Category Archives: Writers & Performers

BWS 09.05.18: Ralph Kolewe

RKolewe - 2017-12-25

Ralph Kolewe lives in Toronto, where he shares a house with a cat named Charlotte. He has published two books of poetry, Afterletters (Book*hug 2014) and Inspecting Nostalgia (Talon Books 2017).

 

A few years ago I wrote a sequence of poems relating to the Great Financial Crisis. “A tweet is not direct action” one of those poems said. (There was a time when I was optimistic about the Internet, but that was back in 1995.) More recently I’ve been thinking about W.H. Auden’s  statement that “poetry makes nothing happen,” which isn’t entirely about politics. And I’ve been thinking about those poems we’ve all read (or even written) expressing the great pain and suffering of the poet and/or their people in this less than perfect world. In consequence, too often I find myself feeling like a grumpy old man. This piece (nothing like a manifesto) comes out of all that.

699 words including repetitions but not enough

Repetition is the basic poem because saying it again some things have to be repeated.

Structures of repetition rhythm and rhyme sonnet villanelle and sestina etc pattern and symmetry but the world oh the world isn’t that.

Thought isn’t either. Broken like the world but again and again. Even if you only have one idea like the world.

I’m not the first to say something like this I’m repeating. Trauma and rage pain and grief again and again even if repeated is not a poem even if yours or mine even if I’m writing from a position of privilege which I am even if no one is listening because who listens to a poem even written from a position of privilege or not even if this is not a poem it’s not. I won’t say what a poem is it doesn’t matter I don’t know. But those things and other things may be the occasion of a poem a place to start a poem and start again and again.

And repeat yourself and the world. Maybe every line should always begin and end and.

Also those things villanelle etc are pretty and pretty old-fashioned aren’t they forms should be shiny shouldn’t they shiny new fresh like a pop song wrapped in bright plastic that winds up in the sea belly of a whale like Jonah how old-fashioned though maybe you recognize Jonah living in the postcolonial world as we all do still submerged in the deep European now. The story’s kind of apropos maybe prophet who didn’t want to deliver his message bad idea but make it new Ezra Pound said in the 20th century the perfect fascist 20th century although genocide had been invented some time previous to that also liberty equality fraternity or was it slavery hierarchy patriarchy none of which are a poem but you know that or at least might believe it but really are you sure.

Who says forms should be shiny new etc anyway. Yes yes “it is difficult / to get the news from poems” maybe that’s a good thing I often think so.

Repetition can be a kind of error correction more likely the signal will get through the noise say again say again and again. And some things have to be repeated and again.

And maybe every poem is written from a position of privilege really you had 10 minutes to write a sonnet you could have ended capitalism or at least undermined the neoliberal new world order it’s not that new no.

Sometimes I am such a nihilist such a cynic it’s a luxury artisanal authentic right someone once said I had no right to speak critically of the status quo because I spoke from a position of privilege a beneficiary of the status quo which made me wonder it might be better to say nothing just shut the fuck up you know like Wittgenstein said “what we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence” that’s the general idea although Wittgenstein was talking about something else. I’m not sure. A sestina maybe here I don’t write sestinas. And make room for other voices but who’s listening really
who’s listening.

And again like pain and it is real pain also and the root of pain injustice and hate and greed even if repeated is not a poem but again maybe the occasion of a poem. Just saying isn’t a poem so what’s a poem really I don’t know I’m being honest here. I am coming dangerously close and why is it dangerous I know to saying art for art’s sake poem for poem’s sake what a luxury here is a wonderfully decorated tall cake all spun sugar so beautiful right too bad you can’t have a slice.

Also the facts are not a poem and beauty what isn’t a poem either. Writing isn’t doing even tweeting. Neither is reading and will reading matter probably not neither a poem.

I should write this over rewrite it again read it again anyway.

I said at the beginning some things have to be repeated and again no ending that. You can start over maybe and a poem or do something.

