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Word on the Street: The Intricate Art of the ‘Sonnet’

September 22 @ 12:15 pm - 1:00 pm

A festival 30 years in the making—The Word On The Street Toronto has championed literacy and excellent Canadian writing since 1989, delighting audiences of all ages with author readings and featured programming alongside Canada’s largest open-air book fair.

On Sunday, September 22, 2019, the WOTS returns to the Harbourfront Centre to celebrate the past and beckon in the future of Canadian literature with an exciting lineup of debut authors alongside perennial favourites.


The Intricate Art of the ‘Sonnet’ 

Location: Vibrant Voices of Ontario stage
Time: 12:15 PM – 1:00 PM

Exploring the states of being loved and unloved, from mothers and others, Sonnet L’Abbé, Ben Ladouceur, and Doyali Islam share and discuss their collections of tenderness, romance, and old love, through reworkings, blackout poetry and otherwise.


Sonnet’s Shakespeare

In a defiant act of literary patricide and a feat of painstaking poetic labour, Sonnet L’Abbé, a young, half-dougla (mixed South Asian and Black) poet, works with Shakespeare’s sonnets as a space she will inhabit, as a place of power she will occupy. Letter by letter, she sits her own language down into the white spaces of Shakespeare’s poems, until she overwhelms the original text and effectively erases Shakespeare’s voice by subsuming his words into hers. In each of the 154 dense new poems of Sonnet’s Shakespeare sits one “aggrocultured” Shakespearean sonnet—displaced, spoken over, but never entirely silenced. (McClelland & Stewart)

  • Poetry | Poésie

Sonnet L’Àbbe

Sonnet L’Abbé is the author of two previous poetry books, A Strange Relief and Killarnoe, and Anima Canadensis, which won the bpNichol Chapbook Award. She won the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award and was the guest editor of Best Canadian Poetry in English. Her work has been internationally published and anthologized.

Mad Long Emotion

Desire and dieffenbachias: new poems from the award-winning author of Otter . Mad Long Emotion wants to talk flora to fauna like you. Loosestrife shoos away humans and green carnations flirt with handsome men. Numerous species, both spiny and spineless, prove as invasive as desire: from Great Lake lampreys to hydraulic triceratopses, we’re all just looking for love. (Coach House)

  • Poetry | Poésie

Ben Ladouceur

Ben Ladouceur is the author of nine chapbooks and the collection Otter, which was named a best book of 2015 by the National Post, nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, and awarded the 2016 Gerald Lampert Memorial Prize. In 2018, he received the Dayne Ogilvie Prize. He lives in Ottawa.


Here is a poet small in stature, unwilling to abandon to silence small histories, small life forms, and the small courages and beauties of the ordinary hour. In these rigorous, intimate, and luminous poems, the spirit of the everyday and the spirit of witness bind fiercely to one another. heft is a ledger of tenderness, survival, and risk. (McClelland & Stewart)

  • Poetry | Poésie

Doyali Islam

Doyali Islam’s poems have been published in Kenyon Review Online, The Fiddlehead, and The Best Canadian Poetry in English, and have won several national contests and prizes. Doyali serves as the poetry editor of Arc Poetry Magazine. heft is her second collection of poetry.


September 22
12:15 pm - 1:00 pm


The Word on the Street


Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay W
Toronto, ON Canada
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416 973 4000