Anne Michaels, acclaimed author of the novels Fugitive Pieces and The Winter Vault, has been named the new poet laureate for the city of Toronto. The appointed three-year position, which includes an annual C$10,000 honorarium, means that Toronto native Michaels will be the city’s advocate and ambassador for poetry and language.
Michaels has published five volumes of poetry — her first collection, The Weight of Oranges (1986), won the Commonwealth Prize, and her most recent work, Correspondences (2013), was shortlisted for last year’s Griffin Poetry Prize.
“My vision is to celebrate the extraordinary diversity of our city. We embrace over two dozen languages, and this of course includes the literature of those languages,” says Michaels. “I hope to initiate a legacy project that celebrates that diversity.”
She also says she hopes to set up citywide projects for elementary and high school students to help celebrate the “wonderful literary history of Toronto.” Michaels will be the fifth person to accept the position of Toronto’s poet laureate, officially taking over from her predecessor George Elliott Clarke on Dec. 1.
According to Michaels, a new book of her poetry will be coming out from Knopf in the U.S., and McClelland & Stewart in Canada, in 2017. This November, her first children’s book, The Adventures of Miss Petitfour — which Michaels says emphasizes “friendship and small acts of kindness holding great weight “ — will be published by Tundra Books.