The Tartan Turban Secret Readings #27: A Political Poetry Reading

The 27th Tartan Turban Secret Reading is a political poetry Reading, curated by Kate Rogers and Bänoo Zan, and featuring Al Moritz, Andrea Thompson, Diana Manole and Lisa Richter and will take place online on 23rd October 2020.

Date, time and link

Click here to join this event between 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST, Friday, October 23rd, 2020. Please note: if this link needs to be changed for security reasons, a new link will be emailed to registered attendees only, 15 minutes before the event begins. 

How to book

Please book a seat at this TTSR’s Eventbrite page. Tickets are free.


Kate Rogers’ poem, “Black Cloud” won Honourable Mention in the Power Plant Gallery/Toronto International Festival of Authors ekphrastic poetry contest in May 2020. Other 2020 publication highlights include Poetry Pause (League of Canadian Poets), and Voice & Verse 51: Emergency. Kate has poems forthcoming in Trinity 132 (University of Toronto) and Voice and Verse 52: Masks. In 2019 Kate’s poems appeared in Understorey Magazine; World Literature Today; Algebra of Owls. Kate’s poem John and the Book of Kells won first prize in the Trinity College Dublin Book of Kells Contest. Her poem The Giraffe-bone Knife Set was short-listed for the ROOM 2019 Poetry Contest. Since 2014, Kate’s protest poetry has appeared in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, The Asia Literary Review and The Guardian. Kate’s latest poetry collection is Out of Place (Aeolus House/Quattro Books, Toronto, 2017). Kate is a facilitator for the Toronto Writers Collective and a member of the Shab-e Sh’er volunteer team. Kate re-patriated to Canada in December 2019 after teaching for two decades in Hong Kong. She can be found on Instagram and on Facebook.

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 was born in Romania, immigrated to Canada in August 2000, and is now proudly identifying herself as a hyphenated Romanian-Canadian scholar, writer, and literary translator. In her home country, she has published nine collections of poetry and plays, and earned 14 literary awards. The winner of the 2020 Very Small Verse Contest of the League of Canadian Poets, her recent poetry has been featured in magazines in the UK, the US, Belarus, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, Albania, China, Romania, and Canada. She has also translated or co-translated seven poetry collections and co-earned second prize in the 2018 John Dryden Translation Competition in the UK. Her poetry book, Praying to a Landed-Immigrant God, is forthcoming from Grey Borders Books. Holding a doctorate from the University of Toronto, Diana now teaches Creative Writing at the University of Guelph and Modern Poetry at Trent University.

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 is October 9th, 2020.

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.