Listen, someone has to run this thing, and these people are the ones who have stepped up to make this festival something great. How about a round of applause?
Rayanne HainesExecutive Director
Rayanne Haines is an award-winning fiction author and poet of four books. She has been published in Canada, the USA, and the UK to critical acclaim. She has an extensive background with non-profit Boards, marketing, fundraising, organizational leadership, accounting and financial leadership, and change management. She has had the privilege of sitting on numerous boards of directors, committees and grant juries to support the work of Alberta artists. Rayanne is dedicated to building a vibrant community for poets and writers in Alberta.
Nisha PatelFestival Producer
Nisha Patel is an Indo-Canadian poet and artist. She is the 2016 Edmonton Indie Slam Champion, and has performed across Canada and the world at festivals, features, and slams. Nisha is a graduate of the University of Alberta with a degree in Business Economics and Law, a minor in Political Science, and a Certificate in Leadership. She is a proud member of the Breath in Poetry Collective, and works to further her goal of bringing poetry into non-poetic spaces with the work that she does to build a stronger artistic community.
Adriana OnitaEducation Coordinator
Adriana Onita lives at the intersection between poetry, art, and languages. Originally from Bucharest, she writes poetry in English, Spanish, Romanian, French, and Italian. She is the founding editor of The Polyglot, a multilingual magazine of poetry and art. She is also a Ph.D. student in Second Language Education at the University of Alberta, where she is researching heritage language maintenance through arts-based programs. When she is not writing, teaching, or planning fun poetry events, Adriana can be found painting in the river valley!
As a life-long Edmontonian, Wendy appreciates the enthusiasm our city has for the arts. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in small business management. She brings a variety of diverse experiences to the Edmonton Poetry Festival in addition to bookkeeping, including skills gained from owning her own business.
Alice Major founded the Edmonton Poetry Festival in 2006 while she was serving as Edmonton’s first poet laureate. (She warns all future laureates to be careful what they start!). Alice has published nine award-winning collections of poetry, including The Office Tower Tales (which won the Pat Lowther award) and Memory’s Daughter (which received the Stephan G. Stephansson Prize). Her latest book is an essay collection, Intersecting Sets: A Poet Looks at Science, published by the University of Alberta Press. Her website is here.
Jannie EdwardsVice President
Though not born on the prairies, Jannie Edwards has, from childhood, put down deep roots here. She has three collections of poetry: The Possibilities of Thirst; Blood Opera: The Raven Tango Poems, which was adapted for the stage by Prospero Theatre’s Mark Henderson; and Falling Blues, a Frontenac House Dektet finalist and shortlisted for the Writers Guild of Alberta (WGA) poetry prize. Jannie is an emeritus of MacEwan University, having taught literature and creative writing there for over 25 years. She has twice been a writing mentor through the WGA and Writer in Residence for the Canadian Authors Association. Video/poetry collaborations include Engrams: Reach and Seize Memory, in which Jannie’s poetry is translated into American Sign Language; and adrift, a videopoem that explores the drift of homeless people through the urban landscape. Jannie happily participated in the national Random Acts of Poetry project for several years. Her most recent community arts engagement project saw short poems by community youth and adults sandblasted into park and neighbourhood sidewalks. For the past dozen years, Jannie and her musician husband Mark have been working on the dream of a five acre homestead northeast of Edmonton where they are collaborating with eco/land artist Sydney Lancaster to create magic and where children and dogs can run off leash and unplugged.
Ania SleczkowskaBoard Member
Through her curatorial work, Ania Sleczkowska makes an imprint in presenting the works of Alberta artists and telling the stories of educational institutions. Ania is an independent curator based in Edmonton, who studied literature and art history in Poland. Her experience, over some twenty years, with the development of art exhibitions and her work with collections and archives dates from Europe and has continued extensively in Canada. Pursuing the museum field, managing a department at the Art Gallery of Alberta until January 2017, she often curates exhibitions with a multi-faceted approach, interweaving visual arts with poetry and music. She presently works closely with Alberta’s leading artists as the director/curator of the Art and Life Foundation.
