2003-2014 Calgary Spoken Word Festival!


The Calgary Spoken Word Society was created in November 2003 by poet Sheri-D Wilson. Influenced by its founder's passion, the Society's vision is to develop a forum for the dissemination and promotion of Spoken Word Poetry locally, provincially, nationally and internationally, through performance and education.

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2016

School of Thought

The 1st annual School of Thought took place April 19 - April 24. There were 8 events, which will brought poets, experts and social activists together to share ideas and exchange perspectives.

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2014

Oracular Spectacular!

A week-long celebration of the poetic life. A gathering of languages, voices, stories, and song. The 11th annual Calgary Spoken Word Festival took place in Calgary April 01-06—with 20 events / Workshops / DEB Talks / Electronic Experimentation / Live Streaming/ Blog and & Social Media / Panels / Launches / Collaborations & Tributes / Francophone voices / Insta- Translations / Golden Beret Award Word Travels /Slams / Open Mics.

  • Photo Gallery (coming soon)
  • Video Gallery (coming soon)
  • Mary Pinkoski Blog (coming soon)

2013

Festival Theme: X-Dream Thinking

The 10th annual Calgary Spoken Word Poetry Festival took place April 06- April 29—with 40 events / Workshops / DEB talks / Electronic Experimentation / Live Streaming / Blog & Social Media / Panels / Launches / Special Events / French & Spanish Voices / Insta-Translations /Golden Beret Award / Collaborations & Tributes /Slams / Open Mics / Featuring 100 Artists.

  • Photo Gallery (coming soon)
  • Video Gallery (coming soon)
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2012

In 2012 - The 9th annual Calgary Spoken Word Festival Presented 70 artists in 2 cities with 18 events. In 2012, the Spoken Word Program at The Banff Centre, continued into its 6th year—a pivotal year. It was the last year that the creator of the program Sheri-D Wilson would be Director. The program gave 14 participants the opportunity to spend 2 weeks at The Banff Centre, cultivating their craft under the instruction of renowned faculty members and workshop leaders. Sheri-D Wilson returned as the program director. We launched The Spoken Word Workbook: inspiration from poets who teach. Through one-on-one prompts, 27 well-known poets appear as pop-ups to give their lessons electronically. The lessons include every aspect of Spoken Word: History, Composition, and Performance in styles like Dub, Hip Hop, Jazz, Storytelling, and Slam.

  • Photo Gallery (coming soon)
  • Video Gallery (coming soon)
  • Blog (coming soon)
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2011

The 2011 Calgary Spoken Word Festival featured over 50 artists in 11 events, in two cities. We experimented with amalgamating several languages and including Insta-translation. It was well received so we will continue this into the 2012 festival. Special Projects in 2011: Interviews with Elders May 20th – 24th, 2011 we conducted a series of interviews with Diane Di Prima, Michael McClure, Ruth Weiss etc. We believe it is important to develop this project and collect as many interviews by elder spoken word artists as possible in order to develop a foundation for the understanding of Spoken Word Poetry. We will also be developing a section of the website to commemorate poets who live in spirit.

  • Photo Gallery (coming soon)
  • Video Gallery (coming soon)
  • Blog(coming soon)
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2010

Themed "The Ultimate Cabaret," the 2010 Calgary International Spoken Word Festival was the largest to date, presenting 27 events in 4 cities, featuring over 100 artists. Along with feature performances, there were panels, discussions, workshops, special events including "Banff to the World - Live to the Web" - broadcasting the creation of VideoPoems LIVE across North America.

In 2010, the Spoken Word Program at The Banff Centre, continued into its 4rd year. The program gave 15 participants the opportunity to spend 2 weeks at The Banff Centre, cultivating their craft under the instruction of renowned faculty members and workshop leaders. Sheri-D Wilson returned as the program director; its faculty members were: Regie Cabico, Bob Holman and Sheri-D Wilson; and its workshop leaders were: Louise Bernice Halfe, evalyn parry and Steven Ross Smith.

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2009

The 2009 Calgary International Spoken Word Festival continued to grow, presenting 12 events, featuring over 60 artists.

In 2009, the Spoken Word Program at The Banff Centre, continued into its 3nd year. The program gave 16 participants the opportunity to spend 2 weeks at The Banff Centre, cultivating their craft under the instruction of renowned faculty members and workshop leaders. Sheri-D Wilson returned as the program director; its faculty members were: José Acquelin, Lillian Allen and Sheri-D Wilson; and its workshop leaders were: Regie Cabico, and Ivan E. Coyote.

