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SONJA ARNTZEN taught classical Japanese poetry and literature for twenty-five years. Currently Professor Emerita of the University of Toronto, but living on Gabriola Island in B.C, she continues to research and translate works of classical literature, particularly women’s poetic diaries of the 10th to 11th Century. Her most recent translation is The Sarashina Diary (Columbia University Press, 2014 Since 2005, she has been publishing her own English tanka and haiku in journals such as Gusts, Eucalypt, Kokako and Red Lights. With Naomi Beth Wakan, she also produced two books of “response tanka,” Double Talk (2010) and Reflections (2011). In 2017, her “Glossa on Leonard Cohen’s Anthem” made the long list of the CBC Literary Awards Contest.
BARBARA BLACK recently won first prize in the 2017 Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition and was a fiction finalist in The Malahat Review 2017 Open Season Awards. Other publications include Freefall, The New Quarterly, and Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal. A recipient of the $1000 first prize in the 2017 Don’t Talk To Me About Love Poetry Contest, her poems have also appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, FreeFall, Forage Poetry, The Dying Dahlia Review, and Poems from Planet Earth. She lives in Victoria, BC, where she’s currently busy riding the twisties on her new motorcycle. www.barbarablack.ca
DORIS FISZER is an Ottawa poet whose poems have appeared in a variety of publications including Bywords Quarterly Journal, bywords.ca and The Voice. She has a poem forthcoming (April 2018) in the anthology When All Else Fails: Motherhood in Precarious Times, (Demeter Press). Her chapbook, The Binders was the 2016 winner of Tree Press’s chapbook contest. Her poem, “Zen Garden,” won the 2017 John Newlove Poetry Award. As the recipient of this award, she has been offered the opportunity to publish a chapbook through Bywords in 2018. Doris has recently completed a full-length poetry collection and is currently writing poems about her mother.
MARK LAVORATO (returning)
ELBERT SIU PING LEE: I grew up in Hong Kong in the New Territories, at a time where pigs and piglets roamed the streets alongside humans and cars. In the mid 70s, I came to Canada to study at McGill University. Later that decade, I went for graduate studies in New Zealand where I briefly served as editor for a newsletter for a small religious community. Since then, I led my life between Hong Kong, Toronto, and Montreal. Moving between cities for a poet translates into a vast and ever-changing space for poetic imagination responding to different forms of beauty and sensuality appearing at particular times and spaces. These ‘gems of encounters’ were the sources of inspiration for my poems in the book “Rain on the Pacific coast”, published in 2013.
CHRISTINE LOWTHER (returning)
SORAYA PEERBAYE: I work closely with artists and arts organizations so that together, we can imagine and inhabit potential. Equity and diversity are keystones of what I do: a belief that the contemporary moment can only be realized through inclusion and a deepening curiosity about who we are, how we relate to each other, and how we can engage in the creative act together.
JOHN EMIL VINCENT lives in downtown Montreal with his husband, Luis Loya Garcìa. They emigrated from the United States in 2011 due to anti-immigrant and anti-gay sentiment in the US. They parent two very important birds. Vincent has taught at Queen’s and Concordia in Canada, and before that at Haverford, Wesleyan and University of Miami in the US. He has published several scholarly books including Queer Lyrics and John Ashbery and You: His later books; EXCITEMENT TAX (DC Books, 2017) is his first book of poems.
CONNIE T. BRAUN (BA, MA, MFA) is an author and instructor of Creative Writing. Her writing often focuses on narrative as witness and the life affirming poetics of memory. She has published a memoir The Steppes are the Colour of Sepia (Ronsdale Press, 2008), Unspoken: An Inheritance of Words (Fern Hill Publications, 2016) along with reviews for various publications. Her academics and personal essays and poetry appear in journals and anthologies with two forthcoming publications, a chapbook Narrow Passageways (Alfred Gustav Press, 2017) and a collection of essays Silentium: &other reflections on Memory, Sorrow, Place and the Sacred (Wipf and Stock). She is an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets, a member of the Canadian Author’s Association and has served on boards for the arts and writing, including Prism International and Image Journal. She lives in Vancouver.
