National Poetry Month is a little sweeter this year with the introduction of Mississauga’s new Youth Poet Laureate (YPL), Pujita Verma. She will represent the city as literary ambassador for youth.
The announcement was made April 9, during a municipal council general committee meeting. Verma succeeds the city’s first YPL, Rebecca Zseder. The objective of the appointment is to elevate the status of poetry, literary arts and young writers through the development of a community youth poetry event or project.
At 17 years old, Verma is in her senior year at Glenforest Secondary School. For the past two years, she has served as secretary for Ink Movement Mississauga, a youth-led non-profit organization that encourages youth to express what’s on their minds. She has also been a member of her school’s Student Writer’s Guild since 2014, performed at poetry slams across the GTA and is currently a national finalist for the 2018 Poetry In Voice Recitation Competition.
Her upcoming appearances include participation during the Canada Day festivities at Mississauga Celebration Square. She will also have the opportunity to be mentored by the city’s Poet Laureate, Wali Shah.
Verma’s work reflects mental well-being, life, the environment and “the miraculous nature of seemingly ordinary things.”
“Poetry is a way in which we can cherish small miracles and keep moments alive forever,” said Verma.
Pujita was chosen from a pool of very talented Mississauga youth. “We’re excited that her background in student-led community involvement combined with her passion for the literary arts will help connect even more young people to Mississauga’s growing arts scene,” said Paul Damaso, city’s director of culture.
Photo: Pujita Verma, Mississauga Youth Poet Laureate.