2008 FESTIVAL: POETS

The complete listing of Festival Poets’ Bios or Show Summaries:

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Grace Moore (Montreal)
Poems of Change, Love and Everyday Life

Grace Moore has written poetry on a variety of topics ranging from the political and socially conscious to the personal and mundane. She has been a member of several writing groups, including 2 community writing groups, Writers on the Storm and Expresso Writers. She has animated and co-animated workshops in community writing at Concordia University in Montreal, and she has taught community writing for 4 years in Pointe St. Charles. She founded Expresso Writers in August, 2005. She has also been published locally in several other community journals and newsletters. She has performed at the Empress Cultural Centre and Coop La Maison Verte, in Montreal.

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Kyna Real

Colette Vidal

Jan Jorgensen

Kyna Real, Jan Jorgensen, Colette Vidal (Montreal)
Poetry, folk singing with guitar

Kyna Real, folk singer/writer has been writing lyrics for 8 years. Jan Jorgensen is a poet, editor and produces the lawn chair soiree. Colette Vidal has been writing and reading poetry for 3 years and published her first poetry chapbook, INTO THE TWILIGHT, in June 2007.

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Rita Amabili (Chambly, QC)
Femmes et soirs du Monde

J’aimerais faire chanter (un guitariste et une chanteuse m’accompagnent) et réciter deux ou trois poèmes.

Toutes les œuvres de cette auteure sont imprégnées de son désir d’être solidaire de ceux qui souffrent et d’offrir une lueur d’espoir à ceux qui, comme elle, rêvent d’un monde plus juste et plus humain. Elle exprime ce désir depuis plus de quinze ans à travers des moyens d’expression multiples.

Avec son dernier roman Saffia, femme de Smyrne, Rita Amabili traite du rôle des femmes dans les années 117 à 123. Elle y a mis en scène des personnages vivant dans la culture romaine et faisant partie des premières communautés chrétiennes. On entend dire que les femmes, à cette époque, ne tenaient aucune place en société. Aucune place, vraiment ??? Voilà le petit côté féministe de l’auteure. Elle ne veut ou ne peut s’en départir. Il demeure probablement très présent dans ses livres pour enfants, sa poésie, ses romans historiques et ses pièces de théâtre. Certains de ses textes et de ses livres font quand même partie des bibliothèques de plusieurs associations humanistes ! Une autre facette importante de ses écrits, comprend sans aucun doute toutes ses recherches sur l’immigration italienne au Canada. Elle rêve d’un monde plus juste et l’ébauche dans son œuvre, ses conférences et ses multiples ateliers. Être solidaire de ceux qui souffrent est une douce utopie qui conduit sa vie !

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Claudia Coutu Radmore (Carleton Place, ON)
a minute or two/without remembering
“Currently a member of the League of Canadian Poets and of Haiku Canada, co-editor of Gusts and Raw Nervz poetry magazines, I was born and raised in Montreal of a French father and English mother, and have been writing since 1990.

The poems are in the voices of my actual ancestors, all members of the Coutu family. and cover the period from 1672 to 1792. They provide a venue through which readers and listeners may experience the reality of life in New France…. Women struggle to take care of homes and children, men fight the Iroquois and the English. The settlers have their love of horses and a horror of eating potatoes….we hear the ancestors consider the events of the day, what we now think of as our history.

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Michaela Sefler (Montreal)
The Mystical/New Age Poetry
Michaela Sefler is an esoteric poet living in Montreal. Her poems allude to an ancient writing to convey a message of hope and survival.

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Jessica Mailas (Montreal)
The Preciousest
Sharply confessional, fiercely introspective and highly illustrative, the work of emerging poet Jessica Mailas has already garnered a small but dedicated following. “The Preciousest,” her first spoken word presentation, is a portrait of an artist searching for a sense of self, both internally and through her relationships with others.

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Photo by Terence Byrnes

Oana Avasilichioaei (Montreal)
Urban spaces, parks and voices
Montreal poet and translator, Oana Avasilichioaei will talk and read from her new book, feria: a poempark, a collection of poetry that dismantles language and landscape. Using Vancouver’s Hastings Park as a palimpsest, she rewrites this image, interpreting its evolving layers of landscape, histories, architectures. Park and book coincide, revolving around questions such as what is natural, what is language and whose voices are we listening to?

