OCAD U Poetry Slam

Friday, November 22, 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm

The OCAD U Poetry Society presents our first poetry slam. This event will determine the team that represents OCAD U at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) at Virginia Commonwealth University (April 15 to 18, 2020).

Interested poets would need 3 poems each under 3 minutes. 

To register and for more information please email ocadupoetrysociety@gmail.com

The OCAD U Poetry Society is a collective of students from all backgrounds and writing levels who gather to discuss, collaborate and experiment with poetic forms. They facilitate workshops, performances and outings. The Society is also responsible for creating and facilitating the OCAD U Poetry Slam Team which will compete at The College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI), an annual Poetry Slam tournament put on by the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) in which teams of four or five college students from different colleges and universities compete against each other in the United States. The society is mentored by Professors Ian Keteku and Lillian Allen.


Venue & Address: 
Learning Zone, 113 McCaul Street (or access via 122 St. Patrick Street), Level 1
PoetrySlam graphic

Book Launch: Bewilderness by Catherine Black

Sunday, October 27, 2019 - 3:30pm to 6:00pm

Bewilderness by Catherine Black, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdiscipinary Studies, at Guernica Editions’ Fall Launch. 

Sunday, October 27th, 2019

Supermarket, 268 Augusta Avenue

3:30 P.M. -6:00 P.M.

Gary Barwin writes, “In Bewilderness, each item in the notebook of everything is connected by an invisible thread to each other thing. Catherine Black weaves her poems with these threads, connecting the luminosity, resonance and being of the everyday, its complex web of perceptions and emotions with evocative sensory and conceptual allure. We are “bewildered” in that everything, even the familiar, is newly discovered, wild to possibility, observation and poetry. As the book reads our world, we read this book: with eyes wild open.”

Venue & Address: 
Supermarket, 268 Augusta Avenue
Free Admission

Sonnet L'Abbe: Sonnet's Shakespeare

Monday, September 23, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award-winning poet SONNET L’ABBE returns with her third collection in which a mixed-race woman decomposes her inheritance of Shakespeare by breaking open the sonnet and inventing an entirely new poetic form.
Join us for the Toronto launch of Sonnet’s Shakespeare with special guest readers.

This reading and book launch is supported by the OCAD University Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies, the OCAD University Creative Writing Program, the League of Canadian Poets, and Penguin Random House Canada.

Books sold by A Different Booklist.

This is a free public event in a fully accessible venue.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University, 100 McCaul St., Room 270, The Great Hall
Book cover on a pink background. White text reads Sonnet's Shakespeare on black background,


Saturday, April 6, 2019 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm


Saturday April 6, 2019, 2 pm

Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario

West Coast-based poets and friends, Cecily Nicholson and Juliane Okot Bitek will be joined by Toronto’s Lillian Allen (OCADU) in a conversation about cross-cultural memory and collective amnesia. The authors, whose work has contemplated these themes, will think through the poem as a document of memory: considering what poetry can add to existing narrow histories, and the role of memory in building resilient futures.

Juliane Okot Bitek ’s work has been published widely online, in print and in literary magazines. Her work has been recently anthologized in New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descent; Transition: Writing Black Canadas; Great Black North; Contemporary African Canadian Poetry; and Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them. Juliane’s 100 Days (University of Alberta 201) is a poetic response to the twentieth anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Inspired by the photographs of Wangechi Mutu, Juliane wrote a poem a day for a hundred days and posted them on her website and on social media. The book won the 2017 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award for Poetry and the 2017 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry. Other recent poetry awards include the 2017 National Magazine Awards for which Migrations: Salt Stories was shortlisted and the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize for which Gauntlet was longlisted.

On Musqueam-, Squamish-, and Tsleil-Waututh- land, Cecily Nicholson has worked in the downtown eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver since 2000 — most recently as Administrator of the artist-run centre, Gallery Gachet. A part of the Joint Effort prison abolitionist group and a member of the Research Ethics Board for Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Cecily is the newly appointed Interpretive Programmer at the Surrey Art Gallery. She is the author of TriageFrom the Poplars, winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, and Wayside Sang, 2018 winner of the Governor General's award for poetry.

Lillian Allen is a Jamaican-Canadian professor of creative writing at OCAD University, Toronto. Multi-disciplinary and experimental, Allen’s creativity crosses many genres including radio, theatre, music and film. As a two-time JUNO Award winner (Revolutionary Tea Party, a Ms. Magazine Landmark Album Conditions Critical) and trailblazer in the field of spoken word and dub poetry, Allen artistically explores the aesthetics of old and new sounds in music to create her distinctive brand of Canadian reggae. Allen’s debut book of poetry, Rhythm An’ Hardtimes became a Canadian bestseller, and she has held the post of Writer-in-Residence at Canada’s Queen’s University and University of Windsor. Founder of the Toronto International Dub Poetry Festival and a variety of cultural organizations such as Fresh Arts that empower youth, Allen has spent over three decades writing, publishing, performing and doing workshop presentations of her work to audiences around the globe.

This event is organized in-part by the first-year Criticism and Curatorial masters students of OCAD U.

Jackman Hall is accessible.

Venue & Address: 
Jackman Hall Art Gallery of Ontario 317 Dundas St W, Toronto

Groundings: Summit to Raise Up BIPOC Poets

Friday, November 23, 2018 - 5:00pm to Saturday, November 24, 2018 - 6:00pm

This Grounding will bring together poets, spoken word artists, dub & hip hop poets, students, creative writers, and word activists to pool their knowledge and know how to build cultural leadership as a means to develop, enrich, and advance our cultural communities who work with writing and language as artistic forms.

