Diaspora Dialogues is pleased to announce it’s programmed a number of established and emerging spoken word artists and poets to open Spur Toronto’s panels.
Omar Musa will be reading his work at the opening session of Spur festival on Thursday, April 7 at 7 p.m. at the Toronto Reference Library in the Brama & Bluma Appel Salon. The event is free, but register in advance to reserve your seat.
Omar Musa is a Malaysian-Australian author, rapper and poet from Queanbeyan, Australia. He is the former winner of the Australian Poetry Slam and the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam. He has appeared on ABC’s Q&A and received a standing ovation at TEDx Sydney at the Sydney Opera House. His debut novel, Here Come the Dogs, was long-listed for the Miles Franklin Award, the International Dublin Literary Award and he was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Young Novelists of the Year in 2015.
On Saturday, April 9 at 12 p.m. at the Hart House Debates Room, Zeinab Aidid and Shadiya Aidid will be opening the Human Migration panel with a spoken word performance.
Shadiya Aidid, is a poet, fashion designer and DJ. She often infuses the two vocal art forms of storytelling and song, so you could call her a quasi-rapper. She spends most nights getting the perfect noodle to MSG ratio in her ramen as she studies for her degree in environmental studies at York University—which by the way is more than tree-hugging and going vegan. She’s been writing poetry ever since she was told that poems are just essays with line breaks, writing about female empowerment, black excellence and environmental justice. Stalk her life @shashafunk.
Zeinab Aidid is a Toronto-based writer, speaker, spoken word artist and educator. Born to Somali immigrant parents, she draws upon her experience navigating the world as a black Muslim woman. She’s inspired by her storytelling ancestors, as well as the many artists in her life. When she’s not performing, Zeinab spends her time facilitating writing and spoken word workshops for youth all around the city. She hopes that through her work she will guide young people in finding their voice while creating a space for alternative narratives. By day, Zeinab is a student at the University of Toronto completing a double major in Equity Studies and Anthropology.
Also on April 9, at 2 p.m. in the Hart House Debates Room, poet Trish Salah will be opening a panel on gender fluidity.
Born in Halifax, Trish Salah is the author of the Lambda Award-winning Wanting in Arabic, and of Lyric Sexology, Vol. 1. Active in labour and social justice movements, Salah advocated for trans representation and sex worker solidarity in CUPE and at the Canadian Labour Congress. She is widely published in journals and anthologies, and is co-editor of a special issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, on Transgender Cultural Production. Her research program, Towards a Trans Minor Literature, is an inquiry into aesthetic and political projects of transsexual, trans, genderqueer and two-spirit writers. She recently organized the Writing Trans Genres and Decolonizing and Decriminalizing Trans Genres conferences at the University of Winnipeg. Currently Salah is assistant professor of Gender Studies at Queen’s University.
Beginning at 5 p.m. at the Al Green Theatre in the Miles Nadal JCC, Bardia Sinaee will take the stage to perform a reading to kick off Spur’s panel on masculinity.
Bardia Sinaee was born in Tehran, Iran and currently lives in Toronto. His poems have appeared in magazines across Canada and in the Best Canadian Poetry 2015.
A panel on the intricacies of the feminist movement will wrap Saturday’s Spur festival events. Stick around the Al Green Theatre to see Emma Healey read at 8 p.m.
Emma Healey’s first book of poems, Begin with the End in Mind, was published by Arbeiter Ring in 2012. She is the Globe and Mail’s poetry critic, and a regular contributor to the music blog Said the Gramophone. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including theLA Review of Books, the Hairpin, the National Post and the Toronto Star. She is currently at work on a second collection of poems.
On Sunday, April 10 at 11 a.m. in the Hart House Debates Room, Phoebe Wang will read some of her poetry to kick off a panel on designing our shared landscapes.
Born in Ottawa, Phoebe Wang is a writer and educator based in Toronto. She holds a BA in English from York University and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. Her poetry and criticism has appeared in numerous journals, such as Arc Poetry Magazine, Canadian Literature, Maisonneuve, The Malahat Review, This Magazine and Diaspora Dialogues’ TOK 6: Writing the New Toronto anthology. Her first chapbook,Occasional Emergencies, was published with Odourless Press in 2013, and she was the 2015 Grand Prize winner of the Prism International Poetry Prize. She serves as volunteer Outreach Coordinator with Puritan Magazine and has been a Teacher-in-Residence at Artscape Youngplace. Her second chapbook is forthcoming with The Emergency Response Unit this spring and her debut collection of poetry, Admission Requirements, will be published with McLelland and Stewart in spring 2017. More of work can be found at alittleprint.com.
The final poet appearing at Toronto’s Spur festival is David Alexander. On April 10, David will be opening the political tribalism panel at 1:15 in the Hart House Debates Room.
David Alexander is the author of two poetry chapbooks—Chicken Scratch, from Puddles of Sky Press, and Modern Warfare, forthcoming from Anstruther Press. His writing has appeared in Lemon Hound, subTerrain, The Week Shall Inherit The Verse, The Steel Chisel, and The Edible City from Coach House Books. He is the Executive Director of the Toronto Vegetarian Association.
We hope to see you there!