Meet the members of the 2018 team slam competition! More team info to come from the 18 participating poetry scenes.
Breath in Poetry
Breath-In Poetry (BIP) was founded by Titilope Sonuga and continues to be the most well known home for spoken word poetry in Edmonton. The name of the collective was inspired by a Muriel Rukeyser quote “Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry." The team consists of Brandon Wallace Case, K’alli, Scott (Fawkes) Brooks, and Liam Coady. We’ve come to Guelph to spice things up with a plateful of festival style for all poetry fans!
Burlington Slam Project
The 2018 Burlington Slam Project (BSP) Team consists of 2018 Grand Slam Champion, and Women of the World Poetry Slam rep, Robyn Kaur Sidhu, 2018 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam top ten finalist and winner of the Mississauga Arts Council. award for emerging literary arts, Michelle Hillyard, 2017 Guelph Poetry Slam team member and Canadian Festival of Spoken Word finalist, Fira, and queerness, fertility, and mental health writer, Doe. Robyn is a Humanities student at McMaster University who has recently published her first chapbook. Michelle is the workshop coordinator for the Mississauga Writers Group, and a mother to three amazing children. Fira specifically focuses on the topics of mental health, queerness, and healing through art and is an organizer for 2018 Voice of Today Youth Poetry Festival. Doe is a poet living in Tkaronto (Toronto) with their chosen family and will be competing in Guelph at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. With poems, buttons, chapbooks, and appearances both local and International in check; the 2018 BSP team aims to inspire, entertain and engage audiences with a diverse range of styles and perspectives that channel honesty, challenge social norms, and bring forward a creative expression of the authentic human experience.
Hamilton Youth Poets
Our team is a community grounded in the belief that all people have important stories to tell. We are people from different backgrounds who have come together to understand the importance of our own stories and those of others, so all can pursue a chosen path and work to make the places we call home more just and equitable. Our relationships began at HYP based on a shared love of creative expression through the written and spoken word.
KW Poetry Slam
The 2018 Kitchener-Waterloo (KW) Poetry Slam team is composed of four young academics/artists that have completed Janice Jo Lee’s residency program and been selected by their community to represent KW at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. Individually they are (clockwise starting top left) Eve Nyandwi (they/them), Yelibert Cruz (she/her), Namrata Tilokani (she/her), and Nitica Sakharwade (she/her).Collectively they are a group of people that care for one another personally and inspire each other artistically. They love water metaphors, rowdy poetics, and cozy sweaters. Together they invite audiences into their worlds as they explore who they are and where they come from. #KwHasSpoken
Lanark County LiPS
Lanark County, ON
Andy Kerr-Wilson Ken Kicksee (not pictured) b!WILDer Tammy (Dimorphic) MacKenzie The Boy with Purple Socks (Emmet)
London Poetry Slam Team
The London Poetry Slam team consists of a group of both new and experienced spoken word warriors. Alan and Brittany, and youth poets Eric, Spencer and Michael will be heating up the mic this year at CFSW 2018!
Left to right: Spencer Reid, Eric Trudell, Alan Leangvan, Brittany Renaud, Michael Vanvrouwerff
Peterborough Poetry Slam
A series of miraculous events have resulted in the creation of the NATA Poets, this year’s 2018 Peterborough Poetry Slam Team. An eclectic, four member group respectfully residing on the traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig Anishinaabe; Nogojiwanong, colonially known as Peterborough. They collectively offer gratitude to First Nations for the care of our earth and ancestral teachings of our relations. NATA Poetry Team offers real, raw expressions of the human experience.
Nick Taylor is an International Development and Philosophy student working as a staff writer for Arthur Newspaper. His poetry is informed by his experiences as a young queer person growing up in the Catholic Church and school system, living with chronic disease, political rage and his generally chaotic existence.
Ash O’Brien is an agender individual with a lifelong passion for the arts, who uses poetry as both an emotional outlet, and to make emotions tangible for others with similar experiences. They write mainly about their struggles with depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, gender dysphoria, and occasionally politics.
