Robertson Theatre

The Empathic Poetry Café is a 90-minute showcase featuring Indigenous artists from diverse nations performing storytelling and poetry styles addressing unique Indigenous perspectives involving empathic traditions and environmental consciousness.

Each presenter will share two, five-minute pieces in a round-robin line-up style rotating through the program to produce a lively and engaging program.

Robertson Theatre will be transformed into a poetry coffeehouse with cabaret seating, round tables, sofas, and soft lighting. Groove to the rhymes and rhythms of spoken word artists as they convey their expressions concerning the importance of protecting the environment and on the conduct required of human beings to secure a sustainable living earth for future generations.

Artists will have merchandise available for sale.

Hosted by Janet Marie Rogers.

Janet Marie Rogers

Janet Marie Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora poet, spoken word, performance artist and media producer from the Six Nations of the Grand River. She mentors and teaches in the capacity of creative writing as a means to increase the presence of Indigenous voice which is much needed on the current literary landscape. Janet has authored six published poetry books with her current title As Long As the Sun Shines, Bookland Press, available in English, Mohawk, and audio companion editions.

Dennis “D-Scribe” Scherle

Dennis “D-Scribe” Scherle is a mixed spoken word poet of Ojibwe, Mi’kmaq, and Blackfoot descent. D-Scribe has competed nationally in festivals such as the Canadian Individual Poetry slam in both 2017 and 2018, where he made final stage. The Canadian Festival of spoken word in Guelph, Peterborough, and Winnipeg where in Guelph he accompanied the HYP team to second place in the nation.

D-Scribe was a member of the Voices of Today National Champion HYP team in 2017 and is the only two-time Grand Slam Champion of Hot Damn It’s A Queer Slam. D-Scribe has competed in Washington D.C. for Capturing Fire the International Queer Championship twice where he performed on Final Stage. He strives to use the lens of spoken word to talk about the things that matter to him and his community.

Danielle Boissoneau

Danielle Boissoneau is an Anishnaabekwe wordsmith, storyteller ,and performer. She speaks truth to power and uses inflectional, vibrational truth to to tell her stories, Danielle has recently performed at Tipi Confessions in Toronto and has poetry published in the upcoming edition of Indigenous Storytellers issue of Grain Magazine.

Kahsenniyo Tahnee Williams

Kahsenniyo Tahnee Williams is part of the Mohawk Nation, wolf clan from Six Nations territory.

As an artist, her personal experiences have molded her. She began utilizing her poetry as a tool for social change and community engagement in 2008. Her work is focused around the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (North America). It also aims to educate non-Indigenous peoples to create moments of healing and understanding for Indigenous peoples.

Kay’la Fraser

Life’s a series of exquisite, complex moments masterfully knit together. Kay’la Fraser’s work dares to tug at the strings to reveal how they’re all connected. She is a passionate, free-spirited and dedicated award-winning spoken word artist, published poet, arts educator and yoga teacher. For over 10 years, Kay’la has worked in the greater arts community. Through public performance and education, program development and outreach, she strives to create an accessible and inclusive space in which beings are entertained, inspired and challenged. Kay’la is a firm believer that art is a powerful form of expression, as well as a catalyst for change. Her work aims to bridge the gap between the barriers that exist socially and economically in order to usher us all to a place of healing and transformation.