Category Archives: Writers & Performers

BWS 12.09.18: Mehri Yalfani

Mehri

Mehri Yalfani was born in Hamadan, Iran. She graduated from Tehran University with a master degree in electrical engineering. Mehri has been living in Toronto since 1987. Her works are three collections of short stories and a novel in English and seven novels and three collections of short stories in Farsi. Many of Mehri Yalfani’s works have appeared in English and Farsi journals. Her novel, “A Palace in Paradise” is going to be published in 2019 by Inanna Publication.

Ahead of her appearance on September 12, Mehri shares an excerpt from her novel, A Palace in Paradise.

 

The books sitting in Nozar’s trunk were dear to Sara. She had spent money and time on them, enjoyed reading them, and had learned from them. She was proud of having them, considered them valuable assets, like she would a dear friend. They were something that she could count on, that gave her pleasure, joy, happiness, and they had filled the dreary days and nights when Nozar was in prison. They were her prestige, her dignity, an integral part of her life. She had shared them with Nozar, her friends, and even with people she didn’t know well, but who had read the same books—the very same books she was now going to throw away, disappearing them from her life.

Sara was quiet. It seemed to her that a film was playing in front of her, and everything looked unreal.

From the bottom step, she could see only a small part of the alley. Nozar closed the trunk of the car quietly and walked toward her. She stood up, her hands in her pockets, let Nozar hug her, kiss her forehead and lips, but she was remote. He cupped her face with his hands, looked at her in the eyes, and said, “Don’t worry. Many people are doing the same. Everybody is throwing away the books that might cause them problems. Farahzad’s and Varamin’s ditches, and even those of Shahre Ray and the roads out of Tehran, are all full of books people are throwing away. I won’t go far. I’ll be back soon.”

“I’d better come with you,” Sara said, releasing herself from Nozar’s arms with a sudden jerk. She looked at her dress and continued, “I’ll change in a minute, wear my black chador, and accompany you. With me, it will look less suspicious.”

“Don’t even think about it,” Nozar said firmly. Sara had already started climbing the steps toward the second floor. Nozar held her arm gently and continued, “Nothing will happen. I promise.”

Sara did not resist. She breathed deeply, as if she wanted to release a burden from her chest, and said, “You’re right. Many people have done the same. Last night Bahram and Kami took a few garbage bags of books out and threw them into Farahzad’s ditches. They said there were thousands of books in the highway ditches and in some other areas in the city. Those might have belonged to people who didn’t have a car to drive further out of the city. You see…” A lump in her throat and tears in her eyes prevented her from saying more.

“You see,” repeated Nozar confidently, but she could read the unspoken words in his eyes. He continued, “You’re right to be sorry to lose the books. I feel the same, but we have no choice except to get rid of them.”

 

Mehri Yalfani visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 in our new home, Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Maia Caron, Clementine Morrigan, Emily Sanford , and guest speaker Bardia Sinaee who will present, “How to Read a Poem.”

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Brockton Writers Series 12.09.18

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 – 6:30pm

Brockton Writers Series presents readings by

Mehri Yalfani
Maia Caron
Clementine Morrigan
Emily Sanford

with special guest speaker

Bardia Sinaee

Glad Day Bookshop

499 Church Street, Toronto

The reading is PWYC (suggested $3-$5) and features a Q&A with the writers afterward. Books and refreshments are available for sale.

ACCESSIBILITY INFO
The venue is accessible. Please refrain from wearing scents.

Many thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their support.

OAC_REVISED_NEWCOLOURS_1805c

And to the Canada Council for the Arts for travel funding!

 

GUEST SPEAKER

“How to Read a Poem.”

SINAEE

Bardia Sinaee was born in Tehran, Iran, and lives in Toronto. His poems have appeared in magazines across Canada and in several editions of Best Canadian Poetry in English. He is the assistant editor at the Literary Review of Canada and an MFA student at Guelph-Humber.

