Holden Wall, Director
Holden has been active in local poetry spaces since 2015. He first shared his writing on the VanSlam stage, and although he rarely performs nowadays, he remains committed to the community that gave him a voice, and he likes to stay involved with the goings-on of the Vancouver Poetry House. He was the Active Listener Coordinator for the 2019 Verses Festival of Words, and is honoured to now be joining the Board of Directors, where he hopes his “administrative instinct” will be put to good use. Holden believes that a strong sense of community is a necessary foundation for a thriving arts scene, and is extra passionate about finding a balance in performance poetry where an audience can be impacted by a performance without being sent to a distressing emotional place. He is also interested in shifting the focus in slam away from the scores and towards the craft and care an artist puts into their work – Holden really believes that the point is not the points!
Holden is the the president.
Frankie McGee, Director
I use they/them pronouns.
I have been around the Van Slam community since I moved to what is colonially known as Vancouver in the fall of 2016, after attending the Verses Festival that year and being drawn in by the richness of the poetry community.
Before moving here, I was active in organizing the Peterborough Poetry Slam in Nogojiwanong, on the traditional territories of the Michi-Saagig Anishinaabe, and also worked with various nonprofits as a board and staff member. In 2018 I helped organize the first Voices of Today national youth festival, coordinating the visiting youth teams and the active listening team.
I work closely with youth within and outside of schools, and through that work I have seen the transformative power of allowing people to share their stories, and that’s part of the reason I feel the work Vancouver Poetry House does is so important. So much of my community, support system, and artistic growth have come to me through the spaces Vancouver Poetry House has created. I joined the board to help sustain a community that has sustained me.
Frankie is the vice president.
Amanda Eagleson, Director
Amanda Eagleson grew up in Dubuque, Iowa (with brief stints in San Diego, California and Arnhem, Netherlands). she currently lives, works, and writes on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam people (Vancouver, B.C.).
Her favourite things in nature are the smell of the earth right before a thunderstorm, lightning bugs (or fireflies if you must), hedgehogs, and octopuses.
It was the inspiration and support of individual poets, organisers, and volunteers within Vancouver’s slam community that kept her writing, reading, publishing, and sometimes breathing.
She hopes to contribute to the community that gave her this gift.
Amanda is the secretary.
Leslie Stark, Director
Leslie Stark is a playwright, poet, performer, dancer, mom, high school teacher (Burnsview Secondary), founder of the Elegant Ladies Collective, small business owner/hoopmaker (Serenity Hoops) and is in a band (The Appetizers). She has a BA in Drama (U of Manitoba) and an MFA in Creative Writing (UBC), as well as a BEd (UBC).
Leslie Stark has been attending Vancouver Poetry House events since 2010 and has been a board member since 2013. She is also on the board of Touchstone Theatre. After taking a year off from the VPH board, she is back and thrilled to be a part of such a great team.
Leslie has performed at CIPS three times, has featured at the UBC Slam, and has coached the Burnsview team at Hullabaloo for the past 8 years. In 2018, at Hullabaloo, she was the proud recipient of the Zaccheus Jackson Spirit of the Slam award. She teaches Drama and Creative Writing, and has a special place in her heart for supporting youth engagement in poetry and spoken word.
Lesley is the treasurer.
DJ ANGLE, Director
in 1995, Daniyah’s family immigrated to Canada from Saudi Arabia. Daniyah (she/they) brings a deep intersectional awareness of issues affecting people across socio-economic demographics having lived the majority of her life on the traditional, occupied, and unceded lands of the musqueam, tseil-wateuth, squamish, and qayqayt peoples and work/playing in BIPOC and LGBTQ2+ communities. More tenacious than horseradish, Daniyah has spent years contributing to solid frameworks of accountability and operations within organizations, co-organizing dance parties and festivals with harm reduction, diverse representation, accountability, transparency, and social equity as foundational values, co-creating peer supported learning spaces to bridge activism and arts and, otherwise creatively engaging folks in radical ways such as being involved in tent city with Occupy Vancouver and the occupation of Trump tower in feb of 2017, organizing large events with the Vancouver Pride Society, DJing the Official Lady Gaga Afterparty multiple years in a row, or simply taking the initiative to shovel the icy sidewalks in her neighbourhood where transit and city services fail to serve the community.
Daniyah has been a volunteer and staff with Vancouver Poetry House since 2016; working the door or timekeeper at the vancouver poetry slam, being on the Active Listener team 4 years in a row, and also recently the MC for Sounds Like Fire with the Verses Festival of Words in 2019. To be in a space where people can share their feelings and swim in an ocean of emotions brings much joy and inspiration to this Cancer Sun and Moon person.
They are also an organizer with the Diversity: Arts Music & Entertainment project; hosts of open decks, workshops and trainings on anti-o, Ableton for DJs, decolonizing music and more in a collaborative and intergenerational space supporting like-minded folks who are working to address and overcome barriers to their creative endeavours. Also a peer trainer with the Toward The Heart program, you can find Daniyah passionately engaging with harm reduction efforts in the city to address the fentanyl crisis, challenging stigma, or volunteering nightlife harm reduction support and education at events and festivals with KARMIK. Daniyah also brings a knowledge of coworking to their toolkit as one of the original special agents from Subculture at Creative Coworkers (now The Pace at 520 Alexander) and moving onto the role on the management team at 312 Main – Vancouvers Global Centre for Socio-Economic Innovation in the DTES as an Events and Programs Specialist with the Vancity Community Foundation.
Their favourite reads right now are – Death Threat and I Am Afraid Of Men by Vivek Shraya, Love is Not Colour Blind by Kevin Patterson, The Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Healthcare, edited by Zena Sharman, Turn The World Inside Out: the emergence of nurturance culture by Nora Samaran, and The Art of Joyful Militancy by Carla Bergman and Nick Montgomery, with introduction by local poet and writer, Hari Alluri. Follow Daniyah on instagram: @feministkilljoy22 .
DJ Angle is a director-at-large.
bassam (they/them or xe/xim) is a spoken word poet, proud auntie, and settler currently residing on the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (colonially “Vancouver, Canada”).
they are currently serving as National Director for Spoken Word Canada, and are a member of the League of Canadian Poets.
a (gender)queer, Jewish person of Middle-Eastern descent and a longtime sufferer of body dysmorphia, bipolar and eating disorders, bassam believes in radical kindness as resistance to colonization, that there is no equity or peace without justice, and that intersectionality is vital in the struggle against kyriarchy.
Bassam is a director-at-large.
Carol Shillibeer, Director
I’m here because I witnessed a young relation’s decision to stay alive as a direct result of an unknown Latina’s powerful spoken word piece on what it means to be called “an illegal” whilst aware that those people would sit down to a meal made possible by brown hands. That young relation of mine chose not to become the next youth suicide because of that piece, that shared experience. Years later, when I moved to Vancouver, I looked for, and found VPH, started going to events and have ended up here, as a board member.
It’s good that I’m here because I’ve been working with non-profits and non-dominant communities for over 30 years. In that time I’ve learnt how to build process, interpret legislation, write grants (etc.) and how to do that taking into account diverse and evolving organizational and human needs for accessibility, accountability, affordability and creativity.
I’m also a poet and artist. I publish under a variety of names.
Carol is a director-at-large.