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The Word According to Youth

My name is Debora Barkun and I've lived in Ottawa for last 4 years.

I have a 3 children and my eldest has learning disabilities. She has a hard time with reading, comprehension and expression. In my quest to guide her through this existence, she has shown a love for performing. I kept trying to come up with different ideas of combining performance and literacy. That is when the Word According to Youth a.k.a. The WAY was born.

The Word According to Youth (The WAY) is a project that allows young people to use their words and voices to share their visions, passions, concerns and joys about their life, community and world through spoken word.

The WAY will hold a series of Saturday workshops throughout January and February on the history, composition and delivery of poetry, spoken word and storytelling. Local spoken word artists will facilitate these workshops.

In mid-February, participants will have the opportunity to experience firsthand a live poetry slam or storytelling event.

There will also be an evening dedicated to Bad Poetry. Bad Poetry is a fun filled evening in which the worst poets take top prize. It’s a fundraising event for friends and family of youth performers. Participants will experience a day in the life of the poetry slam artist. Performers will laugh and be laughed at, mock and be mocked but most importantly, have a heck of a lot of fun.

Finally, on February 19, members of The WAY will take part in their own poetry slam. Ottawa’s Anthony Bansfield will act as event emcee, with music, refreshments and prizes for everyone involved.

Funded by Ottawa, ON (December 2010)