The Tartan Turban Secret Readings: A Political Poetry Reading

Due to COVID-19 this Political Poetry Reading has been postponed to October 2020. We thank you for your patience until then.

Originally planned as the 25th session of The Tartan Turban Secret Readings this Political Poetry Reading, curated by Kate Rogers and Bänoo Zan, and featuring Al Moritz, Andrea Thompson, Diana Manole and Lisa Richter has been postponed to October 2020.

Date and Time To be announced..

Please book a seat at this TTSR’s Eventbrite page once bookings go live. Tickets are free.

Venue Barrett and Welsh, 577 Kingston Road, Suite #301, Toronto, ON M4E 1R3. View Map


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 LinkedInFacebook, 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 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 and

The deadline for open mic submissions will be announced shortly.

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.