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Maxianne Berger (Montreal)
Juggling Words
Lexicographers might frown, but poets love the flexibility of words, reveling in their contortions. Maxianne Berger takes words and phrases, and juggles them into unexpected positions and juxtapositions. For all the exuberance of her choreography, meaning itself never slips from her grasp.

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Sandra Sjollema (Montreal)
Out of (in) Control
“The only thing people want more than to lose control is to not lose it” said one writer. Through both content and poetic form, the theme of control undergoes many twists and turns in a series of poems that take the reader through suburban family dysfunction, mayhem and beauty in the bush and the scene of a random, urban shooting, to name but a few of the scenarios presented.

Sandra Sjollema’s poetry reflects her academic experience(she studied poetry at Concordia) as well as her lived adventures in the wilds of B.C. and the hard streets of the “hood” (Côte des Neiges.) She has read at the Yellow Door, The Arts Café(as part of the lawn chair soiree series) and other Montreal locations.

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photo by Margaret McLauchlan

Joanne Page (Kingston, ON)

Watermarks (Pedlar Press)
“These astonishing poems, many of them variations on the sonnet, show Joanne Page at the height of her powers. Page uses her characteristic warm wit, insouciant intelligence and wide-roaming interests to make worlds—often very wintry worlds—we can enter with curiosity and delight. ‘The future will be written in water,’ she writes in From the Hitherto Unpublished Journals of Miss Byrdie T., Inveterate Traveller and Champion of Lost Causes, a title that demonstrates the sheer fun of her ironic inversions of literary tradition. Whether Page re-tells fairy tales in northern style (Goldilocks and the three polar bears) or runs down God’s mistakes in Eden, she speaks directly and unabashedly to her readers, literally creating a meeting of the minds on the marvellous occasion of each poem in Watermarks.” — Molly Peacock

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Susan L. Helwig (Toronto, ON)

The Theory of Rock Gardens
“Sometimes love don’t feel like it should!” or so go the lyrics. Join Pink Purse Girl author Susan Helwig on a heart breaking ride with a happy ending.

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Meredith Quartermain (Vancouver)
Lick the Queen:
readings from Nightmarker, (NeWest Press)

Meredith Quartermain, 2006 BC Book Prize for Poetry winner, reads from Nightmarker, a fast-forward glimpse at the evolution of the common city.

There’s an automatic impulse within the human species, the way its cities spring up all over the planet just as ant colonies do. Humans reproduce by way of towns and metropolises, replicating the bee-dances of the Romans, Greeks, and Babylonians, unconsciously invoking rituals of the past in tranceful reveries of the future.

In expeditions to City Hall, the police station, the sugar refinery, and the courthouse, Nightmarker explores the human city as an animal behaviour, a museum, and a dream of modernity.

Quartermain is the author of several poetry collections, including the 2006 BC Book Prize for Poetry winner, Vancouver Walking. She is also co-founder of Nomados, a small literary press in Vancouver.
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Chris Masson (Montreal)
Chris Masson swaggers his way between belligerence and humility. sincerity and pretension, pathos and punchlines. His highly energetic performative poems fall somewhere between spoken word rants and stand-up comedy routines. Thanks to clairvoyant technologies, his readings at the Montreal Public Poetry Festival have already been described as “breathless,” “non-stop,” and “apocalyptic.”
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The Throw Poetry Collective
The Throw Poetry Collective made an impression on the spoken-word scene with their inaugural season of poetry slams. Now, the winners from that season make their debut as an ensemble, en route to the national slams championships in Calgary. Don’t miss your chance to say, “I knew them when!” or your chance to find out when “when” is!

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Angelika Bertsch
Photographer and creative writer
Savoring the potential of “what lies within us” Angelika has discovered the pleasure of writing about a world often unknown to the individual.
Text combined with imagery—whereby the image is reworked and ‘charged’ with her personal energy—are the tools she uses to express perception, time, feelings and visions.
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Vincenzo Di Nicola & Jan Jorgensen (Montreal)
Corvi & Co.

