A group of youth poets in Regina are empowering others through spoken word.
Tai Cook, a member of the Regina Word Up Poetry Slam Team, says it gives people from every walk of life an opportunity to share their voice while also giving them a platform to be heard.
“You have to put your hardships onto paper,” Cook said. “When everyone else is putting their soul onto paper, it makes it easier for you to connect with people and be able to relate to similar experiences.”
Cook discovered the art of spoken word as a teenager.
“There’s a lot of weight being held with what’s happening in society as an Indigenous person,” Cook said.
The 19-year-old says performing poetry allows the group to come to terms with the growing uncertainty of the world.
“When everyone else is putting their soul onto the paper it makes it easier for you to connect with people and be able to relate to similar experiences,” Cook said.
Spoken word performances have been growing in popularity as an art form.
A poetry slam is a competition in which individuals or teams perform their own personal poetry before an audience or judges.
“I kind of learned the power of words and the power of literacy through spoken word,” said 21-year-old Daniella Mercedez.
“It also taught me about the impact that words can and do have on people.”
The team of five has qualified to compete in the Voices of Today poetry festival in Toronto in August where they will share their words on a national stage.
Cook hopes to be a role model for other youth looking to share their voice.
“I’d never really seen people who look like me on TV or on stage before so being able to be that person for someone else is really inspiring,” Cook said.
The team has started a GoFund Me page to help raise money to cover some of their travel expenses.