WOTS Presents: Ideas & Imagination, Part Two of Two (Saturday 26, 1:30 – 7:00pm)

» Hello! And welcome back to the ideas and imagination stream. Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge that — we encourage you to educate yourself about the land you occupy, wherever you are turning in from. You can find this out at www.native–land.ca. Without further ado, please welcome your host for Writing Healthcare: Impressions from a Pandemic, presented by the city of Toronto, Mark Bulgutch » Hello, good afternoon to you and everybody » Mark Bulgutch retired from CBC news after an award-winning career of after 40 years. He was the senior producer there, which — in semi retirement he continues to teach journalism at Ryerson University. He has also been writing books, that’s why I’m a journalist, which accounts a memorable day in the life of

44 reporters. And “That’s Why I’m a Doctor”, extraordinary Canadians, written with Peter man’s bridge will be out November. And he is writing, “how to make Canada even better” which will be published in 2021 Hello » And thank you for that introduction. So, I know we are missing a couple of our panelists still, I believe. But let’s see what we have. I think we have Cathy , Cathy Crowe, who is a street nurse, and educator and a filmmaker who advocates for the homeless. She is the author of “Dying For A Home: Homeless Activists Speak Out and A Knapsack Full of Dreams. Memoirs of a Street Nurse” and also of a knapsack full of dreams she is the subject of the film, street nurse. Cathy is a distinguished visiting practitioner at Ryerson University, in 2018 she became a member of the order of Canada Bahar is here, Bahar Orang is a physician and training here in Toronto. Her poetry and her essays have been published in many places. Her first book, is “Where Things Touch: A Meditation on Beauty” James Maskalyk practices emergency medicine and trauma at St. Michael’s Hospital, and teaches at the University of Georgia. He is strategic doctoral program that works with Ethiopian partners at ID Sababa University to train the list and is a member of Doctors without Borders. He wrote for the Globe and Mail — he is the best-selling author of “Six Months in Sudan, Life on the Ground Floor”. In his writing, Doctor heal thyself, — to exploit different types of healing. So, I believe Dr. Kwame McKenzie has joined us » (inaudible) » Here he is, Kwame McKenzie. I am really sorry for being late [CROSS TALK] » Kwame is the CEO of the Wellesley Institute, the director of health equity at the center of addiction and mental health. Most of us call that CAM H. He is an international expert on the — who has written more than 200 papers and five books, including “racism and mental health” and “depression “. And we have one more panelists — » Despite all of that, he can’t use technology » He made a grand entrance » Our last panelist is Dr. Vincent Lam, I don’t think he is here yet. So, we will start with the four of you, and me. I should just mention, in case someone is wondering, I did write a book called “that’s why am a journalist” and I am a journalist. I also wrote “That’s Why I’m a Doctor”, but I am not a doctor I am at a disadvantage here, I am not a health professional at all. Let me start, since this is about the pandemic, and you are all in the field, of medicine, in some way or another. Let’s get some facts here about, what has the pandemic been like for you, as a medical professional? We will put the writing aside for a minute. So, what has the pandemic been like for you? Why don’t we start with Cathy » Sure. In my home office, put up a sign on my door calling it the war room with the beautiful picture of what the virus looks like. And it felt like it was — it felt like it was SARS two, massively frantic. Because we have been worrying so long about how this would affect the homeless population, and it was an uphill battle just from day one to get testing, physical distancing, masks, we only got two weeks ago from people at our homeless shelter. So it has been an uphill battle, it has been dangerously frantic and tense » Bahar ? » I will say that first of all, a lot of the work that I have been doing has shifted to virtual, and virtual care. And that has raised some important questions

about accessibility and about surveillance, for me. And I think the other piece, as a student doctor, is that there is always this perpetual possibility that we might be relocated to another site, another hospital. Another place that has been overwhelmed by the pandemic. And that hasn’t happened yet, but we are all living inside of that prospect » Okay, James, what about you? What has life been like as a physician? » You know, I am going to be an outlier and say this is probably the best time of my life. And I mentioned that, in the context of, my mother died, and I got diagnosed with cancer And yet, and yet, this is the most important time I have lived through, so far. I have been waiting my whole career for the conversations emerging right now, that these fine people are a part of. Like Cathy, let’s house the homeless and permanently. And Bahar , and Kwame. There is a health crisis in our society, and let’s address it. What is essential? I know we are enduring a tremendous amount of stress and strain, and that is something in my opinion, which we need to go through. I know we suffer, and we all suffer together, however And that as I watched (inaudible). I think about the opportunity that we have to come together and care for each other and vulnerable people, in a way that I have never seen before » Have you been treating a lot of COVID patients? » I have seen 100 cases , or so I would guess. Just this latest surge in numbers, for me the only number that matters is hospitalizations and ICU admissions, because once those go up, operations stop Operations are essential, so we see COVID all the time, but the message I think needs to get out there, is we are nailing it. We have done an amazing job and it is not easy, everyone has this mini medical school update, everyone knows aerosols and droplets. I think that we are going to get through it and we are going to be better for it »MODERATOR: Kwame, what has life been like as a doctor for you, this past six or seven months? » I would like to say first James, I am very sorry to hear about your diagnosis and your mother. You probably are aware that similar to you, I lost my mother to COVID, so — » I am sorry to hear that » Is one of the things that the pandemic — the amount that it has been personal, as well as being very worrying, because you can see what was going to happen. With regards to our response, as Cathy said, you can see there would be a problem in the homeless population, yet, we have to work really hard to get the right (inaudible). Racialized populations, and we didn’t do a great job with obviously people in long-term care. But then just like James, on the other side, you have seen the federal government start thinking really transformative lay about what they can do. You have seen, as Bahar said, people saying, let’s go digital! Let’s try and get the digital revolution into (inaudible) And really, a lot of people have moved much quicker than they ever have, on innovation, even to the point where in BC, they have almost gotten rid of homelessness. So, all of those things have happened at the same time. As a practitioner, as a person interacting with the medical profession, also somebody trying to get policy changed. It has been a very exciting and harrowing time — all at the same time. So I guess confusing, is probably — » Yes, your specialty I guess, is mental health. What has it done to the mental health of the people that you deal with? This COVID pandemic » It is not just the people I deal with, is everybody who has had the same issue. Which is that, you can see that there is this — there is this concept, which is called coherence, which says that, in order for you to be comfortable, there has to be a plan. That you have to — it has to be a good plan. So the government has to have a plan You have to attach to that plan, emotionally. So, you have to say, yes, this is a good idea in order to do it. The third thing

is, you have to have the tools and resources and support, to make progress towards that plan And if all that happens, you are comfortable. And you have been able to see throughout COVID, anybody who — people have said, yes we understand the plan. And then they say, yes, we really want to do this, we want to save lives, we want to help people And it is where people haven’t had the last bit, which is the tools, resources and support, to make progress towards that plan And that is the anxiety started rising, that is when long-term care didn’t have the right resources, people started having real difficulties. When mothers and fathers say, we haven’t got enough room, how can we do our learning at home? How can we keep the kids at home? When people started losing their jobs, and thinking can we make rent? All of those things, are raising the levels of anxiety So, we are seeing more anxiety and depression, and we are seeing that in people who have never had mental health problems before. We are seeing and exacerbating existing mental health problems, as well »MODERATOR: Okay, since this is Word on the Street, and we are focusing on writing, let me ask you now, what has happened to your writing during the pandemic? Have you been writing specifically about it? Have they found time to write, what has happened to you, Cathy? » I have a monthly blog on (word?).ca, and beginning back in February, even pre- pandemic declaration, I just began shifting to write about that But using my blog to influence policy, so my grandson took a picture of a Monopoly board with hotels on it, that was my image for the block Where early on we knew countries were using hotels to physically distance the homeless population. So, that blog was about that. I chronicle every month with the current challenges, and there is always a new one. And I just want to add, Mark, that what a time to be a journalist or to be teaching journalism students, because I could not do my work without them And hopefully, they feel the same about me. Because we talk almost daily, to various reporters and journalists Because they are a huge, important communicator, and a very complex world right now »MODERATOR: At a time when we need truth and real hard information In a world of social media, and where anybody can say anything, and nobody knows what to believe, it is a time where people should find trusted sources of information, because it is life and death we are talking about. Bahar , what have you been writing in the last few months? » To be honest, I haven’t been writing very much. I feel like there might be this assumption that we are home more and there is more time to write, and of course, you need the material conditions of writing. You need a time, you need the space, you need the desk. But you also need the psychic conditions to write And right now, there is so much uncertainty in some of the things [PHONE RINGING] » I don’t know who that is » James, are you having time to write? » The strange tale of COVID for me, I felt the lymph node in my own neck, and before long I was one of the first operations that was done as the ORs opened up I know how important they are And it kind of really, I am really focusing on this book that I am trying to write, and my own healing. And I think one thing we are facing, — we were living a breakneck pace of life, prior to this. And all of a sudden someone threw up stick in the spokes of this vehicle that was carrying us. Everyone is racing towards the one-week vacation that they may get, or a two-week one if they are lucky, and trying to catch up when they’re back. And plan their next one. So I think one of the messages that stuck with me is, don’t feel obligated to continue to produce, even though you have something you want to say. Now is a chance for you to really just take care of yourself. So, I have been doing that. And one piece I have been working on, quickly, is out of total Lodge in Manitoba, it is an Indigenous center for knowledge keeping, traditional knowledge. And they want this message to come out,

which I very much to believe in, which is COVID is a song from the planet. It is a song from the planet about how we treat our animals, and how we are living with a diminishing amount of wilderness that is leading to stress in these populations, as you , that is transmitting itself to us. So, I am reflecting on that and just waiting »MODERATOR: Kwame, have you been writing lately? » Just mainly journalistically, really thinking that there is a lot of opportunity in this and there’s a lot to do. So, yes Just trying to pull my thoughts together, I believe that there is something — there is something in there that could come out as a — that could come out as a fiction, some people say that my research work is fiction [LAUGHTER] » So I think it would be, that it could be something coming At the moment, everything has been academic and has been, journalism or proposed work. Because I think that is probably in the pandemic, my best contribution »MODERATOR: Okay, if you are paying strict attention at home, you see another person has joined us. And that is a rather familiar name to many people, who read his books in Canada He is Vincent Lam, who has worked in the emergency room at East Toronto General Hospital. His first book about — he won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize, it made him the youngest writer and the only first-time writer to win that award. The book was adapted for television, broadcast on HBO Canada. He co-authored “The Flu Pandemic and You”, a nonfiction guide to influenza pandemics, which was recognized in 2007 with a special recognition award by — who was a finalist for the 2012 Governor General’s prize, so welcome aboard! glad you could make it » Sorry I am late »MODERATOR: Let’s catch you up, what have you been doing in the pandemic, medically speaking? What have you been up to as a doctor? » These days, I practice addictions medicine, so I have continued to practice addictions medicine and we were really, sort of and are still have the confluence of two storms. The entire globe understands, we are now in a public health crisis, which is the COVID-19 global health pandemic, but in addictions, — to call it a plague, in the form of opioid use disorder and overdose deaths Associated with opioids and opioid use disorder. So, these two things up interacting in very scary ways. So, we have spent (inaudible). Really trying to scramble, in order to try to deliver the best possible addictions medicine care and to modify really rapidly, so that the way that that care looks and the way it is shaped, as much as possible also responds to new concerns around physical distancing. And all kinds of issues. It is a complex time in our field, but I’m really also proud of the people who work in this field, because there has been just tremendous amounts of adaptation, flexibility and creativity. Lots of just plain old hard work to try to help our patients. That is what I have been up to. I — I have written a few editorials and things, because I don’t think you can be a writer — I have done a bit of that as well »MODERATOR: Let me pick up on something that you just said, I think everybody for the last six months, in our country anyway, has been pandemic, pandemic, pandemic. I remember at the beginning, watching newscasts and reading

newspapers, and there was nothing else. It was as if the rest of the world had stopped, because there was only one story. I remember, what have we forgotten? Especially in medicine and the medical field, are there a whole bunch of people have just been laid up at the side because of COVID? And that is all we can think about? Vincent, do you want to start with that? » You know, I don’t think it is quite as brusque as that, I don’t think that surgeons were in the middle of the operation, and they stopped operating because, too bad there is a pandemic. But I think everyone’s attention shifted. And as humans, we know that we are actually not able to multitask. But we are able to do cognitively, is we are able to switch between tasks. And so, both individually (inaudible) Shifted a lot of attention to this really important thing, COVID, it meant that we also shifted attention away from other really important health issues that continue to affect Canadians. And the really unfortunate thing, is also that, I think in many cases, people who have less resources, people who are disadvantaged in social ways, are already disadvantaged in certain areas of health. And those disadvantages to became exacerbated during COVID — in fact, that were quite unfair. And it is important to pay attention to them, and we may not have done as good a job as we could have. So, we have to make up for lost time »MODERATOR: I expect Cathy, you have a lot — » My answer might surprise you, but I think we forgot about school aged children until it was too late. And I think we forgot about primary care systems, so we are now seeing pharmacies being seen as a resource for an additional type of testing, as opposed to primary care. And then I think of the northwest part of Toronto, with the huge congestion of high-rise congregate living, and what transit looks like in those places. I would be terrified to get on one of those buses, where everyone is side to side. So there are a few areas we need to refocus on. And we suddenly became aware, again, of long-term care. But it has been forgot again. And now we are hearing the warnings from infectious disease specialists, and I sure appreciate the letter that came from a whole bunch of infection disease specialists this week, that influenced the province and the warnings coming out of Québec »MODERATOR: Kwame, I think you have something to say » One of my friends wrote to me, that COVID was like a social x-ray, we are highlighted pathologies in our body politic, which I am stealing, because it is lovely The only problem with it, it is very much like Cathy and Vincent said, the problems that COVID has exacerbated, were actually hidden in plain sight. It is not like we didn’t know there was an opioid crisis or homelessness crisis or any of those things. It is not like we didn’t know that there were problems in long-term care. But it really has sharpened our focus on these things. But there has been analyses and they have tended to show that if there — in Ontario there have been 3000 deaths because of COVID, there are also about 3000 excess deaths, new deaths above which — above the normal rate, not due to COVID, but due to other things. People not getting care, people dying for other reasons. We don’t know. And so, there is a toll of COVID, but there is also a toll of the changes which have happened because of COVID »MODERATOR: James, do you have anything to add? » Really elective surgeries it did stop quite suddenly, and they are just getting back into gear. And that’s how we look at how the hospital functions. We are just learning so much — this is going to be a time to reflect once it has passed, as we look into the science of how many people certainly needed operations even faster or how many actually resolved

spontaneously. And this is just really interrupted our normal functioning, to a point where, I think it is safe to say, we don’t know, we have all flared. I can’t help but think of our body’s immune system. Just general immunity that happens when we are exposed to a pathogen. Our masks come up, we are getting very red, because we didn’t know — all my friends who work in the ER all over the world, they saw what happened in Wuhan, so what happened in Italy, and thought, who is going to continue to work on the bedside next to these people? What if I get sick? And my family gets sick, and someone I know dies? What happens is, we responded and we responded well. And now we are getting specifics. So I think what everyone in this call is so expert and in different ways, is how we are leaning into the medicine that we know Needs to happen most quickly, to the people who are at risk. I know these people — even briefly, they are pushing that agenda forward. And so far we are lucky. I called Saint Mike’s just before we got on the call, and I heard from a few previous morning — from Ethiopia this morning, too. And they said, there are no admissions in our ER. We’ve got COVID, but not a lot of people who need hospitalizations or ICU. And I think it is a testament to the people on this call, and the people who aren’t, about how much medicine has taken over our lives. How much we care for our society. And I think it is a time to reflect and be proud about the work that is ahead in long-term care facilities. With addictions, with the homeless, with mental health and that is pivotal to everybody »MODERATOR: Bahar , do you have anything to add? » I think I would agree with what has already been said, that the pandemic has really pulled back the curtain on so much political violence, that has intensified so many pre-existing social ills. Like the problem in long-term — problems in long-term care homes, how people are held captive effectively, in these unsanitary, carceral conditions We are continuing to see how capital and economic production is more important than people’s lives. We are seeing the bio politics of white supremacy and how that has caused the unequal distribution of care and vulnerability. It can be a possibility in a time of reckoning for everyone. And probably especially healthcare providers »MODERATOR: No, you all have expertise in mental health, and I wonder, to get back to the literary part of this, what would you recommend people read during a pandemic? If they are looking for information, or escapism, what do you think, Bahar ? » I don’t know if I have any particular recommendations for what to read, but I see from people around me who are politically minded, the kind of reading that is sort of, helped in this time. It has been reading about abolition, reading about mutual aid, reading about different configurations for our relationships, our social relations. And thinking about collectivity differently. One thing that I am reading right now a lot, is poetry, just because poetry helps to — helps us to think imaginatively, helps us to think creatively. Helps us to think of a way out of this. I think that is what I would say about that »MODERATOR: Cathy, what do you think? » Well, I look forward to reading Bahar ‘s work, because I have read everyone else here And it is an honor to be on this panel with you all. I mix it up a lot. So, I just read the sequel to “the handmaid’s tale” The sequel to it. But I mix it up a lot. I am reading a 50-year-old book now, called something like, the summer which is about a grandmother and her granddaughter on an island off of Sweden. I just mix it up But, I really am certain of more movies than books. And if you read my book, “the knapsack”, every chapter is introduced by a movie that dramatically influenced me Including a movie about Tommy Douglas, that I know we have a lot of shared admiration for. I think mix it up, and know that books are so accessible, including online through Toronto public library, and your public library. I read all of my books on an iPad now. Which I never thought I would get used to — »MODERATOR: This idea of between pure escapism and light, fluffy stuff. Or, should you be looking — is it healthy to read

