West Kootenay poet takes top title

Longtime West Kootenay author, editor and teacher Fred Wah has been named Canada’s next poet laureate.

Longtime West Kootenay author, editor and teacher Fred Wah has been named Canada’s next poet laureate.  House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer and Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella jointly made the recent announcement.

“Fred Wah’s poetry is grounded in Canada’s political and social landscapes,” Scheer said in announcing the appointment.

“He has done much to encourage and promote the importance of literature, culture and language within Canadian society.”

The Saskatchewan-born Wah is the fifth Canadian writer to hold the position of national poet laureate.

Wah taught for more than 20 years for Selkirk College, both at the Castlegar campus and as the founder and director of the writing program at Nelson’s David Thompson University Centre, which operated between 1979 and 1984.

He currently divides his time between his home at Riondel on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake, and a pied-à-terre in Vancouver.

Wah replaces Pierre DesRuisseaux, whose two-year term expired earlier this year.

The post was created in 2001, with a mandate to write poetry, especially for use in Parliament on important occasions, to sponsor poetry readings and advise the parliamentary library.