Tag Archives: International Peace Award Ariadne Sawyer

World Poetry Celebrates Producer Selwyn Jacob & The Ninth Floor!

Celebrating Black History Month!

Reprinted from TAN, The Afro News, http://www.theafronews.com/

A must see film and special interview with Selwyn Jacob!

The Ninth Floor, a powerful film of race relations and history, produced by the well known Selwyn Jacob; written and directed by Mina Shum will be shown at the Vancity Theatre, www.viff.org/ February 15-16 at 6:30 pm. Please go see the film!

The Ninth Floor was voted as one of the Top Ten Canadian film and is now showing across Canada.

This 81-minute documentary Ninth Floor revisits the infamous 1969 Sir George Williams Riot at Montreal’s Concordia University, a watershed moment in Canadian race relations. More than four decades later, Shum takes us back to one of the most contested episodes in the nation’s history and listens as protagonists in Trinidad and Montreal set the record straight and lay their burden down. Ninth Floor is written and directed by Mina Shum, produced by Selwyn Jacob and executive produced by Shirley Vercruysse for the NFB’s Pacific and Yukon Centre in Vancouver.”

I was honoured to be able to interview Selwyn Jacob, the producer of the Ninth Floor, who has worked with the National Film Board since 1997 at their Pacific and Yukon Studio in Vancouver and whose mission has been to educate the public through film. The Ninth Floor is one such example.

During the interview with Mr. Jacob, several important points emerged:

The long term connection of the producer to the film, which in some ways has been parallel to his life; the need to portray a balanced and unbiased depiction of the events of the occupation, the ability to make the film now using a Canadian perspective and to get the support needed that he would not be able to get in the 1970’s to make the film.

In addition, the Ninth Floor shows how the participants and the descendents were affected after the event in during the 1969 Sir George Williams Riot. They are still carrying the burden of their experiences of the event. One other element raised in the film was that hateful words do great damage and remain in the mind, long after the event has passed.

In addition, Selwyn Jacob had the following suggestions on improving racial relations:

*Do not prejudge people based on dress or accent. * Be tolerant of others. * Be self reflective in your interactions. *Use the 9th Floor as a cautionary tale.

I would like to thank Selwyn Jacob for his wisdom and insights during the interview.

Mr. Jacob says: “I’ve wanted to make Ninth Floor ever since I became a filmmaker, some forty years ago. I’ve always felt a direct connection to the events at Sir George Williams. I, too, immigrated to Canada from the Caribbean in the late 1960s, and I could easily have ended up in Montreal alongside those students. And with the passage of time, I’ve come to realize how the story resonates for all Canadians.”  Selwyn Jacobs, Producer of the 9th Floor.

Selwyn Jacob has produced close to 50 NFB films such as Crazywater, directed by the Inuvialuit filmmaker Dennis Allen; Hue: A Matter of Colour, a co-production withSepia Films, directed by Vic Sarin; Mighty Jerome, written and directed by Charles Officer; and the digital interactive project Circa 1948, by Vancouver artist Stan Douglas. Released in 2010, Mighty Jerome addresses issues of race and nationalism while paying tribute to Harry Jerome.  One of the His recent credits include Ninth Floor, a feature documentary about the infamous Sir George Williams Riot of 1969. Written and directed by the acclaimed director Mina Shum, it’s a story that Jacob has wanted to bring to the screen for decades.

Sources: The National Film Board, the Afro News and the interview with Mr. Jacob.

World Poetry Celebrates Keith Garebian from Canada!

The World Poetry Café Radio Show with hosts Ariadne Sawyer, MA , Neall Ryon and super operator  Victor Schwartzman, welcomed the Poet on Tour, Keith Garebian in an information packed show of readings and insights into his writing. Also our second guest,  well known Wanda Rae Willis, actress and  singer  phoned in from LA. She will have a separate feature on site.