 

Ralph Kolewe 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, Karen Lee, and guest speaker Maya Bedward who will tell us about, “Writing a Successful Grant Application.”

 

 

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BWS 09.05.18: Kaleigh Trace

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Photo credit:  HZD photography

 

Kaleigh Trace writes about sex, pee, and the places where they intersect. Her first book, Hot, Wet & Shaking was published in 2015 and won the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award. Her written work can also be found in Shameless MagazineGUTS Feminist Magazine, and Plentitude Magazine. Talk to her about cats and the Women & Song anthologies. Predictably, she loves that.

 

This week, Kaleigh weighs in on some of the things to consider if you are 25(ish) and are planning to publish a memoir about your sex life:

  1. Dating will get weird after you have published a book in which you describe the most intimate details of your body and your bedroom. Be prepared. Perhaps approach Tinder with caution.
  1. Ensure that you are, in fact, as unabashedly unashamed of your genitals, your bodily fluids and your mistakes as you think you are. It is empowering to have made your body your home. The fact that you have learned to laugh at yourself and find pleasure in your existence is a magic trick meant to heal. While trying to share this wisdom with others, make sure you hold on to it for yourself too. Not everyone is going to understand you, and not everyone is going to like you either. So grip both your sense of humour and your sense of self in one palm as you open up your other.
  1. Don’t be too precious about “the truth.” Your story is yours. Remember, memoir starts with ME.
  1. A room of cisgender men in their fifties may not be your audience. If you are a young, cis, queer woman excited about finally learning to orgasm – they just may not relate. So know your audience. And find them. Make sure every femme, queer, freak, misfit, crip and weirdo you once longed to find in books can now find you. Someone, in fact many, will appreciate all your false starts and your brave heart. Search them out.
  1. Mostly – don’t stop. There can be such a fear in being published, in having physical words on paper be forever tied to you. You may the think that the version of yourself you have written is static, inviting you not to change. You may think your words are imperfect, inviting you to cease speaking or writing them. Do not accept these invitations. The world is always inviting femmes, queers, freaks, misfits, crips, weirdos and all marginalized voices to stay silently static, to not grow or continue, to not take up space. Resist this. Push back against fear and don’t doubt your voice. Be sturdy. Don’t stop.

 

Kaleigh Trace 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, Ralph Kolewe, Karen Lee, and guest speaker Maya Bedward who will tell us about, “Writing a Successful Grant Application.”

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BWS 09.05.18: Tyler Pennock

Tyler_Pennock

Tyler Pennock of Cree and Metis descent, from Faust Alberta. As an adoptee in a military family, he’s traveled all over Canada and Europe.  These days he prefers to write poetry, theatre, and creative fiction.  He’s a graduate of the creative writing MFA program at Guelph.  When he isn’t writing he’s usually challenging everything …. critically- such as when he’s teaching at  Anishnawbe Health’s Community Health Worker Program.

 

In response to the Government of Ontario’s lack of action on Grassy Narrows, Tyler wrote the following essay for Shameless Magazine:

Aannda’aan/ My Home

Why Land Matters

Take a look down every now and then, to the concrete around you; And look at the cement beneath your feet.  It’s a little odd, isn’t it? Concrete is itself stone; crushed, reformed, mixed in with other larger bodies, and laid down in liquid form.  Then it hardens, holding on to a single property it had (hardness), yet wholly different. It’s funny how even the land upon which most of us stand is displaced, shaken up, and reformed into something it’s not.

This is in a way how we are as people. We too, are often removed from our homelands, shaken up with others and placed down in different form. And the expectation is that perhaps we will harden this way, and never change.

But that is not who we are. We cannot be re-formed into another image of ourselves and kept that way.

In light of this, I ask all of you:  Who are we?

Is it that we are a product of our families, and how we become a confluence of our parents’, siblings’ and Aunties’ expressions, opinions, and beliefs? Perhaps.

