So. Much. Poetry.

Hey everyone! The September Slam in our wonderful Guelph Spoken Word community tonight was a pretty incredible night for many reasons, including (but definitely not limited to) us having 13 slammers and an incredible perfect score!

Our open mic started with Marion, who reminded us that prejudice is prejudice no matter the target. Neil shared some Nestle stats regarding economic trickle down (he hasn’t felt a drop!). Amber denounced rapists, who are striving to be anything but the scars they are. Our slam proper started with our sacrificial poet and OIPS Champion Tomy Bewick. He gave us a fever break for the berserker in an ode to Wolverine.

Elise was our first competitor, who flipped the script of nasty and civilized and challenged cases of “man brain”. Eitan then talked about the lasting scars of childhood nicknames. Macer provided a lesson about the Jabberwocky, mutual zintillations, and many other things we cannot spell out for clever references. Bassam has a hard time stomaching anti-Semitism and that made his falafel awful. Kathleen described herself as a paradoxical parasite eroding what provides her sustenance; but she is a welcome parasite to us. Rebecca challenged whitewashed history and peacekeepers yelling racial slurs. The ever-pleasant E-ratic was a white witness in a war against barbarity and when travelling, she carries so much that is weightless. Patrick offered us an ocean of random chance in wave form, showing us we still have space to pioneer. Bianca wanted to be remade from scratch and told us how we’d need a travel guide to “tap that”. David James Hudson (with Lisa B) performed an anti-pipeline piece where the promised jobs were as fleeting as rainbows and oil slicks. Then, Kelsey wanted to lock lips with liposuction, but couldn’t crawl out of her skin even when it made her skin crawl. Almost just like her mom – almost, we appreciated EKM’s piece as much as she appreciates her mom’s kindness and she reminded us that hurricanes and ships are both named She. Finally, Eddie Gomez gave a catalogue of his identities; he is both gossip and rumour, he is the broken links in the chain but nothing was broken about his performance.

Our feature poet was the charming and talented Amoya Reé. Us lucky ones saw her incredible performance at OIPS last week and were offered an extended set tonight. Her first poem talked about her trust issues with medicine and left us wondering which of the pharmacological groups paid for her doctor’s Benz. Her second poem was one of the pieces that made the OIPS crowd go wild – a poem about acquaintances becoming escorts – little girls in big girl bodies who know all too well the power of words and are a poet’s worst nightmare. “Dear Fear,” her third poem began. She then asked it poignant questions, like “who’s body did you first destroy?” In her penultimate piece, Amoya Reé told us “It Hurts” and reminded us that scratches on someone’s back turn to scars. Her set ended on silence: the silence she offered when asked about problems facing her people. We’d like to thank Amoya for her presence tonight.

OIPS competitor Christopher Robin was our sacrificial poet for round two, offering us a veritable petting zoo and discussing problems as far-reaching as phantom rabies to crows being smarter than us.

David Janes Hudson and Rafay started off our competition for round two, discussing missiles that are proclaimed intelligent and the cold calculations of peace. Bianca discussed drunken algorithms of math and sex and solved the equation: all the times she said yes – all the times she said no = not relevant. Eitan served us a poem full of subtleties and nuance and delicious, delicious porch bread. E-ratic let the curtain fall on the age of reason and as the audience stood to applaud, there was no sound but the crackle of fire. Last of all, we need to talk about the bacon-spiracy. Did you know that lovers exchange bacon bouquets until they bring home the bacon? No one can save our bacon and there’s no cure for cured meat.

After a tremendous showing, the final scores were: 54.1 for Eitan, 56 for E-ratic, 57.4 for Bianca, 58.1 for Bassam and an incredible PERFECT 60 for David James Hudson. Thank you to all of our competitors, audience members, the E-bar, and our host, Truth Is… We’ll see you all at the Red Brick on Tuesday for Off The Page! Happy September!

OIPS Stole My Heart (and took it on a joy ride)

When you set out to show your love for passion and art, you must. When you set out to know yourself and what you stand for, you can. When you set out to accomplish great things, you will.

Saturday, we set out to do all of these things and more. We asked people to support a dream, we asked poets to hang their inside voices on hungry ears, we asked them to give their best. They did. For some, the Ontario International Poetry Slam was just another platform they could use to change the world.

For others sharing their poems was an act of defiance, to prove a point that had nothing to do with points, that fear is real, but their courageousness is a reality. For others, the points were the point… After all there was a huge purse of cash on the line.

If you couldn’t make it you missed out. We can’t relive everything with you but, no worries we’ve got a brief synopsis on what happened at Finals. The crowd asked for blood and Londzo took the stage as the ice queen following Rabbit Richards wanting to share her appreciation for black support.

Round one kicked-off and Bashar Lulu Jabbour brought a poem about there being no poetry in your death to the stage, Mariah Lynne Dear noted how little you look like a monster, Dan Murray told us a story about a clown. Xavier Smith expressed his love for camouflage. We also heard from Tomy Bewick, Twoey Gray, Bassam, Fannon Holland, Cassandra Myers and Erin aka E-ratic

The second round only saw six poets advanced and started with Twoey telling us about her thick skin. Bassam took the stage and spoke of body purgatory, then Cassandra played Never-Have-I-Ever with the audience. Fannon reminded us to let the Angels know you and Tomy gave us a prescription for R.E.A.L.I.T.Y. E-ratic let us know about the embarrassment of being a cliche. The scores all seemed very close! Our second round ended and our four finalists were announced!

  • Twoey Gray came in fourth giving the audience some beautiful queer love notes.
  • Bassam came in third cutting up his Lebanese citizenship.
  • Cassandra Meyers came in second as a newborn with very little concept of life.
  • Our first place winner, Tomy Bewick told us of the longest minutes in his life.

Congratulations and thank you to the 33 competitors who came from across 4 countries to spill their hearts out and shared their amazing art! You definitely told us where you were at and we can’t wait for next time! Thank you to each and every one of our wonderful volunteers without you none of this could have been possible, we would have crumbled under the stress and pulled out all our hair. We also want to send a thank you to the River Run Centre for being so accommodating and helpful.

Tonight we sleep knowing that $5000 made it into the hands of poets, we smile because we accomplished a project we want to be a staple in the spoken word community.

When we say we are tired and underslept, but still high off the night that is an understatement. The Guelph Poetry Slam is this Saturday at the eBar hope you’re inspired to come. See you there!