Empathic Poetry Café On Seeking Wisdom

Saturday 11 September 6-7pm // The Backyard at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre + Virtual Livestream

This year the Empathic Poetry Café will constitute a 60-minute showcase featuring Indigenous women artists providing expressions centered On Seeking Wisdom. Coming from diverse Indigenous nations and differing life experiences they will perform storytelling and poetry styles addressing unique Indigenous perspectives involving empathic traditions, environmental consciousness, and what it means to them to seek and apply wisdom in their lives.

Hosted by Janet Marie Rogers an award-winning Mohawk writer from Six Nations, the cafe will feature the talents of Alicia Elliott, Jan Longboat, Laura Kooji and Nea Read.


Alicia Elliott is a Mohawk writer living in Brantford, Ontario. She has written for The Globe and Mail, CBC, Hazlitt, and many others. She was chosen by Tanya Talaga as the 2018 recipient of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. Her first book, A Mind Spread Out On The Ground, is a national bestseller.


Jan Kahehti:io Longboat, Turtle Clan of the Mohawk Nation, is an elder, educator, writer, herbalist, cultural advocate, and visionary, having dedicated her life to the dissemination and learning of Indigenous language and culture.

Jan ran a 10-year program called Idawadadi, which won the Aboriginal Healing Foundation’s best practices award, and an outgrowth project entitled Dotah’s House to assist Indigenous women survivors to heal from the abuse of residential schools while strengthening their communities through cultural knowledge.

Frequently called on as a counselor, committee, and board member, Kahehti:io has served on the Centre for Indian Scholars and Association of American Indian Physicians, Chiefswood National Historic Societies Board, Six Nations Elders Council, Kanatsiohare:ke Mohawk Community, and the Children’s Aid Society of Brant, among others. she continues to serve as a board member at the St. Michael’s Hospital Well Living House project in Toronto as well as on the Elders’ councils at the University of Toronto, Enaahtig Healing Lodge and Learning Centre, and the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.

Jan is currently an elder advisor to the Ministry of Justice: Indigenous Peoples’ Court in Brantford. She taught at Mohawk College, McMaster University, and the University of Toronto and has worked with several Indigenous health centres including Wabano, Desdwadadesnye, and SOHAK.


Janet Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from Six Nations of the Grand River. She was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1963 and raised in southern Ontario. Janet traveled throughout 2017 to 2019 working within numerous residencies in Vancouver, British Columbia, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Edmonton, Alberta. Janet is based on the Six Nations of the Grand River territory where she operates the Ojistoh Publishing label. Janet works in page poetry, spoken word performance poetry, video poetry, and recorded poetry with music. She is a radio broadcaster, documentary producer, and media and sound artist. 

Her literary titles include Splitting the Heart, Ekstasis Editions 2007; Red Erotic, Ojistah Publishing 2010; Unearthed, Leaf Press 2011; Peace in Duress, Talonbooks 2014; Totem Poles and Railroads, ARP Books 2016; As Long as the Sun Shines (English edition), Bookland Press 2018 with a Mohawk language edition released in 2019. Ego of a Nation is Janet’s seventh poetry title which she independently produced on the Ojistoh Publishing label in 2020.


Laura Kooji is Anishinaabe, from Nipissing First Nation, Meskwananiisi odoodeman, Redtail Hawk Clan. She was raised, and currently lives in Dish With One Spoon territory. Laura’s first collection of poetry, No Rainbow, was published in 2018. In addition to writing, Laura is a beadwork artist, musician, and community educator. Laura is passionate about Indigenous language revitalization and studies Anishinaabemowin and Kanyen’kehá:ka languages.


Nea Reid is a Vancouver-born Capricorn with Aries rising. Reid is a collaborative stargazer, an impractical idealist, and an artist of protean character. Previous incarnations include sculptor, director, producer, storyteller, and poet. Reid’s work within the city of Hamilton has notably impacted the lives of many budding youth poet voices by providing a local platform upon which they may share their stories and ideas and also have the opportunity to be mentored by some of the countryʼs most gifted and well-established poets. Presently Reid is in the process of creative transmutation.


September 11 @ 18:00
6:00 pm — 7:00 pm

Alicia Elliott, Jan Longboat, Laura Kooji, Nea Read, Janet Rogers

Watch Live – Saturday