Are our identities then a product of our unique experiences? Are we a product of ourselves then? Is the shape of our being pounded into existence by our interactions with the outside world? Really?

When someone is asked who they are, surely there’s enough material out there to point to. There are countless identities that a person can fit into, and the limit of that identity is truly what they feel fits their own perspective. I myself can say I am Aboriginal, Canadian, An Albertan, Queer, Two-Spirit, a Man, An outreach Worker, a Writer, a Teacher, and a Storyteller. All of them are true in that all of them bear some form of truth for me, and my sense of identity. Any person could now write my Bio, and include any one of these titles, touching a small semblance of truth in any one of them. But would that person know everything about me, and know the full sense of my identity? No.

I am far more than label, any statistics Canada categorization, and I am most certainly larger than any box that can be made for me. This is because every event I’ve experienced, every story I’ve ever heard, and every person I’ve ever met is a part of me. They are all parts of me that will never leave. Conversely, every event, person, and story retains a piece of me. These are the footprints that I leave wherever I’ve been.

In this, the land on which I stand also bears some of the memories of my existence. Wherever I’ve been, the context of the world I’ve experienced are a cardinal point in my existence. Where I felt my first kiss is as important to me as the feelings my lips translated for me. The house in which my father and I reconciled is as important to me as the work it took for us to see past our differences. The house I spoke of held my tears, my happiness, and all the anxieties I felt when imagining the man I was about to become. In this, places are sacred to all of us.

Now, if you take such places away from me, a small part of those beautiful memories die. And when you take a piece of memory, the foundation of that memory becomes a little shaky. It is the same as if you take the forest away from a person and replaced it all with concrete. You remove their world, their understanding of place, and you remove part of who they are. We are lost.

This is why I am afraid. I am afraid because there are youth in our country (particularly in the north) who are fighting to keep this vital sense of who they are. The lands on which generations before them lived are changing, being removed, or even being destroyed faster than they can adjust.

I am writing about Youth like those in Grassy Narrows, who stood in front of the Ontario Legislature Toronto on June 2, 2016 to raise awareness around the Mercury poisoning in their river.

I am also writing of the youth in Attawapiskat, who – like those in Grassy Narrows are calling on whomever they can to help them reverse the rise of Suicide attempts and Suicide ideation in their communities.

I am writing about the youth of Iqaluit, whose world was thrown into turmoil by a forced relocation, and the decimation of their culture.

I am also writing of the countless other youth on reserves, and in the North who fight the same battles, but whom Canadians are not yet aware.

I am writing for every Indigenous youth who fights to survive in a world who’s concept of culture looks nothing like the land they – and their ancestors – grew up on.

I am writing for every person who seeks to protect what they have. Their land. The sacred place on which their culture, memories, families, friends, and entire world is meant to thrive.

In this, it’s my hope that all Canadians can pay attention to the lands our youth hold sacred. They are not stones to be crushed, mixed, and reformed into something hard. They are people – and they have the right to thrive in a place they hold in their hearts, a land that holds them and their memories sacred.

 

Tyler Pennock 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 Kaleigh Trace, Ralph Kolewe, Karen Lee, and guest speaker Maya Bedward who will tell us about, “Writing a Successful Grant Application.”

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Brockton Writers Series 09.05.18

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 – 6:30pm

Brockton Writers Series presents readings by

Tyler Pennock
Kaleigh Trace
Ralph Kolewe
Karen Lee

with special guest speaker

Maya Bedward

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

“Writing a Successful Grant Application.”

Maya Headshot

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.

 

READERS

 

Tyler_Pennock

Tyler Pennock of Cree and Metis descent, from Faust Alberta. As an adoptee in a military family, he’s traveled all over Canada and Europe.  These days he prefers to write poetry, theatre, and creative fiction.  He’s a graduate of the creative writing MFA program at Guelph.  When he isn’t writing he’s usually challenging everything …. critically- such as when he’s teaching at  Anishnawbe Health’s Community Health Worker Program.

