TORONTO'S SIXTH POET LAUREATE: A TIMELINE

A.F. Moritz serves as the City of Toronto’s Sixth Poet Laureate: March 2019 to March 2023.
The following is a link-rich timeline of the poet’s activities in the role.

2022

Kathy Flaxman, special to the Toronto Star, presents her belated yet very positive coverage of the December, 2021 Dead Poet’s Society Evening, an annual Art Bar tradition, hosted by David Clink. There, Moritz presented the poetry of Robert Bridges. 

Read the Article Here: https://www.thestar.com/life/together/places/2022/02/20/dead-poets-come-alive-at-the-art-bar-poetry-series-event-at-clintons.html?rf

Original Event Listing | Original Website Announcement | Website Announcement re the Press Coverage | Toronto Star [Website] | Toronto Star, February, 2022 [PDF]

A.F. Moritz gives a brief introductory talk for the Toronto Bengali community’s celebration of Basha Shahid Dibos, Martyrs and International Mother Tongue Day, held online and on NRB TV. This six-hour event begins at 8 p.m., Sunday, February 20, the eve of the holiday, and features the marking of the day itself at 12:01 a.m. February 21, the anniversary of the 1952 police killing of peaceful Bengali demonstrators asking for official language recognition of Bengali (Bangla) in what is now Bangladesh.

This event was the origin of the United Nations’ establishment of February 21 as international Mother Language Day. The UNESCO declaration states: ‘The mother language, in which the first words are uttered and individual thought expressed, is the foundation for the history and culture of each individual.’

In his role as Poet Laureate of Toronto and along with High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Canada Dr. Khalilur Rahman, he declares the opening of the Canadian Basha Shahid Dibos celebration. Special guests include Nathaniel Erskine-Smith MP and Dolly Begum MP. Presented by renowned writer and researcher Subrata Kumar Das. Canada’s Bangladeshi organizers, thinkers, writers, artists and cultural personalities form the heart of this 6-hour non-stop event. There are songs, poems, discussions and much more.

The video in its entirety is available on Facebook Live:
https://www.facebook.com/thenrbtv/videos/954689505188424.

Watch Moritz’s Participation here:

Event Listing | Website Announcement

A.F. Moritz, one of Canada’s most esteemed and decorated poets, is VIU’s Ralph Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2021-22. The annual lecture will take place at the Ralph Gustafson Lecture Theatre in the Arts and Sciences Building (Bldg. 355) on March 3 at 7:30 pm at Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus.

His talk, entitled “Poetry: Present Future of the Past” will discuss the phenomenon of what writers choose to let live on the page. “For all my love of writing, reading, books, printed pages, I insist that poetry is in its sound,” writes Moritz. “Then what is the role of the preserved poem, the written poem, the poem perhaps written while it is being sung, bit by bit?” After recently publishing a collection of his selected works, Moritz has come to believe that all poems engage the mystery of what memories and feelings in us are chosen and developed, what is not just experienced but left for posterity.

A.F. Moritz has written over 20 books of poetry, and won numerous awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Griffin Poetry Prize, and the Award in Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has also won the Bess Hokin Award of Poetry magazine, the Elizabeth Matchett Stover Award of the Southwest Review, the ReLit Award, selection to the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets, and three of his books have been named finalists for the Governor General’s Award. In 2021, As Far As You Know was a finalist for Ontario’s Trillium Award. Moritz is presently the Poet Laureate of the City of Toronto (2019-2023).

Moritz will deliver this year’s Gustafson Lecture in person at the Ralph Gustafson Lecture Theatre in the Arts and Sciences Building (Bldg. 355, max 50 persons; proof of vaccination required). On Wed March 2, Moritz will read from his work at the Innovation Room in the Windsor Plywood Trades Discovery Centre (Bldg. 108, Room 105, max 30 persons). Both events are open to the public and will be streamed.

Reading and Q&A   

Wednesday, March 2, 2022 – 4 pm (Pacific) / 7 pm (Eastern)

Gustafson Lecture  

Thursday, March 3, 2022 –  7 pm (Pacific) / 10 pm (Eastern)

Register for Zoom online stream. To put your name on the list for attendees for one or both events, please email Sonnet.lAbbe@viu.ca.

VIU is located on the unceded territories of the Snuneymuxw, Tla’amin, Snaw-naw-as and Quw’utsun peoples. We are grateful for the opportunity to live, work, and create on this beautiful land.

