The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word is preoccupying Ottawa. According to the CBC, the seventh annual event involves more than 100 participants, the largest gathering of Canadian spoken-word poets to date:
The first festival, also held in Ottawa, had eight teams competing in its flagship slam poetry competition. This week’s event will see 18 teams, including Capital Slam from Ottawa, serving up lively performances of original poems.
John Akpata of Capital Slam, who took part in that first event in 2004, has seen spoken-word poetry grow in popularity, finding its way onto YouTube and into school workshops.
Offline and outside the classrooms, let’s not forget slam poet Shane Koyczan’s performance of “We Are More” at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The production undeniably boosted the popularity of the genre. A few more pushes, and Canadian poetry just might become cool (even if slam poetry’s heyday of the 1990s is long gone).