Smithbilt. Flames toque. Turban.
Stamps Cap. No cap. Bandana. Hijab.
… And a lot of cattle.
The energy is in the ground a long way away.
But also in the air right here.
In offices so high the sky is even bigger than from the ground.
In clinics and factories, on shop floors and in the rehearsal hall.
In a thousand crowded lunch spots.
Banh mi and ginger beef, perogies and dossa, roast beef sandwiches and shawarma.
Sometimes all on the same menu.
Since we’ve figured out that simple thing. That one thing that has escaped so many.
We’re better together.
Aaah, Sandburg. Your city can keep its big shoulders.
Ours are pretty big too.
But our dreams are bigger.
~ Naheed Nenshi is a passionate Calgarian, an accomplished business professional, an active community leader, and is currently serving his second term and is Calgary’s 36th mayor. His real passion is to make cities, especially Calgary, work better. He’s the lead author of Building Up: Making Canada’s Cities Magnets for Talent and Engines of Development and has long put his ideas to work in Calgary. Mayor Nenshi grew up in Calgary and has lived and worked in cities around the world before returning home. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (with distinction) from the University of Calgary and a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he studied as a Kennedy Fellow.
Mayor Nenshi issued the 2015 Mayor’s Poetry Challenge across Canada, resulting in the best results ever for this League of Canadian Poets initiative.
“Your Worship – Thank you for being a poetry champion. Thanks to your challenge, we have 60 cities confirmed across Canada where at least 65 notable poets and spoken word artists, including 15 official poets laureate, will be bringing poetry to the people in community events just like this one. At least half of the communities have also declared UNESCO World Poetry Day and/or National Poetry Month.
One behalf of the League, I wish to express my gratitude to the dedicated people who helped make this year such a success. Saskatchewan poet Bruce Rice; Barbara Erochina and Ingel Madrus – the excellent staff at the League of Canadian Poets; Calgary’s own Lisa Murphy Lamb of Loft 112; and Audrey Seehagen, our collaborator at the Writers Guild of Alberta – all of whom worked passionately to entice mayors to the spell of poetry, from coast to coast to coast.
Calgary is renowned for its bold and innovative poetry and spoken word culture. There are so many literary events throughout our city every month that it is impossible for one person to attend them all. Our poets are some of the world’s most distinguished poets. April is National Poetry Month. I encourage you to join us at some of our celebrations.”
Dymphny Dronyk, President of League of Canadian Poets