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Born in Bombay to an Armenian father (a survivor of the Armenian genocide of 1915) and an Anglo-Indian mother, KEITH GAREBIAN immigrated to Canada with his family in 1961. After obtaining his Ph.D. from Queen’s, he began his professional career as freelance literary and theatre critic, and has in the course of this long career been published in over 100 newspapers, journals, magazines, and anthologies. He is the author of six poetry collections (Reservoir of Ancestors (Mosaic), Frida: Paint Me As A Volcano/Frida: Un Volcan de Souffrance (Buschek), Blue: The Derek Jarman Poems (Signature), Children of Ararat (Frontenac), Moon on Wild Grasses (Guernica), and Georgia and Alfred (Quattro). He has also published fifteen books of non-fiction, including a memoir, Pain: Journeys Around My Parents, (of his parents), a political satire (Accidental Genius), and ground breaking works on classic Broadway musicals. His poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, such as Poet to Poet, Implicate Me, Tributaries, Seminal, Exile, The Malahat Review, Literary Review of Canada, Rampike, Quarry, The Antigonish Review, and Freefall.  He made the long list twice for the Re-Lit Award for poetry, the short lists for the Freefall magazine and Gwendolyn MacEwen-Exile Poetry Awards, and has won numerous awards, including the William Saroyan Medal (Armenia), the Naji Namaan Literary Honour Prize (Lebanon), three Mississauga Arts Awards (Established Literary), Canadian Authors Association (Niagara Branch) Poetry Awards, a Dan Sullivan Memorial Poetry Award, a William H. Drummond Poetry Award, and the Surrey International Writers Poetry Award. He has also won numerous writing grants from the Ontario Arts Council, and a senior arts grant from the Canada Council to complete a theatre biography of William Hutt. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario, and posts reviews of the arts on his website, www.stageandpage.com, where readers can peruse his C.V.

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  Co-host Laura Kelsey presenting a World Poetry Certificate of appreciation to Keith.

World Poetry Celebrates Dr. Stephen Gill from Canada!

10407994_10152965612954115_2292654902904667514_nAriadne’s Notes:  The World Poetry Café Radio Show with producer Ariadne Sawyer and Co host Neall Ryon along with super operator Victor  welcomed  WPCI Advisor Dr. Stephen Gill from Cornwall, Ontario in an information packed show about sonnets. 

*** CLICK HERE for the radio link!

Bharat-2 (3)Stephen Gill, self-exiled poet and novelist who writes mostly about peace, was born in Sialkot, now in Pakistan. When India was divided in 1947, his parents moved to New Delhi, the capital of India, to be in a safer area. The family never saw good days after the division of India. Remorseless brutalities on both sides of the border hardened the hearts of both the Hindus and Muslims, resulting in an intense atmosphere also for Christians. Stephen Gill began to find ways to run away from the murderous religious rage to grow as a creative writer in a fearless atmosphere. He says it was a miracle to receive a teacher’s position in Ethiopia. After teaching for three years, he migrated to England before settling in Canada in the early sixties.

In Canada, he kept finding ways to deepen the field of his writing that had been his passion all his life. He began to realize that careful revisions shape a good literature.

He has authored now more than twenty books, including novels, literary criticism, and collections of poems and his poetry and prose have appeared in more than one thousand publications. He writes mostly in English. Once in a while, he writes poetry in Urdu, Hindi and Panjabi languages. He has also written and published book reviews and research papers on writers. Some of his Urdu/Hindi poems have been sung with music by prominent singers of Pakistan and India in three albums. Twelve critical studies have been edited and released on his works and more are being  edited to be released shortly.

He has received recognitions, including The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal from Canada; and Empowered Peace Poet Award from World Poetry Canada, headquartered in British Columbia. Stephen Gill, Poet Laureate of Ansted University and an Adjunct Professor of EAU, has appeared in prestigious national and international reference books. Indira Kala Sangit University (IKSU) officially established the Centre for Stephen Gill Studies on April 21, 2012 in an impressive gathering of intellectuals. The gathering was chaired by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Dr. Mandvi Singh. She called it a historical move of the university to establish this centre for scholars to pursue their higher studies on Stephen Gill.

