Poetry for My People

“I have been an active Poet, Participant, Producer and Promoter in Canada’s Poetry and Spoken Word Communities since my very humble beginnings in Toronto in 1999. 21 years is almost half of my life that I’ve spent fiercely and ferociously spearheading Poetry and Spoken Word into every single circle of society I can infiltrate.

“I state that with conviction as Poetry has almost forever been seen and viewed as a ‘thing’ for Poets and Poetry Appreciators alone, and that is simply incorrect. I say that I infiltrate societal circles with Poetry because that description is apt and accurate.

“I have taken Poetry hostage from the stage, kicking and screaming, and I have effectively wrestled it to the floor, where all of the People are standing – ALL of the People.”

WAKEFIELD BREWSTER | aka: da lyrical pitbull

The following selection of testimonials are from high school students, ages ranging from 14 to 18.

At first I was caught off guard by Wakefield’s form of ‘poetry’.  To me, it just sounded like all the rap on the radio and I’m not too fond of rap.  When I started to truly listen to his lyrics, it became obvious to me that it was not rap.  His poems were full of meaningful concepts and ideas that make you stop and think.  The rhythms and beats complemented his words in an odd way but it seemed right….When he was finished, I decided I like slam poetry.  It makes sense, because it isn’t a riddle, it’s the truth.

Student

I have never respected an artist CHS has brought in until now. From Biblical references to the lunar landing, Wakefield brought something my subconscious has been screaming for; intelligence. His own story of ADHD showed me that we can apply ourselves in unconventional ways, to use our own strengths in ways I never thought possible. I saw students involved with his actions that would normally not care.

Student

I love how he captivates the audience with tempo, different volumes of his voice and his use of accents.  After watching him today, I found him very candid.  He doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not.  ‘If you want the world to listen to you, you have to listen to the world first.’

Student

The ideas that came out of his poems really got a person thinking I also felt that the answers he gave to questions were very descriptive.  They weren’t typical one-word answers that most presenters give the audience….that kind of talent should not be put to waste.

He expresses the way he sees life through his poetry.  The way he says the poetry with so much compassion is just incredible.

Student

Usually the poetry unit is boring, but seeing a slam poet sparked my interest in poetry… the messages of good attitudes towards women and respecting the earth that were put into ‘hip’words (for lack of a better word) were great.  I also like how he had such great answers for every question.  The beard is epic.

Student

A passionate wordsmith

“I have been fortunate to witness Wakefield’s extraordinary ability both in his performances and in his work with students around language and literacy.

“Wakefield designed an interactive workshop for forty-four of our Grade 5/6 students. He is a passionate wordsmith who very generously shared the secrets of the writer’s craft and created an unforgettable experience for each student. He motivated the students to think about language in new and exciting ways. With enthusiasm and skill, Wakefield had students writing and performing their work. He has a strong commitment to social justice and gave children inspiration to recognize their own power to act (and write) for positive change. The excitement in the room was palpable, and students talked about their positive experience with Wakefield for many days.

“We need more people like Wakefield Brewster in our classrooms!”

BEVERLY CASWELL
OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies In Education)
Institute Of Child Study
University Of Toronto

READ BEVERLY’S FULL TESTIMONIAL

To stop and listen, to think, and to react

“Wakefield Brewster. This person, this topic, this experience is one that each individual should experience in their life; they don’t have to love or understand the form, the message, the stance, but they will be better for the experience, for the lessons, for the understanding of who they are and for participating.

“I have worked with Wakefield within three worlds that of the artistic realm, watched his interaction with youth and on a personal friendship level.

“Wakefield is an incredible artist, who takes his form of poetry and creates an audio experience which visually and emotionally brings a message across that makes everyone stop and think. To stand in a room and listen to his words, and to understand the experiences through his life that have brought him to the place where he can express them is inspirational.

“It is this ability that allows the youth to stop and listen, to think, and to react. The youth of Canada need this interaction, they need to know they are being listened to and respected. Is there a better way to reach a youth then through poetic rap form, this is the medium they respond to in music, it is a medium that is familiar. The need to be respected and in turn give respect is paramount and through discussion and creativity this can be delivered. My daughter had to write a paper for her grade 10 English class at Digby Regional High School, it had to be on a writer of poetry, she choose Wakefield Brewster to do this paper. She read out loud one of his slam poetry pieces, her class was excited, and her teacher inspired. This is the reaction that we seek in our kids, to be excited and inspired by life, by learning, by experiencing, by living; we want this in our youth’s current lives and future lives.”

JENNIFER NIKITIN
Visual Artist / Artistic Facilitator

Toronto, Ontario

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The way he bends language to his will

“It’s my honour to nominate Wakefield Brewster to be Calgary’s Poet Laureate.

“I first saw Wakefield performing live at fundraiser event some years ago. He was electric. It wasn’t just his rapid-fire and frenetic performance which bristled with energy, and eloquence that was captivating. For me it was also the way he bent language to his will.  His verse easily crossed lines of poetry, prose and lyric animated by the flow of rap and hip-hop – but not defined by it.

“I was equally impressed by the connection he made with the diverse audience at the event. The bustle and din of conversation stopped and young and old stopped to listen. I was impressed both by the caliber of his poetry and the real connection he made with the audience.

“Since then I have had the pleasure to see Wakefield perform at numerous events, and even managed to sponsor him to perform for functions at the University of Calgary. His magic happens every time. He seems to make that special connection happen every time. University students love him, kids love him, seniors love him and more importantly they listen to him.”

DON McSWINEY
Calgary Arts Development
RE: Calgary Poet Laureate Selection

READ DON’S FULL TESTIMONIAL

The students were buzzing

“When I asked Wakefield Brewster to come in to my school to share some of his work and insight I had no idea what I was in for. I am a new teacher so this was my first experience with bringing in a speaker for the students and staff. I had heard Wakefield speak at the Calgary Teachers Convention and was blown away by his passion and pure talent with words. I felt I needed to share that in some way with the students that I was teaching. I got in contact with him as soon as I could and he and his manager made it so easy to organize.

“I will never forget the afternoon he came. The teachers were trying their hardest to get their classes covered so they could attend. The students were buzzing. He began speaking and a room of 100 students fell silent. His raw interest in the human condition is so easy to relate to and his poems are so saturated with humility that you can’t help but get swept away. Do to a lack of funding we were only supposed to have him with us for one hour but he ended up staying all afternoon! working directly with students, helping them write their own poems as well as answering many inspired questions from this captive audience.”

JESSICA SZABO
St. Augustine Elementary Junior High

St. Mary’s Sr. High School
St. Ambrose Elementary Junior High

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More Testimonials

READ JOE CECI, MLA TESTIMONIAL
READ LISA’S TESTIMONIAL
READ DOUGLAS’ TESTIMONIAL
READ FREDERICK’S TESTIMONIAL
READ KARINA’S TESTIMONIAL