Windsor lawyer Peter Hrastovec named Windsor’s new poet laureate
Windsor’s new poet laureate says he wants to be ‘a touchstone to the city’s soul’
Peter Hrastovec is a published poet, a former law professor and an active arts volunteer
Windsor has announced Peter Hrastovec is the city’s newest poet laureate.
He will serve as part of the city’s poet laureate and storytellers program from this year until about 2027.
Hrastovec is replacing Vanessa Shields, who was appointed poet laureate last May. Shields said in a blog post that she resigned from the position in mid-September.
He will work alongside current poet laureate emeritus Marty Gervais, Indigenous storyteller Theresa Sims and multicultural community storyteller Teajai Travis.
His poems often centre around Windsor and the surrounding region, and he has published three standalone books of poetry and has been featured in several anthologies.
“In this role, I want to be a touchstone to the city’s soul, to help guide and educate our citizenry as well as elevate and promote all the elements that inspire our daily lives,” he said in a city press release.
Hrastovec was born and raised in Windsor and wears many hats in the community.
He is a published poet, a local theatre performer and an active community member. Hrastovec is a practising lawyer and has worked as a part time professor of law at University of Detroit Mercy.
He’s chaired a number of community charities, like the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre, Arts Council Windsor and Region, United Way and Literary Arts Windsor.
Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens said, “I trust that [Hrastovec] will help this program continue to thrive and have a positive impact here in our community, and beyond our borders.”
He is the man behind the Great Canadian Flag Project, which flies the massive Canadian flag in Dieppe Gardens on the city’s riverfront.
Hrastovec frequently organizes and reads at community poetry readings. In 2021, he helped organize Windsor’s Resilient Voices, which posted hopeful poems and messages on city buses, at mass vaccination clinics and in city hospitals.
“Like the very river within our reach, this city endures; we are obliged to celebrate its glory,” he wrote in the announcement of his new role.
“I would very much like to play a part in contributing to our continuing ‘work in progress’ — my home, my heart.”