Ken Westdorp is a longtime Surrey poet, painter and oragami artist who has just published his first collection of poems titled Gateway to Obscurity. Ken had begun writing as a child but most of his published work has been done within the last 10 years. The first thing he ever wrote was a short story about imaginary animals, and his first poem was written either for mother’s day or Valentine’s day. Earlier, a couple of his poems appeared in ‘We Are Newton’ anthology. Inspired by Frank Miller and Alan Moore, Ken is now working on a follow up collection Strength and Vulnerability that will take ‘a much broader view of the human condition and the way it relates to various aspects of the environment’.
Ken lives with his wife in the Whalley area where they devote a large portion of their time volunteering to assist homeless people living on the ‘Strip’.
the muse of poetry
is here with us tonight,
as she has been since
the beginning of spoken word.
Poetry is in the soul of mankind;
it is Erato who draws it out,
who encourages us to speak truth,
forces us to stand exposed
and naked before the world.
She has inspired such greats as
Longfellow, Edna St Vincent Millay,
Shelley, Wordsworth and many others.
She watches over the child
composing rhymes for his amusement,
because she sees a future poet.
Erato is here with us tonight
in this community of like-minded people,
in this society of artistic expression.
She is here with us tonight
Malik Mohamed is a firebrand poet and performer who has (hand) written over 100 poems, and he remembers most by heart. He wrote his first poem at 16, about a street kid who commits a homicide in self defence, runs from authorities, and is eventually killed by SWAT officers. He has presented his poems and participated in peer critique at Surrey Muse Writers, and he has performed at Surrey Arts Centre, Surrey Night Market, Cafe Deux Soleils, to people outside, and to mother at home. At this time, he is working on his health and mind, and on music production; and in the winter, he plans to travel. Malik says:
“I declare war on disease“. Disease is more then Cancer, syphilis, diabetes etc… but is established from childhood as a “latent” sickness that goes undetected for through out much of a person’s life. My endeavor is to use my music to gain influence. I hope you see in my face and my actions the authenticity and truth of my beliefs.
At the June 23 gathering of Surrey Muse, Malik will begin the open mic session with his performance poetry. More information about the event is at the link below: june-23-gathering-of-surrey-muse
Lakshmi Gill is a poet and educator who has published extensively in Canadian and world literature. Her titles include ‘Returning the Empties’ (TSAR, Toronto 1998), ‘The Third Infinitive’ (TSAR, Toronto 1993), ‘Novena To St. Jude Thaddeus’ (Fiddlehead Press, Fredericton 1979), and ‘First Clearing’ (Estaniel Press, Manila 1972). She was one of the two women poets (along with Dorothy Livesay) who founded the League of Canadian Poets in 1966. Lakshmi has received numerous awards including First Prize in Poetry from Western Washington University in 1964 and Chancellor’s Prize in Education, B.Ed. Mt. Allison University in 1985. A Punjabi/Spanish-Filipina writer, Lakshmi lives in Delta BC, and she is a current member of The Writers’ Union of Canada.
Katheren Szabo is a poet, arts activist and a vibrant community organizer. Her poems have been published in over 20 poetry chapbooks and theme based ezines including We Are Newton, Hands & Heart, Bulbs & Beauty. She is a co-founder of Cedar Bark Poets, a presentation group that meets every month; and, a regular contributor to Friends of the Grove and The Plot in Newton, Surrey. Katheren began writing poetry as code, at 11 years of age, to keep her diary safe from her older siblings. ‘I have kept it all‘ she says, ‘and now have a large pile of dusty journals that hold my poetic life within. I am not a public poet and struggle to give voice to my words. We shall embark together on breaking the mute silence of my writing on May 26th at Surrey Muse Event. See you there!’
Mohamad Kebbewar is an Aleppo-born Syrian Canadian poet, fiction writer and designer. His poems and short stories have been featured in various literary publications across the country, and he has presented his work at many gatherings in Metro Vancouver and Calgary. At this time, he is putting together the first collection of his poetry.
Mohamad immigrated to Canada when he was 19, settling in Montreal where he earned a B.A. in History at Concordia University. He says: ‘My poetry deals mostly with the Syrian conflict and my frustration at the silence of the international community.’
Lozan Yamolky is an Iraqi Canadian poet of Kurdish origin who is launching her second poetry book titled ‘Counting Waves’ (Silver Bow Publishing) this year. Last year, she had published her first book ‘I’m No hero’. Lozan began to write poetry in her teens but kept it a secret till 2013 when she found a writer’s group in Maple Ridge near where she lived, the Holy Wow Poets of Canada. Lozan began to attend regular group meetings, reciting and writing new poems, and soon she had her manuscript ready. Lozan lives in Vancouver and works as a freelance interpreter and translator for both Kurdish and Arabic languages. She also worked as an interpreter with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Canadian Embassy, and the Australian Embassy in Turkey. Lozan was born in Baghdad as the fifth of eleven children; eight girls and three boys. She left Iraq in 1994 and moved to Ankara Turkey as an asylum seeker before migrating with her family to Vancouver in 1995.