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

    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.

  • Poet Laureate of Cobourg

    Hometown Hockey

    Hometown Hockey
    Lifelong connections
    rushing with calm strength
    to build community
    we respect the ice.
    Our town Cobourg wraps
    goals for all ages
    winning on bended knee
    for our neighbours to rise.
    Synchronizing sticks
    we pound encouragement
    with the percussion of proud
    families chanting
    between sips of hot chocolate
    in finger-numbing arenas.
    Circling back to cover
    the coaches and the lessons
    cheering a life-game series
    our girls in fully dressed perseverance
    before sunrise and after sunset.
    Our brother plays team spirit
    behind him jackets fill pews
    at our mother’s funeral
    the accuracy of passing
    Billet sons and daughters
    our international family
    determining our win
    in love radiating from the potluck.
    Flushed faces and wet hair
    swerving to target
    our local heroes
    in stinking wet equipment
    we know anything can happen in the third period
    because we are defenders
    in ice storms on Chapel Street
    rough and beautiful
    pre-schoolers on bobskates along
    the frozen sidewalk
    students in schoolyards with mini-sticks
    as the goalie blocks the puck
    like reaching for the peanut butter on the top shelf.
    It’s more than a game
    snapshot swish
    lightning crack
    all go glissade
    sharp glide to joy
    red light glow
    penalty slam and rebound
    hard adrenaline hits
    we pass, we score, we shout:
    we live in a hockey town.
    By Jessica Outram
    Crowdsourced on Facebook and Twitter
    Written for January 1, 2020
    Cobourg, Ontario
    Mayor’s Levee

  • Poet Laureate of Cobourg

    Governor General Literary Awards

    I was thrilled to be invited as Poet Laureate to attend the Governor General Literary Awards at Rideau Hall in Ottawa in December. Such a memorable experience! It was an honour to witness authors from across the country accept their awards, to hear their gracious and touching speeches, to meet the inspiring Governor General, and to tour the magnificent Rideau Hall.