In Canada, the position of Poet Laureate was created in 2001 as part of the Parliament of Canada Act. Mississauga appoints a Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate (25 years old and younger) that recognizes a Mississauga resident who writes on themes that are important to the citizens of Mississauga. This article will showcase some of the poetry written by our current and previous Poet Laureates.
Paul Edward Costa (2019-2021)
Paul Edward Costa is a writer, teacher, and spoken word artist. He has published over sixty stories, poems, and articles in literary journals worldwide and performs spoken word at a variety of poetry events as an open mic or featured artist. His novella “Dark Magic on the Edge of Town” was published in 2016 with Paperback-Press, and his book of poetry “The Long Train of Chaos” was published in August 2019 by Kung Fu Treachery Press. Paul regularly gives talks at meetings of The Mississauga Writers’ Group, hosts and curates The YTGA Open Mic Series at Studio.89, and is co-organizer of the Mississauga Arts Council’s series Verses Out Loud: A Spoken Word and Poetry Open Mic. Paul earned a Specialized Honors BA in History and a BA in Education at York University. He teaches high school English and History with the Peel District School Board.
Pujita Verma (Youth 2018-2020)
Pujita Verma believes that poetry is a way in which we can cherish small miracles and keep moments alive forever. Her journey with poetry branches from an abiding interest in creative writing and the literary arts. When Pujita isn’t writing or reciting, she’s saving the planet, volunteering, or studying in her first year at the University of Western Ontario.
As Secretary for Ink Movement Mississauga, Pujita has volunteered for nearly two years to help make tools for self-expression more accessible for youth in the city. She has been a member of her school’s Student Writer’s Guild since 2014, performed at slams across the GTA, and is also a National Finalist for the 2018 Poetry In Voice Recitation Competition. Her work reflects mental well-being, life, the environment, and the miraculous nature of seemingly ordinary things. As the City of Mississauga’s Youth Poet Laureate, Pujita strives to provide platforms through which youth can explore poetry, find their voices, and uncover their own creativity.
Anna Yin (2015-2017)
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, 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 poetry collection, “Seven Nights with the Chinese Zodiac” was published in 2015. Anna Yin was born in China and immigrated to Canada in 1999. She currently lives and works in Mississauga.
Wali Shah (2017-2019)
As a poet and public speaker, the voice of Wali Shah has reached audiences across the country. From hundreds of schools, TEDx Talks, and collaborations with national organizations such as The CFL and Canada’s Walk of Fame, Wali has become an icon for social advocacy and custom curated content.
His performance with Microsoft reached 16,000 people at the Air Canada Center and since then, Wali’s personality, style, and captivating delivery, have inspired companies across North America.
Wali recently completed his post-secondary education, graduating from the University of Toronto. He is an ambassador for the Bell ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign, and has helped in raising over one million dollars for United Way.
At 24 years of age, Wali is a creative force, with collaborations that include free-styling with hip-hop artist, Kendrick Lamar. From boardrooms to classrooms, Wali uses his art of story-telling to empower audiences and inspires them to empower others.
Rebecca Zseder (Youth 2016-2018)
Rebecca Zseder is a second year student at the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus. She is currently enrolled in the English Specialist Program. She has been a member of her school’s Improvisational Acting Team since 2013 and has competed at the National Level three times, bringing home gold in 2013 and bronze in 2016. Her passion for poetry, stemming from her passion for public speaking which won her the Regional title in 2012, was discovered in early Grade 9. She began her poetic endeavors with the work of William Shakespeare. This interest blossomed into spoken word poetry when joined with her love of free speech for the public ear. Her poetry is often centered around everyday life, strife, and social issues in need of attention. Her goal is to inspire youth, like herself, to discover art in poetry.
For more information on the Poet Laureate Program Contact: Kathryn Garland at email@example.com
For more information on the Parliamentary Poet Laureate visit the official website. Nominations for 2023 start July 2021.