Event Post, Reading | Event Post, Lecture | Website AnnouncementGustafson Trust Official Presser | VIU News Presser

During the Covid-19 crisis, several poets launched books rather quietly into the world. In his role as Toronto’s Poet Laureate, Moritz helps re-launch those books to the public. In conjunction with the City of Toronto, the League of Canadian Poets and Toronto’s Art Bar, he presents Lost Launches, a series of readings celebrating books published during the pandemic. The launches take place on the last Tuesday of the month from March to June, at the Art Bar at Clinton’s in Toronto.

Moritz begins this series by selecting the work of these seven poets:

George Elliot Clarke, White (Gaspereau)
Jean Eng, Festival of All Souls (Inana)
Joe Fiorito, All I Have Learned Is Where I Have Been (Véhicule)
Catherine Graham, Æther: An Out-of0Body Lyric (Wolsak and Wynn)
Khashayar Mohammadi, Me, You, Then Snow (Gordon Hill)
Lisa Richter, Nautilus and Bone (Frontenac)

Press:

Deborah Dundas, “Toronto Poet Laureate A.F. Moritz Finds a Place to Celebrate Local Writer and Hold the Book Launches They Almost Lost,” The Star, March 28, 2022 [website] | [pdf]
CBC Here and Now with Gil Deacon, March 29, 2022. Julianne Hazlewood interviews Al about his new Lost Launches series at The Art Bar.
CBC Here & Now Clip:

Event Listing | Website Content

Moritz joins Poets Laureate from Across Ontario at a bilingual reading hosted by the Ontario Poet Laureate. 


Website Announcement | Event Listing | SOPAO Website 

In his role as Poet Laureate, Moritz attends the Mayor’s Arts Lunch, sponsored by the Toronto Arts Foundation.

TAF Event Website | YouTube Live Coverage | Event Listing

During the Covid-19 crisis, several poets launched books rather quietly into the world. In his role as Toronto’s Poet Laureate, Moritz helps re-launch those books to the public. In conjunction with the City of Toronto, the League of Canadian Poets and Toronto’s Art Bar, he presents Lost Launches, a series of readings celebrating books published during the pandemic. The launches take place on the last Tuesday of the month from March to June, at the Art Bar at Clinton’s in Toronto.

For the second event in the series, Moritz has selected the work of these poets:

Antonia Facciponte, To Make a Bridge [Black Moss, 2021]
Hoa Nguyen, A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure [Wave Books, 2021]
Gavin Barrett, Understan [Mawenzi House, 2020]
Bruce Meyer, Grace of Falling Stars [Black Moss, 2021]
Conor McDonnell, Recovery Community [Mansfield, 2020]
Michael Fraser, The Day-Breakers [Biblioasis, 2022]
Paul Edward Costa, The Long Train of Chaos [Kung Fu Treachery, 2019]
Lily Wang, Saturn Peach [Gordon Hill, 2020]
Natasha Ramoutar, Bittersweet [Mawenzi House, 2021]
Ivy Reiss, There is a Place [Aeolus House, 2020]

Website Announcement | Event Page

2021

Poet Anna Yin’s translations of three of Moritz’s poems into Chinese appear in WePoetry, Mirrors and Windows [January, Vol. 28, 2021.] Yin offers her versions of “A Narrow Silent Throat,” “Every Step was into a New World,” and “Poetry.”

This trio appears alongside Yin’s translations of poems by Molly Peacock, Alice Major, and former Toronto Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke.

Additionally, Yin posts two poems of her own dedicated to Molly Peacock and to Moritz.

Website Announcement

Two  of Moritz’s poems appear in Issue 4 (2.15.21) of Volume online poetry magazine. The poems printed in this issue are: “The Only Remaining Flower” and “Long Struggle and Float.” Additionally, Moritz has an interview with Communications and Features Editor [and former student!] Lauren Peat.

Website Announcement

Moritz participates in Here is Elsewhere, Literature in Translation.  On Friday, February 19, 2021, from 7 -8 PM, Moritz and Iacobelli discuss and read the poetry of Ludwig Zeller. Their moderator is Beatriz Hausner.

This event airs live on zoom. It is presented by Literary Translators’ Association of Canada / Association des traducteurs  et traductrices littéraires du Canada,  as part of its focus on Ontario.

Watch the video in its entirety:

Event Listing | Website Announcement

The the Saint Mary’s University Reading Series presents Don Domanski: A Celebration. This is a live zoom event dedicated to the poetry of Don Domanski, winner of the Governor General’s Award, the CBC Literary Prize, and the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Award, among other honours.

