Jamaica-Born Poet Afua Cooper Appointed Poet Laureate Of Halifax, Nova Scotia

Afua Cooper wants to use her time as Halifax’s new poet laureate to inspire other voices.

“I’m so excited about the position, and it’s fantastic,” she said in an interview with StarMetro on Tuesday at city hall.

The two-year post makes Cooper an ambassador and advocate for literacy and the arts in Halifax. She succeeds Rebecca Thomas, becoming Halifax’s seventh poet laureate.

Cooper has been a poet and spoken-word artist for more than 30 years. She loves to use poetry to bring communities together.

“I’m looking for voices that tell different stories,” she said.

Cooper was born in Jamaica and moved to Canada in 1980. She has a bachelor of arts from the University of Toronto, a master of arts from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education as well as a PhD from the University of Toronto.

In 2003, she helped form the Toronto Dub Poets’ Collective before moving to Halifax in 2011. Today, she is an associate professor at Dalhousie University’s department of sociology and social anthropology.

“Since I was about 10 years old, I started writing poetry, and it’s been a wonderful journey. It’s something that makes my soul sing. So my younger self would just say, ‘Go girl,’” she said.

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