About Raising Voices

Raising Voices works to show students poetry is a living, breathing art form.  We send some of Victoria’s best spoken word poets into schools around the Vancouver Island region.  Our poets range from some of the hottest young voices in the Canadian poetry slam community, to veteran poets with years of experience as both performers and educators.  Our workshops and performances adapt to the needs of your students and your school.  Our poets embody a wide range of styles and experience, and make poetry engaging and fun – even for students who think they hate it!  We’ve designed our workshops specifically for English, Drama, and Creative Writing classes, and they’re suitable for every grade level.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!  The next day I had many students come to talk with me about how much it meant to them.”

Barbara Stoochnoff, Chemainus Secondary School

Our goals include:

Making poetry matter to youth.

  • Many youth today have learned to think of poetry as a synonym for boredom.  Raising Voices workshops include energetic live performances that will dispel this notion.
  • Helping youth understand the connection between speaking well and having successful relationships with others demonstrates that the practical purpose of creative writing goes beyond artistic pursuits.
  • Raising Voices offers a contemporary entry point to the study of literature that is exciting and relevant to the lives of youth today.

Offering youth a platform for their voice.

  • Raising Voices workshops will encourage youth to explore their own thinking in their own words.
  • These workshops offer the structure and direction to make space for creative writing amidst the stress of academic pressures.
  • Raising Voices facilitators offer students the inspiration to create their own poems, and direct them in how they might find or create stages to share their work.

Building relationships between artists, youth, educators, and Island communities.

  • Raising Voices workshops offer students a fresh and unique classroom experience, offer educators a more engaged set of pupils as well as creative approaches to making literature fun to study, and offer poets an opportunity to strengthen relations with the communities they live in.
  • Victoria Poetry Project has fostered a vibrant poetry community with a strong history of engaging youth within the CRD, producing Victorious Voices and helping create a Youth Poet Laureate position for Victoria: Raising Voices aims to connect that community with communities across Vancouver and the Gulf Islands, and stimulate the growth of poetry communities all over the place.

Growing new audiences for poetry.

  • Poetry is for everyone.  But not everyone knows it.  Simply put, we want to connect with people who may never have known they loved words so much.
  • Growing audiences doesn’t just mean putting butts in seats, but creating space for new poets to bring their work to the stage.  Leaving a slam, it’s not uncommon to hear people say they want to go home and write a poem.  After inspiring through their performance, Raising Voices facilitators offer the tools to do just that.

Offering poets an opportunity to do what they do best!

  • One of the best ways we know for advancing artistic practices is to offer artists opportunities to be experts in their chosen form.
  • Many poets operate in a state of alienation, with little recognition for their talents.  Raising Voices wants to give good established and upcoming artists the opportunity to expand, and be empowered to be artists.
  • Raising Voices workshops send a message to artists and youth alike: creative living is possible!

 HAVING LOTS OF FUN!

Maybe it sounds cheesy or cliche, but it’s true.  And it’s important to what we do in the classroom.  We don’t try to manufacture fun.  We just have it.  And we’ve discovered that having fun is contagious.  Raising Voices seeks to spread that contagion so everyone benefits.

Want to join in the fun?  Ask us how we can bring it to you at poets.raising.voices@gmail.com.