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Ask Vivek: Recap

November 21, 2016 | E Writer in Residence 2016 — Vivek Shraya | Comments (0)

Ask Vivek - Recap

This, sadly, is my last post as E-Writer in Residence. It’s been such a gift to connect with you in person at various libraries and events, and online through your writing. I feel fortunate to have been given this opportunity to read (and listen) to your words. I am immensely grateful for your trust in me. That said, my last day isn’t until Friday, November 25, so please keep sending me your writing!

When I began this position, my inspiration for the “Ask Vivek” posts was centered around you—I wanted to ensure that my posts spoke to questions you had about writing and art. I also think there can be so much mystery and solitude around writing. My hope was these posts would provide information to help making writing feel more accessible to you. I also hoped these posts would provide you a sense of support. 

For this final post, I have compiled a list of tips and highlights from my previous posts.

  1. On art making: Art is a powerful means to connect with others who have had similar, and different, experiences—others who want to share their stories.
  2. On writing prompts: Having a central question as a prompt can be challenging but can also give your writing or project a direction, as your goal then becomes answering this question.
  3. On songwriting: Spend the time in developing your own sound by writing constantly. The more songs you write, the better your songs will get.
  4. On novel writing: There might be days when you write only one sentence. This is okay. More than okay! This is part of the process. The most important thing is that you are committed to the writing and will show up again tomorrow.
  5. On comic making: “Make something that excites you—something that you would want to read! It can be good to start small. Make a one- or two-page story, where you can play around with your style and storytelling, and see if it's an idea you like enough to spend more time on.”
  6. On writing poetry: Reading works by other poets was useful as it allowed me to see how other writers were using the form and breaking “the rules.”
  7. On dealing with rejection: I remind myself that rejection isn’t personal. There are many factors as to why certain things get chosen over others and many of these factors I have no control over.
  8. On writing about the personal: When possible, I try to write ethically. I change the names of individuals and settings. I change the description of individuals’ appearances.

This past week has been a hard week. But I feel especially inspired by writers like Lawrence Hill who are speaking out about the various injustices that are taking place in the world. Please let me know what is inspiring you this week in the comments!

Ask Vivek: How do you write about the personal?

November 14, 2016 | E Writer in Residence 2016 — Vivek Shraya | Comments (0)

How do you write about the personal?

This week’s question is about how to write about the personal—specifically, how to write personal narratives based on or including friends and family.

Different writers approach this in different ways, but it is something many of us struggle with. In my case, I am often inspired by family and the people around me. But instead of worrying about asking for permission or how others will react, I focus on the writing. For me, it the story that I want to tell that is most important. 

When possible, I try to write ethically. I change the names of individuals and settings. I change the description of individuals’ appearances. 

When writing about my family, I try to write about them with respect and compassion, even when the story I want to tell is hard or unflattering. Sometimes I share these stories with my family but only after it’s been completed or published. This is so that I am not swayed by their opinion or emotions during the writing process. Other times, I have asked my parents to just not read certain books. 

I am less concerned when writing about violence that has happened to me. In these instances, I prioritize my right to speak about my experience over trying to “protect” the person who has hurt me.

One thing I am cautious about is writing about the experiences of others. Of course, I am inspired by events around me. But some stories aren’t mine to tell or take. 

So in short, I would say when writing about the personal, centre around the story you want to tell. Ultimately, when a story lands on the page, it becomes a form of fiction anyway. 

Thank you again for your question. Please keep sending me questions and I will keep answering them here!

Lastly, this week I feel inspired by Vancouver-based poet Amber Dawn. She is someone who writes about the personal in various genres including memoir and poetry. What personal writing inspires you? Let me know in the comments!

Ask Vivek: How do I write poetry?

October 31, 2016 | E Writer in Residence 2016 — Vivek Shraya | Comments (0)

How Do I Write Poetry

This week’s question was about how to write poetry. This is a question that I resonated with a lot. Working on my recent book of poetry, even this page is white, I often felt lost and unsure about what I was writing, and if it qualified as poetry.

