Kris Demeanor's "On Being A Lifer"

by Shaun Hunter

Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers

“I’m a Lifer,” Kris Demeanor, Calgary’s inaugural poet laureate writes in his introduction to The Calgary Project: A City Map in Verse and Visual. He presents his city CV: a list of landmarks, neighbourhoods and schools (“Nellie McClung Elementary/Louis Riel Junior High/Henry Wise Wood High”). A Calgary pedigree. He has travelled, but “always came back” to the “city of infuriating possibility” he calls home.


But somewhere during the city’s transitions

and transformations, the outlook of the Lifer changes too.

It’s not only about what has been covered up and plowed under,

it’s not only about what the city gives you – a job,

entertainment, proximity to the mountains.

Once a Lifer makes the commitment, decides

‘This is My Home,’ there’s no joy in complaining

about a city’s shortcomings.

The natural evolution is to ask ‘What am I adding?’

'What’s my place?’


Kris Demeanor, “On Being a Lifer,” The Calgary Project: A City Map in Verse and Visual (Frontenac House, 2014)