Shone Thistle is Calgary’s New Poet Laureate

Shone Thistle is Calgary’s New Poet Laureate

An image of Shone Thistle
Shone Thistle | Photo: Will Young

Shone Thistle is an author, poet and multidisciplinary artist. Their work ranges from radio to jazz ensemble, festival to conference keynote, inner-city cabaret to gallery by the sea. In the world of competitive poetry, they’ve received perfect scores at the renowned Nuyorican Poets Café. They recently wrote, produced and collaborated on Nipiy I’aoue Water We, a sound art installation and cabaret performance for Arts Commons.

“Poetry is like a sixth sense; it’s how I explore the world around me and how I find my place in it,” says Shone Thistle. “The awkward, Queer, latchkey kid in me would never believe they were being recognized so publicly for their way of being in the world. I’m not sure I believe it, but best be sure, I am going to let this honour sink deep into my bones and I will write from that place as my tribute to those who’ve come before me. Thank you.”

Shone’s writing can be found in several anthologies, including Mic Check: An Anthology of Canadian Spoken Word Poetry, and YYC POP: Poetic Portraits of the People. When Shone’s not writing or making other art, they are proudly serving their community as Executive Director of Calgary Queer Arts Society.

Shone Thistle was formally announced as the 2024–2026 Calgary Poet Laureate in Council Chambers at Calgary City Hall on April 30, 2024, to mark the end of National Poetry Month.

Taking over from outgoing Laureate, Wakefield Brewster, Thistle was on hand to read a poem and accept the position.

“The Poet Laureate program is a wonderful way to reflect our city and its citizens through the power of words and language,” says Patti Pon, President & CEO of Calgary Arts Development. “We thank Wakefield Brewster for his term from 2022–2024. Wakefield’s passion, power, and performance prowess make him a poet who resonates and transforms, and we know he will continue to make his mark for years to come.

“It is an absolute pleasure to welcome Shone Thistle as Calgary’s Poet Laureate from 2024–2026. Shone has an impressive list of artistic and community achievements. Known for their generosity of spirit, Shone is able to connect deeply with audiences whether through written or spoken word. We look forward to experiencing Shone’s work as Poet Laureate over the next two years.”

As Calgary Poet Laureate, Thistle will serve as an artistic ambassador for the citizens of Calgary from 2024 to 2026. A $10,000 honorarium is paid per year for the position, funded by Calgary Poet Laureate Ambassadors Calgary Foundation and Calgary Public Library.

Further information on Shone Thistle can be found at and

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