VERSeFest is bringing O-Town’s wide-ranging poetry communities together with a festival full of readings, performances, slam, spoken word, workshops for kids, discussions and much, much more. If you want it, and it’s connected to poetry, then VERSeFest has it. And they also have some big plans for the future. Running at the Arts Court (2 Daly Avenue) from Tuesday, March 8th until Sunday, March 11th (with pre-festival shows starting today and tomorrow, March 5th and…

CFSW 2010 Ottawa FINALS

[CORRECTION: A previous version mistakenly identified KP, the fourth member of the Halifax team, as the poet IZrEAL, who was not in attendance at the Festival. This was based on information in the CFSW Program, which had not been corrected at the time the article was written. We apologise for any consequent confusion. -Ed.] In the Laurier Room tucked in the basement of the Courtyard by Marriott in Ottawa’s Byward Market, four slam poetry teams…

CFSW 2010 Ottawa FINALS

“Are you a poet?” Missie P., of Victoria BC clutched a stack of whiteboards and leaned over a couple in the second row, asking to determine whether they were disqualified from being judges. Looking around at the audience, it was difficult to spot anyone that looked like they could give the honest answer “no”. In this first of two bouts of the evening at this venue, the four teams competing were from Burlington, Edmonton, Toronto…

In the dim light of the Academic Hall theatre, an impossibly tall man in a dark suit and tie locked eyes with me and leaned across the front row.  His penetrating gaze froze me to my seat. Ever since I started masquerading as a theatre journalist, I knew this day would come. “Are you aware of the Communist threat here in Ottawa?” Of course, it was only Sterling Lynch of G-Men Defectives, stack of promo cards…

A poet slowly approaches the microphone on an empty stage. On the count of three, the audience throws their clenched fists in the air, shouting “Raise it!” This is not your average coffee-shop turtleneck-wearing finger-snapping poetry reading. This is slam poetry. If you’re not familiar with slam poetry, it’s a competitive form of spoken word that started in Chicago in 1984, and quickly spread to other parts of the world.  As a reaction against the…

  With special guests Sandra Ridley and David O’Meara.     The December House Band will feature Dj Eric Komsomol, Amanda Abdelhadi, and myself. And yes, I know it’s tonight. But better late than never. Besides which, my stapler broke so it has taken me a little bit longer to do things like, oh I don’t know, staple Chapter 5 together for the launch. And now, much ado about nothing.   The “Loeb” scene (video…

David O’Meara and the Plan 99 Reading Series “I never thought we’d celebrate the tenth anniversary,” says David O’Meara of Plan 99, the Ottawa “gold standard” reading series he co-founded with Chris Swail in 1999. “I’m just saying so,” Dave adds, “because at the beginning we weren’t sure we knew what we were doing.” Dave points to the name of the series itself as an example of this. “The name came partly from the year…