The Political Poet

The Political Poet

In a world that bombards us with messages of corruption, climate change, injustice and other economic and social issues, it’s challenging to maintain optimism that we can influence real change. 

Victoria City Councillor Jeremy Loveday demonstrates the power of using our unique and creative interests to create the most meaningful impact. 

Loveday has been City Councillor since 2014. His career in politics started with an interest in building community and working for social change. He didn’t anticipate running for office but as his focus went from broader international issues to local neighbourhood issues, he realized that city council was where he could have the most impact. 

Aside from his work as City Councillor with a strong focus on creating affordable housing, Loveday is also an award-winning spoken word poet speaking out on powerful social and environmental justice issues. He founded Victorious Voices, a spoken word poetry festival for youth. 

For Loveday the inspiration for spoken word poetry comes from the vulnerability and essence of a feeling and trying to find the universality of it. “Creating that empathy amongst people is what really connects me to it,” says Loveday. 

His passion for poetry may seem counterintuitive to a life in politics but for Loveday the two have more in common than we might think. 

“I love art that gears itself towards social, political or environmental change. I am inspired by it,” says Loveday. “I think the connection is that you are trying to move people. Move an idea, trying to propel something.”

Loveday also recognizes the dichotomy between politics and art. “There is a lot about the political system that stunts creativity, where we should be trying to make it flourish,” says Loveday. “We were talking at the council table and I am trying to problem-solve, then I find that the newspaper is taking quotes and spinning it.” 

His solution is encouraging a participatory democracy that can allow for more creativity, and people to show up just as they are.

“I am a big believer in vulnerability being a sign of strength,” says Loveday. “It’s something I really value in others and in myself.”

He also values leading a life with authentic purpose. When asked about his life philosophy he responded with a guiding quote:i

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
— Howard Thurman

“You can access strength that you otherwise can’t access,” says Loveday. “That also means what makes you come alive, isn’t necessarily what is easiest it is often what’s challenging and hard.”

Some of Loveday’s challenges included having a fear of public speaking and a speech impediment. He attributes personal storytelling as a way to overcome his limitations.

“The speech impediment is not in my story that I tell, and it is shifting in that way,” says Loveday. “I recognize that it is very formative to the fact I am now a spoken word artist.”

Loveday even used his spoken word talent in a debate to recognize environmental rights and a healthy environment for people in the Canadian Constitution.

“I introduced the motion by doing a spoken word poem,” says Loveday. “The time limit to do your speech is three minutes and because I do poetry slam which is a three minute competition, I knew I had a poem that was exactly the right amount of time.” 

The motion was passed. 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the wrong in the world - but perhaps if we focus on what makes us right for the world we can move more motions like Loveday.