restricted access Youth, Poetry, and Zines: Rewriting the Streets as Home


This article focuses on an under-examined archive of young adult literature—words and images created by, for, and about street youth. We describe how street-identified youth use poetry and various forms of cultural jamming to engage in social commentary. Drawn from the pages of a street youth zine developed in a western Canadian city, the poems and images analyzed here illustrate the ways the youth writers remix popular cultural materials such as signs, songs and alphabet books to create new scripts about drugs, homelessness, and youth. In this literature of the streets, youth rewrite the discourses of homelessness and create new storylines that critique the way society serves its citizens. We argue that this archive also asks adult readers, critics, and teachers to rethink traditional categories of YA literature to include writings produced by and for underrepresented youth.