Readers include: Brian Bartlett, Yvonne Blomer, Marilyn Bowering, Lorna Crozier, Barry Dempster, Tonja Gundvaldsen Klaassen, Ross Leckie, Richard Lemm, Tim Lilburn, Alexander MacLeod, Alice Major, A.F. Moritz, David O’Meara, Arleen Paré, Shannon Quinn, John Reibetanz, Sue Sinclair, Carmine Starnino, John Steffler, Yvonne Trainer, and Margo Wheaton.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

In his role as Toronto’s Poet Laureate, Moritz reads his poem, “Exactly Here the Marvel Spoke” at the March 10, 2021 meeting of Toronto City Council. The poem commemorates twelve months of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Here’s a video of Moritz reading of the poem, introduced by Mayor John Tory:


Here’s a video the CBC put together featuring the poem and images of Toronto: https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1871915075826/


And, here’s a link to the poem’s publication in the March 10 Books Section of The Toronto Star: Toronto’s Poet Laureate A.F. Moritz Marks a Year of The Pandemic in a Poem, “Exactly Here the Marvel Spoke,” You Can Read It Here.

https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/books/2021/03/10/torontos-poet-laureate-af-moritz-marks-a-year-of-the-pandemic-in-a-poem-exactly-here-the-marvel-spoke-read-it-here.html

On March 11, The Star features excerpts from the poem in its print edition:  [website] [pdf]

On March 25, 2021, “Exactly Here the Marvel Spoke” is read into the record (“Hansard”) of the Ontario legislature by MPP Percy Hatfield (Windsor-Tecumseh).

Event Listing | Website Announcement

Gordon Hill Press publishes Moritz’s book,  The Garden. The book is comprised of a long-form poem, “The Garden in the Midst,” and an essay, “The Poet’s Garden.” Moritz originally composed the work in response to the 1992 L.A. Riots and set it aside for some time. In 2020, with the police murder of George Floyd, Moritz took up the project again and expanded and revised. The book suggests that only the essence of poetry can prove antithetical antidote—if there can even be one—to these human crimes and tragedies.

On Sunday, April 25, Moritz takes part in the Gordon Hill Press Spring 2021 Launch Party. He launches The Garden, a poem and an essay, alongside Roxanna Bennett’s The Untranslatable I, Khashayar Mohammadi’s Me, You, Then Snow, and Concetta Principe’s Stars Need Counting.

Here’s the full launch party, which can also be viewed on YouTube:

Those looking for Moritz’s specific appearance can begin the video at around the 43 minute mark.

Soon after, The Garden is part of the CBC’s list of 55 Canadian Poetry Collections to Check Out in Spring 2021. 

Event listing | Website Announcement

As Far As You Know is among this year’s five finalists for the Trillium Book Award in English, awarded by Ontario Creates. Moritz shares the honour with Craig Davidson, Farzana Doctor, Emma Donoghue, and Souvankham Thammavongsa. 

Here’s the official video announcement from Ontario Creates:

For a full list of nominees, read the newswire press release | [pdf].

Website Announcement

In his role as Poet Laureate, Moritz attends the 2021 Mayor’s Lunch Online.

“Exactly Here the Marvel Spoke” is printed for the first time in its full version in the Summer 2021 issue of Long Live Queen West, the print magazine of the Queen West BIA.

Here is a link to the Summer Issue of the magazine on Issuu.

Here is the feature page for the poem.

Here is an image of the the poem as it appears in the magazine.

Here is a pdf of the featured spread.

Vakxikon publishes Σπουργίτης, Stergia Kavvalou’s Greek translation of Moritz’s short poems from The Sparrow. And Moritz’s great friend, the poet and translator Beatriz Hausner provides an introduction.

You can purchase copies of Σπουργίτης from the publisher Vakxikon.

Website Announcement | Book Page

The Word On The Street presents Celebrating the 2021 Trillium Book Award

Celebrating finalists for the 2021 Trillium Book Award, Ontario’s leading award for literature, awarded by Ontario Creates. Moderated by Deborah Dundas, Books Editor for the Toronto Star.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

A reading of Moritz’s poem, “House,” is featured in the CanLitscape Poets & Storytellers project as part of the Jaipur Literature Festival Toronto, October 2-3, 2021.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

Moritz celebrates Ravine Days with the City of Toronto. This series of events, hosted by Toronto Parks & Forestry, takes place from October 2-11, 2021. Residents can learn about the City of Toronto’s beautiful ravine system, environmentally significant areas and their biodiversity. The program includes self-directed activities, virtual and in-person events, offering something for everyone to enjoy. 

As Toronto’s Poet Laureate, Moritz provides a “Haiku-a-day” to celebrate Toronto’s ravines.