 

READERS

Mehri

Mehri Yalfani was born in Hamadan, Iran. She graduated from Tehran University with a master degree in electrical engineering. Mehri has been living in Toronto since 1987.Her works are three collections of short stories and a novel in English and seven novels and three collections of short stories in Farsi. Many of Mehri Yalfani’s works have appeared in English and Farsi journal. Her novel, “A Palace in Paradise” is going to be published in 2019 by Inanna Publication.

 

 

 

 

Maia_C

 

Maia Caron is the Métis author of Song of Batoche, a historical novel that was #11 on CBC’s 95 must-read books of 2017 and CBC’s 12 historical novels to read, summer 2018.

Born and raised in the mountains of British Columbia, Maia has had short stories and essays in The Dalhousie Review, The Nashwaak Review, the Women Awakening series, and Skeptic MagazineSong of Batoche is her first novel and was chosen by Raven Reads as their spring 2018 Read for Reconciliation. Maia lives in Toronto and is a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario.

 

 

clementinemorrigan

Clementine Morrigan is the author of You Can’t Own the Fucking Stars, The Size of a Bird, and Rupture. They write the zine Fucking Magic and have authored dozens of other zines, articles, and essays. She is a working witch and practitioner of trauma magic. See clementinemorrigan.com for more information.

 

 

Emily_Sanford

Emily Sanford was born in Nova Scotia and holds an MA in Literature and Performance from Guelph. She is the winner of the 2016 Eden Mills Writers’ Festival Literary Award for Poetry, the 2018 Janice Colbert Award, and was listed in The 10 Best Poems of 2016, by Vancouver Poetry House. Her work appears in Canthius, Grain Magazine, Minola Review, newpoetry.ca, Plenitude Magazine and the recently released Applebeard Editions anthology of flash fiction, Release Any Words Stuck Inside of You. Emily is the Creative Writing Program Administrator at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, and co-hosts the Brockton Writers Series.

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BWS 11.07.18 report: “Understanding Acquisitions: What Authors Should Consider When Pitching Their Book,” with Scott Fraser

Scott_fraser_bws

Scott Fraser has worked in publishing since 2010 and is the acquisitions editor at Lorimer. Prior to joining Lorimer, Scott worked as the acquisitions editor at Dundurn Press, as a freelance editor/consultant, and as a sales rep working with a number of publishers in North America and the UK.

Prior to entering the publishing industry, Scott served for eight years in the Canadian army, a career change which many find curious.

He lives in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood with his partner and their menagerie of misfit mammals. The keys to his heart are dogs and baseball. Talking about either topic is a sure fire way to get Scott’s attention.

At last week’s event, Scott gave us a few pointers on what we should consider when we’re ready to pitch our stories.

 

Reconnaissance

Time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted. Read the publisher’s guidelines closely. How do they want material submitted? Are they accepting manuscripts in your genre/category?

Try to find out about the editor. What have they signed? What does the backlist look like? Recent publications?

Sales matter

Help the publisher imagine your book gaining some commercial success. Which successful authors is your work similar to? (Comp titles)

If you’re previously published, show us the numbers! (we’ll look anyway)

If your previous book didn’t sell well, don’t panic. Help us figure out how to fight the track record. Did publisher perform poorly? Maybe a timing issue?

Synopses

The editor has lots of submissions to consider. A concise, well written synopsis can help generate interest. I like one-pagers. Some editors like more. Be prepared to offer more or less on request.

Don’t send disconnected segments. (ie, Chapters 4, 7, and 12)

Nobody knows your book like you do, so sending fragments is likely to confuse people

Attitude

Signing an author is about calculated risk for the publisher. We want to believe in the project and the person.

Be assertive, but positive at all times. Nobody wants to spend 8-12 months working with a jerk.

Don’t take rejection personally. A “no” isn’t a rejection of you as a human being. And it doesn’t mean your work isn’t valuable.

