Introducing Brickyard

by Adebe DeRango-Adem

Voice. The utterance. A performance of vocal sound.

The oral/oracular tradition in the literary arts has been around for centuries, across geographies and cultures. One major influence would be the vast sweep of African and Caribbean vocal and musical traditions, which form the basis of modern iterations of dub and spoken word poetics. It is hard to summarize or chronicle the genesis of a literature that shape-shifts as song, sound, performance, incantation; and in/through the use of voice not only as literary device but code, record, even technology.

Poets who have either grown up on, or in the hemisphere of, spoken word and oral storytelling traditions, will likely agree that it is through language and voice that one comes into being.

If speaking is synonymous with being, then the audio poem is a sort of passage in an ever-evolving life-work. And publishers will have to get “up to speed” on poets across disciplines who are embarking on new works for Canada’s sonic narrative.

Enter Brickyard—a new audio/visual hub from Brick Books, proud to showcase excellence in Canadian writers, poets, storytellers, and spoken word artists.

Brickyard is both a YouTube channel and audio poetry archive featuring audio recordings of Brick Books authors as well as poets whose primary medium is performance/spoken word; initial recordings were curated by poets Andrea Thompson, Jenny Blackbird, Lamoi Simmonds and Valentino Assenza.

Since these initial curations, I have heeded the call to the continuation of Brickyard, and taken on the role of editing all incoming audio submissions from Canada’s most dynamic storytellers.

As Brickyard’s official Coordinator, I have made it my goal to bring into visibility and audibility works that can speak across time/space/region and into the stratosphere… works that demand a response, works that demand we listen.

In turn, by expanding the ways in which publishers “curate” the archive, Brick Books is prioritizing space for newer voices.

Just this weekend, at the Toronto Poetry Slam, held in conjunction with the Toronto International Festival of Authors, I was once again reminded of the immense power of the spoken word. Brickyard contributor and poet Ian Keteku was the featured poet of the sold-out show, and it was refreshing to be in a crowd so vibrant and attentive throughout.

As I prepare to host a Brickyard celebration event in Toronto on November 5th (details below), I am poised to reflect on my own work—not as a poet, but as a community member. I have always aimed to achieve resonance with audiences across disciplines and contexts, and I think the most successful artists are the ones who use, at least in part, their respective platforms so as to raise the platforms of others.

My role as Coordinator is to help define Brickyard as an active platform for bringing in a more diverse audience/readership to the Canadian poetry landscape. Brickyard will also continue its tradition of holding space for Brick Books authors who would like to have recordings of their published poems featured through social media (Facebook, Twitter) and our official YouTube.

I hope LCP members and friends of the League will look to Brickyard as a unique interface for exploring the future of Canadian poetry—one that embraces the future of technology and digital tools for the ongoing development and preservation of the archive.

Finally, I hope Brickyard will present Canadian poets with a new opportunity to reach a greater number of readers, listeners, and community members across the arts.



Brick Books invites audio recordings for Brickyard—an audio/visual hub proud to showcase excellence in Canadian writers, poets, storytellers, and spoken word artists.

Brickyard already features a range of beloved Brick Books authors reading from their books, as well as a wide selection of new recordings by artists not currently featured on the print list.

Artists selected for new features exclusive to the Brickyard site will receive a $200 honorarium for their work. Coordinator Adebe DeRango-Adem will curate from submissions to this open call. Only Canadian citizens/landed immigrants will be considered eligible.

We are especially interested in poets whose work defies the boundaries of genre. Indigenous poets/storytellers/oral historians are especially encouraged to submit.

Poets should submit their work in one of the following acceptable audio formats (.mp3, .mp4, .m4a, .mov) by email to [email protected]. Please include “Name-Title of Submission” in the email subject line. Recordings should run 10-15 minutes in length.

In your email, please include a list of all individual poems in your recording, in the order they are performed, as well as a list of any previous publications in which these poems may have appeared. Submissions accepted on a rolling basis. Good luck !


Join us for a night at the Brickyard—a new audio/visual hub showcasing excellence in Canadian writers/poets/spoken word artists—with special performances by Brickyard poets

Ian Keteku
Charlie C Petch
Mahlikah Aweri
& Valentino Assenza

… followed by an open mic ! (to sign-up please arrive by 6:30 p.m.)
Hosted by adebe d.a.
FREE (food & drink available for purchase)
For more info & to learn about our open submissions call, visit
Twitter: @BrickBooks