The City’s first Youth Poet Laureate was announced during General Committee this morning marking the beginning of National Poetry Month.
Rebecca Zseder, 17, will represent the City as Mississauga’s literary ambassador for youth. The objective of the Youth Poet Laureate is to elevate the status of poetry, literary arts and young writers through the development of a community youth poetry event or project.
“On behalf of the City of Mississauga and Members of Council, we would like to congratulate Rebecca Zseder on becoming our community’s inaugural Youth Poet Laureate,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “To help mark this celebrated occasion, Mississauga is participating in Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge, a national initiative to promote the art of poetry.”
Zseder, a grade 12 student at St. Marcellinus Secondary School, was chosen for the honorary position because of her talent in spoken word. Her poetry includes topics that are important to the residents of Mississauga.
“Rebecca’s role with engaging and empowering youth through poetry and the literary arts reflects the important leadership role that youth will play in shaping Mississauga’s cultural future,” said Paul Damaso, Director, Culture Division, City of Mississauga.
Anna Yin was announced as the City’s first Poet Laureate in June 2015. Since her introduction, she has participated in city-wide events including Canada Day, Remembrance Day and the Mayor’s New Year’s Levee.
Zseder read a poem entitled Sincerely, Poet during today’s General Committee meeting. Her next appearance will be for Music Monday at Celebration Square on May 2 during the countdown event for the Mississauga 2016 Ontario Summer Games.
Zseder will receive a $1,500 honorarium for serving a one year term as the Youth Poet Laureate beginning in April.
Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge
Both Zseder and Yin read poems at General Committee today in response to a poetry challenge issued to Mayor Bonnie Crombie by Mayor Naheed Nenshi from the City of Calgary.
Nenshi challenged mayors across Canada to have local poets read poems during a Council meeting this month as April marks National Poetry Month.
The purpose of the challenge is to recognize poetry, writing, small presses and the contribution of poets and all writers to the quality of life in our communities.
“Mississauga is doing its part to raise awareness about the importance of poetry and by recognizing how important local talented artists, a thriving arts scene and creative industries are to city-building,” added Mayor Crombie.
Rebecca Zseder Biography
Rebecca Zseder is a Grade 12 student currently enrolled in the Specialist High Skills Major Arts and Culture program at St. Marcellinus Secondary School. In 2012 she was the Canadian Women’s League Regional Public Speaking Champion for Peel Region and the Provincial Public Speaking Runner-Up for Ontario. In that same year she was also both the Regional and National Champion at the Canadian Improv Games. Most recently, Rebecca was the recipient of a Sears Ontario Drama Festival Award of Outstanding Merit for writing.