Kathleen Judith James a.k.a. "Strong" is
a spoken word poet from Toronto. Kathleen is currently
pursuing a Master's degree in History at Queen's University.
Her area of interest is African-Canadian Studies and
she will be writing her cognate essay on the history
of spoken word poetry in Toronto. Kathleen is the recipient
of several academic awards such as; a Desmond Hart Memorial
Prize, the Women's Canadian Historical Society Award
and a Queen's Graduate Award.
Kathleen has spoken at academic conferences such as
the recent New Frontiers Graduate Conference and she
was on the organizing committee for the Researching
Black Musics and Black Music Cultures Conference which
was sponsored by CBC Radio One. She is a member of the
League of Canadian Poets. Her poem "A Black History
Moment" was featured in a journal entitled Northern
Terminus and she writes articles for Toronto's Diversity
News. Some of Kathleen's work will be published in an
anthology of poetry, monologues and short stories entitled
T-dot Griots that will be released in 2004. In the last
year, Kathleen has performed at over 50 venues in Kingston,
Pickering, Toronto and New York. In Toronto, she has
been featured in events such as the Caribbean-Canadian
Literary Expo, Westview Secondary School's Black History
Month Assembly, the War and Peace Poetry Show and Peace
Summit and La Parole.
During her short time in Queen's University, Kathleen
has left her mark. Kathleen has written for the United
Paper and Antithesis where she served as an advertising
executive. She performed at venues including; the OPRIG
Anti-Racism Conference, the Ban Righ Children's Story
Hour, and the Adrina McCulloh Public speaking competition
in which she won a prize for being the first runner-up
in the competition. Since January, she hosted the ACSA/OPRIG
Black History Month Poetry Event and she runs a monthly
poetry series entitled "The Spoken Word Vibe"
which features Kingston and Toronto artists. She was
also interviewed on Kingston's Cogeco 13's "Plugged-In"
in regards to her work related to spoken word in Kingston.
In the future, you can continue to catch Kathleen sharing
the power of spoken word at venues in Toronto, New York
and Kingston. She can be reached directly at: [email protected].
With her name she stakes her claim
to her place in history
She is not just a woman with an anonymous identity
She is Sophia Pooley
This is her story.
Born in New York to Oliver and Dinah Burthen
She was bound and gagged
Then dragged off to Canada with her sister... unwillingly.
This was her unfortunate fate and destiny
She became a slave of Joseph Brant
A Native Indian, a British Loyalist whom she served
for about thirteen years
She was sold to an Englishman when she was about twenty
A short time after she became his property, she was
She reflected on her memories in an interview in the
Until her dying day, she chose to remain in this country.
There are many questions have not been answered in regards
to her story
Did she ever marry? When she was freed was she happy?
Did she ever learn about the fate of her family?
Her spirit sleeps peacefully...
Resurrected briefly in her narrative
She rises to take her place beside Marie Josephe Angélique
She rises to take her place beside the unknown former
who cannot speak slaves who cannot speak
Record of them have been forgotten, so they exist anonymously
But, she does not, she has a name and it is Sophia Pooley.
Her narrative may be disputed;
but she will forever remain in my memory
As she speaks I listen intently...
She reminds me to uncover the untold events in Canadian
She reminds me to remember Mathieu Da Costa and the
But, to also remember that Canada participated in the
institution of slavery
So, I will tell future generations of her story.
© Kathleen Judith James a.k.a. "Strong 2003.