Poetry for our Future! has a roster of workshop facilitators, many of whom are award-winning poets and educators. Our facilitators are integral to the Poetry for Our Future! program. Rather than working from a standardized poetry workshop model, our workshops are designed specifically for each partner organization and their membership. Facilitators work closely with partner organizations to develop workshops that are participatory, creative, community-minded, and are aimed to enhance and support literacy skills. Our mission is to provide accessible poetry workshops to far-reaching and diverse communities that complement the services of our partner organizations.
Born in Montreal, Harleen Bhogal is a South Asian writer, artist and educator, whose practice is entrenched in feminist and anti-racist principles and community-building approaches. As an educator, she uses arts-based approaches, ranging from visual arts to spoken word, to facilitate grassroots youth programming. Harleen understands that artistic self-expression in safe and loving settings can become a catalyst for collective healing and inducing transformative change, and is dedicated to creating these spaces in her community. Today, as she writes her book of poetry, she remains thankful to be part of the beautiful connection that often accompanies the sharing of our vulnerabilities, and is awestruck by the magic that continues to surround her in her world of joy and madness.
Greg Santos is a poet, editor, and educator. He is the author of Ghost Face (DC Book, 2020) and several other poetry collections. He regularly works with at-risk communities as a creative writing instructor. He is the Editor in Chief of the Quebec Writers’ Federation’s online literary journal, carte blanche. He lives in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal with his family. Visit his website at https://gregsantos.me/
Photo: Mollye Miller
Jessica Bebenek is a poet, bookmaker, and interdisciplinary artist currently based in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal) where she teaches poetry & bookmaking and works as a risograph printer & bookmaker at Concordia University’s Centre for Expanded Poetics. Deconstructing vintage books, she makes one-of-a-kind hand-bound notebooks entirely from reclaimed materials. k2tog, her collection of knitting patterns for poems, was released by Berlin’s Broken Dimanche Press (2018) and her knitting performance was featured at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche (2017). Her writing has been translated and published internationally, and has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her third poetry chapbook, Fourth Walk, was released by Desert Pets Press (2017) and she is currently completing a full-length collection, No One Knows Us There. Find more at www.jessicabebenek.art @notyrmuse
Photo: Arman Bahreini
Multidisciplinary artist Moe Clark is a nomadic songbird with wings woven from circle singing and spoken word. Originally from Treaty 7, she’s called tio’tia:ke (Montreal) home for over a decade. Moe fuses together vocal improvisation with multilingual lyricism to create meaning that is rooted in personal legacy and ancestral memory. Apart from performance, she facilitates creative workshops in various contexts; she produces festivals and performances; and she mentors emerging artists. Recently, she launched nistamîkwan: a transformational arts organization with an emphasis on intercultural and intergenerational collaboration.
Photo: Ryan McGoverne.
Tara McGowan-Ross is an urban Mi’kmaw multidisciplinary artist and writer. She is an editor with Insomniac Press, the host of Librairie Drawn and Quarterly’s Indigenous Literatures Book Club, and a critic of experimental and independent Montreal theatre. Her recent publishing credits include Maisonneuve Magazine, PRISM International, and Best Canadian Poetry 2020. She is the author of Girth and Scorpion Season, and her book of essays Nothing Will Be Different was published by Dundurn Press in 2021.
Photo: Yousuf Hassan
KAMA LA MACKEREL
Kama La Mackerel is an award-winning Mauritian-Canadian multi-disciplinary artist, educator, writer, curator and literary translator. Kama’s work is grounded in the exploration of justice, love, healing, decoloniality, hybridity, cosmopolitanism, ancestral healing and self- and collective-empowerment.
They are the author ZOM-FAM (Metonymy Press) which was named a CBC Best Poetry Book, a Globe and Mail Best Debut, and was a finalist for the QWF Concordia University First Book Award and the Writers’ Trust of Canada Dayne Ogilvie Prize. World Literature Today called ZOM-FAM “a milestone in Mauritian literature.”
In 2021, Kama was awarded the Canada Council for the Arts Joseph S. Stauffer Prize for emerging and mid-career artists in Visual Arts.
lamackerel.net // @KamaLaMackerel
Photo: Noire Mouliom
Ilona Martonfi is a poet, editor, literary curator, and activist; she is the author of four poetry books, Blue Poppy (Coracle Press, 2009), Black Grass (Broken Rules Press, 2012), The Snow Kimono (Inanna Publications, 2015) and Salt Bride (Inanna Publications, 2019). Forthcoming, The Tempest (Inanna Publications, 2022). Her work has published in seven chapbooks, journals across North America and abroad. Recently, her poem “Dachau Visit on a Rainy Day” was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. She is the curator of Visual Arts Centre and Argo Bookshop Reading Series. She is also the recipient of the Quebec Writers’ Federation 2010 Community Award.
Photo: Mike Di Sclafani
From Manitoba, Evan J now lives in Sioux Lookout. Evan is a white settler and uses he/him pronouns. Evan’s debut book of poetry, Ripping down half the trees, was published in 2021 by McGill-Queen’s University Press. Evan is currently on the selection committee for the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, and is the Fiction Editor for Cloud Lake Literary. For several years, Evan worked for Brick, A Literary Journal, directed the Slackline Creative Arts Series in Toronto, and was a Jury Member for the Ontario Arts Council. Evan has won a handful of literary awards, including the 2018 Vallum Award for Poetry. Evan has used his first name too often in this bio. Evan is excited to write poetry with you!
Heather is a youth and community worker based in Montreal. With the knowledge gained from degrees in Creative Writing and Policy Studies, they collaborate with youth and youth-centred organizations to break down big ideas and teach them back incorporating art, poetry, and community. Their experience as a shelter intervention worker, a youth worker at the Boys & Girls Club, and a peer support worker at the Gender Advocacy Centre has led them to facilitate workshops with a curious, non-judgmental, and trauma-informed mindset.
Partridge Boswell is a troubadour of Roma and Luso-Sephardi descent. His poems and essays appear in the Grolier Prize-winning collection Some Far Country and in Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, Salmagundi, The American Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Prairie Schooner, The Moth, and the anthology Vermont Poets and Their Craft. Co-founder of Bookstock Literary Festival, Partridge is a trustee of Burlington Writers Workshop and the Grolier Poetry Foundation. He lives with his family in Vermont and troubadours widely with the poetry/music group Los Lorcas, whose debut release Last Night in America (2021) is available on Thunder Ridge Records.
Photo: Sarah Rutledge