 

 

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Kaleigh Trace writes about sex, pee, and the places where they intersect. Her first book, Hot, Wet & Shaking was published in 2015 and won the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award. Her written work can also be found in Shameless Magazine, GUTS Feminist Magazine, and Plentitude Magazine. Talk to her about cats and the Women & Song anthologies. Predictably, she loves that.

 

 

RKolewe - 2017-12-25

Ralph Kolewe lives in Toronto, where he shares a house with a cat named Charlotte. He has published two books of poetry, Afterletters (Book*hug 2014) and Inspecting Nostalgia (Talon Books 2017).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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BWS 14.03.18 report: How to Mindfully Address Your Inner Critic (so that you can get back to your writing,)” with Farzana Doctor

Farzana_March14

Farzana Doctor is the award-winning author of three novels: Stealing Nasreen, Six Metres of Pavement and All Inclusive. She has just finished a fourth called Four Wives. Her claim to fame was that she was Voted Best Author in NOW Magazine’s 2015 Best of Toronto Readers’ Choice Poll, beating Margaret Atwood. She co-founded the Brockton Writers Series and has been its curator and co-host for the last eight years. Click here to learn more.

In her blog that originally appeared in Write, Farzana shares her experiences in addressing her inner critic. I’ve tried it, and it’s working!

 

As I write this article, I’m feeling blocked. I make another cup of tea, vacuum, then check Facebook. I return to my desk, convinced that you, my audience, will think this is a piece of crap.

That’s my inner critic talking. The inner critic insists onperfection. It thinks it’s helping us by shielding us from vulnerability. But mostly it prevents us from getting things done. A lot of people will tell you: “Don’t listen to it! Just ignore it!” But that’s the wrong approach. It takes more energy to ignore, resist and suppress difficult emotions than it does to recognize and deal with them. When we can acknowledge and normalize feelings, it helps them flow.

So here’s a quick and effective exercise to mindfully face the inner critic:

Using pen and paper, draw your inner critic. Don’t over-think this; do it within thirty seconds. It could look like something human or animal, really anything.

Draw a speech or thought bubble. Fill it with the inner critic’s worst fears and criticisms about your work. Mine tends to say catastrophic things like:

“You’ll never write another good novel. You’re all dried up!”

“No one cares about books about people of colour!”

“No one, I repeat, no one, will show up to your launch!”

We’re tempted, at this point, to counter the inner critic’s fears with rationality. Sometimes that works. But what usually ends up happening is that the fear just rebounds. It’s been batted away instead of truly acknowledged. So what works better?

1. The “Agree With It” strategy (adapted from social worker Karen Day).

Here’s how it works:

Agree with the inner critic’s catastrophic statement, and then add on a “carrying on” statement:

“Yes, it may be true that I will never write another good novel AND I will sit at my desk for another twenty minutes.”

“Yes, it may be true that no one cares about people of colour characters, AND I will finish this scene.”

“Yes, it may be true not a single soul will come to my launch, AND I will be brave and handle it.”

It’s important to use the word “AND” before the “carrying on” sentiment, rather than “BUT.” We are agreeing with the inner critic, not challenging it.

2. Another mindfulness approach is the “Stay With It” strategy.

Psychologist Tara Brach writes that “the natural life span of an emotion — the average time it takes for it to move through the nervous system and body — is only a minute and a half.” In other words, if we stay with a feeling for just ninety seconds — not fixing, analyzing, or otherwise interfering with the emotion — it will move rather than continue to block our writing.

There are many ways to do this. Here’s my favourite:

Imagine opening your front door and saying “hello” to the fear (perhaps imagining the fear embodied as your inner critic). Welcome it in your home and ask it to sit with you. You might say, “I see you here, fear. I am with you, fear. We’re just going to sit together, breathing together for a minute or so.”

This process won’t make the fear disappear (that’s not the goal), but will make it less reactive. You’ll no longer need to resist it or suppress it by making another cup of tea, vacuuming the house, or checking Facebook.

