Feature Poet – Titilope Sonuga

Becoming

When the world unravels before you
and even your dreams are crumbling stones
when everything you dare to touch is set on fire
and all around you is ash and smoke
remember this

rock bottom is a perfect place for rebuilding

Titilope_Becoming

remember that you are your mother’s daughter
your grandmother’s answered prayers
a whole bloodline of women
who bend in response to raging winds

there is nothing broken here
nothing damaged or discarded
each scar is a badge of honor
your smile is an act of defiance against the sun
every misstep is a victory dance waiting to happen

You are a woman becoming
learning the complicated language of forgiveness
the intricate lessons of the universe

Your heart is just a muscle waiting for exercise
and you were born for this sort of heavy lifting
You were born one part saint
one part warrior woman

Loving yourself without shame
is the most important thing
you will ever have to fight for

Why did you write this poem? 
I wrote this poem long before I ever needed to hear the words in it. It’s amazing how it became a kind of self fulfilling prophecy. Months later when I was going through what felt like my own personal hell, it was my own words mirrored back to me that helped me get out of bed in the mornings. Words heal.

About Titilope Sonuga
Titilope Sonuga is a Nigerian born poet, performer and Civil Engineer. She was the winner of the 2011 Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer Award, as well as the 2013 RISE Award and 2014 NBCC Fil Fraser Award for achievement in the arts. She performed at the 2011 Chinua Achebe Colloquium on Africa, and her writing was selected from over 200 applicants to meet acclaimed poet, Maya Angelou. She is the creator of Breath In Poetry and a founding member of the Breath In Poetry Collective.

 

www.titilope.ca
twitter: @deartitilope
instagram: titilope , deartitilope
info@titilope.ca

 

Feature Poet – Medgine Mathurin

 

Mes Mémoires d’enfance

There are chalk stains
Pasted on the concrete grounds of my current adulthood
Pigments of a time when television was a privilege only afforded by those with electricity generators.
When imagination became primetime entertainment
And little brothers and sisters were power rangers and Mortal Kombat assassins fighting air-shaped nemesis.
Battles often won by the stabbing of tree branches

When the sound of rain
Drumming
on metal rooftops
Were concert bass sounds
We found ourselves yelling over to hear each other

Memories of playing street vendor
Where rocks became produce
Strategically arranged in pyramids
Hustling any known visitor to buy them
In exchange for enough money to buy
Tablette candy, douce, glass bottled coca-colas

Innocence
Mimicking hustles of Haitian Markets
Blinded to the men and women hustling to make enough money for their children to become our classmates

Sketches of faded childhood ambition
Now stand before me
Along with the cracks reality often brings if you are alive long enough to see it.

 

Why did you write this poem?
Most of my childhood memories stem from growing up in Haiti. I remember cradling myself under these memories, getting drunk in the nostalgia of my childhood thoughts… Not wanting to sober myself to the realities of being a first nation immigrant. The struggle re identify myself as a teenager growing up in Calgary. I’m thankful for the privilege afforded to me to learn English and to go to university and to see different parts of the world, but I don’t ever want to forget where I came from.


About Medgine
Born and raised in Haiti, Medgine spent her teenage years in Calgary and now calls Edmonton, her 3rd home. Her story is infused with English, French & Créole. Having recently graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor in Biological Science, she finds joy in poetry and creative writing. Medgine‘s aim through her poetry is to uplift and enlighten those who hear it. With 3 years of writing under her pen, she has gotten the opportunity to perform in various cities across Canada including Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, and even overseas in Trinidad. She was part of the 2012 Edmonton Slam Team, and the edmonton representative in the 2013 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam, held in Vancouver last year. Recently has gotten the opportunity to present her spoken word at the inaugural launch of the Michaëlle Jean Canadian Caribbean, African Diasporic Studies Lecture Series at the University of Alberta.

Twitter: medgeemedge
Instagram: medgeemedge
Facebook Page: Medgine

 

 

Feature Poet — Marina Hale

Seventeen Things You Left Me With When Our Relationship Ended

 

Seventeen

A Time Turner necklace
Silly and nerdy and beautiful and perfect
The best birthday gift for a Harry Potter girl
Stuck in the struggle to control her world

 

Sixteen

Two Speed Racer bobblehead dolls
Remnants of a childhood gone but not forgottenTimeTurnerNecklace
Speed and Racer X still sit above my bed
Wobbling, bobbling guardians in the dark
Nodding me off to sleep each night

 

Fifteen

Three stuffed owls
Will, Oscar, and Jane
Named for my favourite authors
Bought for no particular reason
Bought because you saw them and thought of me
Bought because you knew I loved owls and I loved collecting things
And you thought this could be our thing you buying me owls

 

You never bought me any more owls

 

Fourteen

Books
So many books
Countless books
So that I can no longer remember which books come from you
Every page potentially infused with memories of summer afternoons spent side by side in dusty bookstores fingers trailing across spines

 

Thirteen

Memories of the weird face you make right before you come

 

Twelve

A skinny waist
Because
As it turns out
The very best weight loss plan is heartbreak

 

Eleven

A lingering sense of unimportance
A pervasive feeling of profound unworth
Just a tiny little thing
Always creeping in the corners of my vision
Whispering words of “not good enough”
In a voice that sounds like yours

 

Ten

Months of therapy
I don’t want to talk about it

 

Nine

Superhero comic books
A world of spandex tights and capes
Rediscovered amid the boxes
And boxes
And boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of meticulously organized superhero comic books crammed into every available nook and cranny of your basement suite
Lost amid your maze of boxes
I found for myself a world I hadn’t seen since I was small
Fantasies of power
And justice
Good
Versus evil
Fierce warriors
Who fought for a cause bigger than their lonely selves