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2008

The 2008 Calgary International Spoken Word Festival saw the number of events rise to 11, featuring 43 artists. Along with special featured panel discussion on "What the heck is Spoken Word?", there was an exclusive Billeh Nickerson blog, where Billeh took the general public with his no-holds-barred trip through the ins-and-outs of the 2008 Festival.

In 2008 the Spoken Word Program at The Banff Centre, which is linked to the Festival, became the 2nd Spoken Word Program in Canada. This program gives 16 participants the opportunity to spend 2 weeks at The Banff Centre, cultivating their craft under the instruction of renowned faculty members. Sheri-D Wilson is the program director and its inaugurated faculty members were Ian Ferrier, Bob Holman, D. Kimm and Sheri-D Wilson.

In November 2008, in conjunction with SPOCAN, we held the 2008 National Slam & Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. This Festival featured 55 of Canada's top Slam poets plus featured guests from across the country. Teams competed were: Calgary, Halifax, Lanark County, Montreal, Ottawa, Southern Ontario Team, Toronto Poetry Slam, Up from the Roots Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg.

  • Photo Gallery (coming soon)
  • Video Gallery (coming soon)
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2007

At the 2007 Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, we produced 8 events featuring 35 Spoken Word Artists. In 2007 we addressed the issue of under-represented voices which led us to new partnerships and event directions, with an event for queer voices, a francophone event, a women's circle.

The society organized and co-produced the 2nd SWAN meeting at/with The Banff Centre in 2007, which became the 1st year of the program. We invited 20 artists to participate in the Spoken Word Pilot program, which lasted 7 days, and included 9 workshops as well as the actual SWAN meeting which took place over 3 days.

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2006

In 2006, the Calgary Spoken Word Society exploded with activity! The 2006 Calgary International Spoken Word Festival was the biggest yet, with 8 fabulous events and a wild variety of readers.

In February 2006, the Calgary Spoken Word Society launched the monthly Calgary Poetry Slam, giving up-and-coming poets the opportunity to perform their art. This led to the creation of the 1st Calgary Slam Team, which traveled to Toronto in October 2006 to compete in the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.

In November 2006, we held th spektacular tribute 2 the brilliant bill bissett dansing in a hurricane uv stars, an extravagant multi-media tribute to the hugely influential Canadian artist, bill bissett! There were 2 events, featuring bill bissett, Christian Bök, Seth-Adrian Harris, Adeena Karasick, Steve McCaffery, Susan Musgrave, Jamie Reid, Linda Rogers and Sheri-D Wilson, performing tribute poems to bissett and excerpts of their own work. There was also a guerilla postering campaign, in which bissett's famous poem, "inkorrect thots", was plastered in inkorrect places across Calgary and internationally, and a special bill bissett blog where bissett was able to share his thoughts and dialogue with the general public.

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2005

The 2005 Calgary International Spoken Word Festival expanded to include 28 artists in 4 events: Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Lillian Allen, David Bateman, Jill Battson, Möe Clark, Ian Ferrier, ryan fitzpatrick, Vivian Hansen, Jill Hartman, Bob Holman, Fred Holliss, D. Kimm, frances kruk, Kevin Matthews, Sean McGarragle, Kirk Miles, Ken Mitchell, Dwayne Morgan, Orunamamu, Andre Rodrigues, Jem Rolls, Andrea Thompson, Quincy Troupe, Anne Waldman, Natalie Walschots, Andrew Wedderburn, RC Weslowski, Jonathan Wilcke and Sheri-D Wilson.

Also in 2005, the Calgary Spoken Word Society initiated a Spoken Word Summit Meeting at the Banff Centre, which brought together 16 artists and presenters from across North America to network and collaborate. This was the 1st meeting of its kind, and led to the creation of the Spoken Word Arts Network (SWAN).


2004

Held in 2004, the 1st annual Calgary International Spoken Word Festival was a rousing success, consisting of 4 events and artists from across Canada: J Alary, Lillian Allen, Christopher Blais, Jason Christie, George Elliott Clarke, Ivan E. Coyote, T. Crane, Lorna Crozier, Myra Davies, Carmen Derksen, Diane di Prima, Emily Elder, ryan fitzpatrick, Jill Hartman, Paul Kennett, Kirk Miles, Dwayne Morgan, Ali Riley, Andre Rodrigues, Jem Rolls, Gregory Scofield, Natalie Simpson, Bob Stallworthy and Sheri-D Wilson.

The Calgary Spoken Word Society was created in November 2003 by poet Sheri-D Wilson, and received its charitable tax status in 2006. Influenced by its founder's passion, the Society's vision is to develop a forum for the dissemination and promotion of Spoken Word Poetry locally, provincially, nationally and internationally, through performance and education.

Visit Website