Be gracious. If an editor says “no” but takes the time to give you feedback, it’s a sign that they liked your work but it’s possible their publisher said no or some other factor is in play. Take the long view. Maybe this editor will circle back around to you some day, so don’t burn bridges.

Shameless Self Promotion

If you know cool and influential people, please do name drop.

If you’re good on social media, let me know (I will look you up in any event)

If you’ve got a talented mentor whose work I may know, tell me!

 

Always remember that this is the start of a long-term professional relationship. First impressions matter. Even if the acquiring editor isn’t going to work on manuscript development with you, they’ll still be the strongest in-house supporter of your work.

Stay tuned for features on our upcoming writers! 

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BWS 11.07.18: Kiley May

 

Kiley

Kiley May is a two spirit trans actor, artist and storyteller. She is a Hotinonshón:ni Mohawk from Six Nations reserve and is settled in Toronto. For now. Kiley is currently studying and training in acting, singing, dancing, and playwriting at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre.

She also enjoys other creative arty things like writing, film, fashion, photography and keeping her selfie game strong. As well as transitioning, which is an art form; her greatest artwork to date.

In this excerpt I share my experiences of dating, hooking up and falling in love while living openly and proudly as a trans woman.

This piece was originally performed at Glad Day bookshop as spoken word at the first annual Naked Heart LGBTQ Festival of Words. Naked Heart is the largest LGBTQ literary festival in the world and the most racially diverse literary festival in Ontario.

It was in response to how I was being mistreated as a trans woman while dating. I wanted to encourage trans attracted men to come out of the ”trans admirer” closet and begin to claim us publicly as their women. But more importantly to inspire trans women to raise their standards and to show them that love is possible.

How To Love A Trans Girl

You would be shocked to learn just how many straight guys are secretly into trans girls. I mean really, it’s a lot more than you’d think. But you probably never hear about it, because they don’t and “can’t” talk about it.

I’ve been dating and hooking up as an out and proud trans girl for the last four years. I meet guys the regular way out IRL, but most of my sexcapades have been from meeting guys online. OkCupid, Plenty Of Fish, Badoo, Blendr, Tinder, Whipler, Bumble. Let’s pretend it ends there.

What I’ve learned along the way is that there are countless trans attracted men—men who are sexually and romantically attracted to transgender women. I’m talking about regular dudes who self identify as straight and only ever date and hook up with cisgender women. Mostly. They also quietly and confidentially admire and lust for trans women. And they hook up with us too. All the time. It’s very common, actually. It never ceases to surprise me.

Online it’s easy for these guys to find and connect with trans women and confess their attraction. There are even websites dedicated to it. But these interactions happen on regular dating sites and hookup apps, and they happen on the sly. These admirers and chasers of the T are on the down low. They rarely  if ever talk about it. Except online with trans women or in private with close trusted friends. I imagine pacts to keep secrets are most likely made.

It’s this clandestine culture and underground world that I’ve become privy to. And it’s beyond time for it all to come to the brightly sunlit surface.

Dating and fucking while trans has been an equally exhilarating and disheartening experience. Most guys that are secretly into and cool with trans girls are more than willing to have sex with us. Privately, of course. But most of them wouldn’t be seen dead with a trans girl in public, especially during daylight hours. So when it goes from right swipe to match to meet up, things get flakey and funny.

I prefer to meet a guy for the first time at a cafe or somewhere communal to vibe him out. But instead they just want to slide into my apartment and into me like they slide into DMs. Then bounce. Like I’m some sort of late night drive thru fuck service. That’s shady in itself, but then they rub salt in the wound by requesting to be “discreet” about the whole thing. It usually goes some variation of:

“I respect you babe but let’s keep it discreet”

“That’s cool hun but I like discretion, if you know what I mean haha”

“I’m cool with you being trans and all but can we do it discreetly tho?”

Haha, cool story bro. But nah I’m good.

