Overview of Poetry Slam in Canada: Exploring the Exciting World of Poetry

Overview of Poetry Slam

Poetry slam has gained popularity as a form of performance poetry in Canada, providing artists with a creative outlet and audiences with entertainment. This article provides an overview of the poetry slam in Canada, covering its history, upcoming events, common themes and topics, organizations, ideas for hosting successful events, courses and workshops, national competitions, and interesting facts.

Definition and Importance of Poetry Slam

Poetry slam is a unique form of performance poetry that has become increasingly popular in recent years, both in Canada and around the world. At its core, poetry slam is a competitive form of spoken word poetry that pits poets against one another in front of a live audience. Poets perform their original works, which are then judged by the audience based on their delivery, content, and overall creativity. The winner of the competition is often awarded a prize or title, such as the National Poetry Slam Champion.

Poetry slam is important because it provides a platform for artists to express themselves creatively and connect with audiences in a powerful way. The performance aspect of slam poetry adds an extra layer of engagement and excitement that is not always present in traditional forms of poetry. Moreover, slam poetry has helped to make poetry more accessible and appealing to younger audiences, helping to keep this art form alive and relevant in the modern world.

In addition to its importance as a creative outlet for artists, poetry slam is also an important form of entertainment for audiences. Poetry slams are often lively and engaging events that draw in diverse crowds of all ages and backgrounds. They are a space for people to come together and celebrate the power of language and expression, creating a sense of community and shared experience.

History of Poetry Slam in Canada

Poetry slams first emerged in the United States in the 1980s and soon spread to Canada. The first Canadian poetry slam was held in Toronto in 1990, and since then, the form has gained popularity across the country. Today, there are many poetry organizations and venues that host regular poetry slam events throughout Canada.

Upcoming Poetry Slams

There are several upcoming poetry slam events in Montreal and other cities in Canada. Some of these events include:

Event NameDateVenueAdmission Fee
Montreal Poetry SlamApril 15, 2023Casa del Popolo$10
Vancouver Poetry SlamMay 7, 2023Cafe Deux Soleils$8-10
Ottawa Youth Poetry SlamJune 10, 2023Saw Gallery$5-10

*The dates and fees may vary. For more detailed information about upcoming poetry slam events in Canada, check out the official websites of the organizations that host them.

LPS Montreal and Other Poetry Organizations in Canada

The League of Canadian Poets (LCP) is one of the most prominent poetry organizations in Canada, and it has an active presence in Montreal as well as other cities across the country. The LCP is a non-profit organization that supports the promotion and appreciation of poetry in Canada, providing resources and opportunities for poets and poetry enthusiasts. In addition to its advocacy work, the LCP hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including poetry readings, workshops, and book launches.

Other notable poetry organizations and events in Canada include:

  • Toronto Poetry Project
  • Spoken Word Canada
  • Canadian Festival of Spoken Word

These organizations are dedicated to promoting spoken word poetry and supporting poets and artists in their communities. They host regular poetry slam events, workshops, and another programming that is open to poets of all skill levels. For more information about these organizations and their activities, visit their official websites and social media pages.

National Poetry Slam

The National Poetry Slam is an annual poetry competition that brings together poets from across Canada to compete for the title of National Poetry Slam Champion. The competition is open to individual poets and teams, who compete in multiple rounds of poetry performances. The National Poetry Slam criteria for participation and judging include originality, performance quality, and audience engagement.

  • The National Poetry Slam in Canada was first held in 2004 in Ottawa.
  • The competition is open to individual poets and teams, with each team consisting of four to five members.
  • Poets are judged by five randomly selected audience members, with scores based on a scale of 0 to 10.
  • The competition is divided into several rounds, including a preliminary round, a semifinal round, and a final round.
  • In addition to the individual and team competitions, the National Poetry Slam also features workshops, open mics, and other spoken word performances.

For more information about the National Poetry Slam competition, visit their official website.

Ideas for Poetry Slam Events

Hosting a successful poetry slam event requires careful planning and creativity. Some tips for hosting a successful event include choosing the right venue, promoting the event effectively, and engaging with the audience. Here are some creative ideas for hosting a successful poetry slam event:

  • Collaborate with a local music venue to host a slam poetry night featuring live music performances.
  • Host a themed poetry slam, such as a love poetry slam or a political poetry slam.
  • Partner with a local restaurant or cafĂ© to host a poetry slam brunch or dinner event.

For inspiration and ideas on how to host a successful poetry slam event, there are many examples of successful events to draw from. For example, the Women of the World Poetry Slam is an annual competition that brings together female-identified poets from around the world to compete and connect with one another.

Another example is the Brave New Voices Festival, which is a week-long event featuring poetry slams, workshops, and open mics for young poets. By attending or researching these types of events, organizers can gain insights into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to hosting a successful poetry slam event.

Slam Poetry Topics and Themes

Slam poetry covers a wide range of topics and themes, including social issues, personal experiences, and political commentary. Some popular themes and topics in slam poetry include love, identity, race, and gender. Here are some examples of slam poetry videos that showcase different themes and topics:

  • “When Love Arrives” by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye
  • “Shrinking Women” by Lily Myers
  • “The Period Poem” by Dominique Christina

To explore more slam poetry videos with different themes and topics, check out online slam poetry channels.

Poetry Courses and Workshops

For aspiring poets and spoken word artists, taking poetry courses and workshops can help hone their skills and gain confidence in their craft. Many poetry organizations in Canada offer poetry courses and workshops for beginners and advanced artists. Here are some examples of spoken word poetry workshops and classes available in Montreal and other cities:

The Quebec Writers’ FederationSpoken Word Poetry WorkshopA 6-week workshop for poets looking to develop their spoken word skills.
Toronto Poetry ProjectWriting WorkshopA 4-week workshop for poets of all levels looking to improve their writing skills.
Vancouver Poetry HousePerformance IntensiveA 3-day intensive for poets looking to improve their performance skills.

To find more poetry courses and workshops in your city, check out the websites of local poetry organizations.

Interesting Facts about Poetry Slam

  • Slam poetry was originally created as a way to make poetry more accessible and engaging to a wider audience, especially young people.
  • The first poetry slam in Canada was held in Toronto in 1990.
  • Slam poetry was featured in the 2008 film “Slamnation”.
  • The term “slam” was coined by poet Marc Smith in Chicago in 1984.
  • The first international poetry slam was held in San Francisco in 1990 and featured poets from Canada and Germany, as well as the United States.
  • Some famous slam poets include Saul Williams, Patricia Smith, and Shane Koyczan.
  • The largest poetry slam in the world, according to Guinness World Records, was held in Mumbai, India, in 2015, with over 1,300 participants.
  • Slam poetry has been used as a tool for social and political activism, with many slam poets using their performances to raise awareness and promote social change.