Andrew Sutherland, Director

I have been a volunteer with the Vancouver Poetry House and its programs since 2013. Being part of this community has taught me so much about myself and others. It has helped make me a better human. I am fortunate to be able to contribute to this organization and assist it creating space for people to share and develop their voice.

Over that time my roles have spanned from being the rat bastard enforcer of linear time to the President of VPH Board of Directors. I am excited to be back on the board after having to stepped away for personal reasons in early 2017.

With a degree in Accounting, and years spent in Management and the Human Resources field in the public sector I bring a solid understanding of the fundamentals that underpin any organization; its people, its money and all the boring administrative stuff because we can’t all be poets.

I am an uninvited settler on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish peoples who uses he/him or they/them pronouns.

Andrew is the President.

Sho Wiley, Director

Sho Wiley has volunteered and performed for Vancouver Poetry Slam since its beginnings in 1997. She has also attended and volunteered at CIPS and Verses every year.

She has served on the boards of non-profits as well as for three years on the Adult Educators (VESTA/BCTF) union executive, and she has chaired and worked on various committees including Professional Development for teachers.

Sho (short for Shoshanna) embraced the original motto of Van Slam “Poetry for the People”, and it has inspired her professional career teaching English and Creative Writing. For two years, she was the poetry mentor at UNYA , for the Talking Stick Festival. Her leadership in workshops on healing rituals for communities is, likewise, founded on poetry in service to community.

Sho writes and publishes speculative fiction and poetry.

As we live, work and grow our communities, gardens and families on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish peoples, may we give our respect and gratitude to this land, these people, to the long tradition of poetry, and to each other.

Sho is the Vice-President.

Amanda Eagleson, Director

She/Her Pronouns

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.

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 a Member-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 the Treasurer.

Holden Wall, Interim 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 as an interim director, 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 a member-at-large, and as with all interim directors, will stand for election at the next AGM.