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In celebration of the City of Mississauga’s 50th anniversary, the City is pleased to announce that Andrea Josic will be its fifth Poet Laureate. Andrea will hold this position from 2024 to 2026. She will serve as a literary ambassador for the city, as well as help elevate the status of poetry, literary arts and writers through community poetry events and projects.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Andrea Josic as our new Poet Laureate,” said Kristina Zietsma, Director, Culture and Recreation. “Chosen from an exceptional pool of candidates, Andrea is a talented writer and poet who will inspire aspiring artists and elevate literary arts in Mississauga.”

Andrea Josic is a second-generation Bosnian-Canadian poet, performer and arts educator from Mississauga. She has been competing in international poetry slams for nearly a decade and is a national award-winning poet and journalist with publications at Whippersnapper Gallery, Meridian Arts Centre, Toronto Transit Commission x Poems in Passage, This Magazine and more. She was the champion of the 2020 Toronto Poetry Slam, 2019 Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam and the runner-up in the 2021 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam. Andrea has supported her hometown Mississauga in profound ways, including facilitating a writing exhibit with The Woodlands School at the Small Arms Inspection Building and attending the first Sauga Poetry event as the inaugural feature poet. She hopes to cultivate healing, belonging and joy through her work.

Every two years, the City embarks on a search for its new Poet Laureate. This honourary position recognizes a poet who writes excellent poetry or spoken word and has written on themes that are relevant to the residents of Mississauga.

Andrea will take over the role starting on April 10th from the City’s fourth Poet Laureate, Ayomide Bayowa.

The public can expect to see the new Poet Laureate at the City’s fifth annual Poetry Slam on April 24. She will also make an appearance as part of the Canada Day celebrations at Celebration Square on July 1.

As a way to kick off her new role and celebrate National Poetry Month, Andrea read from one of her poems titled, (Almost) Daughter Inherits the Matriarch at today’s General Committee meeting. See verse below.

(Almost) Daughter Inherits the Matriarch

I will always be my mother’s swelling
she says my shell is recipe booking
knees that knock
wrinkle in left cheek
lower back carves
but I am not the “her” she expects me to be
I am but the swallow of a woman
my given name is tongued sandpaper
that undresses the rind out of a drying throat
and rots the girlhood I denounced at 18

when my mother and I run along the grass
our limbs are harmonious applause, she says
“can you see us in grandmother?
her kiln breaded me and
sunned your yeast for 34 years”
grandma remembers me at 13
a beanstalk child, stretching just like her
old photographs could prove time travel
but I hush regret this inherited matriarch
a lineage that ends, ungendered
away from the bellies that have homed me

afternoons are the furthest I am from my femme
sun lending my shadow to the pavement
a passing silhouette reflects my boyish frame
not quite of a woman
not much in-between
apologetic that bloodline changes with my other
and on the hottest day
when mist rises to even the slate
my mother’s shadow asks
can I even call you mine?

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