Showcases 2018

We have some amazing talents to share with you this week! Showcase tickets are $10 each, or get access to all of them with a festival pass. A few special events have different prices, including our Opening Ceremonies & Last Chance Slam (by donation) and Finals/Poet of Honour Showcase (adults $25, students $15).

Sunday, October 28

Opening Ceremony: 15 Year Anniversary Exhibit Launch & Last Chance Slam, 6-9pm @ 10C

For the past 15 years CFSW has been a national showcase for spoken word talent that includes an array of panels, showcases, workshops and other events designed to facilitate the growth and vibrancy of the Canadian spoken word scene. In addition to this amazing milestone for the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, Guelph Spoken Word has reached our own. 10 years of speaking, spitting, swooning, moving, doing. Join us to celebrate the beginning of this week long festival with the launch of the CFSW 15 year anniversary exhibit, smoke dancing by Fran Davis, song from Out Loud! choir, and poetry from Kevin Sutton and Fannon Holland.


Take a detailed look at the poets and events that have so carefully crafted the national poetic communities from coast to coast, since then til now.

Last Chance Slam
This is your LAST CHANCE to join a team for the 2018 National Poetry Slam Tournament at CFSW!
Didn't make a slam team? Weren't able to try out?  Don't have a slam scene in your community? Come and compete in a two round slam. Top four slam poets make the Wild Card Team and compete in CFSW. This is an open competition. Anyone can sign-up to compete. Starts at 7pm.
K. Fran Davis headshot

K. Fran Davis


K. Fran Davis is Haudenosaunee from the Six Nations territory of the Grand River, Cayuga nation and part of the Wolf clan. K. Fran Davis is a story-teller, dancer, and educator with the foundational teaching of the ‘Good Mind’ that informs her delivery as an educator, community Elder, mother, grandmother, friend, sister, auntie and a human being. Kelly accepts guidance from her holistic upbringing through the oral traditions of her Haudenosaunee heritage and the kind-hearted women that raised her.

Out Loud group photo

Out Loud!

Queer Music Collective

We are a grassroots LGBTQ2SIA+ musical collective that celebrates the human rights and social justice roots of queer organizing. As radical folks who love to sing, we work to promote justice through collaborative decision-making, singing songs that uphold our values, and performing at events linked to activist causes. We continuously seek out opportunities to educate ourselves and build safer spaces. A core belief is that oppression occurs on many interconnected levels, and we commit to listening, learning and holding ourselves accountable to combating systemic discrimination. With these guiding values, we gather together for friendship, singing and fun.

Kevin Sutton headshot

Kevin Sutton


Kevin Sutton is a spoken word artist, page poet, actor, playwright, workshop facilitator, activist, and community organizer. A regular of Hillside's Sun stage, Kevin uses his words to empower his audience and, he hopes, to inspire a peaceful change towards a more resilient local and global community.

Feature poet on stage

Fannon Holland


Fannon comes to us from Pittsburgh, via Chicago where he met his Canadian wife, which just goes to show you he is a great judge of character. Putting his BA in theater to good use, Fannon found a spoken word stage when a co worker told him he could win some money. "Me? Win money? For being a ham? Where do i sign up" It took seven years to become a national champion as captain of the Guelph slam team in 2016. Quote: Spoken word is the perfect marriage between writer and actor.

Tuesday, October 30

POEMCEES, 11pm @ 10C


Some say POEMcees, while others say poEMCEES. The controversy has led to widespread wordsmith on wordsmith violence that dates back to before time itself. We have only bits and pieces of information but what we know for certain is that at some point in early existence all of consciousness was united in celebration. We marveled at our own magnificence as we gave birth to The Word. We don't know who struck first, The POEMcees or The poEMCEES, but we know it was the poEMCEES who lit the roof on fire.

The 3rd consecutive installment of POEMCEES at CFSW, will feature the Edmonton based show that fuses the not so different worlds of the poet and the emcee. This time around we are choosing to take a look at how our contemporary society has replaced reality with symbols and signs, thus creating a simulation of reality. This show will be a "mixtape" style show mixed by DJ Seiiizmikk and featuring A and B sides performed by King Kimbit, Tribe of Ansar, Poetic Elements, and KazMega.

KazMega headshot


Master of Ceremonies

KazMega is a proud Edmonton born and raised multi-disciplinary artist, community builder and first generation immigrant of mixed Caribbean descent. Hip Hop Kulture, the deep spiritual philosophy designed to promote intergenerational and intercultural creation and healing through art, guides Kaz’s creative compass. He has used this compass to find purpose, and grows nearer to peace the more he learns to engage in dialogue through his art. His journey thus far has taught him that connecting to the land he was born on, inevitably connects him to the land his ancestors were raised on. Amiskwaciwâskahikan, and the people of treaty 6 have much to teach... KazMega is ready to listen.



