The Celebration of Nations Empathic Poetry Café offers creative reflections on the gathering’s theme, which this year is Mighty Niagara and the Great Lakes Watershed. The Poetry Café is proud to feature local and regional writers of great talent whose offerings will reflect upon the theme and other ideas and issues that trigger their creative expression. Although we can’t all assemble in the same location this year, we believe that the LIVE, online virtual reading of their original works will be both poignant and powerful. The 2020 Poetry Café presenters include Tkaronto-based Anishinaabe writer and educator Lena Recollet, Haudenosaunee / Hamilton based poets Cher Obediah and John Hill, and Hamilton Youth Poets Society Director Nea Reid and Poetry Cafe host Mohawk / Tuscarora poet and publisher Janet Rogers.


Janet Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer, spoken word poet, media producer, and performance artist living on the Six Nations Territory of the Grand River. She is the current McMaster University and Hamilton Public Library Writer in Residence (2020-2021) and served as the Victoria Poet Laureate from 2012 to 2014. Janet has launched her seventh published poetry collection Ego of a Nation under her newly established publishing label, Ojistoh Publishing.

Cher Obediah is Seneca / Ojibway Turtle Clan from Six Nations, with roots in Alderville First Nation. She’s a filmmaker, workshop facilitator, writer, speaker, and poet. Born in Brantford, Ontario Cher began acting at age ten. She studied theatre in Toronto at the Native Theatre School and George Brown College. Expanding into television, Cher went on to become a news reporter before immersing herself in Indigenous storytelling and starting her own production company. Cher lends her creative energy to social change, promoting Indigenous culture, domestic violence initiatives, youth driven projects, and motivating others to recognize their worth. She is currently working on releasing her first book of poetry.

John Isaiah Edward Hill is a queer poet and artist from Hamilton, Ontario. He is of the Oneida and Tuscarora Nations and is Turtle clan.

Lena Recollet is Anishinaabe from Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island and currently an educator and artist residing in Tkaronto (Toronto). She is an award-winning artist of multiple disciplines who had mentorship from Buffy Sainte-Marie in 2011. Her most recent land acknowledgement poem is featured on Borelson’s new album As Far As The Eye Can See, which can be found on Spotify.

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. Presently Reid impacts 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 country’s most gifted and well-established poets.

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September 12 @ 17:30
5:30 pm — 6:30 pm

Cher Obediah, Janet Rogers, John Isaiah Edward Hill, Lena Recollet, Nea Reid