World Poetry Day, which is observed annually on March 21st, honours one of humanity’s most cherished forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity. Poetry has been used historically in every culture and on every continent, speaking to our shared values and our shared humanity. Even the most basic poems can work as a strong spark for communication and peace.
Billeh Nickerson (he/him)
Nickerson is the co-editor of the ground-breaking anthology Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay Male Poets and the past-editor of both Event and Prism International. He co-chairs the creative writing department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where he lives and works, and he has previously served as a writer-in-residence at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon. The Asthmatic Glassblower, McPoems, Impact: The Titanic Poems, Artificial Cherry, and the humour collection Let Me Kiss It Better are only a few of the works of Billeh.
Larissa Lai (she/her)
Lai is a prolific writer who has received high praise for her work in criticism, poetry, and fiction. Her books examine the Chinese and Chinese-Canadian experience through a writing style influenced by mythology, science fiction, and an awareness of the effects of transnational experience in the neoliberal period. She has authored eight books, including Salt Fish Girl, Automaton Biographies, and When Fox is a Thousand. Lai teaches literature at the University of British Columbia and has served as Writer-in-Residence at Simon Fraser University and the University of Calgary.
Margaret Christakos (she/her)
Bisexual poet, author, image-maker, and poetry mentor Margaret Christakos was born in Sudbury, Canada. She is well known for her poetry, and her body of work consists of ten poetry collections, ten chapbooks, a novel, and an intergenre biography. Christakos has served as Writer in Residence at the University of Windsor, Western University, London Public Library, and the University of Alberta; she will serve as Writer in Residence at Green College, UBC, beginning in the fall of 2021. She serves as adjunct instructor for the University of Guelph-MFA Humber’s in creative writing.
Nicole Brossard (she/her)
After releasing her debut collection of poetry, Aube à la saison, in 1965, Montreal author Nicole Brossard worked tirelessly for decades to establish herself as a major figure in Canadian poetry. Her impressive body of work unapologetically echoes her claim that “loving a woman is always political.” The fact that Brossard participated actively in the feminist movement in the middle of the 1970s has influenced all the non-poetic literary work she has done, from helping to publish an anthology of Quebec women’s writing to co-founding the feminist weekly Les Têtes de pioche. The 1987 book Le Désert mauve, which will soon be adapted into an opera, and her poem “Smooth Horizon of the Verb Love,” an ode to Montreal’s Chez Madame Arthur lesbian bar, are just a few of the many accomplishments of the two-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry in French.
Nisha Patel (she/her)
Patel is a queer, Indo-Canadian poet who has acted as the Strathcona County and St. Albert’s Regional Writer in Residence and the City of Edmonton’s 8th Poet Laureate. In addition to serving as the Edmonton Poetry Festival’s executive director, Nisha won the 2019 Canadian Individual Slam Championship. Nisha has a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in business economics and law from the University of Alberta School of Business. She also holds a Certificate in Leadership. She also works with Moon Jelly House, a tiny press that releases BIPOC poets and voices in limited edition chapbooks.
Tara Borin (they/them)
Borin is a queer, nonbinary settler poet who resides and works in Dawson City, Yukon, which is in the traditional territory of the Tr’ondk Hwch’in. Thick, Tara’s chapbook manuscript, was a finalist in Quattro Books’ first Best New Poets in Canada competition. Poems by Tara have appeared in print and online publications such as Prism International, Prairie Fire, The LaHave Review, Red Alder Review, and others.