November 1, 2017
The City of Edmonton and the City of Edmonton Youth Council have named Grayson Thate as Edmonton’s new Youth Poet Laureate.
Thate is a 19-year-old poet and tap dancer based in Edmonton whose art is largely influenced by the sociopolitical climate and his experiences as a queer artist. When he isn’t writing, Grayson studies physics at the University of Alberta and undertakes advocacy and education work within LGBTQ+ communities.
“Youth have so many valuable ideas, and I can’t think of a better way to communicate these ideas than through writing,” says Thate. “Youth deserve to have spaces for their voices to be heard, and since the Youth Poet Laureate position was created, engagement and involvement of youth in Edmonton’s writing community has significantly increased. I think the Youth Poet Laureate is important because youth can have a mentor that they see themselves in and will feel that their ideas and voices have a place in the community.“
In 2016, Thate was awarded the Loic Cremer Creative Writing Scholarship in recognition of his commitment and passion to the writing community. As the new Youth Poet Laureate, he wants to encourage youth to explore their identities through writing, and to engage in honest dialogue about the issues faced by marginalized communities.
The Youth Poet Laureate performs at public events, including performing four original poems at Youth Council and City Council meetings, as well as creating a poetry project to engage with youth. The position is sponsored collaboratively by the Edmonton Poetry Festival, City of Edmonton Youth Council and the City of Edmonton.