SLAM Tournament

Join poets from across the country as they compete for the chance to be crowned the 2017 Canadian Poetry Slam Champions as part of CFSW’s Team Poetry Slam Tournament! We have 22 teams from 7 different provinces plus two wildcard teams competing this year. If you have never been to a poetry slam, it is a truly unique and interactive show. Poets share there work and are judged by people selected from the audience. Audience members cheer on their favourite poets, try to sway the judges and snap along.

Preliminary Slams begin Tuesday, October 24th and continue twice nightly until all but four teams are eliminated and the go on to compete at the Festival’s closing gala.

6PM – The Venue – BOUT 1
A – Peterborough Poetry Slam
B – Wild Card 2
C – Tonight It’s Poetry (Saskatoon)
D – Breath In Poetry (Edmonton)

6PM – Shots – BOUT 2
A – Wild Card 1
B – London Poetry Slam
C – Throw (Montreal)
D – Urban Legends (Ottawa)

8PM – The Venue – BOUT 3
A – Slamapalooza (Surrey)
B – Windsor Poetry Slam
C – Lanark LiPS
D – Hali Slam (Halifax)

8PM – Shots – BOUT 4
A – Guelph Poetry Slam
B – St. Catharine’s Poetry Slam
C – HYP (Hamilton)
D – Toronto Poetry Slam

6PM – The Venue – BOUT 5

A – Urban Legends (Ottawa)
B – Lanark LiPS
C – Wild Card 2
D – Guelph Poetry Slam

6PM – Shots – BOUT 6
A – Toronto Poetry Slam
B – Tonight It’s Poetry (Saskatoon)
C – London Poetry Slam
D – Slamapalooza (Surrey)

8PM – The Venue – BOUT 7
A – Breath In Poetry (Edmonton)
B – Up From The Roots (Toronto)
C – UBC Slam
D – Winnipeg Poetry Slam

8PM – Shots – BOUT 8
A – Ink Spot (Calgary)
B – Vancouver Poetry Slam
C – Vic Slam
D – St. Catharine’s Poetry Slam

6PM – The Venue – BOUT 9
A – Winnipeg Poetry Slam
B – Throw (Montreal)
C – Windsor Poetry Slam
D – Ink Spot (Calgary)

6PM – Shots – Bout 10
A – HYP (Hamilton)
B – UBC Slam
C – Vancouver Poetry Slam
D – Peterborough Poetry Slam

8PM – The Venue – BOUT 11
A – Hali Slam (Halifax)
B – Vic Slam
C – Up From the Roots (Toronto)
D – Wild Card 1


Monday, October 23-Friday, October 27,
Po-Yo with Kay’la Fraser– Market Hall

Explore the spiritual aspect of creating/performing through the use of yoga and a series of discussion questions, exercises and writing prompts, as well as a cypher/critique and meditation/breathing exercises. $10/15   

Tuesday, October 24th, Nogojiwanong Origins
Riverwalk with Jimson Bowler – Nogojiwanong

Follow our Festival Artist-in-Residence as he walks along the original portage trail from the boat landing at Nogojiwanong (the place at the end of the rapids) along the Otonabee River to hear him talk about the land, the festival imagery, and the relationship it has to his artistic process.

Thursday October 25th, Talk Back Session
10:00 – 12:00; Location Bagnani Hall, Traill College
An opportunity to talk with Spoken Word Canada Board Members about the festival and propose amendments to the SPOCAN Bylaws.

Friday, October 26th, Spoken Word
Canada AGM – 
10:00 – 12:00; Location Bagnani Hall, Traill College
Canada’s Annual General Meeting. Please send two representatives from each member series to vote.

Saturday, October 28th,
Peterborough Poverty Walk with Dan

Hosted by a community activist with lived experience, Peterborough Poverty Walks illustrate what it is like for individuals living in extreme poverty and experiencing homelessness and precarious housing to move through a day in the city.

Children’s Show

Play with Poetry: A Workshop for Children!
Sunday, October 22 at The Theatre on King
Door 1:30pm, show at 2:00pm
Granny Kokum is coming into town to try poetry with children of all ages! She doesn’t speak English or French, or read, or write… she could maybe use some helpers. Johnny McRae from Vancouver will also perform and work with members of the audience to write their own poems!

Collisions Café Series

Note: all Collisions Café Shows (except for These Pills) are 12:00 – 1:00

Tuesday, October 24 at The Food Forest

Scarborough-transplant, slam poet and femme-drogynous man Darcy Alemany; soft and powerful Peterborough Poetry Slam veteran, and Vancouver-based spoken word artist Frankie McGee; and
Montreal based, fransaskois poet and artist Alasdair.

