‘Windsor’s Voices’ 2024 poetry initiativeThe City of Windsor’s Poet Laureate & Storytellers team are planning to bring poetry to the community in an innovative way early next year. ‘Windsor’s Voices’ is an initiative to celebrate National Poetry Month by placing short, six-to-ten-line inspirational poems and stories on television screens and walls in select City-owned facilities across the community, on keepsake bookmarks, and as part of an online zine beginning in April 2024.
Submission Period: From December 18, 2023, to February 16, 2024, interested Windsor poets, storytellers, writers and photographers of all ages, including youth (14 to 24 years old), are encouraged to submit original poems, stories or photos on one of two themes:
-Theme # 1: contributors are asked to share what Windsor means to them. From neighbourhoods to events, cultural traditions to important landmarks, places to people, experiences to thoughts and inspirations, contributions will reflect on what makes Windsor special.
-Theme # 2: contributors are asked to reflect on the theme of “weather,” which is the League of Canadian Poets’ 2024 theme for National Poetry Month. The organization describes the theme as follows: “Through sun, snow, rain, wind, fog, and many other iterations, we find the captivating presence of weather. With poetic flair, weather dictates the rhythms of our lives from coast to coast. Delve into the experiences, feelings, and inspiration that weather offers – whether the serenity of a snowfall, exhilaration of a summer downpour, or the familiar whispers of a gentle breeze.”
Submission Requirements: Send an email to culturalaffairs@
-Let us know the following in the body of your email:
-Full mailing address
-Whether you are submitting a poem, story or photograph-Which theme your work connects with from the two theme options listed above-Attach your six-to-ten-line poem, six-to-ten-line short story, or photograph.
You will hear from a program representative in February or March 2024. The City’s Poet Laureate & Storytellers team will evaluate all submissions, working together to select the poems, stories and photos that will be displayed throughout the community. The team includes Poet Laureate Emeritus Marty Gervais, Poet Laureate Peter Hrastovec, Youth Poet Laureate Chidera Ikewibe, Multicultural Community Storyteller Teajai Travis, and Indigenous Storyteller Theresa Sims.
In 2021/2022, a similar initiative focused on the theme of “resilience” saw poems printed and displayed in City facilities, mass vaccination sites, and hospital sites across the community to bring messages of hope during the pandemic. Through this public initiative, and the public presentation of the selected poems, stories and photographs celebrating Windsor, the team is taking the opportunity to deliver on the goals of the City of Windsor’s program, which include promoting poetry and storytelling to a wide and appreciative audience while strengthening the public’s relationship to poetry, storytelling, and the creative arts. In addition to publication of the works online, and public presentation across the community, the City will also provide certificates of recognition to those whose work is selected for the project.
Submission Examples:Here, on this south shore,stories were told,poignant forest fables,wonder-moon myths,the generations reverent,their gratitudecarved into ritual,embedded in their soul. By Peter Hrastovec, Poet Laureate
You can get lost in the maze of alleyways that run behind the huddle of neighborhood homes, especially when the fog rolls in like a slumbering ghost that dares you to wake it. Keep walking, it’ll say. Keep silent, if you may. Keep moving till you find your way. By Marty Gervais, Poet Laureate Emeritus
511 Brock Street: The Red Brick House The red brick house had a dirt floor with a purple hue that held a musty scent of secretsbootlegged in its warped spin. Moonshine bodies kept stillthe breadth of runaway foolsWho spilled wishes upon a river that never sleeps andis hard to forget. By Teajai Travis, Multicultural Community Storyteller
Emotional landmarks come with the changing tide — confuse the unassumed. Far off storms make waves that ripple at my shoreline. Sightlines are obscured by the amber waves of the never-setting sun. Headlines call to excuse the execution … of trees. The stumps still stand, roots refrain rotting into ephemera. The burning once trees howl and snap on there should be pyres. Their olive branches extended ablaze then, simmer into white smoke. The downpour storm carries vestiges from the river out to the sea, to the banks of bombardment at my shore: oranges, watermelons, olives, poppies, fishnets without fishermen, while keys and house debris — slowly sink to the bottom. If a storm is not reported by the 6 o’clock news — did it ever really happen at all?By Chidera Ikewibe, Youth Poet Laureate