33. Poets on the Body
Poetry has a unique capacity to unite, change, and transform — to expose bits of wisdom that reach into our lives and change the marrow of our souls. In this new evening event, poets take turns reading poetry from their most recent collections — poems that explore the human form in its many manifestations, mind, body and soul within the context of race, disability and more. Turn up the volume or gaze at the captions. This beautiful and powerful event will breathe new life into what it means to move through the world in all of its complexity.
Events scheduled for May 1-15 are available via an all-access festival pass. The festival pass costs $39 and gives you access to a virtual festival platform, which includes an auditorium hosting forty virtual events, an exhibit hall with a live chat feature for communicating with vendors, and a lounge for engaging in discussions before and after events with other festival-goers.
Passholders will have be able to compete in the space for incredible prizes and will have access to the platform and all of the recorded festival events, as well as bonus content, until May 30, 2021. If the cost of the pass is prohibitive, please fill out the Patron Pass form, and a pass will be made available.
Bardia Sinaee was born in Tehran, Iran, and currently lives in Toronto. His poems have appeared in magazines across Canada and in several editions of Best Canadian Poetry. He holds an MFA from the University of Guelph, where he was nominated for the Governor General’s Gold Medal. His first book is Intruder (Anansi, 2021).
Bunmi Laditan is an author, poet and tea drinker living in snowy Quebec, Canada by way of sunny California. Her latest book is Dear God: Honest Prayers to a God Who Listens (2021).
Cicely Belle Blain is a Black/mixed, queer femme from London, UK now living on the lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people. Their ancestry is a mix of Gambian (Wolof), Jamaican and English. At the heart of all their work, Cicely Belle harnesses their passion for justice, liberation and meaningful change via transformative education, always with laughter, and fearlessly in the face of systemic oppression.They are noted for founding Black Lives Matter Vancouver and subsequently being listed as one Vancouver’s 50 most powerful people by Vancouver Magazine in 2018 and again in 2020, BC Business’s 30 under 30 and one of Refinery29’s Powerhouses. Cicely Belle is the author of Burning Sugar, out now with Arsenal Pulp Press.
Dominik Parisien is a writer, editor, and poet. He is the author of the poetry collection Side Effects May Include Strangers (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020) and his recent work has appeared in Maisonneuve, This Magazine, PRISM International, The Literary Review of Canada, and others. As an editor, his anthologies have won the Hugo, Shirley Jackson, British Fantasy, and Aurora Awards. Dominik is a disabled, bisexual French Canadian. He lives in Toronto.
Brandon Wint is an Ontario born poet and spoken word artist who uses poetry to attend to the joy and devastation and inequity associated with this era of human and ecological history. Increasingly, his work on the page and in performance casts a tender but robust attention toward the movements and impacts of colonial, capitalist logic, and how they might be undone. In this way, Brandon Wint is devoted to a poetics of world making, world altering and world breaking. For Brandon, the written and spoken word is a tool for examining and enacting his sense of justice, and imagining less violence futures for himself and the world he has inherited. His first book of poetry, Divine Animal, is out now with Write Bloody North.
Tenille K Campbell is a Dene/Métis author from English River First Nation in Northern Saskatchewan. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and is enrolled in her PhD program at University of Saskatchewan. Her inaugural poetry book, #IndianLovePoems (Signature Editions, 2017) is an award-winning collection of poetry that focuses on Indigenous Erotica – using humour and storytelling to reclaim and explore ideas of Indigenous sexuality. Her newest collection, Nedi Nezu, was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in spring 2021. She is also the artist behind sweetmoon photography and the co-creator of the women’s blog, tea&bannock.
Natasha Ramoutar is an Indo-Guyanese writer by way of Scarborough (Ganatsekwyagon) at the east side of Toronto. She is the Social Media Assistant at the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) and the Fiction Editor of Feel Ways, an anthology of Scarborough writing. Her first poetry collection Bittersweet was published by Mawenzi House in 2020.
The FOLD is a remarkable and wonderful event for authors and attendees alike. What an amazing community, dedicated to the vital need for inclusive stories and the critical role they play in building a better world.
Field Guide to the North American Teenager is my first novel and FOLD was my first Canadian literary festival. While American and Canadian culture overlap quite a bit, especially when it comes to bookshelves, Canadian literature is unique and I was very heartened by to be embraced by that community I consider home despite residing in the US. It was a homecoming I didn’t know I needed!
The Festival of Literary Diversity was an absolute joy–the organizers thought of *everything* and by anticipating authors’ needs, they freed us to focus on connecting with the audience and each other. There was no pretension, no posturing–just very genuine conversations with invested writers and engaged readers.
I have been to a lot of writers festivals and the FOLD is definitely near the top of the list of those I want to be invited back to.
Being part of such a clearly diverse, inclusive and mutually respectful group was thrilling and inspiring: a glimpse of a better world.
Wherever I go in Canada and find another writer of colour, we eventually end up gushing about how great the FOLD is, how by normalizing diversity it liberates us to talk to audiences about craft. It’s hard to imagine the literary landscape returning to a prehistoric pre-FOLD era.
FOLD is a festival experience unlike any other I’ve had. The FOLD team strive to create a space that’s welcoming and engaging, while allowing for curiosity, ingenuity and the fostering of real community – and they succeed, every year.
The FOLD is one of the most important literary events on this continent. By focusing on diverse voices and giving authors space to share their stories and speak their truths, it is revolutionizing the writing and storytelling realm as we know it.
Being part of the FOLD community has provided me with a strong sense of belonging. Sharing diverse stories and listening to different voices that broaden my understanding of the world has impacted me as a person and motivated me as a writer.