Modern Industrialized Nation Seeks Poet Laureate

News item (October 2002): Nominees for the post of Canada’s first poet laureate are now down to a shortlist of three.

You: An experienced senior wordsmith
Renowned, respected, avuncular

Us: A dynamic G8 economy
Looking for leadership in the iconography department

Exciting opportunity
For the right symbolist

Grandiloquence an asset
Along with fluency in both official languages

Not to mention Cree, Cantonese, Inuktitut
And the street slang of the Jane-Finch corridor

Are you up to the task of commemorating
All those dead miners at Westray?

Or penning an ode to the panic
At the heart of the Romanow inquiry?

How about a dirge for Davis Inlet?
Or something in honour of Shidane Arone?

Which is not to say it’s all crisis management
For the poet laureate of this dynamic G8 economy

You will be expected to sing of our triumphs
The usual winter sports victories

The accolades from the United Nations
That robot arm on the space station

You will make us look good
To the world and to ourselves

You will always remember
Where your obligations lie 

If you can promise us that
And be true to your promise

We will pay you anything
We will hire you on the spot

Make it all make sense for us
Make it all better

Literary Review of Canada November 2002