Wednesday, October 25 at Market Hall
these pills don’t come in my skin tone’ official poetry anthology release + open mic. A spoken word poetry collection on mental illness and wellness exclusively by Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPoC) from across (colonially known as) “Canada”. Hosted by Bassam.

Thursday, October 26 at Natas Café
Local page poet Ben Prins; local force of nature, muslimah; wife, poet, and mother Jasher Guiel; and Vancouver based poet Kay Kassirer

Friday, October 27 at The Trend
Performances by Indian-born, England-raised, multi-disciplinary Canadian poet Rajinderpal Pal; peacebuilding/political researcher, journalist, and spoken word artist from a mixed indigenous
background, Mov; and the poet yes, or estefania, a radical queer feminist and migrant based in tkaronto.

Saturday, October 28 at The Trend
Yellowknife-born, Swaziland and South Africa-raised, full-time word wizard, musician, artist and instigator, croc E moses; Motivational Dub/ Roots Reggae Dub Poet from Jamaica, Charlie Bobus; and Jamaican-born Dub Poet, educator, social activist and Nogojiwanong – Peterborough
legend, Chet Singh.

Night-Time Features

Sunday, October 22 at the Sapphire Room, Wildcard Team Slam
(No, really, this is your last, last, last chance) Feat. Andre Fenton

An annual favorite, this last chance slam is an opportunity for poets from across the country to earn their way onto a wildcard team to compete in the festival’s slam tournament. Featuring Halifax poet, activist and filmmaker Andre Fenton. Pre-registration for poets may
be required, visit for more info.

Monday, October 23 at the Market Hall,
Before we Begin: The Festival Opening Gala

We open the festival by acknowledging that we are gathered on Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg territory. Elder Shirley Williams from Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island and Professor Emeritus at Trent University will open the festival by honouring Nishnaabeg protocols and sharing a teaching from her new book of poetry. She will be followed by performances from angela semple, poet, PhD candidate, and member of the Ktunaxa nation; Ziy von B., a queer, Jewish poet with family lines stemming from Eastern Europe (co-founder of the Peterborough Poetry Slam); and immigrant poet and organizer Bashar Lulu Jabbour. To close the evening’s event, Cree poet, author, and “auntie of Indigenous literature in Canada,” Louise Bernice Halfe, will share the gifts of her work with us. This showcase explores our relationships with the places we live, work, and write, through conversations of love, land, and decolonization.

 Night Time Features

Tuesday, October 24 at The Venue,
Access Granted
Explore access from a variety of perspectives. Ottawa-based poet Rusty Priske shares his recent experience accessing the medical system to treat cancer. Fannon Holland, a poet and political activist from Guelph, Ontario, looks at access in relation to Black identity. Tasha Beeds of nêhiyaw (Plains Cree) and Barbadian ancestry is a Water Walker and an Indigenous Studies PhD Candidate whose work examines access in relation to Indigenous people’s lands, waters, and bodies.

Wednesday, October 25 at The Venue,
The Way We Love
In a world where the private is political, the very act of loving, the most simple and honest thing we can do, can itself become the loudest statement. Join us for the work of blogger, activist and performance artist Nasra Adem; veteran poet and community educator Brandon Wint; and brilliant youth wordsmith and member of the Athabasca Chipewyan first nation, Billie the Kid.

Thursday, October 26 at The Venue, Soul Buffet

This night is intended to heal the soul, bringing you the work of poets who have seen, have overcome, and who now use their words to nourish us. Featuring Saskatoon Poetic Arts Festival Director, Brendan Flaherty;  Kai Cheng Thom; and leading dub poet and activist Lillian Allen.

Friday, October 27 at Market Hall,
Words and Movement
Public Energy and the Peterborough Poetry Collective present Words and Movement, an exploration of the embodiment of language through poetry and dance. This showcase features award winning poet, creative consultant and community animator with roots in diasporic storytelling, Lishai Peel; hoop dancer Beany John and Bermuda-born, Jamaican heritage author and slam-veteran, Dane Swan and Liz Glxy, fellow members of MXTP_CLTRS!

Saturday, October 28 at Market Hall,
Finals and National Showcase

Find out who will be crowned this year’s CFSW Champions at our closing gala. First, join us for the poetic stylings of the festival’s Rising Voice, Mitcholos Touchie, also known as apḥsp at unakʔi im aqs†i from Yuuuʔiʔa†ḥ (CKA Ucluelet First Nations) x Nuučaan uɫ (CKA Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations). Next we will showcase works from the festival’s two poets of honour, Charlie Petch, originally from Nogojiwanong – Peterborough and now based in tkaronto; and New York-born, Montreal-based Poet, Rabbit Richards.