1. Corvi & Co.: Aliases and Dialogue
Discover your self in poetic conversation with Vincenzo and his poetic identities (Corvi & Co.) and Jan in her religious explorations.

2. Grammars of Creation: Poems and Meditations
In a sampling of their forthcoming volume of religious poetry, Vincenzo and Jan explore and extend their religious sensibilities across the universe of faith and doubt, religious revelation and spiritual self-disclosure.

3. Among the Heretics: Poem-Conversations

Vincenzo, an Italian with a foot in the Catholic world, another in the Jewish and a Sufi heart, exchanges poem-conversations with Jan, American poet and pastor of the United Church of Christ, in a series of encounters with poets, philosophers and mystics from Siena to Mile End and East L.A.
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Derrick Cantwell & James Grieve
Familiar Faces in Strange Places

The beat, the sound, the guitar. Iconic celebrity lost, found, drowned in a sea of word. From here to there, to anywhere-Anything, everything, and nothing.

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Photo by MJ Caro

Erica Ruth Kelly
Symptoms

Published in Four Minutes to Midnight, Subversions, and sources, Kelly has been a featured poet in WAWA(We Are Women Artists) 2007 and 2008, as well as part of Ian Ferrier’s Words and Music showcase. Her newest chapbook, Symptoms, promises to confuse and hopes to enlighten.

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Rachel Brown (Montreal)
Home-Away-Home

Rachel’s work has appeared in Poetry Canada as well as Women Write magazine. She has recently returned from Asia after a six-year journey.

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Matthew Ferrara (Malden, Massachusetts)
After The Meteor

Matt Ferrara is the author of Young drunks in love and Five seeds in a capsule. In 2004, he earned an MFA in poetry from New England College. His work has most recently appeared in The Henniker Review and Caesura Magazine.

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Rachna Vohra & Rahul Gupta
Rachna Vohra & That Brown Bastard!

Rachna means Creation in Sanskrit, so poet and writer Rachna Vohra never denied this as her fate. A poet with soul, purpose, and a side-order of wit, she takes on social issues, taboos, and your belief systems and throws them back at you to teeter you off your axis. She injects her South Asian heritage as well as experiences of the feminine into her writing, and is passionate about colouring outside of the lines drawn, accepted and perpetuated by society.

That Brown B@$!@%&! is a professional poet, (in other words, broke) who relies on your raucous approval to fuel his immense ego. He has performed his trademark ranting gibberish for less than appreciative crowds in a variety of shows, and has layeth a verbal smackdown more than once. He is the token brown guy in the Last Call Poets poetry troupe, founding member of seminal spoken word oddities The StrapOns, and likely to finish all your scotch.

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Katharine Beeman & Raphael Bendahan (Montreal)
Quiver

Katharine Beeman is a Montreal poet, in Our America, a dreamer passing, her role is a visionary’s, a realist dreaming the impossible. She’s published with The Muses Company, Poetas, the Canada Cuba Literary Alliance. Most recently she performed at the Purdy Festival in Ontario.

Raphael Bendahan was born in Casablanca, Morocco. His poetry is infused with a sense of longing, exile and seduction. He is co-founder of the Sky of Ink Press that specializes in chapbooks. His latest short film—A Spanish Tale—was screened at the Montreal World Film Festival.
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Rebecca Schwarz
Paperasse

Pornography, penis envy, and that boyfriend who keeps asking you to do something about your hair. Cuba, South America, and Eastern Europe. Strippers, lawyers, and dictators. Coups and Quiet Revolutions. Anti-Semites and condo developers. Bertolt Brecht and rape fantasies. Plus, a headless boar. For people who believe poetry, like fantasy, still has a place in our daily lives: Paperasse is for you.

Rebecca Schwarz is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, Toronto. Her poetry has appeared in Prism International, and will appear in forthcoming issues of The Antigonish Review and The Nashwaak Review. Both her poetry and prose have been shortlisted for a number of awards, including Arc Magazine’s Poem of the Year Contest.
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Rae Marie Taylor
The Wild In Critical Times

Rae Marie at the 2006 Trois Riviere International Poetry Festival.

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