By now you’re probably thinking “Yep, she was right, that article was a big waste of my time!” But guess what? I finished it anyway!

Stay tuned for features on our upcoming writers Karen Lee, Kaleigh Trace, Tyler Pennock, Ralph Kolewe, and guest speaker Maya Bedward.  See you at our next event on May 9, 2018, 6:30pm, at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church St., Toronto!

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BWS 14.03.18: Anar Ali

anar headshot

Anar Ali’s first book, Baby Khaki’s Wings, a collection of short stories, was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize (Best First Book), Ontario’s Trillium Book Award, and the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Her debut novel, The Night of Power, is forthcoming from Penguin. Ali is a recent graduate of the Canadian Film Centre and has a 1-hour TV family drama series in development with the CBC. She currently splits her time between Toronto and Mexico.

 

My forthcoming novel, The Night of Power, took me a long time to write. It’s set in an Indo-Canadian family from Uganda. At the core, the book is about finding home, not only in a new country,  but inside family, and within our own bodies, too. Ironically (or maybe appropriately!) it was written across several cities and countries. These photos are a collage of the houses, writer’s residencies, and homes I stayed in while writing the book. They are, in a sense, a map of this novel.

2. Millay Colony. jpg

The Millay Colony for the Arts, Upstate New York

3. banff

 The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Alberta

4. Fundacion Valparaiso

Fundacion Valparaiso, Spain

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Mexico

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Mexico

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Mexico

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Mexico

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Mexico

10. Kensignton Market

Toronto

11. wilket

Toronto

West Queen West

Toronto

12. Bloor-Christie. jpeg

Toronto

IMG_1165

Mexico

14. Trinity-Bellwoods

Toronto

IMG_1178

Mexico

 

Anar Ali visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in our new home, Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Sonia Di Placido, Alicia Elliott, Crystal Mars, and special guest speaker Farzana Doctor who will discuss, “How to Mindfully Address Your Inner Critic (so that you can get back to your writing)”.

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BWS 14.03.18: Crystal Mars

Crystal Mars

Crystal Mars is an artist based in Toronto. She holds a BFA from the Ontario College of Art & Design and has exhibited in Canada and the United States. Her work explores desire, trauma, transformation, power, and memory through visual arts and literature. Read more here.

In her tanka poem below, Crystal reflects on how nothing is what it seems.

Deceit

 

Oceans become clouds;

butterflies were once larvae—

a double-edged sword

cutting hearts in half, until

bees run out of sweet nectar.

 

Crystal Mars visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in our new home, Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Sonia Di Placido, Alicia Elliott, Anar Ali, and special guest speaker Farzana Doctor who will discuss, “How to Mindfully Address Your Inner Critic (so that you can get back to your writing)”.

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BWS 14.03.18: Alicia Elliott

Alicia_elliott

Alicia Elliott is a Tuscarora writer living in Brantford, Ontario with her husband and child. Her writing has been published by The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, The Walrus, Macleans, Globe and Mail and many others. Her essay “A Mind Spread Out on the Ground” won Gold at the National Magazine Awards and has been selected to be published in Best Canadian Essays 2017. She has most recently been named the 2017-2018 Geoffrey and Margaret Andrew Fellow at UBC. Her book of essays, A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, is forthcoming from Doubleday Canada in Spring 2019.

 

In her essay, On Seeing and Being Seen: The Difference Between Writing With Empathy and Writing With Love, Alicia expresses the importance of representing marginalized people in literature and discusses the difference between loving representation and “empathetic” representation. It will be included in her upcoming essay collection, A Mind Spread Out on the Ground.

I’ve heard that when you see someone you love your pupils get bigger, as if your eyes themselves want to swallow them up and trap them inside. I don’t know if that same physiology applies to seeing objects, but I like to imagine my pupils were huge, hungry black orbs when I first read Leanne Simpson’s Islands of Decolonial Love, gobbling up each of her words as fast as they could. Every sentence felt like a fingertip strumming a neglected chord in my life, creating the most gorgeous music I’d ever heard.

