the sun winked…
    By Jessica Outram
    Written in honour of Eric Winter: February 4, 1923 – December 21, 2019.

    “Eric Winter was appointed as the 1st Poet Laureate July 21, 1997. He continued in the role until August 24, 2009. Eric was made the inaugural Laureate in anticipation of and as part of the 1998 year-long Heritage Celebration to mark the 200th anniversary of the first settlements that now make up the municipality. Eric held the post for 12 years, 1 month and 3 days.”

    James Pickersgill

    Sept 19, 2019. In this photo is me, Ted Amsden (Poet Laureate Emeritus of Cobourg), and Jason Heroux (Poet Laureate of Kingston), plus our first Poet Laureate Emeritus of the Town of Cobourg, Eric Winter.

    Eric Winter was featured in Poetry Present twice.