Theater of War The Waste Land Project
Poets from Ukraine, Toronto and other parts of the world come together across borders and boundaries to present readings and reflections on each other’s poems as a catalyst for dialogue, healing, connection and community.
The Waste Land Project is a live, hybrid exchange to help frame a powerful, global discussion about some of the timeless themes of T S Eliot’s 100-year-old poem The Waste Land, including the impact of war on families and communities, environmental and societal collapse, colonial violence and pandemics.
Originally published in 1922, following the devastation of both the First World War and the Spanish Flu, The Waste Land reflected the challenges of its time. With its clear present-day parallels, such as growing inequality, the war in Ukraine, the ongoing impact of the pandemic and the ever-present threat of climate change, the poem resonates deeply with the challenges of the present moment.
This free event, presented by Theater of War Productions and Toronto International Festival Authors, will feature dramatic readings of selections from The Waste Land by prominent actors, followed by poets reading poems in response to the The Waste Land, and culminating in a guided audience discussion, facilitated by Bryan Doerries (Artistic Director, Theater of War Productions), aimed at cultivating healing, connection and community.
The event will feature readings by Madhur Anand (Canadian poet and professor of ecology and sustainability), A F Moritz (poet laureate of Toronto), Erin Robinsong (poet and interdisciplinary artist), Jeffrey Wright (award-winning actor), Halyna Kruk (poet, translator, professor of Medieval Literature at Lviv State University) and Iryna Shuvalova (poet and scholar from Kyiv).
Madhur Anand is the author of the experimental memoir This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart, the poetry collection A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes and several other literary works published in national and international literary magazines. She is a professor of ecology and sustainability at the University of Guelph, where she was appointed the inaugural Director of the Guelph Institute for Environmental Research.
Image credit: Ian Willms
Bryan Doerries is a New York-based writer, director, and translator who currently serves as Artistic Director of Theater of War Productions, a company that presents dramatic readings of seminal plays and texts to frame community conversations about pressing issues of public health and social justice. A self-described evangelist for ancient stories and their relevance to our lives today, Doerries uses age-old approaches to help individuals and communities heal from trauma and loss. He is the author of The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today; All That You’ve Seen Here Is God; and The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan.
Halyna Kruk is a poet, translator and Professor in Medieval Literature at Lviv State University. She has been recognised as a significant voice in Ukrainian poetry since her twenties. She has published five collected volumes of poetry and two volumes of prose fiction. Her children’s fiction has been translated into 15 languages. She has won numerous Ukrainian and European awards for her writing.
A F Moritz is widely considered one of the defining and most beloved lyric poets of his generation. His many honours include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize and an Ingram Merrill Fellowship. He currently serves as the sixth poet laureate of the City of Toronto.
Iryna Shuvalova is a poet and scholar from Kyiv, Ukraine, based in Nanjing, China. She is the author of five award-winning books of poetry, including Pray to the Empty Wells and Stoneorchardwoods (2020) which was named book of the year by Ukraine’s Litaktsent Prize for Literature and received the Special Prize of the Lviv UNESCO City of Literature Book Award. She co-edited 120 Pages of ‘Sodom’,’ the first anthology of queer writing in Ukraine. Her poetry has been translated into 23 languages and published internationally. Her forthcoming academic monograph, ‘Donbas Is My Sparta’: Identity and Belonging in the Songs of the Russo-Ukrainian War, explores the impact of the war on Ukrainian society.
Jeffrey Wright has appeared in numerous films, television, and theatre productions including: Broadway: Angels in America (Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards), Topdog/Underdog (Tony nomination, Obie Award – also London and Off-Broadway) and Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, all directed by George C Wolfe. Films and television include Basquiat (1996, Independent Spirit Award nomination), Angels in America (Golden Globe and Emmy Awards), Boycott (AFI Award) and Westworld, for which he received several nominations. He Wright is the co-founder and chair of Taia, LLC and Taia Peace Foundation.