It’s not a topic one normally hears as part of everyday poetry. But it’s what Julia Young decided to tackle as part of Victorious Voices, an annual slam poetry competition.
“It came out of thinking about how this was something that was unique to me that I could say that maybe other people couldn’t say because they didn’t know or it was too stressful or taboo,” said the Grade 12 Esquimalt High student.
“I didn’t want to be like every other poet. I wanted to talk about something which I could reach out to different people in a humorous way.”
And that’s exactly what she did. Her poem about her own personal bladder problems was a success after she performed in front of dozens of students.
Young is part of a group of Esquimalt High students preparing to take on eight schools around the Island, including Reynolds Secondary, Pearson College, Brentwood College, Chemanus, Shawnigan Lake, Glenlyon Norfolk and the Greater Victoria Public Library as part of the seventh annual Victorious Voices competition next week.
As part of the competition, poets from each team perform a poem and teams perform a group poems in front of other schools.
Many poems focus on issues that impact youth such as anxiety, depression and social injustices.
According to Esquimalt High teacher and poetry coach Anita Roberts, poetry has become a vehicle that more students around the Island are using to express themselves.
“People play off each other’s energy and realize anyone can do this. There’s very few places that young people can authentically express themselves with complete unconditional support,” Roberts said, adding one student turned her father’s eulogy into poetry.
“Lots of kids who have certain issues or are going through something hard will start writing and performing. They will say it’s something they used to work through their issues.”
For Victoria coun. Jeremy Loveday, poetry has been a big part of his life for the past eight years.
“It's the energy of young people performing their work and their work passionately in front of an audience of their peers. Every year it's the most inspiring thing that I get to be a part of. To see a youth voice amplified and celebrated, it's a really specicial thing,” Loveday said.
Victorious Voice runs from Monday, April 11 at Wednesday, April 13 at various venues around Victoria. The event also includes workshops from Victoria’s youth poet laureate as an introduction to spoken word and Winona Linn. For more information visit vicvoices.com.