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El Jones, HRM's Poet Laureate

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By Ekaterina Sushko

Arts East contributor Ekaterina Sushko was delighted when El Jones, HRM’s Poet Laureate (2013-2015), recently presented at her Gender and Law class at Saint Mary’s University. She shares her impressions:

This girl can talk about Halifax…about cultural issues and the government... about rape…This girl can talk about pussy and make the crowd laugh; and each poem creates a unique experience for the audience. It is educational and so alive.

It is not talking about something abstract we don’t know about – it brings up something we all are aware of, but yet fail to deal with sometimes, because on the surface everything looks good (nice).

El Jones’ poetry can be cultural entertainment, but what stands out is it can also be a wake-up call and a huge inspiration. This young lady is not afraid to address those who are being bullied, oppressed or discriminated against, even though this discrimination can be ‘polite’ and hard to identify.

Being Halifax’s poet laureate, El Jones is not only a poet, but also an activist and a teacher. You can see how these diverse roles are reflected vividly in her spoken word and each brings its own flavour. Her poetry is a reminder. It is activism in and of itself and can be angry, even disturbing for some of us, but it is wonderfully fair (honest).

Her poetry evokes emotion and reminds us about social issues while being aesthetically enjoyable (and sometimes funny) at the same time.

If you appreciate poetry and also want to learn more about hidden social issues – hidden, but still happening – around you, check El Jones out!

Ekaterina Sushko is living in Halifax for three years while studying at Saint Mary’s University. In her free time, she teaches belly dancing, sings in choirs, and writes music and artistic reviews, experiencing all kinds of cultures that can be met in Canada.

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