Poetry and Spoken Word Series


Poetry and Spoken Word Series

Date: Wednesdays, Apr 03 - Apr 24, 5:00PM
Price: Free

Celebrating National Poetry Month, we take the moon as our muse and invite you to join us for free spoken word performances and poetry readings every Wednesday night in April. The moon has long inspired artists, spiritual seekers, and explorers. Our exhibition The Moon: A Voyage Through Time attests to its powerful influence, and our MoonVerse series complements the exhibition with four nights of performances staged under a massive illuminated Moon sculpture by British artist Luke Jerram.


April 3
Beny Esguerra (New Tradition Music) leads an evening of poetry and performance featuring members of Indigenous collective Red Slam and youth-led arts community RISE.


April 10
A showcase of local emerging and established poets — Khalid Esmail, Fan Wu, Lamees Al Ethari, Sheniz Janmohamed, and Laboni Islam, along with piano interludes from Afraaz Mulji, a.k.a. Maestro Mi.


April 17
Artists' Health Alliance presents an evening of poetry with Timaj Garad and guests. Garad hosts the Poetic Heartwork Wellness Poetry Workshop at the Museum in March and April.


April 24
BAM! Youth Poetry Slam closes our National Poetry Month celebrations with captivating, high-energy performances.



Afraaz Mulji, a.k.a. Maestro M, is a multi-instrumentalist and composer. An improviser at heart, his music is a genre-bending exploration across myriad musical traditions. Employing techniques garnered from studies of Eastern and Western classical music, jazz and world music, he fuses these to create an intoxicating blend of jazz, soul, rock, fusion, world and contemporary classical music.


BAM! Toronto Youth Poetry Slam is a platform and community comprised of some of the top young spoken word poets in Toronto and the GTA. With varying storytelling styles and powerful narratives, these individual voices create a poetic chorus of truth, struggle, and healing. They perform across the city, facilitate mentorships, and participate in international poetry conferences.


Beny Esguerra and New Tradition incorporate a seamless array of elements: bilingual socially-conscious spoken word, beat-boxing, Afro-Cuban and Colombian secular and religious drumming, Indigenous flutes, West African balafon, funk, zouk, merengue and flourishes of 70’s Nuyorican salsa.


Fan Wu is the hither-and-thither wastrel of a sunlit insomnia. His work has been published in Arc, C Magazine, Carousel, Prefix Photo, and 4 Poets. He runs a series of creative writing/critical reading workshops at Art Metropole; previous themes include translation and mourning.


Khalid Esmail is a poet with a background in the performing arts who has worked on productions in New York, France, and Vancouver. Having studied Aesthetics and Social Sciences in university, he focuses on a politics of hope and sees the arts as a means for transfiguring the suffering of one's life — existential and social. 


Laboni Islam was born in Canada to Bangladeshi parents. Her poem “Lunar Landing, 1966” was shortlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize (2017) and her poetry has been anthologized in The Unpublished City (Book*hug, 2017), which was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Awards (2018). She teaches at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Aga Khan Museum, animating the gap between art and young audiences.


Lamees Al Ethari teaches at the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. In 2018, she published a collection of poems titled From the Wounded Banks of the Tigris and her memoir, Waiting for the Rain, is due for release in the fall of 2019. She is currently working on her book, Resistance and Memory in Iraqi Women’s Life Narratives.


Red Slam Collective is an Indigenous hip-hop fusion arts movement formed in 2009 and based in Tkaronto, representing Indigenous nation affiliations across Turtle Island and internationally. A collaboration of medicine wheel poets, MC's, musicians, dancers, graf writers, and beat Makers, the collective was a finalist for the TD Toronto Arts Foundation Diversity Arts Award.


RISE (Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere) is a youth-led community of artists, activists, free-thinkers, and revolutionaries. Together, they help to create a safe and welcoming platform for self-expression and healing through the performance arts. Located primarily on the east-side of Scarborough, RISE draws youth from all corners of the GTA and beyond.


Sheniz Janmohamed is a poet, artist educator, and land artist. She has presented her work at Jaipur Literature Festival, the Toronto International Festival of Authors, and the Vancouver Writers Fest to name a few. She is the author of two collections of poetry: Bleeding Light (Mawenzi House, 2010) and Firesmoke (Mawenzi House, 2014). 


Timaj Garad is a Toronto-based Ethiopian multi-disciplinary storyteller, whose autobiographical poetry, theatre, and music explores the intersections of a black Muslim woman challenging injustice, unearthing truths, and healing. She’s created several arts programs and workshops, leading the City of Waterloo to name her one of its Top 40 under 40 in 2012. She’s currently at work on a debut album and poetry collection to be released Fall 2019.


The Moon

March 9 – August 18, 2019

In partnership with

BAM! Toronto Youth Slam and Artists' Health Alliance

With support from

Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council


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