Past Events (2020)
Updated: Jan 31, 2022
Sean Braune’s first book of poetry, Dendrite Balconies, appeared in 2019 from the University of Calgary Press. He also has a book of philosophy, Language Parasites: Of Phorontology, that was published in 2017. Three poetry chapbooks have been published by above/ground press: the vitamins of an alphabet (2016), The Cosmos (2018), and Face Portraits and Author Cops (2018). As well, a fiction chapbook has appeared from AngelHousePress called Story of Lilith (2017). He is currently in post-production on his first feature-length film called Nuptials.
Sharon Goodier has been reading and writing in Toronto for over 5 years. She was a founding member of the new Art Bar Reading Series, has hosted 100,000 poets for change twice and initiated the engaged poetry meetup. Her poetry is skilled and relevant and can be found in several Canadian and American poetry journals.
Robin Richardson is the author of three collections of poetry, including Sit How You Want (winner of the Trillium Book Award / named one of the best books of the year by CBC), is Editor-in-Chief at Minola Review, and Founder of CITADEL Collective. Her work has appeared in Salon, POETRY, The American Poetry Review, The Walrus, Hazlitt, Best Canadian Poetry, and Tin House. She holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College with honours, and is a MacDowell fellow.
Laura Furster is the author of The Absence of Thirteen (Mosaic Press) and works as a freelance columnist for The Hamilton Spectator. She is also a fiction writer and fine art painter. A GTA native, Laura now works in her home studio in Hamilton, Ontario.
S.K.Y. Varnam is a queer, neurodivergent, and disabled Toronto-based writer, artist, and
editor, as well as the founder of The Quilliad Press. Their work has been published in several journals, including The Quarterday Review, Litbreak, Third Wednesday, and Transition
Magazine. Much of their work focuses on neurodivergency, disability, queerness, and feminist themes.
Klara du Plessis
Winner of the 2019 Pat Lowther Memorial Award and shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, Klara du Plessis’ debut collection Ekke was released from Palimpsest Press. Her second book is forthcoming in Fall 2020. Klara is a Ph.D. English Literature student at Concordia University, a researcher for SpokenWeb, and currently expanding her curatorial practice to include experimental Deep Curation poetry reading events, an approach which places poets’ work in deliberate dialogue with each other and heightens the curator’s agency toward the poetic product.
Host: Kate Marshall Flaherty
Joshua Levy is a poet, memoirist, fiction writer, and oral storyteller. Last year's CBC writer-in-residence, Levy still appears regularly on CBC digital, radio, and television. His work has been published by the Oxford University Press and Vehicle Press, and has appeared in Canadian and international literary magazines such as Malahat Review, Maisonneuve Magazine, the Puritan, and The Rumpus. Levy has won the Carte Blanche/CNFC Creative Nonfiction Prize, Prairie Fire Nonfiction Prize, SLS Fiction Prize, and CBC/QWF Writing Competition, and been shortlisted for other literary awards, including the CBC Nonfiction Prize, Chester B. Himes Memorial Fiction Contest, Vallum Poetry Chapbook Competition, Montreal International Poetry Prize, Barry Lopez Nonfiction Prize, and River Styx Microfiction Contest. His debut full-length poetry collection, The Loudest Thing, was published in November by Mansfield Press. Levy lives in Montreal.
Steven McCabe is an interdisciplinary artist drawing inspiration from pre-history, dreams, surreal juxtapositions, and dystopian paranoia. His blog Poemimage features Canadian and international poetry accompanied by his visual art. He spent the last year writing and editing the recently published Meme-Noir, based on recalling true-life experiences he emailed to himself over eight years. He is currently working with video editor and audio engineer, Konrad Skreta on their 7th video collaboration, a 30-minute work: Ode to a Wordless Poem.
Host: John Oughton
Host: Nancy Bullis
VALENTINE'S DAY CELEBRATION
Jeff Cottrill is a Toronto-based journalist, fiction writer, and spoken-word poet who has gigged in countless literary series in Ontario, the U.K., Ireland, France, and the United States over the past fifteen years. He is currently working on his seventh or eighth attempt at a first novel.
Valentino Assenza has been a published poet and spoken word artist for over the last two decades. He was a founding member of the Toronto Poetry Project, and was a member of the Toronto Poetry Slam team in 2009 and 2010 competing in both the Canadian Festival Of Spoken Word, and the National Poetry Slam in the US. He is also a past board member of the Art Bar Poetry Series. Valentino has had numerous individual poems published in such literary journals as Labour Of Love, Mic Check, and Descant Magazine. He has also published four chapbooks, and his first full-length book of poems "Through Painted Eyes" (Piquant Press) was launched January 2019. Since January 2015 Valentino has been the co-host and co-producer of Howl, a literary radio show on CIUT 89.5FM where he has interviewed such names as Denise Donlon, Sook Yin Lee, and Margaret Atwood
Rahul Gupta is mostly-retired from the high-stakes world of performance poetry but can sometimes be convinced to leave the cave for special nights like this. By day he serves the interests of Fake News as a "lamestream" journalist with a "clear bias and agenda". You might have seen him at Toronto Poetry Slam doing stuff. Also a certified drinking coach.
