Updated September 16, 2020: Check out the final video in the series, “Dreams” featuring excerpts of poems by Elizabeth Etmanski and Kelsey Savage!
Updated August 28, 2020: See two new poems, “Dada Ji” by Rosh Kashap and “Ode to Sleeping in My Grandfather’s Room” by Anjalica Solomon in the video below!
Poetry can be a powerful form of expression. When we read or listen to poetry, we see things from the author’s perspective and encounter their personal truths. That’s why we believe it is so important to hear from diverse voices. We’re excited to share the voices of artists of all abilities in our spoken word poetry project.
“If art is one of the ways we come to a collective sense of self and where we integrate different perspectives and different way of being, then we need to incorporate those voices and perspectives.”
– Gord Tulloch, posAbilities Director of Innovation
posAbilities commissioned six poets with diverse abilities to write together. They worked in pairs to produce spoken word poems that draw from their own personal experiences. The poems deal with subjects like family, grief, dreams, and belonging. People with disabilities often don’t have the opportunity to share their voice; this project gave all the poets a platform to speak their truth.
“I just want other people to know my work,” said poet Tara Torme. “I don’t want to be an anonymous author.”
Our original goal was for the poets to perform in front of a live audience. Part of what makes spoken word so powerful is that listeners hear the poet’s words in their own voice, with all the emotion behind them. Though the COVID-19 pandemic changed our plans for a live performance, we found another creative way of showcasing the poets’ work.
Rheanna Toy, the Director of See Together Media, collaborated with each pair to produce a video to go with their poems. The videos combine stock footage with contributions from the poets, including family photos and video clips. You can hear more about the process in the video below:
Feeling ready to dive into some poetry? Tara Torme and Rachel Taylor have created their first published volume of haikus: In Conversation. A selection of those haikus are featured in the video below:
Roshni Kashap and Anjalica Soloman wrote about their grandfathers. The video lays the poets’ family photos over people’s silhouettes. The ghostly visuals capture the feeling of memories that live inside us—the way we carry our loved ones with us even after they are gone.
The final pair, Liz Etmanski and Kelsey Savage, also wrote on a shared theme: dreams. The video weaves excerpts from their poems together into a surreal montage with images from the past and present.
“If you think about it, if we didn’t have poetry, how would we survive in COVID? How would we survive our own lives? It’s a part of who we are.”
– Elizabeth Etmanski, Poet