Upcoming Shows


Open Stage


Other Readings





Click to subscribe
to the email list

The Art Bar Poetry Series is now held in the second floor lounge of The Black Swan Tavern, 154 Danforth Avenue, just east of Broadview Subway Station. With a great stage and sound system, air conditioning, comfy leather armchairs and a full bar at the back of the room, we are very comfortable in our new home!

Subscribe to our mailing list


Liz Howard
Liz Howard was born in northern Ontario and now lives in Toronto. She is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Her first full-length book of poetry Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent will be published by McClelland & Stewart in April 2015.

Ralph Kolowe
R. Kolewe was born in Montreal. Educated in physics and engineering at the University of Toronto, he pursued a successful career in the software industry for many years, while living in a picturesque village in southwestern Ontario. Always a reader, he began to devote his time to writing not long after returning to Toronto in 2007. His work has appeared online at ditch, e-ratio, and The Puritan, and he has been associated with the online magazine of Canadian poetics, influencysalon.ca. He also takes photographs.

Melanie Lefebvre
Melanie Lefebvre was born and raised in Montreal. She studied French Literature and Drama at College Jean-de-Brebeuf and pursued her acting education at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute of New York. Back in Canada, she completed a certificate in Creative Writing at University of Toronto with the help of poet Catherine Graham


a rawlings *
a rawlings' research in acoustic ecology, counter-mapping, and ecopoetics informs her artistic output. Her literary debut Wide slumber for lepidopterists (Coach House Books, 2006) received an Alcuin Award for Design; the book was adapted for stage production by VaVaVoom, Bedroom Community, and Valgeir Sigur­sson in 2014. She is the recipient of a Chalmers Arts Fellowship (Canada, 2009) and held the position of Arts Queensland Poet-in-Residence (Australia, 2012). rawlings' 2012 digital publication Gibber amassed sound and visual poetry from Australian bioregions. In 2013, her work ┴fall / Trauma was shortlisted for the Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women Playwrights. She has penned librettos for Gabrielle Herbst's Bodiless and DavÝ­ Brynjar Franzson's Longitude. http://arawlings.is

Kevin Halligan
Kevin Halligan lives at the bottom of a hill in Penetanguishene. In his teens, he pestered the poets at Harbourfront, staring into their eyes to divine their secrets. He moved to England and worked in a fashion warehouse, a jam factory, a bingo hall, and as a blurb writer for history books. After teaching in Asia, he appointed himself Writer-in-Residence at the Pilot Tavern, whilst conducting the Labour Force Survey, until Statscan said his labour wasn't required. Ten years ago on Bloor Street, he found a scrap of paper with Gwen Stefani's schedule on it. He adores Gwen. He swears he could smell perfume.

Laboni Islam
Laboni Islam is an arts educator, who spends most hours with kids and teens -- unpacking Picasso paintings, keeping climbers a respectable distance from Henry Moore sculptures, and dodging Shakespeare's "slings and arrows" for the magic of language and live theatre. She writes poetry in the margins of the work week, pursuing a long-time passion. She is the runner-up of the 2012 FreeFall Poetry Contest and the recipient of University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies' inaugural Janice Colbert Poetry Award.


Michael Farrell
Michael Farrell is from Melbourne. His most recent book is Cocky's Joy from Giramondo; he also has a chapbook with Book Thug called thempark. He coedited Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets (Puncher and Wattmann). He has a PhD in Australian literature and co-wrote the Dick Diver single 'Waste the Alphabet'.

Paulina O'Kieffe
Paulina O'Kieffe is a spoken word artist and arts educator who has been performing and working in Toronto for 11 years. Her poetry, which covers a diverse range of topics from love to revolution, appears in print in 'Guerillas of the Word' and "If I Ran the School." Paulina has performed and hosted performances across the City of Toronto and beyond for the last 10 years. Her performances include performing at the opening for the RUKUS: Anti Racism Anti Oppression Conference for youth held at York University in 2010 and competing in the Toronto International Poetry Slam in 2007 and more recently in 2014.