JAMES LINDSAY is the author of the poetry collection Our Inland Sea (Wolsak and Wynn) and the chapbook Ekphrasis! Ekphrasis! (Anstuther Press). He is also the founder of Pleasence Records, a Toronto-based record label, and interviews poets about poetry for Open Book.
EMILY SANFORD was born in Nova Scotia and holds an MA in Literature and Performance from the University of Guelph. She is the winner of the 2016 Eden Mills Writers’ Festival Literary Award for Poetry, shortlisted for the Janice Colbert Poetry Award, and won third place in the 2017 Blodwyn Prize for Fiction. One of her recent poems was listed amongst The 10 Best Poems of 2016, by Vancouver Poetry House. Her work appears in Canthius, Grain Magazine, Minola Review, newpoetry.ca, and Plenitude Magazine. Emily is the Creative Writing Program Administrator at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, and a volunteer for the Brockton Writers Series.
YES [they/them] is a Cuban queer non-binary androfemme and activist with too many feelings. They are a Canadian National Slam Champion, arts educator, member of the Voices of Today Festival Organizing Committee (Canada’s National Youth Slam), and an activist/organizer with No One Is Illegal – Toronto and the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network. yes is a prison abolitionist, intersectional feminist, leftist and anti-state activist. They write a lot about state violence, being Very Gay, their feelings (read: personality & mood disorders), and reclamation.
Since last summer, LOUISE CARSON has participated at literary festivals in Kingston, ON and Val-David, QC and read in Montreal, its West Island area and Brockville, ON. She’s been published in The Nashwaak Review, The Impressment Gang, The Windsor Review, Montreal Serai, carte blanche, Headlight, Petal Journal, The Dalhousie Review and Soliloquies. Her mystery The Cat Among Us was released in October from Signature Editions.
TANYA EVANSON’s first poetry collection Bothism (Ekstasis Editions 2017) is an experimental, feminist, Sufi text. It explores both sorrow and joy, day and night, content and form, dot and circle, the threshold between worlds. It posits that if one thing is true, then the opposite must also true, and when asked to choose, the poet’s answer is always both. Available in paperback from www.ekstasiseditions.com at $23.95 or directly from the author at www.mothertonguemedia.com 52 pages ISBN 978-1-77171-219-4
SUSAN MCCASLIN‘s Into the Open: Poems New and Selected was reviewed by Stevie Howell in Quill and Quire (Dec. 11, 2017), and by J.S. Porter in both The Island Catholic News (Victoria, Winter 2017) and Dialogue Magazine (Nanaimo, BC), Winter 2017-2018) Vol. 31, No. 2. Her poem, “Song of the Empathetic Beast (an elegy),” recently appeared in Dialogue Magazine (Nanaimo, BC), Vol. 31, No. 2 (Winter 2017-18), 14-15. Susan is currently working on a collaborative suite of poems about the Cariboo fires of summer 2017 inspired by her husband Mark Haddock’s photographs.
CHARLES MOUNTFORD was recently recognized as one of 10 authors to be highly commended in this year’s UK Bridport Prize. Mountford was recognized for his poem “I am Pig,” selected from over 4,250 entries.
JC SULZENKO: Point Petre Publishing launched JC Sulzenko’s free-verse collection, South Shore Suite…Poems at Books and Company, Picton, in November 2017. The four-part volume of free verse poems and poetry influenced by haiku and tanka forms includes work that celebrates Prince Edward County’s south shore and subjects from ‘cradle to grave.’ The Wellington Times’ take? “The words are dense with meaning and warrant careful consideration to plumb their depths.” Information: www.pointpetrepublishing.ca ; www.jcsulzenko.com.
NAOMI WAKAN‘s 2014 book Poetry that Heals has been re-issued by Shanti Arts, a publishing house specializing in books that explore and make tangible connections between creativity and healing. In Poetry that Heals, Wakan describes her enlightened healing process through the Japanese poetic and the creative discipline that comes from engaging in poetry as an art form.