The GBN Poets

Where do these poets live? Go to WHERE THE POETS LIVE to download the list.

Adelenedasoulpoet is who I be/I’m the descendent of the Black Pioneers/On Salt Spring Island B.C. / The matriarchs have instilled in me/The importance of my poetry/To keep our history alive! / Women we move forward with strength, pride and grace!

Ahmed “Knowmadic” Ali, an award-winning poet, is Albertan. Somali by blood and birth, he emigrated to Canada at the age of eight. Ahmed is a nationally recognized and respected poet who tours spreading his message.

John Andrew Omowale Akpata is a Spoken Word artist based in Ottawa, Canada. He has won many titles and awards, and has toured internationally. A man of Nigerian and Guyanese heritage, John represents a new generation of Canadian griots.

Lillian Allen is a leading international exponent of dub poetry hailing from Spanish Town, Jamaica and currently residing in Toronto as Professor of Creative Writing at the Ontario College of Art & Design University. Her latest CD (2012) is titled Anxiety.

Anthony Bansfield is African, Trinidadian, Breton, Taino / mixdown in Parry Sound and Ottawa, Ontario / heroes Irving and Anne-Marie, mentors Lillan and Kali / founded festivals and series with friends and colleagues / legacy like N’x Step, NorthCoast, WordLife, south-north griots.

Siobhan Barker, of Caribbean ancestry, hails from Southern Ontario, now living in B.C. by way of Quebec. She is a bilingual singer, storyteller, published fiction/non-fiction author, facilitator, and textile artist committed to responsible reconsumption.

Nordine B. (poet, The Storm) is a spoken word artist from Toronto, Canada.  As a dynamic storyteller, her performance poetry has been powered by passion and God. She has been published in the Urbanology Magazine. 

Bertrand Bickersteth was born in Sierra Leone, raised in Canada, educated in the U.K. and, until recently, resident in the U.S. Having returned to Calgary, his work focuses on black identity in Alberta and was recently featured in Abronet Magazine.

Greg Birkett, a Torontonian, was a finalist for the Governor-General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011. He co-authored the textbook Black History: Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. His play Do You Remember Me was featured in the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival.

Juliane Okot Bitek is an award-winning writer, but no trophies for balancing family life & grad school. Born in Kenya to Ugandan exiles, she now lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes, teaches and studies.

Charlie Bobus: International motivational dub poet, Nicardo “Charlie Bobus” Murray is a Jamaican based in Toronto. A multicultured performer/ youth activist of mixed race. Related to the Vernon family of Toronto. Released Creative Energy poetry book, album & video to much acclaim.

Shane Book’s first collection, Ceiling of Sticks, won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

George Augusto Borden has lived in the Halifax-Dartmouth area of Nova Scotia since 1975. An African Nova Scotian of mixed racial heritage including Mi’maq and Dutch, his heritage in Canada goes back to the Black Loyalists arrival in 1783. A Mighty Long Way! 

Wakefield Brewster is one of Canada’s most dynamic performing Black poets. He was raised in Toronto and now lives in Calgary, Alberta, while performing frequently across North America.

Klyde Broox (a.k.a. Drum-I),internationally respected dub poet, has decades of performance experience in North America, Europe and the Caribbean. A consummate stage artist, he blends speech, song, dance and mime into a powerful package that is inspirational.

Brother Sankofa is Afrikan, Jamaican, committed, controversial, persistent and works as a poet, pan-afrikan radio programmer and community activist. Sankofa came to Ontario in 1987 from Jamaica and completed a full length album titled Sankofa Ancestral Calling in 2010.

Ryan Burke, author of “New World Diaspora Man”, a poem released on a spoken word CD with other young Canadian poets, is a native of Toronto, Ontario. He is the only child of two West Indian parents and is a 1st generation Canadian.

Jillian Christmas was born in Markham, Ontario. She currently lives in Vancouver, B.C. where she serves as co-director of Verses Festival of Words. She facilitates youth programs across Canada and is a member at large of Spoken Word Canada.

George Elliott Clarke: G.E.C.’s poetry books in print:  Red (2011), I & I (2009), Blues and Bliss (2008), Trudeau (2007), Black (2006), Illuminated Verses (2005), Québécité (2003), Blue (2001), Execution Poems (2000), Beatrice Chancy (1998), Lush Dreams (1994), and Whylah Falls (1990).

