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March 2020

Verses 2020 has been cancelled.

March 15 - April 26

For the safety of our audience, artists and staff we are cancelling the 2020 Verses Festival of Words. We appreciate all of the work everyone has put into the festival and all of the support we have received.   Ticket refunds will be processed at the beginning of the week. We are working on some digital programming options and will announce what we have planned as soon as we can.

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April 2020

Verses Festival Program

April 16 - April 25

It’s here! Below is a web version of our #VersesFestival program. Click on it so that you can move around in it.  Navigation may vary according to your device. Print versions of this program will be available at Van Slam at Cafe Deux Soleils starting March 16th, as well as other locations.

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$75

Verses 2020

April 16 @ 10:00 am - April 25 @ 10:00 pm

Festival Passes All Verses events for one cheap price of $60 for early birds!  The early bird sale ends on March 15. Festival passes can be purchased until April 19 and will cost $75 between March 16 and April 19. Get Festival Passes at Brown Paper Tickets Verses Festival of Words is Canada’s largest alternative literary festival bringing spoken word and page poets, storytellers, singer-songwriters and improvisers to Vancouver stages. In our tenth festival, we are celebrating words with a…

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2020 Hullabaloo All Star Slam

April 16 @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

This event will be taking place on the unceded, ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Wautuh peoples. For 2020 We have a brand new location and day for the annual All Star Slam.  This year we’ll be at the fully accessible, Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library in the Alice MacKay room.  The All Star Slam will bear witness to poetic thunder and lightning, as three poets compete in an all-out battle of poetic verve and wit.  Hosted…

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Free

Spokenword Jamboree featuring Chris Tse

April 16 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

A night for all 16 High School Teams to perform introductory poems showcasing their talent and style.  Plus a feature performance by Canadian Spoken Word Champion, Chris Tse. 6PM-8PM / VPL Central Branch / Alice MacKay Room / Free   Christopher Tse is an artist, educator, and settler currently living on Songhees, Esquimalt, and WSANEC territory in what is otherwise known as Victoria, BC. He placed second at both the 2011 Poetry Slam World Cup and 2016 Rio International Poetry…

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Free

Adventures in Poetryland 2020 with Janice Jo Lee, Chris Tse, Patrick DeBelen and Johnny Trinh

April 18 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

This event will be taking place on the unceded, traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Wautuh peoples.   4 different workshops presented by World Class poets, Janice Joe Lee, Chris Tse, Patrick DeBelen and Johnny Trinh lead students through Adventures in Poetryland.  Each workshop offers a unique perspective into a different writing approach for students to expand their practice. Pre registration for each workshop is required.  Open to highschool students who are not taking part in the competition as…

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Free

Hullabaloo Team Finals 2020 featuring Janice Jo Lee

April 18 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

A night of powerhouse poetry to wrap up the annual celebration of youth spoken word.  4 teams will compete for the illustrious Billy Sharkspeare Trophy plus a feature performance by Toronto’s, Janice Joe Lee.  Hosted by Johnny D. Trinh. Doors: 6:30 PM / Start: 7:30 PM / VPL Central Branch: Alice MacKay Room / Free   Janice Jo Lee (she/her), aka Sing Hey, is a folk artist of Korean ancestry from Kitchener, on Haldimand Tract treaty territory. She is a…

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$15

Nicola Campbell and Joseph Dandurand Sharing Children’s Stories

April 19 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Nicola and Joseph will read from their newly published children’s books, A Day With Yayah by Tradewind Books and The sasquatch, the fire, the cedar basket by Nightwood Press.  I heard an elder speak of the importance of our languages and our culture. He said that our words are powerful; our stories are elastic; our languages are music: they dance, they move and they are medicine for our people. He said they are a spirit within themselves and we are…

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Jangle and Shout: HullaVerses Remixer

April 19 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

A literary afternoon delight! Music and words from many of the artists performing throughout the festival, including a selection of Hullabaloo performers featured from our youth events. Witness festival highlights in one shared space, where artists and organizers, established and up-and-coming meet, mingle and make merry. This year we will hear from Joseph Dandurand, Ainslie Glass, Louise Halfe, Aaron Hunter, Matt. Miller, Sam Peters, Rabbit Richards, Chris Tse, Holden Wall, LJ Weisberg, Yes the Poet, and more! Doors: 2:30 PM…

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$25

Sounds Like Fire: Jules Koostachin, Janice Jo Lee and M’Girl Music

April 19 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Join us at the hearth fire for words of heartbreak, the fire of hope and a warm home. If you are exhausted, rest. If you are full of love and a desire to connect, come forward. -Janice Jo Lee Doors 7:30 PM / Start 8:00 / Cultch Historic / $25 Adv / $30 Door   PURCHASE TICKETS Cree from the Ancestral lands of Moshkeko, and a band member of Attawapiskat First Nation, Jules Koostachin was born in Moose Factory, Ontario…

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$25

Voice of the Drum: Drum Making Workshop with Darren Charlie

April 20 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

The drum is our heartbeat. Learn how to make your own drum with master drum maker Darren Charlie. He will speak about the importance and sacredness of the drum. This workshop provides all the drum making supplies you need. If you want to join the singing of the new song for Vancouver created with Kelsey Charlie please register for Kelsey’s workshop on Tuesday April 21. Participants in Darren’s workshop may attend Kelsey’s workshop for FREE. Doors 12:30 PM / Start…

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C.I.P.S. Round 1!

