Titilope Sonuga was named the Poet Laureate of Edmonton, Canada on June 22, 2021. She starts her term on July 1, 2021.
A Poet Laureate’s role in the modern age is to reflect the life of a city through readings of poetry. As an ambassador for the literary arts, the Laureate incorporates poetry into a range of official and informal city activities. The city of Edmonton in Canada has a Poet Laureate program supported by the Edmonton Arts Council, the City of Edmonton, and the Edmonton Public Library. Since the program commenced in 2005 eight poets have taken the 2-year role. They have been Alice Major, Ted Blodgett, Roland Pemberton (aka Cadence Weapon), Anna Marie Sewell, Mary Pinkoski, Pierrette Requier, Ahmed “Knowmadic” Ali, and Nisha Patel.
The ninth Poet Laureate is Titilope Sonuga, a poet, playwright and performer whose work grasps moments of tenderness and persistent joy at the intersection of blackness and womanhood. She is a leading voice in local and international poetry communities who has travelled extensively as an artist and facilitated adult and youth poetry workshops worldwide. She has served on various artistic and community boards in Edmonton and is the founder of the Breath In Poetry Collective, a mentorship and performance platform for emerging poets. Sonuga is the author of three collections of poetry, Down to Earth (Self Published, 2011), Abscess (Geko Publishing, 2014), and This Is How We Disappear (Write Bloody North, 2019) and has composed and released two spoken word albums; Mother Tongue (2011) and Swim (2019). She has written three plays, The Six; an intergenerational exploration of womanhood, Naked; a one-woman play and Ada The Country, a musical.
Sonuga has scripted global advertising campaigns for numerous organizations, including The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, Intel Corporation, The World Health Organization, White Ribbon Alliance and The MacArthur Foundation. Her writing has been translated into Italian, German and Slovak.
Titilope Sonuga will serve a two-year term as Edmonton’s Poet Laureate, July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2023.
Check out some of her work below;