Given what I learned, my two big tips on writing poetry are as follows:

  1. Experiment!

I had been originally working on a novel but the writing didn’t feel right. Something felt missing or off. I wondered if perhaps the writing would be richer in the format of poetry. It’s important to listen to these inner nudges as often your intuition knows what is best for your work.

I dusted off the ol’ highlighter tool in my Google Doc and began highlighting any word or phrase that I felt stood out. Then I moved these words and phrases into a new document and started playing around with non-paragraph formats. In this new context, the writing felt stronger. The words clicked. Poetry was indeed the answer!

From here, I continued to play with words and structures. Play is important here and with any writing. As much as writing is hard work, it’s useful to remember that writing should also be fun! So, I got rid of unnecessary punctuation and conjunctions (ie and, but, so, etc). I experimented with different line breaks.

  1. Read!

Reading works by other poets was useful as it allowed me to see how other writers were using the form and breaking “the rules.” I was especially inspired by Audre Lorde’s The Black Unicorn.

There was a world of poetry beyond the couplets I had been taught in school. I learned about concrete poetry and list poems. By discovering so many different kinds of poetry, it gave me the confidence to keep experimenting.

Writing poetry often felt like making a painting but with words. The medium is flexible and open for you to make it your own.

Lastly, Gwen Benaway’s Passage is the best book of poetry I have read this year. Who are your favourite poets? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you again for your question. Please keep sending me questions and I will keep answering them here!

Poetry Contest! Win Headphones!

August 8, 2016 | Susan | Comments (47)

Typewriter_by_superawesomevectors-d9h0pmdThe winner of the poetry contest is B, for "This Cool Blue Hue!"

Thumbs up to all the poets who submitted and keep writing!

 

Sharpen your pencils! Limber up your typing fingers! Shake the ink into your pens! It's time to use your poetic prowess for a chance to win a pair of B&O Beoplay H6 Headphones. You will write a poem. And not just any poem, you’re going to write using a poetic form called anaphora.

Anaphor-wha???

Continue reading "Poetry Contest! Win Headphones!" »

Darkness

July 29, 2016 | Youth Advisory Group | Comments (0)

DarknessDarkness-012

Image from weknowyourdreams.com

Swallowing all the laughter
Cries that turn into screams after

Filling emptiness 
Devouring happiness
They say it is the reason why this world suffers through sadness
But I believe that that is true madness
They say darkness is where all the evil creatures lay
But the real devil is the one we see in the mirror everyday
Blaming the dark for making the child cry at night
But the actual reason is because we left that child alone and out of our sight
They say darkness can be defeated with hope that is bright 
But for those whom darkness is the only light 
Are the ones who really know how to fight
Because without falling down 
You can not learn how to take flight
Darkness is not where desires are torn
But where dreams learn how to reborn
Dark allies where the man robs so that he can buy food for
his children and wife
Darkness is what shines light for a new life
So embrace the darkness and it will define
Because without darkness, stars can`t shine

-Hemali Patel

Students on Ice Expedition: Inspired by Torngat

July 27, 2016 | Youth Advisory Group | Comments (0)

By Robert, a TPL Youth Advisory Group member

Nachvak Fjord, Labrador
Photo by Paul Gierszewski

Note: Robert, a TPL volunteer is travelling in the far north and sharing a blog series about his experience with the Students on Ice Arctic Expedition. From the wonder of the Torngat Mountains, Robert sends this poem.

Continue reading "Students on Ice Expedition: Inspired by Torngat" »

Poems by Jayden

July 7, 2016 | stephen | Comments (0)

Written by Jayden 

Book Title Poetry

When we were Matched, and our paths Crossed, dreams and goals were Reached, forWhen You Reach Me, you bring happiness and joy.

And though my grand scheme had Holes, you were there, and taught me to take Small Steps.