Wayde Compton’s latest book, After Canaan: Essays on Race, Writing, and Region (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2010), was nominated for a City of Vancouver Book Award and was an iTunes Book of the Week. He lives in Vancouver.  

Afua Cooper is the J.R.J. Chair in Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University. This scholar is a founder of dub poetry in Canada, publishing five books and recording two CDs. She won the Beacon of Freedom Award for her novel My Name is Phillis Wheatley. 

d’bi young. anitafrika, afrikan-jamaican-canadian dubpoet, monodramatist and educator, is the author of 4 books, 2 dub albums, and 8 plays. artistic director of the gurukul in kingston jamaica and originator of the sorplusi method. sankofa is her latest publication.

David Delisca  Writer-performer David Delisca is a Haitian-born, Palm Beach, FL raised, Toronto resident.

Adebe DeRango-Adem is a writer and English Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of the poetry collection Ex Nihilo (Frontenac House, 2010) and co-editor of Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out (Inanna Publications, 2010).

Khodi Dill, the son of a Bahamian mother and a Canadian father, is a spoken word poet, hip hop artist, and educator living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with his wife, Carly Brown. Several of Dill’s poems and tracks are available online.

Osaze Dolabaille, author of Rebirth of the Warrior Poet, emigrated from Trinidad as a toddler. A childhood spent in urban southern Ontario led him to embrace Afrikan spirituality as an adult. This singer, drummer and poet now resides in Toronto.

Kym Dominique-Ferguson is Montreal born while raised in Jamaica and Haiti. His work draws on the past, present and the sciences. He currently produces 2 spoken word events in Montreal: a monthly Open Mic & an annual erotic poetry show.

Yvette Doucette After 13 years in Toronto, Ontario, poet Yvette Doucette is back on P.E.I. where she was born to her Jamaican mother and French father. Her work has been published in Letting Go: An Anthology of Loss and Survival and in Arts East Online.

Eddy Da Original One is an African-Canadian performance poet-beatboxer/storyteller, born in Ottawa, Canada, raised in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago, now residing in Toronto. His writings can be read in T Dot Griots: An Anthology of Toronto’s Black Storytellers. 

Nehal El-Hadi (Ontario/Saskatchewan) is a Sudanese-born writer, researcher and editor, whose work examines the interplays between the body, place and technology. She is the author of the chapbook city/heart, and is currently working on her first collection of poetry. 

Tanya Evanson is Antiguan-Québécoise in B.C. Poet, Spoken Word Artist, Vocalist, Arts Organizer, Educator & Whirling Dervish, she is the new Director of Banff Spoken Word. “Language for Gods”, her third album, was released autumn 2012.

Rudyard Fearon was born in Jamaica. He works at University of Toronto Robarts Library. Free Soil, his first book, is published on CD-ROM with CD audio tracks. Rudyard is a poet profiled in the television series “Heart of a Poet”.

Gregory Frankson a.k.a. Ritallin is a first-generation Jamaican-Canadian raised in Toronto, Ontario. A key contributor to the Canadian slam scene and author of Cerebral Stimulation, Greg is also the Poet Laureate of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership.

Michael Fraser was born in Grenada. His first poetry book, The Serenity of Stone (Bookland Press), was published in 2008. He won the Arc 2012 Readers’ Choice Poem of the Year. He lives and teaches high school in Toronto.

Addena Sumter-Freitag, author ofBack in The Days, is an award-winning author presently living in London, ON with her heart in Vancouver, B.C. She is 7th generation Black Canadian with family roots in Nova Scotia (and South Carolina).

Whitney French is a writer, educator and literacy advocate living in Toronto, Ontario. Born in Canada and raised by Jamaican parents, she has written poetry, fiction and articles professionally since 2008. Her book 3 Cities was published in April 2012.

Eddy Garnier, born in Hinche, Haiti, became, by force of impromptu, a poet, novelist, short story writer, author of tales. He has written novels, poetry, monologue and other genres. A versatile and prolific artist, he touches on almost all areas of writing and the art of saying.

