Vic High alum James Summer is the City of Victoria’s new youth poet laureate. (Courtesy City of Victoria)

Vic High alum James Summer is the City of Victoria’s new youth poet laureate. (Courtesy City of Victoria)

Slam poetry expert introduced as Victoria’s new youth poet laureate

Vic High alum James Summer will serve in the role for 2021

A local slam poetry aficionado is Victoria’s new youth poet laureate.

James Summer, who began writing poetry as a coping strategy while attending Vic High and later became president of the school’s slam poetry club, will serve in the role for 2021, program co-sponsors the City of Victoria and Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) announced Jan. 15.

ALSO READ: Victoria’s youth poetry slam goes digital to accommodate COVID-19

Summer will be mentored by Victoria’s poet laureate John Barton and has actively participated in such showcases as Vic Voices and Hullabaloo, as well as various open mic events. Summer hopes to bring his love of this artistic medium to other youth in the region, and help provide a safe space for those who want to express growth, pain and love through the written and spoken word.

“Poetry has helped me cope with feelings of loneliness and memories of a bittersweet childhood,” he said in a release. “As a transgender individual and as youth poet laureate, I hope that I can bring awareness about the topic of being transgender and to have important conversations about stigma and labels.”

In the honourary role, Summer will serve as the city’s champion for youth and the literary arts, and work to inspire and engage local youth to share their stories on the page and verbally. The Youth Poet Laureate creates and presents new works to city council and Victoria’s youth council, does poetry readings at various city and GVPL events and organizes a community youth poetry event. Many of those events will be held virtually in the age of COVID-19.

Mayor Lisa Helps is excited about Summer’s appointment.

“I know his work and unique talent will inspire and give youth an important voice that will help connect and build a stronger community around poetry,” she said.

ALSO READ: Nominations open for Victoria’s 2021 Youth Poet Laureate

The youth poet laureate receives a $1,750 honourarium for the role and $2,000 in project funding, paid for by the city and GVPL. Applications for the position were open to Capital Region poets aged 14 to 24 who had an established body of work and had been recognized for notable contributions to the art.

You can find more about the program at victoria.ca/youthpoetlaureate.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email:don.descoteau@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

ArtsCity of Victoria

Just Posted

Jimmy Seymour was recognized for his outstanding work as the solid waste operator for Stz’uminus First Nation. (Submitted photo)
Top Jimmy: Ladysmith-area man takes your trash, leaves a smile

Jimmy Seymour uses his job as solid waste operator to spread kindness through Stz’uminus First Nation

Proprietor of Sweet Truck, Morgan Ray, as she hands off her baked goods to a customer. (Photo courtesy of Avrinder Dhillon Photography)
Vancouver Island baker eyes move back from food truck to bricks and mortar

Storefront offers more stability amid growth in sales: Ray

Emissions from the City of Abbotsford's vehicles make up the largest share of the municipality's emissions.
File photo
Vancouver Island councillor leads campaign to reduce building-sector GHG emissions

Courtenay’s Will Cole-Hamilton pushing for building emission legislation

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Thousands protested in Victoria following the death of George Floyd in the U.S. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. not exempt: New report documents 150 years of racism and the fight against it

Booklet marks province’s 150th anniversary with call for transparency, change

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

A mobile home fire prompted a quick response from firefighters Saturday around 3:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Mobile home up in flames at Duncan RV Park

One patient burned, EHS on scene

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Works crews have begun to install roads and other infrastructure to service the Nigel Valley redevelopment project that will bring nearly 800 new housing units to Saanich over the next several years. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Prep work begins on massive Nigel Valley development in Saanich

Construction of first two developments expected to begin fall 2021, B.C. Housing says

Gregory Ould, co-founder and executive director of Blanket BC, drops off warming blankets to Our Home on Eighth shelter in Port Alberni during a tour of Vancouver Island on Feb. 19, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Blanket BC delivers warmth, hope to Vancouver Island’s homeless

Gregory Ould donated blankets, toques in five communities

Duncan Christian’s Grace George lines up a shot during the three-point portion of the BC School Sports Pandemic Basketball Challenge after taking a pass from Cam Stevens. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan Christian leads the way in pandemic basketball challenge

School tops participation numbers for second time this year

The shadow cast of the Satyr Players production of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’: Linda Dohmeier as Dr. Scott, Olivia Erickson as Columbia, Brandon Caul as Rocky, Christopher Carter as Brad, Charlie Prince as Eddie, Branden Martell as Riff Raff, Jenna Morgan as Magenta, Megan Rhode as Janet and Adrien Kennedy as Dr. Frank-N-Furter (clockwise from left). (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
VIU student actors go online for 25th-annual ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’

Satyr Players theatre company to broadcast pre-recorded shadow production

Most Read