I recently came back from the Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam in Columbus, OH. This slam brings together some incredible poets from the US Midwest. On the way to OH, the border control officer was asking us questions and was kind of skeptical when we said we were heading to a poetry festival. At which point I dropped a poem for him. It was quite memorable (Tomy later said he was nervous I was going to drop my “Status” poem).
For me this slam is not so much about winning as much as it is about taking in poetry from some the best. I love poetry. It was amazing to have two full days of poetry from the likes of Roger Bonair-Agard, Rachel McKibbens, Jamaal Versiz May, Gypsee Yo and so many more. As far as the slam went, I was pretty surprised to be ranked second in the competition after the first day. On the second day my score could not carry me through to finals but I was still asked to be sacrificial poet on finals night. We heard some stunningly beautiful poetry and the headed home right after finals. Drive back to Toronto involved lots of grooving, dirty jokes and the death of a glowbug.
Glow bug… When you hit the car’s windshield at 80 miles per hour,
was your death instant
or did you hold on to your final breath like a best kept secret
before you were smeared away by the wipers like gossip and betrayal?
I wonder did you have any regrets before dying
or did you choose to burn brightly till the end so that when you passed,
your light was so astounding that anyone who saw it believed they just witnessed a miracle?
– Kay’la Fraser
Glow Bug RIP. We have a fundraiser in Burlington coming up and stay tuned for one in Toronto. event.php?eid=213622152009789
Before Rustbelt was NY. I checked out lots of poetry while I was there and came back plotting ways to pluck a New Yorker off the streets, marry, get a green card and spend the rest of my days soaking up NY poetry. But how could I leave Toronto? I love this city too much, I tell ya. Biggest honour was to be invited to be sacrificial poet at the Nuyorican Slam.
Before NY was the Vancouver Intl Poetry festival:
In the next few months….
After many bumps in the road and personal struggles/life lessons over the last few months, I’m refocusing my energy. Two months ago I had to withdraw a funding application for the women’s poetry collective I was working on. Now I feel more grounded and ready to start working on this project again. I’m also working with one of my fave poets, Kay’la Fraser on a book of poems.
What I’ve been learning/living over the last couple of months is that family is complicated as shit. Memory can be heavy. Body history is complex. The direction my poetry is taking me is digging real deep and it’s great to have Kiki to work closely with, as we support one another through our respective journeys.
In August I’ll be working on a poetry comic book with Ryerson professor and artist David Brame amazingdavid.carbonmade.com. Here is a picture of us looking all bad ass. Expect epicness.
Photo cred: Amanda Acuri www.amandaarcuri.com
Finally, me and my Up From The Roots teammates are going to be spending a lot of time writing and rehearsing over the next couple of months in preparation for The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in the fall. The festival is going to be hot like fyah. The team will be presenting some poetry soon at Spoken Words – A night of poetry and comedy.event.php?eid=104999742928091
Also, I’ll be performing at Yonge and Dundas for the UNITY Festival – Kickoff Concert. Be sure to check it out: event.php?eid=236891209658465