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Living Hyphen

Living Hyphen

By Living Hyphen
Living Hyphen uncovers what it means to live in between cultures as a hyphenated Canadian – that is, individuals who call Canada home but with roots elsewhere. Our stories are beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting, contradictory, and constantly unfolding. Living Hyphen’s aim is to reshape the mainstream and to turn up the volume on voices that often go unheard.
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Love From Afar
In this final episode, we’re talking about all the ways we send love from afar, both tangible and intangible, through both space and time, in whatever form we have available to us. Thank you for being a part of this journey. Signing off for now and sending our love from afar, Trisha & Justine Featured in this episode: • Sam Castaneda is a high school student from Alberta who is passionate about exploring, equality, and seeing the best in the world. She believes her writing and (past) travel experiences have helped her not only understand where she has come from but also the beautiful backgrounds that have shaped the people of today's society. Follow her on Instagram at @samicastanedaa. • Sonia Nicholson (nee Resendes) is a first-generation Canadian; her family has lived on the island of Santa Maria, Azores (Portugal) for hundreds of years. Born and raised in the small town of Osoyoos, British Columbia, Sonia went on to study French and Spanish at the University of Victoria. She remained in Victoria and lives there with her husband, two children, and two rescue dogs. When she’s not writing, she works as an executive assistant and archivist. Read more of her writing at or follow her on Twitter at @nicholsonsonia_ or on Facebook. • Anne Claire Baguio is a first-generation immigrant. She was born in Manila, but her family's roots are in Cebu. When she was two years old, they moved to what is colonially known as Vancouver, British Columbia. She co-founded Sliced Mango Collective, a Fil-Can youth organization focused on exploring identity and culture through the lens of decolonization, anti-racism, and intersectional feminism. She hopes to someday publish a poetry chapbook that includes poems reflecting on her identity as a Filipina. Follow her across socials at @baguioac. • Vanessa Vigneswaramoorthy is a Tamil-Canadian writer, researcher and community organizer working out of the Greater Toronto Area. She is pursuing an MA in Adult Education and Community Development while working on projects that aim to provide support to youth in creative, impactful ways. Check out Habitation: A Topography, a book she collaborated on as part of a residency, or follow her on socials at @vandoesthings. Living Hyphen is a community seeking to turn up the volume on the voices of hyphenated Canadians. You can purchase our magazine at, support us on Patreon, or find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
June 23, 2021
On Grief
The last year has been one of grieving for a lot of us. Whether we are grieving the loss of anticipated plans or the loss of income, our businesses, our jobs, the loss of touch and intimacy or, ultimately, the loss of our loved ones, the passing of millions of people all around the world with their own complex histories, joys, insecurities, hopes, and dreams, and flaws and everything in between — we dedicate this episode to all the ways and all the things we grieve. Featured in this episode: • Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch is a queer Arab poet living in Tio’tia:ke, unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory. Their work has appeared in The Best Canadian Poetry 2018 anthology, GUTS, Carte Blanche, the Shade Journal, The New Quarterly, Arc Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere. They were longlisted for the CBC poetry prize in 2019. Their book, knot body, was published by Metatron Press in September 2020, and their upcoming book, The Good Arabs, will be published by Metonymy Press in 2021. You can find them on Instagram and Twitter at @theonlyelitareq and sign up for their newsletter at • Kasper Samantha Langford • Linda Trinh is a writer of Vietnamese descent and she writes non-fiction and fiction. She explores the intersection of identity with cultural background and spirituality. Her work has appeared in Prairie Fire, Room Magazine’s website, This Magazine, and The Nasiona. She has been a finalist in the Malahat Review’s Constance Rooke CNF contest, been nominated for two National Magazine Awards, and a Pushcart Prize. Linda lives in Winnipeg / Treaty 1 Territory. Read more of her writing at and follow her on Twitter at @LindaYTrinh. • Shohana Sharmin is a Bangladeshi-Canadian emerging comedian, writer, and theatre artist. Born and raised in Bangladesh, Shohana is a proud Muslim queer woman of colour and is fluent in three languages. She is a recipient of the 2020 Queer Emerging Artist Award at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and is the creator and a cast member of the critically acclaimed award-winning dark sketch comedy revue "Dead Parents Society." Listen to her new podcast “Finder Grievers”, a happy-ish podcast about sad things, in which we unpack the universally felt - yet rarely discussed - experience of grieving. She wishes she could be more like her mother. Follow Shohana at @soleahm, her comedy sketch show at @dpssketchshow, and her podcast at @findersgrievers. Living Hyphen is a community seeking to turn up the volume on the voices of hyphenated Canadians. You can purchase our magazine at, support us on Patreon, or find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
June 16, 2021
Word Limit
