The World Poetry Reading Series @ the Vancouver Public Library
Fourth Anniversary Gala Celebration!
February 11, 7:30 PM, 2003
Vancouver Public Library,
Alice McKay Room,
350 W. Georgia,
It was a big evening for festivities and accolades as Ariadne Sawyer
and Alejandro Mujica-Olea presented World Poetry Life Time Achievement
Awards were presented to Addena Sumter Freitag, poet and actress and
also to Dugald Christie, poet and crusader for justice.
Addena is a 7th Generation Nova Scotian African-Canadian who grew up in
Winnipeg Manitoba and has also spent time in the North West
Territories. She is a compelling performer, reading her poem
accompanied by African drumming, with a commanding stage
presence. She was definitely the highlight of the evening for
me. Michelle Lee Williams, editor of The Afro Newspaper,
introduced Sumter-Freitag, commenting how wonderful it was to publish
Addena's work in the Afro Newspaper, and how fitting it was to present
the award during Black History Month.
Dugald Christie, whom I first met last month at the Gung Haggis Fat
Choy World Poetry evening, told some revealing stories about himself
including his frustrations with the Canadian justice system, as well as
racial and social inequity in Canada. The Honourable Mr. Justice
Duncan Shaw, BC Supreme Court Justice, introduced him by telling a
story about how Christie had rode a bicycle from Vancouver to Ottawa in
order to burn his robes on the front steps of Parliament.
World Poetry Special Group Recognition Award went to Pandora’s
Collective: Bonnie Nish and Sita Carboni. They were introduced by
Strathcona Branch Library's Mary Duffy. Filipina native Anita
Aguire Nieveras was given a World Poetry Ambassador Medallion.
The evening ended with a Woven Word Tapestry Group Poem: “Oh, Canada”
by Alejandro Mujica-Olea. 15 poets participated in the reading of
the poem by each reading a few lines in different languages. A
wonderful way to demonstrate the global heritage that is uniquely
Canadian and easily found in Vancouver.