Tami Bunce is a writer and spoken word artist using both platforms to heal, find purpose and understand her place in this world. Her poetry is deep rooted in mental health, death, substance abuse, teen motherhood, guilt and personal transformation ~ Firm in her belief that Art saves lives.
Ava Ethel-Young is a transgender non-binary woman who writes about their experiences with gender dysphoria, depression, and anxiety. Self proclaimed messy spoken word artist, mental breakdowns make for great writing material.
Rattle the Cage
Wild Card Team
A mere 24 hours ago this team was brought together by fate to rattle the cage. Look out everyone, Qurat, Nina, Christine and Andy are in town!
Throw Poetry Collective
Throw Poetry Collective consists of a group of five poets : Liana, Alex "Shakey legs" Tkachuk, Nikki, Andrew Zadel and CéZuRe aka Bi-Curious George, The Spirit of Christmas, Leela, Charlie Sheen from Platoon et le Panda Épormyable.
Tonight It's Poetry
One community, two parents, three indigenous peoples, four prairie born, and five powerful poets. We are the Five Treaty Six.
Representing Saskatoon's Tonight It's Poetry series at CFSW 2018 is Five Treaty Six. This year's team is a powerhouse of talent, passion and words! Shaw Joseph (Overflo), Janelle Pewapsconias (ecoaborijanelle), Elise Pallagi, Victoria Karoline, and Kevin Wesaquate (poetik with a silent K) are bringing a glorious diversity of life experiences, poetry and performance styles to Guelph. Saskatoon is proud of this team and is looking forward to seeing the top prize return!
Toronto Poetry Slam
The 2018 Toronto poetry slam team is emblematic of the tenacity, vibrancy, heart, and drive that make Toronto a city of possibilities. Amoya Reé (pronounced Ray) is a Jamaican-Canadian spoken word poet. Her writing is deeply rooted in her lived experiences as immigrant, survivor & young mother. Her background in theatre first brought her to performance poetry in 2008 & since then she has shared her stories in as many classrooms and boardrooms in Ontario. Gavin Russell is a spoken word poet who has performed across Canada. The 2014 CapSlam Champion, and 2017 Toronto Poetry Slam Champion, he writes on myriad topics, asking his audience to relish in the mundane and banal aspects of life. Jennifer Alicia is a Mi'kmaq and Settler (German, Irish, Scottish) spoken word artist and 2017 National Champ. Her poetry is rooted in love and rage. She is a member of Seeds & Stardust, an Indigenous women's poetry collective and also a member of the Toronto Poetry Slam Team for the second year in a row. Cassandra Myers (they/she) is a brown, queer, femme poet and a fourth year student in Child and Youth Care. They have performed on stages internationally and 2016 Femme Youth Poet of the World. They are an Alumni of BAM! Youth Slam, a current member of the Toronto Poetry Slam Team, and the President of Ryerson's Poetic Exchange. Gabrielle is a proud, black spoken word artist from Jamaica. Although ever-growing, her work has so far been a depiction of her own life experiences, as well as the lives of those who inspire her, involving mental health, black power, heartbreak, and self-love. Recognized for her multi-layered poems, Gabrielle began performing original pieces as early as last year and has since continued to pursue her passion for poetry into becoming a 2018 Toronto Poetry Slam team member. Together they have made history as the 2nd Canadian team ever to make it to semi-finals at the National Poetry Slam in Chicago this past summer. This dynamic group of new and seasoned poets is the flavour of the city you never knew you needed!
The UBC Slam Team is made up of UBC's finest poets all the way from the depths of a donut shop. These 5 poets are Jessie Fenton, Amanada Wong, Madura Katta, Josh Comia and Vienna Claire Jeffery.
First up Grand Slam Champion Jessie Fenton, is UBC’s import from New Zealand who’s just here for the maple syrup. Amanda Wong likes to recite poetry to her 5 rescue turtles; she likes to write about mental health, queerness and the old fashioned: love. Madura Katta is is someone who has lived in three different countries and should be acquainted with change, but still only likes three things best: sleep, the ocean and the smell of gas stations. Josh Comia is a boy who likes to rhyme words and look at birds but always comes in third; and is just an all-around nerd. And finally, not pictured in this image, but still very much a part of the team - Vienna Claire Jefferey has been dubbed the poet laureate of her small hometown of Mission.
