PRESS RELEASE: Celebrated ‘Africadian’ Poet George Elliott Clarke Reads at VIU Oct. 22

Toronto Poet Laureate, playwright, and literary critic George Elliott Clarke, VIU’s 2015 Gustafson Distinguished Poet, will deliver a free public lecture, On Entering the Echo Chamber of Epic: My “Canticles” Vs Pound’s Cantos, Thursday Oct. 22nd at 7pm in building 355 on the Nanaimo campus.  Clarke introduces his epic poem, “Canticles,” in response to Ezra Pound’s contentious Cantos, a 20th-century post/modern epic both vilified for its integration of fascist propaganda and heralded for its haunting lyricism. Pound, a classicist, nodded to T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” and Stephen Vincent Benet’s “John Brown’s Body,” both of which skirted racist material yet refused to be contained, or restrained, by formalism.

Clarke will recite excerpts from his work-in-progress “Canticles,” which echoes slave and imperialist debates from Cleopatra to Celan. Clarke will also invoke contemporary poets Derek Walcott and NourbeSe Philip who invite harmonious, multiple, and multicultural voices in their revisions of Pound’s controversial masterpiece. Clarke champions writers of African descent and coined the term, “Africadian” to identify the Black culture of Atlantic Canada, a term he says is both “literal and liberal—I canonize songs and sonnets, histories and homilies.”

Clarke traces his own inspiration to “poet-politicos: jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, troubadour-bard Bob Dylan, libertine lyricist Irving Layton, guerrilla leader and poet Mao Zedong, reactionary modernist Ezra Pound, Black Power orator Malcolm X, and the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau.” Clarke finds their “blunt talk, suave styles, acerbic independence, raunchy macho, feisty lyricism, singing heroic and a scarf-and-beret chivalry quite, well, liberating.”

Clarke’s colleague and VIU English professor Paul Watkins says, “For George, poetry is not only a printed form, but also an oral art. His boisterous readings present the listener with a gumbo-concoction of jazz rhythms, blues-infused gospel vernacular, and plenty of play upon the standards of the larger literary tradition. This is poetry presented with the ‘lightning of prophecy’.”

Clarke has published: a 13 works of poetry including Whylah Falls (2002 Canada Reads contender), Execution Poems, winner of the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, and his latest Traverse; 4 plays, screenplays, or libretti One Heart Broken Into SongBeatrice ChancyQuébécité, Trudeau; the novel George and Rue; and 4 anthologies of African-Canadian writing including Directions Home: Approaches to African-Canadian Literature. He has been the E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto for the last 12 years and holds 8 honorary doctorates from Royal Military College and Dalhousie, New Brunswick, Alberta, Waterloo, Windsor, Acadia, Saint Mary’s universities. He received the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellows Prize, and Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada.

After Clarke’s lecture, a catered reception, cash bar, and book signing will follow in Bldg 300’s Royal Arbutus Room. Several of Clarke’s books will be sold at the VIU Bookstore. Courtesy parking is available in Lot N, in front of building 355. Clarke will also perform with musician James Darling at the Corner Lounge Wednesday October 21st 7:30-8:30. These events are sponsored by VIU’s Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Writers on Campus, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

The Gustafson Distinguished Poetry Lecture was established in 1998 from the estate of the late, pre-eminent Canadian poet Ralph Gustafson and his wife, Betty. The Chair has been held by celebrated poets Don Domanski, Dionne Brand, Tom Wayman, Daphne Marlatt, Robert Bringhurst, Don MacKay, Jan Zwicky, Dennis Lee, Michael Crummey, and Katherena Vermette among others, most of whom have had their lectures published as chapbooks. An interview will also appear in Portal2016, VIU’s full-colour literary magazine, on stands in April.

For more info contact Chair of the Gustafson Committee Toni Smith at or to buy a chapbook contact the series’ publisher Joy Gugeler at For more information about the lecturers visit

See more at:

RED REVISED Gustafson Poet Poster PRINT[3]

clarke Poster-final copy

Fight the Power: On Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and Social Unrest in Ferguson

“You’ve got to do the right thing.”
-Malcolm X

“A riot is the language of the unheard.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are still grappling with what, in 1903, W. E. B Du Bois defined as the most divisive issue in America: “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.” What Du Bois was getting at when he was talking about “the problem of the colour line” was to show that race is ultimately about how racism and power are correlated and socially constructed. Despite this construction, cultural theorist George Lipsitz argues, “Race is a cultural construct, but one with deadly social causes and consequences.” We like to think in 2014 (especially for those of us living under the banner of multicultural Canada) that racism is a problem of the past. In many ways we are still living with the vestiges of a slavery system, what Saidiya Hartmen refers to as “the afterlife of slavery” once practiced in America and Canada.