Melvina Germain: Diversity is the diamond chip of poetic success. Melvina Germain, born in Sydney, Nova Scotia validates and exemplifies that. Her perpetual passion and yen for broadening her literary scope has enabled her to establish herself as a solid multi- style poet.

Lorna Goodison is regarded as a major figure in world literature, and her eight books of poetry, a memoir and two collections of short stories have received much international acclaim. She teaches at the University of Michigan and lives with husband Ted Chamberlin in Halfmoon Bay, B.C.

Shauntay Grant is an award-winning writer and spoken word performer from Nova Scotia’s historic Black community. She has performed internationally, served as Halifax’s third Poet Laureate (2009–2011), and was a Poet of Honour, Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, 2010.

Sylvia D. Hamilton, multi-award-winning Nova Scotian filmmaker-writer, is a descendent of the Black Refugees of the War of 1812. Her films have been screened in Canada and abroad. Her most recent film is The Little Black School House.

Claire Harris, a native of Trinidad, won the Stephansson Award several times. The Women’s Quarters won the 1984 Commonwealth Prize for Poetry, Americas Region; Drawing Down a Daughter was nominated for the 1992 Governor General’s Award and the F.G. Bressani Prize.

Amy Marie Haynes’ poems are born in moments of exultation. some get written down, some are shared. others just swirl around inside as inspiration for her endless questions, moisture for her thirsty soul, and material for a mind wont to dream.

Harold Head: I was born in South Africa where I was an apartheid journalist. Compelled to leave in 1964, I entered the U.S. for study. When I arrived in Canada in 1973, with the support of the U.N. Association (Toronto), I produced Athol Fugard’s play “Boesman and Lena” to mark the Sharpeville (S.A.) massacre of 1960. I published a chapbook titled Bushman’s Brew and in 1976 the anthology Canada in Us Now.

Jemeni is an award-winning poet based in Toronto. Born in the Island of Grenada, she immigrated to Canada as a child. Her CD Feature Trippin is a collection of spoken word collaborations with artists from all around the world.

El Jones, spoken word activist and teacher, was captain of the two-time National Champion Hali slam team and has performed across Canada. She teaches in Women and Gender studies at Acadia university and in the African Canadian Transition Program at Nova Scotia Community College.

Reed “iZrEAL” Jones is a Toronto-born writer and director raised in the African Nova Scotian community of Upper Hammonds Plains. He is a national slam champion and represented Canada at the World Cup of Poetry in Bobigny, France.

Anthony Joyette is a naturalized Canadian painter and poet of Caribbean origins (St.Vincent and the Grenadines). He lives in Quebec and is a founder of KOLA, a Black literary magazine. His most recent book is For Judas Iscariot in Heaven and other poems.

Ian Kamau: My name is Ian Kamau; I am an artist. I was raised in Toronto to filmmaker parents who came from Trinidad in 1970. I believe in community. My creative life actively involves my community work. I write, I make music.

Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae, artist-scholar, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Drama and Speech Communication, University of Waterloo. Second generation Canadian of Jamaican descent she has numerous published poems, two albums, three plays and one experimental performance installation.

Ian Keteku was born to Ghanaian immigrants living in Alberta. Currently residing in Ontario, Ian is an acclaimed artist and 2010 World Poetry Slam Champion. Ian recently released his debut spoken word album Lessons From Planet Earth (Re-Evolution). 

Jen Kunlire, second generation Jamaican and Nigerian, is a Calgary native spoken word poet. Her work has appeared on the CBC, she has written 6 chapbooks and was titled the People’s Poetry Festival Poet of Honour in Calgary. 

Robert Layne: My name is Robert Layne a.k.a. Markus Black, The Only Good Negro. I hail from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and came to Canada in the early 90s, now residing in Hamilton, Ontario. My background and love is Blackness. 

Marva Jackson Lord was born in Jamaica and raised in Goderich, Ontario. A proud Black Canadian rooted in African, Celt, Scottish Jewish, Native Caribbean and Chinese bloodlines, she is now based in the Black Mountains of Wales, happily scribbling away. 

Jean Pierre Makosso, bilingual storyteller in Gibsons, B.C., is from a traditional background. Originally from Congo Brazzaville, and taught by his mother Ma M’Kayi, when enrolled in the Occidental school system he displayed his taste for words and verbs. His latest book is Human Works.

ahdri zhina mandiela, of Jamaican origin, is founder and artistic director of a Toronto-based performance company, b current. She is best known as a poet/performer. Her art materials include published works, CD recordings, dance choreographies, and video projects. 

