So Much Awesome Not So Far Away

So, it’s not like I’m excited or anything, but there are ONLY 39 MORE DAYS until the launch of the Vancouver International Poetry Festival!

Sorry about the all-caps. Didn’t mean to shout.

The last week or so, the VIP festival has stopped feeling like it’s sooooooo far away and has suddenly started to feel super-alarmingly-close (but in the good way, like when it’s your birthday and you’re alarmed because you haven’t had enough practice blowing out all the candles, and so you’re worried that you won’t be able to blow them out all in one breath and then all your wishes won’t come true, but then you realize that it’s your gosh-darn birthday, and all your wishes already came true, because someone gave you a Sweet Valley High book, and you’re so excited to find out whether Todd and Elizabeth are really going to make it, and… wait, what was I talking about??).

We’ve entered the phase of little sleep and much coffee (for the festival organizers at least), and instead of being grouchy I am finding that I am becoming more and more excited with every day. Months of work and planning are coming together to build something that I’m incredibly proud of.

Some of the poets who will be coming to the city are personal favourites of mine, others are folks that I haven’t really ever heard before and I’m really looking forward to. I’m excited to take a workshop with Tara Hardy, a self-described “working-class queer femme poet” who is one of my poetic and personal heroes. Some people HAVE courage – Tara Hardy IS courage.

I think that the last time I saw Robbie Q Telfer perform, he coordinated a massive group poem (about 50 poets) where they were all pretending to be sperm. That is a true story. His writing is enormously original, entertaining, and thought-provoking – I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the second-ever Vancyclopedia show, which will be on the subject of The Moon.

I’m also really excited for the first-ever Canadian Individual Poetry Slam to be happening as a part of this festival. I was at the very first Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Ottawa in 2004, and that festival had the first and only Canadian individual competition as a part of it. Spoken word in Canada has come a long way since then, and there are more poets than ever before who will be blowing us away throughout this competition. This is the first time where the Canadian individual slam tournament will stand on its own, and it’s going to be bigger and more badass than any of us can really understand right now.

(Side note: did you know that “badass” is actually recognized as a word by the spell check, but “bad-ass” is not?)

So, all of that is to say, you should be buying your festival passes, checking out the event listings (so much awesome), and spreading the word to all of your friends and family about the amazing events that are happening from April 18-23 in the name of poetry.

With dizzying anticipation,
Lisa Slater
(Development, Marketing and Communications)