The best place to find these as the event is ongoing is via Toronto Parks and Forestry’s social media channels:

Twitter: @TorontoPFR or @TOTrees | Instagram: @TorontoPFR | Facebook: @TorontoPFR

Learn more at toronto.ca/ravines#RavinesTO


Here are the Haiku as they appear on Twitter, daily:

October 2, 2021

October 3, 2021

October 4, 2021

October 5, 2021

October 6, 2021

October 7, 2021

October 8, 2021

October 9, 2021

October 10, 2021

October 11, 2021

Event Listing | Website Announcement

 

The online magazine The Artisanal Writer publishes an interview with Moritz on the craft of writing.

Interview | PDFWebsite Announcement

Moritz presents the poetry of Robert Bridges at the Art Bar’s annual Dead Poets Night reading, hosted by David Clink.

Event Listing | Website Announcement | Press Coverage, Toronto Star, February, 2022

 

2020

Moritz delivers a Keynote Address, “Words are Bridges and the Word is You,” to the Toronto Writers Collective. This meeting assembles and celebrates all the organization’s facilitators (i.e., writing workshop leaders); Ralph Thornton Community Centre. 765 Queen Street East.

A memorial celebration for Pier Giorgio DiCicco, second Toronto Poet Laureate, d. December 22, 2019. Moritz arranged many of the speakers and the order of proceedings, acted as emcee, delivered prepared introductory remarks and extempore introductions of speakers and closing remarks, read poems by Giorgio, on his own behalf and for invited speakers who had to send regrets. The event took place between 7 and 9 p.m. in the Members’ Lounge of Toronto City Hall’s Council Chambers, 100 Queen Street West.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

As Toronto Poet Laureate and as a member of Victoria University in the University of Toronto and of the Department of English, University of Toronto, Moritz composes and delivers welcoming remarks introducing George Elliott Clarke for his Pelham Edgar Lecture at the University of Toronto, Isabel Bader Theatre, Charles Street West.

The League of Canadian Poets and Toronto’s Union Station  present Poetry in Union 2020, a public art experience.

At this event, a selection of Toronto’s strongest, most diverse and most talented poets provide personalized poetry on request to reflect participants’ own experiences and stories. Moritz delivers the opening address at noon in Union Station.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

Moritz begins his second year in the role of Toronto’s Poet Laureate.

At the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic, CBC Radio’s Michael Enright canvassed Canadian writers for their book recommendations in a time of crisis. That weekend, at home, I recorded my thoughts on returning to Juan Ramón Jiménez’s The Invisible Reality during the corona virus pandemic. This interview-in-isolation became part of CBC Radio’s most recent episode of The Sunday Edition, “Books for Solace, Perspective, and Connection During Self-Isolation.” In the piece, Enright links my thoughts on Jiménez with the recommendations of fellow writers Ariel Leutheusser, Rohan Maitzen, Robert Macfarlane, and Sharon Bala.

Read the summary and listen to the interview on CBC’s website.

Or listen here:

In March, 2020, Moritz writes the poem “Thoughts in Time of Plague”, suggested by Toronto Cultural Development and seconded by the Toronto Star. The poem is published on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, as most of the front page of the Star print edition, and in the Star online, where in addition, a video of Moritz reading the poem was posted. 

Poem. “Thoughts in Time of Plague.” The Star, April 1, 2020. [website] | [reprint]

Website Announcement

“Poetry and Healing”, the ongoing initiative of the League of Canadian Poets that was initiated by Moritz’s presentation at SickKids Hospital in 2019, was switched online when a planned fundraiser at The Supermarket was cancelled due to the pandemic. A series of poetry videos by the participants were put online over the course of the month. 11 poets presented poems, with discussion and musical backing. This series includes Moritz’s “The Healer Is Dead”, the poem that he wrote for, and presented in the original (Sept., 2019) event at SickKids that led to the creation of “Poetry and Healing.” Online contributions garnered from the “Poetry and Healing” online videos garnered more than $1,000 that was donated to SickKids.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

The launch date for Moritz’s book, As Far as You Know (Anansi), Moritz’s first full-length publication during his tenure as Poet Laureate of Toronto.

Event Listing | Website Announcement | Book Page

 

The League of Canadian Poets and Biblioasis present Moritz’s poem, “A Slender Presence” on their Poetry Pause site in celebration of National Poetry Month.

Poem. “Slender Presence.” Poetry Pause, Biblioasis x League of Canadian Poets, April 14, 2020.  [website] | [image]

Website Announcement

Moritz is the featured reader on Poetry & Healing. You can hear him read his poem, “The Healer is Dead” followed by a meditation and poetry prompt set to a musical score by Cathy Nosaty:

Event Listing | Website Announcement

Towards the end of National Poetry Month, Moritz had the pleasure of speaking with Tom Power of CBC Radio’s Q about his poem “Thoughts in Time of Plague.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2020, CBC Q with Tom Power, “A.F. Moritz on ‘Thoughts in Time of Plague'”

CBC also posted a video of Moritz reading the poem on their Facebook page:

Event Listing | Website Announcement

Moritz is cited, in his role as Laureate, by Catherine Porter, for a New York Times, Canada Dispatch article about a Fox Family in Toronto’s Beaches Neighbourhood during Covid-19 social distancing.