Ephraim Hylton
Ephraim is a singer/songwriter and poet. His poems are vivid, on themes of love, romance, sex, hope, loneliness, and despair. His hope is to reveal our shared human experience of raw emotions that exposes the human condition in this physical world theatre and transcends us all to unknown lands. Ephraim's works are meant to show the beauty of life, black and white, and colours between.


Benjamin Hackman
Benjamin Hackman's writing has appeared in periodicals including Canadian Literature, the Literary Review of Canada, the Toronto Poetry Vendors, and others. He is the 2011 recipient of the Ted Plantos Memorial Award from the Ontario Poetry Society for an excerpt from his first collection, The Benjy Poems, for which he has received grants from both the Toronto and Ontario Arts Councils, as well as from Cue for the theatrical adaptation of eleven Benjy Poems for the audio stage. The audio poems were serialized in Carte Blanche over the course of 2013. He lives in his hometown, Toronto, where he is a student of psychotherapy and a teacher of creative writing.

Max Layton
The eldest son of Canadian poet Irving Layton, Max left his Montreal home at the age of 16 and, since then, has worked as everything from tobacco picker, logger, and apprentice auto mechanic, to vice president of a bank. Along the way, he was one of the founders of Toronto's Book City bookstore. A published novelist and short story writer, Max's first book of poems, When The Rapture Comes, was published in 2012 by Guernica Editions and his second CD, 2 The Max, was released at the same time. Max's third and latest CD, It's A Mystery To Me, was released in 2014. Max is celebrating another book of poems, In The Garden Of I Am, which Leonard Cohen has called, "One hell of a book!"

Stedmond Pardy
Stedmond Pardy is a Left handed Poet, & Proud high school dropout, His first chapbook, "Drugs," was self-published in 2013, and his next volume "Beached Whales" will be published in late Spring. He has had two one man Shows held at Reg Hartt's, "The Cineforum," appeared on Howl 89.5 FM twice, and has read his work at various venues around the city since he started writing 8 years ago. it was through Meeting Nik Beat & Brandon Pitts that He started Performing his work in public. He was born and raised in the Mimico/Lakeshore area. & Currently lives around the Collingwood area, The quotes, "an Artist is an Instrument through which the Universe reveals itself" and "word poetry is for everyman, but Soul poetry, alas, is not heavily Distributed" are the words he TRIES to live by.


Carmelo Militano
Carmelo Militano is a Winnipeg poet and novelist. He has published one collection of poetry 'Feast Days' as well as three poetry chapbooks, 'Ariadne's Thread' The Minotaur's Keys & 'Weather Reports'. He is the winner of 2004 the F.G. Bessani poetry award. Militano's prose includes 'The Fate of Olives' travelogue & family memoir and the novel 'Sebastiano's Vine' which was short listed for the Margaret Laurence 2014 fiction prize. His latest work is 'Morning After You' ( Ekstasis Editions, 2014), a poetry collection. A collection of his poems and prose has been translated into Italian and will appear shortly in an anthology published in Italy called 'Italian Writers Aboard.'

William Kemp
William Kemp is one of the founding editors of, and poetry editor, at words(on)pages--a micropress "for emerging artists, by emerging artists." Inspired by the Beats, his grandmother, and an understanding of pop culture that stops at 2004, William has produced a chapbook of poetry entitled "but you are poetryer than me" and an illustrated not-chapbook entitled "The ABCs of 20-Something Anxieties."

Rob Welch
Rob Welch hails from England and now lives in Toronto. A regular at the Art Bar mostly he is an open-micer although he has done a few features and has a self published chap book. Rob is hoping to get a real poetry book published sometime soon.

The Art Bar Poetry Series is recognized as the longest running
poetry-only reading series in Canada.

* These readers are sponsored by the Canada Council.