The City of Calgary has appointed native Calgarian poet and artist Kris Demeanor as its first-ever Poet Laureate.
Chosen to be Calgary's literary ambassador advocating poetry, language and the arts for a period of two years, Demeanor was selected from among 14 nominees by a volunteer committee, including spoken-word maven Sheri-D Wilson and local rapper Daniel "Transit" Bennett.
Demeanor has been praised as a multidisciplinary artist and a fixture of Calgary's spoken word, theatre and music communities. The Swedish-German Calgarian has six solo albums to his name and has toured across North America, Europe and Australia. He blends pop, folk and spoken word to create his distinctive sound.
The Poet Laureate nomination letter called him "a skilled, passionate and keenly insightful artist whose work is both accessible and deeply committed to an honest expression of what it is to be Calgarian," according to a Calgary Arts Development press release.
Championed by Alderman Druh Farrell and inspired by a citizen-led proposal, the March 19 appointment ceremony at City Hall followed a 5-month selection process with a public call for nominations and a showcase featuring six short-listed nominees in an evening of poetry and conversation.
Speaking at the ceremony, Demeanor said he would represent Calgary "with a solid balance of humour, history, gravitas, celebration, critique and raw entertainment value."
"I look forward to being your mirror," he said.
The position is funded by The Calgary Foundation, corporate Calgary and an anonymous donor through charitable and private funds.