New York Times: Toronto Fox Family Transfixes City Under Lockdown, May 18, 2020  | [pdf]Website Announcement

Moritz takes part in the #onpoli podcast to discuss the creation of the new role of Poet Laureate for Ontario in the name of Gord Downie. As a way of suggesting what the new Ontario Laureate will have in store, Steve Paikin and Moritz have a lively discussion of Moritz’s role as Toronto’s Poet Laureate. They speak, in particular, about the process of writing and presenting poetry for the one-year anniversaries of the North York Van Attack and the Danforth Shooting tragedies, and what they’ve meant to him.

Listen Here:

 

Website Announcement

Moritz is invited to create a piece with his son, the artist and poet, Blaise Moritz, for the Covid-19 Responsive Public Art Project: It’s All Right Now. The project aims to speak to the multiplicity of calming and coping strategies used by the people of Toronto in response to the pandemic. Co-produced by The Bentway and Cossette, #It’sAllRightNow gathers 20 Toronto-based artists to respond to inquiry: What Words are You Living By Now?

This Moritz and Moritz collaborative piece appeared across the city on screens and surfaces, including digital billboards, wild postings, and a mobile video truck.

Website Announcement

Moritz reads his poem “A Song of Excellence” for the 2020 (virtual edition) of the Walk With Excellence, an annual march and festival celebrating excellence among high-school students of diverse cultural backgrounds.

For the full virtual celebration, see FJGRADWALKS2020 on Youtube.

Here is a clip of Moritz’s video appearance from that event:

 

Moritz’s brief pre-recorded  greeting is included in the City of Toronto’s virtual Canada Day Celebrations fro 2020.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

For the inaugural episode of the Different Boat, Same Storm Podcast, Moritz appears as the featured interview.

Here’s the interview on Youtube:

Or Listen to the episode on Spotify (or wherever you download your podcasts: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4vux4gK08z3i5W7U4xcNL3

Website Announcement

KFB, aka Knife Fork Book, offers a twelve-month subscription series. And Moritz’s As Far As You Know is part of the July/August duo! The package is a two-book Poet Laureate set, also featuring Sue Goyette’s Antithesis: A Memoir from Gaspereau Press.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

This Tuesday Night’s instalment of HOWL on CIUT 89.5 FM Toronto features Moritz interviewed by Valentino Assenza.

Listen to the last 30 minutes of this interview, Moritz’s portion, here:

Event Listing | Website Announcement

In partnership with the League of Canadian Poets, the Eden Mills Writers Festival presents “Hot Nights, Cool Poets.” The event is a virtual night of readings from poets including: Cicely Belle Blain, Burning Sugar, Sadiqa de Meijer, The Outer Wards, Mathew Henderson, Roguelike, Julie Joosten, Nought, Canisia Lubrin, The Dyzgraphxst, Randy Lundy, Field Notes for the Self, A. F. Moritz, As Far As You Know, Tyler Pennock, Bones, Rasiqra Revulva, Cephalopography 2.0, Kevin Spenst, Hearts Amok, John Steffler, And Yet, Lily Wang, Saturn Peach.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

On Saturday, August 29, at 3:00 p.m., Moritz took part in Poetry in Translation: East Meets West, a zoom interview with Anna Yin. They  read and discussed poetry and translation, touching upon the myth of “lost in translation,” the art of re-creation, and the mutual exchange or benefits of the process. The audience was then invited to respond.

Moritz’s appearance is part of a series of four interviews and a break-out session, featuring poets Molly Peacock [Aug 14, 8:00pm], myself, [Aug 29, 3:00pm], Alice Major [Sept 11,8:00pm] and George Elliott Clarke [Sept 25, 8:00pm] in conversation with translator Anna Yin.  A fifth, summarizing session then followed [Oct 3, 3:00pm].

Here is the video of the One-on-One:

 
And here is the Break-out-session:

Event Listing | Website Announcement | Website Recap

For Thin Air, the online 2020 Winnipeg International Writers Festival, Moritz contributed a reading of 11 poems from his new book, As Far As You Know as well as an explanation of the roots of some of these pieces. He also delivered a talk on the social justice aspect of some of the poems in the book. The reading is still available on video:

Event Listing | Website Announcement

Toronto’s Poet Laureate attends the 2020 Mayor’s Arts Luncheon, held online due to the pandemic.

