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Past Events (2023)

Updated: 5 days ago

Date: March 20, 2023


Valentino Assenza has been a published poet and spoken word artist for over two decades. He has published four chapbooks of poetry: Wandering Absence, Il Ritorno (Labour Of Love Productions), Quiet Confessions of a Loudmouth and Make Our Peace With Rattlesnakes (Lyricalmyrical Press). In 2019 he published his first full length book of poetry “Through Painted Eyes” (Piquant Press). He has had numerous pieces of poetry published in anthologies such as Labour Of Love and Descant Magazine. He has read and performed his poetry throughout Canada and the U.S.A. Valentino was a member of the Toronto Poetry Slam team in 2009 and 2010 and has performed his poetry at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and The National Poetry Slam. Valentino sat on the committees for the Art Bar Poetry Series and Toronto Poetry Project. Since 2015 Valentino has been the host & producer of Howl on CIUT 89.5FM where he has gotten to talk to the likes of Maestro Fresh Wes. Sook-Yin Lee, Ron Sexsmith, Bif Naked, George Elliott Clarke, & Margaret Atwood. He lives in Grimsby Ontario with his wife Angela.

Cassandra Myers (My’z) (they/she/he) is an award winning poet, performer, dancer, illustrator, and counselor from Tkaronto, Ontario. As a queer, non-binary, South-Asian-Italian, crip, mad, surviror of sexual violence, Cassandra's work is cinematic and juicy with it's critical anti-oppressive eye. Cassandra’s work has won national literary and spoken word titles including the National Magazine GOLD Award in Poetry and Champion of the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. Their work is the kind that tugs concepts into frays, tieing new solar systems in their wake. Find their poetry in ARC Poetry Magazine, Canthius, the Tahoma Literary Review, and elsewhere.

Allen Sutterfield is a poet, writer, visual artist, editor and teacher. His publications include: Stone Soup, a children’s book; We Missed Each Other When We Were Together, Korean poems translated with Jong Nan Kim; Children of Fire, a collection of poems. He is a founding member of the Art Bar.


Date: March 13, 2023


Surpana Ghosh: A writer, painter and retired adjudicator, Suparna Ghosh has published three books of poetry and two musical CDs based on her poems. Her words are often integrated into her visuals. 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 California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco. In 2022, on the occasion of UNESCO World Poetry Day, her works were published for an anthology by Print Publications, India, and for award winning anthology A River of Stars, Poets of the Vineyard, San Francisco. Suparna’s pen and ink drawings were selected for provincial and national painting competitions by the Arts and Letters Club. She has exhibited her paintings in Toronto, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Mumbai and New Delhi. She was one of the founding members of the Art Bar. Please visit and watch the ghazal video:

Margaret Code: A Toronto poet published in various poetry collections and anthologies, Margaret Code won a Best Originals contest in 2013. In 2015 she took second in Big Pond Rumours’ poetry contest. Over time, she received three Hot Sauced Words Best Poem awards. Margaret is past Director the Art Bar Poetry Series and current President, Toronto Writers’ Co-op.

Kate Marshall Flaherty: Kate Marshall Flaherty: Kate Marshall Flaherty just launched her seventh book of poetry, “Digging,” with Aeolus House Press in 2022. She writes “poems of the extraordinary moment,” (p.o.e.m.s) — spontaneous poetry for charity, including Sick Kids hospital, the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, and the League of Canadian Poets. She gives StillPoint prompted writing workshops and poetry editing circles. See her performance poetry to music, books and online poetry workshops at



Date: March 6, 2023


Jeff Cotrill: Jeff Cottrill is a fiction writer, poet, journalist and spoken-word artist based in Toronto. He has headlined in countless literary series throughout Canada, the U.K., the U.S., France and Ireland over the last twenty years. His poetry and flash fiction have appeared in several international anthologies from New York to Australia, as well as in The South Shore Review and The Dreaming Machine. Last year, he launched Hate Story, his seventh or eighth attempt at a first novel, and his poem "This Is Not Real Poetry" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2021. Jeff likes movies, travel, and puppies.

Laurie Macfayden: Laurie MacFayden is an award-winning writer, visual artist and journalist

who has lived in Edmonton since 1984. In addition to three books of poetry published by Frontenac House, her work has appeared in Alberta Views, The New Quarterly, FreeFall, and DailyHaiki I, A Daily Shot of Zen; and been performed in Edmonton's Loud & Queer Cabaret, the Skirts AFire Arts festival, and Calgary’s Queer the Arts cultural festival. Her short story Haircut won the Howard O’Hagan prize at the 2017 Writers Guild of Alberta literary awards. Her debut poetry collection, White Shirt, was a finalist in the 2011 Lambda Literary Awards, lesbian poetry category.