The internationally-acclaimed multidisciplinary artist King Kimbit, originally Nguyễn Anh Thư, was born and raised on unceded Algonquin territory to Vietnamese boat people. While attaining her Bachelor of Mathematics and a Minor in Spanish, King has been performing and recording music and poetry in Jamaica and all over Turtle Island, sharing love and knowledge, which she believes are connected by similar roots. King has recently released her debut double-disc album LIFE LESSONS POETICALLY (with help from Canada Council for the Arts and the City of Ottawa). Life Lessons Poetically is a collection of poetry with respective musical arrangements to illustrate the lessons learned and insight gained so far in her quarter century journey through intersections. Despite the inevitable presence of oppressive white supremacy and patriarchy, there is beauty in telling stories of life and death, revealing the healing and survival of women and the world.

DJ SeiiizMikk


Ottawa DJ/Producer Artist.
1/3 of DasKingSeiiiz

Follow her on her journey of creating positive vibrations.
pronounced : ˈsīzmik (seismic)

The Tribe Of Ansar


Rafay Ansari is a 26 year old Hip-Hop Emcee & Spoken Word Poet, hailing from Windsor, Ontario and currently residing in Cambridge. His writings touch upon world issues, spirituality and social "norms". His adoration of life and love of learning is uniquely resonant in all of his work.

Since 2011 Rafay has pursued his art professionally, performing across Canada in over 400 shows, competitions and festivals (ex. Hillside Music Festival, Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, Eden Mills Writers Festival, Latitudes Storytelling Festival).

As part of the Guelph Poetry Slam Team (2013 and 2014) Rafay was a two-time finalist at Slamtario and the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word representing the City of Guelph on provincial and national stages.

In January 2013 Rafay released his first solo Hip-Hop CD entitled FreeJason. In September 2014, as part of the hip-hop ensemble, The Skeleton Krew, Rafay released the album KEELHAULED. In January 2015 his very first poetry chapbook A Collection of Poetry and spoken word album Acceptance of Divine Light. Rafay’s next album The Captain’s Log is set to be released in January 2017.

In addition to performing, Rafay develops and facilitates workshops for elementary schools, high schools and universities across Canada. His body of work has been studied in various departments at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto. He aims to inspire youth he works with to explore their creative potential, and find new outlets and perspectives through Hip-Hop and Spoken Word.

(Masai the Nasa Kid of) Poetic Elements


Ottawa based Hip Hop trio comprised of rapper/producer/engineer Masai the Nasa Kid, producer/audio engineer/graphic designer Prophet One and rapper/spoken word poet Apollo the Child. Radio personalities at The Home Invasion Show.

Wednesday, October 31

Roots Words: In Conversation with George Elliott Clarke, 3-5pm @ 10C

Almost 15 years ago when the first concept of the Canadian festival of Spoken Word was formed, back when it was just teams from Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg and Halifax… this kind of gathering was called the Word Olympics. By then spoken word already had roots, a history of griots and hip hop emcees and cyphers, writers and speakers and protesters who knew how to weave each word.

Join us as we celebrate the black voices of the spoken word community, from the festivals very first Poet of Honour George Elliott Clarke to Beloved Green and local David James Hudson who have carried the torch through the years.

George Elliott Clarke headshot

George Elliott Clarke


The 4 th Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15) and the 7 th Parliamentary/Canadian Poet Laureate (2016-17), George Elliott Clarke is a revered artist in song, drama, fiction, screenplay, essays, and poetry. Born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, in 1960, Clarke was educated at the University of Waterloo, Dalhousie University, and Queen’s University. Clarke is also a pioneering scholar of African-Canadian literature. A professor of English at the University of Toronto, Clarke has taught at Duke, McGill, the University of British Columbia, and Harvard. He holds eight honorary doctorates, plus appointments to the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada at the rank of Officer. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. His recognitions include the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellows Prize, the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry, the National Magazine Gold Award for Poetry, the Premiul Poesis (Romania), the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction, the Eric Hoffer Book Award for Poetry (US), and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award. Clarke’s work is the subject of Africadian Atlantic: Essays on George Elliott Clarke (2012), edited by Joseph Pivato. Finally, though Clarke is racialized “Black” and was socialized as an Africadian, he is a card- carrying member of the Eastland Woodland Métis Nation Nova Scotia, registered under Section 35 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He is, at last, a proud Afro-Métis Africadian.

