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City booster named Windsor’s poet laureate

Being named Windsor’s first poet laureate is a great honour, says Marty Gervais.

“I’m very proud of this community and I’m a great promoter of it and so for them to choose me to lead the way in this regard makes me feel great,” he said.

Windsor city council appointed Gervais, resident writing professional in the UWindsor English department and a publisher, columnist and poet, to the post November 28.

Councillor Percy Hatfield called him an outstanding choice.

“We are all in for a treat,” he said. “Marty’s new role is yet more proof that Windsor is a place where arts and culture, once struggling, is again beginning to thrive.”

Gervais has written fiction, non-fiction and poetry about his hometown of Windsor, including the Canadian bestseller The Rumrunners and his Windsor Star column “My Town.” Among his previous honours are a 1998 Toronto Harbourfront Festival Prize for contributions to Canadian letters, a 1996 Milton Acorn People’s Poetry Award, and a 2010 honorary doctorate from Assumption University. Read a short biographical sketch.

He has started a blog about his newest appointment and plans to organize a major reading by a number of poets laureate – something he said has never been done anywhere in the country.

“I think it’s really important for the city to promote the arts,” said Gervais. “This gesture of creating a poet laureate position is significant of the fact that the city believes that the arts matter.”

— by Zak Sleiman

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