Host: Cynthia Gould
Anita Lerek has been a teacher, a trade and legal book editor, a literary agent, sociologist, lawyer, and now a Web entrepreneur. She is an outsider, born in post-war Poland to Holocaust survivors. Making do and making believe have connected up her diverse worlds. Her sculptor mother taught her the lesson of bearing witness to the hand you are dealt, and then crafting from that, a stripped down, finely chiselled, polished work – in art and in life. Through the magic of poetry, she contemplates the interplay of the personal and the historic, of trauma and spirit.
Numerous workshops and teachers in Toronto, and in the US have helped to shape her poetic vision including those at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass, and the Cape Cod Writers Center in Osterville, Mass. She is a member of several Toronto poetry working groups, the Renaissance Revival Poetry Group, the Hibiscus Writer’s Circle; and a founding partner in the start-up literary journal, Change Artists, with our own Sharon Goodier. Her poems have been published in the Canadian Jewish News Literary Supplement, Tikkun, Persimmon Tree, Split This Rock; and now in self-curated form on Facebook and Instagram personal creative pages. In July 2019, she produced a chapbook entitled, of History and Being.
Denis Stokes was born in Toronto and grew up in Scarborough. He was educated at
U. of T. and Vermont College.
He is the author of several chapbooks, including Scarborough Poems (Wordwrights
Canada), Dublin in the Sunlight and What the Street Knows (Albernum Press) plus the
book A Wolf Rages Down the Little Jocko.
His work has appeared in such journals as Descant, Queen’s Quarterly, Quarry, CVII,
Arc and various anthologies in Canada, the U.S., and Ireland.
Denis has lived/taught in northern B.C., northern Q.C., and northern Ontario. He
organizes the Conspiracy of 3 Reading Series in N. Bay, ON.
Host: Gavin Barrett
BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION
Dwayne Morgan is a two-time Canadian National Poetry Slam Champion. He began his
career as a spoken word artist in 1993. In 1994, he founded Up From The Roots
to promote the positive artistic contributions of African Canadian and
urban influenced artists.
Morgan is the 2018 winner of the Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award for Career
Achievement in Spoken Word. In 2016, Morgan was a finalist for the Premier’s
Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 2013, Morgan was inducted into the Scarborough
Walk of Fame. Morgan has received both the African Canadian Achievement Award, and
the Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 2012, Morgan performed at Super
Bowl 46, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Morgan is the winner of 3 Canadian Urban Music
Awards (2001, 2003, 2005). In 2005, Morgan was recognized as Poet of Honour at the
Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Vancouver, and in 2008 he was recognized on the Legacy Black History Month poster. In 2019, he founded and co-produced the inaugural Toronto Spoken Soul Festival.
Dwayne has performed for several top politicians and has shared the stage with many of Canada’s top artists.
Morgan has published thirteen books and chapbooks and several albums and a commemorative DVD entitled, Dwayne Morgan The First Fifteen.
Further, Dwayne collaborated with Driftwood Studios to film a ten-minute film, which premiered in Toronto’s Reel World Film Festival. Morgan produces and hosts two TV shows, Poetically Speaking, and Write in Toronto, on the Afroglobal Television Network, and Bell Fibe TV1 respectively.
Dwayne has travelled widely in his many creative efforts as a well-respected component of Toronto’s urban music community, as well as on the North American, and Global, spoken word scenes.
Charles C. Smith
Charles C. Smith is a poet, playwright, and essayist who has written and edited fourteen books. He studied poetry and drama with William Packard at New York University and Herbert Berghof Studios, drama at the Frank Silvera’s Writers’ Workshop in Harlem. He won second prize for his play Last Days for the Desperate from Black Theatre Canada, edited three collections of poetry and his poetry has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including Poetry Canada Review, the Quille, and Quire, Descant, Dandelion, Fiddlehead, and others.
Charles is the Executive Director of Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario and Artistic Director of the wind in the leaves collective. His recent books include: Travelogue of the bereaved, The Dirty War: The Making of the Myth of Black Dangerousness, Whispers (2014) and Destination Out (2018).
Host: Rudy Fearon
Jamie Urquhart is a developing poet living in Toronto. Hailing from Cork, Ireland, Jamie came to Canada in 2017 after earning a master’s degree in biochemistry and a certification in music; he has been honing his writing skills using his background in science and his love of the arts as inspiration for his reflective verse. His work has been featured in The Penny Dreadful, an Irish literary journal, and he is currently shaping a collection of both classic and experimental poems focusing on the metaphysical aspects of the quotidian.
Shomee is a multidisciplinary artist, who graduated from the University of Alberta, spent two semesters at the University of Winchester in the UK, and took Masters classes at York University. He is an acting coach, and currently is teaching creative writing workshops through GoBoomrang.com. His writing life includes works for theatre, film, poetry, short stories, auto-biographical works, songwriting and working on his novel about empathy called The Path of M. He also wrote and produced an adaptation of Hamlet, called Samsaria; blending Shakespeare with the aesthetics and philosophies from India, and is now turning it into a novel.