Abena Beloved Green headshot

Abena Beloved Green


Abena ”Beloved Green” Tuffour is a poet, writer, and dancer who seeks to create, engage, and elevate through her artistic work. She was a two-time member of the Halifax Slam Team, competing in the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. She is also the 2016 winner of the Atlantic Poetry Prize, (now Nova Writes) and 3rd place finalist in the 2017 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (Vancouver, British Columbia). Abena is a nomadic Canadian of Ghanaian heritage who spent most of her life in Nova Scotia and now lives in Ontario with international stints in-between. She is passionate about sustainability, creativity, and connection between living beings. Her first book of poetry The Way We Hold On (Pottersfield Press) was released March 2018.

David James Hudson headshot

David James Hudson


David James Hudson is a poet, librarian, and anti-racist scholar residing in Attawandaron territory (Guelph). He has been performing in communities across the country for more than 15 years, sharing stages with poets and musicians, scholars and storytellers, and activists and artists of all sorts. David has been a featured performer at numerous music, writers', and other cultural festivals, as well as participating in national and international poetry slam championships. He is also a three-time member (and two-time Grand Slam Champion) of the Guelph Poetry Slam team.

Thursday, November 1

Guelph Film Festival presents "Don't Be Nice" 6-9pm @ 10C

Don't Be Nice film poster

The upstart Bowery Slam Poetry Team, made up of five African-American, Afro-Hispanic and queer poets in their 20s, prepares for the national championships. Mentored by a demanding coach who encourages them to push past their personal boundaries and write from a place of vulnerability, pain and honesty, the poets break down, break through and compose their best work ever. Timely and difficult, responding to the racially-charged summer of 2016, their spoken word slays—but will these soul-searching pieces about police violence and the whitewashing of Black culture be able to compete against choreographed crowd-pleasers for the title? Will opting to make a statement instead of a show spell their defeat? An emotional and inspiring film that gives insightful commentary on race, gender, identity, and sexual politics in America today.

Watch the Trailer

Write Bloody NORTH, 9-11pm @ 10C

Write Bloody North Publishing logo

Write Bloody North is Canada's newest poetry publishing house dedicated to poets who live as well on the page as they do on stage. We are proud to bring you this sneak peak of what is to come in 2019 and beyond! Poet and publisher Brad Morden curated this showcase.

Ian Keteku headshot

Ian Keteku


Ian Keteku is a poet, multi-media artist and educator. Keteku is also the 2010 World Poetry Slam Champion and is committed to using words as both an interpretation and cure for the human condition. He conducts poetry, writing and performance workshops for students of all ages, inspiring people to accept the power of their own voice.

Titilope Sonuga headshot

Titilope Sonuga


Titilope Sonuga is an award-winning poet, writer, and performer who renders both in verse and in performance, a remarkable elegance of craft, a quality of rootedness and an unflinching womanhood that has made her an internationally celebrated artistic voice. She has graced stages across Canada and the globe and is the first poet to perform at a Nigerian presidential inauguration, performing an inaugural poem in May 2015.

She was a speaker at TedxEdmonton in 2014 and served as the 2015 - 2016 ambassador for Intel Corporation’s She Will Connect Program in Nigeria, advocating for women and girls in the STEM fields. She has published two collections of poetry, a spoken word album and had her work translated into Italian, German and Slovak. Her next collection, This Is How We Disappear, is forthcoming in 2019.

C.R Avery headshot

C.R Avery


What Men Do with Their Mouths: Bio for C.R Avery, By Patrica Smith

Cue the frenzied combo of molar and spit.
his tongue touches every chroma on its way to blue.
he’s been rinsing with gravel, flossing with wire
and chewing brick again, he’s been a bad, bad boy.
but he is crackerjack conjurer of washboards and
rubber, even suburb girls welcome the twinging. i
want to nibble yesterday’s corona from his chin, rub
my index finger along the surface of his laugh, pull
the maw open to check the slick road of his throat.
there’s something illegal going on down there, the
sweet keening of ancient instruments. the orchestra
is fidgety, click-hipped, steaming inside that skin.
the boy opens the beauteous and, in gut rendering,
words become both otherwise and everything.

Friday, November 2

Crossing Borders: Youth Showcase, 1-3pm @ 10C

Crossing Borders is a group of newcomer and Canadian-born students and alumni of Waterloo Collegiate Institute who raise awareness about newcomer issues and break down barriers between people. The team tours a multi-media performance in which youth share their stories using slides, spoken word, film, drama, documentary, dance and music.

