Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate

Selected by nomination, Victoria's Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate serve as literary and cultural ambassadors.

Join us for "The Green Muse" for Poetry Month!

Victoria Poet Laureate John Barton invites you to celebrate National Poetry Month in April by attending The Green Muse, a FREE evening of poetry that focuses on society’s relationship with nature.

Barton will host a reading by local poets Sonnet L’Abbé, Philip Kevin Paul, and former Victoria Poet Laureate Yvonne Blomer. The poetry will highlight humanity’s complicated relationship with the environment, nature’s enduring resilience yet precarious future, and its role as a constant source of inspiration. 

The Green Muse

Tuesday, April 30, 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. 
Greater Victoria Public Library, Central Branch
Community Meeting Room (735 Broughton Street)


Register for this FREE event here.


The event is a partnership between the City of Victoria and the Greater Victoria Public Library, with support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the League of Canadian Poets.  

National Poetry Month is celebrated in April across Canada by schools, publishers, booksellers, literary organizations and libraries. Established in April 1998 by the League of Canadian Poets, National Poetry Month celebrates poetry and its vital place in Canada's culture.

Featured Poets

Philip Kevin Paul

Philip Kevin Paul is a member of the WSÁ,NEC Nation from the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island. His work has been published in BC Studies, Literary Review of Canada, Breathing Fire: Canada’s New Poets and An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English. Philip Kevin Paul’s second book of poetry, Little Hunger, was shortlisted for a 2009 Governor General’s Literary Award. His first book of poetry, Taking the Names Down from the Hill, won the 2004 Dorothy Livesay Award for Poetry.

Sonnet L'Abbé

Sonnet L'Abbé is a poet, professor and emerging songwriter. She is the author of A Strange Relief, Killarnoe, and the forthcoming Sonnet's Shakespeare. In 2014 she guest-edited the Best Canadian Poetry anthology. Her chapbook, Anima Canadensis, won the 2017 bp Nichol chapbook award. She teaches creative writing and English at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.

Yvonne Blomer

Yvonne Blomer's most recent books are the travel memoir Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur (Palimpsest Press, 2017) and As if a Raven (Palimpsest, 2014).  Refugium: Poems for the Pacific (editor, Caitlin Press, 2017) is the first in a trilogy of water-focused environmental poetry anthologies Yvonne is editing. The second will be on watersheds, expected publication is Spring, 2020. Yvonne is the winner of the Overleaf Chapbook Contest 2017 for her collection Elegies for Earth. She is Victoria's past Poet Laureate having served from 2014-2018. 



Meet Victoria's new Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate!

John Barton - Victoria's Poet Laureate (2019 - 2022)

John Barton is an established poet and editor. He has written and published 26 books, chapbooks and anologies. He is a three-time recipient of the Archibald Lampman Award, and has won an Ottawa Book Award, a CBC Literary Award, and a National Magazine Award. John is currently working on his first book of prose, We Are Not Avatars: Essays, Memoirs, Manifestos while working as a freelance editor, writer and mentor. John was formally appointed to the position of the City's Poet Laureate on January 10, 2019 by Council, and will serve a four-year term. He is the City's fifth Poet Laureate.  Learn more.  (Photo credit John Preston)

Aziza Moqia Sealey-Qaylow - Victoria's 2019 Youth Poet Laureate

Aziza Moqia Sealey-Qaylow is a slam and spoken word poet, and an honours graduate from Reynolds Secondary School. She was formally appointed to her one-year term as Youth Poet Laureate on January 10, 2019 by Council. Aziza  is Victoria's seventh Youth Poet Laureate. Learn more.