SW’10: Festival Of Student Voices

Jaysus. That was the metaphorical response to Wednesday’s YRDSB Festival of Student Voices. For the third time, students from all over York Region gathered together to study the art and science of Spoken Word. This years festival was headlined by The Recipe (2009 National Slam Champions) who gave a seminars and workshops on how to build incredible poems. The second part of the day was a ballast of voices; Toronto artists Kevin Fortnum, Amanda Hiebert, Jillian Christmas, Jogi Swiettran & Ariel Platt took to the stage with powerful performances about glances, drugs, memories and mothers. The Recipe wowed with acrobatic group pieces on everything from sisters, to fine art, to love in the technological age, to the origin of the AK-47. There were so many student poets hoping to take part, that the Toronto poets actually donated their second performance slots, to ensure all the students got a chance to perform. What? Amazing. Thank you to Kevin, Amanda, Ariel, Jillian, Jogi & The Recipe for generosity and wonderful performances. It was an amazing day for everyone.

Coming up next, I will be competing in the Toronto Poetry Slam Semi-Finals on Sunday March 14 @ the Drake Underground.  The finalists are: Relevant, Fraser, myself, Macer, Krystle, Mahlika, Kiki, Tomy, David Delisca, Truth Is…, Pan, and Valentino.

Be there by 6:45pm if you want to guarantee a spot; lately it has been filling to capacity by 7…!! Coupled with the fact that this months feature is superhuman/hero poet Buddy Wakefield, there is absolutely no reason to stay home.



CR Avery, Ferlinghetti

CR Avery

Caught an amazing show at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio this past week; Cr Avery and the Legal Tender‘s show opened with Corin Raymond and The Sundowners (featuring the incredible David Baxter) celebratory lament for small town broken hearted mermaid dressed memories and moved into a beatbox blues showdown between CR and the crowd. Everybody won. Worth a check out..

Also, caught amazing documentary Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould last weekend, and would recommend that to anyone who doesn’t know anything about the man, and to anyone who does. It was beautiful and amazing.

In other notes, there are some great shows going on this week featuring incredible poetic talent; Jogi Siwettran at the Peace Pipe Poetry Series on Saturday, and at the Art Bar on Tuesday; Toronto Poetry Slam’s David Silverberg, Amanda Hibert, Krystle Mullin & Mike Smith opening for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on Saturday; 2009 National Slam Champs The Recipe featuring at the $100 Slam on Sunday and many more coming up..check out the listings page at www.torontopoetryslam.com

Leave you with a good one:

Recipe for Happiness, Khaborovsk or Anyplace

One grand boulevard with trees
with one grand cafe in sun
with strong black coffee in very small cups.

One not necessarily very beautiful
man or woman who loves you.
One fine day.

~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti



Poetry is as exact a science as geometry.

~ Gustav Flaubert (1821-1880)


On Friday night, old school prevailed as the Drake (stuffed to capacity by 7:45 pm) saw over thirty poets draw to get into the last slam bout of the regular season. Eleven poets (myself included) advanced, in order to make our ‘2 slams a season’ requirement for the semi-finals (coming up in March, more on that later..), alongside 4 wild card poets. The room was packed and the energy was high, as all poets needed strong scores in order to maintain a strong position. Many of the poets on stage were veterans of the Toronto Slam scene: Electric John, Macer, Krystle Mullin and Truth Is… just to name a few. It was a huge bout; a great way to spend Friday night, if there ever was one. Both rounds were amazing to be a part of, and I haven’t felt that much love at a slam since ‘back in the day‘. Which reminds, Shauntay Grant, the feature; AMAZING. Check her out. Incredible talent, Halifax styles. In the end, I walked away with my first official TPS win. Funny to think that I’ve never actually won a TPS slam after all these years (and competitions). Guess I was just busy making friends. 🙂 Speaking of, we all retired to Shanghai Cowgirl to spend the winnings on TPS founder Dave Silverberg‘s birthday. Happy Birthday, Dave. You have done so much for Toronto’s poetry scene. We love you, Big Deal.

Thanks to everyone who came out and made it an amazing night. If you missed it, make sure to show for next months Semi-Final (at the Drake Underground, 7:00 pm) destined to be a huge blow out with rock star feature Buddy Wakefield at the helm.

Thanks for listening,


One of Our Own

Thrilled to see Shane Koyczan included in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies this evening. Poets everywhere were cheering him on. Video from the OC isn’t up yet, but check out this version, his performance of ‘We Are More. You’ll be glad you did.

“we are hammers and nails building bridges

towards those who are willing to walk across”

Upcoming Shows…!

Last night the Art Bar put on an amazing Love Lounge, which I was thrilled to be a part of. A stellar line up of poets, including Amanda Hiebert, Priscila Uppal, Norm Cristofoli, Sandra Kasturi and David Silverberg. Not to mention the sweet sounds of Romeo Satin and the hot hot open mic featuring Electric John, Arina K. & Jillian Christmas! After that I’ll be concerntrating my efforts on the third annual YRDSB Spoken Word Festival, featuring National Slam Champions The Recipe, on March 2nd… Coming up next is a feature at the incredible Coburg Poetry Workshop on March 18th, followed by a return to the Art Bar on March 21st. I’ll finish off the month at Queen’s University’s The Grad Club, featuring alongside Krystle Mullin & Amanda Hiebert. Things are quiet until May 20th, when I’ll be launching my first full length collection of poetry, entitled The Cartographer’s Skin.  I’ll spend the spring touring Ontario, so please contact me if you are looking to book features at your reading series (or know of one that might be a good fit).  I’ll be at the Vancouver Youth Poetry Slam on July 4th, and plan to spend a bit of July on the west coast traveling and visiting cohorts.. More dates to follow in the next few weeks. Thanks again to all who came out last night and made it a fantastic evening.

Thanks, as always, for listening.


A Free Online Study Guide!

Hola Teachers!

For those of you who check into this site from classrooms (or living rooms with english essays scattered all over your couches), please check out this wonderful resource just put out by the Words Aloud poetry community. It is a wonderful spoken word teaching resource, and I highly recommend it for interested workshop leaders and educators. Please  get in touch with Liz Zetlin if you have any questions about the content, or the artists involved.

A Free Online Study Guide!.

Thanks Liz, this is a huge help for teachers.