Even though I’ve been reassured by many people that I’m very feminine and passable (a problematic privilege I’ll discuss another time), that still doesn’t reassure these straight dudes that everything will be ok when we meet. They would not dare meet up with me on a sunny patio or take me out for a boardwalk stroll and risk “being caught” or found out. But all of them would absolutely sneak into my apartment under the cover of darkness like a ninja in the night on a covert mission. “Discreet.”

No. Just. Stop.

Meeting a tgirl should not be treated as some black operation! But I get why these cis het dude bros are all paranoid and on edge. As they explain, they like and respect me (allegedly) but they’re nervous or worried about what their friends and family would think. They’re afraid of being judged, persecuted and rejected. That’s fair, I get it. I really do. Social stigma is hashtag real.

But it seems they don’t consider how this is affecting me, being treated as a perpetual post-midnight booty call. Like I am always the bridesmaid never the bride type feels, as if I am just some fetish or kink that can only be explored under a hidden veil of shame. Over time, it has an effect on me. It makes me feel like a dirty secret. It’s a degrading disgraceful feeling to be rejected, unwanted and acknowledged. It imprints on the psyche. Impacts the heart. Stings the soul.

When I respected myself less, I allowed that bullshit to happen. Because I had to get jollies too and I used them for their dicks. But I got tired of their shit. As I grew up I learned my value and worth. I know now that I deserve to walk in the sun with a man who loves me. And now I do.

Like our girl Laverne Cox says, what we trans girls all deserve is for a man to “claim us publicly as their girlfriend.” But what will it take for trans attracted guys to chill out and move past the discretion and shame? How can we trans women get to a point of always feeling loved and respected as whole beings?

Well to start, these guys need to start talking to their bros about the trans girls they’re attracted to and hooking up with. When they do, they’ll most likely find they have something in common because their friends probably like trans girls too. Like I said, it’s more common than you think. So start the discussion already, dammit.

And for the men who are in secret relationships with trans women, who are not telling their friends and family, well they need to find the courage within themselves and step forth and say “Yes my girlfriend is trans and I love her.”  Claim her publicly and keep treating her like the Goddess Queen that she is, and seat her on her throne next to yours.

It takes these men stepping out and into the light and declaring:

“I love tgirls!”

“I actually prefer trans women.”

“Transgender girls are hot!”

Yes, there will be an adjustment period. There will be fear, anxiety, stigma and judgement. But also acceptance, approval, understanding and common interest. Over time the veil of shame will be lifted and trans love will eventually become destigmatized, accepted and normalized.

“Hey mom, I met someone. She’s a trans girl and I love her.”

“Oh that’s so sweet, honey, good for you. Where did you meet? Pass the potatoes.”

Like, whatever. NBD.

We’re a long way from that but these men do currently exist. These men who are proud to have a trans girlfriend and claim her love publically. They’re out there, they’re real. Like my loving man, for instance. And my boyfriend before him.

So to all the trans women waiting for their Man, I want you to know he’s waiting for you too.

And to all the straight guys who shamelessly, proudly and publicly date and love us, I applaud you for being man enough to love a trans girl.

Kiley May visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in our new home, Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Vanessa McGowan, Chang Liu, Arielle Twist, and guest speaker Scott Fraser who will share his thoughts about, “Understanding Acquisitions: What Authors Should Consider When Pitching Their Book.”

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BWS 11.07.18: Arielle Twist

Arielle

Arielle Twist is a writer and sex educator from George Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan, currently living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is a Cree, Two-Spirit, trans femme supernova writing to reclaim and harness ancestral magic and memories.

Within her first year of pursuing writing she has been able to attend Naked Heart, the largest LGBTQ literary festival in the world and has attended a residency at Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity. She has work published/forthcoming with Them, Canadian Art, This Magazine, and Prism International. Her debut collection of poetry ‘Disintegrate/Dissociate’ is forthcoming Spring 2019 with Arsenal Pulp Press.

Ahead of her July 11th appearance, Arielle shares three poems with us. They are the highlights of her time in Banff. The first poem C(um) Etiquette was brought to life after a critique that she used the word cum & cock a lot in her poetry and Chords is about the displacement she feels living by the ocean.

