Entertainment and activities | April 23, 2021
The City of Mississauga – through its Culture division – recently announced that Qurat Dar will be its third Youth Poet Laureate for 2021-2023. Qurat Dar will serve as a literary ambassador for youth in the city, as well as help elevate the status of poetry, literary arts and young writers through community poetry events and projects.
This honorary position recognizes a young poet who writes excellent poetry or spoken word, and has written on themes that are relevant to the citizens of Mississauga.
Qurat Dar is a spoken word artist, organizer, multi-genre writer and the 2020 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (CIPS) National Champion. She was also a 2019 recipient of the Ron Lenyk Inspiring Youth Arts Award and a 2018 Best of the Net finalist.
Her work has appeared in Canthius, Augur Magazine, Art Gallery of Mississauga and other places. She also has a poetry chapbook (a short collection of poems) in the works with Coven Editions. When not dabbling in poetry, Qurat is busy studying environmental engineering at the University of Guelph. She is deeply interested in the intersections between the sciences and the arts, especially in the context of the climate crisis.
The City of Mississauga is also celebrating National Poetry Month in April with a series of virtual events. If you love rhymes and poetry, check out this list of remaining events including the City’s Second Annual Poetry Slam.
Thursday, April 29 at 6 p.m.
The Second Annual Mississauga Poetry Slam is going virtual this year. Watch some of Mississauga’s best poets tell their stories and speak their truths in this free online event hosted by Mississauga Poet Laureate, Paul Edward Costa, with special guest judges scoring each performance. There will be prizes for the top three poets. Register online.
Wednesdays at 4 p.m. until May 12
Express your creativity through poetry. Meet and connect with teen poets, try some poetry prompts and activities, share your work and more. Register online.
Submissions close April 30 at 5 p.m.
Send the Libraries your best original poem for a chance to win a gift card prize. The Mississauga Poet Laureate and library staff are looking for uniqueness, creativity, attention to detail and overall impact when selecting winners. Email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. See contest rules.
By: Qurat Dar
In defense of the afternoon
spent with the sun painting
In defense of the evening
spent with your feet in the lake,
with the rest of you a sand-dusted bridge to shore.
In defense of the book that
didn’t teach you a thing but
passed the hours well enough.
In defense of the pastimes that
will never make us a cent. In defense
of the instrument awfully played, of the
sketches we would never show the
light of day, of every song we sing
along to in what is definitely the wrong key.
In defense of the five back-to-back episodes,
the newest seasons,
that allowed us the mercy of forgetting
ourselves even just for a moment.
In defense of the cancelled meeting,
the event unattended,
the to-do list forgotten,
the reins loosened just enough
that the blood returns to our hands.
In defense of the silence,
in defense of the quiet,
in defense of the messages left on read
and the gaps in conversation in which
you can hear the world going on without you.
In defense of time “wasted,”
as though time is a fruit that
will wither on its own vine if
it isn’t picked and pressed and
swallowed, as though time is not a river,
with sharply-cut banks and rapids that
near submerge us, as though it is not
enough to remain standing, to remain
breathing, rather than fighting the current
at every step, as though it is not enough
to close our eyes every once in a while
“Isn’t the water lovely?”