Edmonton poet Ahmed Ali reaches end of term as poet laureate

After two years as the Edmonton's poet laureate, Ahmed Ali, a.k.a. Knowmadic, is turning his attention to finishing his book, getting a local spoken word festival off the ground while continuing to encourage all forms of poetry.

‘It has been tremendously nourishing'

Meet Ahmed Ali a.k.a. 'Knowmadic.' This month he's wrapping up his two-year term as Edmonton's poet laureate. 3:28

The end is near for Ahmed Ali, a.k.a. Knowmadic.

"It has been tremendously nourishing," Ali said reflecting on his two-year term as Edmonton's poet laureate.

Edmonton's poet laureate Ahmed Ali is passionate about his art. (Leroy Schultz)

"It's been a great experience. I've always been doing poetry, but to be valued and to be really supported because of a title that I've had was fantastic," said the 34-year-old Somali-born artist.  

Ali is the city's seventh poet laureate over the last 14 years.

Poet laureates act as literary ambassadors for the city and advocate for the literary arts while participating in events in Edmonton and beyond.

The position comes with an annual $10,000 honorarium.

Ali's replacement will be announced in a ceremony at city hall on June 26.

Ali presents his poetry to a crowd gathered in Edmonton's city hall. (Nicholas Yee)

Ali is now hoping to finish his book, help get a local spoken word festival off the ground and continue to encourage all forms of poetry.

"Poetry is extremely subjective it can be whatever you want it to be," he said. "No one can define poetry for you, that is something you do for yourself.

"I do what I love so there's no anger, no resentment. I do it with full conviction because I'm happy."

For more interesting jobs like bison wrangler, scientific glass blowers, and surf instructors in landlocked Alberta you can catch the latest episode of Our Edmonton called Quirky Work on Sunday at noon and Monday at 11 a.m. on CBC TV.

About the Author

Rick Bremness

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Rick Bremness is a content creator and video producer for CBC Edmonton. Follow him on twitter and instagram @bremness


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