Tartan Turban Secret Readings #25

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time



Barrett and Welsh

577 Kingston Road

Suite #301

Toronto, ON M4E 1R3


View Map

Event description


COVID-19 Update: We regret to announce that this Tartan Turban Secret Reading of political poetry has been postponed to October 2020. We are working with our featured writers to fix an exact date in October and we will be sure to let you know once this is certain. We are deeply grateful for your support and remain concerned for your health and well-being. We are exploring an online format for the Tartan Turban Secret Readings during the duration of the states of emergency that have been declared in Toronto and Ontario and hope to invite you to our online readings very soon. Stay tuned for updates! And please stay well, stay safe and stay home.

You are invited to a Political Poetry Reading at the 25th session of The Tartan Turban Secret Readings, curated by Kate Rogers and Bänoo Zan, featuring Al Moritz, Andrea Thompson, Diana Manole and Lisa Richter.


Kate Rogers’ poems have appeared in Understorey Magazine; World Literature Today; Cha: An Asian Literary Journal; Algebra of Owls; Juniper; The Guardian; Asia Literary Review; Kyoto Journal and the Montreal International Poetry Prize Anthology, among other publications. Her work recently featured in “Poetry I I Pause”, the daily poem from the League of Canadian Poets. Kate’s poem “John and the Book of Kells” won first prize in the 2019 Trinity College Dublin Book of Kells Competition. Her poem "The Giraffe-bone Knife Set" was short-listed for the ROOM 2019 Poetry Contest. Kate’s latest poetry collection is Out of Place, Aeolus House (Quattro Books), 2017. She recently repatriated to Canada after teaching college-level language- through-literature, creative writing, EAP, cultural studies and communications courses for more than 20 years in Hong Kong, and mainland China. Kate is a facilitator with the Toronto Writers Collective and volunteers with the Shab-e She’r Reading Series. She can be found on Facebook at “Kate Rogers”.

Bänoo Zan is a poet, librettist, translator, teacher, editor and poetry curator, with more than 200 published poems and poetry-related pieces as well as three books. Song of Phoenix: Life and Works of Sylvia Plath, was reprinted in Iran in 2010. Songs of Exile, her first poetry collection, was released in 2016 in Canada by Guernica Editions. It was shortlisted for Gerald Lampert Memorial Award by the League of Canadian Poets in 2017. Letters to My Father, her second poetry book, was published in 2017 by Piquant Press in Canada. She is the founder of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), Toronto’s most diverse poetry reading and open mic series (inception: 2012). It is a brave space that bridges the gap between communities of poets from different ethnicities, nationalities, religions (or lack thereof), ages, genders, sexual orientations, disabilities, poetic styles, voices and visions. You can follow her here on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Lisa Richter is a poet, writer, English as a Second Language teacher, and facilitator with the Toronto Writers Collective. She is the author of a book of poetry, Closer to Where We Began, and a chapbook, intertextual. Her poetry and non-fiction have appeared in literary journals and anthologies in Canada and the U.S., including The New Quarterly, The Puritan, The Malahat Review, Literary Review of Canada, Minola Review, Crab Creek Review, and Canthius. Her next book of poetry is forthcoming with Frontenac House in Fall 2020.

Diana Manole is a Romanian-Canadian scholar, literary translator, and award-winning author of nine books of poetry and drama in her native Romania. Her poetry in English has been published in magazines and anthologies in Europe, the UK, the U.S., Mexico, South Africa, and Canada and in the English-Romanian B & W (Tracus Arte 2015). Her second bilingual collection of poems will be published in Canada by Grey Border Books in September 2015.

Andrea Thompson has been publishing and performing her work for over twenty-five years. In 1995 she was featured in the documentary, Slamnation and in 2005 her spoken word CD, One, was nominated for a Canadian Urban Music Award. She was the 2009 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word’s Poet of Honour, was host of the television series, Heart of a Poet, and is author of the novel Over Our Heads, the collection, Eating the Seed and the chapbook, Evidence. Thompson has written numerous critical essays on spoken word and is currently teaching through the University of Toronto’s continuing studies department, CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) and Workman Arts. In 2019, she released her CD, Soulorations and later that year won the League of Canadian Poets’ Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award for Excellence. Visit Andrea's site to read more or click here to follow her on Instagram.

A F Moritz's most recent books of poems are As Far As You Know (2020) and The Sparrow: Selected Poems (2020), both from House of Anansi Press. He has published twenty volumes of poetry and his work has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Award in Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Bess Hokin Award of Poetry magazine, and has three times been selected a finalist for the Governor General's Award, among other honours. He is presently the Poet Laureate of the City of Toronto, the sixth poet to hold that office.

For updated information and author headshots, follow our Facebook group and our Facebook event page.


Open mic:

To participate in the TTSR #25 political poetry open mic, we have a very special selection process in place as we only have a small number of open mic slots available.

While we invite all poets who write political poetry to respond, we prioritize poets who identify themselves as indigenous, black or persons of colour. As our featured poets did, open mic poets are asked to thoughtfully respond to any one of these questions in poetry. Your poem/s should not take more than 4 minutes to perform:

  1. In your opinion, what is political poetry? How do you define it? What is the relationship between poetry and politics?

