Overview

CEYC and outgoing Poet Laureate, Mary Pinkoski, are pleased to announce that Charlotte Cranston has been named the City of Edmonton’s first Youth Poet Laureate.  She will hold this position for a year starting June 1, 2015.

Charlotte Cranston has been in love with words since the first time she heard one.  She is a two-time member of the Edmonton slam team, which performs each October at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. She began exploring spoken word poetry at YouthWrite, and was a member of the camp’s professional troupe, the Spoken Word Youth Choir.

Her work has been published in The Gateway Magazine, numerous online publications, and The Glass Buffalo, the University of Alberta’s literary magazine.  As Youth Poet Laureate, she wants to develop safe spaces for the city’s young people to learn, share, and celebrate their art. She aims to create a hub for poets to meet regularly with other like-minded youths, as well as established poets within the community.

When she is not writing, she studies Sociology at the University of Alberta. She has also played the roles of improviser, singer, instructor, and princess-for-hire. Much of her writing is steeped in her passion for social issues; all of her writing is steeped in her passion for life. For more information and to stay up to date check out Charlotte's Facebook page.

Cranston, a 21 year old University of Alberta sociology student and lifeguard, has been a member of Edmonton’s poetry community for the past few years. She began exploring spoken word poetry at YouthWrite, and was a member of the camp’s professional troupe, the Spoken Word Youth Choir. Her work at YouthWrite continues as a supervisor. Cranston is also a two-time member of the Edmonton Poetry Slam team, representing Edmonton at the 2015 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Saskatoon.

Much of Cranston’s writing is steeped in her passion for social issues, which will be reflected in her goals for her youth laureate term. “As Edmonton’s first Youth Poet Laureate, I want to create safe spaces for the city’s young people to learn, share, and celebrate their art,” says Cranston whose passion for poetry and youth engagement inspired the interview panel.

Cranston notes that she is entering the role with the idea that the role of the youth poet laureate is to invite young people to share their stories, to connect with and advocate for other young artists, and to help build a city-wide culture of compassion and understanding.

The position, which saw over 20 applicants, was created as a legacy project for outgoing Poet Laureate Mary Pinkoski’s term. “I wanted to start a project that would have a lasting and continually growing effect in the community,” says Pinkoski, who has spent much of her poetry career working to engage and highlight youth voices in the city. Pinkoski will mentor Cranston through her year as Youth Poet Laureate and already has some plans in place for performances and workshops.

Charlotte on CBC Radio's Radio Active program with host Portia Clark.

Charlotte on CBC Radio's Radio Active program with host Portia Clark.

As for her part, Cranston is delighted to have been selected. “The opportunity to work with Edmonton’s young poets is an honour. I can’t wait to see what my favourite city’s young people will create in the coming year!, “ she adds. Edmonton has become only the second municipality in Canada to have a youth poet laureate.

Some of the opportunities and responsibilities will be to create two original poems to be performed at City of Edmonton Youth Council and City Council. The Youth Poet Laureate will receive a honorarium for their work over the year. This position is sponsored collaboratively by the City of Edmonton Youth Council, the City of Edmonton, YouthWrite ® and outgoing Edmonton Poet Laureate Mary Pinkoski.