Last night it was announced that the police officer who shot an unarmed Michael Brown (at least 6 times) was not indicted by a grand jury. Even though Brown’s family called for non-violent change (stating, “While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change”), soon after the grand jury announcement riots in Ferguson spiraled out of control. In many ways Brown’s death—like the death of other unarmed black men, such as Oscar Grant III and Trayvon Martin—became symbolic and systematic of a broken justice system. How are oppressed people supposed to do the right thing, irrespective of whether the approach taken is Malcolm X or Martin Luther King, Jr. in strategy? The problems are so deeply rooted that the entire system requires a complete overturn. It’s like terrorism, which too cannot be stopped by addressing symptoms and not the causes that bread violence: poverty, inequality, and other violence. The same goes for a riot: we are quick to condemn a riot rather than ask, what is at the root of such public outrage?

It is fitting that I had Spike Lee’s seminal film Do the Right Thing—a powerful work of cinematic verve—scheduled to watch in one of my English classes this morning. Although released 25 years ago in 1989, Do the Right Thing remains as pertinent as ever, particularly against the recent backdrop of race riots and social unrest in Ferguson. Lee was instrumental in launching a new wave of Black cinema in 1986 with his renowned protofeminist film, She’s Gotta Have It (although bell hooks takes Lee’s work to task as antifeminist). In the way that She’s Gotta Have It draws its energy from Brooklyn, Do the Right Thing too uses Brooklyn as the backdrop for a slowly brewing race riot. As the thermometer goes up, the film intensifies. The last act of the film is so powerful that some in the media contended that white people should not see the movie in theatres because there might be riots. This is racist because it assumes that only white people can tell the difference between reality and representation.

For many film critics, much of the focus was on the loss of Sal’s Pizzeria while the murdering of Radio Raheem in a brutal chokehold didn’t register. One of the critiques of the film is that Spike Lee does not provide an answer to racism or prejudice at the end of the film. In my opinion this is the real strength of the picture. As Roger Ebert wrote in his review, “He’d [Lee] made a movie about race in America that empathized with all the participants. He didn’t draw lines or take sides but simply looked with sadness at one racial flashpoint that stood for many others.” Ferguson stands for so many ongoing racial malaises in the West that we could spend entire books unpacking them. In this short post, I hardly have the space to delve into them, but I make the comparison between the film (representation) and the current reality (Ferguson) to draw attention to how racism (and the fiction of race) continues to dehumanize those who are non-white as lesser and inferior. Racism like colonialism is a matter of power: it is about who gets to decide who is more pure, more capable, more right—essentially, more white. The protestors in Ferguson are fighting for a voice because historically they have been silenced.

There are no simple answers to deal with the tensions and injustices that beget civil disobedience. In Do the Right Thing, as the long hot summer day wanes, you can gradually anticipate the moment where the trash can smashes through the pizzeria and sparks a riot. Racism is a sickness so imbedded in America (and Canada) that it is only a matter of time before tensions boil over. I am for peaceful protest but—especially for those who face unspeakable horror and injustice— sometimes the only response that feels appropriate is a version of Malcolm X’s “by any means necessary.”

Even Martin Luther King, Jr., who is often remembered for his approaches to civil liberty through nonviolence, once said: “Massive civil disobedience is a strategy for social change.” Of course, how we define civil disobedience is a matter of interpretation. I don’t think riots necessarily solve anything; more likely, they bring out the worst in all parties involved, but I do understand that people riot when they feel desperate. Like the “love” and “hate” brass knuckles that adorn the hands of Radio Raheem (and like Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” blasting out of his portable ghetto blaster), we need to find ways to use love to battle the hate that cannibalizes contemporary North America. We need to continue to find creative, positive, hopeful, and, at times, militant ways, “to fight the powers that be.”

From The Second Storey Interview: Railroad and Rhythm

I was on the radio earlier today. I spoke about my own work, music, and read part of my poem, Soundin’ Canaan. I was asked to choose two pieces of music to bookend my interview, and selected Oscar Peterson’s moving “Hymn to Freedom,” and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.”

