Meet Victoria’s New Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate!

Congratulations to Yvonne Blomer who was named the City’s fourth Poet Laureate, and Zoé Duhaime who was named Victoria’s third Youth Poet Laureate at the Council meeting on January 22, 2015. Selected by nomination, the Poet Laureate serves as Victoria’s literary and cultural ambassador and the Youth Poet Laureate seeks to provide the community access to strong youth voices through poetry.

Yvonne and Zoé will perform their first poetry reading in their new roles at the City Council meeting on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.  

Yvonne Blomer, Poet Laureate

Yvonne Blomer is an established poet, having published three collections of poetry and co-edited Poems from Planet Earth, an anthology from the Planet Earth Poetry reading series. Her work has twice been shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards and she has appeared in The Best Canadian Poetry in English as well as in anthologies and literary journals in Canada, the UK and Japan. Yvonne’s recent collection of poems is As if a Raven.

After graduating from the University of Victoria, Yvonne lived in Kyushu, Japan for two years with her husband and obtained her Masters in Poetry at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. In addition to poetry, Yvonne writes creative nonfiction and teaches poetry and memoir courses through Camosun College. She is currently working on a travel memoir titled Sugar Ride as well as new poems.

Zoé Duhaime, Youth Poet Laureate 

Zoé Duhaime is a spoken word artist and page poet. A former member of three local slam teams, she has competed in Victorious Voices from 2010 - 2012 and in Hullabaloo in 2011 and 2012, as well as the Victoria High School Slam Championship in 2010 and 2011.

Zoé is in her second year at the University of Victoria studying Religious and Women’s Studies, topics that are reflected in her work and art. She loves to discuss youth in poetry, gender in art (and art in gender), and forgiveness versus mercy. Zoé is currently working on her first poetry book and illustrations, I Must Look Like a Fury.

About the Roles

During the four-year term, the Poet Laureate is required to produce three new original works each year that reflect or represent ideas and issues of importance to the people of Victoria, and recite poems at City events, Council meetings and the annual Victoria Book Prize Awards Gala. In addition, the Poet Laureate hosts a number of poetry events in the community, collaborates with the Greater Victoria Public Library on readings, workshops and its new Poet-in-Residence days, and serves as a mentor for the Youth Poet Laureate.

Reaching “youth at risk” populations and encouraging peer to peer education and inspiration, the Youth Poet Laureate paves the way for hundreds of youth to engage on a civic level through their artistic voice. Mentored by Victoria’s Poet Laureate, the Youth Poet Laureate presents original work to both the City of Victoria Council and Youth Council, and organizes a community youth poetry event during the one-year term.

Victoria is the first municipality in Canada to have a Youth Poet Laureate.

Learn more.