High school slam poetry championships go downtown

The third annual high school poetry slam championships, Victorious Voices, is moving into the Victoria Event Centre

Young performance poets from high schools across Greater Victoria are bringing their art form into the spotlight.

The third annual high school poetry slam championships, Victorious Voices, is moving out of the Reynolds secondary school theatre and into the Victoria Event Centre in an effort to involve the public in Victoria’s growing slam scene. Lending their names and guest judging skills to the competition this year are Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin and poet laureate Janet Rogers.

“Expect to be inspired,” said Jeremy Loveday, event organizer and host. “These youth poets are incredibly talented and passionate. For the last two years it’s been the most inspiring event of the year for me. … We’ve been really excited to bring the event to the public downtown, so people can see what they’ve been missing and be as inspired as I’ve been.”

Pearson College, SJ Willis Educational Centre, Belmont secondary, Spectrum Community School and Glenlyon Norfolk will take the stage, beginning April 2. For the first year Reynolds secondary will send both a junior and a senior team to the competition.

“This is the whole point: to build community and to empower youth to speak the truth and have them carry that with them throughout their lives,” Loveday said.

The evening will feature Victoria high school youth slam championship alumnus of honour, Keenan Proud, a participant in the first high school championships two years ago. Proud went on join the Victoria slam team that competed nationally and later became the volunteer coordinator for Tongues of Fire, a local spoken word/performance poetry community.

The semi-finals are slated for April 2, with the top four teams carrying on to the April 4 finals. Both performances take place at the Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad St. Admission is $2 for students or $5 for adults at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. with shows beginning at 7:30.

“People should think of the cheesy poetry that they wrote in high school and know that this is completely different and really inspiring,” Loveday added.