Jillian Christmas is a queer, afro-caribbean writer living on the unceded territories of the
Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam people (Vancouver, BC.), where she served for six
years as Artistic Director of Versəs Festival of Words. She has won numerous Grand
Poetry-Slam Championship titles and represented both Toronto and Vancouver at 11 national
poetry events, notably breaking ground as the first Canadian to perform on the final stage of the
Women of the World Poetry Slam.
In 2016 Jillian was named one of two Poets of Honour by the Canadian Festival of Spoken
Word. Jillian's work has been featured in numerous online publications including Lemon Hound,
The Rusty Toque and the Huffington Post, and published in a number of collections, most
recently including Power Poems for Small Humans (Flamingo Rampant Press - (YA) 2019),
Matrix New Queer Writing (issue 98), The Post Feminist Post, Plenitude Magazine, Room
Magazine (39.1) and celebrated anthology, The Great Black North.
An enthusiastic organizer, Jillian has participated in, developed, and executed programs in
partnership with Toronto Poetry Project, Wordplay - Poetry in Schools, the Vancouver Writers
Festival, The Talking Stick Festival, Urban Native Youth Association, Museum of Vancouver,,
Museum of Anthropology, Simon Fraser University, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and the
University of British Columbia. She has presented poetry and theory in a multitude of venues
including the BC Civil Liberties gala, the SFU 2018 grad conference closing keynote, and
numerous panels focussed on the intersections of critical race theory and contemporary art.
Jillian continues to tour the continent experimenting with music/poetry fusion, banging on her
drum kit, clowning, and sharing stages and stories.
Seen on these playlists
In The Gospel of Breaking, Jillian Christmas confirms what followers of her performance and artistic curation have long known: there is magic in her words. Befitting someone who "speaks things into being," Christmas extracts from family history, queer lineage, and the political landscape of a racialized life to create a rich, softly defiant collection of poems. Christmas draws a circle around the things she calls "holy": the family line that cannot find its root but survived to fill the skies with radiant flesh; the body, broken and unbroken and broken and new again; the lover lost, the friend lost, and the loss itself; and the hands that hold them all with brilliant, tender care. Expansive and beautiful, these poems allow readers to swim in Jillian Christmas's mother-tongue and to dream at her shores.View playlist