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Write On Ottawa: What if kids had it their way?

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dunces

So, we all think being a kid is easy.  Have you ever thought back to the times you felt hopeless in a world ruled by oh-so-rational adults?  This is a BIG issue to live through in middle school!  Not only are you dealing with all sorts of social pressures, your parents or the adults in your life just make this task a little more tedious. When I was in middle school, I thought the Prime Minister’s right-hand person should be a teenager so kids’ wants and needs would be considered... | Continue reading article

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Poetry Week: The verbal equations of King Kimbit

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Photo of King Kimbit courtesy of VERSeFestPhoto of King Kimbit courtesy of VERSeFest

In our final post for Poetry Week, we interview Ottawa’s own Kim Nguyen aka King Kimbit who performed at VERSeFest this weekend. As a testament to the power — and reach — of spoken word, Kim Nguyen, 22, stands less than five-feet tall yet speaks with award-winning conviction. “You wanna know how to rhyme you better learn how to add.  It’s mathematics,” she laughs while reciting lyrics by Mos Def as an example of the hip hop and rap from which she draws inspiration. Numbers, as it turns out, have... | Continue reading article

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Poetry Week: Cameron Anstee’s voyage of discovery

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Photo by Sanita FejzicPhoto by Sanita Fejzic

Ottawa-based Apt. 9 Press published this past fall Five, a poetry collection by five different poets. With the start of VERSeFest this week, we thought this would be a great opportunity to profile each of the writers featured in this poetry collection.  Today we conclude our look at all five wordsmiths by reviewing the work of Cameron Anstee, the founder of Apt. 9 press.  (See part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4 of this series of five profiles). Cameron Anstee lives and writes in Ottawa ON where he runs Apt. 9 Press and is pursuing a PhD... | Continue reading article

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Poetry Week: Two spoken word artists to be honoured

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Photo of Anthony Bansfield courtesy of VERSeFestPhoto of Anthony Bansfield courtesy of VERSeFest

“Poetry is meant to be read out loud,” says John Akpata, a spoken word poet who was chosen for VERSeFest’s Hall of Honours this year, along with Anthony Bansfield, the founder of Ottawa’s Golden Star Lounge spoken word poetry series. Both are set to be honoured this Sunday, March 29, at 7 pm in a special VERSeFest event, which will see both artists perform their work. Akpata was introduced to spoken word performances when he was a student at Carleton University.  Since then he’s had a successful career as a poet,... | Continue reading article

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Poetry Week: Rachael Simpson’s playful words

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Photo of a Rachael Simpson poem by Sanita FejzicPhoto of a Rachael Simpson poem by Sanita Fejzic

Ottawa-based Apt. 9 Press published this past fall Five, a poetry collection by five different poets. With the start of VERSeFest this week, we thought this would be a great opportunity to profile each of the writers featured in Five.  Today we look at the work of Rachael Simpson, whose poetry has appeared in print and online throughout Canada and the United States.  She lives in Ottawa and blogs at seedandpearl.blogspot.ca. (See also part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4 of this series of five profiles). Rachael Simpson’s use of repetition with variation is wonderful, especially in “Corrode.” Simply put:... | Continue reading article

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Poetry Week: One-on-one with the talented Pearl Pirie

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pet radish

Ottawa’s Pearl Pirie recently published her third full collection of poetry, the pet radish, shrunken, a wonderful, playful, and funny collection of unforgettable poems.  You will scratch your head, laugh and be happy to think about “the tangerine sunset,” how “I love yous peak on sundays,” and “because I love you. if I didn’t, think/ about it, why would I be yelling?” She will be reading at VERSeFest on Friday, March 27 at 7 p.m. alongside Marilyn Dumont, JC Bouchard and Stevie Howell. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear her... | Continue reading article

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Poetry Week: The fragile equilibrium of Justin Million

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Photo by Sanita FejzicPhoto by Sanita Fejzic

Ottawa-based Apt. 9 Press published this past fall Five, a poetry collection by five different poets. With the start of VERSeFest this week, we thought this would be a great opportunity to profile each of the writers featured in Five.  Today we look at the work of Justin Million.  (See also part 1, part 2, part 4 and part 5 of this series of five profiles). Justin Million is currently living and writing in his hometown of Peterborough, Ontario, while commuting to Pickering, Ontario for work at a sporting goods store.  Million’s work has appeared in Poetry Is Dead, ottawater, The... | Continue reading article

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Poetry Week: House Dreams’ journey of self-discovery

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HouseDreams

House Dreams Brick Books, 2014 By Deanna Young   House Dreams begins with an epigraph from Carl Jung.  It comes from Memories, Dreams and Reflections, co-written with Aniela Jaffé.  It describes a personal dream — sometimes called Jung’s House Dream — that came to him at a time when he was examining the unconscious.  The psychoanalyst finds himself in an unfamiliar house.  He descends stairs to the ground floor and finds everything much older.  Pushing on, through darkness and a heavy door, he finds a stone staircase and continues his descent.... | Continue reading article

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Poetry Week: Spotlight on Jesslyn Delia Smith

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Photo by Sanita FejzicPhoto by Sanita Fejzic

This past fall,  Apt. 9 Press published Five, a poetry collection by five different poets. With the start of VERSeFest this week, we thought this was be the perfect opportunity to profile all five writers featured in this collection.  Today we look at the work of Jesslyn Delia Smith, an Ottawa-based author whose work has appeared in ottawater, the Bywords Quarterly Journal, The Steel Chisel, and In/Words Magazine.  (See also part 1, part 3, part 4 and part 5 of this series of five profiles). The most captivating aspect of Jesslyn Delia Smith’s poems, and the most... | Continue reading article

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Ottawa Creatives: Haneen freedomwriter Alhassoun

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Haneen Alhassoun. Photo courtesy of House of Paint.Haneen Alhassoun. Photo courtesy of House of Paint.

Haneen Alhassoun was 9 years old when she began writing poetry, in Arabic, about her homeland of Palestine. She wrote so many poems that her mother used to tease her, calling her names of Palestinian politicians. For Haneen, poetry was a means of expression that, at that young age, she wasn’t taking seriously and, eventually, she stopped writing. Inspired by having seen Apollo the Child perform his poems at her elementary school, Haneen began writing poetry again. And in the 8th grade, her teacher Shauna Pollock invited two spoken word poets... | Continue reading article

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