What Is It

Verses Festival of Words takes place each spring at venues clustered around Commercial Drive. This cultural district is the heart of Vancouver’s spoken word community.

As part of Verses, the best slam poets from across Canada compete in the Canadian Individual Slam Championship (CIPS). Sponsored by Spoken Word Canada, CIPS determines the nation’s best individual slam poet. Verses aims to serve this national community by staging CIPS in a way that ensures fairness and raises the profile of the slam movement in Canada.


To celebrate the transformative power of words – written, spoken or sung; to engage diverse groups in cutting-edge, live performances as both audience and participants; to present influential artists from both the oral and literary traditions, and to encourage the next generation of performers and writers. Verses Festival of Words embraces a wide definition of literature and orature that includes page-based poetry, spoken word, oral storytelling, and singer-songwriters.