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Mississauga’s Third Youth Poet Laureate to Inspire Young Writers in the Community

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.

Meet Qurat Dar

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.

Mississauga’s Youth Poet Laureate, Qurat Dar (Photo by: Kevin Konnyu)

Learn more about the City’s Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate program: https://culture.mississauga.ca/content/poet-laureate

Poetry Month

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.

  • 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. 

  • The Library’s Online Teen Poetry Club (Ages 13-19)

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.

  • The Library Poetry Contest

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 library.programs@mississauga.ca. See contest rules.

For more information about Poetry Month events, visit https://culture.mississauga.ca/content/mississauga-poetry-month.

 

In Defense of Just Being

By: Qurat Dar 

In defense of the afternoon

spent with the sun painting

your eyelids.

 

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

and think,

“Isn’t the water lovely?”

 

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