Host: Hanna Shafi
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Georgia Wilder writes poetry and short fiction. She is a winner of Quattro Books 'Best New Poets in Canada' (2018) for her collection 'Atom-Bomb Nostalgia' and was nominated for the Journey Prize for short fiction (2015). She runs a monthly poetry salon in Toronto called Wild Writers and has featured at many poetry events. She is nearing completion of a manuscript of interconnected poems entitled “The Change” and is also working on poems to accompany the landscape photography of Max Lamour for a museum tour this coming summer. She teaches writing at the University of Toronto.
Matthew Gwathmey was born in Richmond, Virginia, and studied creative writing at the University of Virginia. He became a Canadian citizen in 2013 and lives with his wife and children in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where he is a Ph.D. student at UNB. Our Latest in Folktales is his first poetry collection, published by Brick Books in the spring of 2019.
Host: Eleni Gouliaras
Heather J. Wood
Heather J. Wood was born and raised in Montreal and now lives and writes in Toronto. She is the author of two books, Fortune Cookie and Roll With It. Her work has appeared in several journals and anthologies, most recently in The Trinity Review. In 2016, she was nominated for a World Fantasy Award for editing the international Gods, Memes and Monsters anthology. Heather is the Artistic Director of the Rowers Reading Series and the Second Vice-Chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada National Council.
Born in 1951 in the UK, Robert Priest, is the author of 14 books of poetry, 3 plays, 2 novels, 7 music CDS, 1 hit song, many columns for Toronto’s Now Magazine, and numerous pieces for CBC Radio’s hit spoken word show “Wordbeat” under the alias “Dr. Poetry”. His passionate poetry for adults is wide-ranging and much praised, while his children’s poetry is more tender, underpinned with a utopian hopefulness. Canadian novelist Barbara Gowdy has described him as “the voice of the people and the angels, entwined” and the Pacific Rim Review has said, “He is certainly one of the most imaginatively inventive poets in the country.” Priest’s plays, novels, and songs have earned him awards and recognition in Canada, as well as a growing legion of readers (and listeners) world wide. “Poetry full of flashes of insight. Imaginative in a strange way, he takes inordinate chances with logic, countering absurdity with absurdity, and expanding our sense of human emotional possibilities.” – The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature Robert Priest is one of the few Canadians to have achieved bestseller status as both a songwriter and a poet. The fiery rock ballad, Song Instead Of A Kiss, co-authored with Nancy Simmonds and rock diva Alannah Myles, spent two weeks at the top of the Canadian charts and still receives airplay around the world. His book of poetry, Reading The Bible Backwards, rose to Number 2 on the Globe and Mail’s poetry charts, its sales exceeded only by those of Leonard Cohen. A performance video of Robert singing his song One Crumb has more than 110,000 hits on YouTube. Robert writes passionate love songs, hilarious raps, and incisive topical political protest songs, and has co-written with many well-known artists including Alanis Morissette, Alannah Myles, The Jitters, Tom Cochran, Marc Jordan, Staggered Crossing, Melanie Doane, John Capek, and composer Srul Irving Glick. Robert has entertained on live radio and tv, and for live audiences around the world. Robert lives in Toronto with Marsha Kirzner.
Host: Rosa Arlotto
David Clink is the poetry editor (along with his sister, Carolyn) of Amazing Stories Magazine. His poem, “A sea monster tells his story” won the 2013 Aurora Award for Best Poem/Song. His poetry has appeared in over 50 journals, including Analog five times and Asimov’s three times. He has two speculative poetry collections, Monster, (published by Tightrope Books, 2010) and, The Role of Lightning in Evolution (Chizine Publications, 2016). His poetry has appeared in four Tesseracts anthologies and in genre journals Star*Line; On Spec; and, Pulp Literature. His next genre poetry collection is arriving on Earth in 2021 from CZP.
Maida Sosa-Velazquez was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and raised in Toronto, Canada. She majored in Professional Writing at York University and completed the school’s competitive Creative Writing program.
In 2018, she published her first chapbook, Mind the Tracks, with Grey Borders Books, and in 2019, she published a short story in Mentors – Collective Lessons for Success. In 2020, Grey Borders Books will be publishing her collection of short horror stories.
Maida regularly performs pieces that details her varied experiences. In 2019, she travelled to Philadelphia and Chicago to read at StorySLAM events hosted by The Moth. As a result, Maida featured in articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer and 34th Street Magazine.
Over the years, Maida has taken the stage at several other events, including Barrett and Welsh's Tartan Turban Secret Readings Series; Shab-e She'r; Art Bash (The Launch of Eric & Eloise); the Toronto Poetry Slam at the Drake Hotel; Wanderings at the Theatre Centre; and the Trophy Storytelling Event at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre. In 2019, Maida featured at the Art Bar Reading Series, won first place in a Haiku Deathmatch hosted by Toronto Poetry Project, and spoke at a Pro-Choice Rally at Queen's Park. She is excited about the opportunities ahead.