a book about a pandemic? Is this the time to read (inaudible) [LAUGHTER] » I think it depends on your personality and your mental health at the time. I am trying to avoid — avoid that right now, personally »MODERATOR: James, what do you think? » I like fiction, I like works that evoke the heart. And I think that is the growth area for me and all of us. It is an uncomfortable time for everybody, and I think that is the case before a period of growth. That is what I am so excited about, what comes out of this. I hope it doesn’t fade quickly — I mean I hope the pandemic fades, but the lessons continue to abide. I recommend what I always do, all of Toni Morrison’s works, all of Cormac McCarthy’s, any — you can go to Ethiopia and you can walk through the ER there, and see kids who are going to die of heart failure before they are 30 years old. There is a plague of heart disease there, that has left our country in the 50s and never come back, but it is still serious there. So I recommend African readers who speak about their context, who talk about the world, and to be honest with you, they are suffering with this, but they have been through stuff like this before. And we have a lot to learn from them There is many, many great Kenyan authors, Nigerian, Ethiopian authors, that is what I am drawn to »MODERATOR: What about you, Courtney? Do you think people should be getting away from this, and just reading and of Green Gables? Is this a time, or what? » I am not sure about Anne of Green Gables, more than 20 minutes of reading about COVID a day is probably not wonderful for your mental health. And if you are going to do 20 minutes, try to focus on things you can actually do. So, I think that is true. But you know, we are past, present and future people all at the same time. And we have different needs, so we should mix it up We should do total escapism. We should do activism and what is the future going to look like, and what can we do? We should do some very simple, let me learn a new skill type stuff. We’ve got to mix it up! We should do mindfulness, mix it up. A bit of this, a bit of that. And there is no need to be a stereotype and do one thing. There is one thing that a lot of people have got — in the pandemic, is time to read Let’s mix it up! »MODERATOR: Is your advice any different now, then it would have been last year at this time? Would you have given the same advice — or is there a certain recipe for reading in a pandemic? » I really don’t know. I would probably give my same advice, that’s what doctors do. When we really don’t know, we say let’s go back to the stable. Staple (captioner correction). In order to be mentally healthy, you need to do a whole bunch of different things and exercise bits of your brain, bits of your emotion, bits of your imagination, right? And also bits of your practicality, so you produce those foundations for life. So, I would imagine, in a pandemic, that is probably what you need to do. And what you don’t need to do, is be sucked into a vortex of pandemic, sort of fear. That you can’t do anything about The things you can do something about, do it. But if you can’t do anything about it, then you’ve got to grow in a different way, right? So, I think that would be my advice »MODERATOR: How about you, Vincent, what do you think people should read in the pandemic? » I very much agree with Kwame, who is a huge range of functions, that the written word serves. A long list. Escapism, and of course we value the function of literature as a reflective tool One with which we share a sense of human commonality. With others. So, I think so much will depend on where the reader starts. And where the reader is at the moment. I think it is an opportunity to be very deliberate, in terms of choices. In addition to being sucked into the pandemic vortex, I think it would be very easy to be sucked into all of the increasingly siloed social media vortexes. It is always

just a click away, and amazingly just serves up what happens to push your buttons. That is really accessible, but there is an opportunity to be making deliberate choices (inaudible) Including reading. If I were to make one concrete suggestion, and I’m afraid this will be incredibly predictable, in this channel, I would actually really strongly recommend (inaudible). Checov » Short stories or his place? » I would say short stories, is because part of it — the reason I say Chekov(sp?), he is a doctor, he is a writer, how could I not recommend them, let’s get that out of the way It is very much with the every day, and he spent a lot of time with events, which on the surface are pretty mundane, but are very important for his characters. I think that is something that a lot of us are really turning over and examining right now, because our mundane and every day has shifted. And we have to recast, what is our core drama of our daily life? And these small decisions, become incredibly important. Shall I go to this grocery store or not? What will happen if I walk into this elevator? All of these tiny little things, have a new sense of weight and a new sense of tension. And also, many things have new sets of joy. If we are walking in the park and we see a friend and we have a conversation, and you are a safe three meters away. You have a sense of connection and joy, which I think is probably a little bit different than before the pandemic. For this reason, I feel that Chekov is a fit for this moment. I say short stories, because right now we should be flexible, we should be able to move from side to side Short stories are the best » Okay! » You can dip into them, and move to the next one »MODERATOR: Do you think people should feel any guilt in trying to escape from the pandemic by reading? Things that have nothing to do with the pandemic? That that is a problem at all? » Not at all » I think it is self-care and also people should tell themselves they are supporting authors, they are supporting bookstores that are really in trouble. It is really, really important. Just read » And to Kwame’s point , reading about what is going on, makes the most sense if one is reading about one one can do To further one’s own health, and care for one’s self, as you pointed out, Cathy. And deep dive into every possible (inaudible). Doesn’t — » I agree, Vincent. I love the idea of Chekov as mindfulness. Now you see, — [CROSS TALK] »MODERATOR: Let me ask this then, when this is over, and I think we all think it will be over one day, do you think you will be writing something specifically about the pandemic? James? Do you think so? » Yes, sadly I endured it in a couple of different ways, both as a clinician and as a patient. And I hope I get to write about the change that happened in our society, that link to us ever more tightly to people far away and people within our own society who we thought never had cause to think about and how connected we are to them. And I think there is a natural sense of progress that occurs within medicine, and outside of it, as we get to expand our notion of what our family is, to include people close to us. People who matter to us. And for me, it is a challenging time, but a hopeful story embedded within it. So, I am making a part of my book, recounting its

difficulties, is one of the challenges of the memoirs. But, I know in the end, although there will be many sad tales to tell, there will be one of endurance. And I think, I hope a confluence of things that show that we will not just endure, but we will thrive. And change Because we are adaptable and we can get the picture, if given it and given enough time. So, I look very much forward to that time »MODERATOR: I mean, you surprise me because it sounds so optimistic, what you just said. And I think people are living through pandemic, where hundreds of thousands of people have died, yet you are seeing this bright side. How do you do that? » I guess I have been doing MSF work for 20 years or so, so there is an HIV epidemic, we talked about the fentanyl epidemic, it is one thing after another. And I know this affects everybody, though. This affects everybody, so it matters in a different way. That it affects everybody means that when you go to the New York Times and you see their front page, this is (inaudible). This is Antarctica, and we are seeing, wow, there is a sense of knowledge and solidarity. So, I just watch things change over time. I have watched HIV to go from a disease, to go to a chronic illness. I have seen that go with epidemics of cancer, and I hope people in this panel will see changes in a positive direction. That is a trend, that is introductory. I just want to call the alarmists, who say the sky is falling, and I look around and I see the cases going up, but the hospitalizations staying low And I think there is a chance for the average person to really know how to handle this and start to learn what it means for them to not just endure it, but find things, like Vincent said, to love about it I know that is our nature »MODERATOR: Bahar , will you be writing about the pandemic specifically when this is over? » I don’t have any plans to explicitly address the pandemic in any future writing, but I do want to continue to be politically imaginative in my writing, I want to continue to take risks and be expire mental. Formally, and to think about how those aesthetic projects or those new forms can translate be on the page, to think about new ways of organizing »MODERATOR: Cathy, any plans for pandemic specific writing? » My grandson wants me to write a book called, a knapsack full of nightmares, as upon on the first one. I am keeping a quasi-journal on the issues, so I may turn it into something But, only if it can open up the thinking around green future, with respect to the national housing program, to focus in on, this is a turning point for us now, we can’t go back to the way it was. We have to create a new social program that will really make a difference. And possibly a children’s book, who has time to really think ahead right now? »MODERATOR: Okay, Vincent? Do you have a plan? » It:you know, I said I have written a little bit during the pandemic, and that has been in the form of op-ed’s in the Globe and Mail. So I think right now, my thoughts on writing are really about the conversation happening right now. And I think that we do have a unique role and the unique opportunity of people who work in the healthcare system and also, can put words on paper, to participate in the conversation. That is really what I am thinking about right now. As for the future, in terms of big projects, I always have about three big project ideas, and one of them ends up going forward. I wish I could figure out which one it was! That would make life easier for me, but I rarely know in advance »MODERATOR: And you, Kwame , what do you think? When this is over, are you going to write something to sum it up? » I like what James has been saying, everybody actually, about not being a hostage to the past. I like that. Trying to remember whether it was Mallory or Aboriginal ideas

about walking backwards into the future, this idea that you focus so much on the past and right the wrongs of the past, that you almost blind to your future and you stumble and fall. And you don’t make progress If anything, I am going to write, if it is about the pandemic, it is going to be a springboard — it’s got to be a springboard of what we want the world to be. It can’t be, sort of, reminiscent around the pandemic. It’s gotta be turning by 90 degrees, saying a bit of the past, but saying, where are we going? And I think there is a real opportunity at the moment to do things differently. And I think there is an eagerness out there not to go back to the old normal, but to go to a new normal, that is better. And so, I would like to be part of that I am not sure that my writing is going to make that happen, but I would like to feel that I am part of that. That this tragedy is going to be used for our benefit. And the benefit of the people who come after us »MODERATOR: We have had some questions come in from people who are watching, so they are going to do my job here. And I will read the questions. Here’s one, can this pandemic of four north Americans an opportunity to also talk about death and dying in a thoughtful and mature way? How the end of life can and should be considered Vincent, what do you think? » That is a great question. I think the simple answer, because the question is, can this pandemic afford an opportunity, the answer is of course, yes. It can, and it should. I feel like the implied question, is really, has it done so? Have people taken the opportunity in a meaningful way. And I have to say, unfortunately, I am not really sure that people have done so And I guess the reason I say that, is that, I think the — the opportunity which the pandemic really provides, is one of thinking about this concept of death and dying, of others in society. Of people who may be remote from us. It affords the opportunity to think about how our actions affect others in our society and potentially changes their risk of dying. And this is not unique to the pandemic, this is kind of infused in what has been said on this panel, already. This has everything to do with the way power structures are in existence in our society. It has everything to do with relative advantages and disadvantages. This concept that our actions have a remote effect on others. The pandemic actually makes those connections, or should make those connections, a little bit more linear. A little bit easier to understand. But I have to say, I am not convinced that broadly speaking, people have really thought through these issues. I think, you know, ultimately it is in a sense anecdotal, but disappointing to see in lots of places in the world, there isn’t really a concerted attempt to have widely shared physical distancing and that to me, seems to be really dismissing concerns about death and dying of others It disappointing when we see no–of course, this ends up being anecdotal, but I’m constantly involved in people in our country, who all are so not paying attention to this — distancing guidance. And not appreciating that there is a direct link between the division and the potential mortality, potential death of someone at a distance. So, is there an opportunity? Yes Have we really taken it upon us? I’m sure somehow, but I’m not convinced that we have in general, in a shared way

»MODERATOR: What about you, James? You have had a lot of experience with major death events, I guess, do think it is changing or feeling about it in the West? » I think it will. Because living and dying are not two, they are one. It changes the way we live, our perception of what a life is and hope of what a death is. I haven’t seen that, like Vincent, I haven’t seen it. I would say it is the biggest growth area that I see in our profession, health profession, is integrating that more into the home, integrating it more into something that can — not something we fight against, but something that is very much part of our community. And that language is increasing, but this pandemic alone, is emblematic, the fear is emblematic of how distance we are from it. But, I haven’t seen it meaningfully change so far »MODERATOR: Cathy? Are you going to offer a glimmer of hope here? » I am still thinking about Vincent and James’s answers, I don’t have anything to add, but this question is going to make me think about it more. That is where my mind is right now, thanks you guys »MODERATOR: Bahar , do you have any thoughts on this? » I mean, I think I would just go back to my point that I made earlier, about bio political governance, about how the organizations of power right now are really determining who is left to die and who is permitted to live. So that is what I am thinking about, kind of, when I think about death. And the pandemic and how it is an opportunity — I am hopeful, perhaps unlike others, I have hope that this is an opportunity to think about the existential conditions that are underpinning what is taking place to now »MODERATOR: Kwame ? Have we figured out with death really means? » I don’t believe that we have had a mature conversation about it, I don’t think we have thought about death, dying and dignity in long-term care homes, or 81 percent of people (inaudible). I don’t think we have had the discussion about what that is. I don’t think we have really thought about grief and death and dying with COVID, and how you grieve at a time where you are physically distanced and what that looks like. And on top of that, we have a reanalysis of the Canadian medical assistance in dying laws coming up soon. Because you know, there was a sort of reevaluation and timescale put into the legislation. So, we have to have that conversation. And we have to start thinking about that between now and December So, I think we got a lot of work to do. And I think we have been spending lots of time focusing on saving lives, and we haven’t spent as much time on quality of life and what death and dying means in this context So I do think, in line with the question, that there is an opportunity for thoughtful and mature reflection. I don’t believe we have done it yet, but yes, I am hoping that is something maybe we could get out of this pandemic »MODERATOR: One of the analogies that we keep hearing, I guess, maybe in the media more than literature, because there isn’t a lot of literature yet, I guess on the pandemic. Is the analogy to war, is this anything like a war, is that a good metaphor at all? Vincent? » No, I don’t think it is at all. I think it is a terrible metaphor, I think that it may be a politically attractive metaphor, because the notion of comparing something to a war, if you charitably thought to spur action and dramatic acts of heroism and the subsequent plague over decades of crappy living. But, I am not convinced that it is really has that much to do with war. And so, I can think of a few differences, right? War is ultimately the expressions of political well, and is ultimately this conflict, which is animated by powerful, bodies. Against one another. It is a human

construction. Which human beings kill one another. A pandemic is quite a different thing, yes, I completely agree with everything that has been said, in terms of the injustices that play out within it, but pandemics are actually repeated events, which have a certain predictability to them. The influence of pandemics in the 20th century, and we can talk about 1918, 1919 pandemic There were actually four pandemics. The historical records show about four to six pandemics per century. Looking through pandemics of this territory, infections per century over the preceding centuries. It is hard to know what (inaudible). I view this more as something that happens in the wave of human history And it is also something which is fascinating to me, because we actually know enough about this to manage it proactively. We don’t have a cure, we don’t have an immunization, but we have tools that work. Right? It turns out that widespread physical distancing, works As inconvenient and obstructive as it is. So it is fascinating to me, that this is actually a situation where we have tools that work, so really, the complicated discussion is, what trade-off are we willing to tolerate as societies, and what trade-offs are fair, in terms of trying to apply those tools? And that to me is the situation, very much unlike a war, because a war implies this sort of enemy must be annihilated, and hear what I think we really need, is a sense of collective action and cooperation and with that, we actually have quite viable tools »MODERATOR: Bahar , you are the poet among us, does war seem like a good image to you? » No, I think that that is an incredibly concerning analogy I think that we have seen a lot of militarized language in the time of the pandemic, especially as it relates to healthcare workers. We have talked about workers being on the front line, workers being in to battle. We have talked about paying our duty as healthcare workers. We have talked about healthcare workers as being honorable, and I think that that is really worrying. I think that that is happening for the sake of a particular ideology, which is to use healthcare workers of instruments of the state, rather than as people who should be serving their communities. I think it takes us so far from the goal of care, which is what we should be thinking about. And like Vincent said, we should be — we should only be caring for and thinking about collective solutions, rather than weapon izing our workers, — I would steer very clear from making those kinds of comparisons, to be honest »MODERATOR: Kwame, you have one more thing to say? » Piggybacking on what Vincent said and Bahar said, it is a simple question. If this is the war, he was the enemy? Because if Ontario and Québec had as good a quality response to the pandemic as BC, it would’ve saved over 4 a half thousand lives. So people are going to go down the line of work, who is the enemy? As Vincent said, we have ways of dealing with this, we are making choices, so I have a difficulty with the concept of war, if it obscures the fact that we are making choices here » And that about wraps our time up, thank you so much, Mark and all of our presenters for this engaging conversation. Yes, keep doing your incredible work! » Thank you! » Thanks very much! » Thank you! » We will be back in 15 minutes, for The Song of Love Joyous or Sorrowful. Three Toronto poets of today, hosted by Toronto’s poet laureate, AF Moritz

See you soon! soon!