Continue reading "Poems by Jayden" »

Roots

July 5, 2016 | Youth Advisory Group | Comments (0)

Roots

The need,
The need to please,
Was
Everywhere
We
Looked.
Mother and Father brought with them the seeds from the Old World,
And, like the water hyacinth, they quickly blossomed, spread,
Invaded,
Trailed out of our mouths and eyes;
A kowtow: beautiful and ugly.
Now that I am grown, I feel it’s a stain on my ivory tower:
The one I built from the ashes of my racial and class discrimination.
Everywhere I turn, arsonists loom.

And when I’m backed into a corner,
I feel the roots
Pricking at my fingers;
The words, “I’m sorry,” trying to pry my lips open from the inside
And attempt to clean up what I haven’t sullied,
Despite all my achievements.
Don’t worry about it, says Mama, the coward.
Ignore it, says Daddy, the great architect.
Take it and use it, says my brother.
Take from it what you want and discard the rest,
Like the Bible.
The need,

The need to rise,
Was
Everywhere
We
Dreamed.

[First published in: The Continuist]

by Editorial Youth Advisory Group member Terese

An Ode to Toronto

July 4, 2016 | Youth Advisory Group | Comments (2)

 An Ode to Toronto

by Editorial Youth Advisory Group member Geraldynn

What's on at the Library -- June 27 - July 3

June 30, 2016 | Christine | Comments (0)

Hi everyone!

Happy early Canada Day! I hope you're all enjoying your summer vacations so far. :)

Here are some more great programs for youth that you can take advantage of this summer at your local branch of the Toronto Public Library this coming long weekend:

  1. 3D Printer Certification -- Thursday June 30, various times
    (please click on branch names for details)
    St. James Town, Scarborough Civic Centre, & North York Central Library
    Staff members show participants how to use the 3D printers available at Toronto Public Library Digital Innovation Hubs. Class instruction includes:
    * How to prepare a 3D design file for print
    * How to use the equipment properly and safely
    * A review of the rules and guidelines for using the 3D printer

  2. Pride Creative Writing Workshop with YA Author Robin Stevenson
    Thursday June 30, 5 - 7:45pm

    Lillian H. Smith, ROOM B/C - Lower Level
    Flannery O'Connor once said that anybody who had survived childhood had enough material to write for the rest of his or her life. Our own life experiences can be powerful jumping off places for crafting fiction - in fact, many novels have their beginnings in specific events in the author's own life. In this hands-on workshop, we'll explore how we can use our own memories, experience, questions and curiosity to create convincing characters and compelling stories. Drop-in, no registration required, TEEN and YOUNG ADULT program! Ages 13-29

  3. Call of Gamerz: Teen Video Game Nights-- Thursday June 30, 6:15 - 7:45 pm
    Malvern
    Join Malvern's Youth Advisory Group for a night of fun and video games including games for Wii, PS3 and XBox 360. No registration required, just drop in and get your game on!

  4. Adults' Chess Club -- Saturday July 2, 1 - 2:30pm
    Gerrard/Ashdale
    Play casual chess for ages 13 years and up.

  5. Storygami -- Saturday July 2, 2 - 4pm
    Lillian H. Smith
    Join us for origami, featuring new & wild folds each session. No experience is necessary to participate and have fun. We partner with the UofT Origami Club F.O.L.D. - Fly with Origami, Learn to Dream. This drop-in program takes place every first Saturday of the month.

  6. Saturday Movie & Popcorn -- Saturday July 2, 2-3pm
    Highland Creek
    Come and join us on Saturday afternoons. The movies are great for the whole family and the popcorn is free.

  7. Keep Calm & Colour On -- Saturday July 2, 2 - 3:30pm
    Locke
    Colour your cares away while you enjoy the latest craze of adult colouring. Materials will be provided, or bring your own. No registration required!