C(um) Etiquette

Some days I leave my window open

Some days it’s to                    air out smells like you

Some days it is to lure you in with the scent of me

I don’t know how to navigate this etiquette

of cumming                                                   and going

the ways we invite strange bodies into our lives

expecting      something     different

than this godless fucking

somedays I wish you would tear me apart

somedays I want                        to feel nothing

but you,              moving inside of me.

some                         days

I cum                         and you go

 

 – don’t come back

 

Chords

I live in a city

where you can hear

whales sing siren songs

 

reverberating

off lonely chords.

songs I will sing back

in a harbor

 

familiar with the brown

of the wood

resembling cracks of

my own skin.

 

I can read them like

bottoms of my rough

NDN feet.

 

They say take me home.

The mountains sing too.

 

Arielle Twist visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in our new home, Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Vanessa McGowan, Chang Liu, Kiley May, and guest speaker Scott Fraser who will share his thoughts about, “Understanding Acquisitions: What Authors Should Consider When Pitching Their Book.”

 

 

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BWS 11.07.18: Chang Liu

Chang

Chang Liu is a freelance translator and an aspiring forest conservationist. Half his genes are Chinese, the other half French. Somehow he also became a student of Thai dance, language and culture, a gay man, a year-round cyclist and a voracious vegan. So much for labels.

The last wild places—not to mention your local park—are fast disappearing under sterile, industrial surfaces. As we fall further under the spell of our self-reflexive technologies, we forget, even disdain, our age-old conversation with the non-human world that anchors us. Many of Chang’s poems address this non-human world: the soil, trees, animals and waters that still call to us and remind us of our ancient kinship with them. His gay poetry, too, inevitably weaves itself back into the non-human world—the grass beneath our love-making.

Chang’s poetry has appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of Sky Island Journal, and in two anthologies, T.O.K. Book 5 and The Dry Wells of India: an Anthology Against Thirst. His first full collection, When it was Naam that I drank, not Water, is seeking a publisher but is downloadable as an e-book from Glad Day Bookshop. He is working on a second collection, Little spirits, Great spirits: a book of non-human poems.

In anticipation of his July 11 reading, here are two poems: one on earth love, one on gay love. At their best, the two are interchangeable.

 

Rainy season

 

it rains like the end of suffering twice, three times a day

or all night

 

our soi floods              noodle carts scatter                trees glow

 

the old teak houses below my building lean closer to oblivion

and the Bodhi trees’ leaves wait and wait for a new Buddha

to sit under their shelter.

 

all I can do is burrow back into my bed that smells

of my Isaan lover and me

 

and turn all my heavy-lidded energy

back to his tamarind skin

 

why go out?

this is the rainy season.

 

it’s day-long naps

kissing between bites of sweet sticky rice and tea

listening to him lilt old-fashioned louk-toung hits from when

he was new to Bangkok and young and hungry,

 

it’s loving, again and again, the roar of the rain drowning out our labours

and pretending we’re safe

 

under one of those rickety bamboo shelters upcountry, stranded

in the flooded rice paddies of your home village

where they wait for you

 

Stay.

My treat, we’ll feast.

what is tomorrow? there is no tomorrow. Only

more moisture—stay! this is the rainy season,

 

the great annual amnesty sweeping

through this sprawling guilt, this madness, this city

 

this is the rainy season, when

twice, three times a day

or all night

 

we surrender our dryness

and remember our past lives as fish

 

when, as soon as

you step out of doors,

rain washes you like a mother

 

Silence in the crab-apple trees

 

Spring was shooting up ecstatic

inside my body and

for weeks on end, their fuchsia blooms exploded too, birthing

constellations.

 

Twin Krishnas,

the two crab-apple trees in front of our house flung

their heady fragrance around

for miles,

 

and bees by the thousands answered

the pheromone flute—countless tiny suns spinning the cosmic dance

of the Nataraj.

 

What year was it they stopped coming?