Welcome back! Next up, you will hear from three brilliant poets, with new books in a fascinatingly wide spectrum of traditions and subjects. All of crucial concern today, but rarely grass Your host, is AF Moritz. The Griffin poetry prize, the best Hogan price, and then Ingram (name?) fellowship » Hello sienna, and thank you very much. Let me get right to it, so we have all of our time for our beautiful poets. I am going to say a few words, based on the title. The Song of Love Joyous or Sorrowful is the title of our session, and it is the one I suggested for the reading, and the three poets like. It comes from the Spanish poet, one Hermanus. I said song of love, but the word he used is Keha(sp?), a complaint or moan. From which the central theme emerges, the complaint of love, joyous or sorrowful, the form of a flight. The passionate form of liberty. In 1902, he said, speaking of the young revolutionary Spanish poetry of those days, we had to dream of poetry as an action, a spiritual power, that longs to be more and greater, unfolding itself within itself. To create its own essence, a new life, a life of love and veneration. So, those terms by one of the very greatest of poets, seem a permanent revelation of the nature of poetry. They are a poem in themselves, a poem of thought and insight. They are beautifully proven in the new poems of Natasha Ramoutar, Beatriz Hausner, and Joe Fiorito, and these three poets add the wonderful experience of the tremendous variety of the works of love. Because poetry is one of the words of love, one of the manifestations of love, one of the chief of these. One that is essential. Famously, James, the brother of Jesus wrote, that there are many who proclaim their faith, and that is all we get from them. And then, James

comments at first sourly, then sorely, well, you show me your face, where is it? But I, will show you my works. That is exactly what the poet does, he doesn’t just say love, he shows love. And poetry, love is shown. It is as visible in the poem as in works of charity, and in the Titanic struggles for justice. It is an action, among those actions, an action that is necessary for those other actions. And that is what we will hear in these three poets Without the action of poetry, what does the action of action mean? When those actions take place in silence, then they are the post Sia –the poetry that is not written, the poetry that lies behind poetry, and in front of poetry, and the poetry of silent action, poetry not yet written, of course always results afterwards in poetry that is written. Which feeds back again, into the wordless action. Now, let me read a few words that show this, from each of our poets, from each of these new books. Here are a few lines from Beatriz Hausner’s “Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart”, from the middle of the poem entitled the orgasm analogies. I find myself making — love yours is mine, and mine is yours. In — here begins the new life, daily renewing, daily restoring, daily for all time Let it be known, your parts are mine, to have or not. But, to access, start the calling, daily given, daily adorning. Daily coming, daily getting to coming, daily getting my sense, my life, my eyes, lovely lover. Daily and many times daily, I bind you to me. That is pure Eros and the essential couple, Natasha Ramoutar explores other dimensions of love, in “Bittersweet” Very title — the complaint of love joyous or sorrowful, bittersweet. This poem, swell, grasp the whole history in a single living moment. When we arrive in Guiana, my mother’s feet swell from the sweltering heat. As if our bodies do not know this country’s fire, courses through our veins. As if it has forgotten that my mother is from this soil. That her skin was scrubbed with its sugar. That the heat is a long lost friend, welcoming her home. A return to the native land, to find it seems to have forgotten that you are from this soil. That you are its long lost friend. Surely, a song of sorrow and love A poem like that so concise, has a kinship with the vision of Joe Fiorito, he is a poem from Joe’s “All I Have Learned is Where I Have Been”, called, six months dead. “Swollen, Unwell in my bed, a boy brought food, and liquor with my money. And some, food and money, and liquor, no one caught a whiff of me when I was dead How deeply I was taken by these three books, how much I have rejoiced in their joy, and even more perhaps in their loving sorrow. Joe’s poem, hear the poet has truly cast a cold eye on life, on death, as Yeats commanded. But he has not passed by. As Yeats also commanded. The poor man who was not found for six months, so alone he was, until finally his corpse became a dry, odorless rind. Even this sorrow, even this horror, is held in the poem’s gaze, it’s song, it’s work of love. And now let me just introduce Natasha, and she will read to us for 12, 13 minutes. Natasha’s brilliant first book, “Bittersweet”, journeys from Toronto to Guyana, and South Asia. Scarborough always a vivid, youthful presence. An Indo Guyanese writer by way of

Scarborough, she is a poet and producer who covers arts and culture. Her prize-winning work has been widely published and presented “Bittersweet” Is a collage representing both her reconstructed homeland and Scarborough, using photographs, maps, language, folklore, can bring together definitions, recipes, cartography, photo albums, oral stories and is sensitive lyricism. Through these, meditates on obscure history, bittersweet is Ramoutar’s first book of poems, Natasha, well, » Thank you so much, and thank you for that introduction Thank you as well to the organizers for having me, and I am so excited to be here and be presenting some of the work from “Bittersweet”. And so, as mentioned, this collection explores a kind of disrupted or suppressed lineage. So, my collection asks, what happens when you don’t have documents? Or photographs? And what do you use to reimagine those links? So for me, the narrator of these poems, in “Bittersweet”, she is using definitions, recipes, ghost tales to try and grasp at a history that might feel out of reach. In addition to that, as mentioned in my introduction as well, it does place a heavy emphasis on Scarborough, Scarborough is where I grew up. And the joy that is found there, is something that I think is being captured right now, in this kind of artistic moment. But growing up, I don’t know if that was something that I saw as much So, with that, I will read a few pieces from the collection. So the first piece that I will read is called cartography one, ” asked me where I come from, and I will tell you, from the remnants and melted sugar cubes. From rough grains, ripped from stocks. From spice and soccer and sans. From a sweetness that mixes with cardamom, hanging in the air. I come from a line of bittersweet women, women shrewd enough to empty pockets, to upturned kingdoms, to launch ships, to war. On a journey long ago, I witnessed the origin point, fields of cane, standing tall, like soldiers on patrol. The cane is raw, just long stocks, unbridled, and wild. And free This next one is called brave New World, and it explores kind of overlapping of stories. And when certain stories or certain tales overtake another, and how those merge together. “The Grandmother of my grandmother’s grandmother, must have arrived on a ship, that rolled through tempestuous waves. At least, that is what I suspect. Where are the faded documents, the sprawling maps, the dogeared photos of her journey? The stories I know by heart are not of her, tales of a fellow and outcast, — (inaudible). What of spoiled kings, and frigid Danish air was relatable? Grief, maybe. I think of her upon that ship from Denmark, grasping at fairies in the moonlight. ” And this next one is called tea leaves. “I Shift my tea leaves back and forth, reading for the past instead of the future. Maybe it is in the bitterness in these leaves, cultivated to need the touch of sweetness. Maybe it is in the sugar, grown across beaten box, maybe it is in the water, the droplets pulling from the rainy season Into rough necked bottles.” So the next ones I am going to move into are more into Scarborough, and into writing the joy of this place and of this place that is home for me. This first one is called, “Meadowvale ” and is the street I grew up on. “The Streets are yours, they have always been yours with the dark cracks running up like veins along the aged cement. With the blinking bulbs, keeping you in their line of sight. The air that rises off the sewer lids, like a hot breath. The dandelions that sprout between the sidewalk and the potholed road.” So, one of the biggest topic issues in Scarborough is always our transit. Our transit is — is often lacking, and this one in particular, this

poem is about the 198 bus, which also runs along the same route as the 116 E, and is now been renamed the 905, but it goes from the UT Scarborough, right down the Kennedy station as an express » You are putting the problem in a very humane and gentle way! [LAUGHTER] » You could be a lot angrier about it! » Exactly, this was my kind of attempt to be playful, too be playful with this kind of delay. It is an experience of what happens when you miss it during rush hour, and you are waiting for 40 minutes. So, it begins “this poem was waiting for the bus. Watching the raindrops race along pains of the bus shelter, composing itself to the steady beat of the downpour After 15 minutes it began to walk, the delusion, a refuge from the roughness of the rouge. Each drop, now stop pop of ideas, orbs of light to reunite a wavering line of sight. When this poem arrived home, it shed its skin, folded every metaphor into its closet, tucked itself and, and dreamed of a homebound bus.” On the same theme of transit, time three, there are several time poems throughout the collection, that try to capture a moment. And reimagine what time means to us So this one was when your buses and routes line up with some, but it is not a enough time to catch up with them. Time three, what is time? But stolen glances beyond straight-line desks and lockers across the hall. That line of sight through the dirty L OT window, the train pulls into the Kennedy station. The slight nod of acknowledgment, the hint of a smile. Before parting ways again.” So this next one, I find a lot of my work, especially about Scarborough is in conversation with other Scarborough artists. And this one Brenly, all the way south, is in conversation with Nora Kohn, who is a filmmaker, who has a film called (inaudible) Easter relationship really puts into question, or considers the way that we take care of land as settlers. And often coming from places as immigrants, that we were forced to leave, or that were dangerous and we had to leave. But then, connecting with this land and also understanding that we are settlers on this land. And so the line, that it lifts from that piece is, think about how we don’t deserve this land Brenly all the way south, is formatted like GPS instructions. “Head Northwest towards military Trail, away from these concrete towers, superimposed over the spiraling paths and valleys. Turn left onto military Trail, noting the way the road is chaotic and the intersection does not line up cleanly. Turn left onto Ellesmere Road, to escape this chaos. Turn left onto Morningside Avenue, feel your spirits rise and fall, with the natural hills. Turn right onto Kingston Road, as you pass the motels, remember that this was the arterial pathway into the heart of the city. Turn left onto Brenly Road, take Brenly all the way south, to the place where the water meets the land. Continue on to bluffer’s Park, remember that Elizabeth Simcoe renamed this place? Renamed the land along named, turn right to stay on bluffer’s Park, think about how we are neither rock nor water. Just zebra mussels that cling to each other, swaying with these waves Think about how we don’t deserve this land. Turn right, the destination will be on the right. Waiting.” In similar conversation with other Scarborough artists, my poem “famous players” connects with Adrian DeLeon’s collection, rouge, which is a great friend of mine His collection maps the city based on the different subway

stops. On the one for Scarborough center, the epigraph that I have on this poem, is the hub of life, is dead today. And it is all considering, so Scarborough center is the subway stop as well, or the LRT stop rather, at Scarborough town center. ” Wayfaring wanderers, among the aisles of clothing. We parade in suits in the empty change rooms. Hold cheap plastic pearls up to our ears in the mirror. Until we were chased away. Vagabonds with stray loonies amidst out-of-pocket lens, smuggling chocolates into an in inhabited theater. We clutched hands between the — lips smeared with melted butter, as the screens filled our eyes with promise. Promises that touched the center of us. Childless drifters, looking for a life, in an abandoned mausoleum.” And then this last poem that I am going to read, it is called “like makeshift crowns”, so growing up, there is a group of four girls that I am very, very close with. And I wanted to capture the kind of joy that we felt when we were together. And what that looked like, so this poem is a celebration of friendship And a song of love for friendship ” Like makeshift crowns, could we speak about joy for once? About July nights by the lake, about dripping marshmallows over the rising smoke of a bonfire? About the laughter that filled our bodies, caught us — caught in our throat as coughs, in our eyes as tears. Of the five of us tripping over stray branches in the rouge Of toes pressed in the sand, around a withering fire. Of stretched nights squeeze in a McDonald’s booth meant for four. Hair piled atop our heads, like makeshift crowns Joy is not a whispered story, but a wailing manifesto of rampant roots reaching for the heavens Of tides pulled to shore by a wanton moon. A flex of dried catchup painting the table, of the weather — weathered stars, winking at us through the four by six window. We drive out under the vast night sky, looking up at the moon through the summer The base from the stereo, shaking the frame of the car as if it is laughing. Could we speak about dreams? About us making a wish on the star falling into the lake, four more nights like this. Where we line up along the rocks, toes grazing the water. Our giggles rising with the tide, as if to say, I am here!” thank you »MODERATOR: Thank you, Natasha That was wonderful. I look forward to maybe talking a little bit about it, when we discussed a little at the end of the session. Let me go right on now, to introducing Beatriz Hausner. And her 15 minutes of reading, I wish we had a whole hour for each of these folks Beatriz, “Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart” engages the many faces and bodies of Eros, the wistful romance explicit sex -and her husband the Emperor Justinian, and the committee veal troubadours, including the important but little known poet Beatriz, (name?). The modern surrealist, the Latin poet, Dante, punk and new wave music, and a lot more if you get into this book. But for all of those different voices, these poems are pure Hausner, many people will know the unique stamp of her fiery and beautiful work Hausner came at a young age to Canada from Chile, a respected historian and translator of Latin American surrealism, she is also cofounder of Quattro books, and has served as chair of the public lending rate commission She is currently president of the literary translators Association of Canada and although recently retired from the public library of Toronto, she was four years, probably it’s chief — it’s chief poetry program. Hi, Beatriz » Thank you so much for a wonderful, very

generous introduction. And thank you to the organizers for inviting me to share this afternoon with you. I’m going to start with a short poem, as I was saying, I borrow a lot from other people. And this little poem, borrows from a line from a fairly obscure Latin poet by the name of Maxim be on us. I don’t know if it works. “So Soon as the front of you, so soon as the front of you is noticed, you become obscure, sweet apple. To stone the darkness within, as the parole heart no not cold swirls again. Yes, and interminably within you, without you. Because who would not take sadness with your ecstasy? Together, we pour ourselves out and into me with your great swelling, your soul inherited and further burn through strange marriages with darkness. The union is not — almost complete in obscurity as someone else hands (inaudible). Do not take these breasts into Balliet, no Below your chest laid bare, I see your heart, open wound weakening song of remembrance, relief before the age is multiplied And how splendored the trunk of the tree, waiting up your weight of the night. Your fear of loss and my constant releasing of you to yourself and darkness. I was inherited from the mothers who rode tightly into knots your hips, such attraction and turned your thighs underneath. Away from white, ice sheets and blocks no And that cutting knife bearing the song of weeping. The very image of shape leanness is too slow indeed, and hiding. Though indeed unfortunately, I am not able to bear it witness. For you are in were gone, not deep inward, but somewhat inbound This inwardness without you, and I am not able to bear it. To bear it. To bear it. ” This second poem, is sort of a bit of a tribute to the troubadour tradition, the troubadours were the inventors of romantic love. And in particular, I pick a few lines, — get them from the Countess of Dia, who is my namesake. “Tied Up. Speech and knife cut through sense making, as time slips in and out of us, first and last and original son Radiating from among the myriad stars that exploded in the night. Blackest of darkness where your forebears lived with strange creatures as you began your confinement in and out of forms with the Countess of Dia, sometimes called Beatriz The animals of my country, you say. Please tell me why my car is in the front yard and I am sleeping with my clothes on? I came in through the window last night and you were gone. That is what you write as you attach to the ghost of (name?) with those voices now hours spoken through strange machines. That come to our rescue. For we live together with our saxes, first wealth of joy. You ascribe your path in the course of my knife, my day, on my back. Resent your self so I may see you shackled to strange furniture, where love remains hidden in fabrics fold. I who am relentlessly drawn to the outward signs of inward subversion, because of want, will travel the length of your body with my lips. Touch your geographic markers, finally become cruel, inside the bodysuit I ideate bondage of man and woman, bringing us closer to the lifestyles of strange insects. I could put one of those on, I remembered saying, let me point out that the outfit made of shimmer and rhinestones, and metal mesh is laid out and ready. Yes, such as the manner of my being beautiful for you, disguised sharply with my edges under gold and silver thread. Turning myself more appropriately into the praying mantis who so often married. Ignite and in the light of day, over there for some hope of help, but later he comes back and tells me, it would be hard to slip away, because I can trace your singing. I, who am your mistress, become lighter as I dress myself in the manlike suit, made from ethereal layers of fabric, better to expose my soul to fishnet and make my skin not show. My completeness is purposely held by the tiresome suspension of time, just — barely audibly and despite the binding I get on top Movement and — giving and taking it, let’s stop this being

