Johanne Blais has hosted many Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie National Finals since 2013 and also serves on our board. She is a trained translator and a retired professor of grammar and writing skills. Perfectly bilingual and a passionate admirer of the languages of both Shakespeare and Molière, Johanne Blais spent 17 years sharing her passion with thousands of Canadians as CBC Radio C’est la vie’s “Word Lady,” through her language segment “Word of the Week.”
Joséphine Bacon is an Innu poet from Pessamit. Poetry and the oral tradition of her people have lit her way since childhood. Every day, her poetry is in conversation with collective memory, nature’s unbridled power, wisdom, and one’s ancestors. Bacon’s poems balance universal language about how the world began with a personal search for identity and freedom in order to call us in and remind us of ourselves. She lives in Montreal.
Gwen Benaway is a trans girl. She has published four collections of poetry, Ceremonies for the Dead, Passage, Holy Wild, and day/break. She was the editor for an anthology of fantasy short stories, Maiden Mother and Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes. Her writing has been critically acclaimed and widely published in Canada. She was a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers from the Writer’s Trust of Canada, and her third poetry collection, Holy Wild, was longlisted for the Pat Lowther Award, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Trans Poetry, the Trillium Award, the Triangle Publishing Press Trans and Gender Variant Literary Award, and was the winner of the 2019 Governor General Literary Award for Poetry. Her essay, A Body Like A Home, won the Gold Prize from the National Magazine Awards for Personal Journalism. She is also currently editing a book of creative non-fiction, trans girl in love, forthcoming from Strange Light in 2020. She lives in Toronto, Ontario and is a Ph.D student at the University of Toronto in the Women and Gender Studies Institute.
Métis multidisciplinary artist Moe Clark is a nomadic songbird with wings woven from circle singing and spoken word. Originally from Treaty 7, she’s called tio'tia:ke (Montreal) home for over a decade. Her last solo album “Within” toured North America in 2017 and her video poem “nitahkôtan” won best indigenous language music video at the ImagiNative film festival and later featured at Skabmagovat Film Festival (FI). Apart from performance, she facilitates creative workshops; she directed the first bilingual edition of the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, and in 2016 she launched nistamîkwan: a transformational arts organization. Her work has appeared the world over, including the Lincoln Centre (US), UBUD Writers & Readers Festival (ID) and Origins Festival in London (UK).
Anne-Marie Desmeules lives with her family in Lévis. She has published two books of poetry with l’Hexagone: Le tendon et l’os (2019, Governor General’s Literary Award) and Cette personne très laide qui s’endort dans mes bras (2017) as well as several pieces in a variety of magazines. Bouleaux, a suite of poems, was shortlisted for Radio Canada’s poetry prize in 2018. Desmeules’ poetry is intimate and in close touch with nature. She loves nothing more than to handle light and dark, violence and healing language.
Pierre Nepveu taught literature at Université de Montréal for thirty years. Poet, novelist, and essay writer, Professor Nepveu has published close to twenty books, including several collections of essays and poetry. Three of his books of poetry have earned Governor General’s Literary Awards. He is also the author, with Laurent Mailhot, of La poésie québécoise des origines à nos jours, a much-loved Quebec poetry anthology. Pierre Nepveu was involved in collecting the scattered works of poet Gaston Miron and is also the author of Miron’s biography, Gaston Miron. La vie d’un homme, published in 2011. Pierre Nepveu has received both the Athanase-David prize in Quebec and the Order of Canada for his life’s work. In 2015, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Greg Santos is a poet, editor, and educator. He is the author of Blackbirds (2018), Rabbit Punch! (2014), and The Emperor's Sofa (2010). His new full-length poetry collection is Ghost Face (2020). His work has also been featured in a range of Canadian and international periodicals. Greg is the Editor in Chief of the Quebec Writers' Federation's online literary magazine, carte blanche. Santos's poetry has been described by poet Stuart Ross as "intimate, dark, enigmatic, playful, and surreal." He is a Montreal-born Cambodian adoptee with Portuguese and Spanish heritage. His writing is known for touching on popular culture, identity, migration, adoption, parenthood, family, love, imagination, and the power of hope. He regularly works with at-risk communities and teaches at The Thomas More Institute. He lives in tio'tia:ke/Montréal with his family.