Macewan University’s The Scavenger magazine ran my feature profile of Edmonton’s 2016-17 Youth Poet Laureate today. Nasra Adem is an inspiring artist, and I’m so happy to share part of her story.
On this hot summer day, Nasra Adem gazes out at the 600 demonstrators packed against a precautionary police line at the steps of the Alberta Legislature, and puts her body where her poetry is. Wearing a traditional orange-and-green African dress that hangs past her ankles, and a matching headdress that temporarily tames the frizz of her thick black hair, she looks out from the podium into the faces of the crowd, and finds sympathetic eyes staring back.
This August rally has formed under an “End Racism in Canada” banner. It is, in part, a reaction to the alt-right extremists who had marched in the streets of Charlottesville, Va., two weeks before, and, in part, a denunciation of the myth that racism doesn’t exist in Edmonton. Adem leaped – as she often does – at the chance to present her work for an important cause. Not necessarily as 2017’s Edmonton Youth Poet Laureate, but as an affected voice trying to change the world for the better.
Some days, she changes the young, urging them to embrace love and question what they see. Some nights, she changes the old, chipping away at their hardened views from a place of vulnerability. And sometimes, she is blocked by a seething lie that has poked at the Canadian psyche as long as she can remember. Read more
I previewed the second High Level Lit Salon this week for Vue Weekly, and the lineup looks as spectacular and as diverse as the first.
Four local writers will converge at The Mercury Room on Wednesday to discuss their work on a non-fiction anthology reflecting on Canada’s 150th birthday from an Edmonton perspective.
High Level Lit: Musings on YEG for Canada’s Sesquicentennial will feature essays and poetry from 12 local authors and be published as a special issue of Eighteen Bridges Magazine this October. The project is organized by the Edmonton Community Foundation in tandem with LitFest Alberta.
The High Level Lit Salon Series spotlights the anthology’s contributors with a live event, and the second salon will feature food culture writer Jennifer Cockrall-King, former Edmonton poet laureateAnna Marie Sewell, and local playwright Darrin Hagen. Malcom “Minister Faust” Azania also returns to host the event, after he read excerpts of his anthology contribution at the first salon on Mar. 1. He says the anthology focuses mostly on the Canadian settler perspective. Read more
The Salon Series and High Level Lit: Musings on YEG for Canada’s Sesquicentennial anthology aim to acknowledge that Canada 150 isn’t a celebration for all Canadians. The perspectives of each writer reflect that, and I can’t wait to learn more
Matthew Harvey drops a truthbomb in his stand up poetry set, Matthew Harvey is…Dangerman!, “saying, ‘I don’t like poetry’ is like saying ‘I don’t like music,’” and he’s right.
Both mediums encompass a wide rage of styles and emotions. It would be unfair to denounce all of them in a blanket statement. And while Harvey put on a good show, the style of poetry that he was throwing down wasn’t something I was interested in picking up.