At the most recent meeting of Council, the City of Mississauga warmly welcomed Ayomide Bayowa as the City’s fourth Poet Laureate.
Following a deputation by Arts and Culture staff and a reading by the City’s outgoing Poet Laureate, Paul Edward Costa, Bayowa recited an original poem as City Council formally named him Mississauga’s Poet Laureate for the 2021-2024 term.
“We are excited to welcome Ayomide Bayowa as our new Poet Laureate,” said Paul Damaso, Director, Arts and Culture Division. “Ayomide brings an impressive background to the role with several awards and notable recognition for his work. We look forward to working with him to raise the profile of culture in Mississauga while inspiring other artists, writers and poets in our city.”
Bayowa’s first official act as Mississauga’s Poet Laureate was his participation in the City’s Remembrance Day Ceremony where he recited John McCrae’s iconic 1915 poem, In Flanders Fields.
The City releases a call for submissions for the role of Poet Laureate every two years to help promote the literary arts across Mississauga communities. Bayowa was selected by the City’s Poet Laureate Selection Committee, which comprised City staff, external experts in the field, as well as the outgoing Mississauga Poet Laureate. Due to delays in recruitment attributed to COVID-19, Bayowa will serve a 30-month term.
Ayomide Bayowa is a Nigerian-Canadian poet, filmmaker and student of Theatre Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Toronto. He was long-listed for the 2018 Nigerian Students Poetry Prize and short-listed for both the 2018 Eriata Oribabhor Poetry Prize (EOPP) and the 2019 Christopher Okigbo Interuniversity Poetry Prize.
In 2020, he was the runner-up of the On-Spot Poetry Writing Contest and winner of the 2020 Open Drawer Poetry Contest. He was the runner-up of the University of Toronto “ELLY-IN-ACTION” Virtual Competition in 2021, a top-10 gold entrant of the 9th Open Eurasian Literary Festival, London, England. He is the first-place winner of the June/July 2021 edition of the bi-monthly Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (BPPC) and a semi-finalist of the 2021 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.
Bayowa is the editor-in-chief of the Echelon Review and is a poetry reader for Adroit Journal. His work has been published in Barren Magazine, Agbowo, African Writers, Kreative Diadem, Stone of Madness Press and Guesthouse among others. His first Chapbook, “Stream of Tongue; Watercourse of Voices,” was published by Poets in Nigeria in 2018.