Tag Archives: TAN-The Afro News.

World Poetry Celebrates Unarmed Verses-A Must See Doc at VIFF!



A Must See Documentary at VIFF! Unarmed Verses by Ariadne Sawyer, MA.

Showing at the festival: Wednesday, October 4, 1 p.m.  SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

Friday, October 6,  p.m. Rio Theatre.

Charles Officer’s Unarmed Verses presents a thoughtful and vivid portrait of a community facing imposed relocation, taking a look at marginalized Toronto Community Housing residents in the city’s north-east end. At the centre of the story is a remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old black girl. The  documentary Unarmed Verses made its world premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival  and now at VIFF festival. The films poignant observations about life, the soul, and the power of art give voice to those rarely heard in society weaves through it like a beautiful tapistery. Unarmed Verses is produced by Lea Marin and executive produced by Anita Lee for the NFB’s Ontario Studio. Source NFB.

In viewing the film; the courage, intelligence and capability of the young girl,  Francine Valentine who cared for her family and was able to see clearly what was happening as her community is re-located to build condos which would be too expensive for any of the community to buy was very powerful

 She is an talented poet, student and shining light in the world.  It is wonderful that she has been accepted into an arts school and will become an amazing asset to Canadian society.

As she mentioned in the documentary: “Youth need to learn to empower themselves. It is important to have someone believe in them .”

Earlier, I had a wonderful interview with Charles Officer about this well done, sensitive and empowering documentary. He spoke of the need for governments and communities to realize the powerful effects that their decisions make on marginalized people and talked about  his commitment to the problems of gentrification, economics and the need to for their stories to be heard. Charles is an amazing director with many credits and part of the  upcoming TV series 21 Thunder which began June 19th. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6145878/fullcredits

Officer has also done such documentaries as Mighty Jerome, the NFB feature on Canadian sprinter Harry Jerome, the recent CBC documentary The Skin We’re In, and the drama feature Nurse. Fighter. Boy, which garnered 10 Genie nominations in 2008.

For an insightful interview. http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/why-i-direct-charles-officer-1.4096127

 Current update on Unarmed Verses after HotDocs from Katja De Bock, NFB.

Unarmed Verses opened the 14th EIDF Documentary Film Festival in Seoul, Korea. The film was well received. Similar matters around revitalization, disconnection between citizens, developers and lawmakers is  happening across the country as well.  This is a worldwide problem and that needs to be addressed.

Unarmed Verses was screened at Toronto City Hall and hosted by Councillor Shelley Carroll, who also appears in the film. Council members were present, but Mayor John Tory was absent. I have been trying to get him to come see the film, but no luck. I have a lot of respect for Councillor Carroll, it was brave of her to initiate the screening and communicate how much she did learn from the film, and taking in the experience of those living it. Sydney, Q’mal and Lavane were present and had an opportunity to update Council members on the aftermath of revitalization. 

A great doc to see! Previously reviewed on The World Poetry Café Radio Show, 105.FM CFRO and was linked to www.worldpoetry.ca  and published in the Afro News http://www.theafronews.com/a-must-see-documentary-at-viff-unarmed-verses/

What’s next for Charles Officer:

He is  currently in production with a new feature documentary, Invisible Essence: Le Petit Prince. The film explores the mystery and magic of the universally popular novella written by Antoine de St. Exupery. Also re-writing a mini-series adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s Don of a Smaller Hero.  Charles is a talented filmmaker who has an important message to the world.


World Poetry is honoured to present activist Ahjamu Um from the US!

Author/Activist Ahjamu Umi with The Courage Equation!

May 18, 2015 by Ariadne Sawyer

Exciting News! Reporter Ariadne Sawyer for the TAN The Afro News !


Due to a death in his family, activist Ahjamu Um was unable to come. Our love and prayers go out to him in this time of need and support. We hope he can come at a later date.

Writer on Tour from Portland, Oregon. Author/activist Ahjamu Um with The Courage Equation!

Listen to the World Poetry radio show interview with Ahjami on June 9th, 9 pm on CFRO, 100.5 fm. * Author and poet Roger Blenman was able to fill in for him on the show.

June 13, World Poetry Vancouver, June 13th, Britannia Public Library. 1-3 pm. Book signing, refreshment, free book raffle!

Unfortunately the launch was also cancelled.

Hosts: Lina Fanat and Roger Blenman.

On December 10, 2014, Raider International Publishing House in New York, NY, released The Courage Equation. This 542 page literary fiction piece is an extremely creative and clever narrative centered on issues of white supremacy and patriarchy with a suspense filled story-line.

The adventure is told through the eyes of Boahinmaa Omawale. She and her husband Adisa organize a group of activists from Accra, Ghana, and the San Francisco, Bay Area, to unite to carry out a clandestine seek and destroy mission against the leaders of a violent white supremacist group in Oregon after a growing number of young Black boys start turning up missing.

The power of this book is in its courage in addressing the elephant in the room in oppressed communities and social justice movements; the role of patriarchy in subjugating the women in those communities and movements. Boahinmaa and the other women in this story address sexism from their male comrades during the mission, and other critical issues such as rape culture, in head on and thoughtful ways that give all of us reasons to rethink and challenge how we understand those issues. In addition, a unique aspect of this story is the positive way in which Africa is represented. Strong women and men in Ghana, who are focused on self-determination and independence, are the foundation of the community Boahinmaa and Adisa live in. Boahinmaa, as a white woman in an interracial relationship who lives in Africa, gives perspective on how to exist within an African organization in a healthy and productive way. Plus, her honest and intimate interactions with Black women provide classic insight into those relationships that are rarely explored in literature and popular culture. Finally, the group’s bold decision to unapologetically fight fire with fire is an urgent departure from the dominant narrative that oppressed communities must always suffer silently or at least non-violently.