in the heart chambers, try it without love and openly before deceit overwhelms itself and consumes us in flames. This pleasure, surrender and darkness and in light, alternating stage, shimmery veils that move with the rain. Distress, of the heart, that lives outside, covered in the matter of liquid skin, that is warm and bright and not dark or intense. I am your reverent, I phrase not the transients of your sex, much carried with Preakness from East back to West the great river you must travel laterally, with your — until your tenderness is mine, and it is yielding. We herald togetherness for ourselves, even. And we drive and we are driven, we have driven on, beset by our temptations and (inaudible). Question, where is he (inaudible). He answered, within six walls. Question, where is it? Answer, up, down, before, behind, right, left. Someone is stitching you to me, and a sure hand drives the needle in a shimmering thread, pull me to you that I may hate — and not be brave Last question, what is manlike? Answer, and apple.” [LAUGHTER] »MODERATOR: Of which you should take a big bite. Go on » This one, I am just reading a few, a couple of pages from a long, long poem called (inaudible). You will recognize it by the bit of lyrics from popular music “Deepening My habit, I think of you. What happened in circles, — of your double, triple youth Achingly I fall, time after time, with new here, hourly and every second the clock ticking, as you go back and forth (inaudible) (background noise) The sounds are being poured into vessels of colored glass, the heart placed on your chest. (background noise) Even if you fall I will catch you, and gently placed her body on mine. Open your mouth, pour the sweet honey, in my own soft, quiet, fluttering water Dominic, you might use become a swan, beads for feathers, your skin gold colored as the chain is pulled, we turn, time after time. You return to a form of made of pearls around neck, drop list liquid skin, tightening the noose. Myself sweet, handsome, friend. I can tell you truly, when you come the bindings tightening. I climb above, draw me to you so you may rise through that infinity of mirrors, kaleidoscopic heavens in your eyes. While the multitude of angels stay suspended and the hand of the invisible one rouses you through me, there must be an angel playing with my heart, containing as shouting out our devotion to venous (inaudible) Who rises fast with lands who placed before us, so the obstacles set deep within you, even.” And I am going to finish with the poem that is inspired by a scene, a vision in Dante’s (word?), where he sees Beatriz eating a heart. Because I am Beatriz “I Will not relinquish your heart in my mouth, I will swallow the words written on your heart and my mouth, I will take away sorrow, as long as I have your heart in my mouth. I will walk a great distance to reach your heart in my mouth. I will stop walking a great distance to reach your heart in my mouth. I never want to stop coming to being with your heart in my mouth. I grow increasingly impatient if I don’t have your heart in my mouth. I ignore the fact of new discoveries in astronomy, because I have my heart in your mouth. Scars are born, Diane reborn in the veins that feed your heart in my mouth. There is a great ocean, we must cross as we voyage into your heart in my mouth. And what a deafening joy, as music fills my throat, because I have your heart in my mouth. I speak only to you,

because I have your heart and my mouth. The sun, the moon, admin day, the eclipse with your heart in my mouth. We stepped out of ourselves, as the stars explode with your heart in my mouth. So many times there comes into my mind, the ideation of being with your heart in my mouth. There are no limits to what I can do, with your heart in my mouth Several constellation is born when I have your heart in my mouth. Liquid skin is the element that constitutes when I have your heart in my mouth. I don’t care about the Quotidien if I have your heart in my mouth. Blocks of nightingales become airborne with your heart in my mouth. Says Aristotle, the soul sits in the heart, and this supports the fact, of your heart in my mouth. A life-sized Tiger breathing and pottering threatens to appropriate your heart in my mouth. Great dangers proceed and follow my single most objective, your heart in my mouth. I have determined to write the cretinous on alchemy to explain your heart in my mouth. Determined also that bold is a liquid poured from a great flask, suspended above your heart in my mouth. Innate, always in the state of love, because I persist and hold your heart in my mouth. The body, the soul and to the spirit, they have become one, with your heart in my mouth” » The very spirit momentum of classic surrealism, well, you know what? We’ve got a minute more for you, Beatriz, so would you do or request for me and read the relatively short point, Theodora incipient on page 35? » Reminder of the little nest of childhood, fragility because it spring on opposite terminal and downward pull by cheerful gravity, doing what gravity does and with plate tectonics interrupting the more gentle movements of the earth. All being appended with the regular frequency, the shards of glass lined the floor of the love childhood home. The first kingdom was a place long and narrow, with obstructions of view, defining geography on the road to Theodora. Paradise was always the goal. John of Ephesus described it, all that matters is of Ephesus born, emphasis of the mind, because the God is as revered there, despite the excessive number of breasts grabbing her chest. Ephesus is Chile, and open and shut case A country with its St. James town at center, serene town at North, Concepción town meddling south, (inaudible). With the southern cross replicating the MorningStar, illuminating all things that were one at origin Light.” » Thanks Fantastic. Now, let’s go to Joe, who takes us to — from Beatriz’s vision and the antiquities, but on the other hand, the antipathies are on a pole, and the pole is the fundamental part of the other pole, the totality of the axis All I have learned is where have been, Joe Fiorito’s second collection, creates uncompromising mini narratives, about addiction, failed rehabs, incarceration, homelessness, and a lot more. I should say Along with his 2018 book, city poems. This work establishes him as the preeminent chronicler of people in extremes. Down and out in Paris and London, titled a great book by (background noise). Poems of searing position convey unusual knowledge of urban reality today. All I have learned, is where I have been, is a moving exploration of brokenness by an indispensable writer. The author of eight books, Fiorito one that (background noise). In the 2003 city of Toronto Book Awards for his novel, the song beneath the ice He has been a city columnist for the Montréal Gazette, the National Post, the Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star. He retired from the star in 2017, in does that work on his third volume of poems, which I am very happy to know about. Okay Joe, over to you! » Thank you very much, that is a hard act to follow. I should just say to begin with, that launching a book seems to me like dropping an ice cube into a glass of whiskey. You hope for a little splash, and hope for a

little warmth, launching a book during a pandemic, is like holding a glass, imagining ice, imagining whiskey, imagining splash. This will do for my glow. As you said, it is a second book, and it is kind of a compilation of a bunch of different things, some of these poems are 50 years old. From when I began writing, as a kid. I retrieved them, I have made them new, others are based on things that I heard and saw during 25 years of pounding, the beat as a city columnist in the paper. And they are as new as I can make them. I hope they are always going to be new. I should note, that even when I was writing for the papers, I held to the dictum of Doctor Williams, which is no ideas, but in things. A couple of principles in form to this work, the sound of the human voice, is the best song, because it was the first song. Every writer needs an open wound, a thing can be itself. Or it can be something else. And things change when you look at them long enough. They become something, in addition to your looking, and they become something you remember. And I think that memory is a big spark for work If I remember something, it is imprinted within me, I can work with that. Here are some things. And this won’t take long, because I write short. I begin with a couple of older poems, from 1966. From Thunder Bay, specifically from Egan Street, in the little motel late at night And if my wife is listening to this, she might cover her ears Lake superior lament, the first ” The caulk on the rooftop stiffens and spins, — at the foot of the hill is the light, licking the bellies of ships The waves are as goes the mountains. The sky is as blue as the lake, and I am as blue as the cold waves are for your sake. Lake superior lament number two. I knelt and held her narrow hips, night shift. Durum weight newsprint, durum weight is spilled into ships. I kissed her narrow foot, her swollen lips. — She shivered in the motel light, as if she knew the heart, not hers but mine, would break.” I have a kind of theory, about the country. If that is not too big a thing to say, the story of the big city is that it is made up of people from small towns There is kind of a national anger in the small towns, at the big city, because we left. And the under subtext there, is this place is not big enough for you? Are you too good for us? But they miss us, the ones who love us and we miss them, and at first we go back for weddings. And then we go back for funerals. And then we don’t go back at all, and that is a national sadness. This is what it was like going back to Fort William for the funeral of my uncle Frank. Ro 17 CA. ” The field below is green, it is filled with random stones. Each spring the red dirt unearths new ones. A row of markers over a row of bone. The logic of the graveyard is apparent from the air From the clouds, a ceremony of dissent. I looked down, falling. I cannot take my eyes from there ” This next poem, if I can find it, that is what I hate about readings, is marking the pages, if you are not reading exactly in order. This is a poem I stumbled on when I was a kid working in the bush, doing survey work. It is called still life. “The Dogs skull in the woods. Ants had eaten their fill of dog, the skull was hot The ants grown fat on dogs secrets. The skull was white, the woods perfumed with hate. I held the dogs skull in my hand Red ants and white teeth fell Too loose to bite. ” I took the skull home in my lunch pail and I still have it, and it is over there on my wall. And you could see it if I turned my camera around There is a rthern Ontario, a kind of scratch in the landscape that is about 300 meters deep, or 300 feet deep, rather. Called when — Winnett

(sp?) Canyon. “The Scree of Arctic flowers, the weight of splintered bone. This is where he stepped into the air. Quick Fish out of water. And fell there ” This is a poem about my ousin,, he worked as a glaze year, he was struck — he was strong as an ox, he was as sweet as they come, he was one of the workers And as you know in northern Ontario, and elsewhere in the country, work kills sometimes Epitaph. ” Big square blue, cutting squares of glass, the dust goes to your wrist. Your pink tattoo. Needle pricks, not incorporated said Lou. Last snack, a cup of tea, and it, pretty blanket, it hurt to look He knew, a glazier gazing out the window My last view of Lou. ” This is a poem I — of the siege, he once wrote that he wanted to write poems like newspaper reports. When I was a newspaper columnist, I tried to write newspaper reports like poems. Here’s the poem, here’s the news. (word?) Economics “The Last time I saw sugar it was $100 a kilo, during the war He said. Stirring three spoons into his double shot Americano .” You know, I have no idea what this poem means, but it arises from a meeting of tenants at a rough, nasty little apartment building. One was called the meeting at West Lodge. “The Lucky some boy is a lucky tomboy, even if he breaks his thumb, he is still a lucky boy You don’t like human beings, his rats ate a pair of shoes on me She claps her hands and we clap hands. Ask why? We say the lucky tomboy knows why. ” If you know what that means, you can call me later and tell me This is the poem from which the title of the book arises, it is called little sister asleep And it is about someone I knew ” She on a kitchen chair, legs tucked up, short hair. He grabbed me there, she died later, sniffing gasoline. All I have learned, is where I have been.” And ultimate poem, no one tells you this when you are young, and I will just leave it at that. The poet at 70. “I Walked, I leak, I limp, I dropped my paper fending off cars and dogs and skaters. My hair hides (inaudible) I bend but do not break. Not today And because we are dealing with the subject of love, this is I will dedicate this to Susan, it is called vacation Maine. She took off her shirt and ate fried chicken on the bed’s edge. I kicked off her shoes, as we watched Nightline in the USA. In Rome you get the blues, not the news from home. We kept cool with a bucket of ice. America is a foreign country. Next morning on the way to Bowdoin, I said (word?), — thanks very much »MODERATOR: Thank you, Joe. I am going to allow just one second of silence, so you got to have your own ending, I want to ask you, since we have a bit of time to add, to read another poem or two. If you don’t mind But if you do mind, just tell me. One I was thinking of, was open season, and just let me put a note in there, it comes close after the dogs skull poem that you read us, it is about dogs And to me, it is a living link with Canadian poetic history, at least as lived by me. Because I can remember one drunken night, when John knew love wouldn’t leave my house, and he sat at the table, and about 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. told endless stories of horrors on the prairies where he grew up, trying to shock me I come from Niles, Ohio, I was not very shocked. In any case, one of the stories he was very impressed with, was how the men would go out and shoot lots of

stray dogs, because they were dangerous. And that is the subject of your poems — (background noise). I was taken aback — would you read that poem? » Have you got the page handy? » Yes I do, it is 42 » 42. This is from the Arctic, and it is a problem in the Arctic. I have worked in Iqaluit for five years, it is called open season “We Shoot the stray dogs in the morning, when the children are asleep. The pups come towards us waiting their tails only call. We threw their bodies on the truck bed, they stiffen from the cold, before we reach the dump. Now and then the change dogs howl. ” » Now and then the change dogs howl, that is great. I am not going to pester you with the other poem, — » I dare you to! » That’s right, you will get me next time. So, we have had a great meeting, and I don’t know what sienna the moderator wants us to do, in terms of talking. I know we are supposed to talk together, I’ve got a lot of things to say, I don’t know about you guys. I don’t know if there are people online that sienna things should be admitted to the conversation, or anything like that. So she says, by all means, enjoy your time together. There are no questions from out in television land as of yet. We might get some, maybe even by this chat. I am looking at the printed chat on the right side of the screen When I am saying all of this Okay guys, so I don’t know, if somebody wants to barge in — » I do! » Go ahead, Joe » That is awfully naked stuff, talk about how you approach the writing with reading it » Who, Natasha? » Bea »MODERATOR: Do you mean us reading it, Joe? Because we are reading her naked, or do you mean her presenting it — » Her presenting it » I don’t think about it when I am writing it, I don’t think about reading it out loud. To people. Although I imagine somebody reading it, hopefully, people absolutely love me. But — I think, I don’t know, I think I just open up. I become open. Just like when I am writing, and sometimes I feel the poetry really living in me, as I read it. Today was good for me, I felt really comfortable reading it » Well, it is beautiful and courageous » But I haven’t actually read these poems, public, because of COVID. My book was launched in April, like in the middle — »MODERATOR: In the middle of it, yes. It reminds me — Joe’s question and your poem reminds me, of the insightful yet somewhat bratty comment that Frank O’Hara once made, he says, in poetry your style is like you are choosing your pants. You want them not so tight that they are uncomfortable, but tight enough that everyone wants to go to bed with you [LAUGHTER] »MODERATOR: That was his — he had to try on an awful lot of pants [LAUGHTER] »MODERATOR: Let me ask Natasha, I loved this book, Natasha. You know, I got to know you through your rep and through some of your other work, so when I had a choice of people I could bring on, — I really wanted to get to know you and I only knew a few poems from, that I could find online and stuff And some of your other work in other fields, and this book was just something to rejoice over, when I got it. It is such a beautiful book. And you know, I just — many things in it, really interested me. All of the different forms you use, and yet within them, I added to your publisher’s description, the words, a sensitive lyricism, it seems to me almost every poem is a lyric poem. Despite the obvious shapes you put them into, you presenting them as a GPS readout or a recipe, or some damn thing, you seem to have a great talent to get a very generous (background noise). Emotional lyricism into

everything. Is this one of your goals or one of your feelings, or part of your nature? » It actually — absolutely as part of my nature, part of my feeling. When I was working on more journalistic pieces, personal essays, short fiction, where it is possible, based on the form, I do like to have more images. And I like to be able to use that as a way to break a moment open, and to be able to explore the moment a little more »MODERATOR: That is really great. I like the way you got gently, but very firmly and deeply at some big themes. I think of my grandfather studying Hamlet in school, what did he get out of that? It is a way of looking at okay, you absorb the Imperial language and all of its splendors, but on the other hand, doesn’t it kind of erase or prevent you from getting to your own language? What is that, you don’t even know. And it suggests you should, maybe that is a good comment but on the other hand, it doesn’t exactly help you. This is like a substance of the life’s work, of a great poet like Derek Walcott, as you know as well as I do. And he is from Trinidad Tobago, if I remember quickly I was very impressed with that I love the sugar, being part of the soma, the physique of the people. And the psyche, and so on. I love that you are from Meadowvale, don’t you love names like Meadowvale You go to Meadowvale, there is no meadow, and there is no avail. In fact, it couldn’t be further from a meadow or vale. And you find a way to praise it and make it beautiful, anyhow! So, maybe I am not starting a conversation very well, I just wanted to really praise this. Let me just raise one issue, that I think goes with all of you What is time, but glances, you said in one of the latter poems that you read. And you talked about all of the glances, in which people are together, just sharing a moment, as they drive past one another (background noise). And the perception there, that sort of time is, conversation, is communication That seemed to me a real insight, a real addition We sometimes say, we’ve got to get away from clock time and do our own personal time. But I think we really say, time is conversation. Togetherness, community, communion. But I think all poetry seems to exemplify that, and I could draw that theme into Joe’s or Beatriz’s work, equally well » One thing I was thinking about today, is how different time has become, for me during this, sort of seclusion, really This period of not being in community, except through mediated means, right? And there is a kind of distortion of time, and it brings home how important it is to be in that community of people. You know? Joe brings in his poetry, so much, it is so alive, and outside of time, too. You are talking about a time when you are in the Arctic, or a time now, how just now, I feel very much the passing of time at an accelerated rate And yet, what you say Al, is being in poetry, allows you to be in the Arctic, — killing those poor dogs, right now. While we are in front of these computers or devices, and detached from time, in a way » There is a space in which it is all present tense, and it remains present tense. And for me, it is a present tense that is kind of, narrated by snapshots. My work is really quite visual, I think All of those images, in each of the pieces, it is burned into my — this is going to be what I say, this is my newsreel as I die. All of these little images »MODERATOR: That is really interesting, the philosophers will argue over, is there a privilege now? Or is there not a privileged now? In other words, we are right now, in now However, yesterday you were in and now, which you were enjoying

your suffering. And 10 years ago — (background noise). But, they are just as present, just as visual as though poems that he might have written, seeing somebody a few months ago. Or just before his book was published. And so on, is you are now of now? Or your now of yesterday was? (background noise). It is in a way, but maybe in another way it isn’t — » They are the same to me »MODERATOR: Poetry gets that, doesn’t it? It gets the nouns that are threatened as looked at as fated or not present, it brings them here, it tells us how they are here. I go back to Natasha and Beatriz, Beatriz’s stuff is so much about inheritance, in terms of people. But in terms of culture, too. Inheritance, deep back into the endless pass Right? And Natasha, your book is about going and seeking realities of getting to know the old people better, and going with the old people, to the old country. And getting to know it better, I’m wondering, okay, I am brought up mainly in Canada What was that? How — it is me, but it is somehow deep in me How with my conscious mind, do I access it? So the poetry is all very much about that, I think. And that is the depth of the human being, sort of. I just think these things are — come out in these poems beautiful, you know. I love to hear Goren Simich, he is down in Florida now. He has written some great poems. They are long lines, and much more lengthy and developed, sort of as it were Narratively developed, (background noise). They have really an equal kind of poetry, journalism marriage. Poetry, realistic reportage, marriage like Joe’s Even though the format, the form is quite different Here comes sienna, do you have something to tell us about, have we reached the end of our time? » I wish we could have another hour, too be honest, I have been sitting on the back and transfixed by everyone’s work Thank you so much for sharing pieces of your hearts and minds with us, this has been truly something. I really appreciate it »MODERATOR: Thank you, you guys are all being — I am the supreme genius, for having chosen — I don’t know what kind of inspiration I was having — so, thanks a million » Thank you, sienna » Ciao »MODERATOR: You are ending our session now? » All right, everybody. So, in case you want to hear more of these marvelous poets, you can find their works, “Bittersweet”, “All I Have Learned is Where I Have Been”, “As Far As You Know” and “Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart”. At the Word on the Street digital market Place, wordonthestreet.shop. We will be back in 15 minutes for our next amount, where Ryan B Patrick speaks with authors Faye Guenther , Souvankham Thammavongsa . Presented by Diaspora Dialogues: In Conversation with Faye Guenther and Souvankham Thammavongsa our next stream is presented by

