Britta Badour, better known as Britta B., is a Toronto-based spoken word poet, emcee and artist educator. Her writing deals with themes of domestic violence and mental health from the lens of a mixed-race woman. Britta is a graduate of the Spoken Word program at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. As a performer, she has featured on several TEDx stages, CBC Radio’s Day 6, The Walrus Talks, Women In The World (in association with New York Times) and poetry scenes across North America. As a slam poet, Britta was a member of the 2012 Toronto Poetry Slam team, a Canadian rep. for the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam and the 2013 Toronto International Poetry Slam champion. In 2017, her sound and poetry installation FLUKE featured as part of Art Gallery of Ontario’s Every.Now.Then: Reframing Nationhood exhibition. She is an alumna of the Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab and an active member of the League of Canadian Poets. Britta is currently working towards an MFA in Creative Writing at University of Guelph.
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.