1000 Poems Per Night: TRB Live, January

Happy New Year! 2017 begins with a packed list of Toronto readings and events.

Rowers Reading Series gets things moving on January 10 with a night of poetry and prose by Joan Crate, Adebe DeRango-Adem, Jacob McArthur Mooney, and Hoa Nguyen (6:30pm, Supermarket, 268 Augusta Avenue).

Circle January 11 on your calendar for back-to-back readings. At 6:30pm at Glad Day Bookshop (499 Church St.) Brockton Writers Series features readings by Danila Botha, John Calabro, Soraya Peerbaye, and Dane Swan, followed by a guest talk by Jack Illingworth on grant applications.

On that same night of January 11, head over to the Steady Cafe (1051 Bloor St West) at 8pm where Pivot Readings Series kicks off 2017 with readings by Adnan Khan, Craig Francis Power, Meaghan Strimas, and Moez Surani. Pivot returns to the Steady Cafe at the same time later this month on January 25 with Nyla Matuk, D.D. Miller, and Drew Hayden Taylor.

Khan, Power, Strimas, and Surani read at Pivot’s 2017 Opener.

Want to hear 1000 poems in one night? Save the evening of January 18 for PEN Canada’s fundraiser marathon, 1000 Bird Poems by Necakov. Starting at 7pm at the Supermarket (268 Augusta Avenue), over 25 poets will be each reading about 40 tweet-length poems by Toronto poet Lillian Necakov. Read more about the concept behind the evening on the event page here and check out the list of readers, from Giller-shortlisted Gary Barwin to Coach House’s Alana Wilcox, and more TBA.

On January 20 Knife and Fork Books (281 Augusta) presents a special reading of Moez Surani’s حملة OPERACIÓN OPÉRATION OPERATION 行动 OПЕРАЦИЯ with 61 readers reading 61 military operation names as listed in the poem. The event will take place outside and inside the bookshop starting at 7pm. More information can be found here.

At the University of Toronto on January 26, Smaro Kamboureli hosts Literature Matters (7:30pm, Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles Street W.). The evening presents talks by two esteemed writers: Karen Solie, “On Folie: Poetry & Mistakes,” and Esi Edugyan, “The Wrong Door: The Responsibilities of Fiction in a Post-Truth World.” The event is free but register here in advance.

This month, the play Alien Creature: A Visitation from Gwendolyn MacEwen returns to the stage of Theatre Passe Muraille (January 12-February 5). Having opened there in 1999, this Chalmers winning play was written by the late Linda Griffiths. Now a moving reminder of both Griffiths herself and its subject, the one-woman play is a spellbinding dramatization of the words and life of Toronto poet Gwendolyn MacEwen (1941-1987).

Beatriz Pizano as Gwendolyn MacEwen in Alien Creature (Theatre Passe Muraille).

Nearby at Factory Theatre, Empire of the Sun is a one-man play by actor, comedian, and CBC radio broadcaster Tetsuro Shigematsu (January 18-29). Richard Wolfe directs this multimedia story of the playwright’s father, Akira, from the aftermath of Hiroshima, to 1960s London, and finally to the present. While this play is not part of the season pass, it contributes very strongly to Factory Theatre’s goal of the 2016-17 season to stage stories of new Canadians.

A workshop reading of d’bi.young anitafrika’s dub opera Lukumi will be presented by The Watah Theatre on January 27-29. Lukumi is an “Afro-futurist DubOpera set in Ontario” with a cast of Sashoya Shoya Oya, Raven Dauda, Najla Nubyanluv, Olunike Adeliyi, Aisha Bentham, Nickeshia Garrick, and Ravyn Wngs, with director and creator d’bi.young anitafrika and musical direction by Waleed Abdulhamid.

OCAD University hosts the multidisciplinary 2017 Feminist Art Conference: Embodied Resistance. Most events happen on January 21 but check out the link for a full schedule of public talks, film screenings and performances from January 8 onwards.

Gallery openings to watch for are Ryerson Image Centre’s Power to the People: Photography and Video of Repression and Black Protest, co-presented by Black Artist’s Network Dialogue (opening January 18 at 33 Gould Street) and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery’s Winter 2017 Opening Party on January 27 (The Power Plant, 231 Queens Quay West). Curated by Carolin Köchling, Muria Hupfield’s solo exhibition explores objects and their materiality, The One Who Keeps on Giving.


Kapwani Kiwanga, AFROGALACTICA. (Photo by Emma Haugh from The Power Plant.)

Also opening that night at The Power Plant is Kapwani Kiwanga‘s solo exhibition, “A Wall is Just a Wall,” a show that tests the controls of architectural design: “Kiwanga’s gestures reminds us that as with all constraints, ways to circumnavigate them quickly emerge, and so the ageless tussle over space—that is, who can access it and who cannot—reemerges” (The Power Plant).


TRB Live is a monthly roundup of literary events you might enjoy. Get in touch with me (@kathmcleod) or the TRB (@TorontoReview) on Twitter if you’d like to suggest an event to include next month.