We extend our thanks to Valina Zanetti, who completed her two-year term as Nanaimo’s Youth Poet Laureate in February 2021. As Youth Poet Laureate, Valina shared poems at several City events, including on the stage at Nanaimo’s Canada Day celebrations at Maffeo Sutton Park in 2019.
In 2020, Valina brought together her passion for animals with her interest in inspiring other youth to create poetry. Her initiative, called "Be Kind to All Kinds” in collaboration with the City and BCSPCA, invited reflection on the welfare of animals and human interactions with the natural world. Local youth submitted playful, insightful, expressive poems, which were shared on the Culture & Events Instagram channel alongside a poem by Valina called “Don’t Steal Their Second Chance.” To contribute to Valina’s project, Mayor Leonard Krog also wrote a poem called “Best Guest Ever” about his pet guinea pig, Daffodil.
As part of REIMAGINE NANAIMO, Valina was commissioned to write a poem to reflect on the future of Nanaimo. She presented her work, "The Change I Want to See" at a meeting of City Council and since it has been shared widely. Valina’s poem looks to a future where big pressing challenges facing our society—like racism and discrimination and climate change—have been successfully met, and where people thrive in a just society.
In early February, members of our Culture & Events team had a wrap-up zoom chat with Valina to reflect on her experience and to express gratitude for her work. Valina shared that one of the most valuable things she learned as Youth Poet Laureate are skills related to networking: how to make contacts and call on them to help. We also talked poetry – Valina read us one of the poems she takes inspiration from, called “How to Triumph Like a Girl” by Ada Limón.
Congratulations on great work as Youth Poet Laureate, Valina. We wish you success in your next projects!