Meet Victoria's New Poet Laureate John Barton and Youth Poet Laureate Aziza Moqia Sealey-Qaylow

The City of Victoria and the Greater Victoria Public Library are pleased to announce John Barton as Victoria’s new Poet Laureate and Aziza Moqia Sealey-Qaylow (pronounced Ah-zee-zah Moe-kia See-lee Kay-low) as Victoria’s Youth Poet Laureate!

Selected by nomination, the Poet Laureate serves as Victoria’s literary and cultural ambassador for a four-year term. The Youth Poet Laureate seeks to inspire and engage local youth to share their stories through both the written and spoken word, and serves a one-year term. Both are honorary positions that celebrate the contribution of literature and poetry in the capital city.

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.


A Call for Nominations for poets in the Capital Region was held in the fall. Applicants were required to have an established body of work (written or spoken word) and to have been recognized for notable contributions in their career. Submissions were evaluated by two peer committees comprised of representatives of the literary and poetry community. The Greater Victoria Public Library coordinated the selection process for the Poet Laureate, and the City coordinated the selection of the Youth Poet Laureate.

Both the Poet Laureate and the Youth Poet Laureate positions are funded by the City of Victoria and the Greater Victoria Public Library. Learn more about our Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate programs.