  8. My Home Is... Spoken Word/Poetry Workshop -- Saturday July 2, 1 - 4pm
    Dawes Road Meeting Room
    Join Slam Coach Cathy Petch for a guided freewrite on themes of home, place and transition. Be brave, be bold, be you. For adults and youth. In association with East End Arts. Contact the branch for details.

Hope to see you all there!

YAG Writing: Poetry

June 23, 2016 | Alice | Comments (0)

The poem I wrote is actually inspired by Shakespeare, written in a
sonnet style and starting in a similar fashion as Romeo and Juliet.
Hope you'll like it!

Shall I compare thee to a love story
Thou art more revolting and rather fake
For love is no more than a game to me
Too little to gain and too much at stake
The things we do, oh so foolish and wrong
We break our fragile hearts for nothing more
Than a kiss on the lips, we’ve heard those songs
When sweet becomes sour and love becomes war
Toss away the roses, bring on the swords
I’d rather bleed over the pain of blades
Than to cry for being never adored
A river of tears, why was heartbreak made
Love's nothing but an elaborate play
Our sweet dreams are gone by the light of day
 
by Gabby
 

GET PUBLISHED! Submit to Young Voices by April 5 for the 2016 Issue

April 1, 2016 | Ken Sparling | Comments (0)

Wanna see your creative work published in 15,000 copies of Young Voices?

You have till Tuesday, April 5, 2016 to send us your best creative endeavours for consideration in this year's issue. Submit online now!

Young voices logo

Send poems, stories, rants, raps, comics, reviews, or black and white artwork or photos!

See full submission details here (PDF) or submit at any Toronto Public Library branch.

If you miss the deadline, don't panic! We take submissions all year round, so you can send us something for the 2017 issue!

Questions? Contact me, Ken Sparling, 416-397-5970, ksparling@torontopubliclibrary.ca

 

 

Imagine 15,000 copies of Young Voices magazine - with your story in it!

March 25, 2016 | Ken Sparling | Comments (0)

Why not go for it! We circulate nearly 15,000 copies of Young Voices every year!

Submit your story, photo, comic, artwork, poem, rant...

Here's some work from Toronto teens who were published in Young Voices last year to get you inspired.

Hypnotized_Rabaya Khan_age 15
Hypnotized, by Rabaya Khan, in Young Voices 2015

atmospheres
by Sivan Piatigorsky-Roth, age 15
-from Young Voices 2015

If all the world and night were blue
With twinkling stars, long overdue
Their deaths, like broken shards of glass
In gold, in silver, and in brass would
Cast their dusty fragments free
To fall on earth, the land, the sea.
I cannot sleep
For in your eyes
I find the stars take new disguise
And falling bits of dust and space
Find themselves a holy place
Wherein they dance, and airy light
They find a purpose in the night.
I won’t rest
I know it wrong
To play a melancholy song
In hopes that I might catch a glance
Of starlight in the window’s glass
And on your shining, gentle face,
If you appeared in such a place,
I’d see the lofty, cloudless skies
And find the stars wrote in your eyes.

Don't delay! Submit today! The deadline for Young Voices 2016 is April 5, 2016.

"No one deserves to be harassed. No one."

March 20, 2016 | Ken Sparling | Comments (0)

Human nature_jasmine zhang_age 14
Human Nature, by Jasmine Zhang, age 14, from Young Voices 2015

So ends Carrie Noble's rant in Young Voices 2015

Got a rant you want to share? Or a story? A poem? Artwork? A photo?

Send it to Young Voices for a chance to get it published in Young Voices 2016.

Need inspiration! Here's the rest of Carrie's rant to get you fired up!

A Rant
by Carrie Noble, age 18
-from Young Voices 2015

How unfair is it that I hate going out at night by myself, walking to the subway alone, or wearing my school uniform in public because I am afraid of the comments I’ll get. I shouldn’t have to feel scared. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty. And I shouldn’t have to feel unsafe. Male co-workers of mine don’t understand why I like to wait for them to walk a block to the subway, or to Rexall, or to anywhere for that matter. They don’t have to worry about that. As a girl, I do. And I have to worry more and more. The more I develop, and grow, the more I get followed and honked at. It scares me, and it makes me angry.

