Lillian Allen

Toronto
Poet Laureate

Dub Poet. Educator. Spoken Word Artist.

Biography

Lillian Allen

Lillian Allen

Poet. Educator. Spoken Word Performer

Some things only get better with age, and dub poet
Lillian Allen continues to define the form and explore its leading innovative edge. She has performed her work in many major venues in North America taking poetry to larger and larger audiences. She has produced Juno award winning recordings, critical acclaimed publications, and she has performed her work for television, film, radio, and print media across the world. Lillian is also a professor of creative writing at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, inspiring students to claim space for their dreams in the world and to use their creativity to make revolution.
– Banff Centre for the Arts

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Lillian Allen is an Honorary Doctor of Canadian Letters, an acclaimed foremother of Canadian Poetry, and the City of Toronto’s 7th Poet Laureate.

A poet, writer, and performer, she has been an arts activist for many years. Champion of the spoken word genre, Lillian is a leading international exponent of dub poetry with its politically charged reggae-infused aesthetic of resistance, visionary futures, and poetic calls for justice, joy, and social transformation. Lillian has also been poetically extending language explorations into the possible essence of emotive communication and its possible grammars in the universe.
A former executive member of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and various community Boards, Lillian has also been a successful Cultural Strategist, advising municipal, provincial and federal levels of government and playing a pivotal role in transforming the Toronto and Canadian cultural landscapes. A mentor for individuals and groups across many cultures, she brings her critical and practical equity and community-building strategies to institutions such as the Canada Council for the Arts, the TAC, and OCAD University. A creative writing professor at OCAD University, she initiated and led the development of a BFA in Creative Writing Program that acknowledges community-connected writing and traditional, non-traditional, and new writing forms.

Over the decades, she created opportunities for new generations of artists and initiated and led community-building youth-supporting arts programs such as Fresh Elements and Fresh Arts. She has received numerous accolades, citations and awards. She is the recipient of The Toronto Cultural Champions Award, The Margo Bindhardt Award for significantly impacting Toronto’s arts through creative work and activism, and the William P. Hubbard Award for Race. She is the recipient of the Writer’s Trust Margaret Laurence Lecture Award 2020 and a recipient of the Gustafson Distinguished Poet Award 2021.

Lillian’s newest collection is Make the World New- selected works, old & new, edited by Ronald Cummings, WLU Press 2021; other books include Women Do This Every Day, Psychic Unrest, plus books and recordings for children and young people. Also, a globally recognized poet and recording artist who performs and lectures internationally, producing such works as ANXIETY, Freedom & Dance, and Woken & Unbroken, Ms. Allen is a two-time Canadian Juno award winner for Conditions Critical and for Revolutionary Tea Party, which also garnered a nomination for the prestigious Polaris Heritage Prize in Canada.

Short Bio - 322 wds 2165 char

Toronto’s seventh poet laureate, Lillian Allen is an acclaimed foremother of Canadian
Poetry. She received an Honourary Doctor of Letters from Wilfrid Laurier University
for her significant contribution and impact on Canadian literature.

A poet, writer/performer, and a long-time arts activist, she is a leading international exponent
of dub poetry with its politically charged reggae-infused aesthetic of resistance and
poetic calls for justice, peace, joy, pleasure and revolution. Lillian has also been a
successful Cultural Strategist, advising three levels of government and played a key
role in transforming the Toronto and Canadian cultural landscapes. A mentor to the
mentors for individuals and groups across many cultures, she brings her critical and
effective equity and community building strategies to institution such as OCAD
University. A creative writing professor at OCAD University, she initiated and led the
development of a BFA in Creative Writing Program that acknowledges community
connected writing, traditional, non-traditional and new writing forms.

Over the decades, she created opportunities for new generations of artists and initiated
and led community-building youth-supporting arts programs such as Fresh Elements
and Fresh Arts. She has received numerous accolades, citations and awards, and is the
recipient of The Toronto Cultural Champions Award, The Margo Bindhardt Award
for significantly impacting the arts in Toronto through both creative work and
activism, the William P. Hubbard Award for Race. She is the recipient of the Writer’s
Trust Margaret Laurence Lecture Award, 2020/ and a recipient of the Gustafson
Distinguished Poet award 2021.

Lillian’s newest collection is Make the World New- selected works, old & new,
edited by Ronald Cummings, WLU Press 2021, other books include Women Do this
Every Day, Psychic Unrest, plus books and recordings for children and young people.
Also, a globally recognized recording artist, Ms. Allen is a two-time Canadian Juno
award winner for her recordings Conditions Critical, and for Revolutionary Tea Party
which was recently nominated for the prestigious Polaris Heritage Prize in Canada.
www.LillianAllen.ca

Bibliography

1983 Rhythm an’ Hardtimes
1984 The Teeth of the Whirlwind
1987 If You See Truth
1991 Why Me
1993 Women Do This Every Day
1999 Psychic Unrest
2021 Make the World New: The Poetry of Lillian Allen

Discography

Dub Poet: The Poetry of Lillian Allen (1983)
De dub poets (1985)
Curfew Inna B.C. (1985)
Revolutionary Tea Party (1986)
Let the Heart See (1987)
Conditions Critical (1988)
Nothing But a Hero (1992)
Freedom & Dance (1999)
Anxiety (European release) (2012)
Woken & Unbroken (single release) (2018)

Lillian Allen: Poet Laureate

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