Friday, November 23rd 

A reception will be hosted in the evening. The group will be engaged in cross cultural dialogue, sharing strategic work, networking and checking-in.

Saturday, November 24th 

A full day of discussion regarding the spoken word form, diverse poetry, and aspects of the creative writing community beyond questions and critique. We will begin to envision and develop a 5 year strategy forward as a crucial cultural, artistic, and scholarly movement. In conjunction with the new Creative Writing BFA, we will be working to position OCAD University as a local, national, and international home/hub for the creative, scholarly, and social practice work of poets, writers, language & linguistic artistic creator-activists-- many of whom are already working seamlessly across genres and disciplines. We will be working with a vartiety of sectors (community, business, education, government, arts councils, health, entertainment, etc.) to establish experiential learning opportunities for students and create sustainable professional working opportunities for our graduates. One such successful example is the development of the ‘teaching artist’ now utilized throughout Boards of Education.

This first meeting is BIPOC focused.

Please email lallen@faculty.ocadu.ca for registration and further information.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 113 McCaul St.
"GROUNDINGS" in Brown text "SYMPOSIUM TO RAISE UP BIPOC POETS" in cream on red, orange, beige, brown, and cream diagonal stripes

Line & Verse: An exploration of Visual Arts and Poetry between Canada and Taiwan

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - 10:00am to Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 4:00pm

This project was initiated by artists Carlina Chen (Canada) and Hsieh, Chi-Chang (Taiwan), who share a mutual interest in the intersection of poetry and the visual arts and the fostering of a cultural conversation. In the fall of 2016, one poem from each of three Canadian poets, Anne Carson, Patrick Lane and Claire Caldwell, was selected; and three works were chosen from two contemporary Taiwanese poets, Yu, Kwang-Chung and Wang, Feng-Hsiang.

The exhibition features work on paper by 21 Canadian artists and 21 Taiwanese artists and one Canadian performance artist.

The Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library will host the first Canadian exhibition. 

Closing Event - Panel Discussion

January 16th, 2019

2:00pm - 4:00pm

More details to come.


Opening Reception

November 14

4:00pm - 6.30pm

There will be a poetry reading by Claire Caldwell and remarks.


Please RSVP via https://lineverse.eventbrite.ca by November 7th, 2018.

Venue & Address: 
The Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library 8th Floor Robarts Library Toronto, ON, M5S 1A5
"Line & Verse" in white text on a blue monochrome photo of a stone staircase

Puneet Dutt launching debut poetry collection on November 19

Puneet Dutt, Student Communications Administrator at OCAD U’s Office of the Registrar, is celebrating the launch of her debut poetry collection, The Better Monsters on November 19 at the Mansfield Press Toronto Launch.

Speaking volumes: Lillian Allen guest-curates AGO series

Internationally acclaimed writer, dub poet and a professor in OCAD U’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Lillian Allen, has guest-curated a four-week series of poetry, music and spoken word at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).  As part of Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989, the landmark ‘celebration of the voice’ exhibition showcases an array of established and budding local artists, featuring some of Toronto’s most dynamic spoken word talent.

The AGO Friday Nights in October series offers an opportunity to experience artists who worked during the period the exhibition covers. The final Friday in the series features a performance by Allen, herself, on October 28 (Lillian Allen & the Revolutionary Tea Party with Janet Rogers and Amani). Allen and her band will be re-creating the activism and cultural revolution of her groundbreaking, Juno award-winning album, Revolutionary Tea Party, along with some new content.

Allen describes the 1971-1989 timeframe as a period of “a lot of creativity, a lot of inter-connection from cultural collaboration — a time when people, obviously, were not comfortable with old traditions and some of the dialogue and debates around race and equality.” As she describes it, “the world was opening up; music around the world, and cultures, were coming together to embrace a larger family.”

Allen has been teaching creative writing at OCAD University since 1992.  Inspired by “anything that is energetic, progressive, beautiful and forward-looking,” she credits her OCAD U students for inspiring her with “that kind of creativity, cutting-edge positioning.”

As a writer, vocalist and social activist, she has recorded several albums, including Revolutionary Tea Party (1986) and Conditions Critical (1988), for which she received Juno Awards for best reggae/calypso album.  As one of the originators of dub poetry, she is the founder of the DubPoets Collective in Toronto and has led such programs as Fresh Arts, Native Women in the Arts and Black Arts Service Organizations.

In addition to the performances, visitors can hear Allen’s Revolutionary Tea Party album on the AGO’s fourth floor. 

The exhibition is included in general admission.


Natalie Pavlenko

Poetry reading by Joe Rosenblatt & Allan Safarik

Poetry Reading Poster
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - 9:30pm to 11:30pm

The Faculty of Liberal Studies presents a poetry reading by acclaimed poets Joe Rosenblatt and Allan Safarik. Joe and Allan will be reading from their latest work. All are invited to attend this event. There will be an open mic after the readings.

Organized by Liberal Studies Faculty member Catherine Black.

Venue & Address: 
Rm 187 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario

Faculty of Liberal Studies Poetry Reading

Poetry Reading
Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - 11:00pm to Thursday, January 17, 2008 - 1:00am

You are invited to attend a poetry reading by Professors Catherine Black (from her book Lessons of Chaos and Disaster) and Irene Marques (from her book Wearing Glasses of Water).

Venue & Address: 
Rm 327 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario