Spoken Word Program I

In 2007, the Calgary Spoken Word Society put together the Spoken Word pilot program, endorsed by Sarah Iley at Banff. Christie Rall from the Banff Centre worked directly with me to make it happen, and to this day I’m reminded of her bright light – what a great fabulous co-conspirator Chistie was and an exceptional human being! We worked on all the grants for the Banff Program together and at that time the two aspects were well woven together.

The Spoken Word Society, with the kind assistance the Canada Council for the Arts and other funding bodies came to Banff for a ten-day Spoken Word pilot program. This would be the first Spoken Word program in the world.

The Spoken Word Pilot Program brought participants together for a ten-day meeting during which we participated in workshops, performances, networking sessions, collaborations, and the development of a chapbook and recordings. This project represented an unprecedented departure for the emerging genre of Spoken Word Poetry.

When we first put the project together, we imagined a discussion of networking. But what emerged was this extraordinary discovery that this gathering with these artists represented a whole new school of thought much like surrealism, cubism, beat poetry, the Black Mountain Poets or the Four Horsemen.

(Please see Videos of the meetings, taken by Mike Roberts, at the bottom of the page)

The Artists

Fortner Anderson (Montreal)
Joe Blades (Halifax)
Clyde Broox (Hamilton)
TL Cowan (Vancouver)
Ivan E. Coyote (Whitehorse)
Derek Dada (Winnipeg)
Ian Ferrier (Montreal)
D. Kimm (Montreal)
Cheryl L’Hirondelle (Edmonton)
Kevin Matthews (Ottawa)
Sean McGarrigle (Vancouver)
Dwayne Morgan (Toronto)

Billeh Nickerson (Vancouver)
Hillary Peach (Gabriola)
Mike Roberts (Calgary)
Andrea Thompson (Toronto)
RC Weslowski (Vancouver)
Sheri-D Wilson (Calgary)

Those invited – not able to attend: Lillian Allen, Jill Battson, & Genevieve Letarte.
Participants of SWAN 2007 @ The Banff Centre

Pilot Program Discussions Videos

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3