Episode 51: Interview with Mailyne K. Briggs and Shery Alexander Heinis – In Our Tongues Reading and Art Series

Recorded October 6, 2019. We interview Shery and Mailyne about their forthcoming series for BIPOC writers and musicians debuting at the Origin on Tuesday, October 8, 2019. We talk about the goals of the series to provide a welcome and enriching environment that centers Indigenous and racialized writers and musicians in Ottawa.

Mailyne K. Briggs is a multidisciplinary artist, photographer, art educator, writer and documentary filmmaker. Born in the Philippines, Mailyne was adopted and immigrated to Canada at the age of four. She picked up painting as a form of therapy in her late teens, as a way to heal from childhood trauma. Recognizing art as therapy, she combines mindfulness into her approach as a teacher, artist and mental health advocate.

Her strong desire to reconnect with her roots has led her to explore what it means to be a cis-woman of colour with Philippine heritage and a Canadian upbringing, and is currently working on a series that encompasses her dual identity.

When she isn’t writing and creating, she’s working with her clients to develop their marketing and branding, as well as manage their social media platforms through her full-time business, Dream Love Grow Media. Working for herself has allowed her the flexibility and freedom to spend time with her family, and remain socially active with QTBIPOC, diasporic and marginalized communities, through her work with non-profits such as: A.R.T (A Real Thought) In Action, Bayanihan Ottawa, Yoga.Unity and Youth Action Now.

Shery Alexander Heinis is an Ottawa-based poet and former diplomat. Born and raised on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean, as a young girl, reading and writing were her greatest passions. She started writing poetry in Ottawa around 2013.

She self-published her first chapbook A Greater Whole in 2014and her debut poetry collection Splinter in 2017, currently available on her website and She organized the launches for both books, including marketing and promotions, in collaboration with fellow artists including musicians and singers. She hopes to continue these collaborative creative efforts with other poets, writers and other artists. She is currently working on a new collection of poems, for which she will be seeking a publisher in 2020. She has been published by In\Words and Bywords.

She participates in poetry readings across Ottawa. Tree Reading Series invited her as a feature reader (2018) and Versefest Ottawa invited her to participate in its 2019 Invitational Slam. She has also been invited as a feature reader at community events such as Kwanzaa, in her workplace to mark Black History Month, as well as at the Community of Federal Visible Minorities annual event.

Together with her co-founder, Mailyne K. Briggs, Shery is currently working to establish the first Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPoC) monthly reading and art series in Ottawa, which will showcase BIPoC poets, writers, musicians and other artists from Ottawa and across Canada. The launch is scheduled for October 8, 2019 from 7-9 pm at the Origin Arts & Community Centre, 57 Lyndale Avenue, Ottawa and occur on the second Tuesday of the month thereafter.

You can find Shery here:


Facebook: SheryAlexanderHeinisPoetry.

Twitter: @shery_ah

In Our Tongues Reading and Art Series is the first in Ottawa dedicated specifically to showcasing Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPoC) poets, writers, musicians and other artists, including those across the gender spectrum.

In Our Tongues:

Queer Soup:

Episode 46 – 4th Season Opener

The Small Machine Talks

with a.m. kozak and Amanda Earl

Episode 46, Season 4 Opener

Recorded at Occo’s Kitchen and Bar on July 30, 2019

Season 3 Highlights and Season 4 & Beyond Plans

Overview of Season 3

12 episodes

most played – 38 – Bad Nudes with Thomas Molander and Fawn Parker with 153 plays (October)

9 interviews and 3 topics episodes: Small Press Fair, Book Review, Visual Poetry

Statistics as of July 30, 2019

SEASON 3 July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 had 1,513  plays

OVERALL May 15, 2016 to July 30, 2019 had 4,122 plays

Top Played Episodes: Dalton Derkson interview – Episode 6 with 174 plays, Bad Nudes 38 with 153 plays and 9 with Sarah MacDonell with 151 plays


Aaron talks about why he enjoys interviews and their importance for research for contemporary writers;  We mull over the idea of number of plays and ratings.

Amanda talks about craft and process, the discussion with Cameron Anstee on minimalism and ephemera, books as objects and materiality from episode 34, the opener was quite interesting. Aram Saroyan’s Complete Minimalist Poems.

The Visual Poetry episodes 41 and 42 gave us a chance to go into a bit of depth about a subject, do a little research and discuss.

Amanda also particularly enjoyed episode 43 with Danielle K.L. Gregoire was so much fun because we went all over the place and because Danielle is such a great storyteller with a sexy radio voice.

We talk about the importance of a flexible format. The balance with over and underpreparing. We talk about doing interviews without our co-host.

Plans and Dreams for Season 4 and Beyond

More episodes like A Moveable Podcast with Jennifer LoveGrove, Episode 29, poets in the wild, perhaps a pub crawl or coffee crawl episode where we meet poets at different cafes and pubs and chat with them.

Go to a particular city, such as Toronto or Montreal and set up a space for a few days with interviews with poets we haven’t had the chance to talk to yet. Doyali Islam, Canisia Lubrin, Dionne Brand, Dorothy Palmer, for example.

Interview with Shery Alexander Heinis and Mailyne Morena about the BIPOC reading series they’re creating in the fall.

Interview with Christine McNair about her current manuscript, motherhood and preeclampsia.

Interviews with Jason Christie and Nina Jane Drystek.

To interview long term friends or couples. We interviewed Conyer and Nathanael Larochette in Episode 36. I have plans to visit James Moran and Anita Dolman for an interview.

Aaron talks about revisiting those who were writing together in a group some time ago and interviewing them to talk about that experience and how it influenced their writing. Example is the creative writing workshops with Seymour Mayne at U of Ottawa.

Guest hosts/curators. Decide who you want to interview.

More episodes focused on a specific theme, such as places and spaces.

A bunch of people talking about a single book, such as the podcast On the Line by Rusty Toque:

To expand our interviews to other genres, such as the interview with Mariah Horner which focused a bit more on the theatre. Would love to add music and musicians, but that would mean paying for a SOCAN license, so maybe not.

Interviews over Skype, Youtube, Messenger.  Technical advice needed!

Panel discussions, such as a queer poetry panel, and maybe a live episode somehow.

We talk about how we figure out who to interview. Depends on poet’s interest, availability and also publishers sometimes send us books for poets coming to town. Invisible Publishing, Wolsak and Wynn, for example.

We invite suggestions for podcast episodes.

People could send us mp3s or mp4s of to 10 minutes and we’ll include them in the podcast, especially if you’re out of town and haven’t been on the podcast. Possible topics include places that you like to write at, places that appear in your poems or that you feel connected with, a poetry book or chapbook that you’ve recently enjoyed.

Aaron invites people to submit photo essays to the blog he co-runs with Justin Labelle:


Thanks to everyone who’s listened and shared the episodes. Thanks to those we’ve interviewed, the publishers for sending books, thanks to Charles Earl for processing and Jennifer Pederson for intros and outros. Thanks to a.m. kozak. thanks to the reading series and event organizers who make this town and others damn interesting by organizing and applying for grants and keeping these things running. thanks to poets for continuing to write engaging work that gives us something interesting to discuss.

Stay tuned for the next episode!