Find Your Voice at the Library: Poetry Saved Our Lives

October 5, 2018 | Debbie

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Poetry Saved Our Lives is back at ten Toronto Public Library branches starting the first week of October. These hands-on workshops provide an amazing opportunity to work directly with a coach to develop your writing, poetry or stories. You’ll then have a chance to perform your work in front of an audience at slam poetry and open mic events.

Participants Watching Poetry Saved Our Lives Final Slam

Last year, Poetry Saved Our Lives participants created powerful and creative videos based on the poems they wrote during the program. Watch them all.

Our line-up of talented coaches work with small groups in locations across the city. Read on to find out who is workshopping in your neighbourhood, and get ready for poetry to change your life.

Randell Adjei

Randell Adjei

Randell Adjei will be leading the Poetry Saved Our Lives workshops at Flemingdon Park and Kennedy/Eglinton.

Randell is a spoken word practitioner & Edutainer who uses the spoken word to empower and create community through Edutainment. He is the founder of one of Toronto's largest youth led initiatives; Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (R.I.S.E Edutainment). 

The beat of his Art was found after years of being lost. He found himself by turning his struggles around to inspire others. Randell is also an Inspirational Speaker, Community Organizer and a MaRS DD - Studio Y Cohort 2 fellow. He was featured performer on TEDxUTSC and has opened up for Terry Crews, Paul Mooney, Maestro Fresh Wes and many more.

Randell is the recipient of the Identify & Impact Street Level Advocate Awards by the Toronto Youth Cabinet, Black Canadian Awards - Best Spoken Word award winner. Randell was also named CBC Metro Morning's Torontonian of the Year in 2015 and NOW Magazines Local Hero earlier this year.

Patrick de Belen

Patrick de Belen

Patrick de Belen will be leading the Poetry Saved Our Lives workshops at Fairview and Eatonville.

Patrick de Belen is a rare breed of artist. This Toronto-based Filipino spoken word poet, performer, speaker, host and educator is one whose formidable acclaim as a performance artist and writer is equaled by his commitment to his community.

Patrick was national slam champion at the 2012 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, and a performer of note on such platforms as CBC, TED Talk, NEXE and others. He is also the first ever recipient of the Spoken Word Poet of Honour award at YouthCanSlam. He is the director of BAM! Toronto Youth Poetry Slam and the facilitator of the Filipino Storytelling workshop series, "Poetry is Our Second Language."

Nasim Asgari

Nasim Asgari

Nasim Asgari will be leading the Poetry Saved Our Lives workshops at Albion and Weston.

Nasim Asgari is a thinker and dreamer, born in Tehran and based in Toronto. Nasim is currently in her third year at York University studying human rights and equity studies. A seeker and student of the truth who passionately writes and performs poetry, Nasim began writing at the age of 10 when she decided to use her voice and written words to express herself and bring awareness to issues that are often undermined by today's world. Nasim has shared her poems at events, poetry slams and protests including TEDX Rouge River, R.I.S.E. Edutainment, Gardiner Museum, Creative Time Summit and Art Gallery of Ontario. Her poems will soon be available in her upcoming literary release titled, "what was swept under the persian rug?"

Patrick Walters

Patrick Walters

Patrick Walters will be leading the Poetry Saved Our Lives workshops at Jane/Dundas and Parliament Street.

Patrick Walters is a poet and arts educator who is dedicated to sharing stories that speak to the issues we all battle daily. His work is a reminder to us to keep going and to not give up on our own hopes and dreams, until we can make them a reality. After graduating with a degree in Psychology from York University, Patrick has been focused primarily on his arts education career as well as sharing his works of poetry on stages across Canadian and American cities as well as St. Kitts & Nevis in the Caribbean where he grew up. His ideals of perseverance and hope in the face of adversity have helped him to this point and today, he shares all those stories, with you!

Joshua Watkis

Joshua Watkis

Joshua Watkis will be leading the Poetry Saved Our Lives workshops at Oakwood Village and Richview.

Using passion, pain and a pen, Joshua "Scribe" Watkis is a storyteller who practices the arts of Hip-Hop & Spoken Word. The Toronto native is one third of the Spoken Word collective 'The Uncharted' and an Arts Educator/Youth Mentor. While performing for humble crowds of 3 in local bars to upwards of 3000 opening for The Roots, the Emcee/Poet brings the same electric vibe to every show. Scribe learned at an early age that humanity's number one fear was not death, but public speaking. He believes he was born to invite you to join him in doing the bravest thing on Earth. Sharing your story, in your words, out loud.

Here is the full list of Poetry Saved Our Lives events. We’re looking forward to hearing your voice in the mix this fall.

Participants Laughing at the Poetry Saved Our Lives Final Slam

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