Continue reading ""No one deserves to be harassed. No one."" »

LGBTQ2S+ Youth Writers Drop In and Open Mic

January 26, 2016 | Ray | Comments (0)

IMG_1753Are you a creative writer of fiction, sci-fi, poetry, song, etc?

And identify as LGBTQ2S+ under 29 years old?  Welcome!

Starting February 8th, Writing Our Futures (formerly Pink Ink) is meeting at every Monday at Lillian H. Smith branch from 5-7pm.

For more info check out the event listing or contact Sonny at: sberenson[at]sherbourne.on.ca

 Also!  Check out our Open Mic on alternating Friday nights.  Share your original stories, song, poetry, etc.  We have snacks and an acoustic guitar and mic for use.  For LGBTQ2S+ youth under 29 years old.  Also at Lillian H. Smith library (College at Spadina)

Check out the event listing for more info.  The next one is Friday, February 5th, 6pm.  See ya!

Haiku to Win!

November 27, 2015 | E Writer in Residence 2015 — Eve Silver | Comments (25)

Haiku is a traditional Japanese form of poetry.

  • A Haiku is three lines long.
  • It has seventeen syllables.
  • The syllable count is 5/7/5.
  • Haiku often depicts nature and stresses simplicity, elegance, and clarity.
  • It is traditionally written in the present tense.
  • Modern Haiku often breaks the 5/7/5 rule and moves to topics outside nature.
  • Whether you approach the Haiku from a traditional or modern perspective, the goal is brevity and evocative imagery (which my example below lacks).

 

Like this:

Haiku three lines long

with seventeen syllables

five/seven/five count 

 

20662728Want to win a copy of Clariel by Garth Nix?

Just leave your Haiku in the comments below! One lucky commenter will win!

Need a Haiku topic idea? How about brushing your teeth, walking in a crowd, walking alone at night, being at a party but not feeling like part of the crowd, being at a party and having an awesome time, standing on a cliff overlooking a calm lake, kayaking in white water, or anything else that catches your writer's eye.

 

 

Rules:

1. To enter, just leave your Haiku in the comments. 

2. You must live in Toronto to win this contest. 

3. You must provide a valid e-mail address so you can be contacted if you win a prize, and you must be able to come to a TPL branch to pick up your prize (see privacy statement below for more information).

4. One entry per person per Contest - you can leave more than one comment, but only your first comment will count as a contest entry. 

5. Contest ends Thursday December 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm. 

6. Winner will be contacted on the following Friday.

Personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the Public Libraries Act, s.20 (a) and (d) and will be used to administer the Library's TPL Teens contest. Questions about the collection or management of personal information should be directed to library manager Jayne Delbeek-Eksteins- 416-396-8858.

 

Thinking of submitting your work to me for feedback? Contact info and details here.

 

 

Writing Prompt #2

November 11, 2015 | E Writer in Residence 2015 — Eve Silver | Comments (2)

We all have those wonderful writing days. The ones where the words flow like crystal waters pouring over smooth rocks, reflecting the rays of the summer sun. 

We all have those other writing days. The ones where it takes three hours to scratch out a single sentence and self-doubt snarls in our ears like a bitter north wind.

Some days, we need a little push to get us moving, a little nudge to help the words flow. Those are the days that a writing prompt can really help. So here are a few to get your creative juices flowing.

 

Pacing exercise:

Write two paragraphs.

In the first, you're running for the bus that's just pulled up to the stop. You need to make that bus. You need to be somewhere on time (a job interview, a birthday party, a date). Write the paragraph in a way that allows the reader to feel your emotions, to sweat right along with you. Make the pace fast and heartpounding.