Toronto Word on the Street presents “Joyous or Sorrowful: Three Toronto Poets of Today,” with Beatriz Hausner, author of Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart. Also with Natasha Ramoutar and Joe Fiorito. Hosted by Toronto’s Poet Laureate A.F. Moritz. Video: Event Listing | Website Announcement

Toronto Word on the Street Presents “Poets on the Tangibility of Living.” Poets Sachiko Murakami (Render), Randy Lundy (Field Notes for the Self), and A.F.Moritz traverse a series of befores and afters, experiencing the darknesses of life and exploring what comes after. This event is moderated by Kirby of Knife | Fork | Book.

Video:

Event ListingWebsite Announcement

In the fall of 2020, the city of Toronto reveals a bench in the Bloorcourt village area with an engraved poem by Moritz.


Photo credit: Paul Vermeersch


Photo Credit: Ana Bilao

Media: Ana Bilao, Toronto Davenport City Councilor, Update, October 8, 2020.

Poetry in Translation: East Meets West One-on-One”, organized by poet and former Poet Laureate of Mississauga, Anna Yin. This is the concluding meeting in the event of five linked readings under the topic. The concluding meeting gathers all four poets—Moritz, George Elliot Clarke, Alice Major, and Molly Peacock—and adds contributions from Anna Yin herself and poet Michael Mirolla, publisher of Guernica Editions, which will publish a book of English-Chinese poetry translations by Anna.

Website Announcement

Moritz Takes part in the 2020 online edition of the Toronto International Festival of Authors. 

Event Listing | Website Announcement

Moritz acts as host and introducer for a poetry and fiction reading by six Toronto Writers Collective authors in the IFOA Festival at Harbourfront. This event also serves as the book launch for two new anthologies of  writers published by the Toronto Writers Collective, including, together, several dozen poets and authors.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

Toronto’s Poet Laureate participates in the Tartan Turban Secret Readings #27, A Political Poetry Reading, curated by Kate Rogers and Bänoo Zan. Moritz is a featured reader, along with Andrea Thompson, Diana Manole and Lisa Richter.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

“Where I’m From.” The Toronto Writers Collective (TWC) empowers the voices and illuminates the undiscovered strength in Toronto’s most vulnerable and disenfranchised communities. Together, we worked to create a special video installation at Toronto’s Union Station capturing the strength and depth of TWC’s latest anthologies: Front Lines: Bent, Not Broken and Front Lines: Until The Words Run Pure.

Moritz’s Introduction:


The video installation:

In hia role as Toronto’s Poet Laureate, the editors of The Star ask Moritz to read a selection of Haiku composed by Star readers in the wake of the U.S. Presidential Election.

Here’s a link to the article as it appeared in The Star on November 4, 2020.

And here’s the video!


Website Listing

Moritz is the featured speaker at an online event co-sponsored by The Ottawa International Writers Festival & Versefest2020. He is interviewed by his friend, acclaimed poet David O’Meara.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

On Thursday, November 19, at 3:00 pm, Moritz takes part in the Victoria College Faculty Reading series along with colleague and fellow poet, Sarah Dowling.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

The Mayor’s Evening for the Arts, 2020, takes place online and Moritz attends as Poet Laureate.

Moritz’s book, As Far As You Know, is included in the CBC’s list of Best Books of Canadian Poetry for 2020!

Here’s what the CBC had to say:

As Far As You Know (A. F. Moritz, House of Anansi Press) is divided into six sections each dealing with a different concept, from terrorism to friendship. This collection dives deep into the poet’s mind revealing his ongoing obsessions with beauty, impermanence, social conscience, responsibility and love.”

Website Announcement

2019

Moritz’s Appointment as Poet Laureate is Announced in City of Toronto’s Economic and Cultural Development Committee Meeting, and the announcement is covered in the press.

City of Toronto: Press Release: Poet Laureate [pdf]
The Role of Toronto’s Poet Laureate [website] [pdf]
Edward Keenan, “Toronto’s new poet laureate A. F. Moritz….,” The Star, March 6, 2019 [website] | [pdf]
Steven W. Beattie, “A. F. Moritz Named Toronto’s Sixth Poet Laureate,” Quill and Quire, March 6, 2019 [website] [pdf]
Johshua Freeman, “Al Moritz Named Next Poet Laureate,” CP24 dot com, March 6, 2019 [website] | [pdf]
David Rider, “New Poet Laureate, A. F. Moritz….” The Star, March 6, 2019 [website][pdf] 

Event Listing | Website Announcement

A private presentation on poetry to the Scrivener Square Poetry Group in respect of the recent announcement regarding the Laureate post.