April 20 @ 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Canada’s best slam poets show us their strongest 4- and 1-minute poems in the first stage of a competition destined to crown 2020’s national slam champion! Bout 1: Doors 5:00 PM / Start 5:30 / Havana Theatre / $10 Door  PURCHASE TICKETS FOR BOUT 1 Bout 2: Doors 7:30 PM / Start 8:00 / Cafe Deux Soleils / $10 Door BOUT 2, Admission at the door only The Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (C.I.P.S.) is a dedicated large-scale national event to…

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$25

Song and Drum Workshop with Kelsey Charlie

April 21 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Join gifted Sts’ailes songwriter Kelsey Charlie and the drum makers who made their instruments with Darren Charlie and everyone who sing songs to create a new song for the whole city to share. Bring your drum! Doors: 12:30 PM / Start 1:00 / WISE Hall /  $25 Adv / $30 Door / FREE for Voice of the Drum participants PURCHASE TICKETS

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$6

Brain Space with Tonye Aganaba, Yes the Poet and Siling Zhang

April 21 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

It’s Autism Acceptance Month! Join us in celebrating multiple forms of neurodivergence at this showcase curated by Rabbit Richards.  Doors: 3:30PM / Start 4:00 / WISE Hall / $6 Adv / $10 Door PURCHASE TICKETS

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$25

Willie Charlie Speaks

April 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Join Kelsey and Willie Charlie as they sing Kelsey’s new song for  the community. Willie will share stories and words and teachings for everyone. Doors: 6:30 PM / Start 7:00 / WISE Hall / $25 Adv / $30 Door / FREE for participants in Kelsey Charlie’s Workshop   PURCHASE TICKETS   Cha’qua’wet – Willie Charlie Willie Charlie has been married to Anna, for thirty-six years. They have three sons William, Ryan (Margaret ) and Darcy, they have three grandsons Jeremy,…

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Mashed Poetics

April 21 @ 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm

At Mashed Poetics poets are asked to write new poems based on songs from a featured music album.  A live band performs all the songs with the poets performing in between and sometimes with the band. For Verses 2020 we’ve chosen the album Transgender Dysphoria Blues by Against Me. Doors: 8:30 PM / Start 9:00 / WISE Hall / $10 Adv / $12 Door   PURCHASE TICKETS

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Free

Talk the Talk: Invis Disability and Participation in the Arts

April 22 @ 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

This community conversation will focus on the unique challenges faced by folks with invisible disabilities in maintaining engagement with the  arts while negotiating access needs. Facilitated by two of our community’s poets and care-givers, Rabbit Richards and Holden Wall.  Doors 1:00 PM / Start 1:30 / Havana Theatre / FREE RSVP

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$10

Reading and Performance with Leanne Dunic and Isabella Wang

April 22 @ 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Join us in celebrating two innovative poets, Isabella Wang and Leanne Dunic. Leanne will perform with members of The Deep Cove to share some of her work from The Gift: a Story and Music published by Book*hug Press. Isabella will be reading from her recent book On Forgetting a Language published by Baseline.  Doors 3:00 PM / Start 3:30 / WISE Hall / $10 Adv / $12 Door PURCHASE TICKETS Isabella Wang is the author of On Forgetting a Language…

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$10

C.I.P.S. Round 2!

April 22 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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Canada’s best slam poets show us their strongest 2- and 3-minute poems in the second stage of a competition destined to crown 2020’s national slam champion! Bout 1: Doors 7:30 PM / Start 8:00 / Cafe Deux Soleils / $10 Door  BOUT 1, Admission at the door only Bout 2: Doors 7:30 PM / Start 8:00 / Havana Theatre / $10 Door BOUT 2: PURCHASE TICKETS

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Free

Long Table

April 22 @ 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Storm Crow reserved a table for festival artists and audience members to get to know each other and relax. Everyone is welcome! Reservation opens at 10:00 PM / Storm Crow Tavern

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Free

Talk the Talk: What Comes After Slam?

