Q&A with the cast of “What Rhymes with LOL?”

By: Maegan Thomas

Verses Festival of Words is on April 5-12 on Commercial Drive, the heart – and funny bone – of Vancouver’s spoken word community. They ask the question for the ages What Rhymes with LOL? at at Havana Theatre April 8.

Contributors to the recently launched Poetry Is Dead’s Humour Issue will address the idea of humour in poetry. Whether reading their own funny words, discussing their inspirations or presenting the work of those who’ve made jokes in verse before them, these poets will make you reconsider the serious poet stereotype. Or as PiD editor-in-chief describes it “Poetry, but without the crying on stage.”

Hosted by guest editor Dina Del Bucchia* (Blind Items 2014) and editor-in-chief Daniel Zomparelli** (Davie Street Translations 2012)

Featured funny:
Amber Dawn
Cynara Geissler
Megan Jones
Billeh Nickerson
Fernando Raguero
Rachaela Van Borek

I had a few questions for witty wordsmiths Daniel, Dina, and Billeh (Artificial Cherry 2014) :

What, for you, is the power of humour in poetry/poetic expression?

The juxtaposition of funny stuff next to and sometimes embedded into emotionally resonant stuff. At least I hope that’s what’s happening! – Dina Del Bucchia, dress enthusiast.

I’m a firm believer that poets need to invite folks to look at the world in a different way. Humour can often help poets achieve that goal. I am so tired of poets mumbling out their tree poems. – Billeh Nickerson

How does unseriousness inform your work?

I take my work seriously, but I think there are many things we take too seriously that need to be made fun of. A lot. – DDB

I’m only serious. Everything I do is about being serious. I’m a very serious person. – Daniel Zomparelli

What is the last thing to really make you LOL?

Charles Demers stating during his stand-up at the Poetry Is Dead Humour Issue Variety Show, that his brother would never F*** me … my family was in the audience. – DZ

This truly excellent skateboard poem written by the incomparable Dr. Steve Brule. – DDB

What DOES rhyme with LOL?

Depends on if you pronounce it as a word lol or as an acronym of L-O-L. I prefer the acronym, so “hell,” “axe gel,” “what’s that smell.” – DZ

Maul a doll in the hall with a ball. – DDB

Door hinge. – BN

I also asked what was coming up for the writers: besides ANOTHER launch including Poetry is Dead, Room, and PRISM International on April 17, Dina had one more plug: “I want everyone to eat more candy and cookies and ice cream. Is that a plug? Just carbs. I’d like to plug carbs.”


Check out What Rhymes with LOL? TONIGHT, April 8th at 8pm at Havana Theatre for only $6adv/$10 door. Admission includes a copy of the Poetry is Dead Humour Issue. The full Verses Festival line up is at versesfestival.ca.



*Dina Del Bucchia was born in the Trail Regional Hospital, grew up in the village of Fruitvale, BC and now lives in Vancouver. She is a creative director of the Real Vancouver Writers’ Series and has coordinated and hosted numerous other literary events and performed a one-woman show at the Vancouver Fringe Festival and is editor of the Humour issue of Poetry Is Dead. Her short story, “Under the ‘I’” was a finalist for the 2012 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and has taught creative writing to young people. She is the author of Coping with Emotions and Otters (Talonbooks 2013) and the upcoming Blind Items (Insomniac Press, 2014) and her work will be included in Why Poetry Sucks: Humorous Avant-Garde and Post-Avant English Canadian Poetry edited by Jonathan Ball and Ryan Fitzpatrick (Insomniac Press, 2014).

**Daniel Zomparelli is the editor of Poetry Is Dead magazine. He writes and works with magazines across Vancouver. His first book of poems Davie Street Translations was published by Talonbooks.

***Billeh Nickerson is a poet, essayist, educator, editor, performer, producer, arts advocate, and founding member of the performance troupe “Haiku Night in Canada.” He is the author of The Asthmatic Glassblower; Let Me Kiss it Better: Elixirs for the Not So Straight and Narrow; McPoems; Impact: The Titanic Poems; and his newest collection, Artificial Cherry. He is a past editor of both PRISM international and Event, two of Canada’s most respected literary journals, and co-editor of Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay Male Poets. He has also served as Writer-in-residence at Queen’s University’s, and at the Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon. He has performed at hundreds of readings across Canada and the U.S. He lives in Vancouver and is the Chair of the Creative Writing department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.