Seal grew up loving St. Albert and considers it an honor to be Poet Laureate in the town where she works and where so many of her family members live.
The puddle jumpers
by Lauren Seal
Grandma knew the best time
take out the galoshes was
the sepia season between winter and spring
when the world was wet with mud.
We’d dress in neon splash pants,
rubber boots so stiff they blistered
big toes, ran to the boulevard
with puddles up to the calf.
We were careful
reluctant to release a ripple.
Not grandma. She dived
plunging us into the trickle and laughter of winter,
makes us mad with joy.
Soon we were all
trample splash slide,
raising jets of oily water
that refracted rainbows in the afternoon sun.
We came home covered in mud, soaked,
small aquariums in each boot.
But the children are getting too big for their galoshes
And grandmothers don’t live forever.
Our feet fit better
ballet flats and oxfords in leather,
steel toe boots, penny loafers,
weekend slip-ons and evening stilettos —
all unsuitable for jumping in puddles.
We left the boulevard,
didn’t want wet feet.
Last week I bought bulbs,
I found a pair of daisy print rubber boots.
They pinched my feet, rubbed my heels,
made me sweat between my toes.
I bought them immediately,
purchased in case you too
have pairs hidden in cupboards,
hidden behind grocery bags
and old winter coats.
We’ve been cautious long enough.
I’m ready to dive back in
in muddy bliss.
Are not you?
The committee didn’t have to look far to choose its next Poet Laureate.
Lauren Seal had practically written “poet laureate” all over her anyway, so it makes sense that the 31-year-old poet and librarian has officially become the third person in town to hold the honorary literary position.
It’s an important role, she says, both personally and professionally.
“I just felt it would be such an honor if I was even considered for the Poet Laureate role,” she said, referring to her position as it would be commonly known: the people’s poet.
“I thought it would be such a beautiful way for me…to honor this community that I grew up loving as a kid and still have a lot of family in.”
Seal considers herself an honorary St. Albertan because she spent half her childhood coming from Edmonton to visit family here. Now she works the day at the Jensen Lakes branch of the St. Albert Public Library. At night, she shows her true colors as a fearless poet and performer with an ode-worthy background, all from when she was an average teenager.
She remembers her first and most formative writing adventures at a YouthWrite camp where local literary arts champion Gail Sidonie Sobat encouraged her on the poetic path.
“Gail…was my teacher. She dug her claws into me and made me go to camp. I was very shy and nervous, but she clung to me and kept me. She encouraged my writing, especially my poetry,” she said.
“Basically, Gail really nurtured my love of writing. I started writing as an outlet and just something to do to help me deal with anxiety and just a bunch of stuff that was going on in my life.
When Seal was 14 or 15, Sobat encouraged her to join the Spoken Word Youth Choir. The young writer did and continued to perform with the band for several years. Then, a few years ago, Sobat restarted the choir with another group of young poets and performers and asked Seal if she could help mentor them, which she did. She has continued in this role ever since, while also performing in the adult version of the group.
For her, mentoring works both ways. Last year, she was accepted as a mentee through the Alberta Writers Guild mentorship program. She worked with Rayanne Haines, writer-in-residence in the Edmonton metro area, who helped her develop a manuscript for a verse novel. Seal hopes to publish this book along with a book of other poems.
His work has already appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, and once on a beer can.
Seal takes over the position of Poet Laureate from Julia Sorensen, the accomplished performer who has just completed her two-year tenure while completing her Masters in Arts, Festivals and Cultural Management at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland. The city’s first Poet Laureate was Zach Polis, who performed internationally and was named Alberta Artist-in-Residence last fall.
Her two-year term began on April 19 when she appeared before City Council to celebrate National Poetry Month and read an original work titled The puddle jumpers.
“This is my love letter to my grandmother and my cousins and just the community of St. Albert.”
The role of the Poet Laureate is that of Honorary Cultural and Literary Ambassador: someone who acts as a champion of poetry, language and the arts, and who represents the city at readings at civic functions and events. poetry audiences. For this, the winner receives $1,000 annually. The role was created out of an ongoing partnership between St. Albert Public Library and the City of St. Albert. For more information, visit the Library’s Official Poet page.