Late, Late Night Shows

Monday, October 23 at Market Hall

Presented by Kaz Mega in cooperation with Black Lives Matter Peterborough, a showcase of Hip-Hop-influenced poets who dedicate their wordsmithing not only to the slam stage, but also to the creation of music, as words meet banging beats and head nodding flows. Performers will include Kaz Mega, Mona Mousa, Saleem Hussain Ansari, Niambi Leigh, and dub poet Clifton Joseph.

Tuesday, October 24th at The Venue,

8 mystery poets from across Turtle Island perform original pieces written for them by each other. They don’t know who wrote for them, and ONLY know who they are writing for. All will be revealed in the 2nd half of the show, the LIVE podcast. The mitcholos mystery mixtape version of the mixolos mitchtape live at The Spill.

Wednesday, October 25th at The Venue,
Our Sexless Marriage
Charlie Petch and Andre Prefontaine were not the most likely of couples, but as fate should have it opposites attract, bond, and put the ‘hole’ in ‘unholy’. Join them for a night of wanton and reckless abandon as they host and perform at CFSW’s LGBTQPIA2S+ open mic showcase! Will their sexless marriage last the night? JOIN US TO FIND OUT!! (First twenty-seven rows will get wet.)

Thursday, October 26th at The Venue,
Slamily Feud
David Silverberg and Brent Peers bring Family Feud for poets! The game will be related to Canadian spoken word and poetry life. Families will pre-register for the event.  

Hosted by Britta B! Teams must register in advance at

Thursday, October 28th at Market Hall,
Festival After Party

Join us for a live performance and celebration with Toronto-based, activist EDM duo, LAL! Dancing is highly encouraged along with general rocking the Fuck Out!

Master Classes

Master Classes
Wednesday, October 25th at Market Hall,
Dan Yashinsky
This storytelling master class will explore forms of oral poetry and narrative, including proverbs, riddles, dilemma tales, incantation, ghost stories, and tall tales. Participants will create and tell a story that incorporates a short piece of poetry.

Tuesday, October 24th at Market Hall,
Andre Prefontaine
“Drama queen “Communication is 80% body language and 20% words and tonality. Did you know intent is conveyed through consonants, while emotion is portrayed through vowels? Or how about breath? Do you know where to put it if you want to speak with authority versus a place of vulnerability? No? Perfect- let me show you how. In this workshop we’ll explore individual pieces and apply tried and proven performance techniques while examine the writing. Participants are asked to bring a copy of a poem, or two copies if reading from paper, and a note pad.

Thursday, October 26th at Market Hall,
Rabbit Richards
Performing spoken word at a poetry slam: how to stay grounded, connecting when on book, fucking with time, how to leave space instead of filling it and much more.

Friday, October 27th at Market Hall, 1:00 – 3:00
Lillian Allen –
Join award winning and internationally renowned poet and one of the lead innovators and originators of dub poetry, Lillian Allen for a class on the craft of writing.

Friday, October 27th at Market Hall, 3:00 -5:00
Charlie Petch – Poetry Performance Masterclass. How do we perceive audience?
What holds us back? How can theatre and clowning techniques apply to spoken word?
How do you find your light and adjust the mic?



We are on Michi
Saagiig Nishnaabeg Land: a workshop on territorial acknowledgements with angela semple
Location: Market Hall

Wednesday, October 25th
Market Hall, 3:00 to 5:00pm
Alasdairs, The Zine –
Browse selections from Alasdair’artists personal zine library while discussing the socio-cultural underpinnings of the zine: its roots in homosexual pornographic “pamphlet” culture, its resurgence in the punk scene of the 70s and 80s, and its repurposing by queer communities, women, and BIPOC. Attendees will create their own 6 page mini-zine!

Thursday, October 26th at Market Hall, 3:00 – 5:00
Anti-Oppression Committee Workshop – Rabbit Richards and Reema lead a conversation and
workshop discussing community responsibly including what to do when you have been provided with information that can affect the safety of others.

Saturday, October 28th at Market Hall, 1:00 – 3:00
Jamaal Jackson Rogers, The outer-body exchange – 
an exchange that involves getting poets ready to perform with their body and not so much with
their mind.

Book(able) a Workshop with Mona Mousa
3:00 – 5:00

Location: Market Hall