Carmelo Militano is Winnipeg author of two books of poetry ( Morning After You and The Stone Mason’s Notebook) and three books of prose, The Fate of Olives, Sebastiano’s Vine, and Lost Aria.
He is the winner of the F.G.Bressani award for poetry, Naji Naman poetry prize, and the silver San Giovani poetry prize. All three of his prose works have been short-listed for various literary prizes.
His current book, Catching Desire, is a hybrid work using poetry, fiction, and non-fiction to explore the life and art of the modernist sculptor and painter Amedeo Modigliani.
Host: Margaret Code
One of the founding members of the Art Bar, the longest-running poetry series in Canada, Suparna Ghosh has published three books of poetry - Sandalwood Thoughts, a collection of poems and drawings; Dots and Crosses, a prose poem, and Occasionally, which features poems in free verse and ghazals in classical Indo-Persian style, one of which has been translated into Urdu and set to music; she presented the video at the Art Bar in 2018. Her poems have been published in local and international literary journals. Suparna was short-listed for the Montreal International Poetry Prize and published in their Global Poetry Anthology. A grand prize-winning poem was choreographed and staged in San Francisco. On February 13, 2019, she was one of seven poets to participate in Poetry in Union, a partnership between the League of Canadian Poets and the Union Station, and wrote personal poems for passengers. Her paintings were chosen for the Canadian Art of Imagination show featuring international artists. Her work titled Vigil was one of the finalists in the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto competition, NEXT! 2015. She has exhibited her paintings in Toronto, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Mumbai, and New Delhi. Please visit suparnaghosh.com for further information.
Mike Chaulk lives in Guelph, Ontario, where he drives trucks full of beer for a living. His work has appeared in Best Canadian Poetry 2018, The Malahat Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, The Puritan, PRISM: international, and filling Station, among other places. His debut book of poetry, Night Lunch, was released and quarantined in the spring of 2020 by Gordon Hill Press.
Host: Shayona Panth
Shelly Grace Campbell
Shelly Grace is a spoken word artist who resides in Toronto. This fall she won the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word with the team Up From The Roots, becoming a National Champion.
She has strong belief in the power of storytelling for healing and expression. Her poetry deals with things very personal to her and she uses her art as a way to process and grow. As a woman of colour she is loud and unapologetic about her experiences with sexism and racism. Using her experiences in poetry for healing, teaching, and community building.
Conyer Clayton is an Ottawa-based artist and gymnastics coach, originally from Louisville, Kentucky. She has 6 chapbooks; most recently Trust Only the Beasts in the Water (above/ground press, 2019). In 2018, she released a collaborative album with Nathanael Larochette, If the river stood still. She is the winner of Arc's 2017 Diana Brebner Prize and The Capilano Review's 2019 Robin Blaser Poetry Contest and writes reviews for Canthius. Her debut full-length collection of poetry, We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite, came out May 2020 with Guernica Editions.
Host: John Oughton
Maureen Hynes is the author of seven books, five of which are poetry. Her latest collection is Sotto Voce (fall, 2019). Maureen’s first book of poetry, Rough Skin, won the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Award, and her 2016 collection, The Poison Colour, was shortlisted for both the Pat Lowther and Raymond Souster Awards. Maureen’s poetry has been included in over 25 anthologies, including twice in Best Canadian Poems in English, and in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry, 2017. Maureen is the poetry editor for Our Times magazine. http://maureenhynes.com/
Fiona Tinwei Lam
Fiona Tinwei Lam’s new collection, Odes & Laments (Caitlin, 2019) follows two past poetry books and a children's book. She has won The New Quarterly's Nick Blatchford prize and was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award. Her work appears in over thirty anthologies, including The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry: 10th Anniversary. Her poetry videos have been selected for screening at festivals locally and internationally. She teaches at SFU Continuing Studies. fionalam.net
Host: Eleni Gouliaras
Jaclyn Piudik is the author of To Suture What Frays(Kelsay Books 2017) and three chapbooks, the recently launched, the corpus undone in the blizzard (Espresso Chapbooks 2019), Of Gazelles Unheard (Beautiful Outlaw 2013) and The Tao of Loathliness (Fooliar Press 2005/8). Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including New American Writing, Columbia Poetry Review, Burning Houseand CV2. She received a New York Times Fellowship for Creative Writing and the Alice M. Sellers Award from the Academy of American Poets. Piudik holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from the City College of New York, as well as a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto. She hails from New York and currently lives and works in Toronto.
Bertrand Bickersteth was born in Sierra Leone, raised in Alberta, and has lived in the U.K. and the U.S. He is an educator who also writes plays and poems. His debut collection of poetry is The Response of Weeds. He has also delivered a TEDx talk and contributed to several podcasts. He currently lives in Calgary, teaches at Olds College, and writes everywhere.
Host: Banoo Zan
Mike Lipsius once upon a time ran the Rochdale Rhymes and Readings poetry series and also released a chapbook called Lessons in Gravity through Stone's Throw Productions. Then one day a bunch of little green men in cow costumes came for him and made him work as a tax specialist until he ran away and hitchhiked back to Poetry Land (sort of a true story).