Suzette Mayr, born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, is part German, part Bahamian, with a bit of Caribbean Scottish thrown in. Her most recent novel, Monoceros, won the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize and was longlisted for the Giller Prize. 

Ashley Alexis McFarlane is a poet, fashion designer, filmmaker and photographer of Jamaican Maroon descent. She was born in Toronto and creates art inspired by her African ancestry, spirituality, and mother nature. For more info visit her blog.

Pamela “Pam” Mordecai, award-winning poet of West African, Asian and European heritage, has lived in Ontario since emigrating from Jamaica in 1994. Well-known internationally for her children’s poetry, she writes across genres. TSAR published her fifth poetry collection, Subversive Sonnets (2012). 

Dwayne Morgan is a first-generation Canadian of Jamaican heritage. Morgan has had six volumes of his poetry published, most recently Her Favourite Shoes (2011), following his first translated work, Le Making of d’un Homme. 

Motion is a poet/emcee and playwright whose work fuses the realms of music, spoken word & drama. Born & raised in Toronto, of African/Caribbean descent, she is the author of 40 Dayz and Motion In Poetry, and the acclaimed play Aneemah’s Spot. 

Teeanna Munro (maternal last names: Philips, King, and Taylor), a spoken word artist, is the proud Black daughter of strong enduring women and storytellers who journeyed to Northern Alberta from Oklahoma in 1911, eventually creating deep rhythmic roots in Vancouver 1929. 

N Oji Mzilikazi is a Canadian by way of Trinidad. He is a columnist for the Montreal Community Contact, is published in Beyond Sangre Grande: Caribbean Writing Today, and has two books scheduled for release in 2013. He blogs at 

Komi Olafimihan a.k.a. Poetic Speed is an artist from Kaduna, Nigeria. He is a member of the 2009 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word Slam championship team, The Recipe. He has authored Improvisation in Architecture, a critical study of the Makoko fishing community of Lagos. 

Oni the Haitian Sensation, Godmother of Canadian Slam, Chalmers Award winning, Boxer, Politician, Academic, Polyglot, Mom, author of Ghettostocracy, directed Canada`s first National Spoken Word festival, the Canadian Spoken Wordlympics. Haitian, Cuban, Chinese, Arawak, PanAfrican, European Hybrid, made in Canada.

Ikenna (OpenSecret) Onyegbula was born in Nigeria and raised on three different continents. He is a member of two different Canadian National poetry slam championship teams, while representing Ottawa. He is also the 2011 Canadian Individual Slam champion. 

M. NourbeSe Philip is a poet, essayist, novelist and playwright who lives in the space-time of Toronto. Among her best known works are She Tries Her Tongue, Looking for Livingstone, and Harriet’s Daughter. Her most recent work is Zong! 

Queenie: Award winning author, performance poet Queenie a.k.a. Valerie Mason-John is an Albertan residing in BC. She is of slave stock from Sierra Leone, and born in Britain. It’s possible she is related to the McCarthys of Nova Scotia. 

Bercham Richards a.k.a. Dirt Gritie is an Edmonton, Alberta born Hip-Hop Artist/Spoken Word Poet of Jamaican/Vincentian heritage. Co-Founder of Music for Mavericks & Breath in Poetry Collective, and member of Politic Live, his latest album, Ellipsis, was released June 2012.

Joy Russell, born in Belize, came to Canada in the sixties. Her work includes the PodPlay Days of Old, and poetry, which has appeared in numerous publications such as The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2008. She lives in B.C. 

Wayne Salmon, writer, photographer, born in Kingston, Jamaica, currently resides in Toronto, Canada. Published in Flava, he is at work on a collection of poems and a book of carbon photographs documenting the festival formerly known as Caribana. 

Seble Samuel is a Montreal-based writer with Ethiopian roots. Her family immigrated to Canada in the 1980s. 

Scruffmouth is a Canadian-Jamaican spoken poet, performer and scribe with the ability to condense issues of social justice, knowledge of self, identity, philosophy, history and freedom into creative poems for the page and the stage.