Pierrette RequierBoard Member
Pierrette Requier, a bilingual writer involved in the Alberta literary community for over 2 decades is a published poet, an emerging playwright, an event organizer, a presenter and a spoken-word performer. She serves as literary representative of the Regroupement artistique francophone de l’Alberta (RAFA). She has enjoyed her term as the 25th Writer-in-Residence at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton as well as mentoring a poet during The Writer’s Guild of Alberta Mentorship Program. She has designed the Wind Eye Writing Seminars and has been hosting monthly gatherings for the past 13 years. Her most recent interest is working at bridging languages and she is thrilled to initiate and participate in multidisciplinary collaborations with her friends from the Trio avec Brio. Her dream is to collaborate with artists across Canada.
Bill HoweBoard Member
Bill Howe has been basking in the sounds and rhythms of the Edmonton poetry scene for over 20 years. As a high school English teacher, he is eager to see his students encounter poetry both in and out of the classroom — not because the curriculum says he needs to, but because as much as poetry, in both play and intensity, connects to what it means to live fully, it cannot be ignored. And if it is ignored, or dismissed, or trivialized, our entire community suffers because of it. Though not a ‘published poet,’ Bill readily writes poetry for and with students and enthusiastically supports and applauds the words that speak the heart and mind of the soul’s urgency.
Don PerkinsBoard Member
Don Perkins has been on the Festival board since 2013. He is also a member of the Edmonton Stroll of Poets. He has recently retired from teaching in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, and now works part time as a Special Advisor to the Association of Academic Staff University of Alberta.
Matthew StepanicBoard Member
Matthew Stepanic is the editor of Glass Buffalo, the poetry editor of Eighteen Bridges, and a freelance writer and editor. His poetry has appeared in Eighteen Bridges, The New Quarterly, 40 Below: Vol. II and his short fiction on coffee sleeves. His first book, the collaborative novel Project Compass, was published by Monto Books in Fall 2017. On an ideal Friday night, he is unwinding with a good book and a better bottle of wine.
Patrick SealBoard Member
Patrick Seal studied science and business at the University of Alberta before obtaining a CA designation. Now working as a consultant with KPMG, Patrick applies his financial and strategic expertise to help organizations plan and change for the future. Patrick is much better at reading poetry then writing it, and passionately believes in the importance of local writing to shape and express the identity of a community.
Brandon WintBoard Member
Brandon Wint is an Edmonton-based poet, spoken word artist and teacher of poetic writing. His writing often explores themes of love, spirituality, and family history. In addition to being a well respected and veteran contributor to Canada’s national spoken word community, he has twice been a national champion competitor at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. Brandon is also the author of one chapbook, 2014’s Love, Our Master (In/Words Magazine and Press) and has released one album of spoken word accompanied by classical compositions, The Long Walk Home. In addition to this artistic output, Brandon has also been a devoted workshop facilitator and writing teacher for people of all ages and experience levels.
Tonia LaRiviere started working in film and television, which organically grew into publicity. She has worked in various capacities supporting different festivals, events and not-for-profits in the city for more than twenty years. She loves being a part of Edmonton’s dynamic art and culture community and is always inspired by the initiatives and people in it.
Randall is one of the founding fathers of the Raving Poets and has been involved in the spoken word scene for longer than he can remember. His photography has been published in the Globe and Mail, Edmonton Journal, See, Vue and Edmonton Life Magazine. He particularly enjoys making author bio photos. Randall likes to forge connections between the spoken word and the world of images, music and motion video. When he’s not making photographs, this is where you’ll find him.
Michael Gravel believes that art, design, and poetry strive for the same ideal: to say the most with the least. He has penned three chapbooks: The Fast Places (2008), Corduroy Forecast (2010), and We Need You (2014). He was one of the founding founders of the Raving Poets and was their MC for 8 years. He lives in Edmonton with his poet wife, Kerry Mulholland, stepdaughter, and an incorrigible hound named Edward.