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At the mic: calling teens to read poetry

The 2nd annual Amplify Open Mic Night encourages teens to sign up and read their poetry on May 2 at Confections Cake Co.
Medgine Mathurin returns to Amplify Open Mic Night on Thursday, May 2 at at Confections Cake Co. In the photo, she is performing poetry at the 2019 Amplify Festival.

The dimly lit Confections Cake Co. in downtown St. Albert, with its artistic wall hangings and glass showcase filled with yummy cakes, is the ideal venue for teen poets eager to read their poetry.  

Aspiring poets from 13 to 21 years are encouraged to sign up for a night of poetic performances and readings on Thursday, May 2. Poetry, short stories, atmospheric scenes and essays are all acceptable works.  

It’s an opportunity for young poets to share personal experiences, explore gender identity, sexuality, romance, race, poverty and various types of religious phobia. Spoken word poetry is a type of performance that demands more than simple recitation. Whether emotional, playful, honest, irreverent or gritty, it involves word play, vocal inflection, expression and at times arm gestures. 

While St. Albert’s young creatives are putting on a show, the audience is welcome to enjoy a dessert and participate in the presentation by snapping their fingers or clapping during highlight moments. 

“Last year it was like a rock concert. Everyone was so enthusiastic about the poets. The response was loud and full of energy. The whole evening was full of life,” said Kathleen Bell, city liaison with the Amplify Advisory Committee, the evening’s hosts. 

Amplify also welcomes special guest poet Medgine Mathurin, a Haitian-born multilingual poet now living in Edmonton. 

“She’s wonderfully trilingual. She presents in French, English and Creole. She’s such a great performer and so engaging. She turns poetry into a high level of performing. She weaves between three languages and still makes it understandable. She’s very creative and such a bright light,” Bell said. 

Another special guest attending the event is Arienette Zak, the newly acclaimed poet laureate for St. Albert. 

“It’s incredible to have Ari with us. Ari started with Amplify at a young age and she knows what it’s like to be up there. Last year she was the host. She’s been so important in mentoring youth, and she still makes time for STARK Poets.” 

Bell adds that individuals involved in creative pursuits often need to share their work. 

“We all want to be heard regardless of age, and to be seen and to be heard is important for teens. It can be a motivation, and it’s a way to build a resume and receive feedback.” 

Bell also adds that the writing is on an impressively high level. 

“To be on the other side and listen to what teens have to say is so important. And hearing what they have to say will resonate with you. There's a lot of positive energy in the room and everyone walks away feeling they’ve had a good experience and enjoyed the positive vibes.” 

Open Mic Night starts at 7 p.m. Poets interested in reading are encouraged to pre-register online at 

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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