to m.s ramaswamy, my great grandfather who translated thamizh poems into english, whose copies of anna karenina, war and peace i’ve inherited:
periya thatha, your poems are friends i run into from other lives, when will we meet again?
kindness as the means and end. relentless kindness. an unhurried kindness. a kindness that is unconcerned with performance. kindness like water. kindness as breath, as movement, as the stillness in which you gather your songs.
my name is kayal vizhi. i’m a poet, currently based in toronto. my stories time travel, occupy many geographies, question the validity of borders and are ultimately, borderless. nothing i write will be as beautiful as thamizh and this is a solace.
i’m currently working on a collection of poems that are also essays about family and solitude. i’m reading james salter’s light years – a gorgeous, luminous novel. i’m excited to read anything by durga chew-bose.
Follow Kayal on instagram.
Photo credit: Sarah Manlapaz Suresh
Thank you for your guidance. For making yourselves known – through the stories shared by elders, through the memories you left behind – the music and the photographs… For the way the wind sounds some days, when its whispers seem to call out your name. Thank you for your sacrifices. Thank you for your love and courage. My question for you now? How can I learn to keep my connection to you open? How can I best honour your lives? How can I best honour my own?
All you came here to do is recognise the beauty of who you are. All you get to take with you when you leave, is your ability to love. And oh yeah… we’re all in this together.
Andrea Thompson has performed her poetry across the country for over twenty years. In 2005, her CD One was nominated for a Canadian Urban Music Award. She is the author of the novel Over Our Heads and co-editor of Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out. Thompson teaches creative writing through Brock University, the Ontario College of Art and Design University and the University of Toronto.
Learn more about Andrea here.
Andrea is currently doing a lot of research…
I’m writing about the history of spoken word – specifically the influence of Black American art and literature – from slavery to today. My own paternal family history traces back to the plantations of the old south, so celebrating that creative lineage is something I’m passionate about. I have just completed a CD that explores this history (with music by Evren Oz), due to be released in a few months.
I’m also gearing up to teach a five week Spoken Word Workshop through Continuing Studies at OCADU. The course runs Saturday afternoons, starting May 26th, and is open to everyone. OCAD U – Continuing Studies
Photo credit: Kristi McDougall
Thank you. I have immense gratitude that goes beyond words for all you have done. I ask you to please continue to guide our hopes, dreams, struggles, and coping so that we all can move toward the lives you envisioned for us.
With as much love as I can muster,
Be emboldened to act, to dream, to play, to be courageous in who you are, without apology.
Always look to the past for lessons, while envisioning a better future.
Sedina Fiati is a performer, producer, creator and activist for stage and screen. She proudly identifies as black and femme and was born in Tkaronto to a Trinidadian mother and Ghanaian father. Her name means a gift from God in Ewe and she hopes to be that to the world. Sedina has a BFA in Music Theatre from the University of Windsor and has worked on a variety of projects ranging from cabaret, Shakespeare, devised work, multidisciplinary work and short films. Sedina is currently 2nd VP of Canadian Actors Equity Association council and Managing Producer at The Storefront Theatre.
Sedina is currently…
Creating, producing and acting in a web series called Last Dance. As the Managing Producer of The Storefront Theatre, working on After Wrestling upcoming at Factory and the Feminist Fuck It Festival. Stay tuned for upcoming news on social justice workshop series for the live performance community. I am inspired right now by the next generation who are questioning old paradigms and standing up for social justice in every sphere. I am also working on finding time for fun self care and seeing my friends and family more often.
To stay updated on Sedina’s work, follow along on twitter and instagram.
Photo by Warren Cleland.
We are behind the scenes, developing a wonderful lineup of creative, inspiring humans who will share their questions with us this year.
In the meantime, feel to contemplate and reflect upon one or more of these questions as we settle in to 2018:
What will I do this year to remind myself that I have the support of my ancestors and traditions behind me?
What unhealthy ideas/ beliefs/ways of being have been unintentionally passed down to me? What do I need to do to let them go?
If my ancestors could speak to me now, what would they remind me to do/be? Is that advice in line with what I want to do and who I want to be? Why or why not?
Come back often.
Stay a while.
Miriam, Mary, Maryam, how will my garden grow?
Mata Sindhu, were we always dancers?
How did you find and capture joy?
Peek-a-Boo!! ~ Do you see me now beloveds?
I learn over and over again that tuning into spontaneous expression
is the key to presence and showing up to our life.
People often ask me why I dance.
to get out of my head
to commune with the sacred
to feel my power
to bliss out
to be with my pain
to process my emotions
to express what I can’t in words
I Dance to Celebrate,
I Dance to Create.
Why Do You Dance?
and….Tag – You`re it!
A daughter of the Indus River and the Sindhu people, Kanwal Rahim often weaves dance, storytelling and humour into all her artistic expressions. Her poetry and dance reflects her nomadic and hyphenated upbringing in Pakistan, Egypt, UAE and Canada. Drawing on her diverse experiences in performing arts, she continues to explore new body wisdom practices and healing traditions to deepen awareness and connection, with a focus on honouring the integrity of the body. Kanwal has graced many stages in Toronto and is currently working on her first collection of poetry and songs.
Follow her on instagram here.
Photo: Amber Ellis ~ Creating Light Photography