As literature lovers and longtime supporters of Megaphone magazine, we are thrilled to hear that they just launched their 12th annual special literary anthology of Voices of the Street — Stealing Looks at the Sun: Writing about Climate Change in 2022, which showcases the voices and vision of marginalized writers and photographers.
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Megaphone is a not-for-profit organization that strives to change the story on poverty by promoting social equity, amplifying marginalized voices and creating meaningful work. Megaphone offers a series of writing workshops for marginalized writers in Vancouver and publishes them in the monthly magazine and annual anthology that low-income vendors sell on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria.
Each year, more than 175 people experiencing poverty earn income working as Megaphone magazine vendors. Many live with barriers to traditional employment — homelessness, addiction, mental and physical health challenges and more. Selling the magazine gives vendors a voice in their community, a sense of pride and a much-needed flexible source of income. Megaphone also amplifies marginalized voices through writing, photography and public dialogue. Sharing their stories has the power to make change: it connects them to each other. Participants have the opportunity to express themselves and audiences hear powerful insights into lived experiences of poverty and marginalization.
Voices of the Street
Each year, Voices of the Street offers a collection of poems, stories, essays and creative writing by Megaphone vendors and other writers marginalized by poverty and homelessness, many of whom have participated in Megaphone’s creative writing workshops.
This year’s anthology, Stealing Looks at the Sun: Writing About Climate Change in 2022, features 34 powerful contributions from writers whose work reflects on effervescent memories of time spent in Haida Gwaii, contemplates the mystery of crows and hummingbirds, recounts experiences of surviving harrowing climate events, powerfully calls for government action on climate change, and so much more. And for the second year, the anthology also features beautiful full-colour photographs taken by two community photographers, Priscillia Mays Tait and Mike McNeeley.
Writers included in this year’s edition express the many challenges linked to the constellation of inequalities that come from a life lived in poverty. They are often the people closest to the ground during natural disasters and the ones most poorly equipped — at least economically — to navigate upheavals brought about by climate crises.
“Voices of the Street provides a platform for creative expression by those least likely to be heard: people surviving in the midst of poverty, inadequate housing, physical and mental illness, substance use disorders and other challenges,” says Megaphone Managing Editor Paula Carlson. “These are the residents in our communities who are silenced by stigma, so Megaphone seeks out and showcases their stories. Their talent is phenomenal. When you walk past someone sitting on a sidewalk or camped out on the street, you might just be walking by a gifted poet,” Carlson says. “Stop and say hello.”
How you can support Voices of the Street
You can find more information on Megaphone on their website where you can also buy a digital copy of Voices of the Street. And if you are local to Vancouver you are also invited to join in a celebration of the 2022 edition of Voices of the Street at a special launch event on June 22 from 6:00–8:30 p.m. at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (149 W. Hastings), where some of the gifted community writers featured in the book will read their stories, and Vancouver’s Poet Laureate Fiona Tinwei Lam will also offer a special reading.