He has been a judge for poetry competitions, and evaluates dissertations of English Literature for doctoral students of universities in India to buy food to feed his passion. He has been the subject of numerous literary essays, books and doctoral studies. He is also honorary editor/advisor to several publications, and has edited publications. Stephen Gill is former president of Vesta Publications Ltd.; the Canadian Authors Association (the Cornwall, Ont. Branch); a national vice president of the World Federalists of Canada; the Multicultural Council of Stormont and Dundas; chief delegate to represent the World University for Canada; the Christian Cultural Association of South Asians,  Cochair of Downtown Improvement Business Area (DBIA) of Cornwall, Ont. Canada; and a director of the Children’s Aid Society of the United Counties of SD&G (Canada).

Stephen Gill has not said much about his early life, because that is to reincarnate the silent wrenching pains, he says. He however has painted some gruesome realities of these silent wrenching pains in the prefaces of his collections of poems, including Songs Before Shrine, and Shrine as well as in the introduction to his modern epic on terrorism The Flame. He has touched those gruesome realities also in his interviews and depicted here and there in his novel The Coexistence. It is the bitterness of the water of the early life that runs in the arteries of Stephen Gill’s writings. That bitterness in different forms often emerge in his dreams even now. He does not want to see that bitterness happening again in his life.

A self-exiled poet/fiction writer, Stephen Gill also says he is a Trishanku, a Hindu mythological character. He still hears the sound of spring in the stillness of the autumn.

Stephen Gill says that a sonnet is a lyrical poem on love. It has roots in Italy.  Its  pioneer Francesco Petrarch was not able to find a poetic form to express his love for Laura. The form that he uses is of 14 lines in a concentrated structure with a definite rhyming scheme. His form became popular with Elizabethan poets, including William Shakespeare. Elizabethan sonnets are of fourteen lines, divided into two parts, the first part of 8 lines and the second part of six lines.  William Shakespeare modified  his  format slightly.   Later, Gerard Manly Hopkins, a Jesuit, among Victorians, introduces some changes, but the subject remains unchanged. Modern writers attempt sonnets also in blank verse.

Stephen Gill’s sonnets of twelve lines each are based, as are traditional sonnets, on love. Some words from the beginning of the first line form the heading.  In his collection of his own sonnets Love is the singer of life, he changes  the format of the sonnet to suit his purpose.  In other words, he change bottles, but the wine remains the same.  His sonnets are aligned to the left and right sides in the same way as in prose.  He  believes love is a singer of life. He  also believes that love and peace walk side by side and where there is no love there is sickness in every shape and where there is sickness there is no peace– neither personal nor national. It is in the interest of every human to follow the path of love for personal health and governments are  expected  to maintain  peace to nourish a meaningful life and prosperity.   Dr. Gill says that literary critics find elements in his poems that bring them close to Sufi poetry which developed as a religious phenomenon around one thousand years ago.  Sufism existed in every age in some form as love and wisdom existed as did also the messengers of God. He adds that love as its subject and also lyricism remain unchanged. Because of these two elements, the sonnet is called an English ghazal. Sonnet comes from the Italian word sonata that means a little song. Ghazal means conversation with women and was originated in Persia and is popular in India and Pakistan mainly with Urdu poets. It is also lyrical and is often sung or presented in melody. He has loosened some strict structural parts to make his sonnets flexible to meet his requirements. However love and lyrical elements remain unloosened. He believes that to find the lyrical aspect a poem should be read out loud. If the poem does not sound lyrical when read out loud, then it is definitely not a sonnet.

To him lyricism is the expression of deep emotions and feelings in artistic ways. This is to make the expression appear beautiful or more beautiful. The beauty may be in the character or in the style. Any object, such as a flower or the moon, can be lyrical. At the same time, the object can appear lyrical to one person and non-lyrical to another. A poem is subjective as far as its beauty is concerned. A flower, such as rose, may look beautiful to one and not to another.

In the delicious blazing sun I am deluged with your quiet reverie. Your mysterious presence is the rustle in nature’s healthy vibrations in every color and every shape which remind me of the words we exchanged. From the reeds in the garden of the calm in your sights I prepare a pipe to play a thoughtful euphony in your praise. I wish to furbish the altar of my fantasies with the flower of your rich blush of rose. I am free from physical confines when we are confidentially so close.  “