bill bissett

The son of a judge, bill bissett, poet, artist, performer, publisher (b at Halifax, NS 23 Nov 1939), ran away from home several times as a child, once to join a circus, looking to escape conventional middle-class life. In 1958-59 he moved to Vancouver, where he spent 2 years at the University of British Columbia before dropping out to pursue writing and painting. Although his poetics harmonized with the experimental creativity of the TISH movement, he was unable to find a publisher for his concrete and visual poetry. As a result, he founded blewointment magazine in 1962 to promote his own poetry and that of similar writers, such as bpNichol and Steve McCaffery. bill bissett is known for his distinct spelling, for combining lyric, visual, and sound poetry with drawing and collage, and for a deceptively naïve voice that masks the personal and political perceptiveness of his work.   Continue reading at

Di Brandt


Di Brandt is the author and editor of more than a dozen books of poetry, fiction, creative essays and literary criticism. She has received numerous recognitions and prizes for her writing, including the Gerald Lampert Award for “best first book of poetry in Canada” for her bestselling debut collection questions i asked my mother (which was recently re-issued in a 30th anniversary tribute edition with afterword by Tanis MacDonald); the McNally Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year Award for Agnes in the sky; the CAA National Poetry Prize for Jerusalem, beloved; the Foreword Gold Medal for Watermelon Syrup: A Novel (with Annie Jacobsen and Jane Finlay-Young), and the Gabrielle Roy Prize for “best book of literary criticism in Canada” for Wider Boundaries of Daring: The Modernist Impulse in Canadian Women’s Poetry (with Barbara Godard).  Now You Care was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Trillium Ontario Book of the Year, and the Pat Lowther Award.


Di Brandt’s collaborative multimedia works include Emily, the Way You Are, a one woman chamber opera about the life and works of Emily Carr, with composer Jana Skarecky; and Awakenings: Poetry and Music in Four Voices (with Dorothy Livesay, Rebecca Campbell

and Carol Ann Weaver).  Di Brandt has taught at five Canadian universities including the University of Alberta, the University of Windsor, Ontario, and Brandon University, Manitoba, where she held the first Canada Research Chair in the Creative Arts, and  developed an innovative multimedia creative arts program that was emulated in new interdisciplinary programs across the country.   She has given readings, lectures and  workshops around the world, and held guest fellowships in Scotland, New York, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Japan. She currently lives in Winnipeg.

David J Knight

knightdavidjDavid J. Knight

David J. Knight was born in Guelph and went to John F. Ross highschool. He holds a BA in Fine Art (University of Guelph 1987), an MA in Archaeology (University of Southampton, UK 2002), and an MPhil in Archaeology (University of Southampton, UK 2010). He has extensive experience in field and academic archaeology in the UK and Europe, on sites in Belgium, France, Guernsey, Syria, Italy and England. In 2008 David was celebrated as a University of Guelph Campus Author for his historical biography, King Lucius of Britain. Upon returning to his hometown David has engaged with Guelph’s material and  intangible heritage, publishing two books through Publication Studio Guelph: Sound Guelph, a history of alternative music in Guelph from the late 1970s to 2000; and an edition of John Galt’s novel, The Omen. David is also a trans-media artist and continues to produce visual and audio works.

David is the General Editor of Vocamus Editions, an imprint of Vocamus Press that promotes the literary heritage of Guelph, Ontario, Canada by publishing new editions of books written by Guelph authors or edited by Guelph scholars.

Guelph Versifiers of the 19th Century, his collection of Guelph poets and poetry before the year 1900 is available from Vocamus Editions.

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Abigail Lapell

high-park-2 Abigail Lapell is a Canadian folk noir singer-songwriter. Drawing from traditional folk, indie and punk rock influences, her music is at once fresh and familiar—intuitive melodies, sparse-plucked guitar and a voice like autumn smoke.

After years of performing and collaborating around Montreal and Toronto, Abigail released her first solo album, Great Survivor, in 2011. Recorded by Heather Kirby of Ohbijou, Great Survivor features talented collaborators like Jessica Moore, Lisa Bozikovic, James van Bolhuis, Aaron Lumley and Julia Collins. The album reached #4 on Canada’s !earshot Folk/Blues/Roots radio charts.

The mutli-instrumentalist has toured across North America, Europe and the U.K. and appeared at festivals like North By Northeast, Pop Montreal, Sappy Fest and Winterfolk.

Her sophomore record, produced and engineered by Chris Stringer at Toronto’s Union Sound, will be released in 2016.

Asa Boxer

Boxer 2015

Asa Boxer’s debut book, The Mechanical Bird (2007), won the Canadian Authors Association Prize for Poetry, and his cycle of poems entitled “The Workshop” won the 2004 CBC/enroute Literary Award. His work has been anthologized in various collections, including The New Canon: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry, the Oxford-Poetry Broadside Series and The Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2009 and 2012. His writing has appeared in various magazines in Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and Belgium.  His poems, articles and reviews have appeared in Poetry London, Poetry Ireland, The Dark Horse, Arc Poetry Magazine, The Malahat Review, Books in Canada, Maisonneuve, and Canadian Notes & Queries. His latest books are Skullduggery (Signal, 2011) and Friar Biard’s Primer to the New World (Frog Hollow Press, 2013). Boxer is also founder and manager of the Montreal International Poetry Prize.  Asa Boxer’s poetry has garnered several prizes and is included in various anthologies around the world. His books are The Mechanical Bird (Signal, 2007), Skullduggery (Signal, 2011), Friar Biard’s Primer to the New World (Frog Hollow Press, 2013) and Etymologies (Anstruther Press, 2015). Boxer is also a founder and manager of the Montreal International Poetry Prize.



