The Poetry Bash

Host: Aislinn Hunter

Event Number: 57
Tickets: $26.00

Youth under 30: $15.00

The Poetry Bash

Friday, Oct 25
Performance Works

1218 Cartwright Street

We have two winners of Canada’s most prestigious poetry prize in this year’s Poetry Bash: Billy-Ray Belcourt, whose eviscerating work This Wound is a World mesmerized the country and made him the youngest-ever winner of the Griffin, alongside Eve Joseph, 2019 winner for Quarrels. They are joined by Kayla Czaga, reading from her new collection, Dunk Tank; sound performer Kaie Kellough sharing his inventive Magnetic Equator; The New Yorker contributor and celebrated political poet, Deborah Landau (Soft Targets); and Souvankham Thammavongsa (Cluster)—described as “one of the most striking voices to emerge in Canadian poetry in a generation.” They are hosted by poet and author Aislinn Hunter.

We are honoured to pay tribute to the late Patrick Lane within this event.

Generously sponsored by Maureen & Larry Lunn.

About the moderator:
Hunter is a poet and novelist and the author of seven highly acclaimed books. Her novel The World Before Us won the 2015 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice Book. Her most recent collection Linger, Still won the 2018 Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. She has a PhD in material culture theory and was a 2018 Canadian War Artist. Her new novel The Certainties – set in Spain and on an unnamed Atlantic island – is due out with Knopf in May 2020. 

Event Participants:

Billy-Ray Belcourt


Billy-Ray Belcourt (he/him) is a writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation. His debut book of poems, This Wound is a World, won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize and the 2018 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize, and was named the Most Significant Book of Poetry in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer at the 2018 Indigenous Voices Award. It was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and the Raymond Souster Award. It was named by CBC Books as one of the best Canadian poetry collections of the year. Billy-Ray is a Ph.D. student and a 2018 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. He is also a 2016 Rhodes Scholar and holds a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies from Wadham College at the University of Oxford.

Kayla Czaga

British Columbia

Kayla Czaga is the author of one previous collection of poems, For Your Safety Please Hold On, and the chapbook Enemy of the People. Her work has been awarded the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the Canadian Authors Association’s Emerging Writer Award and has been nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, and the Debut-litzer. She lives in Victoria, B.C.

Eve Joseph

British Columbia

Eve Joseph‘s first two books of poetry The Startled Heart (Oolichan, 2004) and The Secret Signature of Things (Brick, 2010) were both nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Award. Her nonfiction book In the Slender Margin was published by HarperCollins in 2014 and won the Hubert Evans award for nonfiction. Her most recent book of poetry Quarrels (Anvil, 2018) was nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Award and won the 2019 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Kaie Kellough


Kaie Kellough is a novelist, poet, and sound performer. His sound and media collaborations have appeared across Canada, in Europe, and in Australia. His most recent book is Magnetic Equator (poetry, McClelland and Stewart, 2019), which investigates migration and family ancestry as it drifts between South and North America. His novel Accordéon (ARP Books, 2016) a dystopian hallucination set against the 2012 Québec Student Strike, was nominated for the Amazon/Walrus First Novel Award. His upcoming work is Dominoes at the Crossroads (short fiction, Véhicule Press, 2020).,@kkaaiiee

Deborah Landau


Deborah Landau is the author of four books of poetry. She was educated at Stanford, Columbia, and Brown, where she earned her PhD. Currently she is the director of the NYU Creative Writing Program and lives in New York City., @landaudeborah

Souvankham Thammavongsa


Souvankham Thammavongsa is the author of four poetry books, Light, winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Found; Small Arguments, winner of the ReLit Award; and, most recently, Cluster. Her writing has appeared in Harper’s, Granta, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Best American Non-Required Reading, The Journey Prize Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Her debut collection of fiction, How to Pronounce Knife, will be published by McClelland & Stewart in the spring of 2020. She was born in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, and was raised and educated in Toronto.