Two Poems for Stuart Cowan

Hazing ceremonies in uber-macho settings often read as an inexplicably dangerous ceremony for the rights to passage. Excessive drinking, physical and sexual assault, and alpha-male thirst are all key elements of the ceremonies gone wrong in today’s media cycle.

Recently, I stumbled upon an article on an Upper Canada College alum experience at a hazing ritual. He opened up to writer Mark Gollum about vivid details and realizations now that he has grown and reflected—not only on his own experience as a victim, but also on those of other students at boys schools in the Greater Toronto Area.

St. Michael’s College has found itself in hot water as of recent: two videos of alleged assaults were released onto the Internet. The police continue their investigation, as onlookers point to the school administration for failing to address past instances of assault. The school’s principal and president have since resigned.

Reading Stuart’s story inspired me to write and perform two poems on victims of sexual assault. The reading took place on November 28th at an event hosted by Victoria College at the University of Toronto. I hope that I have imbued upon viewers a greater appreciation for victims who step up to speak out about their horrific experiences.

The two poems I have written for Stuart Cowan are “Body Chemistry” and “The Selfless Voice". Please feel free to have a look by clicking the titles here, or by browsing through my poetry page. The page is often updated. But it may not seem that way, as poems are organized in alphabetical order as opposed to chronological order.

Mark Gollum has replied to my request this morning, and has passed these poems onto Stuart. I hope he enjoys them, and that you will too.

Cheryl Skylar Cheung