5 Poets Breaking into Song (#7)

George Elliott Clarke & East and West Learning Connections Present

5 Poets Breaking into Song (#7)

Live : 20 St. Joseph St. Toronto (ON), at the Canadian Music Centre. Near Wellesley&Yonge subway station

Saturday, Nov 19, 2022, 7-9  P.M.

Maximum in-person attendees: 50. Masking is required in the building.

Door will open at 6:30 P.M.  First come, first seated.

You can also watch the performance live on Youtube. 

Click here for live streaming starting at 7 P.M. on Nov. 19:



A night of live poetry, music and songs

By 5 fine poets, 1  wondrous pianist, and two splendid singers


The Poets


Born and raised in Kolkata, India, Ayesha Chatterjee has lived in England, the USA, and Germany and is now based in Toronto. She is the author of two poetry collections, The Clarity of Distance, and Bottles and Bones.  Her latest publication is in Transcontinental Ether, a bi-lingual anthology released in June 2022 by Collusion Books.  Chatterjee is past president of the League of Canadian Poets and chair of the League’s Feminist Caucus.

Twitter handle @profoundpapaya and Instagram @ayeshachatterjeepoet


Israel Pincu Lazarovitch, or Irving Layton (1912-2006), was born in Romania.  His family moved to Montreal when he was a year old.  Layton’s lush, elemental poems explore sexual and spiritual intimacy.  Indeed, he was a Poet Pop Star during the 1960s.  His honors included two Nobel Prize nominations, Italy’s Petrarch Prize for Poetry, grants from the Canada Council, the Governor General’s Award, the Senior Arts Fellowship, and several honorary degrees.  Poet and singer Leonard Cohen was his student and became a close friend.  Among his survivors are two sons and a daughter.  His son, poet and singer Max, gave permission for the James Rolfe song to be composed.


Gwendolyn MacEwen (1941-1987) was born in Toronto.  Her first published poem appeared in The Canadian Forum when she was seventeen. She left school at eighteen to concentrate on writing. Her work is included in most major Canadian anthologies.  She pursued her passion in poetry, especially “Eastern” alphabets such as the Hebraic, the Greek, the Arabic, and even Egyptian hieroglyphics.  Her poems often embrace characters from classical myth or historical personages such as Lawrence of Arabia.  Briefly married to PEI poet Milton Acorn, their opposites-attract relationship is the stuff of legend.  MacEwen twice won the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry, with the second triumph posthumous.  MacEwen’s nephew, David MacKinnon, has granted James Rolfe permission to score two of MacEwen’s poems.


Al Moritz is the 6th Poet Laureate of Toronto. His recent books include As Far As You Know (2020) and The Sparrow: Selected Poems (2018), both from House of Anansi Press. In 2015, Princeton University Press republished his 1986 volume in the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets, The Tradition. He has published nineteen books of poems, and several volumes of poetry translated from French and Spanish. His poetry has received the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Award in Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Beth Hokin Prize of Poetry magazine, and other awards.



Giovanna Riccio is a poet, teacher, and independent scholar. She is the author of Vittorio, Strong Bread, and Plastic’s Republic which is shortlisted for the 2022 Bressani Prize. Her poems have been translated into 6 languages and her writing has appeared in national and international publications and in numerous anthologies. Giovanna is the 2021 winner of the Venera Fazio Poetry Prize.



The Musicians:

Composer and singer James Rolfe’s music has been performed by ensembles, orchestras, choirs, and opera companies in Canada and abroad, and recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Jules Léger Prize, and Dora and JUNO Award nominations.



Pianist Juliet Palmer’s music has found its way to a highway off-ramp, a swimming pool, a boxing ring, and to concert halls across North America, Europe, and Oceania. From Aotearoa New Zealand, Juliet makes her home in Toronto.



Singer Karen Usha is a soprano who transcends her classical training and brings her versatility to a variety of genres and audiences, locally and abroad.



The Co-hosts:

Giovanna Riccio is also one of the poets. See the above.

Ian White is the Vice President of East and West Learning Connections, and the President of Council of the Blind Toronto Chapter.  He is the recipient of the CCB Outstanding Achievement Award in 2019, and has been recognized by the CNIB and the Government of Ontario for his work as a volunteer.  A Philosophy graduate from the University of Toronto, Ian enjoys playing finger-style guitar and reading in his spare time.




George Elliott Clarke is the 4th Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15) and the 7th P.oet Laureate of Canada (2016-17).  He’s written 7 collections, 5 verse-plays, 5 story-suites, 4 epic tomes, 3 verse-novels, 3 libretti, 1 children’s work, and 1 title each in Chinese, Italian, and Romanian.



East and West Learning Connections is a Toronto-based, federally registered not-for-profit organization that helps people of different heritages break cultural barriers and get connected.



Poster designed by Shirley Chen

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