A Foreigner’s Lullaby, 3-5pm @ 10C

Poets are the masters of language, they shape it, break its rules, and make new ones. In this showcase, we hear from poets who have had to bridge this mastery across new languages, to explore once again what it means to propel words at their command. The showcase features Lady Vanessa Cardona, Yes, David Delisca, and Bashar Lulu Jabbour.

Bashar Lulu Jabbour headshot

Bashar Lulu Jabbour

Curator & Performer

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, finishing 5th (team) & 6th (individual) in Canada. His poetry is a staple at the many festivals of Kitchener-Waterloo (where he resides) and southwest Ontario, including Cherry Festival, Latitudes Storytelling Festival, and Word on the Street. He was an opening act for artists such as Carlos Andres Gomez and national festivals like Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. His debut book has been funded by Ontario Arts Council, Waterloo Region Arts Fund, and Public Interest Research Groups, and will be released in late 2018.

photo of Lady Vanessa

Lady Vanessa

2018 National Slam Champion

Lady Vanessa Cardona is a mestiza, Colombian, first generation immigrant artist and community builder. She started her artistic career in Windhoek, Namibia and currently lives in Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton), Treaty 6 Territory. Most recently garnering the 2018 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion title, Lady has toured and competed around Canada and the United States promoting her art as an Edmonton local artist and proud member of the Breath in Poetry Collective.

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.

David Delisca


Born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, David Delisca is a spoken word poet, actor and comedian. A versatile artist, he uses stories of the immigrant and diaspora experiences, as well as other various human realities, to bridge realms of communication. He is a four-time member of the Toronto Poetry Slam’s National Team, a finalist at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW) Saskatoon, and a National Champion at CFSW Montreal. He has traveled and performed across Canada, from Victoria, BC to Halifax, NS, to share his words at many literary festivals and venues. His work has been published in various anthologies and magazines, such as “The Great Black North” (Frontenac House), “Basodee” (General Store Publishing House), and Poetry Is Dead Humour Issue. David also published his first collection of poetry, entitled “I Grew Up Right Beside You.”

Cabaret, 11pm @ 10C

Don't dream it, BE it! A fantastical night of burlesque, music and poetry. Heart-thumping, thigh-shaking, throat-wooting fun. On the keys, D'eve Archer, on the tassels The Femme Rebelles, on the words Lady Vanessa, on the laughs Luke Reece and Amber Dewar, on the harp Leslie, on loop peddle, heart strumming magic Janice Jo Lee!

D’eve Archer headshot

D’eve Archer

R&B Pop Sensation

D'eve has managed to reach out and touch down in various countries all over the world sharing her talent and leaving her audience hungry for more. When describing the solo sounds of D'eve Archer, many are not only impressed by her diversity with instrumentation, but are amazed by her techniques to fuse multiple genres together to make harmonious sounds that will leave you wanting more. In her own words D'eve goes on to describe her music; "It's not just about what you are playing for your audience, it's about what you are giving them. Every time I step on stage, whether it be in a large arena, or a small intimate lounge, I aim to share my heart, my mind, and my soul with everyone in that venue."

Femme Rebelles photo

Olive von Topp

of The Femmes Rebelles

Olive von Topp is a member of The Femmes Rebelles, a Guelph-based burlesque troupe providing quality, exclusive, theatrical entertainment in South Western Ontario.

Janice Jo Lee headshot

Janice Jo Lee


Janice Jo Lee (she/her) is a poet, musician, playwright and actor from Kitchener, on Haldimand Tract treaty territory. Lee is a hardfemme queer radical interested in building community through storytelling. Coming up: Ancestor Song (album), Will You Be My Friend original musical, Theatre Passe Muraille Oct 25-Nov 11, Toronto.

photo of Lady Vanessa

Lady Vanessa

2018 National Slam Champion

Lady Vanessa Cardona is a mestiza, Colombian, first generation immigrant artist and community builder. She started her artistic career in Windhoek, Namibia and currently lives in Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton), Treaty 6 Territory. Most recently garnering the 2018 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion title, Lady has toured and competed around Canada and the United States promoting her art as an Edmonton local artist and proud member of the Breath in Poetry Collective.

The Naked Harpist

The Naked Harpist

Leslie Shapiro

The naked harpist AKA Leslie Shapiro is a folk musician from Guelph Ontario. Her experience busking across Canada, as well as her technical training in the University of Guelph applied music program, both contribute to Leslie's unique sound and perspective. Whether singing original tunes or cheeky covers, the naked harpist is sure to delight!

photo of Luke Reece

Luke Reece


Luke Reece is a poet, playwright, producer and artist-educator based in Toronto. He is the Producer at Obsidian Theatre, and Artistic Director of Little Black Afro Theatre. Luke is the 2017 Toronto Poetry Slam Grand Champion, captain of the 2017 National title winning team, and placed 2nd individually in Canada in 2018.

