Poet in Community, University of Toronto
In 2000, Senator Jeremiah Grafstein drafted a bill to create a Poet Laureate in Canada. It passed in 2001. He said, “Poetry works to boil ideas to their essence. It helps us look inwards to ourselves and beyond our situation more clearly.”
Since the fall of 2008, I have been Poet in Community at the University of Toronto, charged with using writing in the service of the community, for the needs of students, staff and faculty.
Through workshops, readings, conversations, this program offers a “third space” which is neither formal, like a classroom, nor casual as a coffee shop. It is a learning experience that is facilitated but without evaluation. There is no teacher and no boss. Here it is possible to connect the highly intellectual with the emotional, and the social; to realize the home of these sometimes disconnected parts can be found within individuals and within the institution.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.
— Walt Whitman
To get a taste of what the Poet in Community is doing currently at the University, check out the blog PoetinCommunity
To know more about the development of this project, its funders, accomplishments, testimonials – look here (PDF 1.3MB).