Jason “Blackbird” Selman, Montreal-born poet and musician (trumpet) is author of The Freedom I Stole and co-editor of Talking Book which chronicles the work of the Kalm Unity Vibe Collective of which he is a member. He is of Barbadian parentage.

Olive Senior, born in Jamaica, has 3 poetry books: Talking of Trees (1985), Gardening in the Tropics (1994), and Over the Roofs of the World (2005). Summer Lightning (1986) won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for short fiction. Her first novel, Dancing Lessons, was shortlisted for the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize, Canada region. 

Prufrock Shadowrunner, poet, rapper, DJ, actor,was national spoken word champion, 2010 and Toronto international poetry slam champion, 2011. Ontario resident of Black Jamaican background, he was born in Canada in the 80s. He released his CD R.I.P. Charlie with missing linx, 2012. 

Storma Sire, children’s author/illustrator, was born in B.C. from descendents of slave escapees from the U.S., and is of Ghanaian ancestry. Her novel Lessons in Magic won Best Emerging Author/Illustrator in Children’s Literature from Canada Council, and she has illustrated for UBC. 

Charles C. Smith, poet, essayist, and university lecturer, won second prize for his play Last Days for the Desperate from Black Theatre Canada. Author of Partial Lives and the chapbook Fleurette Africaine, 2012, he is currently working on a multidisciplinary performance piece. 

Deanna (D-NA) Smith is a Bajan-rooted, Montreal-flowering poet enjoying her love affair with words as a speech-language pathologist and active member of the “Throw Poetry” and “Kalmunity Vibe” collectives. A follow up to her chapbook Full Circle is in development.

Titilope Sonuga is a Nigerian-born spoken word poet and winner of the 2011 CAA Emerging Writer Award for her first book, Down To Earth. She currently resides in Edmonton and is the founder of the Breath In Poetry Collective.  

Anita Stewart, Jamaican-born performance artist, resides in Brampton, Ontario. Her work is published in Dub Poetry19 Poets from England and Jamaica and Utterances and Incantations: Women, Poetry and Dub, and recorded in Woman Talk and “word soun’ ’ave powah” spoken word albums.  

Blossom Thom started life in Guyana. She immigrated to Southern Ontario with her family, where she was raised and schooled. Her heart led her to Montreal, Quebec where she now makes her home. Blossom’s poetry appeared online in BareBack Magazine. 

Andrea Thompson is a writer, performer and pioneer of the Canadian Spoken Word scene. She is the co-editor of Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out, and currently teaches Spoken Word through the Ontario College of Art and Design. 

Zakiya Toby was born, raised and currently resides in Ontario. She is a first-generation Canadian with Trinidadian lineage. She is the author of From My Heart To Yours, available on 

Frederick Ward  – bio to come

Sharon Welch is a first-generation Canadian born in Toronto, but raised in Hamilton, Ontario where she currently resides. She’s the daughter of Jamaican-born parents and is currently working on her first book. 

Marlon “Arlo Maverick” Wilson is an Alberta-based poet and hip-hop MC with 3X WCMA-nominated hip-hop group Politic Live. Of Jamaican heritage, Wilson is a first generation Canadian hoping to create a legacy that demonstrates art’s ability to create social change. 

Brandon Wint is a Toronto-born, Ottawa-based writer, performer and teacher, of Jamaican and Bajan parentage. He is a two time Canadian champion of slam poetry and the co-author of September, his most recent chapbook (with Ikenna Onyegbula).  

David Woods is a poet, playwright and visual artist from Dartmouth, N.S. Author of Native Song (1990), and Native Song Revised (2008), he won the Nova Scotia Poetry Award (1989), National Black Poetry Competition Prize (1999), and the George Elliott Clarke Literary Award (1998, 1999). 

adrian “gryphen” worrell is an educator, artist-philosopher and semi-professional troll based in scarborough, ontario. in early 2013 he released a spoken word ep “scenes from a winter home” and “neotony” a book of poems. contact: 

Akhaji Zakiya, an award-winning poet, is expanding her writing repertoire to include short stories and novellas about women loving. A born and raised Torontonian, Akhaji’s roots extend from West Africa to Barbados. Check out her recent work at 



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