Virginia Konchan is the author of the poetry collections Any God Will Do and The End of Spectacle (both from Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2020 and 2018); a collection of short stories, Anatomical Gift (Noctuary Press, 2017); and three chapbooks, Empire of Dirt (above/ground press, 2019), The New Alphabets (Anstruther Press, 2019) and Vox Populi (Finishing Line Press, 2015). She holds degrees from Beloit College (BA), Cleveland State University (MFA), and the University of Illinois-Chicago (Ph.D.). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Best New Poets, The Believer, and The New Republic, her essays and criticism in Kenyon Review Online, Boston Review, Jacket2, and Guernica, her translations in The Brooklyn Rail, Asymptote and Circumference, and her fiction in StoryQuarterly, Joyland, and Memorious, among other places. Her work has been anthologized in several collections, and her honors include grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Vermont Studio Center, Ox-Bow, The Banff Center, and Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice. Co-founder of Matter, a journal of poetry and political commentary, and Associate Editor for Tupelo Quarterly, she currently lives and works in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Host: Suparna Ghosh
EllenChang-Richardson (she/her) is a Canadian poet, writer, and editor of Taiwanese and Cambodian-Chinese descent. Winner of the 2019 Vallum Award for Poetry, Ellen's work has appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, Bywords.ca, Cypress Press, and more. Her debut chapbook Unlucky Fours is now available with Anstruther Press (2020). In addition to her writing, Ellen is the founder of Little Birds Poetry and the cofounder of Riverbed Reading Series. She splits her time between Ottawa & Tdavid clioronto.
Tracy Wei de Boer
Tracy Wai de Boer is an emerging writer from Calgary living in Toronto. She writes poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, often blending genres and blurring the lines between fiction and real-life experience. She is currently editing a chapbook entitled, comparative anatomy, to be published in Fall 2020. Tracy attended a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and has published work in Canthius(forthcoming), ricepaper, Plenitude, Catapult, and elsewhere.
Host: Margaret Code
Jane Munro’s new poetry collection is Glass Float (Brick Books, 2020). Her sixth collection, Blue Sonoma (Brick Books), won the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize. Her previous books include Active Pass (Pedlar Press), Point No Point (McClelland & Stewart), and Grief Notes & Animal Dreams (Brick Books).
Munro is a member of the collaborative poetry group Yoko’s Dogs (Jan Conn, Mary di Michele, Susan Gillis, Jane Munro).
She has taught Creative Writing at several universities in BC, given many informal writing workshops, and read her poetry to audiences across Canada and in Ireland, the USA, Italy, India, and Egypt. She lives in Vancouver.
Stephen Bett is one of the coolest contemporary poets, and a legend internationally. He has a very interesting linguistic technique with a penchant for jazz and words, and if you ask me, jazz-style writing is where the best of the best is happening right now. Karl Jirgens (Editor, Rampike)
"I am constantly struck by how strong and pliant Stephen Bett’s line is, the image understated, the music so subtle it dances almost unnoticed." Ken Cathers (poet)
Stephen Bett has had twenty-two books of poetry published: Shall We Dance That One Around Again (Finishing Line Press, 2018); Back Principles: a book of spiritual fatigue (BlazeVOX Books, 2018); though we are incredibly small (Phafours Press, 2017); Our Own Stunned Heads (Nose in Book Publishing, 2017); Un/Wired (BlazeVOX Books, 2016); The Gross & Fine Geography: New & Selected Poems (Salmon Poetry, Ireland, 2015); Those Godawful Streets of man: a book of raw wire in the city (BlazeVOX Books, Buffalo, N.Y., 2014); Breathing Arizona: a journal (Ekstasis Editions, Spring, 2014); Penny-Ante Poems (Ekstasis Editions, 2013); Sound Off: a book of jazz (Thistledown Press, 2013); Re-Positioning (Ekstasis Editions, 2011); Track This: a book of relationship (BlazeVOX Books, Buffalo, N.Y., 2010); S PLIT (Ekstasis Editions, 2009); Extreme Positions: the soft-porn industry Exposed (Spuyten Duyvil Books, NYC, 2009); Sass ’n Pass (Ekstasis Editions, 2008); Three Women (Ekstasis Editions, 2006); Nota Bene Poems: A Journey (Ekstasis Editions, 2005); Trader Poets (Frog Hollow Press, 2003); High-Maintenance (Ekstasis Editions, 2003); High Design Refit (Greenboathouse Books, 2002); Cruise Control (Ekstasis Editions, 1996); Lucy Kent and other poems (Longspoon Press, 1983).
A chapbook from the work “in progress,” Broken Glosa: an alphabet book of post avant glosa, will be published by Chax Press later in 2020.
Lift Off: a journey of future tense will be published by Salmon Poetry, in Spring, 2021.
A recent nonfiction book (three prose memoirs) is also available: So Got Schooled: in the tower, on the field (Ekstasis Editions, 2017).
