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Writing poetry was never more joyful

Lauren Seal, St. Albert Poet Laureate, establishes a Community Poem Project
April is National Poetry Month. Lauren Seal, St. Albert Poet Laureate, has initiated a Community Poem Project that will premiere during Canada Day festivities. SUPPLIED

April is Canada’s 25th National Poetry Month, an enduring literary legacy that touches millions. The 2023 National Poetry Month theme is “joy,” and Lauren Seal, St. Albert Poet Laureate, has created a project for all wordsmiths.

Seal invites residents of all ages and patrons of St. Albert Public Library to submit a response to the question, “How do you create joy in your community?” She will collect all responses and integrate them into a larger poem that will premiere at Canada Day festivities.

"Last year's theme was "Intimacy." After the last three years with COVID, we've now gotten over the things brought on by the lockdown — mental health issues and the disconnect we felt. We're now in a healing stage where everyone feels positive," Seal said.   

The thriving poet, her two-year tenure runs until April 2024, floated the idea in a cover letter during her position's nomination period. It was an idea that was planted when she attended a YouthWrite camp as a teenager. 

“My director would give us a prompt such as “Outside my window I see...” She took all the answers and wrote a poem that was beautiful and poignant,” said Seal, a librarian at Jensen Lakes Library.  

“I’d like to create a very St. Albert centered poem about joy that is essentially written by the citizens of St. Albert. I’d like to collect all the responses to the end of April and shape them into a poem.” 

Joy is a very personal emotion, and a fast Internet search listed different sources of joy — curling up in a fuzzy blanket; watching plants bloom; baking banana bread; running barefoot across sand; taking the dog for a walk; petting a cat while it purrs in your lap; a cup of hot tea; freshly painted nails; pumping iron at the gym; watching the sun set from a mountain top, riding a motorbike or painting a picture. 

So, what brings joy to Seal? 

“Coming home from a hard day’s work and finding my partner has made me a meal or buying a surprise pastry from him and seeing his face light up, or when the sun shines brightly in spring.” 

Once all the responses are amassed and the poem is written, a video will be launched with performances across the city. 

“It will be quite a lot of work but I’m creating something beautiful that will be a unique artifact. I’ve seen my tenure as Poet Laureate as a way to make poetry fun. Not everyone writes poetry, but everyone can contribute ideas. The only talent required is to start from the heart.” 

A library website began accepting submissions on Tuesday, April 4. Responses will be accepted until Sunday, April 30 at 

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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