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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Summer Camp for Creative Types

Come to  be inspired, stay to play.-2Art making requires support, time and attention. It can be lonely work. Makers spend time solo, problem solving ways to keep their practice alive. This can be hard.

The solution is in community and play – which are at the root of the creative process. Creativity is work at play. At summer camp, your creative process will be given the life-affirming support, time and attention it needs.

This is art school for the modern creative – playful, fun, experimental and collaborative. Come to summer camp to be inspired, stay to play.

Set outdoors, with a nearby rain venue, this summer camp for creative adults will be a fun chance to learn something new and exciting.

I will be your camp counsellor. I am a certified teacher, poet and facilitator. For the last ten years, I’ve lead workshops for theatre, dance, music and poetry groups. As a self-employed artist, I write performance poems, create visual art and craft paper pieces and have engaged in a daily creative project for the last five years.

I have taught thousands of students to write and perform their own spoken word pieces through the Ontario Arts Council and the League of Canadian Poets. I am also the lead facilitator with Toronto Poetry Project’s Write Better or Whatever.

Perhaps most importantly, I still know how to play. It is woven into my stars. I hope play will be a gift you’ll give to yourself and your work this summer.

landscape-nature-sunset-trees

The camp runs from:
Thursday, July 9, 7 – 9pm
Friday, July 10, 7 – 9pm
Saturday, July 11, 3 – 5pm

Drop in for just $15 a session, or join us for all three for $40. We meet at the Simon Bolivar statue in the northwest corner of Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Please pre-register by sending an email to tneumeyer@gmail.com to confirm your spot, though drop-ins are welcome.

August dates will follow.

FB event invite: www.facebook.com/events/1446304039004740/

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The Great Canadian YouTube Poetry Contest

My newest poetry video created by the talented Jessica, Charlie and Lucy at NTCI, late January. We submitted this video to the Great Canadian YouTube Poetry Contest, where voting by likes created a short-list. The videos were then judged by numbers just like at a poetry slam.

t on the tube

Watch my “I’m So Gay” piece, if you haven’t yet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og5ULhlPrHk

I was proud of my submission and so grateful for all the support – from the high school student who penned “I’m so gay” in 1″ block letters on her outer forearm to remember to vote, to the Halton Board’s invitation to read this poem at their Pride Dance, to my siblings who spread the word widely and really showed up. Thank you all!

The winner was the talented Winona Linn with her poem Homeward Bound. Congrats! Check out her poem: http://youtu.be/cS2AJz8H54w

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A week at McMurrich

I recently taught a week of poetry workshops for Grade 5 and 6 students at McMurrich Jr PS. You can see into our workshop process through these pictures tweeted by the teachers. Thanks @zeliaMCT and @kamla_sharbear.
check ininterview
It was a pleasure and an honour. Our grand finale was a showcase of the best poems written this week and the students amazed me.

I still have openings for workshops over the next month and a bit – on a first come, first funded basis. If you would like to work with me or know someone who might, please be in touch!

Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for making this great week possible!

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A Week at BDHS

Last week I taught at Bradford District High School, the same high school I went to as a teenager. Family, teachers and perfect strangers were quite intrigued and curious about what this experience was like for me. It seems most people can imagine, for better or for worse, what this would be like them.

BDHS
It was a great week. I am grateful. I could make a long list of all the things that inspired me about this experience. The short list includes: the equity work being done at the school by a few committed teachers, the fact that Bradford now has a GSA, and meeting Karen Stewart and many brilliant students. Much love to Joanne Bridgeman-Sparks for guiding the library-ship and to Judy Faria for organizing this!

The Ontario Arts Council’s Artist in Education funding made this week of workshops possible – a week where students created their own spoken word pieces, after learning about the art form, and performed them too!

In a Writer’s Guild meeting (a club that meets at lunch to write and talk about writing) we discussed what it’s like to earn a living as an artist and my work with the League of Canadian Poets came up. Stewart’s first vision was of me in a cape…. and that is what you see in this fabulously hand-made thank you card pictured here!

Poet in a cape

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