Communication has shifted in such profound and subtle ways over the course of this pandemic. Language is meant to be a point of connection, but it has been a struggle to articulate the depth of the bad-ness happening around us on a daily basis. How do you foster emotional connection when communication “fails” you? In this episode, we dive into just that question. And not just as it relates to the pandemic, but to our experiences as hyphenated Canadians. Whether it’s in the form of losing a language, or adapting one’s way of speaking in the face of assimilation, or losing touch with the culture attached to a language — for many of us who are a part of a diaspora or who have been displaced in some way, this gap in our language is not new. Featured in this episode: • Zehra Naqvi is a Karachi-born writer and poet raised on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples. She is a winner of Room's annual poetry contest, and has written and edited for various publications internationally. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, Room, Jaggery, and The New Quarterly. She recently completed her graduate studies at Oxford University, where she studied migration and social anthropology as a Rhodes Scholar. She is currently working on her first book. Read her work or follow her at @hintsofgladness on Instagram. • Mary Joy Pascua • Alison Isaac is a Black, Caribbean-Canadian writer and teacher from Toronto, Canada. Besides Canada, Alison has lived in Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia. Her story “Legacy” was long listed for the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival’s Emergent Writers short story competition, and named winner of the Rewrite Reads inaugural issue. Her short story “Isa” was also published by Rewrite Reads. You can find more of her work at Her first children’s book, Kookumbah, was published in December 2020. • Thunderclaw Robinson is a poet, singer, and thunder bringer. He was born and raised in Toronto and has shared stages with the likes of Ari Lennox & Jessie Reyes and opened for the 44th US President Barack Obama. Thunderclaw has traveled to a variety of locations internationally to share light through poems and song on stages and radio stations. He aims to use his experiences to assist others in being a step closer to telling their truest story through art. Follow Thunderclaw on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and across all streaming platforms. Living Hyphen is a community seeking to turn up the volume on the voices of hyphenated Canadians. Support us on Patreon, or find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
June 9, 2021
Storytelling for Survival
We look at how different forms of storytelling – from the written word to music, from theatre to illustration – is vital for our survival, both during this time of pandemic and the grander experience of diaspora and displacement. Storytelling has been a way for us to find connection with community during this time of isolation, but it has also always been a way for us to preserve our histories, traditions, and memories. This episode if brought to you by partnership with #RisingYouth, a program led by TakingITGlobal that offers grants to youth to kickstart their own community service projects bringing their ideas into action. Featured in this episode: • Linh S. Nguyễn is a Vietnamese-Canadian immigrant and writer who specializes in children’s literature and creative non-fiction. Her personal essays, short stories, and novels (to come) revolve around the idea of homecoming. Linh’s professional focus is the intersection between art, social justice, and community. She is passionate about fostering spaces for underrepresented artists to share and grow. Linh holds an H.B.A. in English from the University of Toronto and will be starting her Masters degree at the University of Cambridge this fall in the Arts, Creativity, and Education program. Follow her on Instagram at @linh.s.nguyen or on Twitter at @linhsnguyen. • Christie Wong is a first-gen Hong Kong-Canadian immigrant and a multidisciplinary artist with primary explorations in photography, visual poetry, illustration, and facilitation. She is passionate about the journey of art making and its profound effect on living through many perspectives. Her art encircles themes of home, discovering of self in tiny forgotten moments and the depth of joy. Merging the process of entrepreneurship as a creative process, her ever-changing career landscape grows with each page turn and brush stroke; reflections of the power of creative thought in the everyday. Stay tuned for a new illustrated Chap book by Christie and Linh Nguyen coming out soon and other developments in chocolate making, song sharing and new words! You can find more of her frolickings at or more frequently @chrwonstie on Instagram! • Carmen Lee serves as executive director and co-founder to award-winning company, Theatre du Poulet. As Nova Scotia’s first Asian-owned theatre, the company is ready to share stories that uncover unheard voices to Canada’s diverse community. Learn more at After graduating with First Class Honours in Arts, Events and Stage Management from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Carmen has managed and produced over 30 shows in both Canada and Hong Kong. With over 8 years of experience in production and stage management, lighting, sound and set design, and arts administration, she has led her team to award wins at the Fringe Festival in Halifax and the Summerworks Festival in Toronto. Follow her at @theatredupoulet. • Cassandra Lobo is currently a second-year undergraduate student. During this time of isolation, she created virtual music concerts for seniors, individuals with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, and cancer patients. Learn more about Sounds in Isolation at Follow her across socials at @soundsinisolation. Living Hyphen is a community seeking to turn up the volume on the voices of hyphenated Canadians.