Hungry for the competition (and since they’re all students, just hungry generally), the UBC team is ready to take Guelph by storm.
Urban Legends Poetry Team is comprised of Apollo the Child, Namitha, Playto and Colo Toth. We're four diverse poets coming together to share words, love and wisdom hoping to inspire audiences to write, dream, think and feel loved.
A team of four queer poets writing about intergenerational trauma, survival, community, and diaspora, VanSlam’s team this year: Kay Kassirer, jaye simpson, mitcholos touchie, and Rabbit Richards. Between them there are at least 17 years of performance, 4 books, 3 festivals, and a podcast and a half.
mitcholos touchie // łapḥsp̓at̓unakʔi łim̓aqsti is yuułuʔiłʔatḥ x maa-nulth treaty (2011) first nations, and nuučanułaht first nations. jaye simpson // two wings soaring is oji-cree from sapotaweyak and skownan cree nations (Treaty 2 and 4). Rabbit Richards is a mixed-race Black settler of Jewish descent hailing from canarsee nyack and lenni lenape territory. Kay Kassirer is a Jewish settler born on the territory of the algonquin-anishinaabeg peoples.
Representing VanSlam poetry as uninvited guests and settlers of cka vancouver, Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh territory, they are honored to be witness & speakers among poets to be gathered in cka guelph, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory & Treaty 3 territory for CFSW2018.
[ID: Kay Kassirer crouches smirking in a flannel shirt and jeans. mitcholos touchie stands smiling, hair unbound, wearing a shirt that says “Protector.” jaye simpson side-eyes the camera in floral sheers. Rabbit Richards looks unimpressed in a flowered dress and sneakers. The team is standing on a hill at dusk. /end ID]
This is the badass, all-female, 2018 Vic Slam team. Olivia Kompier. Marie Metaphor. Dana Neily. Hilary Somerville. They can be found in Victoria, BC, furiously drinking tea, falling into the ocean, and performing poetry in various states of dress. They tell their truths out of necessity and love.
Windsor Poetry Slam
Avery (top right): Avery is a First Nations poet and it is her first time on the Windsor Poetry Slam team. Originally writing French poetry and plays, she now writes in both English and French. She works in cultural coordination and aboriginal affairs for the French Catholic school board.
Nathanya (bottom right): Nathanya is so excited to be returning to the Windsor Slam Team as the 2018 Grand Slam Champion! Nathanya is a poet, playwright and storyteller. Nathanya is a graduate of the University of Windsor with a double major in Drama & Creative Writing. Her poems are attempts at scooping out her own insides and examining them. Though she does not have a medical degree, she hopes these attempts will show her how she ticks. Her attempts are unapologetically queer, feminist, and political. Apparently, that's what she's made of mostly.
Kat (top left): Kat Moscone is two time Windsor Grand Slam Champion and the 2016 CIPS representative. Her poetry craft bleeds into her story and song writing, and she spends her time practicing and advancing in all three fields. Outside of the Windsor Poetry Slam, Kat is a musician and artist. Through her past 3 years of doing slam poetry, she has found her voice speaking about the queer black experience, and garnered mass support from her friends, family, SlamFam*, and the poetry community. She hopes to spread the joy of poetic expression and help people perfect the craft of embracing vulnerability.
benny (bottom left): Benny Alexander is a poet hailing from Windsor, Ontario. He has been writing since a very young age and has been performing his poetry in Ontario and Michigan for over 6 years. Benny Alexander is proud to boast that after 4 years of performing and competing he is now a current member of the 2018 Windsor Poetry Slam team! He is also the host of Toast Open Mic Poetry and is an advocate for art of all kinds in his community.
Winnipeg Poetry Slam
Noah Cote, George Morah, Tino Hove, Mason Kanne, and Ephraim Hui.