In the second paragraph, you caught the bus and you fall into a seat and catch your breath. Write the paragraph in a way that allows the reader to calm down right along with you. Make the sentences longer. Use more description. Slow down the pace. 

 

An exercise for the senses:

Your character is in bed. He doesn't look at a clock or hear an alarm, but he knows exactly what time it is. What does he hear? What does he smell? What sensations alert him to the time? Write a paragraph that allows the reader to experience exactly what your character experiences, and tell the reader exactly what time it is without ever writing the actual time.

 

Poetry prompt:

Writer a poem where the first letter of each line add together to spell an emotion, e.g. for sadness, the first line would begin with "S", the next with "A", the next with "D", etc.

 

If you feel like sharing in the comments, I'd love to read what these prompts encourage you to write.

 

Missed writing prompt #1? Check it out here.

Summer Contest: My Toronto Story

July 23, 2015 | stephen | Comments (0)

Toronto SkylineFrom #WeTheNorth to the TO2015 Games, our great city has received a significant amount of international exposure over the last year. 

Now I'm just going to put it out there, I love my city!

I am incredibly proud of the people, the culture and the innovation that makes "The Six" the greatest city in the world. 

Of course I am hoping that I am not alone in my feelings and so for this summer contest we are asking you to tell us YOUR Toronto story. 

 You can write it out as a really short story (few paragraphs), a poem, or even perform it as a spoken word piece and upload it!

We just want to hear from you, our readers, what makes Toronto the best city to live in. What do you love? What are your favorite hidden gems? Is there a particular food spot that you cannot live without? All in all we want you to sum it up and give us your "My Toronto Story"

The contest will close at 11:59 pm on Thursday, August 6th. The winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

Stay tuned here for all upcoming contests. Next up: A short story contest

 

Personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the Public Libraries Act, s.20 (a) and (d) and will be used to administer the Library's TPL Teens contest. Questions about the collection or management of personal information should be directed to library manager Jayne Delbeek-Eksteins- 416-396-8858.

 

Mini-Writing Contest #2 -- July 16 to July 23

July 16, 2015 | Christine | Comments (14)

Hi everyone! Welcome back for Mini-Writing Contest #2.

This week’s contest is all about downsizing, but in a very fun way. Have you ever read a really good book, but found that it was a bit too long? Do you ever wish that there was a way to condense everything into a more manageable format? Well, now here’s your chance. Take a favorite book – any title can be used, classic or modern – and try shrinking it down into a short poem, 3 to 4 stanzas at most, using rhyming couplets. Here are a couple of examples to use for inspiration:


The Pied Piper of Hamelin
Robert Browning
Town made
        Rat free!
Unpaid
       Piper, he
Pipes kids
       Into hills.
Weird fate!
      Moral: Pay
Your bills,
       Cheapskate.


and


The Raven
Edgar Allan Poe

Raven lurches
In, perches
       Over door.
Poet’s bleary
Query --
       “Where’s Lenore?”
Creepy bird
Knows one word:
         “Nevermore.”

Both examples come from ShrinkLits: Seventy of the World’s Towering Classics Cut Down to Size, written by Maurice Sagoff and illustrated by Roslyn Schwartz (New York: Workman Publishing, 1980). So go ahead, pick a title, and see how you might go about making it into your own "shrinklit."

Have fun! :)

When submitting your entries, please keep the following rules in mind:
1. You have to live in Toronto to win this contest.
2. You have to provide a valid e-mail address so we can contact you if you win a prize (see privacy statement below for more information)
3. One entry per person per Mini-Writing Contest - in this case, please submit only your best poem.
4. Only original writing will be accepted – plagiarism is not permitted in any form.
5. Your entry must be submitted by Wednesday at 11:59pm to be considered to win.
6. Winners will be announced on the following Thursday.

