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Banff's poet laureate receives platinum jubilee medal

Derek Beaulieu, Banff's poet laureate, is the latest local recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee medal.
20220426 Human Computer Writing Collaboration at Banff Centre 4
Banff Centre's Literary Arts Director, Derek Beaulieu poses at Banff Centre's campus on Tuesday (April 26). JUNGMIN HAM RMO PHOTO

BANFF – Banff’s poet laureate is the latest local recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal.

Derek Beaulieu received the honour after the Writers’ Guild of Alberta selected recipients in the Alberta writing community. The intent was to recognize individual authors’ impact on writing in the province.

“Working at Banff Centre on behalf of the world's writers, poets, journalists, translators and the literary community continues to be a thrilling part of my journey; thank you for sharing it,” Beaulieu said in a media release.

Beaulieu has authored 26 books of poetry, conceptual fiction and critical writing. He has also written more than 200 chapbooks and six edited volumes that has led his work to be praised across the country.

His most recent volume of poetry, Surface Tension, was released in the fall and his latest fiction, A Novel, was published by France’s Jean Boîte Editions.

“Derek Beaulieu not only constitutes one of the most innovative of all authors in Canada, but he has committed himself to service on behalf of others, providing leadership in the arts throughout his career and promoting the poetic merits of Canada to audiences around the world,” the Banff Centre said in a media release.

Beaulieu studied contemporary Canadian poetics at the University of Calgary and Roehampton University in London, U.K. for creative writing. His writings have been published across the world and has led him to lecture in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Iceland.

He has also won local and national awards for his teaching and dedication to students. Beaulieu is also a nominee for the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta distinguished artist award and was named a celebrated alumni from literature and creative writing at the University of Calgary.

“Derek’s contribution to the literary realm in Canada is monumental,” said Janice Price, president and CEO of the Banff Centre. “We are so very proud of his accomplishments and truly grateful for the genius, soulfulness, inspiration, and leadership that Derek brings to Banff Centre as Director of Literary Arts.

“His impact is felt daily by all the writers in residence that experience time with Derek on campus for the pursuit of their creative endeavours.”

The award is a commemorative medal in recognition of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th anniversary as Queen of Great Britain and its commonwealth. In Alberta, 7,000 residents will receive the recognition in 2022.

Beaulieu officially began as Banff’s poet laureate last January for a two-year term.

He was Calgary’s poet laureate from 2014-16 and was the Banff Centre’s director of literary arts from 2018 to being named Banff’s poet laureate.

The poet laureate role helps lead a wider conversation on the arts, with communities across the country having such a position.

“Banff has a long history of writing and art and I am eager to work with the Town to explore the poetic possibilities of our home and community,” he told the Outlook in December 2021.