  2. What kind of political poetry do you write — poetry of resistance, poetry of witness, protest poetry, poetry on human rights violations, cultural appropriation, colonialism, etc.? What are your political poems about?

  3. Do you write poetry criticizing your country of origin or your culture? Are you critical of yourself / your community, country, or the group you identify with as well as those who you think discriminate against you / those you consider outsiders or different?

Please email your submissions to krkatestail@gmail.com and rghrhino@gmail.com

The deadline for open mic submissions is April 2nd.

The ambience at our readings is intimate, extremely informal and very supportive. Open mic readers are given 4 minutes in total, including a brief introduction to themselves and their work. There are detailed open mic guidelines posted in our FB group.

Open mic readers who have published works they would like to offer for sale are free to mention it on finishing their readings.


About The Tartan Turban Secret Readings: Barrett and Welsh hosts a (not so) “secret" reading series on its rather lovely open-air office rooftop deck while it's warm, and in its large open concept studio space in colder weather.

The Tartan Turban Secret Readings feature poetry, drama and prose readings that celebrate Canadian multicultural writing created by multicultural, minority and BIPoC writers. The idea is to provide a platform for BIPoC writers who have very few such platforms. At the same time, all writers who want to celebrate Canada’s multiculturalism, literary diversity and indigenous heritage, and have talent to share, are welcomed.

Curators change from reading to reading. If you would like to read or curate, contact Gavin Barrett or Mayank Bhatt, who are co-curators for the series.

The sessions are often photographed, filmed or streamed on FB/YouTube live and recordings will eventually be posted on YouTube and the series website. Please be aware that by attending this event, you agree to be photographed and/or filmed and give permission to use your likeness in promotional and/or marketing materials.


Seating: For those wishing to attend, please note that our indoor space can comfortably accommodate no more than 35 people (including our features).

Refreshments: Barrett and Welsh does provide complimentary drinks and light snacks. But in keeping with the community-centric spirit of the series, we encourage attendees to bring and/or share their beverages and snacks. Please carry your own drinking cups/glasses, as we avoid the use of disposables unless they are biodegradable. Filtered water is available to all.

Entry: Please arrive before seven and encourage your guests to do the same. If they arrive later, they may need to text one of us to let them in. Contact info will be posted on the door; we’ll swing by in 10 min intervals (sorry!)

Accessibility: Barrett and Welsh’s offices are at the top of an office building that has been repurposed from what was once a large old house, so there are a couple of steep flights of stairs to get in. If you (or any guests) have mobility challenges, please be aware that you may need a helping hand up the stairs, as there is no elevator. Please let us know if we can be of assistance. We do our best to compensate (poorly) for our lack of wheelchair accessibility by either live-streaming the event or posting videos of the reading to our Facebook group after the reading is done.

Want to receive updates on the next reading? Follow our FB group for updates on the next session and the link to the Eventbrite registration page for each reading. (we do ask that you register if you plan to attend). You can also sign up for our email list here.


About Barrett and Welsh: Barrett and Welsh is a minority-led, creativity-powered, change-making ad agency that puts ideas first to make ideas last. A certified B Corporation, it has specialty practices in inclusion communications (mainly multicultural/visible minority and persons with disabilities) and sustainable urban development (mostly transit and economic development).

About the series co-curators:

Mayank Bhatt and Gavin Barrett curate the Tartan Turban Secret Readings.

Mayank Bhatt's first novel Belief was published in 2016 by MG Vassanji’s Mawenzi House press. The novel explores youth radicalization and alienation, and the impact of terrorism on a family in the context of the failure of immigration and settlement framework in Canada. Mayank Bhatt immigrated to Toronto in 2008 from Mumbai (Bombay), where he worked as a journalist. His short stories have been published in TOK 5: Writing the New Toronto and Canadian Voices II. In Canada, he has worked as a security guard, as the Chief Administrative Officer of the Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce and as an organizer for the Festive of South Asian Literature and Art. He lives in Toronto with his family.

Gavin Barrett was born in Bombay and lived in Hong Kong for several years before immigrating to Canada. Gavin’s poetry has been published in Reasons for Belonging (Viking Penguin India), an anthology of 14 Indian poets; the Pen India journal; The Folio; The Independent (Bombay); The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad; and Poiesis, the Bombay Poetry Circle journal. He was a contributing writer to This|ability, a book on Canada’s art brut and outsider artists. He is the host and the founder and series co-curator (with Mayank Bhatt) of the Tartan Turban Secret Readings, a series promoting BIPoC writers. He is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of idea consultancy and brand advertising agency Barrett and Welsh. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Canadian Authors Association (Toronto) and an associate member of The League of Canadian Poets. Understan (Mawenzi House), his first collection of poems, launches this spring. You can read more about Gavin in the organizer note below.

The Tartan Turban Secret Readings gratefully acknowledges the support of the League of Canadian Poets and the Canada Council for the Arts at this Poetry Month session of the Tartan Turban Secret Readings.

League of Canadian Poets logo

Canada Council for the Arts logo

Share with friends

Date and Time


Barrett and Welsh

577 Kingston Road

Suite #301

Toronto, ON M4E 1R3


View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved