By Maxine Kozak, Writer for RU Student Life

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Each month, we explore poetic genres and feature Toronto poets. This month, we’re looking at spoken word poetry.

Spoken word poetry is rooted in oral traditions that can be traced back centuries. As poet Etheridge Knight wrote, “there were poets long before there were printing presses”. Characterized by rhyme, repetition, improvisation, and wordplay, the genre can be considered a mixed-media art form of sorts as it often blends elements of music and theatre.

The genre emerged from the jazz poetry of the 1920s and the subsequent experiments of 1950s beat generation. American poet and critic Edward Hirsch wrote that the spoken word genre encompasses a wide range of writing that is recited aloud including poetry readings, poetry slams, hip hop, jazz poetry, beat poetry and prose monologues. The main divergence lies within spoken word’s departure from physical aesthetics and in turn, an emphasis on the aesthetics of sound. …


By Maxine Kozak, Writer for RU Student Life

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Illustrated by Mahtab Abghari

Last year, I wrote about my experience with mental health treatment and critiqued the popular “recovery narrative” promoted by anti-stigma campaigns like #BellLetsTalk. To summarize, I wrote, “here’s what I’d like to see more of from #BellLetsTalk: rather than promoting a “recovery narrative”, whereby some spokespeople for the campaign portray a “clean” image of mental health (where recovery is the final destination), could we talk about the nuance of recovery as a process? …


By Madi Wong, Writer for RU Student Life

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Growing up, my mom has always embedded words of advice into my mind about being safe in the city.

“Walk on sidewalks with streetlights,” “Don’t listen to your music too loud at night,” “Always take a friend with you,” “Hold your keys between your knuckles as a weapon,” are some of the tips I have been given over the years.

These kinds of tips have been passed onto daughters, granddaughters, friends, partners, from generations of women all around the world. …

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