Calling all poets, bards, wordsmiths and lyricists. Together with the Habitat for the Arts, Jasper’s mayor is seeking a local laureate of sorts, a troubadour to participate in the annual Mayor’s Poetry Challenge. “It’s an opportunity to make people aware of another side of artistry that sometimes lies hidden in the community,” Mayor Dick Ireland said. It’s also an opportunity to step up to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s challenge; for the second year in a row, Nenshi is throwing down the poetry gauntlet to mayors across Canada. “The creative industries in Canada are an important part of what makes our country a great place to live,” said Nenshi in a press release. Mayor Ireland has been known to occasionally wax poetic himself. He’s regaled audiences at the town Christmas party and recited sonnets at the annual Fireman’s Ball. “I’m more of a Robert Service type,” he laughed. On March 2, Jasper’s Habitat for the Arts is asking versifiers and rhymesters of all types to join together at an open mic night at the SnowDome Coffee Bar. A panel will select a poet to represent the community at a future council meeting. “We’re looking for a Jasper writer to bring prose, poems, thoughts, journals or songs,” said the Habitat’s Marianne Garrah. “There’s no specific theme or subject matter. It’s wide open.” Besides the delight of reading their poem at council and taking home a small honorarium, the winner will have the opportunity to show their art to a very unique audience, Garrah said. “It’s a way to link national recognition for their art form and to express themselves in an uncommon venue.” Ireland, who as a lawyer and a speechmaker surely appreciates a condensed verse, said poetry is a fine form of articulation. “It forces people to get creative and succinct at the same time,” he said. Poets interested in the Poetry Challenge should attend the open-mic at the SnowDome Coffee Bar, March 2 at 7 p.m.