Kris Demeanor Named Calgary’s First Poet LaureateWednesday, March 21, 2012
Kris Demeanor Named Calgary’s First Poet Laureate
By Ruth Myles and Jason Markusoff | Calgary Herald – Mon, 19 Mar, 2012
A singer-songwriter and self-described “art slut,” Demeanor is known for his irreverent, often politically charged material that shines a light into the dark corners of Alberta. He is also involved in Calgary’s spoken-word and theatre scenes.
Applause broke out in council chambers as Ald. Druh Farrell announced Calgary's new verse ambassador.
Demeanor, wearing a white western three-piece suit, promised to be the best "court jester" he can be, and then launched into a poem dedicated to his dad.
“I am delighted and humbled to have been enlisted to articulate the Calgary experience through language over the next two years, and will do so with a solid balance of humour, history, gravitas, celebration, critique and raw entertainment value,” Demeanor said in a news release. “I look forward to being your mirror.”
The two-year term comes with a $10,000-a-year stipend and will find the newly christened poet laureate attending and performing at official city events, writing specific commissioned works and generally being an ambassador for the arts in Calgary.
A list of 16 submitted names was whittled down to six by a volunteer committee that looked at each candidate’s work and their involvement in the community: Derek Beaulieu, Daniel Bennett (a.k.a. hip-hop artist Transit), Kris Demeanor, Diane Guichon, Tyler Perry and Sheri-D Wilson. Earlier this month, a showcase of the six finalists drew an unexpectedly large crowd of several hundred - the sort of poetry reading sellout that rarely happens in any city.
Toronto has had a poet laureate since 2001. Vancouver’s program began in 2006 and Edmonton’s in 2009 with the appointment of Roland Pemberton, a hip-hop artist more commonly known as Cadence Weapon. The idea for a Calgary version has been percolating for a few years, but picked up steam when the city was named a “cultural capital of Canada” for 2012.