Jerry Prager, a local historian spoke first about his new book, Laying the Bed: The Native Origins of the Underground Railroard. I come in around 35 minutes after the Oscar Peterson piece.

The interview can be viewed in the From The Second Story archive, “12:00 PM ON MONDAY MARCH 10, 2014.”


Improvisation as an Act of Faith

On December 6th, Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice (ICASP) presented a symposium (“Spirit(s) Improvise”) on improvisation and spirituality. “Spirit(s) Improvise” brought together distinguished scholars, musicians, and spiritual practitioners to explore the relationship between improvisation and spirituality. One of the primary questions asked was how can improvisation and spirituality, broadly defined as frameworks through which people imagine and enact alternative ways of being in the world, contribute to our understandings of imagination and creativity, community and space, and transcendence and hope?

Held at and co-sponsored by the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, the well-attended event sparked animated conversations and debates about the relationship between improvisation and spirituality from a variety of perspectives: musical, political, social, and theological.

For speaker bios and abstracts, click here.

Below are some photos from the event.

Gerard Yun (Music, University of Waterloo) and Luke Burton (Wilfrid Laurier Unviersity) “Beyond Traditions: Yogic Chant and Shakuhachi in Contemporary Improvisation.”
Ajay Heble introduces the keynote speaker.
Anglican Priest, Jamie Howison, delivers a keynote entitled, “Improvisation as an Act of Faith.”
There were lots of engaged questions from the audience.
Lauren Levesque (Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice, University of Guelph), “Protest Music Performances as Methodological Frameworks for Re-envisioning Engaged Spirituality: Implications for Improvisation.”
The event concluded with a fully improvised performance.
David Lee.

DSC_1059  DSC_1063

Adapted from a write-up by  Lauren Levesque.
All Photos by Paul Watkins.

Tomomi Adachi

Adachi  performs on a self-made instrument.
Tomomi Adachi performs on a self-made instrument.



Tomomi Adachi (足立 智美) is a Japanese vocal and electronics performer, improviser, composer, instrument builder, installation artist, theatre director, and sound poet. He is the only performer of sound poetry in Japan and performed Kurt Schwitters’ “Ursonate” for the first time in Japan. He has performed with numerous musicians, dancers, and filmmakers, and along with his incredible vocal improvisations, he is known for his unique improvisations on his self-made instruments, many of which are made from Tupperware: a material that is both affordable and portable. Adachi describes his creations as an extension of his improvisatory practice: “I began to build instruments by myself in 1994, it was almost the same period with starting my activity as an improviser.” Last month in Guelph, Ontario we were treated to a performance by Adachi on one of his self-made instruments, as well as a vocal performance, followed by a self-reflexive talk about his artistic praxis.

The event took place at the inaugural Thinking Spaces Reading Group in Guelph. After the performance, Adachi discussed his work as an improviser with a focus on his own approach to self-made instruments, as well as his newest project PUTIF (People’s United Telepathic Improvisation Front), a collaboration with Jennifer Walshe. In PUTIF, Walshe and Adachi improvise together at a specified time in two separate locations, listening to one another at distances beyond the reach of the human ear. These improvisations are recorded and later combined and compared. They also encourage others to listen telepathically to their improvisation and send in descriptions of what they hear. At the Reading Group, Adachi discussed how telepathy functions as a conceptual framework for musical improvisation, demonstrating how others can be present in their absence. He also discussed how improvisation can be a tool for being together despite physical distance, as well as posing questions about the advantages of telematic technology in an age where it is becoming increasingly common.

If you get a chance you should check out Adachi’s fantastically creative work. For now, here is a video of Adachi performing on a self-made instrument, similar to the one he performed with in Guelph:

And, here are a couple photos of Tomomi Adachi’s performance and visit to Guelph.


All photos of Tomomi Adachi by Paul Watkins.

Ai Weiwei: According to What?


Dissident artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未) remains relentless in his pursuit of free expression through art, social media, and political protest. For Ai Weiwei there is no clear division between art and politics. For him, art is a vehicle for social change, and a vehicle for the possible. After recently watching the documentary, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, I was particularly excited to see his major exhibit, According to What?, currently at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) until October 27th, 2013.

