Panels 2018

Come out to one of our panels to learn and talk with panelists from the national community. Panels are $10, or free for Festival Pass holders.

Tuesday, October 30

How to Run a Fesitval, 1-3pm @ Silence

CFSW is a nomadic national festival, hosted by a different community each year from coast to coast. This creates opportunity for poets to explore Canada, build a national network and roam as poets do! Come to this panel to build your confidence on how to become a host city for the festival, your knowledge of what is needed to do so and the benefits to you as a host. Panel discussion will also provide tips and tricks that are applicable to ALL festival organizing.   

Dave Silverberg headshot

Dave Silverberg


Dave Silverberg is the artistic director of Toronto Poetry Slam and festival director of two Canadian Festivals of Spoken Word. He regularly leads workshops on spoken word poetry in schools across Ontario. He debuted his first solo show Jewnique in 2018 and his upcoming book of poetry will be published in April 2019. His non-fiction work has been published in The Washington Post, BBC News, Vice, The Globe & Mail, Metro and many more.

Elizabeth Jenkins headshot

Elizabeth Jenkins (EJ)


Elizabeth Jenkins is a poet, journalist, spoken word artist and activist based in Peterborough. She stepped onto the stage for the first time in 2016 and made an impression in the local and national scenes. Her work strives to find beauty in the broken by embracing the hard edges. She explores personal traumas, love and her Belizean heritage in her work, and uses her particular experiences to shed light on the state of race, gender and class struggles in Canada. EJ has competed and performed nationally, co-organized the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word 2017, and completed her first chap book, "romantic and horrible.” She is a contributor to Electric City Magazine and has done work with Black Lives Matter Peterborough.

yes headshot



yes is a radical non-binary queer migrant and activist based in the tkaronto area. they come to poetry through the cuban traditions of being a dramatic lover resisting oppressive power. as an organizer and member of community, they’re committed to the Spoken Word Canada board and Voices of Today festival organizing committee.

Brendan Flaherty headshot

Brendan Flaherty


Brendan Flaherty has been on the Saskatoon slam team (once), represented Tonight It’s Poetry at the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (also once), was the host of a syndicated satirical column on CBC radio during the last federal election (you probably missed it), and was named a CBC Saskatchewan Future 40 winner in 2016 (the trophy is etched with "recipient"). He's also the host of a podcast called This Night Will Change Your Life and is the director of the Saskatoon Poetic Arts Festival. He recently quit every one of his jobs.

Wednesday, October 31

Community, 1-3pm @ Heritage Hall

We talk about community all the time. But really, what is it? What does it take to hold it year after year. Adjust, re-imagine and respond to new needs. As artists in a resource starved environment how do we share resources, support one another and build without breaking ourselves or each other. How do we manage personal conflicts so they result in stronger relationships. Facilitated by Kai Cheng Thom. Panelists TBA.

Kai Cheng Thom headshot

Kai Cheng Thom


Kai Cheng Thom is a writer, performer, wicked witch and lasagna lover based in Montreal and Toronto, unceded Indigenous territories. Her poems, essays, and fiction have been published widely online and in print. She has performed spoken word as a featured artist across the country, at venues including the Verses International Poetry Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. A two-time Lambda Literary Finalist, she is the author of the novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars, the poetry collection a place called No Homeland, and the children's book From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea. She is currently working on a collection of essays titled I HOPE WE CHOOSE LOVE: A Trans Girl's Notes From the End of the World.

Beth Anne Ellipsis headshot

Beth Anne Ellipsis


A Guelph based performance poet, Beth Anne Ellipsis crafts her words to reflect the lives of herself and those around her. Her art is earth inspired and speaks to the struggle we all face to find our true selves and home in community. She has performed in national poetry slam competitions, literary festivals and created commissioned poetry pieces. She received the Top 40 Under 40 Award in 2016 in Guelph, ON.

Dwayne Morgan headshot

Dwayne Morgan


Dwayne Morgan began his career as a spoken word artist in 1993. In 1994, he founded Up From The Roots entertainment, to promote the positive artistic contributions of African Canadian and urban influenced artists.

Morgan is the 2018 winner of the Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Spoken Word. In 2016, Morgan was a finalist for the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 2013, Morgan was inducted in to the Scarborough Walk of Fame. Morgan is a member of the Writers Union of Canada, a 2012 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word National Poetry Slam Champion, and has received both the African Canadian Achievement Award, and the Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in the Arts. Morgan is the winner of 3 Canadian Urban Music Awards (2001, 2003, 2005). In 2005, Morgan was recognized as Poet of Honour at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Vancouver, and in 2008 his contribution to the Arts and Canadian society were recognized on the Legacy Black History Month poster.

Morgan has published ten books; No Apologies (2016), Before I Was Born (2015), Everyday Excellence (2013), Her Favourite Shoes (2011), The Sensual Musings of Dwayne Morgan (2010), The Making of A Man (2005), The Man Behind The Mic (2002), Long Overdue (1999), and chapbooks, The Revolution Starts Within (1996), and Straight From The Roots (1995). In 2009, Morgan’s work was translated into French, culminating in the book, Le Making of d’un Homme. His albums include, Another Level (1997), The Evolution (2001), Soul Searching (2003), A Decade in the Making (2004), Mellow Mood: The End of the Beginning (2007), Idle Hands (2011), Wet (2017), and Somewhere (2017). In 2008, Morgan released a commemorative DVD entitled, Dwayne Morgan The First Fifteen.

Dwayne has performed for the former Governor General of Canada, The Honourable Michaelle Jean, the late leader of the NDP, Jack Layton, and has shared the stage with many of Canada’s top artists including Russell Peters, Kardinal Offishal, Jully Black, and Nelly Furtado, while opening for international artists Alicia Keys, and recording with Canadian artists, including Drake.

To further explore his creativity, Dwayne collaborated with Driftwood Studios to film, Three Knocks, a ten minute film based on his domestic violence poem of the same name, which premiered in Toronto’s Reel World Film Festival. In March 2008, Dwayne hosted his first photography exhibit, The Sum of Her Parts, exploring female body image.

Dwayne’s work ethic has taken him across Canada, the United States, Jamaica, Turkey, Trinidad, Bermuda, Barbados, England, Scotland, Belgium, Budapest, Germany, France, Norway, Ghana, and Holland. His emphasis on quality has driven his success, and has made him a well-respected component of Toronto’s urban music community, as well as the North American, and Global, spoken word scenes.

Bashar Lulu Jabbour headshot

Bashar Lulu Jabbour


Bashar Lulu Jabbour is an immigrant poet! He uses the mundane to give you a glimpse of the complexities of leaving one home for another. Bashar is a storyteller, and his stories are deeply personal. He is a nationally competing poet & his poetry is a staple at many festivals including Cherry Festival and Latitudes Storytelling Festival. He was an opening act for artists such as Carlos Andres Gomez His debut book has been funded by Ontario Arts Council and Waterloo Region Arts Fund and will be released in late 2018.

Bashar is an active arts organizer. Since 2015, Bashar has been the co-artistic director of the Kitchener Waterloo Poetry Slam. In his role, he has focused on building community through consistent intimate events (poetry circles, writing circles, and workshops), as well as accountability and conversation. He is also the organizer of Tea + Art, a writing workshop series for Non-binary and Women of Colour. He is relentless in pursuing artistic growth through community building, organizing and skill exchange.

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