Poets of Honour

It is with great excitement that we announce our 2019 Poets of Honour!

Each year, two spoken word artists are presented with the Poet of Honour award, for significant contributions to: creating and performing original works that are excellent and innovative; and organizing, mobilizing and developing the spoken word art form and community.

We are thrilled to present this year’s award to...

Patrick de Belen and Mahlikah Awe:ri

We are looking forward to their spectacular feature performance at Words Worth Repeating showcase Thursday, October 17 at 7pm. They will be joined by globally renowned dub poet, performance artist and scholar, d’bi young anitafrika, in her book release of dubbin poetry. Prepare to be WOW-ed.

PDB headshot

Patrick de Belen

2019 Poet of Honour

Patrick de Belen is a rare breed of artist. This Toronto-based Filipino-Canadian spoken word poet, performer, speaker, host and educator is one whose formidable acclaim as a performance artist and writer is equaled by his commitment to his community, and his status as an enduring source of insight, energy and mentorship for young poets across North America. As a performer, Patrick has garnered praise and admiration for his ability to blend sharp social commentary with an exhaustless wit, charm and creative candour. This combination of talents has made him a national slam champion, as he was at the 2012 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, and a performer of note on such platforms as CBC, TED Talk, NEXE and others. He is also the first ever recipient of the Spoken Word Poet of Honour award at YouthCanSlam--Canada’s national youth poetry festival, an award he won on the basis of his dual talents as a poet of remarkable ability and an educator of enduring devotion, passion and intelligence.

Off the stage, he is committed to his work in arts education/mentorship; involved in partnerships with a long list of institutions and organizations including jails, schools, health centres, libraries and more. He is also the director of BAM! Toronto Youth Poetry Slam and the facilitator of the Filipino Storytelling workshop series, “Poetry is Our Second Language”. Check out his newest works and projects on his website www.PatrickdeBelen.com and instagram @patrick_debelen

Mahlikah Awe:ri

2019 Poet of Honour

Mahlikah Awe:ri, Enml'ga't Saqama'sgw (The Woman Who Stands and Walks In The Light) a TAF Community Arts and KM Hunter Award Finalist, is the current Director of Programming for Neighbourhood Impact for the Centre for Learning & Development in Regent Park, Founding Member of Red Slam Collective, Prologue to the Performing Arts Touring Artist, and Poetry Slam Coach & Mentor for both TDSBCREATES and Louder Than A Bomb Toronto. An Indigenous Creativepeneur, Awe:ri utilizes her gifts as a contemporary story weaver to speak truth, co-create resiliency through intentional acts of solidarity; while reimagining what it means to be “In-Relation”, to the Land and interconnected to all things. Mahlikah’s light has been illuminating the Art for Social Change Movement across Turtle Island aka North America for over a decade. An award winning, nationally recognized Cultural Arts Leader, Community Engaged Arts Education Practitioner, Eco-Influencer, Slam Poet, Musician, Curator, and Performance Artist; Mahlikah shifts paradigms through Indigenized ways of knowing and being. Awe:ri is published in 10 literary publications, has featured in 15 Poetry Slam events, facilitated over 50 workshops, and has presented 10 keynotes in the past two years; sharing her passion for deepening our awareness of the intergenerational impact, colonialism continues to have on Indigenous Peoples and Mother Earth, and our roles & responsibilities as Treaty People to find mindful active ways to practice stewardship; while divesting from the colonial project. Mahlikah has presented at Literary Festivals, WordStock in Sudbury and the FOLD in Brampton and is featured on the Serpents Skin EP (2011); Right Level LP (2017); and Bricks & Books, Brickyard (2018). She is working on developing her solo work, Tionnhéhkwen Tionnká:non; Our Sustenance Our Medicine, which debuted at Native Earth Performing Arts, with the Gathering Festival, this Spring.

Mahlikah is Wolf Clan, Haudenosaunee Kanien'kehà:ka & L'sitkuk Mi’kmaw of First Nations, Black, and Irish Ancestry. Her homelands and traditional territories are Kahnawá:ke (Montreal, Quebec and St. Lawrence River) and Bear River, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Her home base is the One Dish One Spoon Wampum Tsi' Tkarón:to.

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