‘Bajatell’ was born Pierre in what is now called Gatineau, Quebec and grew up with his adoptive parents on the small, bilingual Calumet Island.
A pronounced stutter and learning disabilities did not diminish his keen sense of observation and vivid imagination as a child. It was this and his gift for storytelling that, over the course of his life with a large family and successes in business, became the compensation and cover for his inability to read or write.
It was close to retirement, with only a few people ever knowing his secret, when he was ‘out-ed’ in the workplace. He found his way to the local Literacy Group to learn to read and write. What emerged from this watershed was a rush of creative expression, finally putting on paper the stories and poems that had been part of his life, and had filled his fertile mind and heart, for decades. Bajatell the poet was born. Nothing compared with seeing the ‘stories’ – stories of love, suffering, hope and tenderness – that he had been creating in his head become poems on the page. Nothing can compare with the freedom to remove what he calls his lifelong ‘patch of shame’.
Bajatell lives in Kitchener-Waterloo in South Western Ontario continuing to learn to read and write and enjoy the opportunities to express himself in poetry – “People will be able to read the words of my heart because I can now not only speak them but write them.”
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