Britta B. is a Kingston-born, Toronto-based poet, spoken word performer, emcee and artist educator. Most recently, Britta was recognized as a 2020 Finalist for the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award.
Her works have featured in print, in sound and onstage across North America in notable spheres such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, CBC Arts: Poetic License, The Walrus Talks, TEDx and The Stephen Lewis Foundation. She is an alumna of the Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Spoken Word Residency.
As an artist educator, Britta facilitates artist-training seminars, poetry workshops and social justice programs in partnership with organizations like JAYU (pronounced JAH-YOU), Poetry In Voice, Prologue Performing Arts, League of Canadian Poets and The Power Plant.
Britta is currently a Creative Writing MFA candidate at University of Guelph.
Visit her at www.brittab.com
Sadly, we had maybe a week’s worth of time dedicated to our poetry unit in high school. I remember reading Robert Frost and not fully relating to the work or my grade 10 teacher's interpretation of any other poems we studied in class. However, later in grade 12, I discovered videos of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam on YouTube and immediately fell in love with d’bi young’s poem “Children of a Lesser God.” Her work and other dub poets like Lillian Allen and Dr. Afua Cooper continue to influence my performance style today.
I began writing poetry when I was 9 years old as a way to keep in touch with a childhood friend who moved away. I continued writing poetry into my university years but only started identifying myself as a poet after my participation in the 2017 spoken word residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
A poet's job is to widen perspective, encourage readers/listeners to see their lives and communities reflected in language and sharpen the imagination of daydreamers and critics.
“From Correspondences,” by Anne Michaels!!
For me, this poem carries the weight of what I like to call a guiding light or what some may identify as spirit or perhaps ancestor even - a living conscious no longer in physical form. This poem is a journey that heightens my imagination with its strong sense of imagery and sensory storytelling with lines like "a child's eyes at a chalkboard" and "the rush of water from a pump".
I am especially in love with the opening line: "Sometimes we are led through the doorway / by a child, sometimes". It reminds me of my favourite quote from Helen Keller, "No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit." This mention of "doorway" is a spiritual connection for me, one that I am not yet fully able to explain, at the same, am fully aware of its presence in my bones.