Joseph A. Dandurand is a member of Kwantlen First Nation located on the Fraser River about 20 minutes east of Vancouver. He resides there with his 3 children Danessa, Marlysse, and Jace. Joseph is the Director of the Kwantlen Cultural Center. Joseph received a Diploma in Performing Arts from Algonquin College and studied Theatre and Direction at the University of Ottawa. He has just completed his residency as the Storyteller in Residence at the Vancouver Public Library. He sits on a committee for the Canadian Museum of History and is tasked with consulting on the redesign of the new Children’s Museum. He has published 13 books of poetry and the latest are: I WANT by Leaf Press (2015) and HEAR AND FORETELL by BookLand Press (2015) The Rumour (2018) by BookLand Press in (2018) SH:LAM (the doctor) Mawenzi Press (2019) The Corrupted by Guernica Press (2020) his children’s play: Th’owixiya: the hungry Feast dish by Playwrights Press Canada (2019) his book of short stories and short plays for children: The Sasquatch, the fire, and the cedar basket will be published by Nightwood Press along with his poetry manuscript: Here we come (2020-21) He also is very busy Storytelling at many events and Schools.
Colleen is a visual artist. She occasionally teaches at Emily Carr University. She became interested the spoken word while she was a student at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts. She has worked as the Program Coordinator of Artspeak, an artist-run centre in Vancouver. She thinks arts administration is an important part of art making.
Tessa is a bilingual writer, designer, and educator. She comes to WordPlay with over a decade of involvement in the poetry community, including a french performance in the Vancouver Writers’ Festival, and just as many years of facilitation experience. Carrying a strong drive to provide youth with platforms to express themselves, her coordination approach is informed by a theatre background, and entrepreneurial experience starting a small local business geared towards accessibility and social justice through design.
Sam Peters is a nonbinary poet, settler, and student. Sam has worked as a volunteer coordinator, first aid attendant, and restaurant manager, but they are most proud of their work as a facilitator for Qmunity and the Youth Excellence Society. You may also recognize them as a Vanslam and Verses Festival of Words volunteer, Vanslam host, 2019 New Sh!t Champion, and 2019 Vanslam Team member.
Prior to joining Vancouver Poetry House, Laura spent over 7 years in Accounting, managing the finances for many not-for-profit clients. She has her Professional Bookkeeping Certificate from Langara College and her Office Administration Diploma from Vancouver Career College. She intends to continue with more accounting studies in the time left from pursuing her other passions: sewing and embroidery.
Kaelyn has been the resident sound engineer for Vancouver Poetry House since 2008. She is the head sound tech for Hullabaloo and the Verses Festival of Words and she also runs sound for the Vancouver Poetry Slam every Monday night at Cafe Deux Soleils. Kaelyn graduated from the Pacific Audio Visual Institute in 2008 with an Honours Diploma in Audio Engineering and Music Production. In a previous life, Kaelyn worked as a Veterinary Assistant for many years. In addition to her audio engineering work, she also works in healthcare with the Practice Support Program at Vancouver Coastal Health. Kaelyn has a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences (2014) and a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Gerontology (2017) from Simon Fraser University, and she is currently completing a Master of Health Administration (MHA) at the University of British Columbia. Kaelyn plays in beer-league bowling and curling leagues in the winter, and East Van Baseball League in the summer. She enjoys hiking, backpacking and horseback riding, and will frequently disappear into the woods for extended periods of time; Kaelyn recently hiked the West Coast Trail and wishes she could have stayed there forever. Go see Kaelyn at the sound board and give her a hug the next time you are at the poetry slam!
Illustrator & Graphic Designer
Leia is a self-taught freelance illustrator and graphic designer living and working in East Vancouver. Her first introduction to spoken word was in 2008 through friends of VanSlam. Professionally, her involvement with Vancouver Poetry House began in 2013 with rebranding our annual literary festival, Verses Festival of Words, and continues on as principal designer for VPH as well as all affiliate programs. Leia also recently became part of the Canadian poetry book publishing team at Write Bloody North, where she excitedly takes on the dream role of book cover designer.
RC Weslowski is a 2017 VPL Book Camp Keynote Speaker, winner of the 2016 Sheri D Wilson Golden Beret Award and the 2012 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion. RC is a 2 time World Cup of Poetry Slam Finalist (2007 and 2013) and 7 time member of the Vancouver Poetry Slam. RC has led spoken word and performance workshops at festivals across North America and for the Banff Centre’s Spoken Word Program.
RC is the co-founder and co-director of Hullabaloo: the BC Youth Spoken Word Festival. He is also the co-creator of Surrealist Audio Collage Podcast “Oh No Not Another Podcast”