She is one of eight Edmonton-based women featured in She, The River, a 2020 film showcasing multigenerational writers whose work speaks to women's identity, culture and resilience.

Visual arts exhibition highlights include Fighting Normal, a multi-discipline installation exploring the stigma of mental illness (CARFAC Alberta Gallery); and The Poetry of Water (solo exhibition, Kaasa Gallery, Edmonton).



Date: February 27, 2023


Ruth Panofsky’s latest book of poetry is Bring Them Forth, issued in 2022 by Ekstasis Editions. Her other books include Radiant Shards: Hoda’s North End Poems (2020), which won a Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Research Award; Laike and Nahum: A Poem in Two Voices (2007), which won the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award; and Lifeline (2001) which was awarded an Ontario Arts Council Writer’s Reserve Grant. Laike et Nahum appeared in French translation by Antonio D’Alfonso (2022). Her poems and essays have appeared in various journals, including Dalhousie Review, Descant, the Literary Review of Canada, and White Wall Review. Originally from Montreal, she now lives and writes in Toronto and teaches Canadian Literature at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Ms Bobbie The Art Pixie is the artist name of Bobbie Kumar, a transgender, disabled artist from Brampton, Ontario. Immersed in art her whole life, Bobbie wrote her first story at the age of 11. She started making short films at the age of 15, and music a year later.


Date: February 20, 2023


Maureen Hynes lives in Dish with One Spoon territory/Toronto, and has published five books of poetry. Her most recent is Sotto Voce, a finalist for the Golden Crown Award in poetry for lesbian writers (U.S.) and the Pat Lowther Award. Her first book won the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Award, and other collections have also been shortlisted for the Raymond Souster Award, and the Pat Lowther Award. Her poems have appeared three times in Best Canadian Poems in English (2010, 2016 and 2020), and in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2021).She has a new collection forthcoming in the fall from McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Lois Lorimer is a poet, actor and educator who was born in Brockville and after over 30 years in Toronto has found her way back to her hometown in Eastern Ontario. Her poems have appeared in literary journals: Arc, Literary Review of Canada, Juniper, and Hart House Review. Her work has been included in many anthologies: The Bright Well (Leaf Press), and Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology (Mansfield Press). She’s published two chapbooks: Between the Houses, and Last Fall Showing. Her first collection, Stripmall Subversive, was published by Variety Crossing Press. Her forthcoming book, Rivermore, explores her return to the St. Lawrence River and will be published in 2023.


Date: February 13, 2023

Features: (In partnership with Exile Editions)

Michael Fraser is published in various national and international journals and anthologies. His manuscript The Serenity of Stone won the 2007 Canadian Aid Literary Award Contest and was published by Bookland Press in 2008. He is published in Best Canadian Poetry in English 2013 and 2018. He has won numerous awards, including Freefall Magazine's 2014 and 2015 poetry contests, the 2016 CBC Poetry Prize, and the 2018 Gwendolyn Macewen Poetry Competition. His fourth book My Eyes Wide Open, will be published in April 2023.

George Elliot Clarke: The 4th Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15) and the 7th Parliamentary/Canadian Poet Laureate (2016-17), George Elliott Clarke was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, in 1960. A professor of English at the University of Toronto, Clarke has also taught at Duke and Harvard. His recognitions include the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre Fellowship, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellows Prize, the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry, the National Magazine Gold Award for Poetry, the Premiul Poesis (Romania), and the Eric Hoffer Book Award for Poetry (US). His lastest book, J’Accuse, was published in 2021.

Richard Atkinson will be reading from his book “The Life Crimes of Ricky Atkinson, Leader of the dirty tricks gang” published by exile editions in 2017. Now in his 60s, Richard is a free man, out on full parole. Today, after reconciling his past and life, he actively works to educate youth and people from all backgrounds about the no-win choice of being a criminal.

David Swartz: Born and raised in Toronto, David moved to Lisbon Portugal in 2014 where he studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Lisbon (“The Hands´ Self-Reflection”, MFA, 2016) and Literary Studies at NOVA University Lisbon (“Shake-speares Tenth Muse: The Will To Nothing”, PhD, 2022). His recent publications include two translations from Portuguese: The Religious Mantle by Nuno Júdice (New Meridian Arts, 2019) and Orpheu Literary Quarterly Volumes 1 & 2 (New Meridian Arts, 2022).


