VBC ‘Views — Poetry Month


ReVIEWS, preVIEWS, interVIEWS, and overVIEWS: here’s where you’ll find out what the Vancouver Book Club team thinks about the literary scene in Vancouver. What you should read, where you should go, who you should sit up and notice.

Aside from April 1 being a day of jokesters and chocolate hangovers, it’s also the start of Poetry Month, and there is an insane amount of events happening, especially in the first half of the month.

Hullabaloo – April 3-6

HULLABALOO is the BC Youth Poetry Slam Championships featuring youth poets from 16 different schools from Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Now in its 3rd year, it is the only provincial youth poetry slam championship in all of Canada, offering youth poets the chance to speak for themselves through spoken word.

Taking place at the Roundhouse Community Centre, there are evening poetry slam competitions with the 16 teams plus there are daytime showcase/all star slams for school groups and the general public to attend. There are also two heavy hitters as feature performers this year—2009 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion Amy Everhart and Truth Is…. Full schedule can be found HERE.

Ivan E. Coyote, Veda Hille, and Truth Is…

Verses Festival of Words – April 8-13

This festival is all about the transformative power of words, whether written, spoke, or sung. From the Van Slam finals to readings to a Haiku Deathmatch to an evening of musical and storytelling collaboration between Ivan E. Coyote and Veda Hille there’ll been so many words flying you’ll get dizzy. The festival also includes an intimate show with dub poet Lillian Allen at Cafe Deux Soleils and a highly anticipated Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits iteration of Mashed Poetics.

All the events take place in the Commercial Drive area. Check the Verses website for the full schedule and ticket info. A festival pass is only $50!

Talonbooks Spring Poetry Launch – April 10

Local indie publisher Talonbooks is releasing not one, not two, but 5 poetry collections this spring and they’re having a huge launch party to celebrate. There will be readings by the authors Dina Del Bucchia (Coping with Emotions and Otters), Wanda John-Kehewin (In the Doghouse), Mariner Janes (Monument Cycles), Stephen Collis (To the Barricades) and Daphne Marlatt (Liquidities: Vancouver Poems Then and Now).

Festivities take place at the Anza Club, 3 W. 8th Ave. Doors are at 7:30 pm with readings starting at 8 pm.

Other launches

In addition to the five coming from Talonbooks, there is an abundance of riches when it comes to poetry-related launches this month.

Alive at the Centre: An Anthology of Poems (Ooligan Press) includes poems from three cities: Vancouver, Portland, and Seattle. The Vancouver launch takes place April 12 from 7-9 pm at the Rhizome Cafe (317 E. Broadway) with Poet Laureate Evelyn Lau opening the night.

The same night and time, poet and novelist Amber Dawn launches her memoir How Poetry Saved My Life (Arsenal Pulp Press). Hosted by Billeh Nickerson with special guests Leah Horlick and Fiona Tinwei Lam. 7 pm at Pat’s Pub & Brewhouse, 403 E. Hastings.

The next day, April 13, sees another doubleheader. From 3-4:30 pm at the Vancouver Public Library Saltspring Island-based Mother Tongue Publishing launches Force Field – 77 Women Poets of BC. Edited by Susan Musgrave this is the first anthology of women poets of British Columbia in thirty-four years. The launch will see more than 25 poets reading their work.

Later that evening Nightwood Editions throws out its latest poetry offerings with collections from Brad Cran (Ink on Paper), Elizabeth Bachinsky (The Hottest Summer in Recorded History), and Jay MillAr (Timely Irrelevence). Western Front, 303 E. 8th Ave., with readings starting at 8:15 pm.

And if all that isn’t enough to keep you happy, there are still the many regular monthly poetry meetings, readings, and writing workshops.