From the Hearth:
Introduction to poetry and spoken word with Billie the Kid

2 February, 19 February, 2 March, 19 March, 6 April, and 23 April 2023

Poetry and spoken word workshop

“Only by multiplying our circles of care will we achieve the infrastructures necessary to build a caring society.”

(The Care Collective, 2020)

From the Hearth, is a six-part in-person poetry and spoken word workshop series, that expands our circles of care to embrace the journeys, stories and connections we share as humans. We guide both new and experienced poets through the art of storytelling and finding an individual voice that celebrates collective memory and belonging. We discuss why our stories are important, do exercises in expression and inspiration and think about community and collaboration. This series is facilitated by Billie the Kid who is a K’ai Taile Dené and Nehiyaw spoken word poet and storyteller. Coordinated by Qanita Lilla.

The series covers themes such as 1. Why our stories are important, 2. What is a story?,  3. The Poet’s Toolkit, 4. The responsibility of the Storyteller, 5. Home and Inspiration and culminates with 6. Community and Collaboration.

All are welcome and no experience is required. Participants can register for individual workshops, or join the full series.

2 February: Our Stories are Important
Letting our stories come forth
Why is it important to tell our stories?
What is voice?
Introduction to peer feedback

19 February: Exercises in Expression A: What is a story?
Technique Macro: Playing with structure and introduction to form
What is a story? Challenging our perceptions of narrative
Exploring the idea of stories as living beings

2 March: Exercises in Expression B: The Poet’s Tool Kit
Technique Micro: Playing with words and sounds
Introduction to poetic devices on the page and in performance
How can we go from ‘knowing’ to ‘expressing’?

19 March: Responsibility of the Storyteller
How do we tell our stories in an honourable way?
Who is our audience? What do we wish for them? What do we wish for ourselves?
How can we be responsible with the power of our stories?
Experiments in writing the future: can we conjure the stories we would like to create?

6 April: Home and Inspiration
What does it mean to feel at home in a place?
Where do we feel at home in our writing: what inspires us?
Tips for approaching “writer’s block”
Exercises in Ekphrastic poetry: drawing inspiration from visual works of art.

23 April: Community and Collaboration
Introduction to collaborative writing
Building community in poetry: how can we cultivate spaces that feel like home for poets and the stories we tell?


Billie the Kid is a K’ai Taile Dené and Nehiyaw spoken word poet and storyteller. Originally from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, she now resides in Kingston, Ontario, the traditional home of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Huron-Wendat. Billie holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s University and has performed at events across Turtle Island from CUPSI to the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. Her poetry breathes life into narratives as she explores relationships with family, friends, food, and the dynamic nature of dreams.

Portrait of Billie the Kid

Portrait of Billie the Kid

Image Credits

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