Canadian Festival of Spoken Word hits Saskatoon for the first time
For the first time the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word is invading Saskatoon.
“This is the Mecca of the spoken word community and most of the top poets in the country are going to be here,” said festival director Charles Hamilton. “We’re a hot bed for the spoken word.”
Beginning Monday Oct. 8 and running until Saturday Oct. 13, Hamilton said about 200 poets will overrun the city and he’s betting everyone will notice.
“Lots of people have a totally different concept of what poetry is compared to what we’re actually hosting,” said Hamilton. “We have improv workshops, Haiku death-matches, music and poetry, a burlesque show and there’s a lot of stuff going on here that’s probably outside the tradition realm of poetry.”
Hamilton currently hosts a weekly poetry meeting at Lydia’s Pub where he brings in guest poets to share their work. He also opens the door to newcomers who want to share their favourite poems.
It was the success shared at Lidia’s that prompted Hamilton to put in a bid for the national festival.
“There will be great workshops and live performances throughout the week, and they’re on a first-come, first-serve basis,” said Hamilton. “There will also be opportunities for people to get up on stage and perform if they want.”
Tuesday night marks the beginning of what Hamilton considers the main event of the festival, the 2012 Canadian Poetry Slam Championships. Teams of five from across Canada will compete head-to-head in a playoff where their poetry will be judged and scored.
The first nights of matchups are held at Lidia’s Pub while the semi-finals held at the Broadway Theatre Friday night, followed by the finals at the Roxy Theatre where they will crown the 2012 champions.
“The whole festival hinges on this,” said Hamilton.
Wednesday night features artist C.R. Avery who will be hosting a Burlesque-themed night of poetry.
Hamilton said that’s going to be a site to see as it will show audiences how fun this festival can be.
Having attended the past few festivals with Team Saskatoon in the Poetry Slam Championships, Hamilton said bringing the festival here is a dream-come-true.
“Every year I go, the energy we bring back, reinvigorates our scene. I can only imagine what it does to our community,” he said.
For a full schedule and ticket info visit the festival's website.
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Edited by CJME's Lisa Schick.