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 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 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

Book Launch: Lessons of Chaos and Disaster

Thursday, December 6, 2007 - 12:00am to 2:00am

Bar Italia hosts a book launch for Faculty of Liberal Studies Professor Catherine Black's new book Lessons of Chaos and Disaster, a book of prose poetry.

Venue & Address: 
Bar Italia 582 College Street, Toronto, Ontario

26, Nicole Collins and Michael Davidson, present Melanie Janisse-­Barlow: The Poets Series

Photograph of the artist with multiple portraits hanging on the wall in the background
Saturday, September 10, 2016 - 6:00pm to Saturday, September 24, 2016 - 10:00pm

September 3, 10, 17, 24, 2016

Melanie Janisse-­Barlow:  The Poets Series

“The idea behind the Poets Series is to paint portraits of living poets and let each poet pick the next as a practice of practo-­poesis…I asked the poets who were picked if I could paint a portrait of them, and if they wouldn't mind selecting the next poet to add to the series...the beginning poets included other poets, and the archive began to grow, branch by branch into an emerging narrative of contemporary poetry.”


Join us, Saturdays in September to see the paintings completed to date, and to share some tea and poetry and casual conversation.

Saturday September 24, from 2 to 6pm, the Poets Read

Melanie and several local Poets featured in the exhibition will be on hand to give impromptu, unscheduled live readings from their works throughout the afternoon.

About the Artist:  Melanie Janisse-­Barlow is a poet and artist. Her first collection of poetry, Orioles in the Oranges (Guernica, 2009), was listed for the Relit Award, and her essay poems, Detroit, were listed in Best American Essays in 2013. Between a busy private commission schedule and the execution of larger projects such as the Ship of Fools Project (a painting installation on a sailboat), Guided (an installation in an abandoned apartment) and the Poets Series, Janisse works full time as a painter and installation artist in her hometown of Windsor, Ontario, and is completing her second poetry manuscript, Thicket. 26 Canadian Poets, which stems from her Poets Series project, is forthcoming from BookThug.

26 is a domestic viewing space for contemporary art in the Beaconsfield neighborhood of Toronto, Canada. A curatorial collaboration between artists Nicole Collins and Michael Davidson, 26 features an open program of diverse local and international artists and seeks to engage the viewer in a critical and relaxed experience with art.

Saturdays, 2-­6 or by appointment


Venue & Address: 
26 Mackenzie Crescent, Toronto, ON, M6J 1T1
416 346 3246

Professor Lillian Allen to receive Honorary Doctorate from Wilfrid Laurier

Professor Lillian Allen
Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 4:00am

Internationally-acclaimed writer, dub poet and community activist Lillian Allen will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Wilfrid Laurier University at its convocation ceremonies in June.

Allen, a professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, has been teaching creative writing at OCAD University since 1992. 

As a writer and vocalist, Allen has recorded several albums. Revolutionary Tea Party (1986) and Conditions Critical (1988) won JUNO awards in the reggae/calypso category.

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.

Allen is the recipient of the Margo Bindhardt Award, the City of Toronto Cultural Champion Award and the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations.

World Poetry Day featuring Lillian Allen and special guests

Image of Lillian Allen, Chimwemwe Undi and Joshua Whitehead
Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 11:00pm

An evening with internationally-acclaimed dub poet, Lillian Allen with live musical accompaniment from musicians Ashley AuBrady Allard, and Brendan Kinley. Allen will be joined by special guest spoken word artists Chimwemwe Undi and Joshua Whitehead. This event hosted by Charlene Diehl and co-presented by CV2 Magazineand Prairie Fire Magazine in celebration of World Poetry Day.

Lillian Allen is a Creative Writing Professor at the Ontario College of Art & Design University in Toronto. She is an award winning and internationally renowned poet. Professor Allen has pioneered and specialized in dub poetry, a new genre of English Literature which is a highly politicized form of poetry preferring a black aesthetic and specific cultural codification. Allen is responsible for opening up the form to insist and engrave feminist content and sensibilities. Professor Allen’s work in poetry, theatre, fiction, non-fiction, writing for children, and experimental writing forms has been extensively published, performed, and recorded.

Chimwemwe Undi is a poet and an arts organizer. Her work is informed largely by the immigrant experience, a religious upbringing, and various people, places, and things. She was an all-star ensemble member at the 2015 Victoria Spoken Word Festival, and a featured artist at the 2014 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. She runs the Speaking Crow and Voices, Ink., the Winnipeg Youth Slam. Undi lives in Winnipeg.

Joshua Whitehead is pursuing an M.A. in Cultural Studies at the University of Winnipeg while focusing on the politics of critical race scholarship. He is the co-editor of CV2’s “Poetry Lives Here: Young Poet Supplement” and the recent co-editor of UWinnipeg’s juice journal. His work has been featured in Prairie Firejuice, Manitoba First Nation Educational Resource Centre, the Canadian Aboriginal Writers and Arts Challenge, and the upcoming issue of rip/torn collective.

Venue & Address: 
McNally Robinson Winnipeg Grant Park Mall Atrium 1120 Grant Avenue. Winnipeg, MB. R3M 2A6.