Tanya Davis named Provincial Poet Laureate
Islanders gathered today at Government House to welcome and celebrate Prince Edward Island’s new Poet Laureate Tanya Davis.
In her new role, Tanya Davis will act as a spokesperson for literature in Prince Edward Island and raise awareness of poetry and the spoken word.
“The Poet Laureate position affirms the importance of the literary arts within our Island’s cultural landscape,” said the Honourable Antoinette Perry, Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island. “It is my great pleasure to welcome Tanya as our province’s newest Poet Laureate and ambassador for culture and the literary arts.”
Tanya Davis is a poet. She is a storyteller. She is a musician and a singer-songwriter and she fuses these elements together in a refreshing matrimony of language and sound, side-stepping genre and captivating audiences in the process. She has been awarded numerous local, regional and national awards for her writings.
“We have great confidence in Tanya’s ability to perform in this special and very important role and to be a champion for literacy in our province,” said Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning, Natalie Jameson. “Art is a reflection of society and culture. It helps us understand what we are as human beings and influences how we relate to each other. Tanya has an exceptional way of weaving story and emotions into her poetry. She is an exceptional artist and we are excited to have her as our provincial Poet Laureate.
Tanya Davis is replacing Julie Pellissier-Lush, who has just completed her term. Previous PEI Poets Laureate include: John Smith (2003-2005), Frank Ledwell (2005-2008), David Helwig (2008-2010), Hugh MacDonald (2010-2013), Diane Hicks Morrow (2013-2016), Deirdre Kessler (2016-2019), and Julie Pellissier-Lush (2019-2023).
Poets Laureate often choose to engage in composing poetry related to legislative or state occasions and events of significance. Other elements of their work include visiting schools, presenting or arranging poetry readings and assisting with writing workshops and other activities.
The PEI Public Library Service has responsibility for the program. Poets Laureate are chosen through a peer assessment process and appointed by the Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning. To be selected, the Poet Laureate must be active and recognized as a poet of stature who has published at least one volume of poetry within the last ten years with a reputable publishing house, or whose body of work over the years has brought honour to themselves and the province.
Education and Lifelong Learning
Provincial Poet Laureate Program
Poetry of excellence has been one of the great achievements of Prince Edward Islanders.
The post of provincial Poet Laureate honours Islanders who have made a major contribution to the literary life of the province.
Individuals such as John LePage, Larry Gorman and Lawrence Doyle were well-known 19th century poets, and in the 20th century, Lucy Maud Montgomery and Milton Acorn were among the Islanders most recognized for their poetic ability.
The P.E.I. Poet Laureate Program aims to:
- celebrate Prince Edward Island people and culture
- raise the profile of Island poets
- promote a higher standard of literacy
- raise public awareness of poetry and of the spoken word
- create a spokesperson for literature in general and poetry in particular
- create a focal point for the expression of Prince Edward Island culture and heritage through the literary arts.
The Poet Laureate must be a full-time resident of Prince Edward Island.
Poetry produced in either English, French, and/or Mi’kmaq languages is considered in making the selection of Poet Laureate.
The selection committee is named by the Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning and consists of the Poet Laureate whose term is ending, a nominee of UPEI and two nominees from the cultural community who have knowledge of literary activities in the province.
The Poet Laureate is appointed for a three-year term.