Shane Koyczan Launches Poetry Festival

VIPF welcomed Shane Koyczan at its opening night festivities on April 18. Koyczan joined Tons of Fun University bandmates Mike McGee and CR Avery in a special reunion performance at the Rio Theatre as a part of the Vancouver Poetry Slam team finals. Koyczan, an alumnus of the Vancouver Poetry Slam and a many-time team member, was in Vancouver for his sold-out run of “When I was a Kid” at The Cultch.

The evening featured a welcome and a poem by Libby Davies, MP for Vancouver East, as well as performances by some of the top poets who competed in the Vancouver Poetry Slam over the past year. This year’s champion is Olivia B, who is the youngest champion in Vancouver Poetry Slam’s 15 seasons. The Vancouver Poetry Slam, Canada’s longest running poetry slam, has given birth to such spoken word luminaries as Olympic poet Shane Koyczan, Brendan McLeod, CR Avery, Barbara Adler, Andrea Thompson, Alexandra Oliver, Justin McGrail, Cass King, and RC Weslowski.

It was a magical night for the members in the audience at the packed Rio Theatre, and launched the Vancouver International Poetry Festival with a bang. The festival will host the 1st Ever Canadian Individual Slam Championship, with poets travelling from all across Canada to compete. But the festival will be about more than simply slam competition. Haiku, erotica, and storytelling are all fair game at this diverse six-day poetry showcase.