Calgary, AB,

Mayor Nenshi challenges the nation to celebrate poetry with Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge

For the past three years, City of Regina Mayors, first Pat Fiacco and then Michael Fougere have issued a challenge to Mayors across Canada to participate in the annual Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge. This year the torch has been passed to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

Today, letters will be sent to Mayors across Canada from Nenshi issuing the challenge: to have a local poet read a poem at the start of a Council meeting in March or April. The aim is to raise awareness and to celebrate poetry, writing, small presses and the contribution of poets and all writers to the rich cultural life in our country.

"Two years ago, when Calgary answered the challenge, Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra and I presented two poems in Council Chambers," said Mayor Nenshi. "I'm looking forward to having Calgary's Poet Laureate, Derek Beaulieu, open a future Council meeting."

The challenge recognizes both UNESCO’s World Poetry Day on Mar. 21 as well as National Poetry Month, which is celebrated in Canada and the United States during the month of April.

From Whitehorse and Dawson City to Victoria and St. John’s, last year 45 communities across the country took up the challenge, helping to elevate the art of poetry.

The Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge is a collaboration between the League of Canadian Poets, the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, The City of Calgary and Loft 112 literary hub. Participating communities will be promoted as part of this year’s National Poetry Month campaign.

To follow this year’s Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge, visit, like the Facebook page Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge or follow the League of Canadian Poets on Twitter @CanadianPoets.