During today’s General Committee (GC) meeting, the City of Mississauga’s Culture Division introduced the City’s first poet laureate, Anna Yin (full bio below).
“We are thrilled that Anna will be representing Mississauga as the City’s first Poet Laureate,” said Paul Damaso, acting director, Culture Division, City of Mississauga. “We look forward to working with Anna as she raises the profile of writers in the poetry and literary arts in Mississauga while also creating a legacy for the City through her public engagements.”
The honorary position recognizes a poet who writes poetry or spoken word and has written on themes that are relevant to the citizens of Mississauga. Yin’s term as the inaugural Poet Laureate will begin this month and end in March 2017. The position holds four key objectives:
- Serve as a literary ambassador for the City of Mississauga to audiences both within and outside of the City;
- Advocate for poetry and literary arts within the City;
- Raise the profile of writers in Mississauga; and
- Create an artistic legacy through public readings and civic interactions
“The Poet Laureate will have a number of responsibilities including producing work that reflects the city and its citizens and to produce at least three original works for specific events or occasions identified by the City in each year of the two-year term,” added Damaso.
Yin will make her first public appearance at the City’s Canada Day celebration official ceremony on Mississauga Celebration Square.
As part of the Poet Laureate program, Yin will also be asked to provide mentorship to a youth Poet Laureate position. The youth position will also be selected every two years and will be responsible for executing a project that promotes literary arts amongst young people aged 12 to 25 years old.
Anna Yin Biography
Anna Yin is the author of five books of poetry including Wings Toward Sunlight and Inhaling the Silence. She is the Ontario representative for the League of Canadian Poets, she has been featured on CBC radio and has read her poetry on Parliament Hill. She is the recipient of several awards including the Ted Plantos Memorial Award, two MARTY Literary Arts Awards and the Chinese Professionals Association of Canada Professional Achievement Award. Her poem “Still Life” was part of the Poetry in Transit project featured on buses across Canada in 2013.
Anna has actively promoted poetry and hosted many events in Mississauga and across Ontario. Her new poetry collection Seven Nights with the Chinese Zodiac will be published in 2015. Anna Yin was born in China and immigrated to Canada in 1999. She currently lives and works in Mississauga.
During GC today, Anna Yin read her poem Life Jars to the members of Committee. The full poem is included below.
By: Anna Yin
When I was a child,
I was told
silence is like light,
having colors and faces.
Walking through the country in the dark,
I used to fill a glass jar with fireflies.
It became my blue starry compass.
When I inhaled the silence,
I could hear quiet voices from living creatures,
each making music of its own life.
Now grown up,
every day’s busy journey in this hectic city,
I thought our life jars must be full of mundane trifles and noises;
Yet wandering into ravines in this urban landscape,
I can find the silence, silence and silence —
Where it opens a door like sunrays breaking through.
Riding along the lakeshore,
I see the sunset’s quiet reflection on the lake,
Port Credit Lighthouse topping its splendor.
A baby swan takes off…
I inhale the silence.