Moritz gives a reading at the Parliament Street Public Library for the anthology: Tamracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century and is introduced as Toronto’s Sixth Poet Laureate at the event.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

Mayor John Tory introduces Moritz as the City of Toronto’s Sixth Poet Laureate. Moritz reads “By St. Nicholas Catholic Ukrainian Church” from The Ruined Cottage (1993).

Event Listing | Website Announcement

Moritz attends the City’s commemoration of the Yonge Street Tragedy and reads, “Their Charge of Love,” a poem written for the occasion. The Poem is reprinted in full in the Toronto Star:

A.F. Moritz, “Read Toronto Poet Laureate Al Moritz’s Poem Commemorating Van Attack Tragedy,” The Star, April 23, 2019. [website] | [pdf]

Event Listing | Website Announcement | Reprint of Poem

Toronto’s Poet Laureate introduces three young poets at an event in the Poet Condos, organized via Toronto Cultural Development and the East End Arts association.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

Steven W. Beattie, “A.F. Moritz on being poet laureate, his new chapbook, and ‘the glory and the tragedy of being human,'” Quill & Quire, April 25, 2019. [website] | [pdf]

The Poet Laureate attends the Toronto Mayor’s Arts Lunch.

Moritz reads from The Sparrow for The Scrivener Square Writing Group.

Event Listing

Moritz serves as a judge at the Scarborough Poetry Slam at Wexford Collegiate, a competition of the finalists chosen from previous school slams.

Event Listing | Website Announcement

Moritz speaks on potential contributions of Poet Laureate to City of Toronto contribution to local BIAs at a meeting of BIA representatives and city councillors at City Hall.  

“The Current of the Sugar”, a poem written for Redpath Sugar’s Open Doors Toronto celebration (scheduled for May 25) of the 60th year of its factory on the Toronto waterfront is published in the Toronto Star online edition, along with an extensive story about the Poet Laureate having been “disinvited” by Redpath from reading the poem, having found it “not celebratory enough.” The story was based upon telephone and personal interviews with AFM and a photo session with Moritz that afternoon, resulting from a contact originating from The Star.

Brendan Kennedy, “Redpath Sugar asked Toronto’s Poet Laureate to write a poem for its anniversary, but he refused to sugar-coat it,” The Star, May 23, 2019. [website] | [pdf]

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The hosts of CBC’s As It Happens read Moritz’s controversial poem, “The Current of Sugar” and discuss the controversy with Redpath Sugar. The poem is re-broadcast on CBC’s Metro Morning on March 27, 2019. 

Moritz attends the opening of Redpath Sugar’s Open Doors Toronto day and celebration of the 60th anniversary of its plant’s opening on the Toronto waterfront. However, he does not read his poem. The Toronto Star publishes its story from its Thursday online edition, and a text of “The Current of the Sugar”, as the whole of page 3 of the first section of its Saturday edition.

Brendan Kennedy, “Redpath Sugar asked Toronto’s Poet Laureate to write a poem for its anniversary, but he refused to sugar-coat it,” The Star, May 23, 2019. [website] | [pdf]


Moritz’s website post: https://www.afmoritz.com/the-current-of-the-sugar/

Moritz attends the celebration of Margaret Atwood’s being awarded the Companion of Honour by Queen Elizabeth, at the official residence of the British Consul-General. The invitation of the Toronto Poet Laureate was extended by British High Commissioner Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque.

Moritz is the featured reader at the Department of English, University of Toronto, Spring Reunion, held at St. Michael’s College, UofT. The invitation is a recognition of the selection of Moritz, a member of the Department, to the Toronto laureateship. Moritz reads several poems from The Sparrow: Selected Poems (2018).

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Moritz attends the Walk-With Excellence assembly at C. W. Jefferys High School and leads the students of the four high schools assembled in chanting the poem/rap written for the occasion, and which they had printed on t-shirts that they wore.

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Read the poem, “Walk with Excellence, 2019.”

Moritz attends the Exile Editions Awards Evening at the Hot House Restaurant and as Toronto Poet Laureate delivers brief remarks and hands out the two poetry awards.

Danforth Tragedy Commemoration ceremony at Withrow Park. Moritz delivers brief remarks and reads “Days of July: The Danforth,” an original poem written for the occasion.

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Moritz communicates with the Bloorcourt BIA, visits the area  inspects the streetscape and locations, and submits a poem, “Passerby,” for use in a forthcoming street installation. The poem is accepted. Work continues in the selection of several other passages from Canadian poets to use in Bloorcourt street installations.