Diaspora Dialogues, as part of their talk symposium. Diaspora

Dialogues supports writers to turn

their craft into careers, by professional development, and opportunities to present the work. please welcome the moderator for this event, Ryan B. Patrick. Ryan is the less he’s a producer at CBC books, including Canada reads. His work has appeared in publication and websites such as Exclaim! Magazine, CBC music, Huffington Post Canada and now magazine great to have you here » Thank you for having me. I guess we can get started, I am Ryan B. Patrick, great to be here. Thanks to Diaspora Dialogues, thanks to Word on the Street, and for everyone else tuning in. I think amidst the global pandemic, social unrest, global upheaval, it is kind of an interesting time, to say the least. That said, it is great to be here, we are talking books with two great emerging Canadian authors. The literary scene is an interesting space, we are seeing a lot of new great perspectives, great new authors, and great new writing. The two authors today, have written two great books we are going to talk about. We have Faye Guenther, Faye Guenther lives in Toronto Her writing has appeared in literary magazines, including Joyland. She published “Flood Lands” with junction books “Swimmers In Winter”, Is what we are talking about today. It was published in 2020, by invisible publishing Hi, Faye, how’s it going? »MODERATOR: How are you doing in a time of COVID? » Getting by »MODERATOR: It is great to have you. Our next speaker is Souvankham Thammavongsa, she is the author of four poetry books, and the short story collection, “How to Pronounce Knife”. It was long listed for the Giller prize, congratulations on that. Your stories have appeared in Harpers, the Paris review and more, and she lives in Toronto » Hi, Faye »MODERATOR: Great to see you again. Before we proceed, we are going to do a short reading, then we will move on to a conversation, a quick Q and A, and any questions that pop up, we will address them as they come. I guess it is time to read, Faye or Souvankham , whoever wants to go first? Maybe Faye, — » Sure, I am reading from my debut collection, “Swimmers In Winter”. As Ryan said, it

was published at the end of August, of this year. By invisible publishing, and invisible has a booth at the virtual market, at Word on the Street. So you can visit them there. And I’m going to read from the very beginning, of the final story in the collection, and it is called “Flood Lands”. “Twice That I can remember, the river blossomed up its insides Moisture cleaving every surface, drips of water running like teeth along the edges of walls and ceilings. Afterwards, I would ride my bike, spraying up the muddy streets. My hands wrapped around the handle bars like a lever The soaked landscape would pour by, a drowning village, a waterlogged dream. Once the river took our cattle, the group of them standing together in a haphazard circle. Stamping their feet and shaking their heads at the wind and the rain, that tunneled around them. The river swept them all, a jingle of bodies. Into its rush and roll. It also washed away the birds, their great plumage going under like Festival sales It took our necessary objects, blades, beds, the fires on which we cooked, it’s told the warped musical instruments that by time, and earlier floods The scarce few photographs of children who are now old women and men, far beyond recognition. The river took the one faded image of my great great aunt Carmen, she was a warrior of her time. One who turned away from battle into what life had left. And like me, she had no children. When she died, those who loved her named her a warrior of peace. I have her name now, as well as my own That means song maker and builder. But I find myself wondering if any of this matters now. Because the river will take it all away. This last time, it took Ella’s baby. Some days, when a dream of the baby, she is laughing Other days, crying. But always she is floating, her little round of legs, kicking like peccary fins. Her face is visible to me, as the moon. The women gathered around Ella, weeping. And then they began to cook. Spreading rich smells of food into the thickness of new moisture. And the billowing clouds of insects. Nothing was dry here. Nothing was without the taste of something, just gone They say that cries of grief bring us closer to our animals selves. I have come to believe this is true. Take care for Ella, is to live with a wolf or a nightingale They also say sadness dulls the tongue. Even so, or despite this, the women salvaged what they could from their provisions They went out further, where the waters hadn’t touched. They hunted. And what they brought back, they poured into their cooking for Ella’s loss. I confess my tongue burned and leaked with the flavors they created. As I sat quietly, eating with my dancing mouth. And brushing away the little stabs of mosquitoes that clung to my uncovered skin I ate as if I knew that this food, made by the grieving women, would give me

the strength to sleep. And it is there that I would meet Ella’s baby in my dreams. ” »MODERATOR: Awesome, that was Faye Guenther, reading from her book “Swimmers In Winter”. Now Souvankham Thammavongsa, she will read from her book “How to Pronounce Knife” » Thank you, Faye, that was a really beautiful reading. I’m going to read a short story title, edge of the world. “Once I started school, my mother watched the soaps alone, and told me about them when I came home. There was always an affair, a long-lost wind, someone in a coma, a handsome doctor. After a while, I didn’t want to hear about them anymore I started reading books and my mother would come sit with me and have me read them to her She would ask questions about the drawings inside. The books she liked best, where the scratch and sniff ones. And the ones where animals popped out at you Each time, I pulled the paper tab, and the cat or a dog jumped out, she would draw in her breath, surprised and delighted by such a thing. There was one book about a sheep, with a cotton patch inside. My mother would pat the cotton with her finger, as if it was alive. At night, she would bring a book to my bed, and insist I read it to her. There were not too many words inside Sometimes, she would fall asleep right away, but when she didn’t, I would make up stories for her No one is ever alone in the world, I said. There is always a friend somewhere, for someone. She must have been 24 then, but she seemed much younger. And smaller. I watched over her, and when she shivered, I pulled the blanket up to cover her. Trying not to wake her. Sometimes she had nightmares, I could tell by how she was breathing. Short, panicked breaths. I would reach out and stroke her hair, tell her things would be all right. Though I didn’t know if they would be. Or what it meant to say those words. I just knew it helped to say them. I never thought to ask my mother why she slept in my room most nights, I was just glad not to be alone in the dark. My mother peered at the puzzle and pointed at a great spot, said that’s where she was from. A tiny country on the lower, far right. Then she pointed to where we were, at this moment, a large pink area at the top, far left After a moment, she pointed to the puzzles edge and then to the floor, where there was nothing It is dangerous they are, she said. You fall off. No you don’t, I said. The world is round, it is like a ball. But my mother insisted, that is not right. Still, I continued, when you get to the edge, you just come back, right around to the other side. How do you know, she asked? I didn’t know. There was a globe on Ms. Sims desk at school, and whenever she talked about the oceans or the continence or plate tectonics, she would point to those features on it. I didn’t know if what Miss Sue was telling me was true, I hadn’t thought to ask. It is flat, my mother said. Touching the map, like this. Then she swept the puzzle to the floor, with her palm, all of the connected pieces broke off from each other. The hours lost in a single gesture. Just because I never went to school, doesn’t mean I don’t know things, I am your mother. I thought of what my mother knew then, she knew about war, what it was like to be shot at in the dark. What death looks like up close, in your arms. What a bomb could destroy. Those were things I didn’t know about, and it was all right not to know them. Living where we did now, in a country where nothing like that happened. There was a lot I did not know. We were different people and we understood that. Then.” Thank you »MODERATOR: Amazing Souvankham , your book is “How to Pronounce Knife”, Faye your

book is “Swimmers In Winter”, they are both debut collections of short fiction. When we are talking about the short story, prose, fiction, something you can read in one sitting. But these collection of short stories could focus on a self-contained incident, or a series of linked incidents, so they make use of plot, settings and other components that you might see in a novel. But essentially I think they are their own things, so it is really cool about short stories is they can be experimental or more of a personal expression of the form. I will throw this question out to both of you, what do you think goes into the perfect, the ideal short story? » I think of a short story the way we think of, a gymnast on a balance beam In a very narrow base, you are trying to do a lot. And every little move counts. And you are in the presence — someone who you trust. But also, you are given a little bit of distance to just watch them in a bit of pleasure and joy, and pleasure as well » I think about it in similar terms, in that it is a very precise and, in some ways limited frame in which you need to, kind of, create a universe But, we are only in that universe as readers, briefly. I guess the question for the writer is, where are you going to shine the light in that time that you have? And if we think about it in terms of characters, what piece of a character are we going to be able to encounter in the short story? Something about them that really matters, so what is that piece going to be? »MODERATOR: Awesome. Faye, your book is kind of a series of linked events, linked incidents. We are talking about — you are unpacking a lot of stuff, queer people, the police, homophobia, the police, bullying. Why that approach? Why did you want to frame your short story collection, as loosely connected stories? » I was interested in — I have six stories in my collection, and they are in pairs. There are three pairs. Within each pair, they are linked by a reoccurring character. And one of the things that I wanted to explore there, was the way that we experienced time in our lives, in our hearts and our minds, we move back and forth and circle between the past and the present and the imagined future. And by having a reoccurring character, within the pair, and setting the second story in each pair at a moment later in time, or. Later in time. I was able to look at how the characters lives and their relationships were happening in the wake of past and how the past shaped who they were and how they lived in the present. So, that is one of the things I wanted to explore. Using narrative, which in a sense is inherently forward moving Because there is always something new coming. So, how to take that form and look at the way we experience time in our own lives, which I think is much more fluid and not linear at all »MODERATOR: I am really like that approach, because that reading you gave was the last story in the collection. You mentioned Carmen, he saw Carmen in a previous story, where we see her story and what she is dealing with. I love the interconnectivity, that intersectionality, as you see and the interplay between the characters. I appreciated that approach. Souvankham , your short stories, they are more self-contained. Slices of life, vignettes, why did you want to take that approach? » I was thinking of, very much like Faye, in terms of shape. I wanted the stories to circle and to or — to — to do different things, but to circle around a particular —

I mean voice »MODERATOR: So — » And the short story, as a whole, in its parts, it felt like it was the right form »MODERATOR: So, speaking of form, a question that short story writers get asked, why not write a novel instead? What is the appeal to both of you in writing short stories as opposed to a full length novel? » One of the things that I think, doing a collection of shorter stories, allowed me to deal with two — for myself as a writer, to understand and also to represent within the stories, the way that these different characters lives share some common grounds, some connections. So, I am looking at queer women’s, all of the main characters are queer women, and I am looking at their lives at different points in time, in the 20th century. One pair of stories takes place in Toronto, in the 1940s, 1950s. Versus another pair of stories that are set in the late 80s, and in the early 2000’s in Toronto So, to be able to see, well, what are some of the connections that these characters might have, when we see their stories side-by-side, so that was one of the reasons why, doing the collection [SILENCE] (background noise) Souvankham , do you want to answer that question » One of the things I love about the short story, is the cruelty and the brutality of the form. You have so little room to do things, and you go in, and right when you get people to care about a character, or a particular moment, you close the scene. And to work with time, in such a small space, there is a real pleasure and joy in being able to do that. But also, I feel, there is a scrutiny in the form of the short story, from a reader, where you cannot really — you don’t have time to make a mistake. Because it is in such a small area, that a reader can notice, if you make a wrong move. Whereas I feel like, with a novel, it is a lot more forgiving. I would have to say also, with the short story, — I first thought about time, and how with a novel, it could take a long time to come together. But I feel, in a short story, you can do that, too. It can take place within 10 minutes or hundred years, it depends on what the writer wants to do. And what story they want to unfold. One of the lovely things about the short story collection, as well, is that you don’t have to commit to anything. If somebody doesn’t like a character, or a scene, it will be done soon »MODERATOR: Awesome, awesome Both of you are poets, you have a poetry background, in poetry we are talking about phrasing, addiction, cadence, characterization. What was that transition between shifting from poetry to writing a collection of short stories? Are you using a different part of your brain? Is it a different approach? What does that look like for you guys? » Well, I should say that Souvankham and I met, about 20 years ago when we took a course taught by the poet Lorna Goodison at the University of

Toronto. And at that time, Souvankham , what you were writing was poetry. And I guess I can see, in really interesting ways, the connections between those early poems, what I remember. And reflections of poetry, that you have written, and this debut collection. And I — I think for myself, I have used poetry as a kind of starting place, to figure out what my voice is as a writer And that in a way, the stories that — creating a story, allowed me to become bolder in my voice and to figure out what it was that I wanted to say and write about But poetry was a starting place and working with language and images was a starting place that I could then use to take to create the stories. So that was my trajectory, as a writer Souvankham, what about yourself? » First, I want to say, in the way that you read, I can’t tell if it is fiction or poetry, because you really, I feel like you take such care with your sentences. You know? The pace at which you move And I can hear so much of the space around it. I mean, you give so much room for the sentences. To exist. In such a space I try not to think so much about the differences between poetry and short fiction or the novel, because I feel like those kinds of containers are — for me, I feel like they are really only important to a bookstore, who is trying to sell these things. I am just thinking about the sentence. Whether you are writing poetry or a short story, or novel, the sentence is always important. What it sounds like, what it is doing, does it say enough? Does it add to it? Do we need it? Those are the questions that I take into poetry, and they are still there when I am writing a short story or a novel. Those things don’t change »MODERATOR: So another few questions that we are going to get to, but I want to ask one more question, before we do Let’s talk about how your books are connected, and I see it as marginalization. That is the running thread that connects both of your books, kind of, marginalization, relegated to the margins. Something shared between — I think that is something shared between your books. Souvankham, I think it is from the perspective of immigrants, outsider to the mainstream. And Faye, you are exploring queernress, across different time periods » I don’t think of my characters at the margins, they are in the center of the story They are not strange. What is strange to them, is the world. The language. The way people react The jobs that they have Whether they are picking worms or doing nails or boxing. Store furniture, or listening to Randy Travis. Those things are strange »MODERATOR: And Faye, how would you respond to that? » I think that, it is not — I think that if you’ve got a compelling character, an interesting character, and if you managed to write something that will move the reader in some way, the idea that you need to shape the story to meet certain people’s expectations, that is not really