 

Eight

Shame

 

Seven

Okay I’ll talk about it
Because you gave me the opportunity to beg for help
To sit across the desk from a clipboard and a pair of bored eyes
To uncover every ugly scar
And be judged for them
To sit across a desk
Drowning in myself
While a clipboard decided if I was broken enough to be worth the effort of rebuilding

 

Six

My very own sonic screwdriver
With real extending, light flashing, sound blasting action
Perfect for chasing scary shadows out from closet corners and under beds
A toy from Doctor Who
A show you also gave me
A show that still reminds me every day that
The world is amazing
And
People are incredible
And
Some days
Some very special days
Everybody lives

 

Sometimes in the darkest hours of the night
I clutch the sonic screwdriver to my chest
Hold on and don’t let go
Until the markings on its handle are scored into my palm
Hold on and don’t let go trying to remember that some days
Some days
Everybody lives

 

Five

A new identity that didn’t fit quite right
A second skin wound so tight in you that it didn’t quite cover all of the vulnerable bits of me
So that when you walked away
You tore it away
And left me full of nothing

 

Four

A Ravenclaw house banner
Stolen from your place of work
Just because you knew it was my favourite House
Just to see me smile

 

Three

Access to the darkest corners of my mind
The shadowy recesses where the monsters hide
I could have lived my whole life without knowing about the monsters in my head
But you opened the cage
Let them run free to tear apart my psyche
Let them strangle my appetite in my throat
Reject every bite of food
And hand me bottles to lose myself in
Let them point out every edge sharp enough to carve the hurt out from under my skin
Let them whisper words of false comfort as they place clawed hands over mine try to turn the steering wheel towards anything large enough to shatter me
I didn’t know I was so easy to break

 

Two

Almost two years of happiness
Because
Despite everything
We were happy, weren’t we?

 

One

A Time Turner necklace

 

Why did you write this poem? 

I was wearing my Time Turner necklace one day, and when someone complimented me and asked where I got it, I told them it was the only good thing to come out of my relationship with my ex. We all got a good laugh, but thinking about it later, I realized I was being unfair. Relationships are complicated, especially when they’ve ended. I wanted to explore that confusing mess of happy and painful stuff that’s left behind after the breakup. If the Time Turner really worked, would you go back?

 

About Marina Hale

Marina can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be a writer (with the notable exception of a week in grade two when she wanted to live on a houseboat and be adopted by dolphins). A University of Alberta grad with a BA in English and Creative Writing, Marina enjoys punctuation, wearing plaid, and open mic nights. Her writing has been featured in the inaugural edition of Glass Buffalo, and she has co-written a number of plays for NextFest, KidsFringe, and local youth theatre company OverActing Imaginations. She once won a trophy for her terrible, angsty teen poetry, and it remains one of her proudest moments.

Twitter: @Mrimm

Rise Up: Take Back the Mic Call for Poets

Rise Up: Take Back the Mic
Call for Poets

Your revolution starts now. Your revolution is the what-if, the could-be, the should-be, the will-be. Your revolution is politics, semantics and artistics. Gather up the critics, the cynics, the mystics, the mavericks, the beatnicks: this is your manifesto, so manifest your destiny.

Rise up, and take back the mic.

NextfestBreath In Poetry and Catch the Keys Productions present:

Take Back the Mic
The Nextfest Slam
Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 9pm
as part of the Rise Up! Nextfest Nite Club
Artery Edmonton (9535 Jasper Avenue)

Twelve emerging poets compete in a three-round elimination for a $500 top prize.

TO PARTICIPATE: 

The twelve participating poets will be announced Tuesday, May 20 at Breath In Poetry’s Rouge Poetry Night (located at Rouge Lounge on 117 Street and Jasper Avenue).

Please send the following information to bdart@catchthekeys.ca by 12Noon Tuesday, May 20:

  • Name (include your legal name and performance name if applicable)
  • Email address
  • Twitter handle
  • Applicable links (website, youtube etc).

Please note: Each participating poet will receive a small honorarium, an all access festival pass and a festival t-shirt. In the case of Nextfest, emerging refers to artists under the age of 30 who are not professionally represented.

Questions? Contact bdart@catchthekeys.ca

Want to do more with Nextfest? We’re still accepting submissions for the Nextfest Nite Clubs. Submit!

Sea of Green

Recently, Notebook Nick had a chance to step outside of the poetry community to check out some of the theatre at the Walterdale Playhouse (10322 83 Ave). Andy Garland is a regular at Rouge Poetry, and has also competed in Breath In Poetry’s Slam Series. Upon mentioning that he’d written a play that had worked its way to production, some of us here at BIP were intrigued. Notebook Nick managed to secure himself a seat on opening night and was blown away.

“Sea of Green” centers around the elections and the fiasco that followed this year in Tehran, Iran. It paints a picture of the elections from multiple viewpoints ranging from civilian bakers and merchants, to foreign journalists, to the country’s government militia. The play itself started as a poem, and the language throughout was rich; brimming with metaphors and imagery that depicted the chaos that followed the announcement that the election was rigged in favour of the incumbent President.

For anyone who’s remotely interested in foreign politics, expanding their worldview, or an evening of great entertainment, go see this play. It’s accompanied by two others in an evening dubbed “From Cradle to Stage: An Evening of One Act Plays” that the Walterdale Playhouse puts on every year. Doors open at 7:45, show starts at 8 pm. “Sea of Green” will be running until May 28.