Latest Event Updates

New Home

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Friends and humans, we’re moving to a new website. Check out for all festival news, views, trues and blues.

Eventually Rose will stop paying for this site and it will go away!

SophoMORE like it!

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Folks we are back, stacked and on the attack for our 2nd festival. June 3-6, 2015 we will bring the best of the poetry world to Winnipeg and the best of Winnipeg to the poetry world.

What that means of course is that it is time to start talking TALENT.

We will be heading out to CFSW with our pretty pretty handbills, talking to all our favourites about coming to town the one month it’s nice out here, BUT, not everyone who’s anyone is at CFSW so please spread this far and wide and let folks apply right here.

We are looking for projects this year. Whole, new spoken word pieces of the type you might see at fringe or comedy festivals.
Performers will get the opportunity to workshop and debut their pieces here, and then have them to tour with and brag about forever.

Audiences will get to see exciting new forms, visions, and interdisciplinary projects be built and premiered. We are hoping to make exciting contributions to the ongoing evolution of spoken word, and this festival will have everything from the single bare mic of the individual slam, to collaborations so inspired this paragraph could never hope to contain them.

Applications are open until Jan 31st. Share and share alike humans.

Day 3: Spoken Weird + Haiku Death Match

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Three of Canada’s best and weirdest poets graced the Gas Station stage Friday night for an evening of boundary-pushing, mind-altering poetry.

Andrea von Wichert presented a set both light and humorous, and dark and personal. Drek Daa was his usual odd self, guitar, kazoo, partner, and baby in tow. And the audience was treated to RC Weslowski’s very own blend of movement, kindness, insight, and wackiness.

Then came the Haiku Death Match, hosted by Bruce Symaka and Aaron Simm (complete with weird socks), with competitors Steve Currie, Mike Johnston, Steve Locke, Rob Malo, RC Weslowski, Ulysses Knope, Veronica Ternopolski, and Matt Moskal. Round after round of crass hilarity followed – traditional Japanese haiku these weren’t – with the audience cheering on their favourite haiku. In the end, points were tallied, and a draw was called – which meant Sudden Death for Matt and Ulysses. After a head-to-head best three out of five, Ulysses emerged victorious, and was crowned the Winnipeg Spoken Word Festival Haiku Death Match Champion!

Day 2: On the Spot

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On Thursday night, improvisers and poets collaborated to present a never-before-seen show, the brain child of improv master Stephen Sim (CRUMBS).

For the first half of the show, poets Leif Norman, Mira Black, and Dave McLeod performed pre-written pieces, which improvisers Stephen Sim, Caitlin Curtis, Steve Currie, and Leif Ingebrigtsen (music) used as jumping-off points for improvised scenes.

During the intermission, audience members were asked to write down lines of poetry, which would later become one big collaborative poem.

The second act found poets Chim Undi, Shayna Stock, and Steve Locke on stage, pens and notebooks in hand, to stretch their instant writing chops. Poets traded stage time with improvisers: scenes based off poems followed poems inspired by scenes, creating on-the-spot magical moments.

The night wrapped up with the audience’s poem – shuffled into order behind the scenes – a fitting end to an evening equal parts hilarious and touching.

Day 1: Winnipeg Poetry Slam Finals

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The festival kicked off Wednesday night at the Gas Station Theatre with the Winnipeg Poetry Slam Finals. Hosted by the ever-genial Rob Malo (aka TiBert le Voyageur), the full house was in for a magical evening of transformative poetry.

This year’s eight finalists – Nick Hart, Steve Currie, Brenden Gali, Mike Johnston, Steve Locke, T’ai Pu, Chimwemwe Undi, and Ulysses Knope – gave it their all. Van and Mona Mousa were the night’s “sacrificial” poets. As for the feature, Winnipeg was in for a treat. Vancouver’s Zaccheus Jackson performed an electrifying set that moved everyone in the room to a standing ovation.

In the end, only five poets can move on to become the 2014 Winnipeg Poetry Slam team. After a nail-biting two rounds of competitive poetry, your top five poets are: Steve Locke, Chimwemwe Undi, Ulysses Knope, Steve Currie, and grand champion Mike Johnston!!!

An enormous congratulations to everyone who performed on stage Wednesday night. Thank you for sharing your words. And we can’t wait to see what this year’s slam team can do!

Photo by Rose Jang.

The Festival Begins!

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Today is the first day of the Winnipeg Spoken Word Festival!

Tonight you can catch the Winnipeg Poetry Slam Finals, and find out who will be crowned the slam champion of Winnipeg. Tomorrow, improvisers and poets unite to create a never-before-seen mash-up of styles. Friday, things get weird with some of Canada’s strangest performance poets, plus a haiku death match. And on Saturday, some of North America’s best spoken word poets show us how it’s done.

Don’t forget to sign up for workshops with RC Weslowski and Buddy Wakefield this weekend.

Tickets are still available online and at the door.

See you at the festival!!

Tickets Now On Sale!

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Our schedule is up and our tickets are now on sale!

Bring a friend to an evening show, or buy a festival pass and come see all four! And for poetry writers old and new, we are offering two weekend workshops with masters of their trade, RC Weslowski and Buddy Wakefield. We are truly excited to share with you some of North America’s best poetic voices.

See you at the festival!