His work has also appeared in well over 100 literary journals in Canada, the U.S., England, Australia, New Zealand, and Finland, as well as in five anthologies, and on the radio.
Bett’s “personal papers” have been purchased by the Simon Fraser University Library, and are, on an ongoing basis, being archived in their “Contemporary Literature Collection” for current and future scholarly interest.
Host: Margaret Code
In descending order of importance Fraser Sutherland is a poet, editor, and lexicographer. At last count he's published 18 books, 12 of them poetry collections and, most recently, Bad Habits (Toronto: Mosaic Press, 2019.)
Joanna Lilley is the author of three poetry collections: Endlings (Turnstone Press), If There Were Roads (Turnstone Press), and The Fleece Era (Brick Books) which was nominated for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. She’s also the author of a novel, Worry Stones (Ronsdale Press), which was longlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award, and a short story collection, The Birthday Books (Hagios Press). Joanna has given readings all across Canada and in the US and UK and has delivered workshops as far afield as Alaska and Iceland. She’s from Britain and moved to Canada in 2006, 15 years after cycling alone across the country from Nova Scotia to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. She lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, where she co-founded the Yukon Writers’ Collective Ink and is grateful to reside on the Traditional Territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council. Find Joanna online at www.joannalilley.com.
Host: John Oughton
Stanley Fefferman is Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar in English Literature at York University in Toronto. Until his retirement, he was a meditation instructor and teacher in the traditions of Kagyu Buddhism and Shambhala. His published works include: a biography--My Andrea, an online Creative Writing virtual course environment entitled Writing Space. two books of poems--Home Was Elsewhere, and The Heart of All Music; and a collaborative translation of the poetry of Hermann Hesse entitled The Seasons of Life.
Zach Da Costa
Zach Da Costa writes stories and poems and hates every minute of it. His work has been described as "writing to feel sad and horny to". His second book of poems will be released in spring 2020. He paints houses for money and lives in Toronto with his cat, Gin.
Host: Rosa Arlotto
Andrea Thompson has been publishing and performing her work for over twenty-five years. In 1995 she was featured in the documentary, Slamnation as a member of the country's first national slam team and in 2005 her spoken word CD, One, was nominated for a Canadian Urban Music Award. She was the 2009 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word’s Poet of Honour, was host of the television series, Heart of a Poet, and is author of the novel Over Our Heads, the collection, Eating the Seed and the chapbook, Evidence. Thompson has written numerous critical essays on spoken word, is a curator and contributor to Brick Books multimedia hub, Brickyard and is currently teaching through the University of Toronto’s continuing studies department, CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) and Workman Arts. In 2019, she released her CD, Soulorations to critical acclaim and later that year won the League of Canadian Poets’ Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award for Excellence.
Susan McCaslin has published fifteen volumes of poetry, including her most recent, Into the Open: Poems New and Selected (Inanna, 2017). She has collaborated with J.S. Porter on a volume of creative non-fiction, Superabundantly Alive: Thomas Merton’s Dance with the Feminine (Wood Lake, 2018). Her Demeter Goes Skydiving (University of Alberta Press, 2012) was shortlisted for the BC Book Prize for Poetry (Dorothy Livesay Award) and the first-place winner of the Alberta Book Publishing Award (Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award) in 2012.
Susan can often be found walking along the Fraser River or among local forests outside
historic Fort Langley, BC. She has been a reader for the Art Bar series during her various book tours since 2003.
Host: David Clink
David Day has published over 50 books of poetry, ecology, history, fantasy, mythology, and fiction. He has also been a magazine and book editor, a columnist for Britain's Daily Mail, Sunday Times and Punch, a scriptwriter for television, a playwright for theatre, and a dramaturge for the Royal Birmingham Ballet. Although best known internationally for his dozen best-selling books on the works of JRR Tolkien, he is also noted for six major books of natural history and environmental activism. His 1981 landmark book on the extinction of species, The Doomsday Book of Animals was selected as a "Book of the Year" by Time magazine, New Scientist, Los Angeles Times, and The Observer - and was the basis for 100 part documentary series Lost Animals of the Twentieth Century. Scripted by Day for the US Discovery Channel, the series was broadcast in 18 languages.
David Day has also written six illustrated books of animal stories and three illustrated books of animal poems for children. His children’s novel, The Emperor’s Panda was nominated for both the Governor General’s Award and the National Library Award. His six books of poetry for adults - including CBC and National Magazine award-winning poems - have been praised by Al Purdy, Earle Birney, Margaret Atwood, and the British poet laureate, Ted Hughes.
Day's books have sold over 3 million copies and have been translated into twenty languages.
An Officer of the Order of Canada and the recipient of five honourary doctorates, Lorna Crozier has published 18 books of poetry, the last two being God of Shadows and The House the Spirit Built. She’s won numerous awards for her writing, including the Governor General’s Award for Poetry and three Pat Lowther Awards. She’s read her work on every continent except Antarctica and now lives on Vancouver Island. This fall McClelland & Stewart will publish Through the Garden: A Love Story (with Cats), a memoir about her life with the writer Patrick Lane.