The Courage Equation is the second novel published by author/activist Ahjamu Umi. The book can be purchased through all online book sites and by order through any bookstore. More information about the dynamic activist work by the author, including information on his activist and literary workshops, can be found through his website at www.abetterworld.me

A wonderful light in the world!

Source : The Afro News.

World Poetry Canada International Festival News!

With permission from Jaypee Belarmino





World Poetry International Festival News & Events for the International Peace Festival in May.

World Poetry New Westminster Night Out  National Poetry Month 2ndAnnual Poetathon! Bring your Poems! Nonstop poetry! Break a record! Give a Gift Poem!April  25th, 6:30 pm,With our Partners the New Westminster Public Library6: 30 PM, 716-6th Avenue(Auditorium Room)New Westminster, BC, Canada.Hosts Ariadne Sawyer & Selene Bertelsen. Special guests: Dr. Ray Hsu. Timothy Shay. Pancho and Sal. Duke Ashrafuzzaman. World Poetry Reclamador Award: Tony Antonias.Poetathon : Sign up at 6:20 pm Book raffle. Refreshments. All free! Diversity & multilingual readings. www.worldpoetry.ca ariadnes@uniserve.ca

May 4, World Poetry Exhibit at Irving K. Barber Center, UBC Library) Vancouver BC.

World Poetry Poetic Necklace Exhibit, World Poetry Peace Poems, Photos and Art featured in the  at Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia http://tiny.cc/PCcf2b  A signature program of Asian Heritage Month, May 4 – May 25, 2012

Curated by  Ariadne Sawyer; World Poetry Society in partnership with VAHMS, this exhibition will present A Poetic Necklace of peace poems from around the world  and photographs from award winning photographers displayed on the walls of IKE Cafe in the UBC Library.  150 gift poems will also be available with a posted address for visitors to” a create a peace poem” and send it to ariadnes@uniserve.com Selected poems will be read on The World Poetry Cafe Radio Show and put in the  www.worldpoetry.ca site. Award Winning Photos/art by : Jaypee Belarmino, Zayra Yves, Neamat Haidari, Jesus Salgueiro, Ibrahim Honjo, Janet Kvammen, Yilin Wang, Peter Lojewski , Mamta Agarwal and Caroline Nazareno.

May 5th, World Poetry Richmond Celebrates Peace! Hosts: Peter Lojewski and Pasang Dawa Lama Sherpa( World Poetry Youth Team member, Nepal) 2:30-4:30 pm. Poet Profile by Bong Ja, featured poets, workshop. Richmond Cultural Centre.

May 23, World Poetry  Night Out Celebrates Peace!6:30 pm, with our Partners the New Westminster Public Library, 6: 30 PM, 716-6th Avenue(Auditorium Room)New Westminster, BC, Canada. Features: International Poets welcomed by local poets! Hosts: Heidi Mueller and Ariadne Sawyer.  Open mike: sign up at 6:20 pm Book raffle. Refreshments. All free! Diversity & multilingual readings
Info: 604-526-4729 www.worldpoetry.ca ariadnes@uniserve.com

World Poetry Canada International Festival!

May 25, Richmond Cultural Centre, 6:30-8:30 pm. Theme: Inspire Peace ! Opening. Welcome International visitors.  Greetings by partners. Dance by Koyali Burman, Presentation of Lifetime Achievment  award and others, readings. Light refreshments.

May 26th, Richmond Cultural Centre: 10:30 am-4:30 pm.: Theme: Achieve Peace!  Addresses by Dr. Stephan Gill and Ashok Bhargava on Peace. Poetry readings and book launches  by International poets and  local partner poetry groups. Awards, dances by Jasmine dance group. Light refreshments in the afternoon. World Poetry Youth Team will host  Achieving Peace, an interactive panel.

May 26, Theme : Celebrate Peace!  This will be a special dinner seating at 6:30 pm. Please specify (chicken or vegitarian)  Meet and with the international poets and guests from several countries,  network, read your  poetry,  buy books from the book launches, listen to music and dance!

The Executive Hotel right across from the Quality Hotel. Hours 5:30 pm-1 am.  Cost for  Meet the Interantional poets celebration including dinner: $35.00 or special: two tickets for $60.00! Get your ticket now at the shopping cart!  For more information, contact ariadnes@uniserve.com

If you want to buy  tickets or sponsor a poet with a ticket,  we will send you a thank you World Poetry Certificate.

 We will have  an empowering, harmonious and peaceful festival!

World Poetry in kind Sponsors and partners:  Exclusive Media Sponsor: CTV.  Print Sponsor: TAN-The Afro News. Partners:   Signature partner: Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society, The Vancouver Tagore Society, Jasmine Dance Group, Canada Council for the Arts, The Writer’s Union, Rice Paper Magazine, The Asian Canadian Writer’s Workshop, The Airport Quality Inn Hotel, Aboriginal Writer’s Collective West Coast. Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia (UBC Library)

*These are  Sponsors and partners in kind, we do not receive any money from them, only services in kind.*  However, their help is gratefully appreciated.

With support from the City of Richmond.