Ottawa’s new poet laureates step onto the stage

Albert Dumont and Gilles Latour are Ottawa's new poet laureates. [Photos courtesy VERSefest)

Meet Ottawa’s new poets laureate.

Albert Dumont is a poet, storyteller, and an Algonquin Traditional Teacher who will be the English laureate.

Dumont has published five books of poetry and short stories and two children’s books, written in three languages. His most recent book, Sitting by the Rapids (2018), is a meditation on the healing power of poetry. 

Dumont has worked with the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health and the Native Veterans Association, and has served as an Elder with the Parole Board of Canada. He was awarded the Public Service Alliance of Canada – National Capital Region (PSAC NCR) 2010 Human Rights Recognition Award. In January 2017 he received the DreamKEEPERS Citation for Outstanding Leadership.

The new French language laureate is Gilles Latour, who, in addition to a career in international development, has served as the poetry editor for Les Editions L’Interligne, along with his own active writing career  

His poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies, and he has published five collections of his work, which have been shortlisted for the Trillium Poetry Prize, the City of Ottawa Literary Award, and the Prix Le Droit. His most recent book is Debris du sillage (2020). 

The City of Ottawa’s Poet Laureate program, as chosen by VERSefest and the city, is designed to promote the literary arts in Ottawa and to advance Ottawa’s unique voice. Poets laureate serve a two-year term. City Council will celebrate the new laureates in a ceremony on April 28.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.