Date: February 6th, 2023

February 6, 2023


Allan Briesmaster is a poet, freelance editor and publisher who has been active on the Toronto literary scene for many years. He was one of the organizers of the Art Bar Poetry Series in the 1990s until 2002. The most recent of his nine books of poetry are The Long Bond: Selected and New Poems (Guernica Editions, 2019) and Windfor (Ekstasis Editions, 2021). A Life Member of The Ontario Poetry Society and the League of Canadian Poets, Allan has read his work, given talks and hosted literary events from St. John’s to Victoria. He was a partner in Quattro Books from 2006 to 2017, and currently runs his own small press, Aeolus House, specializing in limited-edition books of poetry. He lives in Thornhill, Ontario.

Donna Langevin: Poet/playwright Donna Langevin is a retired ESL teacher. The latest of her six poetry collections include Timed Radiance, Aeolus House 2022 and Brimming, Piquant Press 2019. A Story for Sadie is also forth-coming from Piquant Press in the spring of 2023. Published in many Canadian and American journals over the years, she won second prize in the 2014 GritLIT contest, first prize in the Banister Anthology Competition 2019, and first place in the Ontario Poetry Society Pandemic Poem contest, 2020. Her plays The Dinner and Bargains in the New World won first prizes for script at the Eden Mills Festival in 2014 and 2015. If Socrates Were in My Shoes was produced at the Toronto Alumnae Theatre NIF Festival in 2018, and Remember Him Chasing Squirrels was performed there in 2020. Winner of a second place Stella Award from Act II Studio, Donna’s play Summer of Saints (about the 1847 typhus epidemic) was produced by Toronto Metropolitan University at their Fresh Picks: The Sandra Kerr New Plays Festival 2022. She is very happy that Art Bar has returned to the FABULOUS FREE TIMES CAFÉ.


Jan 24

Lisa Richter is a Toronto-based poet, writer, editor, and ESL teacher. She is the author of two full-length collections, Closer to Where We Began (Tightrope Books, 2017) and Nautilus and Bone (Frontenac House, 2020), winner of the National Jewish Book Award for the Poetry in the US, the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry, and the Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry. She has been nominated for a National Magazine Award, Best of the Net, and longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. Her work can be found in Augur, The Fiddlehead, The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, EXILE, and other places. She is currently working on her third collection of poetry and hybrid forms.

Laura Zacharin is the author of Common Brown House Moths (Frontenac House 2019), longlisted for the 2020 Gerald Lampert Award. She has been the recipient of University of Toronto’s Marina Nemat Award for Poetry and in 2022 she was a finalist for the Montreal International Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in The Fiddlehead, CV2, The Malahat Review, Prism, Arc Poetry, and other Canadian literary journals. She lives in Toronto, Canada.


Jan 17

Sylvia Falsaperla: Silvia Falsaperla is a graduate of the University of Toronto. She has published poetry and prose in Canadian and American literary journals and anthologies. She was one of the winners of the Accenti Writing Contest 2020, Venera Fazio Poetry Contest 2021, and Venera Fazio Poetry Contest 2022. She has currently completed a first collection of poetry and a hybrid poetry and prose chapbook. She is working on another collection of poetry, as well as a collection of linked short stories. Recently, she received an Honourable Mention in The Ontario Poetry Society's Provoked-By-Places Contest 2022.

Mary Nyquist: An award-winning scholar of Early Modern literature, political theory, Euro-colonialism, and Atlantic slavery, Mary Nyquist has for many years taught at the University of Toronto. A while back she returned to her first love, the writing of poetry. Though her poems have appeared in a number of Canadian collections and literary journals, Wet Toes is her first book.


Jan 10

Edward Anki: Edward Anki's poetry has appeared in Rejection Letters, The Feathertale Review, (parenthetical), Qwerty, The Chaffin Journal, and others. A chapbook of his poetry, Remote Life, was published by BareBackPress. His first full-length poetry collection, Screw Factory, was released in 2022 by Anxiety Press. A former stand-up comic, bartender, and agonized telemarketer, Edward is currently engaged in part-time studies to become a psychotherapist.

Norman Allan:


Jan 3

Honey Novak:

Simon Constam:

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