Lara Bozabalian – Life 2.0

About Lara Bozabalian

Lara is the author of the bestselling poetry collection, The Cartographer’s Skin (Piquant Press), and Tourist (Tightrope Books). Her poems have appeared in Rattle, The Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly, and Prismand were long-listed in the Montreal International Poetry Prize Anthology and Best Canadian Poetry. Her new work will appear shortly in ARC Poetry Magazine, The Antigonish Review, Queen’s Quarterly and Contemporary Verse 2.

She has featured at TEDx (Passion and Poetry) and, recently, after the school shootings in Florida, her poem on Rattle’s Poets Respond went viral. In 2012, at the Hot Docs International Documentary Challenge,  Crowd The Schoolhouse, a short documentary set to her poetry (and narrated by Lara), won for Best Writing and Best Use of Genre. In both 2014 and 2015 she was named Toronto’s Best Poet at the Best of Toronto Awards (NOW Magazine).

As Department Head of English at a public high school, Lara founded and curates Be Heard, one of Canada’s largest and longest running 5496946537_45bb57ff4a_byouth poetry festivals. She is also a founding member of Toronto Poetry Project, a collective which curates spoken word events in Toronto (including the 2011 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word), and is dedicated to fostering social change and creative writing opportunities.

As a spoken word poet, Lara has performed at literary festivals and venues across North America, in Singapore and Ireland. She has represented Toronto at the Individual World Poetry Slam, Women of the World Poetry Slam and, as a member of the Toronto Poetry Slam Team, at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.

How has the writing of poetry affected your life?
(Glenda Jackson, Host; Coburg Poetry Workshop)

The writing of poetry has, quite simply, offered me a better way to live in the world. I deeply, humbly love what poems can do, and I strive to be the highest version of myself in creating them. Through the challenges of articulation, I have become more patient and contemplative with myself and others. I find myself listening much more consciously to the world, and to my experiences, than when I was a younger person. Loving something enough to strive for fluency, and appreciating how long of a road it takes to get there, has probably been the greatest lesson; I am continually amazed at how this relationship grows, falters, renews, strengthens. I am continually amazed that I never walk away. There is something about this process that clears me out, and leaves me open for new experiences. I know that I would not have become the person (or teacher) that I am, without a heart that beats for poetry.

March 2010

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11 thoughts on “About Lara Bozabalian

  1. dave taylor

    Laura — are you involved in high schools at all. I am a teacher in a secondary school and I have kids interested in Slam peotry but do not know where to find anything. Could you help us with any info or contacts??

    They are quite good and should be heard.

  2. laraboz

    Hi Dave,

    I am a Department Head (English) and have been doing educational workshops for teachers and Writers Guilds around Toronto for the last few years. I currently run a board wide spoken word festival for teachers and students in the YRDSB. What area are you teaching in?

  3. Bill Levity

    Hey LAra

    Great work at the festival.
    Please email to stay in touch,
    and dont forget to apply
    Islands Folk Festival

    Cheers, Bill

  4. laraboz

    Hey Bill,

    Thank you! I will definitely stay in touch! I will be featuring at the Vancouver Youth Slam sometime this summer, so I will let you know details asap..!

    Best, Lara

  5. Debra

    Hi Lara; just wanted to say hi. It’s been forever, but stumbled across your site. (in case you don’t recognize the name, our mums are friends and we used to hang out when we were little) Want to congratulate you! Maybe catch one of your slams while I’m in T.O from Berlin for xmas. Dig your poetry.

  6. laraboz

    Debra,

    Of course I remember you!! Wow, it has been decades. Last time I saw you, you showed me your beautiful tatoo..but I can’t even remember where or when (at Christabel’s?). I would love to catch up, over the holidays, but I’m flying out to Ireland on the 21st. Are you back before then? Maybe I’ll be back in Berlin one of these days.. Definitely keep in touch. Thank you so much for kind words.. do you do any writing? What have you been up to, since kindergarten? 🙂

  7. Juliana Krstevska

    Heyy Lara,
    I was a little disappointed that you didn’t perform last night. Your poetry is strikingly beautiful and inspirational. Just want to encourage you to keep writing! I’ll be sure to make it out to your next show in Toronto.

  8. laraboz

    Hi Julie,
    Thanks for that, very kind words to end the evening. I was planning on performing, but there were a lot of people waiting to get on the bill. Next month, for certain. I will be performing at the Art Bar in March, and have a book launch coming up (date tba)… very exciting. I will definitely let you know when that happens, it should be a great night.

    Thanks again, it was great to see you out.
    I’d love to hear some of your new work!

    Cheers,
    Lara

  9. Laura Rubio

    Hi Lara:

    As I said last night at the slam, I wanted to once again congratulate you on your work, from the first time I heard your words they moved me (surprisingly enough one of your poems was exactly the opposite to my “life” yet it shook me strongly). Now after reading more about your bio and your endeavoring in the “poetry project for youth” I am even more awed . I will try and make it on May 20th for the launching of your book. Some lines are drawn in our skins some are more like tint that sips thru our pores, burns and leaves scars, we are all cartographers and cartographers like my mother have painfully taught me that… “lines that burn”!!…

    All the very best,
    LaVRA

  10. Searching

    Hi Lara

    I’m are searching for some politicized girl slam poets to invite to perform at an event in Toronto in early October. Please DM me so I can give you the details.

    Thank you!

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