For those who don’t know, Ai Weiwei is one of China’s most prolific and provocative contemporary artists. Through his art he advocates for freedom of expression and places value in individual lives within the totalitarian state. After an earthquake in China’s Sichuan province in 2008 killed more than 5,000 children he has become ever more outspoken in his criticism of the Chinese government. His activism and controversial artwork has led to the seizure of his passport and he is currently not allowed to travel outside of China.

Everything is art. Everything is politics.

-Ai Weiwei

In addition to working in a wide range of media, Ai Weiwei utilizes social media to make art and connect with the world. If I wasn’t already so busy, I’d sign up for Chinese language lessons so I could read his twitter feed. For now, I’ll have the artwork from his latest exhibit in Toronto to reflect upon.

Ai Weiwei's Snake Ceiling, a serpentine form made from children's backpacks, commemorates the thousands of students who died in poorly constructed schools during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Ai Weiwei’s Snake Ceiling, a serpentine form made from children’s backpacks, commemorates the thousands of students who died in poorly constructed schools during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
This piece demonstrated the different moon phases.
This piece demonstrated the different moon phases.
Grapes (wooden stools from the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911).
Cat toy.
Cat toy.
Teahouse: these three sculptural forms are made from solid blocks of Pu’er tea grown and harvested in southwest China. Fermented and aged using traditional methods, the tea has been compressed and moulded into the shape of houses, which are surrounded by a field of loose tea leaves. Teahouses were the social centre of traditional Chinese culture.
Teahouse: these three sculptural forms are made from solid blocks of Pu’er tea grown and harvested in southwest China. Fermented and aged using traditional methods, the tea has been compressed and moulded into the shape of houses, which are surrounded by a field of loose tea leaves. Teahouses were the social centre of traditional Chinese culture.
Ai's most controversial work involves altering revered objects, like these paint-covered ancient Chinese vases.
Ai Weiwei’s most controversial work involves altering revered objects, like these paint-covered ancient Chinese vases.
Here Ai Weiwei is dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (part of a photographic triptych).
Here Ai Weiwei is dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (part of a photographic triptych).
Another graffitied urn.
Another graffitied urn.
Ai Weiwei created this piece, Straight, from rebar he recovered from collapsed schoolhouses following the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province. Each mangled piece of rebar was straightened through a laborious process.
Ai Weiwei created this piece, Straight, from rebar he recovered from collapsed schoolhouses following the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province. Each mangled piece of rebar was straightened through a laborious process.
He Xie, or "river crab," consists of more than 3,200 porcelain crabs. "He xie" is also a homophone for the Chinese word for "harmonious," which is part of the Chinese Communist Party slogan. Today, "he xie" has become an ironic Internet euphemism for official censorship.
He Xie, or “river crab,” consists of more than 3,200 porcelain crabs. “He xie” is also a homophone for the Chinese word for “harmonious,” which is part of the Chinese Communist Party slogan. Today, “he xie” has become an ironic Internet euphemism for official censorship.
China in the rings of a log.
China in the rings of a log.
Ai Weiwei and me.
Ai Weiwei and me.
The image says it all.
The image says it all.

All Photos by Paul Watkins.

The 7th Annual Manifesto Festival (2013)

“Manifesto’s point of origin lies in hip hop culture – in its spirit of ingenuity, raw creativity, and people power, but we strive to stay out of boxes and create a platform with the potential to act as a catalyst for cross-pollination, collaboration, and the growth of new forms in this city of wildly talented people.” -Manifesto website.

7th Annual Manifesto Festival
7th Annual Manifesto Festival

The annual Manifesto Festival of Community & Culture is one of the reasons I love living right beside the Yonge-Dundas Sq.

Manifesto is a non-for-profit grassroots organization with a focus on youth and hip-hop culture, with the aims to educate, unify, and provide amazing music to the masses. The local and the global combine for four days of live events featuring musicians, producers, visual artists, and dancers, to panels with industry experts and even mentor sessions, and this year’s festival had even more in store than previous iterations.  Another great thing about Manifesto is that it brings hip-hop legends to Toronto – for free! In 2011, I saw Rakim rock the stage, and in 2012 Pharoahe Monch killed it live with hip-hop and local jazz upstarts, BadBadNotGood.

Rakim, 2011 at Manifesto.
Rakim at Manifesto, 2011.
Mharoahe Monch at Manifesto, 2012.
Pharoahe Monch at Manifesto, 2012.

