Ariadne’s note: The World Poetry Café Radio Show with hosts Ariadne Sawyer, Vivian Davidson and Israel Mota were proud to welcome the featured guests, Wanda J-Kehewin, Rene Hugo Sanchez, Richard Tylman and Diane Woods in a celebration of the Heart of the City Festival. To hear this great celebration and wonderful poets on air CLICK HERE!
First featured poet:
Wanda John-Kehewin has studied Criminology, Sociology, Aboriginal studies and creative writing with Simon Fraser University’s’ TWS Writing Program. She uses writing as a therapeutic medium to understanding and responding to the near decimation of First Nations culture, language and tradition. She has been published in Quills Poetry, Salish Seas, UBC’s Aboriginal Anthology, SFU’s Emerge anthology. She has shared her writing Co-op Radio and performed at numerous readings throughout the lower mainland, also Reading for The Writer’s Union Guild of Canada. Her work is raw and her honesty is a reflection of the amount of suffering the ancestors of the pasthave endured. She gives her mother a voice who was never heard, but who now has a voice. She credits her children and her own want for healing to be the vehicle to understanding the ripple effects of colonization. The writing process, is her way to bridge the gap between loss and to understand the reasons for those losses. Her first book of poetry “In The Dog House” came out in April 2013. She is also a World Poetry Empowered Poet winner with a Poe-Oscar!
“In The Dog House”, has been written for those who are First Nations who will understand pain and loss through forthright honesty. It has also been written for those who wish to understand about the effects of colonization on a personal level, through a First Nation woman’s perspective. The book contains raw honesty about the loss of culture and finding ways to adapt through reflection and stumbling upon ‘right’ answers. It discusses taboo topics like alcohol addiction, abandonment, religion, sexual abuse and trying to understand it all through the creative writing process and finally giving up the shame and stigma.
“In The Dog House”, is a healing journey of sorts, a way of standing in my truth and a way to give others, like my mother a voice. It is about the love of Mother Nature and the quest for love even when I don’t understand what it is. Can anyone really describe a normal kind of love or a love so perfect without ever having had an example? This book touches on a bit of everything in my being as a First Nations woman searching for the truth and a way to be set free from the past.
The influences to write this book have been my children and the lost children who have lost a parent or both as a way to delve into another’s pain and bring about understanding so the abandonment is not personal anymore, but a life lesson in strength, understanding and leaving space for personal growth for oneself and for future generations. I have also been influenced by friends whose stories are so like my own that I can find the strength to be raw and honest and know I am not alone and that we relate to other human beings through pain, suffering and loss.”
To all the children of residential schools…
I hope your life is filled with love
from here on earth and from above.
I hope you can overcome your fears
through family, friends and many healing tears.
I hope you can find your way back home
where you feel most safe, anywhere you choose
just as long as you can be yourself
to laugh without shame and let go of pain.
I hope you can see the Creator’s plan for you
because you’re still here and learning to love
and sharing your knowledge can bring about change
and a chance to set things right in your heart.
I hope you smile at the little things and pause
and reflect on how much time was needed to bring it forth
because even a flower had to be planted in manure
to blossom into a resilient flower who one day will dissolve back
into the earth but until then, share the beauty and wealth of healing
which is a continuous cycle just like the earth and all her creatures.
