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Poem of the Season: A Brief History

The University of Calgary's Poem of the Season was launched in Winter term 2008 as a program of the Creative Writing Research Group.  Based on such precedents as the "Poem of the Month" competition at Douglas College in New Westminster, BC, the program was originally conceived as a monthly competition open to all University of Calgary students.  The winning poem (chosen by a jury consisting of the Poem of the Month committee) was to be featured on posters distributed campus-wide and on a PotM website, as well as to be displayed on banners at various campus locations.  The intent was to present seven poems annually--one each month from October through April.  The initial Poem of the Month committee/jury consisted of two faculty representatives from the English Department, and the English liaison librarian. English Department graduate student representation was added in November 2008.

In February 2008, the committee asked  for original, unpublished poems to be submitted.  The inaugural, pilot offering appeared in April 2008 (a poem by student John Creary).  Fiscal realities, however, soon led to the project to be scaled back from Poem of the Month to Poem of the Season (with a winning poem published twice a year, in Autumn and WInter/Spring terms).  Since the start of the program, ten poems by University of Calgary students have appeared -- published as full-colour posters, and displayed across the campus and on this website. 

Publication of the tenth poem, the Autumn 2012 Edition, called for celebration. We held a Gala Reading on Thursday, November 15, 7:30 p.m., at Pages Bookstore in Calgary.  Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Fred Wah, was our special guest reader, along with Poets of the Season to date. There was standing room only for this happy event, which was followed by a wine and cheese reception - hosted by the Poet Laureate.

Owing to budgetary constraints, we were unable to publish in 2013. Our next edition is scheduled for publication in March 2014.

Financial support has come variously from the former Faculty of Humanities, the Department of English, and Libraries and Cultural Resources.

January 2014