I have shared my poetry in classroom workshops & at school assemblies in several school boards & have seen first-hand the impact spoken word can have on youth. Spoken word is an accessible & inspiring art form that allows young people to find their voices & share their personal stories, while empowering them to work through their struggles, speak out on important topics, & create positive change in their lives & communities. While my workshops & assembly addresses do well to introduce students to the art of spoken word, I am only able to vaguely describe to them the atmosphere of an actual poetry slam & the incredible energy & enthusiasm created when a group of people come together to speak & share. The London Poetry Slam, though all ages, is nearly impossible for teachers to organize field trips to, as it is held on Friday nights. I would like to create a day-time slam event that schools/teachers could come to, introducing more students to spoken word & to the poetry slam environment, & encouraging them to get excited about poetry, to interact with poets, & to write & perform themselves. The event will be either a half day (slam + Q & A), or full day (slam, Q & A, writing workshops, student open mic) event, depending on interest/funding. The slam will feature diverse poets & content (content will be regulated to ensure appropriateness for students) & will reflect the energy, enthusiasm & accepting environment of a real slam. As a slam poet & Director of the London slam, having worked in schools & with the school board in different capacities, & with interest in this idea already from several teachers, I am confident I can produce a quality, successful event that will share the art form that I love with more London youth, & encourage more young people to write, perform, get involved in slam, & generally speak up & find their voices. Slams encourage creativity, empathy, & enthusiusm for art/language, and a slam accessible to schools would surely have great impact.
Funded by London, ON (January 2014)