Youth Poet Laureate 2019-2020
Samantha Badaoa is a recent graduate of the University of Windsor (2018) with an Honours English Language and Literature, and a minor in Political Science. She has served as a contributor and editor for publications including The Windsor Salt (Poetry and Prose, 2014); The South Detroit Chapbook Series (Water Damage, 2015); Sundays with the Tigers: Eleven Ways to Watch a Game (2015, Black Moss Press); The Voodoo Journals: Dispatches from a Haitian Grave (2016, Black Moss Press); and The Spitfire’s Embers: A Windsor Poetry Slam Collection (2018).
Badaoa is a recognized spoken word artist with an established body of work. She has been performing in Windsor for a number of years at open mic events and at various venues around the city. After becoming part of the popular Windsor Poetry Slam organization and event, she captured the title of Grand Champion in 2015 and went on to represent Windsor in multiple national poetry competitions. Badaoa has worked alongside Windsor’s Poet Laureate Emeritus, Marty Gervais, as well as several other established local authors over the years.
In her nomination materials, Badaoa says that, if selected as Windsor’s first Youth Poet Laureate, she would be an ambassador for literacy, writers and literary arts in Windsor. She describes herself as a young Arabic woman with a unique perspective into the communities in Windsor that are not often represented or heard, or who have been overlooked for one reason or another. Badaoa says that, while Windsor is not the city she was born in, it is the city she chooses to call home, where she is deeply invested and involved. Badaoa is proud of Windsor’s diversity and the wealth of stories waiting to be told in our community. As Youth Poet Laureate, she would like to focus on several areas of the community, including youth, immigrants, women, and Indigenous peoples. She sees great potential in literary arts programs and initiatives in languages other than English.
Appreciating what Marty Gervais created with Poetry at the Manor, Badaoa would like to create a youth-focused event called Slam Poetry at the Manor. She would also like to develop a program that pairs high school students with university students to work on the design, editing and publication of poetry chapbooks – seeing this as an opportunity for high school students to establish their own “literary path at an early age.”
Of Badaoa and her work, the selection committee members said they appreciated her strong local presence and the strength of her references. They described her as having made a tremendous contribution to the spoken word scene and as someone who has grown significantly as a poet and artist through her work with the Windsor Poetry Slam. They appreciated her local accomplishments, tremendous contributions to the spoken word scene and strong female voice.
Works shared during Samantha Badaoa's term as Youth Poet Laureate