Celebrating the written, spoken and sung word in beautiful and bountiful Banff, Alberta, Canada – Banff National Park and the Bow Valley.

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The Banff Poet Laureate Committee is pleased to announce that Derek Beaulieu is Banff’s new Poet Laureate. Beaulieu’s two-year term begins January 2022.  

Beaulieu says, “Banff has a long history of writing and art and I am eager to work with the town to explore the poetic possibilities of our home and community. Banff’s previous laureates Steven Ross Smith and Amelie Patterson both have left huge legacies of artistic engagement and I thank them for all their creativity. I am so excited to share my enthusiasm for poetry with our town and guests. Banff’s streets and pathways, schools and centres, have always inspired imagination; I look forward to being part of that ongoing dialogue. I am honoured to be chosen as Banff’s newest Poet Laureate, thank you!” 

Derek Beaulieu is the author or editor of over twenty-five collections of poetry, prose, and literary criticism. His most recent volume of fiction, a, A Novel, was published by France’s Jean Boîte Editions, his most recent volume of poetry, Surface Tension, is forthcoming from Coach House Books in Fall of 2022. He has performed his work around the world and been published in translation in over a dozen languages. Derek is the Director of Literary Arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and has won multiple local and national awards for his teaching and dedication to students. He can be found online at www.derekbeaulieu.ca  

Derek Beaulieu Picture 1.jpg

Banff Poet Laureate 2022 – 2023


 Banff Poet Laureate acts as an ambassador and representative for the arts community in Banff to promote and celebrate the value of poetry and the overall importance and relevance of arts and culture in our community. The Poet Laureate will participate in various, appropriate events, performances and activities during their term that reflect the dual functions as artist and community representative. As an advocate, the Poet Laureate will foster the reading, writing and appreciation of poetry among the general public as well as specific audiences and will be a proponent of the importance of arts and culture in our community. To support these missions, the Poet Laureate will help organize and participate in events such as poetry workshops, readings and presentations, activities for youths and schools, attending conferences, presenting to community groups, businesses and municipal representatives and other events as required.


The Banff Poet Laureate position will have a term of two years – commencing January 1, 2022 or ending on December 31, 2023. 


The Banff Poet Laureate will be paid an annual honorarium of $500.00 in recognition of their role as poet laureate.

Criterion for selection of the Banff Poet Laureate:

– the quality and artistic merit of the poet’s work

– the poet’s contribution to poetry and literary life in our community

– the poet’s reputation within their peer community

– the poet’s presentation skills and aspirations for the position

– the poet’s abilities and stature to fulfill ambassadorial and advocacy roles

Other Considerations:

– both poets and singer-songwriters will be considered in the selection process

– must be a resident of Banff National Park

  • must have police check allowing work with schools, youth, seniors and general public

– must submit samples of work – publications, recordings

– must be comfortable participating in a variety of cultural and community events with a variety of age groups and audiences


Applicants for the Banff Poet Laureate position will be expected to provide a CV as well as a letter of interest outlining their qualifications, ideas, commitment  and reasons for wanting the role of Poet Laureate. 

In addition, applicants are asked to provide samples of their work – publications, recordings, digital samples and links, lyric sheets, etc.

Applications will be accepted from October 18, 2021 until November 19, 2021 and can be sent to Kurt Bagnell at kurt22@shaw.ca or by mail to Kurt Bagnell, PO Box 2101, Banff, Alberta, T1L 1B9. Questions regarding the Poet Laureate can also be addressed by email to Kurt Bagnell.

The Banff Poet Laureate Committee will make their selection on or about Nov. 26 and inform the successful candidate at that time. If accepted, we will announce the new Poet Laureate in the first week of December with term commencement on January 1, 2022.

Writing Wild Workshop
with Banff Poet Laureate
Steven Ross Smith

Sat. September 18, 1:00-4:30pm
Banff Public Library

A Mountain and Wild themed Writing Workshop that explores:

  • What is wild?
  • Discussion of wild themes
  • Discussion of relevant genres, including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, essay, and song
  • Voluntary sharing and consideration of participants’ work in progress (if any) and writing done while in the workshop
  • Writing time and suggestions for future writing

Register online at www.banfflibrary.ab.ca for this free workshop.
Space for maximum 12 participants.
Live and online via Zoom.

Walking tour of Banff
presented by Banff’s Poet Laureate
Steven Ross Smith

Sun. September 19, 2:00-3:30pm
Meet at Banff Public Library

Join Banff’s Poet Laureate, Steven Ross Smith, for a free 90 minute Walking Tour featuring writerly locations, historic and current. The tour includes stories of writers, literary activities, and poetic readings.

Register online at www.banfflibrary.ab.ca for this free tour.