Pat Connors- Toronto, Canada 2013

ORGANIZER: Pat Connors




Saturday, September 28, 2013
1:00pm until 4:00pm in EDT
PWYC, $10 suggested


Bänoo Zan

Ayesha Chatterjee

Ali Abbas

Susan Jameel

Karim Sha’alan

Sean Ratcliffe

Sharang Naman

Ikhwan Allani

Steve Hall

In Honour of Charles Roach


Saturday, September 28, 2013
8:00pm until 11:00pm in EDT
Victory Cafe
581 Markham St, Toronto, Ontario M6G2L7

Doors open at 7:00

Come for dinner and bring a friend!


Robert Priest

Max Layton

Anna Yin

David Day

Nik Beat

Luciano Iacobelli

Jeannine Pitas

Dane Swan

Terry Barker

Ewan Whyte

Norman Cristofoli


In Honour of Charles Roach

100 Thousand Poets for Change Toronto
Iraqi and Irani Poets Collaborate at Beit Zatoun

Patrick Connors, Toronto – On Saturday, September 28th, I had the honour of hosting an event at Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham Street in Toronto. This was promoted under the 100,000 Poets for Change banner, and held in honour of Charles Roach, great lawyer and civil rights activist, who passed away on October 2, 2012.

“I was particularly inspired by two features of the event,” said performer Steve Hall. “First of all, the fact that thousands and thousands of artists around the world were gathering on this day advocating for a more human world; and second, I was touched that so many artists had fond and appreciative memories of my dear friend and mentor Charles Roach.”

Hall played guitar in his typically accessible fashion, providing a contrast with the otherwise purely poetic performances which really rounded out the afternoon.

What made this event even more remarkable was the participation of a wonderful group of ethnically diverse people. Not only was there representation from the Canadian, First Nations, and Southeast Asian communities, but memorable performances were given by poets of Iranian, Kurdish, and Iraqi backgrounds.

“It was an amazing event with incredibly talented performers,” Basil Al-Hilly said. “It reflects the diversity in Canada and it shows how human beings can be united by a common cause, regardless of race or gender. Imagine, Iraqi and Iranian poets performing in the same place – who would think this could have happened 20 yrs ago?”

The 100 000 Poets for Change event was started at the grassroots level by Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion of Santa Rosa, California, four years ago. Since then, it has become a worldwide phenomenon, with events held in dozens of countries around the world.

“I think it is clear that the 100 Thousand Poets for Change movement is successful globally because it invites all artists, all people, who care a bout a better world, to get involved in making a positive change,” Rothenberg said. “By its nature, 100TPC celebrates many cultures and hopes to break down cultural barriers. It hopes to bridge race, religion, nationality, and gender with a recognition that we must work together if we are to survive on this planet. It is evident that Toronto has embraced diversity in its local program and has recognized the value that diversity brings to revitalizing world culture. Toronto is a beacon of what is possible.”

Talks of making the Beit Zatoun collaboration into an ongoing and growing project have already begun. This promises to expand the horizons of everyone involved, including my own.

I could not have done this without the support and efforts of Al-Hilly, Omid Zand, Robert Massoud, the proprietor of Beit Zatoun, and Sheniz Janmohamed, whose marvellous Sufi Poets Series introduced me to some of the participants.

It is this spirit of collaboration which establishes community, especially where there hasn’t been one before. This is what poetry can accomplish. This is the Canada I believe in.

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