Host: Jeff Cottrill
John Terpstra has published 10 books of poetry, the most recent being, Mischief, from Gaspereau Press, which will also publish his next book, entitled, Call Me Home, in Spring 2021. He has also published 5 works of creative non-fiction. His writing has won a number of prizes, including the CBC Radio Literary Prize for Poetry, and been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and the RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. One of his poems, called, Giants, is inscribed on a plaque that stands in a park on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment overlooking downtown Hamilton, where he lives and works as a cabinetmaker.
Host: Gavin Barrett
Sue Chenette is the author of Slender Human Weight (Guernica Editions, 2009), The Bones of His Being (Guernica Editions, 2012), and the documentary poem What We Said (Motes Books, 2019), based on her time as a social worker during Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. A classical pianist, poet, and editor, she grew up in northern Wisconsin and has made her home in Toronto since 1972. Her collection, Clavier, Paris, Alyssum, is forthcoming from Aeolus House in fall 2020.
MargaretChristakos is the author of ten collections of poetry, a novel, and a creative memoir. She lives in Toronto. Tonight she will read from her most recent book, which is called Charger, published by Talonbooks this Spring, as well as from two new works in progress.
Host: Maida Sosa-Valazquez
I came to Edmonton as a refugee from the Soviet Union in 1980.
A lot of my work grows out of my experience as an émigré to Canada. I explore a wide range of emotions faced by loss of family, home, country. The emotions are universal and speak to anybody who ever left home, whether just moving from Winnipeg to Edmonton or crossing continents.
My first book of poetry “ small things left behind” was published by University of Alberta Press in 2014 and won BPAA Robert Kroetsch prize for the best poetry book as well as Betty Averbach Foundation prize.
In 2017 I published a chapbook CONDUIT. The poems were part of the play that I wrote based on the lives of Russian Silver Age poets. The play was staged during 2017 Edmonton Poetry Festival.
My second book “The Air Is Elastic” was published by Turnstone Press in April 2018.
The book explores the tension hidden behind our everyday experiences, the whiff of extraordinary in the ordinary trials of love, death, and remembrance.
Ian Ferrier's is a poet, musician, and performer of over 500 shows in Canada, the United States, and Europe. His most recent books of poetry are Bear Dreams (Popolo Press 2016) and Coming & Going (Popolo Press 2015). Quel est ce lieu (Noroît 2017) is the first translation of his selected poems into French. A Child Sees Winter Coming and a Bear Dreams (Wired on Words 2018) is his first book for children. He has also released two CDs and a CD/book.
Ian is the founder of the audio literature label Wired on Words, the monthly Words & Music Show (now in its 21st year), the online magazine LitLive.ca, and of Montreal’s annual Mile End Poets’ Festival. He collaborates with multiple musicians and creates and presents voice and music works with the spoken word/dance company For Body and Light, which tours to New York and across Canada.
In 2008 Ian was awarded the Golden Beret, the League of Canadian Poets award for outstanding contributions to spoken word poetry.
Host: Mike Lipsius
Debbie Okun Hill
Debbie Okun Hill is Past President of The Ontario Poetry Society and for eight years was a co-host of Sarnia’s Spoken Word event. She is the recipient of two Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve grants with close to 450 poems published in over 150 different literary publications including Descant, Existere, The Literary Review of Canada, Vallum, and The Windsor Review. Tarnished Trophies (Black Moss Press, 2014) is her first full collection of poems. She has read her work throughout Ontario including the Fringe Stage of the 2011 Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. Today, she self-isolates and gardens words full-time in rural southwestern Ontario. Follow her literary journey plus her numerous blog postings featuring other Canadian writers on Kites Without Strings www.okunhill.wordpress.com
Fran Figge is president of The Ontario Poetry Society and a past-president of Hamilton’s Tower Poetry Society. fall float fly is available as a selection of her prize-winning poems. Her work is featured in Encompass II and her chapbook is titled hope and despair in the ark. She has been published in many poetry magazines, read her work across Canada, judged contests, compiled anthologies, and helped poets with editing. Fran continues to find inspiration in nature where she lives sheltered at the base of the beautiful Niagara escarpment, or as she likes to call it, the banana belt.
Host: John Oughton
Jamie Urquhart is a developing poet living in Toronto. Originally from Cork, Ireland, Jamie came to Canada in 2017 after earning a master’s degree in biochemistry and certification in music; he has been honing his writing skills using his background in science and his love of the arts as inspiration for his reflective verse. His work has been featured in The Penny Dreadful, an Irish literary journal, and he is currently shaping a collection of both classic and experimental poems focusing on the metaphysical aspects of the quotidian.
Maida Sosa-Velazquez was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and raised in Toronto, Canada. She majored in Professional Writing at York University and was accepted into the school’s competitive Creative Writing program. In 2018, she published her first chapbook, Mind the Tracks, with Grey Borders Books, and in 2019, she published a short story in Mentors – Collective Lessons for Success. Her first collection of short horror stories, The Beast Looks Back, will be published by Grey Borders Books in the near future.
