Our 50th anniversary has coincided with an incredibly exciting time of transition and progress at the League! We have been enjoying taking time in 2016 to look back fondly, and look forward eagerly at how the League has and will support poets and poetry in Canada.
In the last 50 years, the League started several programs to help raise the profile and recognition of Canadian poets and poetry: we have published anthologies of work by poets at all stages of their careers; we helped start Canada’s longest running poetry-only reading series; we have run a national poetry contest for an individual poem, as well as a national chapbook contest. We are proud to recognize incredible poets every year with our three book awards, our young poets’ prize, and a spoken word prize. Since 1971, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, we have distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to poets for readings in every corner of this beautiful country; with the support of the Ontario Arts Council, in that same year we started a program to support schools who want to bring poets into the classroom. The Toronto Arts Council has provided huge support for poetry across the city throughout the years, providing support for poetry readings, National Poetry Month celebrations, and innovative projects to support local poets across the city of Toronto. We have also been lucky to receive support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Access Copyright, and donors who are poets and lovers of poetry.
Some of our members have stuck around for the whole wild ride, and we are grateful for their ongoing dedication to the League’s mission and community. And every year we receive new applications from poets just publishing their first book, their first chapbook, eager to be a part of the network the League has spent 50 years building. It’s this blend of poets that makes us most proud of our organization: our student members right alongside our life members, our associate members working their way up to full membership, and at every point thriving in a shared love and appreciation for poetry.
We look forward to the next many years of new, revived, and continued projects that will support poets and poetry in Canada. We look forward to investing in our future with a dedication to young poets and youth development; we look forward to bringing poetry to more readers, more passers-by, more bystanders, by putting poetry in public places; we look forward to exploring what it means to be a professional poet in the 21st century with a focus on supporting and developing the business and careers behind the art.
Most of all, we look forward to growing the League even more! If you love poetry and want to join the League family, there are many ways to support our mission. Poets at any stage of their careers can look into membership; you can also support the League with a one-time donation or scheduled monthly donations that contribute to growing our projects and developing new initiatives. If you would like to celebrate the poetic talent in your community, consider hosting a fundraiser in support of the League! We appreciate every contribution and every member in our community; our work would be impossible without them.
Over the next several weeks, stay tuned into our Community page, our Facebook page, and our Twitter account for some fun #throwbackthursday material we’ve been digging up from the (fairly dusty) nooks and crannies of our office! We’ll have stories from Leaguers, fun historic facts, and some of the League’s first publications. Since all of the information we’re gathering is based on materials we’ve been able to uncover, we can’t necessarily guarantee its accuracy—if you have a story to share or a correction to make, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.