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 Prism, and 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.
As Department Head of English at a public high school, Lara founded and curates Be Heard, one of Canada’s largest and longest running youth 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.