 

It was the first time I, as an Indigenous woman, read the work of another Indigenous woman. It was such an intimate and personally revelatory moment—as if she had reached out from the pages, lifted my face and smiled. She can see me, I thought. She can see me. I was twenty-five years old.

I’d known I wanted to write since I was twelve, but back then I’d never seen a girl like myself in the books I loved so much. I saw white girls—often upper-middle class, often pining after unremarkable white boys. So that’s what I wrote. I wrote my way out of used clothes and Hamburger Helper and parents who screamed in the night. None of my characters ever worried about money. None of them were concerned what their friends would think if they met their Haudenosaunee dad or their white bipolar mother. None of them had a Haudenosaunee dad or white bipolar mother. Things were simple; things were normal. Rich boys and brand names were normal.

Obviously, as I got older, my taste in literature changed. What didn’t change was my suspicion that publishers felt Indigenous girls like me were unworthy of book covers or book deals. Even in university the women we studied were white: Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Jane Austen. I admired these women’s work, but they weren’t writing what I needed to read, and this made it hard to believe there was space for what I needed to write.

So imagine my surprise when a fellow writer—a white woman—told me during post-workshop beers that I was going to get published right away “because I was Native.” I knew that there was some talk about the literary community’s need to be more “diverse,” but as far as I knew that was all it was. Talk. I could count the Native writers I knew of with half a hand—none of whom were women, and none of whom were writing about Native women in a way I recognized.

The idea that the colonialism, racism, and sexism—which had systematically kept Indigenous women out of the literary community—could somehow be leveraged through some half-assed literary affirmative action to benefit me as an Indigenous woman was absurd. And yet this white woman believed it with her whole heart. And yet this white woman got into an MFA program and I got rejected from every one I applied to. Perhaps I hadn’t made it clear enough on the application that I was Native. Perhaps I had made it too clear on the application I was Native. It was hard to say.

After that I stopped writing for years. When I would write—between mothering a four-year-old and shifts at my minimum wage job—I scraped all indigeneity out of my work. At least if my fiction read as “white” I’d be sure that any rejections were based on the work itself. I wouldn’t have to field questions about why my characters were Native, or deal with criticisms that they somehow weren’t “Indian enough”—issues that, as far as I could tell, never came up for white writers, for white work.

Then came Islands of Decolonial Love. Everything changed.

Click here to continue reading.

 

Alicia Elliott visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in our new home, Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Sonia Di Placido, Crystal Mars, and Anar Ali.

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BWS 14.03.18: Sonia Di Placido

Headshot Sonia Di Placido

Sonia Di Placido is currently completing an MFA in Creative Writing at UBC. She is a member of The League of Canadian Poets, The Writer’s Union of Canada, The Canadian Women in The Literary Arts and The Association of Italian-Canadian Writers. An Associate Editor of Juniper Poetry Magazine, she has poems published by CarouselPuritanThe White Wall ReviewJacket2CanthiusThe California Journal of Women Writers, and Juniper. In September 2016, she was part of the China Writers Association International Writer’s Residency for the cities of Tianjin, Binhai, and Beijing. Sonia teaches English as a Second Language with LINC Ontario part-time. Her first book Exaltation in Cadmium Red was published by Guernica Editions in 2012.

This fall Sonia will launch her second full-length book of poetry, FLESH. Below she shares two poems from her upcoming release. Visit Sonia’s blog for more information.

Camaraderie

The quiet Fleur-de-lys

sprout a warning

of the sovereign knot—

My knotted Francophone friend,

bearing her necklace, its charm

this 400th weekend, 24th of June.

 

Marie de Medici isn’t eager

to cross these icy skins, our lapping

ocean and rivers that hide

 

poison ivy in spring

(among fern ghettos)

over granite

over ore.

