The Kids are Ultra Violet

By Chimwemwe Undi

Shaden Abusaleh on stage at the “Youth Open Mic”.
The rain that pattered down on streets was made suddenly beautiful by fall as people gathered in the Winnipeg Free Press Café for Thin Air’s “Youth Open Mic”. The audience bristled with excitement and support for the group of people who gathered their courage and shared, often for the first time, words that had been living in notebooks and lingering on minds.

Eva Rodrigues on stage and on fire!

 Expectations, whatever they were, were absolutely exceeded. People tend to underestimate youth, and forget that they are uniquely capable of a simultaneous naivety and maturity that often disappears with age. The poems were unexpected. Topics ranged from solidarity with Syrian youth to battling with mental illness, and even the topics that would often be described dismissively as adolescent, were approached with thoughtfulness and finesse. I climbed onto the stage, intimidated and inspired by each person who was as young as me or younger, and who had turned their personal experiences into such magnificent art.

Luke Cameron: passionate prairie boy.

Slam poetry is a medium that encourages individuality. Every poem you perform is impossible without you, and at a time when so many of us feel inconsequential, that is a powerful thing to have. It allows you to find your voice and to raise it, to realize that the personal is universal and the universe needs your personality. Shaden, a young poet who moved the crowd with her musings on humanity’s interdependency, said “True power lies within our youth”, and this event was evidence enough.