This year’s festival featured amazing headliners, including soon to be big Jhené Aiko,
 and the legendary Souls of Mischief crew, 
celebrating their 20-year Anniversary of their classic, 93 ‘til Infinity! Souls of Mischief is a hip-hop group from Oakland, California, part of the hip-hop collective Hieroglyphics and consists of emcees A-Plus, Opio, Phesto, and Tajai. I remember seeing them back in 2003, and I can say with assurance, they are still every bit as dope 10 years later.

For those unacquainted with 90s hip-hop, here’s the video for “93 ‘til Infinity.”

…and here’s a recent remix of 93 ‘til Infinity aptly titled 93 Still by Gummy Soul.

…and here are some pictures I snapped of this year’s headliners.

Shad rolled through as a surprise guest, playing "Rose Garden" and some new material.
Shad rolled through as a surprise guest, playing “Rose Garden” and some new material.
The talented (and sexy) Jhené Aiko
The talented (and sexy) Jhené Aiko
Souls of Mischief take the stage.
Souls of Mischief take the stage.

DSC_0795 DSC_0794 DSC_0841 DSC_0839 DSC_0831 DSC_0808

From 93 ’til 2013 ’til infinity.

Photos by Paul Watkins.

Photo Recap: Guelph Jazz Festival Continues to Inspire at 20

Photos by Paul Watkins

Headliner Pharoah Sanders

The 20th Anniversary of the Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium was another resounding success. Over the last twenty years the Festival has burgeoned from what Artistic Director Ajay Heble describes as “very modest origins into a vital social-purpose enterprise.” It has become an inclusive meeting place where enthusiasts of creative, innovative jazz and improvised music gather once a year to be inspired, engaged, even healed, while participating in one of the planet’s most diverse listening communities. The festival is a reminder of how you can create something from little more than a good idea and a love for the music. This year’s festival and colloquium was no exception, boasting sold out shows, packed colloquium talks, world premieres, enchanting Nuit Blanche performances, and a constellation of musical styles, with musicians and listeners in dialogue with the music in the space of the now.

In honour of the 20th Anniversary, the festival was extended by an extra day to launch a new-partnered research institute, the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. The launch of the institute culminated in a symphony of drums with the World Percussion Summit. The improvising percussion quartet featured master drummers Jesse Stewart (Ontario), Hamid Drake (USA), Dong-Won Kim (South Korea), and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee (India).

Don-Won Kim
Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.
Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.
Jesse Stewart and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.
Jesse Stewart and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.
Jeff Schlanger, musicWitness-in-Residence, captures it all.
Jeff Schlanger, musicWitness-in-Residence, captures it all.

As usual, the Colloquium (co-presented between ICASP and the Guelph Jazz Festival) was top-notch and remains one of the few events in North America to combine scholarly activity with a music festival. The talks and music performances at the Colloquium were full of academic fervor while remaining generally accessible to the larger Guelph community with a stimulating mix of panels, keynote addresses, assorted workshops, and concerts and interviews that featured festival artists.

George Lipsitz keynote.
George Lipsitz keynote.
William Parker keynote.
William Parker keynote.
Wadada and Pharoah after their interview.
Wadada and Pharoah after their interview.

The Colloquium was held at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, which was adorned with the jazz photography of Thomas King. King is a master storyteller who also possesses an incredible ability to tell the story of the Guelph Jazz Festival through the chronicle of his photography. King also collaborated with Guelph visual artist Nick Craine to create this year’s festival poster and logo.

Festival Logo.
Festival Logo.

The 20th Anniversary was full of amazing performances, which included Toronto based jazz upstarts BadBadNotGood, Matt Brubeck, Atomic, free shows by DRUMHAND, Jane Bunnett, Friendly Rich’s Scheherazade,Marianne Trudel, as well as the amazing double bill featuring Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet alongside Pharoah Sanders and The Underground. The festival continues to affirm that there is something special happening in Guelph. There is much more that could be said about the music, but I’ll leave that for other critics, although I do have a review of the trio Dawn of Midi coming soon. After all, in jazz there is no final chord. We can only dream what the next 20 years of the festival will manifest. For now, here are some additional pictures from this year’s anniversary celebration.

Towards a definition of dub poetics: d’bi.young’s Sorplusi Principles

“This poet is a griot in search of a village.”
-Kwame Dawes, “Holy Dub,” Midland 18.

