In the primary wing of her school, Amber adds an extra 3ft to her view as she scales a bench that sits right below an unused bulletin board. She has found the perfect backdrop for a scene in her poem to be filmed, and she couldn’t be more excited to nail this last segment and call it a wrap. She speaks with confidence, and the cameraman Randy Kelly encourages her to try one more take for extra footage. With a smile that exudes gentleness, she begins with, “Don’t change who you are just because of what other people think.”
Amber is one of the seven students at Stonecrest Elementary who have been involved with the Slam Poetry workshops through the MASC Rural Awesome Arts program. Amber and her six classmates came on board without much prior knowledge of what to expect from a slam poetry workshop, but their eagerness to learn and participate was evident from the start. Amber finished her poem the night of the first workshop and presented it the following day, even though she says she never wrote a poem before. Because of her quick writing skills, Amber was chosen to create a Cinepoem (a “music video” for the poetry world) that will be screened at the Awesome Arts Festival. The other five students will perform their pieces live, and the titles range from, “Dear Canada”, to, “The Season”.
The Awesome Arts Slam Poetry participants explored creative writing techniques and use of literary devices to create poems that have rhythm and cadence. These poems tackled diversity and inclusion from a Canadian perspective, and the participants were challenged to select a different writing style and prompt for each piece.
As she jumps off the bench, Amber giggles as I tell her that her video will be uploaded to YouTube for viewing and sharing, and I could tell by her eyes and laughter that she has no problems with that at all.
– Jamaal Jackson Rogers