Your name, your e-mail address, the books you read and your thoughts about them are your personal information. Why do we need your personal information here? Well, we want to publish your reviews, and we need your name and e-mail address to help administer the contest. The Public Libraries Act is the law that lets us do this. We'll be protecting your privacy every step of the way, but if you have any questions about how we're going to do that, you can contact TPL's Privacy & Records Management Officer, 789 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, M4W 2G8, 416-395-5658 or by e-mail at gnettlefold@torontopubliclibrary.ca

Pan Am Poetry Slam: The Finals

May 15, 2015 | stephen | Comments (0)

Pan Am flyereditThis is the big one ladies and gentlemen!

In the spirit of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, Canada's most talented young poets take their skills to the stage. 

Included in this showcase, are the winning poets from the Poetry Saved Our Lives showcase. Come out and cheer on the contenders at this inspiring event. 

The finals will feature 12 young artists and 7 emerging artists but only one will emerge with the crown. 

If you missed out on the Pan Am Poetry Showcase last month, this is your chance to catch some of the most creative artists you will ever have the pleasure of hearing. 

Come out and witness greatness

Friday May 22, 2015

Toronto Reference Library

Bram & Bluma Appel Salon

6:30-9pm

Doors open at 6pm

Grab your tickets now!

A classy night of spoken word and music - literary salon style!

May 14, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

Posted by Kathleen Chen

SalonposterThe tradition of literary salons was prominent in France in the 17th and 18th centuries, where a lady of high society would invite friends over for discussions about literature and ideas. Salons were cultural hubs where guests would show off their skill with art, etiquette and conversation.

We are inviting you to a classy evening of performances of verse, prose and music, featuring members of Toronto French School’s Writing Club. In the spirit of exchanging ideas, we would like to share our art with you, and hear yours during the open mic session! Please join us on Wednesday, May 20 at 7 pm at 318 Lawrence Avenue East for an invigorating and refreshing celebration of art in our community.

Proceeds collected from the event will be donated to a charity that recognizes and promotes the power of art: Literature for Life. This organization has several social programs aimed at helping mothers and children in unstable situations develop confidence through relevant reading and writing exercises. One of their after-school programs, ChalkFarm Super Readers, is in danger of closing down due to a lack of funds. We want to support this program’s mission of helping children of recent immigrants, who are usually the primary English speakers of their households, develop essential literacy skills and find their inner superheroes.

In addition to ticket sales, we are raising money by selling zines (mini magazines of student art and writing) and student visual art. Tickets are $10 each, or $11 with a zine. Please contact Kathleen Chen kachen@tfs.ca or Julia Wong juwong@tfs.ca with any questions!

Kathleen Chen is a member of Toronto Public Library's Editorial Youth Advisory Group. Check out her story, 'Flight', on page 9 of Young Voices 2014.

 

Poetry Saved Our Lives Showcase: Event Review

May 13, 2015 | stephen | Comments (0)

PsolfinalAn event review submitted by Farhiya from Jane/Dundas.

"A few weeks ago, the YAG group had been invited to go to something special. There was a program Poetry Saved Our Lives set up to let the youth get to perform for the first time  It was happening at the North York Central library and we'd been invited as guests to watch. Straight off the bat as soon as we got to the venue, there was a cool DJ and the workers were handing out gift bags with notebooks, post-it notes, pencil and pens. When everyone was seated and ready to go, there was a workshop that started before the actual competition. It was by a man named Ian Keteku and he was a very well-spoken, funny poet. He ran through some writing exercises with everyone there to help us be comfortable with our writing skills, then showed us how to write like we have synesthesia. If you guys don't know what it means, it's a rare condition where your senses are connected for example, with synesthesia, might be able to hear different colours. Some people got to stand on the stage and share what they wrote, and I thought it was a really eye opening experience. After that, the poetry competition started and the competitors got ready to share their pieces with us. There were some really amazing poets that came out to compete that night, and it was pretty awesome. Some pieces were really inspirational, some were funny, and some were sad. There were all sorts of different emotions and messages in each different poem. Aside from the competitors, there were some professional poets that came out that night to perform amazing pieces that really blew me away. It was a pity I couldn't stay for the whole night, but that was a really memorable day for me."