 

Shield shelved into rock,

this greener ground

(jewels of silver

amber              quartz)

cast under Champlain’s shores—

Temiskaming and Ville Marie.

 

Our kindred bovinae spirits—

Wilder-ness-Miss Buffalo       exiled.

Reproducing nil, we wile

trampling trilliums.

Frayed grass flowers align

between province and providence.

 

In blood, we draw iron from these plants

that seep it out of soil—we are

diagnosed with mineral deficiency.

Our “teeth and bones, once coral”

now white, the ovaries turned to fluorite.

 

Luna Bound

This wit-warm womb peeks out, first

to grow tentacles from a dark vessel

evading space debris

 

I come, Luna bound, brave,

my bounce a touch of dust

in dirt-dry elements—

 

they blow upward at non-gravity,

wound with empty craters.

Hellas basin is the first to hear

 

my delayed arrival in waves

to you, moon, a wound

wound in your own evening.

Sunlight and dark of earth-day—

 

you, moon, my rounder egg,

we are a non-encounter.

 

Sonia Di Placido visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in our new home, Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Alicia Elliott, Crystal Mars, and Anar Ali. Our special guest speaker will be announced soon!

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Brockton Writers Series 14.03.18

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 – 6:30pm

Brockton Writers Series presents readings by

Sonia Di Placido
Alicia Elliott
Crystal Mars
Anar Ali

with special guest speaker

Farzana Doctor

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.

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

 

GUEST SPEAKER

How to Mindfully Address Your Inner Critic (so that you can get back to your writing).

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Farzana Doctor is the award-winning author of three novels: Stealing Nasreen, Six Metres of Pavement and All Inclusive. She has just finished a fourth called Four Wives. Her claim to fame was that she was Voted Best Author in NOW Magazine’s 2015 Best of Toronto Readers’ Choice Poll, beating Margaret Atwood. She co-founded the Brockton Writers Series and has been its curator and co-host for the last eight years. Click here to learn more.

 

READERS

 

Headshot Sonia Di Placido

Sonia Di Placido is currently completing an MFA in Creative Writing at UBC. She is a member of The League of Canadian Poets, The Writer’s Union of Canada, The Canadian Women in The Literary Arts and The Association of Italian-Canadian Writers. An Associate Editor of Juniper Poetry Magazine, she has poems published by Carousel, Puritan, The White Wall Review, Jacket2, Canthius, The California Journal of Women Writers, and Juniper. In September 2016, she was part of the China Writers Association International Writer’s Residency for the cities of Tianjin, Binhai, and Beijing. Sonia teaches English as a Second Language with LINC Ontario part-time. Her first book Exaltation in Cadmium Red was published by Guernica Editions in 2012. FLESH is her second full-length book of poetry.

 

Alicia_elliott

Alicia Elliott is a Tuscarora writer living in Brantford, Ontario with her husband and child. Her writing has been published by The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, The Walrus, Macleans, Globe and Mail and many others. Her essay “A Mind Spread Out on the Ground” won Gold at the National Magazine Awards and has been selected to be published in Best Canadian Essays 2017. She has most recently been named the 2017-2018 Geoffrey and Margaret Andrew Fellow at UBC. Her book of essays, A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, is forthcoming from Doubleday Canada in Spring 2019.

 

 

Crystal Mars

Crystal Mars is an artist based in Toronto. She holds a BFA from the Ontario College of Art & Design and has exhibited in Canada and the United States. Her work explores desire, trauma, transformation, power, and memory through visual arts and literature. Read more here.

 

 

 

 

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Anar Ali’s first book, Baby Khaki’s Wings, a collection of short stories, was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize (Best First Book), Ontario’s Trillium Book Award, and the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Her debut novel, The Night of Power, is forthcoming from Penguin. Ali is a recent graduate of the Canadian Film Centre and has a 1-hour TV family drama series in development with the CBC. She currently splits her time between Toronto and Mexico.

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