Robert Priest

rp photo by david laurence

Robert Priest, Photo by


 Robert Priest is the author of 20 books of poetry and prose and 3 spoken word recordings. His poetry video platforms on the web have attracted over a hundred thousand hits and he is a mainstay of the spoken word circuit in Canada and all over the world. His words have been decried in the legislature (see the video at youtube/greatbigfaced), turned into a hit song, posted in the transit system, broadcast on MuchMusic, charted on John Sakomoto’s anti-hit list, quoted by politicians, sung on Sesame Street and widely published in text books and anthologies.


His latest books are Previously Feared Darkness, ECW Press. (“Dense, humourous , knowing, pleading, consoling and entirely invigorating poems of the first class.” – Michael Dennis)  and a book of praise poems written for children: Rosa Rose published in June 2013 by Wolsak & Wynn  (“Rosa Rose and Other Poems is a beautiful poetry collection that needs to be on every child’s bookshelf and is sure to make young readers lovers of history and poetry.” – Inderjit Deogun CM magazine)

His 2008 book, Reading the Bible Backwards, rose to number two on the Globe and Mail’s poetry bestsellers list, its sales exceeded only by those of Leonard Cohen. “Priest renders the quotidian and intellectualizes it for us in a genius-sampling tool–himself… A sensational book.”  Nathaniel D. Moore, Broken Pencil Magazine.

“Poetry full of flashes of insight. Imaginative in a strange way, he takes inordinate chances with logic, countering absurdity with absurdity, and expanding our sense of human emotional possibilities.”

-The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature

His micro poems have found their way into The Farmer’s Almanac and Colombo’s Canadian Quotations. “There will always be plenty of space on the pages of my ‘quote books’ for the brilliant aphorisms of Robert Priest.” -John Robert Colombo

Robert first came to national attention as early as 1986 when his spoken word video/single Congo Toronto received nation-wide airplay on MuchMusic for over three months establishing for Priest a unique place in the poetry/music canon. In 1989, his collection of poems, The Mad Hand, was the recipient of the Milton Acorn People’s Poetry award. The spoken word CD Rotweiller Pacifist, l988, continued the tradition with a collection of twenty spoken word pieces, many of them accompanied by tracks and beats. Robert’s 3rd spoken word CD, Tongue’n’Groove, was released on EMI’s prestigious Artisan label in l998.

“Grand and Mystical.” (Eye Magazine)

During the past decade Robert has concentrated his poetic performances on the web platforms, and where a rotating series of spoken word videos, song-poems and micro-poems are available for public consumption. These attest to Robert’s abilities as a great live performer. They also attest to his appeal, the video: One Crumb having received well over 100,000 hits so far.

“Consistently One Of The Most Entertaining Acts In Town!” – Now Magazine

Robert lives in Toronto where he continues to write his “Passionate, cocky alternately adoring and insulting verse.” (The Toronto Star).



“Modern classics.”  -Donna Lypchuck, Eye Magazine

“He is certainly one of the most imaginatively inventive poets in the country.”  -The Pacific Rim Review of Literature

A truly invigorating combination of rants raves and reveries.  A candidly close encounter with an assured literary intelligence.    -The Toronto Star

Beautifully captures the rainbow of emotions that comprise the human spirit.. Intoxicatingly lovely!    –Now Magazine

“Robert Priest’s poems will speak to many generations.” –Bernice Lever, Canadian Book Review Annual

“Poetry full of flashes of insight. Imaginative in a strange way, he takes inordinate chances with logic, countering absurdity with absurdity, and expanding our sense of human emotional possibilities.”-The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature

“Priest renders the quotidian and intellectualizes it for us in a genius-sampling tool–himself…This is a sensational book.” – Broken Pencil Magazine

“Grand and Mystical.” (Eye Magazine)

“Priest employs his technical chops in the service of a pop-cult intellectual hook that could easily have proven facile. And the results are often brilliant.” –Jordan Zinovich, The Big Bridge

Dramatic and visionary.  There is a superb balance between poetry of ideas and poetry of feeling.  The content is frank and often erotic, but the leaven of laughter is never far away…. Magnificent, profound, religious and challenging.–Canadian Book Review Annual

“From the short, satirical Wedding Poem, through the intensely beautiful Hera to the visionary and political Lesser Shadows, Priest shows a depth and complexity that operates on many levels, raising his performance above a bar-room rant or a wishy-washy poetry reading to an intense experience, something akin to a trance session” – Lucy Mallows (Budapest Sun – Oct 22-28 1998)

“Some of these are mellow thoughts about lovers, poems and trees, others are down right rambunctious rocking sprees or resemble the scary voices you hear in your head. He’s got a range.” – Elysia Gallo (Budapest Week)

“The guiding thematic spirit of this entertaining collection may be backwardness, but it showcases a poet whose roving imagination is omni-directional.” The Toronto Star


Festivals Where Robert Priest has performed

Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, The Canadian Festival of the Spoken Word in Toronto and Festival Voix d’Amerique in Montreal, Poetry Gabriola, Words Aloud. He has also delivered the word at the Overload Festival in Melbourne Australia, the Kacat Kabaret in Budapest, the Free the Word Festival in Stockholm Sweden,  the Mariposa Folk Festival, the Hillside Festival, The Eaglewood Folk Festival,, the Berkley Slam, the Couchiching Think Tank and Toronto’s North by North East. Plus The International Festival of  Authors in Toronto, the Cambridge Festival, The Vancouver Writer’s Festival, The Winnipeg Writer’s Festival, The Kingston Writer’s Festival, The Acorn Festival, The Melbourne Writer’s Festival (Aus)  The Ottawa Literary Festival, Eden Mills Festival, the Leacock Festival.