Moritz consults with the city of Toronto’s Cultural Development and fellow artists to help create a plaque for deceased Toronto poet Joe Rosenblatt.

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The Poet Laureate appears at the Toronto Star Tent at Toronto’s Word on the Street for a panel on “Writing With The City in Mind.” Moritz joins authors Devyani Saltzman and Kevin Hardcastle for a discussion about writers and writing in Toronto moderated by Deborah Dundas.

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Moritz gives a presentation on poetry and medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children, to the hospital staff association’s book club. A large attendance included also many persons from the poetry community and the general public. The Poet Laureate’s  presentation included poems by several poets, including an original poem, “The Healer is Dead,” written for the occasion.

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Discussions that occurred at this event between Dr. Conor Mc Donnell, poet and SickKids doctor, other SickKids staff members, and several poets, particularly Kate Marshall Flaherty, lead to the establishment of “Poetry and Healing,” a yearly fund-raiser poetry reading in support of SickKids, co-sponsored by SickKids and the League of Canadian Poets. The first “Poetry and Healing” reading is scheduled and announced for April 5, 2020, at the Supermarket nightclub and restaurant.

“The Healer is Dead,” Poem and Meditation from the 2020 event:

Moritz attends the Jaipur Literary Festival Toronto with Sally Han of Cultural Development, an event held at the Fermenting Cellar in Toronto’s Distillery District. 

Moritz records an extensive interview with CBC’s Michael Enright which is published, in part, and airs, in full, in December (See Below).

In the evening, Moritz reads at Toronto’s long-established Art Bar reading series with poets Julia Gibson and Gary Barwin.

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This Windsor-favourite poetry event features the City of Windsor’s poet laureate hosting an intimate evening of poetry and discussion with guest poets laureate from across Canada at the Willistead Manor. This year’s event features: A.F. Moritz (Poet Laureate, Toronto); Steven Ross Smith (Poet Laureate, Banff); Victoria Butler (Poet Laureate, Barrie); and Micheline Maylor (Poet Laureate Emeritus, Calgary). Windsor’s Youth Poet Laureate, Samantha Badaoa also shares her work at the event. Moritz reads three poems from The Sparrow: Selected Poems (2018).  Moritz reads at a Windsor high school the following day.

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The Poet Laureate makes a presentation on “story poems” to the Literary and Lemon Peel Society, a private poetry study group for interested high school students. The meeting is held in a home on Montclair Avenue.

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Arts & Letters Club presentation of Moritz’s poetry and of Michael Redhill’s new book of poetry (Twitch Force) and recent novel (Bellevue Square), in an “in conversation with” format.

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International Festival of Authors, Harbourfront Centre: Moritz is welcomed as Toronto Poet Laureate before a reading of his included poem at the book launch event for The Best Canadian Poetry 2019 anthology.

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At the Free Times Café, Moritz participates in, and helped organize, a tribute memorial reading and celebration of the great Chilean-Canadian poet Ludwig Zeller, d. August 1, 2019 in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The Poet Laureate Attends the Mayor’s Evening for the Arts.
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Also, Moritz’s previously unpublished poem, “Faith in Hell,” appears in the Toronto Star. The poem is dedicated to Margaret Atwood on the occasion of her 80th birthday.

Poem. “Faith in Hell.” The Star, November 18, 2019. [website] | [reprint] 

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Moritz is the featured reader at a poetry reading at the Toronto Public Library Annette Street branch. He is billed and welcomed as Toronto Poet Laureate.

Moritz appears with poet Janice Jo Lee at the Shab-e She’r LXXX Poetry Night.

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Moritz’s extensive interview with CBC’s Michael Enright appears in redacted form in print on the Sunday Edition website (Dec 19), and then in full on the CBC podcast (Dec 22). Moritz reads “Better Days” from The Sentinel within. Michael Enright, “Poet A.F. Moritz on the Under-appreciation of Sparrows,  Poetry’s Uselessness, and More,” CBC Radio, December 19, 2019. [website] | [pdf] Michael Enright, The Sunday Edition, “At the outset of winter, a poet for all seasons,” Dec 22, 2019:

Moritz attends the City of Toronto Christmas Concert at City Hall and delivers a poem written for the event, “The Star and the Animals.”

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Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church, St. Clair Avenue West: Moritz attends the funeral Mass for former Toronto Poet Laureate Pier Giorgio DiCicco (d. December 22), along with former laureates Dennis Lee, George Elliott Clarke, Dionne Brand, and Anne Michaels, and many members of the literary community. Moritz continues in conversation with Anne Michaels in planning a permanent memorial for the poet.

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