a question for me. I think it really is about the story that you are telling and if you can do that with strength and well. Then, the reader will respond. To it. Or at least that is the offer to the reader I think that it is interesting, one of the connections that I found between your collection Souvankham, and my own is around the characters and the work. On one hand, work is a source of agency for the characters. They are earning what they need to make a living, or they are trying to. And making and doing, through work as part of their identities. And on the other hand, the work that they are doing is often low-paid, with little security and requires often, hard physical labor. And I guess, I think what I saw in your stories, and what I was also trying to represent in my own, is that they are never doing this work passively. They are always responding to the limitations or the contortions that the work imposes on them. So, they are always finding some agency, but that agency never comes without some kind of cost on the other hand. But, I do think a difference with my characters are that they aren’t dealing with forms of racism, in the way that your characters do encounter in their work. I don’t know if any of that rings true to you? » — » In terms of their relationship to work? It » Work is definitely very important, to this collection It is work that isn’t paid well, but it is incredibly difficult to do. If we tried to put ourselves into those positions, I mean, if someone came and asked you to paint their nails, where you begin? And how do you angle your self? It is not just about — it is not like liquid paper, where you are slapping it on It takes a particular skill and knowledge and relationship with a client. It takes more than the job. It is also about who you are. And these sites of work, are also places — are also living locations. We spend so much time working — they are also places where people fall in love. Where people raise families. Where people have meals I thought every time — many times, when we encounter stories of successful refugees or immigrants, we are often talking about someone with a PhD in chemistry. Or a successful restaurant. Sometimes being successful is also someone just being able to get to the next minute or hour or year or just being able to show up for work and feel like you have a purpose, a duty, a responsibility that you are part of the community. Through the work »MODERATOR: Awesome. So speaking of Randy Travis, there is a couple of questions I want to get to Someone is talking about the Randy Travis Taurus, yesterday my students read the Randy Travis story. They also felt the story was enormously sad, so what would you say about the story of hope? And your personal experience? » Actually, the story to me is not sad at all, it is a feature of it. But what I am actually

doing, is I have turned — I make all of the readers, not long to hear Randy Travis, you long to hear this man who isn’t famous at all. Who is at the center of the story, you long to hear him sing. The story is a stage, and when you get to the very last line, you are the person who has paid for the concert And you are sitting there and waiting to hear him sing. I think it is a daring narrative move to make — to create a story and then make someone not famous, famous within the story. It is also a story that doesn’t — that uses the line, go back home, and renders it meaningless. And ridiculous, because it is applied to Randy Travis. And the different writer could have leaned on the sadness or its ability to wound, but what I did was, I went for the funny And I did it through the voice of a child. There are sad moments, but I think it is a bit — I think we can lean on a word like, and, it is sad and furious. It is sad and funny It is sad and ferocious, it is all of these other things as well »MODERATOR: Another question I will quickly get to, how do you decide on the scope of the story? When you know when to start a story — sorry, how do you know when a story will end begin? Faye, if you want to start with that one » That is intuitive for me. I start with, when I am writing a story, I will start with an image or a piece of dialogue or an emotional experience and then I branch out from there And sometimes, it happens in the middle of action, sometimes it is the character looking back on something that is happened to them. Sometimes it is what they are dreaming of So it really depends on the seeds of the story, and then where they take me »MODERATOR: Souvankham, do you have anything to add? » I think they begin with the title Sometimes I just — for example, I wanted to write a story, titled mani padi, I was watching Manby Paquio in a boxing match, and he had a face much like my father’s, I didn’t want to see it punched. When I titled it mani pedi, that when you ask for one, his face would come up »MODERATOR: I loved that story Let’s do a quick craft question, in the course of writing these books, what did our good writing day look for you, are you talking a story a day? A word count, a page count? What did it look like when it all came together? » I spent a number of years working on this collection and did a lot of revising. So, I think that a good writing day, it really ranged. But, I guess when I was — after the manuscript was accepted by my publisher, invisible publishing, and I was doing intensive revisions. I would really spend as much time as I could with the work and immerse myself in it. And what was going on with the characters. And then take short breaks or do the other things that I had to do. But, when I am writing, it is pretty immersive and I tried to do it as much as I can within the space that I have to do it »MODERATOR: How do you feel about that, Sue? » A good writing day, is when

you can come back. When it ends, and you can’t wait to come back to the page Sometimes — one story slingshot, took me 12 years to think about. But in afternoon to write. That felt good to do Other times, something took more than — it just took a really long time. And those were good writing days, too, because it made the years that took up that time, have meaning. And contribute to something that arrived on the page »MODERATOR: One more question, it aligns with what I was going to ask you guys next, so it is perfect timing. What do you know — how do you know what the shape of a story looks like? How do you know when that shape fits? How does it all come together? » Well, I think for me, it was very much about the characters and their relationships with each other. So, in the first pair of stories I have a main character, Florence, who is a mandolin player. She is a musician. And it is set in the 1940s, 1950s, in Toronto. I was looking at what her life was like. And the main relationship that kind of carried forward into the next story, and that pair was with a woman named Magdo, who was a singer, who joined her on stage some of the time. So those two characters and their relationship shaped what I decided to do, with the story, to look at the ways that their lives unfolded together. And then came apart. And likewise in the second pair of stories, there are two characters who meet working in the diner — sorry, the kitchen of a diner on Young Street in the late 80s. And that is Eva and Claudia, so it was looking at the connection that they found with each other. And then, looking at the aftermath of that. And then the second story in that pair, with about the main character, Jackie, who knew both of them. In the past. So, she is reflecting back on how she knew them. And then, in the final two pairs of stories, I have a soldier, named Carmen who goes to Afghanistan and she comes back after having fought and she is dealing with the trauma of having been in the war. And dealing with PTSD, so it is about her journey there. And then that final story, it is connected in some more indirect ways, it is also about aftermath. And dealing with grief and trauma. And so it was looking at how the characters in that story were like Carmen in the previous one, dealing with the trauma of having lost something. So, really all in all, it was how these characters interact with each other and the relationship that they had with each other. And that is how I formed the stories »MODERATOR: Awesome » Ryan, I think your question about shape is really wonderful, because I feel like the shape of failure was really important to me. Like, what is left off the page, the things that failed, the stories that didn’t make it into the collection, help shape the collection? There is a story about — it just — it is about a doll’s head, and it takes place from the point of view of just the doll’s head. And it is carried by a single into a lake. But that story isn’t here, in the collection. And it not being part of the collection, shapes it, too. For me. Because it’s absence makes the other stories cling to each other in ways it wouldn’t have, had it appeared in the collection »MODERATOR: So, we are running

short on time, so I guess we will wind down. I guess, how do you both define success? For these books in 2020? Obviously they were released in a time of COVID, normally you would be touring and going around with your books. Now you are doing that virtually, but it is not really the same. How are you defining success at this level, at this time? » For myself, I think that the book can reach as many readers as possible, and I have really appreciated people who have been willing to take a look at it and review it so far And I am looking forward to more of that. And I think the other thing that I would love to see, is when I go to read these characters and these stories, I am bringing my own sort of register to their voices. And that is my own — it is a way for me to kind of meet the characters again on the page. But my own register, my own repertoire is not necessarily the ones that I envision for these characters For example, I did a reading of the first story, of Florence And when I imagined her character, she had a lot more masculinity to her. Then when I was able to do in my reading. I would love to see other people read these stories, and hear it in their voices, that would be interesting to me »MODERATOR: Fantastic » I think just having come from poetry, it doesn’t take a pandemic for people not to come to your books So, sometimes you put out a book, and nobody — or people don’t notice it. I am just grateful that I get to have conversations like what we are having now. Or to see people sending me personal notes about what this book has meant to them. I think that is very special. And I think that is what success is, too be able to meet the people who buy and read your books. And to be able to hear what they think »MODERATOR: Amazing, awesome » Thank you all so much for sharing some time, your heart rending readings, I was hiding in the back just gripping my chair. You are both astounding readers, it very clearly shows how much thought and how much soul you put into these. Thank you for sharing with us, and Ryan, thank you for a wonderful job of balancing the conversation. Lots of audience love for all of you, you should check it out in the rewatch » Thanks so much, Ryan »MODERATOR: Thanks Souvankham, thanks Faye » If you want to read more about these incredible authors were, you can find how to pronounce knife and “Swimmers In Winter”, both available in the Word on the Street digital marketplace, wordonthestreet.shop. This segment was presented by Diaspora Dialogues, as part of their talk symposium. Diaspora Dialogues supports writers to turn their craft into a career, through mentorship, professional development and opportunities to publish and present their work. We will be back in 15 minutes, for another Diaspora Dialogues special presentation, with SHEUNG-KING » He is going to be on this stream right here at 6:00 today

with Canisius. So yeah

» I love her so much » She edit my book, actually, it

was really cool » Is a great combo, those two together » I think Kramer is offering editing services » If anyone is looking for an editor, it’s fine. Thank you so much Great. Thank you all so much Thank you, Rasiqra, thank you Dominik, Jaye, and Lily You can find these great debuts and another storybook shop at www.the round the street got shot. We are going to take a break for it – I love this because all of you can actually talk but no one can still see a Only me. MS will be back in 10 minutes for the unseeded panel Testing

» Hello. Welcome back. This is

the land unseeded panel I would like to introduce our moderator for today Pam Palmater » So excited to be here So, she’s a lawyer and author and social justice activists. She has four university degrees including a doctorate in law. Has worked with first Nations for over 25 years advancing native education, sovereignty and nationbuilding. She currently holds the position of Professor and chair and indigenous governments at Ryerson University. Please welcome Pam » Thank you so much. I am glad to be back here. There’s nothing better than a book festival. I wish we were in person, but this is the next best. And welcome, everybody, to this panel. It’s the land unseeded reparations needed You couldn’t talk about a better theme for candidate let alone a book panel. Just before introduce our amazing panelists , I know everybody is on a different part of Turtle Island right now. I am coming to you (indiscernible) and they have never had reparations for their lands In fact, the alleged land surrender they made was so bad that, in fact, the crown officials said it would never stand up So this is the kind of thing we are dealing with and I’m so excited to welcome this panel Please join me in welcoming these panelists We are going to be having a discussion about their books,

the themes in their books, how it relates to the panel title and what’s going on in Canada today. To talk about land issues, indigenous knowledge, indigenous sovereignty and resistance and really how to Val Napoleon is part of the law foundation chair in indigenous justice and government and I am a huge fan At the University of Victoria She has taught and published extensively on indigenous legal issues, indigenous law and legal theories, indigenous feminism’s, governments, restorative justice and indigenous legal research methodology. So I can’t wait to hear from her. Harold Johnson has a law degree from Harvard That’s pretty and oppressive and the author of six books. I’ve got some catching up to do including the bestseller’s firewater which was shortlisted for the government – for nonfiction and he lives in garage Saskatchewan. And last but not least, Margery Fee, a professor at UBC and she has a ton of publications as well. Some of them include literary land claims, writings on native North America, polar bear, and on the cusp of contact, gender space and grace in the colonization and that was in 2,020 So welcome to this panel, welcome to all of the viewers, I’m really excited to hear from you all because you will talk about indigenous knowledge in some particular way, and that’s really exciting for me So I think what we will do is we will start and maybe each one of you can give a basic introduction to your book, what it’s about, kind of set up the context and then do a reading of your book before we get into kind of like the questions and things like that if that works for everybody. Fantastic So, Val, if you can tell us about the book, the title, or is about to do a reading if you would like » Well, thank you so much. This is just delightful to be here The title of our book, and it’s a collection of works, and the title is creating indigenous property Power rights and relationships So the other editors are Angela Kemp and (indiscernible), so this is a collection which takes up the politics of property Those of you who went to law school, it’s a subject that many people love to hate. There is huge debates around property, what it is, what it does in the world, there is positive and negative aspects. There are many ways to think about how we relate to the stuff of the world and what we do in this book is complicate those to move in a way (indiscernible) which only leave a shallow space for thinking if we just think in (indiscernible). What we want to do is bring those debates to the floor where all of us can participate and engage in those issues. One of the articles is based on the book I did in northern D.C. and a former graduate student of mine, and it does many things, including look at what might and indigenous theory of property B. If that was developed and we do develop a multiple part theory, what will it do? What difference will that make? Because what we know is that indigenous women’s experiences in Canada are on a big spectrum. On one end, we know the violence. We have heard about the violence, we have the inquiry and all of that. But at the other end are the stereotypes, the essential ideations, and then all the way along the spectrum are decisions concerning the lives with material consequences for indigenous women. And so what we do with this article is we look at housing and what other issues there are and we looked at four different communities. And we look at how those communities are navigating housing and the concerns and experiences. But we also,

through the feminist indigenous feminist property theory and through the treatment of housing, we look at indigenous law, and particularly, we look at (word?) law. And what we’re saying is it is not a panacea The principles of indigenous law are not the answers. They will help us define the answers if we find a way that’s recent and principled and collaborative and draws on the best of indigenous societies And so we take up some of the debates there, and we look at internal argumentation from within an internal indigenously perspective. And so hopefully through the rest of our time, I can talk specifically about that. I haven’t selected anything to read, and unfortunately, due to coded – COVID I have it in this war but not in the book form because it’s held up by the press but I do have a cover image which I would love to share. Can I do that? It’s one of my paintings They are tricksters so here she is Can you see her? » Not yet. We can now » Okay. There she is. So have many tricksters, and they get up to other – all kinds of things in the world All kinds of issues and debates, and the tricksters are the first law teachers, and they teach us by sometimes slapping us upside back when we take our side – ourselves too seriously and sometimes they teach us with love and kindness. So this trickster is a feminist and she plays a role in indigenous law wherever she goes. So that’s all I can share with you from our book and I will select it a meeting – a reading and that’s the image So there you go » That’s fantastic. Can’t wait to hear more about it and I love that the image is so directly related to the content And Harold, maybe we will go to you and you can give us some background on your book and do a reading if you would like to read Your mic is needed, I think, Harold » There we go. I do not have a selection I want to read, but I want to correct something. I have no published 10 books. I have a contract for number 11 with McClellan and Stewart just discussing number 12. I’m expecting an offer on it within a couple of days Number 13 is almost finished on my computer. I’m retired now I have time to write » That’s fantastic. Let’s talk about this book » So the most recent book was cry wolf It’s about a young man who was killed and eaten by wolves in northern discussed Saskatchewan. I was the lawyer from the family at the corner’s inquest. But the book that we want to talk about today is peace and good order The case for indigenous justice in Canada. We are right about my time as a prosecutor And how he helped to fill Canadian jails. Someday a prime master of Canada is going to stand up and apologize for that atrocity And they will be apologizing for me. I took this opportunity to apologize for myself I believed in the justice system and I believed that I was working for the betterment of the indigenous people. I thought I was protecting the communities from these bad actors. And that’s the story that I told myself. It didn’t take long until I realized that the problem was primarily alcohol

