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2017 Reflection

mc at aohc quality

Looking back at 2017, I’m really grateful for all the places I got to travel to for poetry. I featured at:

Poetry and Punk Rock Show, Toronto, ON
Northern Initiative for Social Action Showcase, Sudbury, ON
Tonight It’s Poetry, Saskatoon, SK
Vancouver Poetry Slam, Vancouver, BC
Thompson Public Library, Thompson, MB
Transformative Change Awards, Assoc of ON Health Centres
Superior Heights, Sault Saint Marie, ON
Poetry Festival, Peterborough, ON
Church Street Village Festival, CIUT 89.5FM, Toronto, ON
Wordstock Writer’s Festival, Sudbury, ON

Thanks to all the festivals, schools, organizations & conference organizers who I got to work with, including Louder Than A Bomb Toronto, Arts Etobicoke Feather & Anchor and Toronto Poetry Slam. I wish you all the best in 2018 and I look forward to working with you again!

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On the radio!

Tanya Neumeyer Drop Shadow (3)

Catch my interview with the fabulous Mark Tara on Rainbow Country with CIUT 89.5 FM

I talk about poetry, mental health and the art form, and about being gay in spoken word.

Catch it all here: www.marktara.podomatic.com

Enjoy! xo

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Thank you 2016/2017

Students, thanks for sharing your lives with me through poetry!

img_1821I’ve been planning this year’s school poetry workshops. On a recent phone call with a teacher I’ve worked with for few years, she shared some positive feedback that I had to write down to take in.

She said, “They’re hearing you. It’s working. You really made an impact on how they see themselves. The students who you’ve worked with have been really touched to the core.”

That makes the early mornings so worthwhile. This is me yesterday at 7:30am, ready to teach poetry to Grades 6, 7 & 8 students!

 

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Celebration of Diversity and Unity Against Bullying

Being in a school on ‪#‎DayofPink‬ is always stimulating. For me, it’s a year round conversation. We need to stay united against homophobic, transphobic and all kinds of bullying.

I loved seeing the sea of pink clothes today at St. Mildred’s. Sharing poems and talking about gender, sexuality, identity reflected through poetry was a delight.

I wrote two ‪#‎haiku‬ to honour this day, inspired by students writing. What do you think? Both reflect the still timely and heart wrenching need for change.

1. on the day of pink / do no gay kids get beat up? / do all trans kids live?

2. insecurity / breeds this violence and hatred / not freedom to be

Help spark long term change through these moments of broader attention to these important issues. Continue to lend your voice, ears, attention, and support to countering homophobia and transphobia. Shout out to Dave Silverberg for holding space in class today.

‪#‎gay‬ ‪#‎poet‬ ‪#‎activism‬

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I come from the slam community, a community of people drawn to the performance phenomena called a poetry slam, where poets are scored from 0 to 10 by random audience members based on their writing and performance. Most of you know this.

Maybe you also know that within the slam community, we have a saying, “the points are not the point, the poetry is the point.”

At this year’s Word on the Street, I intended to demonstrate this approach to slam poetry and did, by hitting a new record low score of 1.4 from one of the three judges. I don’t remember the other scores, I think they were 8s or 9s.

This same judge had scored my colleagues’ poems with queer and trans content with 2s, which inspired me to rise to the challenge of calling out the transphobia and homophobia of this judge with my gay-est poem, suitably titled I’m So Gay. I succeeded by scoring my lowest score yet.

The points are not the point here, but the fact that the content of my poem made someone so uncomfortable that they clearly didn’t want to hear it. I felt this was precisely a reason to share it, to counter homophobia.

This gay poem is still necessary because I’m still gay-ly living my gay life while hoping to make the world more comfortable for LGBTQ people to live in: https://youtu.be/Og5ULhlPrHk

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Toronto Poetry Slam

Toronto Poetry Slam Sept

At Toronto Poetry Slam with Shane and Barbara

I’m a regular at Toronto Poetry slam. You can catch me hosting, working as slam master, live tweeting, on merch table duty, timekeeping or scorekeeping. There’s lots to do to keep this bimonthly slam happening.

It’s always great when we get to see friends and supporters like we did this month – when Shane Koyzcan visited! I’m a fan of his work and happy to talk poetry with him whenever our poetry paths overlap.

Great to see you Shane!

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