June 2, 2021
An episode for those of us who are living far away from those we love, and from the places we call home. An episode on being homesick while being homestuck. All of today’s pieces are from Living Hyphen’s inaugural issue, paying tribute to where it all began as we seek to define something as beautiful and impossible as a “home.” Featured in this episode: • Hannah Atkinson Renglich is a facilitator in love with processes of transformation and emergence. She writes a poem every day. • Nimra Bandukwala is an artist, a community arts facilitator, and a Masters student in Occupational Therapy based in Mississauga and the UK. She’s interested in the intersections of making, storytelling, culture, and well-being. Nimra has led arts-based workshops with neurodiverse children and adults, and currently facilitates workshops for seniors living in the GTA. She also co-lead Reth Aur Reghistan with her sister Manahil, a multi-disciplinary project that engages with folklore from Pakistan through sculpture, poetry, and community. Learn more or follow Nimra on Instagram at • Micaela Pereira Bajard has roots in what is now known as Bolivia and Canada. Life opportunities have allowed her to branch out and grow in both her home countries and other lands in different continents. She is passionate about social justice and writes creative non-fiction on her downtime to reconnect with different facets of her identity. • Patricia South is an aspiring author and passionate storyteller. She particularly enjoys recounting stories from her childhood, growing up in Jamaica. She has had stories and poetry published in The Globe and Mail and Living Hyphen magazine. Living Hyphen is a community seeking to turn up the volume on the voices of hyphenated Canadians. You can purchase our magazine at, support us on Patreon, or find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
May 26, 2021
Tasting Memories
Grocery aisles emptied of flour and sugar, meal delivery kits growing even more in popularity, restaurants pivoting to delivery-only and curbside pick-up, the banana bread craze. During this time of pandemic, we’ve turned to food as a source of comfort, of the little joys we have left. But it’s always been this way. Food has always been a vehicle – a very delicious one! – for transmitting our heritage and culture. Food is comfort, home, joy. It is gathering, it is nourishment, it is memory. Grab a snack, have a seat, and join us at the table for an episode on the importance of food in passing down family histories, uncovering secrets, and understanding identity. Featured in this episode: • Grace Lau (she/her) is a Hong-Kong-born, Chinese-Canadian writer living in Toronto. Her debut collection of poetry, The Language We Were Never Taught to Speak, was released in May 2021 from Guernica Editions and is available for order here. Her work is published and forthcoming in Grain Magazine, Contemporary Verse 2, Frontier Poetry, Arc Poetry, and elsewhere. Follow Grace on on Instagram at @thrillandgrace. • Brittany Scarfo, after completing a Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto, began crossing borders, like the generations that came before her, to work as an educator abroad. As a daughter of immigrants, she struggled to embrace her hyphenated identity, but eventually grew to accept, love and become fiercely proud of it. As an educator, she does her best to step outside the established literary canon to ensure the texts studied celebrate the diversity that exists in her classroom. Follow her on Instagram at @bscarfo. • Christine Vu • Joelle Kidd is a fiction writer, award-winning journalist and editor living in a book-filled basement in Toronto. Her work has appeared in The Walrus, This Magazine, Feels Zine, Prairie Fire and Living Hyphen. She is a flash fiction/non-fiction editor for Cypress Literary Journal and is currently working on her first novel. Learn more about Joelle at and follow her on Twitter at @joelle_kidd. Living Hyphen is a community seeking to turn up the volume on the voices of hyphenated Canadians. You can purchase our magazine at, support us on Patreon, or find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
May 19, 2021
Digging Roots
