Wakefield Brewster

Episode 54: Marc Lynch Interviews Wakefield Brewster

Jul 4, 2023


In this interview, Wakefield Brewster talks with Marc Herman Lynch about the origins of his various monikers such as the “word wizard” and the “lyrical pitbull,” living in Toronto, and how race has shaped his work. Brewster also discusses the differences between “spoken word” or poetry for performance and poetry for the page. Teaching is likewise important for Brewster, who didn’t see teachers like him in classes and who uses disruption in his teaching practice.

 Marc Herman Lynch is a mixed-race writer currently doing a PhD student at the University of Calgary and serving as president of filling Station magazine. Each summer he works with the creative team at Wordsworth Youth Writing Camp to teach young writers. He lives in Moh’kins’tsis, otherwise known as Calgary, in Treaty 7 Territory, Alberta. His debut novel, Arborescent, was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2020.

In 1999, Wakefield Brewster stepped onto his first stage as a poet and spoken word artist. Today, he is known as one of Canada’s most powerful professional performance poets. A Black man raised in Toronto by parents from Barbados, he has resided in Calgary since 2016. Throughout his career, Wakefield has been published in several anthologies and has released two professional recordings: Wakefield Brewster, da lyrical pitbull, produced by Kill Whitey Records in 2007, and east2west, produced by Spanish Fly Music in 2008. Among his many roles in the poetry and arts communities, Wakefield Brewster is the Calgary Poet Laureate from 2022 to 2024.

Show notes:

5:21: The origin of Wakefield’s “lyrical pitbull” moniker

10:35: Wakefield’s first self-titled album, Wakefield Brewster: da lyrical pitbull

11:05: Wakefield’s collaboration with the cellist Lizzy Munson for TEDxYYC

16:32: Wakefield’s poem “I Can”

24:53: Wakefield’s poem “H2O” in T-Dot Griots: An Anthology of Toronto’s Black Storytellers

25:16: Wakefield’s poem anthologized in The Calgary Project: A City Map in Verse and Visual

25:27: Wakefield’s poems in The Black Prairie Archive: An Anthology

28:57: Marc reads from Wakefield’s poem “I Can”

29:30: Marc references the Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s WordsWorth camp

30:00: “Teachers didn’t look like me”

38:50: Wakefield’s poem for Alberta Ecotrust Foundation

38:58: Marc reads from Wakefield’s poem “Mediums”

40:37: Lisa Gareau interviews of Wakefield Brewster on The Connector Next Door podcast

TIA House recognizes the generous support of the Canada Research Chairs program and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. We also appreciate the support of the Faculty of Arts and the Department of English at the University of Calgary, where our offices are housed, as well as the guidance of Marc Stoeckle at the Taylor Family Digital Library.

TIA House is run by Larissa Lai, Shuyin Yu, Ryan Stearne, Shazia Ramji, Rebecca Geleyn, Mikka Jacobsen, Benjamin Ghan, Amy LeBlanc, Marc Lynch, and Mahmoud Ababneh.
Our Intro/Outro music is Monarch of the Streets by Loyalty Freak Music, accessed from the Free Music Archive.

Posted in