Larissa Andrusyshyn completed an MA in English and creative writing at Concordia University. Her first poetry collection Mammoth (DC Books 2010) was longlisted for the ReLit award, and shortlisted for the QWF first book prize and the Kobzar literary award. She has also been shortlisted for Arc Magazine's Poem-of-the-Year award twice. She has been running writing workshops with at-risk youth for seven years and is on the board of directors for The Mercy Project, a Montreal based NGO that seeks to improve access to healthcare to vulnerable communities in Uganda.
Métis spoken word artist Moe Clark fuses her unique understanding of performance narrative with traditions of circle singing and spoken word. With a background in voice, spoken word, and visual arts, she employs a looping pedal to add multi-layered vocal structures to her performance. Her poetic songs resonate with the power to heal, to celebrate spirit and to connect with authentic purpose. Apart from performance work, Moe works as a community educator to facilitate voice, writing and spoken word workshops in high schools and local communities to promote literacy and creative expression.
Tanya Evanson is a poet, performer, producer and educator. Active since 1996, her spoken word has featured widely across North America, and she has an award-winning videopoem, three studio albums and six artist books of poetry under her belt. She is director of Spoken Word at The Banff Centre, received the 2013 Golden Beret Award and was 2013 Poet of Honour at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. Recent work includes guest editing Arc Poetry Magazine and publication in Oratorealis, Cordite, Canadian Review of Literature in Performance, WomanSpeak, Where the Nights Are Twice As Long (Gooselane 2015) and The Great Black North - Contemporary African Canadian Poetry (Frontenac 2013). Performance highlights include the Calgary Spoken Word Festival, Bowery Poetry Club, Vancouver Writers Fest, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Edmonton Poetry Festival, Blue Met, Words Aloud, Ottawa International Writer’s Festival, Verses, CBC and SLAM stages. Based in Montreal, she is at work on a spoken word album, short film and international tour.
An award-winning poet, Angela Leuck’s work has been published in journals and anthologies around the world. She is the author of More Grows in a Crooked Row (inkling, 2016), Garden Meditations and A Cicada in the Cosmos (inkling, 2009), and Flower Heart (Blue Ginkgo, 2006). She has also edited numerous anthologies, including Rose Haiku for Flower Lovers and Gardeners (Price-Patterson, 2005), Tulip Haiku (Shoreline, 2004), and, with Maxianne Berger, Sun Through the Blinds: Montreal Haiku Today (Shoreline, 2003). She lives in Hatley, Quebec, with her husband, the poet Steve Luxton.
Chris Masson is a poet, performer, and educator currently based in Montreal, where he organizes poetry slams and teaches poetry workshops to youth with the Throw Poetry Collective and the Quebec Writers Federation Writers in the Community program. He has been featured on stages across the continent, and toured his one-man play "Pathos, Punchlines, and Painkillers" to various festivals. His work appears in the love letter anthology Where the Nights Are Twice As Long (Goose Lane 2015).
Julianna Kozma debut novel, Mosquitoes of Summer, was the 2009 winner of Book Idol.com. The following year, Canadian publisher McArthur & Co. published Mosquitoes of Summer, followed by Secrets of the Dunes. Most recently, Secrets of the Dunes was endorsed by Canadian Teacher Magazine, as well as by Canadian Materials Magazine. Prior to becoming a novelist, Julianna worked as a financial journalist for 15 years. Since then she has gone into teaching, and works both in the elementary and high school system. Julianna divides her time between the Laurentians in Quebec, and Prince Edward Island with her husband, their two children, and their pet parrots, Mr. Bean, Pickles and Indigo.
Greg Santos is the author of The Emperor's Sofa (DC Books, 2010). He is the poetry co-editor for carte blanche and teaches the art of poetry to students of all ages. Greg holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School in Manhattan and has studied at Columbia, Concordia, and Mount Allison universities. He has lived in Eastern Canada, New England, and France. He currently resides in Montreal with his wife and two children. Visit: about.me/greg.santos
JASON "BLACKBIRD" SELMAN
Jason "Blackbird" Selman is a Montreal-born poet and trumpet player. He is the author of The Freedom I Stole (2007, Cumulus Press), and Africa As A Dream That Travels Through My Heart (2016, Howl), and co-editor of the poetry anthology Talking Book (2006, Cumulus Press), which chronicles the writings of Kalm Unity Vibe Collective (of which he is a founding member). He has done extensive poetry workshops in schools and community groups across the Montreal area. His work is grounded in the themes of ethno-musicology, surrealist expression, love, and the intersection of masculinity and emotional vulnerability.
Deanna Smith is a lover of words. Born and raised in Montreal, she has pursued her love of words as a poet and speech-language pathologist for many years. Her creative work is rooted in her experience as a descendent of the African Diaspora, a person who thinks in two languages, a daughter, wife, mother, and neighbor of the many displaced peoples of Turtle Island. Deanna has been fortunate to perform in many venues across Canada and to have lead workshops with participants aged 18-80. She was a member of the Montreal slam team in 2009 and 2010, the 2010 Montreal slam champion, and was an organizer with the Throw Poetry Collective for over 5 years. She is an active member of the Kalmunity Vibe Collective and is currently exploring new paths in this writing life.
Jesse Stong is an associate artist at Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal, where he facilitates youth and community projects. He is a graduate of Playwriting (National Theatre School of Canada, 2013) and is currently completing his Masters in Art Education at Concordia University. He recently received the 2016 Young Arts Entrepreneur Award from the Michaëlle Jean Foundation for his innovative writing, puppetry, and performance workshops. He is artist-in-residence with Roseneath Theatre, creating a play for young audiences, and developing another play for young audiences with Geordie Productions. Jesse is also a proud member of the board of directors at Les Muses - Centre des arts de la scène, which provides dance and performance training for people living with intellectual differences.
Gillian Sze is the author of three poetry collections, including Fish Bones (2009), which was shortlisted for the QWF McAuslan First Book Prize. Her work has appeared in a number of literary journals and she has served as a poetry judge for This Magazine's Great Canadian Literary Hunt and the National Magazine Awards. Gillian is the co-founder and co-editor of Branch Magazine and teaches creative writing to youths in the community. Visit: gilliansze.com
We would also like to express our gratitude to the following sponsors, without whom the Writers in the Community program would not be possible: