Performers with arms around each other

The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word began as a small festival in Ottawa in 2004. At that time, it was dubbed the Canadian Spoken Wordlympics. The first festival included six teams of poets and a small number of guests in attendance. In just nine short years, the festival grew from 6 teams to 20+, with over 2,500 guests in attendance.

The original intent of the festival, to provide a national showcase for spoken word talent, has expanded to include an array of panels, showcases, workshops and other events designed to facilitate the growth and vibrancy of the Canadian spoken word and poetic communities.

This year’s CFSW theme is Community and while we intend to focus on the many forms that relationships can take within the spoken word community, we're also looking to build connections between poets, organizers, audience members, host cities, partner organizations, funders, and other supporters. CFSW's 15th anniversary also happens to fall on the 10th anniversary of its host, Guelph Spoken Word.

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