Talks

Cecily Nicholson and Juliane Okot Bitek with Lillian Allen: Forgetting, Remembering

Cecily Nicholson and Juliane Okot Bitek

Photo courtesy of Cecily Nicholson; Photo of Juliane Okot Bitek by Colleen Butler.

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Talks

Cecily Nicholson and Juliane Okot Bitek with Lillian Allen: Forgetting, Remembering

Saturday April 6, 2019, 2 pm

West Coast-based poets and friends, Cecily Nicholson and Juliane Okot Bitek will be joined by Toronto’s Lillian Allen (OCADU) in a conversation about cross-cultural memory and collective amnesia. The authors, whose work has contemplated these themes, will think through the poem as a document of memory: considering what poetry can add to existing narrow histories, and the role of memory in building resilient futures.

 

Juliane Okot Bitek ’s work has been published widely online, in print and in literary magazines. Her work has been recently anthologized in New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descent; Transition: Writing Black Canadas; Great Black North; Contemporary African Canadian Poetry; and Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them. Juliane’s 100 Days (University of Alberta 201) is a poetic response to the twentieth anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Inspired by the photographs of Wangechi Mutu, Juliane wrote a poem a day for a hundred days and posted them on her website and on social media. The book won the 2017 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award for Poetry and the 2017 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry. Other recent poetry awards include the 2017 National Magazine Awards for which Migrations: Salt Stories was shortlisted and the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize for which Gauntlet was longlisted.

On Musqueam-, Squamish-, and Tsleil-Waututh- land, Cecily Nicholson has worked in the downtown eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver since 2000 — most recently as Administrator of the artist-run centre, Gallery Gachet. A part of the Joint Effort prison abolitionist group and a member of the Research Ethics Board for Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Cecily is the newly appointed Interpretive Programmer at the Surrey Art Gallery. She is the author of Triage, From the Poplars, winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, and Wayside Sang, 2018 winner of the Governor General's award for poetry.

Lillian Allen is a Jamaican-Canadian professor of creative writing at OCAD University, Toronto. Multi-disciplinary and experimental, Allen’s creativity crosses many genres including radio, theatre, music and film. As a two-time JUNO Award winner (Revolutionary Tea Party, a Ms. Magazine Landmark Album ; Conditions Critical) and trailblazer in the field of spoken word and dub poetry, Allen artistically explores the aesthetics of old and new sounds in music to create her distinctive brand of Canadian reggae. Allen’s debut book of poetry, Rhythm An’ Hardtimes became a Canadian bestseller, and she has held the post of Writer-in-Residence at Canada’s Queen’s University and University of Windsor. Founder of the Toronto International Dub Poetry Festival and a variety of cultural organizations such as Fresh Arts that empower youth, Allen has spent over three decades writing, publishing, performing and doing workshop presentations of her work to audiences around the globe.

This event is organized in-part by the first-year Criticism and Curatorial masters students of OCAD U.

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