Did you buy yourself an indoor plant during the pandemic to cope with the stress of our early lockdown days? So did our co-host Justine, and in the process of caring for her indoor jungle, she learned all about the root system and just how connected it is to our experiences as hyphenated Canadians. In this episode, revel in stories about the earth, land, and soil. What it means to be repotted and replanted. What it means to recognize your native soil and to be connected to or disconnected from it. Today we’re digging roots, exploring how we are uprooted from one place and moved to another. And how we can either flourish or wither in this new environment. Featured in this episode: • Desiree Mckenzie is an award-winning poet, arts educator, and photographer, based out of Toronto. Her poetry has also been featured as part of CBC’s Poetic License series, VIBE Arts NExT Exhibit, and Clearbanc Financial’s International Women’s Day Campaign. In 2020, she was awarded the JAYU iAM Arts for Human Rights Award recognizing creatives doing exceptional work where the arts and human rights intersect. In March 2021, she released her EP, Wet Hair, now available on streaming platforms. Find her EP of spoken word poetry at and learn more about her at Follow Desiree on Instagram at @desireemckenzie. • Natasha Ramoutar is an Indo-Guyanese writer living in Scarborough. She is the Social Media Assistant at the Festival of Literary Diversity, and her first collection of poetry, BITTERSWEET, was published in 2020 by Mawenzi House. Follow Natasha on socials at @spondeee. • Micaela Comeau / Just Micci is a Canadian-Acadian-Métis singer-songwriter from the French shore of Nova Scotia who often finds inspiration from nature, the environment, and love. Micci has been writing and directing children's musicals for the past 8 years and this connection with their students serves as a huge opportunity for growth, inspiration, and joy. Micci has performed at festivals including Evolve, White Rabbit and the Mi’kmaq Acadian Festival and shares their work online and on Micci will draw you in, dancing between poetry and music. Support her work on Patreon or follow her on TikTok, Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram. Living Hyphen is a community seeking to turn up the volume on the voices of hyphenated Canadians. You can purchase our magazine at, support us on Patreon, or find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
May 12, 2021
Welcome to Season 1 of the Living Hyphen Podcast. As we continue to live through this pandemic, we have been asked to stay at home, to quarantine, and to ultimately, maintain a “social distance” from our loved ones. We have been challenged to find new and creative ways to show our love from afar. But for those of us who are part of a diaspora or who have been displaced in some way – voluntarily or forced, right here on this land or abroad – we know all too well all the gradients and textures of loving from afar. And so, for this first season of the Living Hyphen Podcast, we’ve collected stories from a multitude of different storytellers across what we now know as Canada to explore this concept of “homestuck” – whatever home might be, whatever one’s relationship to their home(s) might be, and whatever being stuck can mean. Join us on this journey in exploring our hyphenated identities and how it all connects to the most trying time of our generation. Featured in this episode: • Kyle Jarencio is a digital storyteller based in Scarborough that likes playing with visuals, ideas, and his own feelings. He co-hosts the podcast @influxthepod with his friend Amreen about what it means to be queer and Asian and watching too much TV. Find him IRL on the Scarborough RT about to grab an iced coffee or online @fragilekyle. • Kathleen Zaragoza is a Filipina-Canadian settler, born and based on Coast Salish lands, colonially known as Vancouver. Having recently graduated from UBC, she is endlessly curious about the spaces within and between language, culture, and music. She carries this passion for learning into everything she does, from her research on Fil-Can heritage languages, to being the co-founder of Sliced Mango Collective (a new Fil-Can youth organization in “Vancouver”), to creating music and writing in her free time. Learn more about the Sliced Mango Collective at @slicedmangoco or Follow Kathleen on Twitter at @kazaragosa or Instagram at @kzrgsa. Living Hyphen is a community seeking to turn up the volume on the voices of hyphenated Canadians. You can purchase our magazine at, support us on Patreon, or find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
May 1, 2021