 

Now, I sit on this bench,

high summer humming inside my body.

True to the contract that was sealed when the ocean of milk was still churning,

black-eyed Susan and swamp milkweed growing forgotten

in this downtown park still sag under the rites

of a scattering of fuzzy ministers. I cannot accept,

 

cannot believe

they are departing this sweet earth, one hive at a time.

 

Who planted this bed

of riotous fecundity? A genius, a master illusionist. All I can do is sit here

before this mass of flowers,

 

and wait for the heavy honey of summer to soothe

my clenched throat,

wait for the lullaby of life making love to itself with half-closed lids

to still my aching chest. And answer

the call of the flute.

 

Chang Liu visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in our new home, Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Vanessa McGowan, Arielle Twist, Kiley May, and guest speaker Scott Fraser who will share his thoughts about, “Understanding Acquisitions: What Authors Should Consider When Pitching Their Book.”

 

 

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BWS 11.07.18: Vanessa McGowan

Vanessa

Vanessa McGowan is a Toronto, Canada based spoken word artist & singer/songwriter living with Cerebral Palsy. McGowan’s EP “Alive” was released by Factory Fast Records, New York City in 2014 and her work can be heard as the only poetry, on musical compilations “Americana Retrofit” and “Smoking Gun.” She opened for Buddy Wakefield during his 2014/15 world tour and was the highest ranking Canadian poet to perform in the Finals at The Capturing Fire Slam 2015 in Washington, DC. As a successful solo touring performance poet, Vanessa has featured at venues across North America . She is currently working on her first show, “I Don’t Remember” set for release in October 2018. Publications include Divine Cockeyed Genius (bojit Press, 2012) and I Make People Leak…Sometimes (Armora Press, 2015). McGowan is a proud co-founder of WordSpell, Canada’s only ongoing spoken word series showcasing women and non binary poets.

 

Ahead of her July 11th appearance, Vanessa shares an excerpt from her theatrical production currently in progress, “I Don’t Remember”.

 

Vanessa_child

“We’re hurried into a small dingy room @ The Hospital For Sick Children.

I wanted to wear my pleather pants, but noooo…

Mum reminded me,

“You’ll be sitting for a long time and want to be comfortable and you’ll have to take your pants on and off  and you’re not good at that“

sooo

they sat lonely in my dresser drawer, YEARNING to be worn

In favor of more something “more practical”

crisp cotton baby blue “rugby pants” (aren’t they cute? NO THEY ARE NOT CUTE)

 

With the thick elastic waist, from Bargain Harold’s. I HATE them.

I want jeans with zippers, like my sister.

 

This is my regular appointment. It feels special. I don’t have to go to school.

We wake up early and I get to spend the whole day with my Mum.

Everyone wears brightly coloured scrubs and is happy…like ALL THE TIME

The waiting room perpetually smells like nervous mother and disinfectant.

It’s packed. No one makes eye contact

Every adult has a bag of “Here, take this and sit down” treats at the ready

We’ll be here so long I will start to think time has stopped

 

As usual, the lady who calls out all the names

put us in this room long before the doctors are ready to see me

Mum is missing work. She does not like missing work

So we sit alone. Awkwardly waiting

Mum will tell me again to “walk the way you usually do” for the doctors

She thinks I “change it up” on purpose to “show off” or something

I don’t

My body fills with anticipation

That special feeling is long gone

I know I will be the centre of attention but, not in the fun way.

In the way I know is only for kids like me

 

They will ask me rehearsed questions I know they don’t want the answers to

So I look down at my swinging pasty bare legs and brace myself.

 

They always enter confident, men smiling sweetly, they greet me first

Their voices are consistently just a little bit too high pitched.

The way adults alter the timbre of their voice when trying to calm a child. It does not calm me.

Suddenly the room feels claustrophobic. I’m aware there are too many adult eyes on my body.

I want to put my pants back on.

I feel like a zoo exhibit.

They praise me for being so “high functioning”

They’ve “never seen another case like this before”.

