Ted Amsden Completes Term as Poet Laureate

Cobourg appointed Eric Winter as its first Poet Laureate on July 21, 1997; Jill Battson followed and most recently, Ted Amsden has held the post since 2011.  He was re-appointed to the position at the start of the previous term of council and this ends with his last poem to be read at the Mayor’s Levee on January 1, 2019.  In tribute to Ted, a number of organizations have added videos to their facebook pages of Ted reading one of his poems.  But several of his poems are online on You-Tube – links to them are given below and one has been selected for this post. Poets are quite active in Cobourg – there is an active poetry group who meet regularly at a local Pub (or restaurant) and stage occasional events.  Go to the link below to Cobourg Poetry Workshop for more.

At right is a photo of Ted at the 2018 Mayor’s Levee.

Ted Amsden at 2018 Levee
Ted Amsden at 2018 Levee

Local poet Wally Keeler has supplied the following list of Ted’s Poems on You-Tube:

  • He Sang; Ted Amsden, channels Cobourg’s first Town Crier, Tom Macmillan, with a powerful performance of his original poem outside Victoria Hall.  This video is no longer available
  • Unveiling of Ore Car. Ted Amsden delivers an eloquently original poem upon the unveiling of the Ore Car by Cobourg’s Heritage Harbour. This video is no longer available
  • Cobourg Festival of Poetry; Ted Amsden, goes poetic as he introduces and opens the 2013 Festival of Poetry at the Art Gallery of Northumberland located in Cobourg’s grand Victoria Hall. This video is no longer available
  • The Other Night; Ted Amsden reads his original poem about Monk’s Cove at the 2015 Civic Awards Ceremony held in the Concert Hall of Victoria Hall. This video is no longer available
  • T’was the Night Before Christmas; Ted Amsden leads a group of local poets and poetry activists of ‘poetry in Cob{our}g spaces’ into an exciting performance of this classic Christmas poem; fun for all the family. https://youtu.be/-UIuznyaOyI 
  • Eric Winter Tribute; Ted Amsden performs two poems to celebrate the 90th birthday of Cobourg’s first Poet Laureate Emeritus, Eric Winter. The second poem Ted reads was composed by Eric Winter celebrating the founder of the Cobourg Ecology Garden, Minnie Pennell.  This video is no longer available
  • Ole, ole, Eckhart Tolle; aside from ‘official’ performances, Ted gets down and jazzy rhythmic with language at Lay Your WORD Down hosted at the Human Bean. This video is no longer available
  • Marking Turf; Like a wolf flying from the moon, Ted Amsden arrives at Cobourg’s sidewalk attraction (Stanza Room Only) to chalk his talk with original lines and roars off into a full moon’s midnight. This video is no longer available
  • Crack Sizzle Pop:  Ted Amsden, reads his original poem from the bandshell in Victoria Park on the occasion of Canada Day, 2016. Lots of local dignitaries share the stage with Ted’s shoutburst. This video is no longer available
  • Poet Tree Eulogy; Ted Amsden, delivers his original poem at a poetic event celebrating and honouring the last elm standing in Victoria Park, Cobourg.  This video is no longer available
  • Christmas Bonus: A Message to Gentlemen Poets; Ted Amsden stumbles from the venerated Homelike Inn to deliver an original Christmas message to gentlemen poets everywhere. This video is no longer available

Note.  This post edited October 2022 to remove videos no longer available


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Wally Keeler
5 years ago

The following have hosted the above videos on their web site, social media or via e-newsletter: Town of Cobourg, Cobourg & District Historical Society, Art Gallery of Northumberland, Meet at 66 King East, Lets Talk Books, Human Bean, Cobourg Poetry Workshop.

Thank you to John Draper for publishing this brief compendium of Ted Amsden’s service to the Cobourg public and providing an opportunity for many others to see his poetic work.

Miriam Mutton
5 years ago

Ted, you are a treasure! Many thanks for your wonderful and entertaining storytelling. A talented artist and member of the community. Cheers!