The Empathic Poetry Café — This popular program will offer creative reflections on the theme of borders; physical, sociological, and personal. The Café is proud to feature local and regional writers of great talent whose offerings will reflect upon this theme and other ideas and issues that trigger their creative expression. Each year the Café has brought forward extraordinary Indigenous writers, artists, and presenters whose original works have been poignant and powerful. It will once again be curated by Mohawk/Tuscarora poet and publisher January Rogers.


January Rogers

January is a Mohawk/Tuscarora poet, media producer, performance, and sound artist. She lives on her home territory of Six Nations of the Grand River where she operates Ojistoh Publishing and Productions. She has seven published poetry titles and wrote and produced a comedy web series, NDNs on the Airwaves (2022), and a play Blood Sport (2022), currently in development with Factory Theatre and Native Earth Performing Arts. January combines her literary talents with her passion for media making to produce audio and video poetry. Her video poem “Ego of a Nation” won Best Music Video at the American Indian Film Festival in 2020 and her sound piece “The Battle Within” won the Best Experimental Sound prize at the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Festival in 2021. She was Western University’s Writer in Residence (2022/23) and is one of Audible Indigenous Writers Circle mentors for 2022 and 2023.

Roméo Desmarais III

Roméo Desmarais III, aKa RoMeO-HoMeO ô£ tHę MåRtïÃñS >{:), (t/he/y t/he/m) is pr(l)oudly a Muskrat Métis du Grand Lac Ste-Claire, IndigiQueer/2Spirit author, multimedia artist, and singer-songwriter. His poems have found homes on Brickyard Spoken Word YouTube Channel’s “Intersectional Poetica Project” for their National Indigenous History Month Showcase, in Great Lakes Review’s Special Indigenous Print Issue, Pink Disco Magazine, Synkroniciti Magazine, and Oddball Magazine, among others. Their folk song, “John McCauldron,” about a fictional, unsheltered man with mental health challenges, garnered attention from CBC-Radio. Roméo has produced multimedia art exhibits based on his poetry: “textuality,” co-produced with Beth Lyster (Common Ground Gallery, Windsor, 1996), and “MARTIANS INVADE ECLECTIC!!!” (eclectic café, Windsor, Ontario, 1995). They were accepted into this year’s Audible Indigenous Writers Circle, only to then be ejected for purely political reasons. Originally from Treaty 35, Roméo lived on Treaty 6 for seven years, and now lives in what’s colonially known as London, Ontario.

Melissa Schnarr

Melissa Schnarr is Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee from Bkejwanong Territory (Walpole Island First Nation), with family ties in Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She is a scholar, writer, and educator who is currently pursuing a PhD in Indigenous Education at Western University. She is also an instructor at Brescia University College and serves as the chair for Western’s Indigenous Writers’ Circle. Her work has appeared in the Temz Review, TNQ, The Windsor Review, Luna Station Quarterly, and Yellow Medicine Review. Her first poetry chapbook, Secondhand Moccasins, was published in 2023 by Anstruther Press and she has recently been accepted into Audible’s Indigenous Writing Circle, a national mentorship program for emerging Indigenous writers.

Ganohsanohwe Lindsay Bomberry

As a Kanihstensera (mother), intuitive entrepreneur and artist, Ganohsanohwe continues to trail blaze in the restoration movement of onkwe’honweneha by way of language, kaianerekowa governance, and the perpetuation of oral traditions.  She currently is re-emerging as a literary performance artist as her history on stage as the “Onondaga Madonna” marked a period of transforming and transmuting the stereotype perpetuated by Duncan Campbell Scott of the “disappearing Indian” into an authentic representation of the onkwe’hon:we worldview. She is part of the Shodegwaji Eel Clan who ancestrally comes from the Onondaga peoples lands, but have since settled in the community of Ohswé:ken known as Six Nations of the Grand River.

September 9 @ 18:00
6:00 pm — 7:15 pm

Roméo Desmarais III, Melissa Schnarr, Ganohsanohwe Lindsay Bomberry, January Rogers

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