In 2006, through Wendy Morton, poet and organizer extraordinaire, and then-Times Colonist editor-in-chief Lucinda Chodan, Solstice Poems were published in the paper between Dec. 26 and 30. This year, as my final act as the city’s Poet Laureate, I worked with editor and publisher Dave Obee, features editor Bruce MacKenzie and four poets, Aly Blythe, Terry Ann Carter, Philip Kevin Paul and Anita Lahey, to bring you some winter poetry.
Two organizations offered honorariums to the poets for their work. This is important because writers need to be paid; recent statistics show that a writer’s average income in Canada has dropped by 27 per cent in the past three years. The two sponsors are the City of Victoria and the Federation of B.C. Writers.
The Federation of B.C. Writers is an organization that supports writers and writing in communities across B.C. with a range of programs and services. The federation has donated a year’s free membership to each of the poets. For more info on the Federation of B.C. visit their website at bcwriters.ca.
The City of Victoria offered monetary honorariums as well. We thank the city’s Arts and Culture and Events Centre for their generosity in supporting the poets, at the very end of my term. The city sponsors the poet laureate and youth poet laureate positions and through that sponsorship, has enabled poets laureate over the past 11 years to offer free arts and literature-based events in the city. Victoria will have a new poet laureate and youth poet laureate in 2019, but you will have to wait to find out who they are.
Yvonne Blomer is Victoria’s poet laureate and the organizer of this year’s poetry series.