Zayla Weedz at the Renaissance Café (December, 2003)

reviewed by Daniel Kolos


Intense, focused, energetic, Zayla Weedz read, danced and drummed her poetry into our eyes and ears, into our pores, into our very soul.  I heard about her performances before.  I met her at the Toronto Small Press Book Fair last Fall:  she was plugging her latest chapbook to anyone who would stop and listen.  Many people chatted with her and bought her book.


Sitting with friends in the caffeine-laced comfort of the Renaissance Café, we were ready for Zayla.  All three of us, from Orangeville, were both poets and drummers, although none of us had combined these two forms of expression.


Trusting in her muse, Zayla began to drum and recite poetry – very personal poetry.  She seemed to say, “Why is a good poet and great performer like me have to scrape by?”  But she said it, or, rather, performed it with body mind and soul using delightful language. 


At one point Zayla set out to channel poetry directly from the ether.  Although she started well, she reached a place where she stumbled upon something that she didn’t want to share with us.  Her verse stalled.  In that moment of vulnerability and potential public embarrassment, two wonderful things happened.  First, in her surprise, the innocence of her inner beauty matched the flushed beauty of her outer self.  A moment later, her muse came to her rescue:  Zayla quickly changed the subject and the words began to flow again.


It was one of those rare Tantric poetic events that can only happen with a large number of partners:  that is us, a Café-full of audience.  That poetic release inside her, inevitably withheld from us, most likely surprised Zayla at just how good she really is!  She certainly surprised us.


You can access Zayla’s on-line poetry at