I confuse them with my ability to exist.

I stand there pantsless in a room of adults

It doesn’t feel like a compliment.

There is a scream caught in my throat. I do not show it

I smile and stay silent wishing I could fly out of this room

 

Their too big,  always “sorry they’re cold” hands examine my body.

Weighty fingers press too hard

They talk to each other and my Mum but not me. Never me.

I don’t understand the words they use.

No one will explain

Instead I will concentrate on the Whitney Houston song on repeat in my head

 

There is a machine they think will help my legs

One of the nurses with little yellow hearts on her top and big blue eyes tells me

they are gonna put some electricity through my muscles.

Suddenly the room feels full yet again and

there is a doctor putting electrodes on my legs. (explain electrodes)

 

I hear a click and searing pain shoots through my legs. It disorients me.

I am dizzy and confused that pain like this is actually a thing

I want to curse (I’m not allowed)

I wanna tell them all to leave me alone but I know

I don’t get to do that

because they are trying to make me better, because

maybe there is a cure for this

and they just don’t know it yet.

I’ll try ANYTHING

They say I’ll be like this forever but

they said I wouldn’t be able to walk or point my toes AND I CAN

I’m pretty sure the big secret is

they have no idea what they’re doing

and

There is a  preacher on TV who makes people shake. He says “god can do that!”

and

I don’t understand why they call me a miracle when the preacher guy and the priest at school says

if god cured me THAT would be a miracle

 

I try to smile, I don’t wanna be rude

My mouth makes noises reserved for just these occasions

The embarrassing moments when pain forces my body to betray my brain

It’s always in front of strangers

I want to be tough, I swallow hard. Why is it always like this?

 

They leave this dingy room with pasted on grins

pat me on the head

I will wonder what’s next…”

Vanessa McGowan visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in our new home, Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Chang Liu, Arielle Twist, Kiley May, and guest speaker Scott Fraser who will share his thoughts about, “Understanding Acquisitions: What Authors Should Consider When Pitching Their Book.”

 

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Brockton Writers Series 11.07.18

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 – 6:30pm

Brockton Writers Series presents readings by

Vanessa McGowan
Chang Liu
Arielle Twist
Kiley May

with special guest speaker

Scott Fraser

Glad Day Bookshop

499 Church Street, Toronto

The reading is PWYC (suggested $3-$5) and features a Q&A with the writers afterward. Books and refreshments are available for sale.

ACCESSIBILITY INFO
The venue is accessible. Please refrain from wearing scents.

Many thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their support.

OAC_REVISED_NEWCOLOURS_1805c

And to the Canada Council for the Arts for travel funding!

 

GUEST SPEAKER

“Understanding Acquisitions: What Authors Should Consider When Pitching Their Book.”

Scott_Fraser

Scott Fraser has worked in publishing since 2010 and is the acquisitions editor at Lorimer. Prior to joining Lorimer, Scott worked as the acquisitions editor at Dundurn Press, as a freelance editor/consultant, and as a sales rep working with a number of publishers in North America and the UK.

Prior to entering the publishing industry, Scott served for eight years in the Canadian army, a career change which many find curious.

He lives in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood with his partner and their menagerie of misfit mammals. They keys to his heart are dogs and baseball. Talking about either topic is a sure fire way to get Scott’s attention.

 

READERS

Vanessa

Vanessa McGowan is a Toronto, Canada based spoken word artist & singer/songwriter living with Cerebral Palsy. McGowan’s EP “Alive” was released by Factory Fast Records, New York City in 2014 and her work can be heard as the only poetry, on musical compilations “Americana Retrofit” and “Smoking Gun.” She opened for Buddy Wakefield during his 2014/15 world tour and was the highest ranking Canadian poet to perform in the Finals at The Capturing Fire Slam 2015 in Washington, DC. As a successful solo touring performance poet, Vanessa has featured at venues across North America . She is currently working on her first show, “I Don’t Remember” set for release in October 2018. Publications include Divine Cockeyed Genius (bojit Press, 2012) and I Make People Leak…Sometimes (Armora Press, 2015). McGowan is a proud co-founder of WordSpell, Canada’s only ongoing spoken word series showcasing women and non binary poets.