April 23 @ 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Guided by three talented poets with years of experience in the spoken word community, Dana De Samedi, Lucia Misch and Brad Morden, this talk-the-talk asks emerging and senior artists to join an open dialogue about how poets can use their experiences on slam stages to continue to grow. Everyone is welcome! Doors 12:00 PM / Start 12:30 / Havana Theatre / FREE RSVP Brad Morden is a ukulele/poet and poetry organizer from Norfolk County, Ontario. He is one half of…

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Free

Digital Publishing Community Conversation with Brad Morden and Ian Keteku

April 23 @ 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Brad and Ian are working with Dave Silverberg, Bookchain, Colibrio, Write Bloody North and members of the Canadian spoken word community to develop digital publishing strategies that work for spoken word artists. They will talk about how digital technology can serve spoken word artists and get feedback from the community about what you need. Doors 3:00 PM / Start 3:30 / Havana Theatre / FREE RSVP Brad Morden is a ukulele/poet and poetry organizer from Norfolk County, Ontario. He is…

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$25

The Empty Spaces, a masterclass with Willie Perdomo

April 23 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Who or what is the voice on your shoulder telling you that you can’t write about (fill in the blank).  The approach to fresh language is usually accompanied by distancing yourself from what you think might be correct or “right.” Using the “separate language” of poetry, where do we begin filling the empty spaces?  In this workshop, you will document your vernacular, learn to deliver your poems aloud, and interview your fellow workshop poet. This will be a workshop-long immersion…

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$25

Dubwise and Otherwise: Poetics of Sound, Text and Performance, a masterclass with Lillian Allen

April 24 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Through a dubwize approach to performance, we can create and empower textures, emotive transmutations and our own narratives and responses to the rigors of everyday life, we can create community, name the nameless & un-nameables, craft language & linguistic interventions and align politics and aesthetics. In this interactive master class we will explore and experiment with various strategies to create and voice individual and collective works with special attention to new and exciting movements with grassroots revolutionary zeal and Black…

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$10

Write Bloody North Showcase

April 24 @ 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Featuring Lucia Misch and her newly released book The Problem With Solitaire, along with upcoming Write Bloody North authors RC Weslowski (fall 2020) and Patrick de Belen. Write Bloody North publishes groundbreaking voices and legends of spoken word to create innovative, fresh poetry books.  Doors 4:00 PM / Start 4:30 PM / Havana Theatre / $10 Adv / $12 Door PURCHASE TICKETS

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$18

Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Championship FINALS

April 24 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

The top 12 poets from preliminaries advance to a final competition! Who will claim the title of 2020 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion? Doors 7:30 PM / Start 8:00 / WISE Hall / $18 Adv / $20 Door The Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (C.I.P.S.) is a dedicated large-scale national event to determine the best slammer in Canada. It is sponsored by SpoCan (Spoken Word Canada), the governing body of Canadian poetry slam. PURCHASE TICKETS

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Free

RAVE with Wiyé.nox ‐ the man of sound

April 24 @ 10:15 pm - 11:30 pm

Luke Dandurand, also known as DJ Native is going to help us celebrate C.I.P.S. Finals and shares his gift of sound. Wiyé.nox is the name earned and gifted from Luke’s Elders of Kwantlen First Nation and his hereditary Chief Marilyn Gabriel, for his extensive background in music. Doors 10:00PM / Start 10:15 / WISE Hall / FREE Wiyé.nox ‐ the man of sound is the name earned and gifted from Luke’s Elders of Kwantlen First Nation and his hereditary chief…

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Nova Weipert and Joseph Dandurand: Being Human, Being a Writer, Having a Good Heart

April 25 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Learn about the Kwantlen people and their struggle to survive. Learn from Nova Weipert an Ojibwe Two-Spirit multi-disciple artist and filmmaker who will share Indigenous history and culture. Doors 11:30 AM / Start 12:00 / KW Studio / By Donation at the door

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Cotyledon Launch: Vancouver Poetry House Chapbook

April 25 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Vancouver Poetry House invited spoken word poets to submit their gently crafted, unconventional work that hasn’t found a home yet to be included in the first edition of our chapbook, Cotyledon. The funds raised from this project will go towards supporting our youth programming. Doors 1:30 PM / Start 2:00 / KW Studio / By Donation at the door

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$25

With Good Hearts and Good Minds: Willie Perdomo, Lillian Allen, Dana De Samedi with Joseph Dandurand

April 25 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Come with a good mind and a good heart and help us celebrate Verses 2020! This will be a night of voices sculpted by rich soundscapes, place and community. This evening will bring you the rhythms of Spanish Harlem and the Nuyoricans, Canadian Reggae and Toronto’s Dub poetry community as well as B.C’s blazingly hot hip hop scene. Get ready to move in mind, body and soul. Doors 7:30 PM / Start 8:00 / Reliance Theatre / $25 Adv /…

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