Barrie, Ont. poet laureate encourages local artists with open mic night

Barrie Poet laureate Tyneisha Ternent. Supplied by Tyneisha Ternent Photo by brandynhphoto

Since taking over as Barrie’s fourth poet laureate, Tyneisha Ternent has been pushing for poetry representation in all its forms and providing opportunities for artists in the southern Ontario city to debut their work.

This Friday, Ternent, in partnership with Live Barrie, will host an open mic night for locals to debit their work.

The event starts at 8 p.m. at CW Coop’s, with special guest and award-winning poet Britta Badour, also known as Britta B., who teaches spoken word performance at Seneca College.

“To me, poetry is emotions, poetry is being vulnerable, poetry is expressing the parts of you that maybe you would rather hide. It’s really connecting with your soul and how you truly feel and not being afraid to tap into your emotions and get a little vulnerable because that will spark your healing,” Ternent said.

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Ternent said the event is open to anyone looking to display their artistry in a safe place.

“Some who it’s their first time on stage to some who is seasoned, it’s open for everybody. I want everybody to feel welcomed and like they can share their talents and not feel any criticism,” she said.

“It’s going to be a supportive environment for everybody to feel comfortable and safe.”

When it comes to what kind of performances they are looking for, Ternent said they are looking for art of all types, from spoken word to rap to dance.

Since taking over as poet laureate, she has been busy with performances in Toronto and locally, as well as organizing events to showcase artists and fellow poets.

“Art is healing; there’s a lot of healing. It allows people to really grow as an individual and honour themselves, and so I want to provide spaces where people are even just doing poetry, visual arts, it could be dance – however people want to express themselves, I want to help them be able to do that,” she said.

Ternent said she is working to make this a monthly event in addition to her Rap is Poetry events, where she provides a space for local artists to perform and get paid for their work.

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“It’s a great opportunity to have artists of all kinds come together. It also gives a new understanding of rap a deeper meaning and how rap and spoken word are connected,” she said.

“I’m loving the role, I am taking it very seriously, and I really look forward to bringing more diverse and engaging events to Barrie and Simcoe County.”

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