Host: Rosa Arlotto
Heather Cadsby was born in Belleville Ontario and came to Toronto at a young age. She is the author of 5 books of poetry. The most recent book is Standing in the Flock of Connections ( Brick Books, 2018). Her poetry placed 2nd in Grain Magazine (Postcard Story) and 3rd in The Antigonish Review (Blue Heron Poetry Contest) and was shortlisted for The Pat Lowther Award. With Maria Jacobs, she founded Poetry Toronto and Wolsak and Wynn Publishers. She will read new work and selected poems at The Art Bar Poetry Series on August 11.
Blaine Marchand's award-winning poetry and prose has appeared in magazines across Canada, the US, New Zealand, and Pakistan. He has six books of poetry, a young adult novel, and a work of non-fiction published. He has an essay on his mother, A Long and Lucky Life, which will be published in a New Zealand anthology, Love and Loss, in April 2020. He has just completed a full-length manuscript of poems, Becoming History. Active in the literary scene in Ottawa for over 50 years, he was also the President of the League of Canadian Poets from 1991-93 and a monthly columnist for Capital XTRA, the GLTBQ2 community paper, for nine years. He is currently working on three different series of
Host: Suparna Ghosh
Lois Lorimer is a Toronto poet, actor, and teacher who was born in Brockville, Ontario. She trained as an actor at The National Theatre School of Canada and holds degrees from Queen’s University and University of Toronto. Her poems appear in journals including: Arc, Literary Review of Canada, Juniper, and Hart House Review, as well as many anthologies including: The Bright Well (Leaf Press: 2012), Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology (Mansfield Press: 2018) and Heartwood (2018). Her first collection, Stripmall Subversive, was published by Variety Crossing Press in 2012. Her chapbooks are Between the Houses and Last Fall Showing. A member of the League of Canadian Poets, she is very happy to be reading at The Art Bar and hopes you enjoy the readings.
Gianna Patriarca is an award-winning author of 8 books of poetry, a children’s book, and a collection of short fiction. Her work is extensively anthologized in Canada, Italy, USA, and appears on University courses in all three countries. Her work has been adapted for Canadian Stage, CBC radio drama, and featured in numerous documentaries. Italian Women and Other Tragedies, is in its 4th printing, translated into Italian, and presented at the University of Naples Orientale and Bologna. Gianna is featured at the museum Pier 21 in Halifax. She is the first recipient of the Science and Cultural Award from the Italian Chamber of Commerce, awarded the Farfalla D’Argento from Rome in 2016, and in 2017 was awarded the Spirit of Ontario medal from the Congress of Italian Canadians. Her commissioned poem We Remain is displayed on stone in brass letters on Westmoreland Ave. and Bloor Street in Toronto. Gianna’s collection of short fiction, All My Fallen Angelas, was long-listed for the Griffin prize in 2016. She has read her work at Yale, Purdue, Paterson New Jersey, and numerous universities and cities in Canada. A new poetry collection To The Men Who Write Good-bye Letters will be published in 2020 by Inanna Publications. Her New and Selected poems will be published by Guernica in 2021. Gianna continues to work on a novel, The Sicilian’s Brid
Host: Margaret Code
Ian Burgham is the author of five published collections of poetry. Burgham’s
work has been published in many literary and poetry journals in Canada,
the UK and Australia He has toured Great Britain reading at venues such as
the Edinburgh Festival (Scottish Arts Club), Summerhall Arts Centre
(Edinburgh), the Anthony Burgess Foundation (Manchester), Canada House
(London UK), the universities of Westminster and East London, Seamus
Heaney Home Place (Ireland) and the Linen Hall Library (Belfast) to name a
He is a past winner of the Queen’s Well-versed Award and has twice been
nominated for the ReLit Award. His poetry books include A Confession of
Birds (2003), The Stone-Skippers (2007), The Grammar of Distance (2010)
and The Unquiet (2012) and Midnight (2017).
Novelist and Poet, Alexander McCall Smith, wrote of his work; “Ian Burgham’s
poetry collections serve notice that an important voice of an accomplished
poet has arrived. One who has a new understanding of a personal world
which now, with characteristic generosity, he shares with an evergrowing
number of readers… his poetry is highly evocative, thoughtful, and at times
haunting. His range is a wide one, moving from recollected personal moments
to more general reactions to nature and the human world. The overall effect is
memorable and we see him at his best, demonstrating that he is one of the
finest poets writing in Canada.
Sharon Goodier has been published in Adana Women’s Spirituality Anthology, Tin Lunchbox, Terrene, Persimmon Tree, Lost Sparrow Porcupine Anthology, Poets Reading the News and Koru. Her short story The Year of the Donkey was published in New Legends Anthology 2016. Canadian publications include Quilliad, Carte Blanche, Big Pond Rumours, and Tamaracks an anthology of Canadian poetry by Lummox Press. She self-published a chapbook of social justice poetry A Stone in My Shoe, is a co-founder of the renewed Art Bar Reading Series and the instigator of the Engaged Poetry Meet Up. She lives in Toronto.
Host: Jeff Cotrill