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Poet Laureate stands up for poets

By Christopher Moore | December 19, 2006

John Steffler, the new parliamentary poet laureate, has discontinued the practice of posting a “Poem of the Week” on the laureate website.

According to Quill and Quire,

Steffler had initially planned to continue the tradition of posting a poem of the week, written by a Canadian poet, to the position’s official website — a practice begun by Bowering and continued by Pauline Michel — but he has put that idea on hold. “When I first realized I was going to take up this job, I was going around saying, ‘Yeah, I’ll maintain the poem of the week,’ but I’ve discovered that there’s no money for it — that is to say, no money to pay the contributors — and I’m not really pleased with that,” Steffler told Q&Q.

I’m often been struck by how savvy many poets are about the economic realities of a writing life and the need for creators to assert their interests. John Steffler is clearly in that tradition. Why were poets donating their work to subsidize Parliament?

That Parliamentary Poet Laureate website is here .

And — must say — the anthology-in-progress that was the Poem of the Week is impressive. Poem of the Week

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