Speaking Poetry to Power
September 28 at 8:30am
Join Canadian award-winning poets and activists Kelisha Daley, Martin Gomes, Khiem Hoang, Shahaddah Jack and Zara Rahman for an empowering presentation of the power of performance. In lively conversation with Desiree Mckenzie, they’ll share the tools you’ll need to create your own poetry and writing, and the necessary techniques to reflect the challenges and change you’d like to inspire in the world around you.
All presenters are mentees of the iAM Programme: a youth-led arts and social justice mentorship for equity-seeking youth in Canada aged 12–26. Desiree Mckenzie is an award-winning performer and arts educator, who in 2019, earned the title of Canadian Festival of Spoken Word National Champion.
Date: September 28, 2021 at 8:30am ET / 1:30pm BST
Where: The event will be broadcasted on the Reading is Magic Festival website
Recommended for ages 11 and up.
This event will be presented as part of the Reading is Magic Festival, running September 27 – October 1, 2021. The virtual festival promotes creativity and connection through stories and shared experiences, creating content for children and young people in primary and secondary schools. It is presented in partnership with Toronto International Festival of Authors and JAYU, a leader in the space where the arts and human rights intersect.
About the poets and activists:
A poet by any other name should be called Kelisha Daley, who is adamant that life is romantic, even in its mundane-ness. At the age of 26, Kelisha is an emerging multidisciplinary artist: actor, writer, designer and poet. Kelisha graduated Humber College in 2020 where she received three years of theatrical training in performative arts. Her film projects include The Bliss of Falling, produced with The And, Stages Company in 2020; self-produced film Where There Is Room to Bloom; The Promotion (directed by Mike Regis) and Mismatch (directed by Tasha Gray) as an actor; and her upcoming self-produced project, to mad women everywhere, as part of FILM POV’s 2021 en/Vision Lab.
Martin Gomes recently obtained a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts at York University where he studied music. Ringleader of his Band “JuiceBox” with whom he won the TIFF: Battle of the Scores competition in 2020. Beatboxer, musician, chorister, model, writer, and poet, he got hella characteristics to choose from. His goal is to develop a space where him and his homies can survive, thrive and live their lives at their pace.
Khiem Hoang (he/they) is a writer, community facilitator, researcher in training and wannabe musician with an obsession for shawarma and counterculture. His work seeks to question our realities and ponder radical possibilities. He cares deeply about celebrating a multiplicity of perspectives, improving our conditions and being “heavy metal” (whatever that means). You can find him trawling thrift stores and shilling obscure artists.
Born and raised in Toronto with a diverse cultural background that grounds her in her poetry and life is 17-year-old writer, poet, believer in self-evolution and student activist, Shahaddah Jack (she/her). She uses the realities of her identity, including being a female and a person of colour, to create stories of art that connect with others and are used to teach one of her greatest beliefs in life, that your pain is your strength. Not only does she do this with her poetry, but conjointly with her activism as well. From as early as the tender age of 12 she’s been featured in many showcases including, TDSBcreates, numerous RISE events and many more.
Zara Rahman (she/her) is a spoken word artist, nonprofit founder and community leader. Through written and spoken word poetry, Zara has shared stories with audiences up to 2000 and in more intimate settings. She has been featured on CBC News and the Toronto Star for her community involvement. Zara, founder of the international nonprofit organization, Youth Professionals (@youthprofessionals), created a platform to support BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth all over the world through virtual opportunities. Recently, she was named the 2021 CBC News Community Champion award winner. In the future, Zara plans to pursue a career as a human rights attorney and continue writing poems whenever possible.
Desiree Mckenzie (she/her) is an award-winning poet, photographer and Program Coordinator for JAYU from Toronto. Her poetry has been featured in CBC’s Poetic License series, VIBE Arts NExT Exhibit and Clearco Financials’ International Women’s Day Campaign. In 2020, she was awarded the JAYU iAM Arts for Human Rights Award recognizing creatives doing exceptional work where the arts and human rights intersect. Her newfound passion for photography has been featured in projects for The Bentway and ResilienTOgether. In March 2021, she released her EP of spoken word, Wet Hair, now available on streaming platforms.
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