Bring forth new smiles, new loves and new lives and reinvent old ways
to give a child the will and strength to push forth into new territory
where it doesn’t hurt to be a child and it doesn’t hurt to laugh
and there’s no shame in being happy and there’s no way to break their hearts,
And it’s ok to be proud because you have taught them how special they
Are to you and to the Creator…*
I hope you know just how strong you are,
Just how resilient,
Just how beautiful,
Just how knowledgeable,
Just how amazing you are to pull forth
your wings to fly again,
to see beauty in the ugliness
because without the pain of yesterday,
You wouldn’t be who you are today…
A teacher, a survivor, a lover of life,
And the keeper of stories of awful days
Second featured poet and great musician! Rene Hugo Sanchez. Born in Apurimac Peru. Rene learned to play mandolin and guitar and recite poetry at age of 5 and started touring at age of 8. Later, he collected more than 100 Andean instruments and learned to play all of them. Rene has performed or recorded with famous singers of all different styles such as Lucho Barrios (Bolero), Conni Viverac (Criollo) Pedro Ferrer (Criollo), Pablucha Venero (Bolero), Latin American), Alicia Alonso (Mexico), Los Monarcas (Latin American), Ayllu (Latin American), Fortaleza (bolivia), Culturas Ancianas (Chile), Edwing Montoya (Folklore- Ayacucho), Pastorita Huaracina(Folklore- Ancash), Princesita de Yungay (Folklore -centro), Sonia Yasmina (Folklore- Cusco), Casador Huanca (Huancayo),etc. Beside his music studies at Superior Institute of Music Leandro Alvina Miranda, He also studied Engineering at San Antonio Abad University and teaching at Santa Rosa Pedagogical Institute. After graduating, Rene was invited to do an international tour which brought him to Canada . In Canada, he studied with Michael Straut (UBC professor), Alan Rainhart at VCC Music Program, Victor Kolsky at Rosario School of Flamenco. Rene has 12 recordings and 3 books of poetry. Rene has performed in more than 200 schools in B.C. and many festivals in and out of Canada. Rene recorded with Vancouver Chamber Choir, Okanagan Festival Singers, Victoria Choir, Kelona Choir, Charlot Diamond, etc. In 1996, Rene was honoured with a medal by the Peruvian Consulate as cultural ambassador of Peru in Canada . In 2004, Rene received a medal and nomination of Artist of the Year in the Latino American community. In this year he was also nominated as the favourite artist of 2004 by Fair Child radio station,. He participated in 2004 Vancouver International Storytelling Festival and the play “In the Time of Miracles” (Enderby, 2004). In 2005, Rene represented Canada with his group “Rene Hugo Y Sus Amigos” to the Nanning International Music Festival (China). Rene has been teaching Classical guitar and other instruments in Canada since 1990. Rene also received a World Poetry Empowered Musician Award in 2012.
by: Rene Hugo Sanchez©
Cielo azul de los Andes Blue sky of the Andes
Cielo azul, cielo Azul! Blue sky, blue sky
Unirme a tus condors quisiera I wish I could join your condors
Y volar, volar y volar And fly, fly and fly
libremente y sin parar Freely high and high
Blue sky of the Rocky Mountain
Blue sky, blue sky
I wish I could join your eagles
And fly, fly and fly
Freely high and high
Condorjina ph’ahuaspacca If I could fly like a condor
Ancajina ph’ahuaspacca If I could fly like an eagle
Ch’ascataracc yupayramuyman I would go to count the stars
Intitaracc muyuyramuyman I would go to circle the Sun
P’itacc ch’ascataracc ccatiriruyman I would go to chase shooting stars
Quillataracc much’ayramuyman I would go to kiss the moon
Third poet: Richard Tylman.
“Richard Tylman, born Ryszard (rí-shárd) Tylman, is a poet, essayist, storyteller, translator, author of articles, essays, and limited editions of poetry in English and Polish languages. Tylman is a bilingual writer. He is also a visual artist from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków who in recent times has focused on studies of the Canadian Westcoast Native mythology. He is an ardent contributor to Wikipedia with special interest in the World War II history of Poland, minority issues, and the human rights.
His poem is about Janusz Korczak, a Holocaust victim, was written by Sandy Cameron, a DTES hero who passed away three years ago, also featured at the Heart of the City festival a few years back on your programme. I will talk about the place and circumstances of Korczak’s martyrology. – During World War II, he assisted children of his orphanage in Warsaw, into the gas chambers of the notorious Treblinka extermination camp in occupied Poland. I wrote about Treblinka extensively for the Wikipedia and can explain its purpose and infrastructure pretty well for our audience.”
Richard was joined by Diane Woods who beautifully read the poem while Richard provided the background information.