 

Chang

Chang Liu is a freelance translator, an emerging poet and emerging (ie. still jobless) forest conservationist who advocates for a gentler, more natural way of life in the city. He is also a member of the Toronto Thai Dance Troupe.

Born to immigrant parents from China and France, he grew up in the ethnically homogenous countryside south of Ottawa. There, he struggled because of his name, his mixed heritage and, later, his gay orientation. These days, he embraces it all and sees identity as essentially flexible. Who he is now is not who he was, or likely will be.

Chang’s writing has appeared in two anthologies (T.O.K. Book 5 and The Dry Wells of India: an Anthology Against Thirst), and the Spring 2018 online issue of Sky Island Journal. His first collection of poetry is not yet published but available as an e-book here at Glad Day: When it was Naam that I drank, not Water

 

Arielle

Arielle Twist is a writer and sex educator from George Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan, currently living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is a Cree, Two-Spirit, trans femme supernova writing to reclaim and harness ancestral magic and memories.

Within her first year of pursuing writing she has been able to attend Naked Heart the largest LGBTQ literary festival in the world and has attended a residency at Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity to focus on her debut collection of poetry. She has work published/forthcoming with Them, Canadian Art, and Prism International.

 

 

Kiley

 

Kiley May is a two spirit trans actor, artist and storyteller. She is a Hotinonshón:ni Mohawk from Six Nations reserve and is settled in Toronto. For now. Kiley is currently studying and training in acting, singing, dancing, and playwriting at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre.

She also enjoys other creative arty things like writing, film, fashion, photography and keeping her selfie game strong. As well as transitioning, which is an art form; her greatest artwork to date.

 

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BWS 09.05.18 report: “Writing a Successful Grant Application,” with Maya Bedward

Maya_bedward

Maya Bedward is a filmmaker, arts educator and community-engaged artist from Toronto, ON. She is also the Information Services Coordinator at the Ontario Arts Council, where she helps artists and arts professionals navigate OAC’s many funding programs.

If you are planning on, or in the midst of writing a grant, Maya can help you to make your submission a success. Visit the Ontario Arts Council to see what grants you qualify for and contact Maya for more information.

 

Stay tuned for features on our upcoming writers! 

 

 

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BWS 09.05.18: Karen Lee

Karen_Lee_1

Karen Lee is a Jamaican-Canadian, lyric-driven storyteller, devoted to social justice, reclaiming voice against tyrannies that silence.  With sound / dub / spoken word poetry and vocals, she sings journeys into indigenous memory to heal colonial injury; probe wound, challenge systems that deny African womyn-ness.  As a voiceover artist, vocalist and musician, her credits span live, session, theatre, film, TV, radio, commercials and new media, internationally and locally, including Jamaican-Creole, Japanese and English. Her works, Rewind My Selecta! and Naked are published in Black Girl Talk (Sister Vision Press), 1995 and Side Road Swamp / Side Road Swamp Poesia, Opus 8 No 2, FP Ubertelli, 2017.  For more information click here.

 

Karen Lee’s voice has taken her around Japan, to Ukraine, the US and this year, the Motherland! You may just hear notes and bars as she blends sound, melody, and poetry with traces of her native Jamaican-Creole.

To hear a sample of what might be coming our way when Karen’s visits us on May 9th, click here to see her perform Jailer, by Asa, followed by original dub poetry, Housekeeping, with Métis musician, Conlin Delbaere Sawchuk on electric guitar at AGO Friday Nights, Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989, curated by Lillian Allen.

 

Karen Lee visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 in our new home, Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Tyler Pennock, Kaleigh Trace, Ralph Kolewe, and guest speaker Maya Bedward who will tell us about, “Writing a Successful Grant Application.”

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