Gaston Bellemare
President & Founder of the
International Poetry Festival
(Festival International de la Poésie)



The International Poetry Festival (Festival International de la Poésie) is an international event which attracts more than 40,000 people from all ages and walks of life. Every year, the 10-day Festival features over 350 events and welcomes over 100 poets from the 5 continents in 70 chosen locations in and around Trois-Rivières, making it the Poetry Capital.

Gaston Bellemare co-founded the Écrits des Forges, was the poetry publishing house's treasurer from 1971 to 1983 before presiding over it from 1983 to 2008. The publisher had over 1,200 book titles on catalogue and jointly published 500 titles with 50 different publishing houses in 17 countries. On average, 50 titles came out each year.

Current professional activities

Having chaired the Association Nationale des Éditeurs de Livres (National Association of Publishers) from 2004 to 2008, and again from 2010 to 2012, he has now been named publisher emeritus. He is also the president of Copibec (2008-2009, 2010-2011, 2012-2013), of the Festival International de la Poésie (since 1985), of Hector de Saint-Denys-Garneau Foundation (since 2004-2013), member of the board of directors of the Fondation des Parlementaires (Parlementary Foundation), of the Commission de Droit de Prêt Public (Public Lending Right Commission) and of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (Quebec's National Archives and Library), and he sits on numerous cultural juries.

Gaston Bellemare is a leader and unifier. He first expressed his passion for poetry by writing the very first book published by the Écrits des Forges. He invested time and money into promoting poetry and cultural publishing. He also created 10 poetry prizes including the Festival International de la Poésie's Grand Prix Quebecor, dreamed up the Promenade de la Poésie (300 poems posted on the city's walls) and co-founded the Promenade Internationale de la Poésie with Maryse Baribeau (100 poems from 100 authors from 42 countries in French and 21 other languages).

In 2001, he founded the Fédération des festivals internationaux de poésie (the Federation of International Poetry Festivals or FFIP) which allowed him to create an informal network of festivals that follows the UNESCO curriculum. He also instigated cooperation agreements and partnerships with 20 international poetry festivals.

More recently, Gaston Bellemare has received the Order of Canada (2013).