Support young voices to be elevated and amplified!
Hamilton Youth Poets (HYP) was created in 2012 to give our community's youth the opportunity to develop their creative skills and have their voices heard. HYP has grown steadily and evolved into an arts organization that engages Hamilton youth in the act of telling their own stories through spoken word, verse, multimedia, poetry slam, and new age journalism. This year-round work is then celebrated every spring in an awe inspiring culmination of our annual festival, Louder Than A Bomb Canada: Youth Poetry Festival (LTABC).
We believe in putting the art, culture and tools of the telling of stories into the hands of young citizens. When our young people can tell and re-tell their histories in context of public platforms, they are able to imagine and re-imagine their individual and collective identities, and become culturally grounded in their own experiences. Through the listening to and telling of authentic stories, participants – both performers and audience members—gain understandings of one’s city that can result in new empathies for difference among its members, and the place(s) we call home.
HYP prides itself on having created a youth-focused spoken word community; our events are, in part, organized, promoted, and facilitated by youth - and serves All Ages and Stages. This makes us a unique, community-driven organization that focuses on youth leadership, but is inclusive to the community as a whole. In order to promote and empower our youth, HYP offers its poet’s opportunities to not only compete in poetry competitions, but also to gain training as arts organizers. Providing our youth poets with the tools to work in leadership positions within the artistic community, while ensuring they have continued chances to practice and showcase their artistic craft has led to HYP success and longevity, something we hope to strengthen, expand and sustain.
1. Galvanize civically-engaged and culturally-literate citizens.
Dedicated to developing spaces where young people are invited to tell their stories, actively contributing to an affirmative youth culture, while finding new ways to expand our community to all. HYP's makes it possible for students and their communities, which might otherwise be separated by differences in race, culture, and postal code, to create a shared cultural understanding through the telling of stories.
2. Deliver tools for young people to craft and share stories.
HYP lead occasions of cultural learning and emotional well-being, for young people of All Ages and Stages to study writing and literary display. Through HYP’s workshops, mentorship opportunities, and public performance platforms, students find and cultivate their authentic voices.
3. Invigorate educational spaces.
HYP uses a pedagogy which aims to put young people at the center of their learning experience as a way to engage them in their own education. HYP empowers students, some of whom have been disenfranchised by the educational system, to pursue their academic ambitions.
4. Create pathways for emerging artists.
HYP positions its young, accomplished students as apprentices in the delivery of HYP/LTABC programs, supporting them with professional development opportunities. The organization provides teaching, writing, and performing platforms for motivated students to gain footholds as working artists and grassroots educators
As part of the HYP program we currently offer leadership and competition opportunities to our current HYP team, formed from poets who have competed throughout the year, and the finalists. his core team expands yearly, offering positions to five new poets each May. As part of the initial training, core team poets have the opportunity to represent Hamilton on local and international stages, offer mentorship to other youth via workshops, poetry slams, and team development for LTABC.