 

If you missed it don't worry, stay tuned for details on the Finals!

Brave and talented youth gather at Toronto Poetry Map launch

May 4, 2015 | Teen Blogger | Comments (0)

george elliott clarke
Toronto poet laureate George Elliott Clarke

A group of brave and talented professional poets and youth gathered at the Toronto Reference Library as George Elliott Clarke’s Voice rang out across the atrium. “Waaaatermellllonnnns,” he called. This is line from Haljgonian Market Cry, one of the poems George presented at the Toronto Poetry Map launch on April 15. The Toronto Poetry Map is an online resource that looks a lot like google maps but instead of places, this map locates poems that mention places around Toronto. You can access it by going to tpl.ca/poetrymap.

But back to the launch. George Elliott Clarke’s contagious happy energy produced smiles all around. But he was not the only one who performed that night. Youth from various library branches expressed rage, pain and love with some original slam poems. The youth were accompanied at the event by their coaches, Mahlika Aweri and Randell Adjei, who were there to support as well as to share their own amazing poetry. Randell even honoured us with a poem “fresh from the laboratory” that had never been heard before. Faith Pare, a grade 11 student from Rosedale performed a particularly captivating slam poem called 'The Anatomy of a Teenage Party' that really spoke to what it is like to be a teenager and the injustice in the way teens are sometimes judged.

Editorial Youth Advisory Group member Anupya
Editorial Youth Advisory Group member Anupya

Since this year is the 50th anniversary for the Young Voices magazine, the Editorial Youth Advisory Group, the members of which select what goes into the magazine, dug back to some of the very first issues of the mag in order to share a few of the best vintage poems at this poetry event. 

Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the evening. I for one thought it was exceptional. The honesty, the courage and the love that comes with poetry – slam poetry in particular – is so heartwarming and made for such a wonderful experience. If I ever lost my faith in humanity, this is the kind of thing that would restore it: people coming together to share who they are. Thank you to everyone who shared, and everyone who listened!

Poetry Saved Our Lives Finals!

April 15, 2015 | stephen | Comments (0)

Psolfinal

Ladies and gentlemen, the moment of truth has finally arrived.

Last year, the Toronto Public Library asked youth in eight library branches to write, perform and evoke parts of Toronto that resonate with them.

Under the guidance of dedicated coaches, these young spoken word artists are finally ready to hit the big stage. 

Here is your chance to see these young emerging artists and experience the power of their words. The winning emerging young poets will be selected to perform at the Pan Am Poetry Slam in May.

Spoken Word legend Ian Keteku will also be giving a workshop from 4-5:30 so come check it out!

Saturday April 18, 2015 

North York Central Library

4-5:30pm Ian Keteku Workshop

6-9pm Poetry Saved Our Lives Finals

Poems from the past part 7 -- you have till midnight tonight to submit!

April 7, 2015 | Ken Sparling | Comments (0)

In honour of Poetry Month and of the 50th anniversary of Young Voices magazine, we offer poems from the past!

Young voices 1966 illustration
from Young Voices #3, June 1966

 

Untitled poem

by Roy Alfonso (Grade 13 in 1969)
from Young Voices July 1969

We have come for the body.
We, the atheists, sinners, outcasts, we
Have felt ashamed to hear him named
In your court and place of sport.

Forgive us: we are harmless and only take the body so
We may plant it in a field where lilies grow.

 

Share your creative endeavours... submit your poems, stories, artwork, photos and other creative work to Young Voices magazine.

Submit by midnight to tonight! (Tuesday, April 7) to be considered for the 50th anniversary issue of Young Voices.

Work received after April 7 will be considered for Young Voices 2016.

Read the full submission guidelines.

Youth Hub Homework. My Curved Border

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