Our celebration of Poetry Month 2022 begins with interviews with and readings by Jessica Outram, Cobourg’s 4th Poet Laureate. She is a Métis writer and educator with roots in the Georgian Bay Métis Community. She currently works as Principal of Indigenous Education, supporting all schools K-12 in Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. As Poet Laureate, Jessica curates a weekly email series, Poetry Present. Since July 2021, she has also featured a local poet in “Cobourg Now” by sharing one of their poems and writing an accompanying letter in Letter to a Poet. In 2021, Jessica shared monthly prompts and collected poems in an evolving eChapbook, Cobourg Present, that grew in to a 120 pages of poetry featuring 37 poets. Jessica also has a strong presence as a blogger at Sunshine in a Jar and on other social media where she posts among other offerings her engaging photographs taken on her Poetry Walks
This week we talk to Jessica Outram.Jessica says, she’s been lucky to have time to pursue the things she loves. She’s a playwright, director, actor, singer, publisher, reader, teacher, principal, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and poet. She’s member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, a proud citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario and a Creativity Coach and Reiki Practitioner. In June 2019 she was appointed Cobourg’s Poet Laureate. For more than twenty years, she’s worked as an educator in Ontario in both Elementary and Secondary schools. This year she begins her new appointment as Principal of Indigenous Education for the Kawartha Pine Ridge School Board. Creativity-in-community is important to her. She is a member of a number of local groups to which she contributes her many talents, including Northumberland Players, SONG and Safe Haven as well as the Northumberland Festival of the Arts.