Amber Dewar headshot

Amber Dewar


Amber Dewar (Guelph Comedy Festival Gala 2018, Hillside Festival 2018, Rainbow Reels Festival 2018), is a storytelling comic who will take you on a journey through the day to day life of a late-twenties, millennial doing their very best to fight the patriarchy while also trying to find someone who wants to maybe share a pizza.

Saturday, November 3

Dibaajimowin Aki (Storytelling Land), 3-5pm @ 10C

Storytelling is a long-standing Indigenous spoken word tradition on Turtle Island that has many similarities to slam. The words are rich with context and layered with deeper meanings that give voice to experiences and feelings in life. This showcase will feature Indigenous artists who have a talent for making words come to life. Join our circle.

MOV headshot



Mov (pronounced like the colour mauve) started writing poetry and doing storytelling at a young age and in her 20s, accidentally began a career as a war researcher, travelling global conflicts and writing about violence and peace. She returned home over a decade later, forever scarred. Soon after, she was introduced to slam poetry and began translating her war stories into spoken word pieces as a therapeutic exercise. She has since graced many stages to share her stories of trauma, hope, and change.

Deirdre Lee headshot

Deirdre Lee


Deirdre Lee is an advocate, activist & artist who works with words, movement & making. Her art is inextricably intertwined with her lived reality & explores her perspective on intersectionality, identity & healing. She specializes in owning her words, & the stage; tenderly telling difficult truths & bringing the audience back home. An unofficial, unconventional Auntie, Deirdre keeps her medicines close, & lives with her partner & her Elder cat Willis in K’jipuktuk, on the unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq people.



Kahsenniyo is a spoken word artist from the Mohawk Nation Wolf Clan. Kahsenniyo began utilizing her poetry as a tool for social change and community engagement in 2008. Her work is centered around Indigenous issues. She aims to educate non-indigenous people about the struggles, beauty and realities facing Indigenous people. As well her work attempts to create moments of understanding, connection and healing for Indigenous People. Kahsenniyo transforms her love for her community and people through her passionate performances.

K. Fran Davis headshot

K. Fran Davis


K. Fran Davis is Haudenosaunee from the Six Nations territory of the Grand River, Cayuga nation and part of the Wolf clan. K. Fran Davis is a story-teller, dancer, and educator with the foundational teaching of the ‘Good Mind’ that informs her delivery as an educator, community Elder, mother, grandmother, friend, sister, auntie and a human being. Kelly accepts guidance from her holistic upbringing through the oral traditions of her Haudenosaunee heritage and the kind-hearted women that raised her.

Dr. Andrew Judge headshot

Dr. Andrew Judge


Boozoo! (Greetings!) Mko Mose Indizhnikaz (My spirit name is Bear Walker), Meshekenh n’doodem (I am Turtle Clan), d'eshkan ziibi n'doonjiba (I was born and raised along the horned serpent river [present day London, Ontario]). Anishinaabe - Irish, O’jibii’igay inini n’dow (I am an Anishinaabe - Irish Ojibway man). Dr. Andrew Judge is a professor of Indigenous Studies at Conestoga College, sessional Lecturer at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University in South Western Ontario and visiting professor at the Center for Engaged Learning Abroad in Cayo District, Belize. He specializes in traditional Indigenous knowledge and works with Elders across North America to support the conscious awakening of his students and himself. Andrew is an initiated Mayan day count keeper and regularly participates in the ancient ceremonial practices of his Anishinaabe ancestors. Andrew is currently developing programming in Indigenous land-based practices and invites his students to work with traditional medicines and foods to learn the ways of the Ancestors. In the summer of 2018 Andrew founded Minjimendan (In a state of remembering) an Indigenous foods garden dedicated to helping the community remember their role in restoring the vitality of the Earth.

Slam Finals & Poet of Honour Showcase: 7-11pm @ River Run Centre

The CFSW 2018 Slam Finals & Celebration will be a night of poetry and commemoration. This year’s two Poets of Honour, Shayne avec i grec and Truth Is ... will grace the stage with a feature performance.  We’ll mark the 10th anniversary of Guelph Spoken Word and you’ll see the final slam bout of the 2018 team tournament. You decide this year’s slam team champions! The four best slam teams in the country compete in the last slam bout of the year. After 4 rounds we will crowd our new National Champions.

Don't miss out! Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students, or free with a festival pass or slam tournament pass.

Shayne avec i grec

Shayne avec i grec headshot

Truth Is ...

Scroll to top