95 percent of the people coming to court were intoxicated by alcohol. So we are dealing with death we were dealing with criminality. We were dealing with overindulgence. Not always about addiction That was part of it, including committing that atrocity. When I realized what was going on, we all knew and we asked the judge to send someone to jail we are telling ourselves we are separating about actor from the community and giving the community a reprieve from their bad actions. But we know we sent someone trip to a correctional center and they will come back angry and we sent someone to a federal institution and they are going to come back angry We are making our communities worse by using incarceration We are taking victimized people and re-victimizing them I didn’t include in the book because I didn’t know the number until after the book was published. But for every year of incarceration it will reduce a person’s life expectancy for two years. We say in Canada we do not have a (word?). We do The life expectancy here is about 60 years for aboriginal people And I know that over the course of 10 years as a prosecutor I asked judges to send people to jail for more than 30 years. So communicatively, I have taken lives. And that’s a huge responsibility The justice system has failed We began incarcerating aboriginal people in about 1960 here in Saskatchewan and near Carson recently has steadily climbed since then Nothing that the justice system has done has made any difference In near – the early 1990s, we knew there was a problem Legislature changed the criminal code we had in the section that said judges have to take into account the circumstances of aboriginal people. Supreme Court came down to decision and told judges you have to pay attention to the legislation and you have to take into account the unique circumstances of aboriginal people. And nothing changed The incarceration continued to climb At that time I was defense counsel and I remember making an argument to a judge ordering the (word?) factors And I know the judge gave my client more time because I made those arguments And then the decision of (indiscernible) told judges quite bluntly we told you in (word?) now pay attention. And nothing changed The incarceration rate in 10 – continued to climb and it’s still climbing. Today we are logging in more women and children than at any time before And that’s my book I’m piecing together » Thank you. I’m really glad that you jumped to the book because it’s also very timely in the context racism movement police brutality the abolition movement. It will definitely be a book that people can read now and get some context. So thank you for that Marjorie, so can’t wait to hear about your book, the title and what it’s about maybe you have a reading » I do, actually, unlike Harold who is so eloquent, I didn’t get training and the court, only in the classroom But I’m very pleased to be here Thank you so much to all the people who made this happen. I want to thank the people. I’ve lived on their unseeded – unseated so they trained me over that time This

is most brain traditional territory and he added unseated and then they (word?) speaking people. So now every administrator has been trained to say it. Every time anything important happens , which I think is good news Anyway, I am going to read apologies. The main point of literary land claims is mainstream ways of thinking about the receipt, writing and literature continue to support the theft of indigenous land But the colonizers offered in return was their Christianity and their civilization Proof of that civilization was a great written literature as defined by European standards, which were seen as universal In 1892 during the Irish national struggle, the poet William Butler Yeats put it this way, quote, no nationality without literature, no literature without nationality. Because indigenous people were deemed to be without writing they could not produce the literature or have a nation. Although we now see these claims as dangerously flawed as provincial rather than universal, and fact, the underlying a Maurice – in the bush garden 1971 and Margaret Atwood in survival, 1972 Literature was seen as a way to bond diverse newcomers and tied them to the new land So fried notes to feel Canadian was to feel part of a no man’s land with huge rivers, lakes, and islands that few Canadians had ever seen. His expression no man’s land resonates with the powerful land claiming narrative, Latin for land belonging to no one. In survival, Atwood writes, quote, literature is a map, a geography of the mind We need such a map desperately because we need to know about here because here is where we live The we in this passage excludes indigenous people. Here is where they have always lived The new literary map of an empty territory open for settler writers to claim and describe So the new field of Canadian literature that I began to study shortly after Friday and the outward wrote their books was founded on the same doctrines that drove the belief that they were illiterate and uncivilized and unfit to contribute to the nation as citizens or as great writers That was 50 years ago. It makes me feel really old to think about how long ago that was But now we are lucky to be able to read contemporary great indigenous literature, and I have to add there is great literature from the past that Atwood did not mention But I hesitate to call it Canadian literature. This move would suggest that indigenous literatures exist solely to shore up candidates claim to a great civilized nation. There indigenous writers who would like to see decolonization come before they join up as Canadian writers. Thanks » That’s great. Thank you so much. I had the privilege of reading some segments of your books, so it was really great to meet you all in person. I would like to really connect your books with what’s happening around the country Where you of hereditarily – trying to protect their territories including to (word?) law With (indiscernible) and you have BC first nations tried to protect their wild salmon Using, you know, Canadian – is asserting their governing powers over territories and their laws to try to stop the trophy moves hunt in order to protect the species at (indiscernible) and Ontario You have (word?) defending their land and feed (word?) on the East Coast right now asserting their laws, their (word?) or (word?) laws and protect the fishery and decide when they can fish. And I want to hear from you how your books relate to the conversation around indigenous laws. When we talk about land or property or civilization governments always revert first to the so-called rule of law The criminal code or provincial laws and regulations and that kind of thing. And indigenous laws if they are talked about

all are still wrapped up in the framework of Canadian law whether or not they been recognized and to what extent Wondering if you can talk about how your books relate to the centrality of indigenous knowledge or indigenous law or indigenous alternatives to what’s happening right now. I mean #land back is circling around. Abolition is circling around these topics are becoming more (word?), so maybe, Valerie, we will start with you again » Thanks for that. I just want to mention that we launched in 2018 and indigenous law degree program here at the University of Victoria so the students get to law degrees over a four-year period. In indigenous law degree and a Canadian law degree, and I teach property, common-law property, but I also teach some land and property law alongside small the first year courses or double courses for the Constitution law taught by John Burroughs and that’s how the course is organized You know, the work we are doing there and the work that this book does as well as the work of the other folks it has to be treated seriously as law and has to be the hard work of law. There’s no room for idealization. You have to know how people agree that a law exists and that it’s been broken and they’re going to change it and all of those folks that do the legal work So when I look at disputes, I think (indiscernible) brilliant They were kibosh Which was really sad, but they raised profound issues that became part of – to a limited degree, a part of Canadian legal imagination What Canada saw was the outside of that. They did not see the issues that people were and are continuing to struggle with, and my worry with that kind of media coverage and so on is that it simplified the struggles that people were actually engaged in It dichotomized , you know, hereditary chiefs which is actually a misnomer with elected chiefs It was never that simple, ever That simplification, I said at the very beginning, it creates too shallow a place where conversations that are going to solve anything or have anything productive or constructive. So as an example, in the book – one of the disputes is about housing A very profound need that all of us have and we have responsibilities to one another to take care of that as well And so one community deals with housing when somebody doesn’t make the payments, their families and clan members go in and say what’s going on? And they sort it out. Another community of that same legal order, separate community, has a community and to kick people out of they don’t make their payments. So at first blush, you would look at this and that’s under the incremental changes the first Nations land governance So at first glance, it – the first community is fulfilling their responsibilities in the second community is failing And it’s not that simple. If you look at the individual responsibilities that people have to not incur collective liability for kin, failure to make payments could actually be a larger problem, according to the law. So it has to be dealt with on that kind of basis. You have to understand what the legal perspectives are, and I think there is still all kinds of other issues that are involved there, including the extent to which contemporary practices or interpretations of law undermine historic legal orders and legal institutions through which indigenous law operates. So I think there are larger questions. What my hope is is let’s take those

questions up. Let’s not – let’s reclaim our intellectual lives as indigenous peoples because there’s been a focus on our healing has been a focus on everything else. We were in – we were thinking peoples We wouldn’t have the oral histories and the way we record law today but for the fact that we were – along with everything else intellectual beings Or any of the other work » I think that’s so important So many people are excited about that Not avoiding the places where it doesn’t seem to make sense between we are only talking about tradition or we are only talking about Canadian law and there can be no matching of the two or anything of the in between Sadly often get two-minute soundbites and its social conflict and we have always had social conflict and that’s how you work out the problems. You are looking at engaging that. So what do you think? I know that you were talking about this criminalization over incarceration and this also has two land offenders they are also criminalized How your book or books engage with indigenous laws or knowledges » I think we have to stop calling it indigenous law. Law is not the right word for it Is he frozen? Harold, are you still there? Okay. Maybe we will have to come back to Carol. He’s definitely frozen for me Harold, if you can hear us because we are going to come back to you because you’re frozen and maybe we will move on to Margery Fee to make sure we do lose any time. Margery Fee, same question to you How does your book engage with the indigenous law or wisdom’s philosophies and all of those things Well, I would like to say that I am surrounded by lawyers I’m an English professor, retired But what I found really quickly when I started to work on my book was that I instantly became a reader of law. And that was surprising to me they brought for – even those wonderful cases » How my going to transform my

ways of thinking. And it’s a very long and complicated process and I’m constantly running into surprises, I guess As I work Discovering, in fact, so much has been done with (word?) and the calls to action and even the Supreme Court seen that indigenous intellectual property should be managed by intellectual people And that is something that really hasn’t come across the literature Professor’s desk all of that often And so that’s what I’m trying to work on now, is there any way that we could talk about indigenous intellectual property without somehow taking it? It’s a tricky question. If Val has an answer, she can tell me now » I don’t have an answer. I have been working on this, actually yesterday I gave a two hour session about issues of indigenous intellectual property. I think that the difficulty is that you can’t just take indigenous law and state law and come up with a comparative. It doesn’t work like that. You have to look at that which gave the purpose into that area of law. So for instance, the songs, the (word?) word for law means precedents And as always ideal to use the language, but when we are speaking more broadly, it’s convenient to lose – use the language of law and another’s issues. Back to your intellectual property, all of the crests in the oral history is the kind of oral history. So it can be understood as intellectual property. But they are the structure of (indiscernible) They have a body of collective memory (indiscernible) they can see be seen as intellectual property on the one hand but you have to look at the economic order in the legal history under which (word?) law developed on its own terms to develop all aspects of human life. That is the perspective and then you take a look outward but you don’t stop with the Canadian definitions. You rebuild and you articulate and restate from the different indigenous legal perspectives and then you work it out from there. So is a rich field, and I do the most exciting work on the planet » Thank you, and it looks like we have Harold back. So Harold, I don’t know. Hopefully you are reconnected. We just wanted to know if you wanted to tell us how your book engages with indigenous law or if you want to call it something else or wisdom or, you know, customs and practices and that kind of thing » I apologize. There is a storm between me and the cell phone tower between me and across the lake. So might lose connection again. The idea that the standard is Western law, that’s for me the biggest problem that I’ve got is we have this idea that we have to punish people. The principle of deterrence and I just have no faith in that system anymore. I saw how it destroyed – is destroying our people in northern Saskatchewan. The entire system is flawed. It doesn’t work. I was just talking to a friend up in (word?) now and a prosecutor, and he said the differences up there or even more extreme than what we saw in northern Saskatchewan This system is a failure Why would be upholding the rule of law when it’s destroying us? Elders

are telling me in northern Saskatchewan that there are two different things that are destructive its welfare and the justice system. Those are the ones that come take our children away and destroy our futures. My book, peace and good order, takes over the justice system. It’s because we have to We can’t allow the system to continue to destroy us. We have to take it over. We have to do something that works. Because the systems of law don’t work They’ve never worked. We as lawyers are going to law school’s even prestigious law schools like Harvard and we get this ego that we think we are superior beings because we’ve got our law degree And we don’t know anything We don’t know anything about what it feels like to learn – live in the community We’ve been holding justice conferences on indigenous people and the law for 50 years Will we go and have these conferences in cities Red or white wine And we talked and talked and nothing happens. What we need to do is go down to the street and bring it up to the room for all of these leaders are and get her to tell them what it feels like to be an average woman on the street Maybe they will get some idea then. But this belief that that law is somehow superior, that is civilized is just wrong And we’ve got to get beyond this. As for our survival It’s not some academic exercise This is our survival as human beings » Thank you very much. So many huge issues, and I wish we had multiple hours to deal with them. We have about five minutes left, and I just wanted to know if you each had a few minutes of, you know, comments that the title of the panel was really, with regards to land issues, and I think we all agree here that indigenous law, to be front and center, around land, around reparations, around protection of native rights, but even in indigenous law there would not be one indigenous logbook. It would be the law of (word?), (word?), and even within those nations, there’s houses and districts and plans so long as a multitude of relationships dealing with land I’d say we each have about two minutes left if you want to talk about that issue or some final words about your book to kind of get back to this theme around land and reparations around land Valerie? » So as you can see from this panel and from the work of others, edition love law hasn’t gone anywhere in Canada. It’s part of this plan but it’s been undermined and the word – work is to rebuild it The research which is here, we work directly with communities supporting communities on questions of law that they care about that they want to learn more about restating and we are articulating looking at legal process is accountability. That work has to do with land Because that’s the economic base. It’s the way that people are going to be able to think forward. There are complications Two things, it’s really important when thinking about indigenous law to appreciate that they are historical institutions through which indigenous law operates through and there is contempt Mary forms of indigenous law and you can’t conflate them without figuring out what the contradictions are because you create more problems for people That’s some of the homework to do and it’s not impossible We’ve been doing it for a lot of years. The other thing is that to not get caught in the right framework within the Canadian legal system, we have an average

title jurisprudence which has developed over a number of years. The problem is what it does is it takes indigenous concepts relating to the land in whatever way they do legally and lawfully according to their own legal orders transfers that into a Canadian system, so you get part of what that historic relationship with land, what’s left behind are the institutions through which people created those relationships with land, and it’s not that it’s bad and shouldn’t be done, it’s just let’s think about it Let’s ask some more questions Let’s explore that and see what the consequences are » Thank you That was – it definitely leaves us all with homework. We have about 1 1/2 minutes each. Harold, would you like to go? » My relationship to the land is when my ancestors died they were put on platforms up to the sky. They rotted and fell down to the ground and the worms ate them the grass reached down and brought them to the surface again The deer and the move save those plants and I killed the moose and the deer and ate them. And I had my items in the and when I die I’m going back into the soil and part of that cycle I am part of this land, and that is superior to any principles of property law that might’ve ever developed I am the story of this land. I am here. My relationship to this place is beyond anything that they can imagine » Powerful words. Marjorie, last but not least » I think Harold brought up two things I just want to point to The first one is when it’s not working we seem to double down and I think a lot of the ways we need to rethink our coming and should be coming from indigenous relationships I am just going to give one example. This is not really related to land, but it’s to the normal classroom in which I taught for so many years. I used to say to my students, this is all wrong. His hierarchical is competitive. We are helping each other, we are competing , we are treating each other critically when we should be helping and loving each other The whole situation and in my daily work was kind of teaching people to be in a way I didn’t really enjoy. And it’s just taken for granted that that’s the way it should be, and so we have to start to refer back and very far down in Close, I hope, to the land we know we not going to be in good shape So thank you, Harold and Val, that was very interesting » Well, thanks to all of you I think you have given a very strong message that we have homework to do to unlearn and relearn and learn a new and is really important and fulfilling work to do. So Val Napoleon and Marjorie’s literary land claim and peace and good order will all be available at another story bookstore and the word on the street Toronto digital marketplace. By the books, read the books, and start this important work, this important homework. Thank you so much for engaging in this panel and to all of the viewers for watching and participating There is more to come from Word on the Street and thank you for letting me get to be the one to ask all the questions. Vanessa » You just did my job for me You plug everything perfectly So that’s it. Thank you so much » I’m sorry about that » No. Thank you. Kim is getting fancy with this Thank you for coming out and thank you for moderating. Thank

you all so much » Thank you so much » So we will be taking a short two or three minute break and we will be coming back with Kramer and Canisius. We will be right back with Kramer. Stay tuned » Welcome back. It gives me great pleasure to introduce our next session this evening Please allow me to introduce our next moderator, Kramer. Kramer is a clear Iranian born poet, writer, translator and photographer. He is the author of poetry checkbooks the orchestral by knife workbook 23 and solitude and acrobatic act by aboveground press 2020. His debut poetry collection me, you, then snow is forthcoming with Gordonsville press. Welcome, Kramer » Hello everyone. Hello to word on the street. Best time of the year I hope that your favorite time as well. Welcome to books and discovery. We will have a wonderful time discussing an absolutely beautiful book. I’m glad we have a big chunk of time to dedicate to this beautiful book. Before I start, I just want to say we can grab today’s book from another story bookstore in their live word on the street digital marketplace and also on the website. I highly recommend everybody buying this It supports word on the street and the author and supports another storybook workshop and we know how important it is to support our small bookstores So I’m going to introduce (name?), and we will have a reading by her and have a discussion about the book and the panel will moderate that So she is a writer, editor, critic and teacher who – it includes translations into Spanish, Italian, French and German. Her writing has been recognized by the (indiscernible) rising Star prize and others. Please welcome (name?) » Thank you for being my compatriot and thank you word on the street for

having us I will read very brief experts and then we can get to talking This is from aptitude Turning homework on the foot to shoe sizes into adulthood Returns with fire. With a voice dug up from the middle C. Hitting the market crowd as the stones in the spirit of recklessness meandering and all the shortened lines are read as welcome There was not a welcome that (name?) seeks nor dangles from bare hands set to the work of measuring the distance between the eyes, hips and the descending wheel of descending (indiscernible) touch anywhere and begin or press enter (indiscernible) As you ask when you were 10. Except do not law but at the floating hand decade earlier to wait Because now, you must hand the beacon back to I before the hand with its index pointed at the temple of the complete world realizes it is not always foolish to rouse a sleepless to offer pills to witness the columns of ash and soot. Taking the synonymy by surprise. Just as the gods who sell their dead to stay awake before the concrete slabs close in on promises for doing better. Involuntary hours of driving to work the self for minutes and hours forget about survival and heaves a beauty from the radium Aretha Franklin today and another voice tomorrow That desert sugared with these wrong souls Wash and shape stone not carried but accrued where I layer its new language mouth that sours the pot in our big beautiful, big beautiful Eight the monstrous always intimate and before any protest turns it inward, inmate into a vineyard 1000 years into the past. As by this interruption do you accept this collect call, this collect – that call. Accept the charges how I, now the daughter, is here forgetting the voice or whoever the father voiced Dwindling away some work for fire or a glance back to something sincere all of these words inflate our lives anyway Thank you » First of all, hello Before I start this I’m just going to give my personal favorite memory of you, which is that I at the (indiscernible) I made you a cappuccino which you said was the best cappuccino since Vennis, and I thought this was – it’s a little icebreaker for the people who are watching Let’s not get straight into the book. Let’s have a little bit of a smile » Is true You made it with (word?) milk and I was skeptical that I might like it because you had no oat milk So you did the (indiscernible) » I’m really glad that you read the part that you read because for people who have not read your book, your poem – I’m sorry. I know I always refer to it as your poem and for people who have not read your poem which just for those it’s a single poem. Poem length book and for people who have not yet read it it was a great demonstration of the first question I’m going to ask you about the book which is you mentioned very early in your book, I think in the first two or three pages that this is an

