2019 - 2022 Poet Laureate



John Barton - Victoria's 2019 - 2022 Poet Laureate

Congratulations to John Barton, Victoria's new Poet Laureate!

John is an established poet and editor. His 26 books, chapbooks, and anthologies include The Malahat at Fifty: Canada's Iconic Literary Journal (2017), Polari (2014), For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin: Selected Poems (2012), and Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay-Male Poets (2007).  Since 1980, magazines, newspapers, and anthologies on four continents have published his poems, essays, and reviews.

A three-time recipient of the Archibald Lampman Award, he’s also won an Ottawa Book Award, a CBC Literary Award, and a National Magazine Award. Between 1989 and 2018 John edited Arc Poetry Magazine, Vernissage: The Magazine of the National Gallery of Canada, and The Malahat Review. He will publish We Are Not Avatars: Essays, Memoirs, Manifestos, his first book of prose, with Palimpsest Press and The Essential Douglas LePan with Porcupine's Quill in the spring of 2019. Signal Editions will publish his twelfth collection of poems, Lost Family, a book of sonnets, in 2020.

Since stepping down as the editor of The Malahat Review in January 2018, a position he held for 14 years, John now works as a freelance editor, writer, and mentor. He has recently been awarded a residency at the Al Purdy A-Frame in Amaliasburg, Prince Edward County, Ontario that will take place in June 2020.

“As the City of Victoria Poet Laureate, I aim to broaden the local audience for poetry, to make readers more aware of the diverse community of poets in the greater Victoria region, and to provide support to LGBTQ2S poets working among us. Together, my fellow local poets and I shall hold up a mirror to the city where we live and invite the people who live here to see themselves anew.”

Learn more about John at: www.john-barton.ca.

Role of the Poet Laureate

Selected by nomination, the Poet Laureate serves as Victoria’s literary and cultural ambassador. 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.

John Barton's four-year term is January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2022. The position receives an honorarium of $4,500 per year as well as $1,000 for a poetry event and administration support from the City of Victoria.  The position is funded by the City of Victoria and the Greater Victoria Public Library.

For More Information

culture@victoria.ca                                                                                                                                                                    250.361.0308