Past poets laureate: Frank Ledwell

Frank Ledwell was appointed Poet Laureate in December 2004, serving until December 2007. He died 14 August 2008, at the age of 78.



When our children have gone at last,
we’ll go and live by the ocean shore
on the far side of the lake. We’ll cock our
ears to catch the surf’s crashing against
the dunes. Whenever the wind howls and
our electricity fails, as it surely will,
our kerosene lamp will make a glow
around our narrow space. We’ll wage war
at cards until the tide’s retreating — its
trumps all played out — draws us back
to serenity. I will be old, you still young,
or relatively so. We’ll munch on mussels
and dulse to keep healthy, and crush
lobster shells to fertilize our flower patch.
We’ll count the time that’s left to us
from day to day — not years. We’ll stay
till the time must come for us to cross.

Audio and Video

The recordings below are from the “Island Voices” DVD/CD set produced in 2006.

Frank Ledwell reading his poem “Moon and Cow” | Download ledwell-moon-and-cow.mp4

Press release on appointment

December 9, 2004
For immediate release

Province Appoints New Poet Laureate

Community and Cultural Affairs
The Honourable Elmer MacFadyen, Minister Responsible for Culture and Heritage, today announced the appointment of Prince Edward Island’s second Poet Laureate, Mr. Frank Ledwell.

“It is my pleasure to congratulate Frank Ledwell on his appointment as Poet Laureate for Prince Edward Island,” says Minister MacFadyen. “This appointment recognizes lifelong activities in the literary arts as well as constant encouragement of new and developing writers. This is an area in which Mr. Ledwell has certainly contributed a great deal to Prince Edward Island.”

The title of Poet Laureate dates from the 1600s, and many countries, provinces and cities have named poet laureates to celebrate poetry in their jurisdictions.

Frank Ledwell is the author of several books of poetry including The North Shore of Home, Crowbush and other Poems and Dip and Veer. He has had a major impact on many younger Island writers, both through his example and mentorship and also as a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Prince Edward Island. His poetry and sensitive prose have also been heard by many Islanders and visitors through his association with singers and performers in groups such as the trio “Crowbush.” Frank Ledwell has been honoured by his peers in the creative community by being named as the first recipient of the PEI Council of the Arts for Distinguished Contribution to the Literary Arts.

“I would also like to take this time to extend our gratitude to Professor John Smith, Prince Edward Island’s first Poet Laureate,” said Minister MacFadyen. “Since his appointment in 2002, Professor Smith has worked to create awareness of poetry and of poets through a variety of readings and special events across the province.”

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