oceanic drama and I personally look to consider your book as a single body of water and how it comes in waves and crashes and was very beautiful about it is every 10th or 11th line seems to come back to the same realm in the same topics in the same general area and I like to think of these as waves and emotion is almost there but what’s beautiful is the rhythms change a lot and they are not uniform or equidistant. They shorten and they change a lot and I wanted to ask you that while writing poetry how important is rhythm to your writing. How important is rhythm – » You know, these observations that you make are very closely related to my sense of rhythm Rhythm is really important in my writing I think I’m pulled into writing through a kind of music. I’m attuned to a kind of rhythmic relationship between thought and perception and idea, etc. So language for me is an instrument as well. I think poetry is song and that certainly is poetry’s impetus. It’s a mood It’s anatomy and music Inputting the reader in mind of the ocean in the beginning of the book, I am hoping to locate them in the kind of emotional and musical terrain, especially one of this kind is intending to help them enter. I’m hoping that at least what is evoked is the conceivable cyclic nature of the tides as he tells us in his dialectics. There is a move away from the linear, from pure cause and effect ruling the exchange and rolling the space of the imagination. There is that cycle instead, and I also mean to call to mind the kind of renewable regarding the depth of the ocean and the kind of aquatic universe we are in in thinking of the ocean what lies beyond and what kind of ministries we can still regard without impoverishing the imagination. So there’s more significance about the ocean from the book and certainly from the (indiscernible) and how the ocean figures in our history and indeed thinking issues of climate so the language of the book maybe carries the rhythmic charge of the waves breaking in the swells and ebbs that result in the things happening in between that movement I don’t know if the ocean makes the same sound or the same movement twice I don’t imagine it’s that way at all. So there are repetitions in the book and the changes in the morphing that you are talking about. That’s repetition with a difference So it’s not in a sense simply repeating » I think it fits very perfectly The ocean ask Rafe itself, there are very beautiful parallels that something that is not opaque all the way down but has a certain opacity on the higher levels, but as you have mentioned before about the consequence that I think you’ve taken from great minds. And no other word can – but I’m going to ask you the second question which is that, a significant part of the book and probably – and as you say, it’s addressed on every page. It’s the chorus in the unnavigable self and it never leaves the stage What I, as someone who has read this book, I think at this .8 or nine times I spent a great deal of time with this book. And

once again, I encourage all of you to grab the book What struck me was the subdued – the subdued presence and it reminded me of a lot of similar subdued presidents and satirical never note – narratives Where presents are used as a literary device to basically show and bear the hypocrisy. I was wondering if I could ask you if you considered those to be sort of satire. If you considered the (word?) to be a device in this satire if yes » You know, I think some elements of the poem can be thought of as a satirical There are certain interactions between (word?) and the speakers that are dominated by a satirical register. But the funny thing is that (word?), you know, is basically all the speakers also. So the speakers are refracted through – there’s a critique at the heart of the poem which exploits, I think what you are identifying as satire from time to time, especially in acts six Anti-madness. Because there is a kind of oscillation between the particular and the social and that’s a dominant move throughout the book, but I think is most pronounced in acts six But there is a kind of tension between the form of the long poem that puts this in the confines of a book And also, the kind of structure of trauma that elicits something three-dimensional that is happening in front of you. And in a kind of traditional sense I think that’s kind of a – it’s in the mode of drama But I would not really categorize the poem as I satire, per se. I think it’s formerly promiscuous Let’s say that. And I think the traumatic structure and the weight of the speakers, the fact that (word?) is a kind of frame or embedded formal device, that there is gesturing to a narrative that I think is mostly suggested and not traumatized. I think that’s what you are calling the subdued presence. And then there’s the footnote section that gestures to something of the essay. So I think you can certainly view (word?) as a kind of satirical presence from time to time, but I think (word?) is the purview through which the multiple perspectives betaine – become it contained in the nested perspectives in the voicings that’s happening throughout the poem » Beautiful. Beautiful Going back so much to the first question, it’s a new question, but you partly have answered it in the first question, but I’m going to go back to this idea of cycles which is when I read your poem, or I set it against the backdrop of anticolonial dashboard poetry that I have read, the more prevalent motive the portrayal of the self and (indiscernible) fragmented through language, fragmented through time – through geographies. But what I found very beautiful about your book was that, again, because of all of these cycles in these basic iterations of the same poem, it seemed to direct us towards a cyclical nature of language, the self and the self-created language. So I was wondering – and this self could be the person behind the WebCam right now, the person looking at us or cultural consciousness on a bigger level. I was wondering – would you say the wavelike structure of your poems

and the cyclical nature of your narrative, what would you say it directly or indirectly affects the conception of (word?)? » You’ve made a very good point about fragmentation And, in fact, if we address this realizing context of the book, we have a lot of fragmentation to contend with. Many writers and thinkers continue to think through these fragmentations and what they mean. You and I can talk about the various languages present in the book, for example, and what kind of work that’s doing, certainly fragmentation as a colonial condition would be one of the things that we could talk about But your main probe – your main prompt is asking something very interesting So I think the poem is actually doing both. It moves both directly and indirectly in his investigations, right, in its voicings And if there is a narrative at all, the poem doesn’t hinge on this narrative in any direct sense. And so the cyclic nature of the address is supposed to trouble, let’s say, a scientifical biological logic that we have grown and become conditioned to about what the self is. And that sort of logic that scientistic – scientific logic is unchanged and concrete when we know these are inventions. And so there is no universal self. I treated that it’s kind of a place where the multiple and they particular have a really great time. They form and they converge in all kinds of ways. And the mode of poetry makes our engagement with our subjects. And whatnot Both direct and indirect and often both of them are happening at the same time, which is why I think I’m able to notice the cyclical thing that has happened and to really bring that out » I think the fact that your work as a long poem – it helps a lot in creating – because you are – what I consider to be cyclical is that you may be fragmented – sorry – your poem may be fragmented but even if a single step is taken back, it was like (word?). It builds a larger shape, and its self replicated. And the more you hold back, the more holistic you approach the poem as opposed to single lines, which I think is a very big aspect of not only reading poetry but criticizing poetry is we get way too much – I think how your poem obscures the very close work makes the reader step further back and see the larger picture and look at it more holistically Because as we have talked on a personal level and you have talked in many other places that a lot of people start talking about opacity of work and accessibility which is something that sometimes is problematic to bring up. But obscuring that very close view can bring a new perspective that I find very beautiful in your work. It’s wonderful, and the next question is going to be a lot of our questions into answering themselves through previous questions, but this next question is going to be that your narrative place with the ideas of linguistically – and instrumentality of the English language itself in manufacturing the individual I guess of what backdrop of the globe for many linguistic systems exist And were many linguistic systems exist within the same person especially when it comes to (word?) and poetry, so your poetry seems – so arrival at a certain augmented self through annexing

history and culture seems to be a main – seems to be a major ideal. Again, we are going to discuss this and, of course, I may be wrong. But do you consider the English language itself to be instrumental to colonial thought? And do you think radical change anticolonial thinking can come in radical change in the way we speak and we read and comprehend itself? » That’s a very rich – a very rich question. And I suppose the kind of posture before, a refusal of oversimplification that is sort of a posture of claiming inaccessibility. It’s one gets way too much airtime as far as I’m concerned. They can chill out on that one. Because there is a lot that transparency does that is bad. There is a lot that transparency does that although we have access, what we end up is not true or somehow distorted. And so that in and of itself is not the be all and all. Some comfortable with opacity and comfortable with honoring the complexities that we bring to whatever in language. And so I don’t know that I assume radical change to be necessitated by any one of the things that you actually have brought up When I am before a poem, let’s say, if I’m coming to craft a poem, I am always enraptured by language, and I’m committed to the world in a particular way that lets me exist in language as a kind of a Maximus style And that’s just one way about it And so I feel enlightened in language and is a specific way and also there are things about it that I don’t always consciously grasp. So I can attempt to say something that makes sense. But if you can imagine that language is intrinsic to how power operates Then we also know that language can radically shift the terms by which power doesn’t work – does its work. It can shift the terms by which power results in what is actual and what is real So we know this by looking at history, we know this by looking at cultures. We know this by political means, educational means, etc Language is the means by which all constructs are kind of mechanized anyway. We have the categories we are told again and again. Now we have this dominant language, English, which is the first quote, unquote global language And so in many ways that sort of predetermines so much about how we live our lives. Including what categories are officially recognized as human or nonhuman or animal and plants and what have you And therefore, the categories that are wrestling with are the aggregates that matter to what we call ourselves That’s what I’m trying to do in this graph is – I’m not trying to say anything definitive, let’s say, about how English – the possibilities for English to be instrumentalized because I’m really messing with the registers of English. I’m really messing with syntax and throwing things off balance And so the language that is activated toward power and certainly the dominant one for us today is English. You know, and so the modern colonial project learn from history that in order to have staying power, it must actively destroy languages It was waging wars over culture, creating hegemonies in the

social sphere that has people fighting and jostling for what they like to call the crumbs of Empire. And so as Clifton tells us, if you can imagine the thing, you create can’t create it. And language is quite central to any kind of making. Any kind of imagining These things become actualized through language. And so if language can calcified power, language can also shift that But I think people have to have a will to make those actions real somehow. You know? » Actually, you ended up touching on something that I had been playing around with a lot for creating a question but I never ended up manifesting it. I realize through your speech that I have a whole new question, which contains – pertains to what you are talking about. How we can find all of these ideals and languages elsewhere. So I wanted to ask – so the new question becomes whether or not – I think a lot of anticolonial work (word?) work will get the reputation of being very avant-garde Very futuristic, very forward thinking. In fact, when you look at it closer, you realize these are just ancient cultures, just being synthesized with current language. And a lot of people that you reference in your own book seem to basically interact with all of these ancient thoughts, ancient cultures, which are just irrelevant to capitalism and colonial thinking. And for bringing those forward, they become somehow – they become portrayed as new while they are not actually new These are thought patterns that have existed but are alienated I hope my voice is still coming through sorry about that. All right. I hope I don’t – okay I almost cut the screen So the last question that I’m going to ask you is going to sound irrelevant at first but stay with me. So I am a huge fan of horror and fiction and everything. I think a major aspect of horror especially in the last 10 or 15 years we’ve had a new resurgence of horror has been cosmic horror and existential horror which all basically take the horrible lies and the alienation of the cell and the dissolution of the self and specifically the individual into the cosmos or even more mundane lead into any collective larger than a single cell. And when I read your poem, I think I wanted to ask you so great many ancient cultures from all of the world see this very – very dissolution of the self and the individual into something larger into the cosmos and into the everything surrounding as the (word?) as many – as you mentioned in your book. You see that as the highest form of humanity. So wanted to ask you what are your thoughts in the realm of individualism and the collective unconscious – » Listen, I like the conceptual challenge. I don’t know – the words cosmos and ancient are not usually words that I can manage very well To be frank and I don’t think in terms of time or in terms of being like that And I think we can get trapped in the dangers of nostalgia in the kind of (word?) results of trying to codify the present with what usually makes a really antiquated sound and an antiquated kind of sense. So to really think about

the cosmos or the pre-CM’s of something like the agent, those are really big moves And I don’t usually know how to manage that as well. And so to make this exchange even more promising for you, Kramer, I don’t watch horror I have made a few exceptions for certain films but generally, I’m too sensitive to sound and image To exist peaceably within the genre mode But I can’t really say anything cotton – about what trends there are what it’s becoming. But I trust what you are saying because they see your tweets all the time so I know you know your stuff but I know they are horrific. I know the horrific and how that needs to exploit both individual fears and collective anxieties in order for it to do its work You know? And so I think it’s one thing to know that modernity and colonialism and the Enlightenment led to something that we can call ideologies And we know those ideologies and more than proven themselves corrupt and we can see a lot of interrupting now especially with the summer we just had in the continuing uprisings, etc. This concept of individualism has had catastrophic results. In terms of Christina Sharp has met concept of how, you know, the kinds of images that are proliferated over and over and over about black people or about people of color as producing a kind of dysgraphia and a miss writing These are all individualist reductions, and so – I’m so sorry. I got cut off for a moment. I’m so sorry about that. Thank you. Welcome back And so I think it is not necessary that we are not distinct. Of course we are distinct and individuals. But I think that existing in our distinctness and our particularities at core does not mean that we are not extending ourselves to this sort of comments and the collective and community. If anything I think the way life on planet Earth works has proved how hegemonic is basically a lie. It’s deceitful. And so I think for me, I imagine towards futurity when I write and so that means I have to recommend a past in the context I bring to the historical present if you want to talk about ideas and traditions anesthetics it’s really about grappling with the big disaster that resulted in a lot of the troubles that we are still seen today. So I learn every day new ways to imagine toward a better future and to regard the past as its own force Toward something that’s to come. I think that’s a lofty way to exist in language but that’s how I am attuned to it It is not necessarily what’s individual and cosmic or all of these categories. I think they are all still based in different kinds of colonial logic in the way that we have them today. So the old adage that nothing is new is quite true. That’s true

And so the whole concept of the avant-garde, each one of us finds a way to be of particular with what we’re doing You know, we are just living in an urgency that is particular to know. And we can only bring to the thing what we have, right? And so I think in that sense, there is – there is this sort of broader sense of things, even if we don’t know explicitly what that is Do you have that kind of thing happening? » Again, like you said, there is a great deal of – is a very dangerous path because a nostalgia for a past can be a very difficult thing to properly navigate because it’s the same nostalgia that leads to white supremacy But also, there is a great deal of empowerment that can come through it, but it always needs to be a great deal of caution to deal with certain things where we can look at certain African cultures and die sports cultures will take cultures that they were – the past interaction Some people – I’m just going to make sure we don’t have questions from the audience, and it’s still appears that we don’t have any questions from the audience, so I guess we can just I’m just going to make sure. For example, one thing I aspire to is there’s a lot of things happening with Persian culture were Persians – because they are – at the moment, they glorify and say that they forget Persian Empire and they say it was – Cyrus was a great impress and a benevolent empire. It’s still an empire is still an empirical and colonial entity that invades and overtakes however benevolently. You can never have – you can only have assault. You can never have a softer assault. You will always deal a certain damage to a person that you invade And to a region that you invade But I guess it comes to the same problems where we look at a past and have a certain nostalgia for something that most of the time never existed in the first place. A lot of these romanticized ideals that we have from our past cultures were never really the way they were in the first place. So I’m sorry for taking overall this time, but I guess – » I did ask you » I wouldn’t want to take all of the time on the screen but again, this book has – I personally think the reason that this book really engaged me this much was because I didn’t get it in the first – I didn’t skip it and say I get it. I know this book. So I read it six, seven, eight times, and I would personally say few people in Canada or the world have read your book as many times as I have MSs way before I wanted – this is way before I wanted to do a review or anything. I was just doing it to end the scent and the power that these kind of books hold where the

profound sense of – the profound sense of discombobulated Asian makes you really pave a past as opposed to – a lot of the – if it’s transparent is leading you in the past. It’s not – but it’s opacity will make you pave your own path. And I think that’s the power that you book holds and that’s the power your writing holds in general And let me just check one more time if there’s any questions And I still don’t see any Let’s see » And we are near the end » We are only two minutes away, so I was wondering if you had any closing statements. So we have two more minutes. Any closing statements before we headed over? » Again, I want to say thank you for your engagement. I admire your commitment to their work I admire your commitment to the work. And you know, the whole – what I really wanted to leave open in this book as much as crafting meticulously and a particular experience of the poem because I wanted to be experiential for the reader is to leave many doors open for the reader to step in to be complicit in what’s happening So thank you again and thank you to Watts » Thank you both for joining us for a great talk. A reminder to everyone watching out there, you can pick up his book at another story book shop and thank you so much to both of you for joining us this afternoon. Have a great afternoon. Take care So up next, it is my pleasure to introduce a very special five minute poetry reading with Tracy Hello, Tracy. How are you? Tracy is a writer from Calgary living in Toronto. She is mixed-race and explore his identity and much of her creative work. She writes poetry, fiction, nonfiction and experimental literature. Her work has been published in a variety of outlets across North America and she facilitates writing programs with people of all ages may be basically is a collection of poems that explores mixed race identity nature of relationships. It is the author’s first book I will throw it over to you Thanks so much » Thank you. Thank you Kim and thank you to the word on the street festival this is like a dream come true. I will jump right into it because this is basically my first poetry collection and my mother actually did the cover art The first one is the pick chiller poem before accounting account for half. They tell me what I am. Basically life. Basically meaning not quite. But almost. Close They tell me what I am does not exist Because there is no such thing as what I am. They say they believe in gay or straight than I would be just one. Right? What could I say? Defined by my almost, might basically, always almost, crying, proving, but not quite claiming, accounting for one Thank you » Thank you, Tracy. That was beautiful. Thanks for joining us and congratulations on your first book » We will take a bit of a break, a 10 minute break and following our break we are joined with Sammy and conversation with Catherine Hernandez. Standby