Canadian Individual Poetry Slam

The Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (CIPS) is a nationally recognized poetry slam that brings together poets across the country to celebrate and battle through spoken word as part of the Verses Festival of Words. In 2022, the competition took place in a hybrid format, with live in person shows in Vancouver, BC, as well as opportunities for poets to compete virtually. 

16 Poets representing spoken word series and regions across what is colonially known as “Canada” competed in a head-to-head tournament, presenting poems that were 1-4 minutes in length each. 

Winners of each head-to-head were determined by a live vote chosen by 5 randomly appointed judges selected from the audience. We chose the head to head format this year, to introduce a new element of relationality, theatrics, and fun. This judging system aligns with our vision of the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion being chosen by fellow community members – without hierarchy, without prioritizing expertise, cultivating a way of accessing poetry for all.

FIRST PRELIMINARY NIGHT – Wednesday April 27, 2022 

SECOND CHANCE NIGHT –  Thursday April 28, 2022

FINALS – Friday April 29, 2022 

Watch the recap of these shows on PoetTV.


Past CIPS Winners



2011 – Ikenna ‘OpenSecret’ Onyegbula
2012 – R.C. Weslowski
2013 – Ikenna ‘OpenSecret’ Onyegbula
2014 – IF the Poet
2015 – Prufrock Shadowrunner
2016 – Andre Prefontaine
2017 – Ifrah Hussein
2018 – Lady Vanessa Cardona
2019 – Nisha Patel
2020 – Qurat Dar
2021 – Zayn Ojoawo
2022 – Eddie Lartey