Dub poetry is a form of performance poetry with a West Indian aesthetic and origin. It evolved out of dub music comprised of spoken word pieces over reggae rhythms and Nyabinghi traditions[i] in Jamaica beginning in the 1970s. Rather than the Jamaican form of “toasting” (a significant stylistic influence on hip-hop), which also featured (often improvised) spoken word, sometimes as chant, to the music of the dancehall DJ, a dub poet’s performance is usually pre-written and prepared. Spoken or chanted with the background of reggae rhythms, or a capella or ital, and using Jamaican Creole/Patois, dub poetry effectively blends African and Caribbean oral and griot traditions with more standard approaches to poetry and performance. Basically, dub performances were created by removing vocals from side A of a record with a dub machine to create a B side containing a rhythm/instrumental track, often amplifying the bass and drums. Traditionally dub poets are closely aligned with DJs—yes DJing is both traditional and tradition—as they reanimate and (re)sound the past in the present through a musico-poetic performance atop a tentative original.

Conventionally, “Jamaican Creole is the natural language of dub poetry” (Afua Cooper, Utterances 1) and while dub poets often privilege reggae music, nearly all forms of African American and Afro-diasporic musics, and others, can be used in the performance of a dub poem as the mode continues to evade a single homogenizing definition or approach. Nevertheless, dub “began as, and remains, rebel poetry” (2). This is not to say that dub poetry eludes the possibility of definition. d’bi.young.antifrika—one of Canada’s most renowned dub poets and dub monodramatists—thinks through dub vis-à-vis her own mother’s manuscript on dub, which identifies the four major elements of the then emerging form: music, language, politics, and performance (“r/evolution” 27). Dub as such bridges the personal and the political, and as d’bi developed her own understanding of dub she added four more elements for a total of eight principles to form the acronym s.o.r.p.l.u.s.i: “urgency, sacredness, integrity, and self-knowledge. I then renamed the earlier elements of music, politics, and performance to rhythm, political content and context, and orality” (27).

In the following video d’bi outlines how these eight principles can empower artists, particularly African artists across the diaspora.


For d’bi, the principles of dub poetry—consisting of self-knowledge, orality, rhythm, political content and context, language, urgency, sacredness, and integrity—combine to comprise “a comprehensive eco-system of accountability and responsibility between my audiences and me. each principle in the methodology challenges me to not only be self-invested but to (re)position to the centre of my micro and macro communities, being both accountable and responsible (able to account for and respond to these communities)” (“r/evolution” 27). As such, dub poetry has the power to connect disparate communities together through lines of solidarity. Two days from now, on August 8th, I will have the privilege of interviewing d’bi.young about her practice as a pioneer in the art of dub poetry and theatre. I hope to see you there for what promises to be an exciting and engaging evening of “Word! / Sound! / Powah!”

Here’s the poster for the event, d’bi’s personal page and youtube page, as well as the facebook event page.

Works Cited

Anitafrika, d’bi.young. “r/evolution begins within.” Canadian Theatre Review. Vol. 150. (Spring 2012): 26-29. Print.

Cooper, Afua (Ed.). Utterance and Incantations: Women, Poetry and Dub. Toronto: Sister Vision, 1999. Print.

[i] The Nyahbinghi Order is the oldest of all the Rastafari mansions and the term translates as “black victory” (niya = black, binghi = victory). The Niyabinghi resistance inspired a number of Jamaican Rastafarians, who incorporated niyabinghi chants into their celebrations (Wikipedia). The rhythms of these chants—full of improvised syncopation— greatly influenced popular ska, rocksteady and reggae music.

“we tellin’ stories yo”: A Performance and Interview with renowned dub poet d’bi.young

dbi young icasp

Featuring an opening DJ Set by DJ Techné
FREE and Open to the Public
Thursday, August 8th, 2013 (7-9 pm)
Paintbox Bistro (555 Dundas Street East, Regent Park, Toronto)

ICASP (Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice) and Paintbox Bistro present Jamaican-Canadian dub poet, monodramatist, educator, and Dora Award-winning actor and playwright, d’bi.young.anitafrika in an intimate free performance. Following the performance there will be an interview with the poet conducted by Paul Watkins (DJ Techné). Make sure you catch this event with one of Canada’s most visionary storytellers.


Reserving a table is highly recommended. Call 647-748-0555 to reserve space now! (