Published May 26, 2009If you're a fan of Roland Pemberton (aka Cadence Weapon), you probably already consider him a poet. Well, now city officials do as well. Today, the 23-year-old rapper was sworn in as the City of Edmonton's official poet laureate, a distinguished position he will hold for the next two years.
The young MC succeeds Ted Blodgett, a professor emeritus of comparative literature at the University of Alberta who has published 29 books and won two Governor General's Award for poetry.
"At first I thought, 'Well, I don't know.' Poet laureate - whoa. Getting heavy," Pemberton recently told his hometown's Edmonton Journal. "Do I need a staff, and a big, grey beard? But then I actually starting thinking about what I do already, and most of my content is about Edmonton. Most of the music I've put together comes from a very specific regional source. And I feel like I can just expand that into the poetry as well. It's basically another outlet for the writing I'm already doing, and I can focus it even more now."
Pemberton, who was born and raised in Edmonton, officially took his post as the city's top poetic voice at a ceremony this morning at city hall, telling the crowd that he hopes to use his new position to promote a more open-minded view about poetry.
"I'd like to broaden what people consider poetry to be," he said during the ceremony. "Basically I plan to do a lot of weird poems that people will definitely not think are poems and I'd like to maybe make the idea of poet laureate something that people think about."
Edmonton's poet laureate is to produce at least three original works each year during the two-year term, while serving as the city's ambassador for the literary arts.
Pemberton starts his term on July 1.