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For the past 26 years, The Word On The Street has been renowned for the quality and diversity of its event programming. See the lineup of incredible Canadian literary talent at the 27th festival on September 25, 2016.
A poetic catalogue of the language used by military operations since 1945. An exploration of the Plains Cree uprising at Frog Lake in 1885. Odes to inspirational figures throughout Black history. Recent poetry collections by Moez Surani, Laurie D. Graham, and Michael Fraser take their poetic tools to build monuments to antimilitarism, decolonization, and Black pride in our Vibrant Voices of Ontario poetry showcase.
To Greet Yourself Arriving pays tribute to inspirational and illustrious figures throughout black history. A wide range of individuals such as activists, artists, and athletes are showcased in Michael Fraser’s powerful poetic portraits—Rosa Parks, Barack Obama, Harriet Tubman, Oscar Peterson, Oprah Winfrey, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and P.K. Subban. In his foreword to this groundbreaking poetry collection, Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke writes, “Fraser gives us characters who, even if tortured by their experiences of “race” and/or racism, win through to a stardom that edges into heroism…”
Michael Fraser is a Toronto high school teacher, poet, and writer. He has been published in various national and international journals and anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2013. His manuscript, The Serenity of Stone, won the 2007 Canadian Aid Literary Award Contest and was published in book form by Bookland Press in 2008. He won FreeFall Magazine’s 2014 and 2015 poetry contests and is the creator and former director of the Plasticine Poetry Series.
“A tone-perfect elegiac meditation on the impossibility of engaging with painful history and the necessity of doing so.” – Margaret Atwood, Thomas Morton Memorial Prize for Poetry
In the stunning poems of Settler Education, Laurie D. Graham vividly explores the Plains Cree uprising at Frog Lake—the death of nine settlers, the hanging of six Cree warriors, the imprisonment of Big Bear, and the opening of the Prairies to unfettered settlement. In ways possible only with such an honest act of imagination, and with language at once terse and capacious, Settler Education reckons with how these pasts repeat and reconstitute themselves in the present.
Laurie D. Graham’s first book of poetry, Rove, was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best first book of poetry in Canada. Poems from her second collection, Settler Education, were shortlisted for the 2014 CBC Poetry Prize and won The Puritan’s Thomas Morton Memorial Prize for Poetry. Graham holds a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of Victoria and an MFA from the University of Guelph. She is an editor of Brick, A Literary Journal, as well as an instructor at Fanshawe College. She grew up in Sherwood Park, Alberta, and now lives in London, Ontario.
From Moez Surani comes Operations—a book-length poetic inventory of contemporary rhetoric of violence and aggression, as depicted through the evolution of the language used to name the many military operations conducted by UN Member Nations since the organization’s inception in 1945. With Operations, Surani shows that no word is free from connoting violence while he provokes people to consider whether their personal values match the values of the military operations that are conducted by their countries, often in the name of protecting those same citizens.
Moez Surani has travelled, studied, and worked in countries around the world. His writing has been featured in numerous publications, including the Best Canadian Poetry (2013 and 2014), The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, Harper’s Magazine, and PRISM International. His poetry publications include collection, Reticent Bodies (2009), and Floating Life (2012). In 2009, he won a Chalmers Arts Fellowship, and later, attended artists’ residencies in Italy, Finland, Latvia, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Canada. His latest book, Operations, (BookThug 2016) was a 2014 finalist for Les Figues Press Book Prize.