Kahsenniyo Williams is the 2018 Eastern Comma Writer-in-Residence

The Eastern Comma Writer-in-Residence program is thrilled to announce Kahsenniyo Williams as the 2018 writer-in-residence. Every autumn, Eastern Comma has hosted accomplished literary writers within North House, a solar-powered, advanced-design living lab set in the natural environment of rare Charitable Research Reserve, situated at the confluence of the Grand and Speed Rivers in southern Ontario. Resident writers work on scholarly or literary writing while interacting with the community of people who are present at rare including gardeners, educators, students, artists, botanists, ecologists, geologists, archeologists, and historians. Former alumni of the program include Karen Houle, Lee Maracle, Marlene Creates and Don McKay, and Janet Rogers. 2018 marks the first year that the program has transitioned into an Indigenous-specific writer-in-residence program.

The Eastern Comma Writer-in-Residence program borrows its name from the Eastern Comma species of butterfly—found often at rare Charitable Research Reserve—that bears on its wings a writer’s best friend: the comma. With the comma always at its side, the Eastern Comma butterfly measures the shape of its world—just as the writer does—adding a clause here, inserting an adjective there, offering, with words and dashes and commas, a vision of the world. This literary residency, held annually each September and October, is a joint initiative of Musagetes and rare Charitable Research Reserve, philanthropic organizations founded by their mutual benefactors Michael Barnstijn and Louise MacCallum.

Kahsenniyo Williams is a spoken word artist from the Mohawk Nation Wolf Clan. Kahsenniyo began utilizing her poetry as a tool for social change and community engagement in 2008. Her work is centered around Indigenous issues. She aims to educate non-Indigenous people about the struggles, beauty, and realities facing Indigenous people. Her work also attempts to create moments of understanding, connection, and healing for Indigenous People. Kahsenniyo transforms her love for her community and people through her passionate performances. She draws on her lived experience to engage audiences. In 2017, Kahsenniyo performed at Triple Indigenous, the closing reception of Janet Rogers’ residency, alongside Ms. Rogers and Tenille Campbell. Organizers from both Musagetes and rare recognized the need to support and build upon the momentum established during last year’s residency. During her residency, there will be events open to the public to engage with Ms. Williams. Please follow our social media updates on Facebook for event details.

The rare Charitable Research Reserve is a 900+ acre land trust and home to beautiful and culturally significant landscapes that include trees more than 240 years old. Rich in biodiversity, rare is home to plants and animals which are ranked significant regionally, provincially, nationally, and even globally. The reserve strives to preserve the land for future generations by focusing on conservation, ecological restoration, research, education, and passive recreation opportunities to the surrounding community. For more information please visit raresites.org.

For media inquiries or to set up an interview, please contact:

Elwood Jimmy
Program Coordinator, Musagetes