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Spoken Word 2014

This year we are thrilled to be expanding the spoken word element of our festival. We have the makings of a fantastic, mini festival inside Tiny Lights

Sheri-D Wilson

We are honoured to welcome Sheri-D Wilson to our stage this year.

Sheri-D Wilson has 8 collections of poetry; her most recent, Goddess Gone Fishing for a Map of the Universe. Her collection, Re:Zoom (2005, Frontenac House), won the 2006 Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry, and was shortlisted for the CanLit Award

In 2009 CBC called her one of the Top 10 Poets in Canada. In 2003 she won the USA Heavyweight title for poetry, and in 2006 The National Slam of Canada presented her with the Poet of Honour Award.  Of the beat tradition, in 1989 Sheri-D studied at Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, in Boulder, Colorado. In 2012 she was presented in the opening event of The National Slam of Canada in a Toronto event called, "Legends of Spoken Word."

The Calgary Spoken Word Festival which she founded in 2004, is one of the most respected Spoken Word Festivals in North America. Driven by the passion to connect people, voices and ideas she organized SWAN (Spoken Word Arts Network,’07, ‘05), she produced the 2008 National Slam and was Director of the Spoken Word Program at Banff Centre between 2005-2012.


Kris Demeanor

Calgary-born songwriter Kris Demeanor delights in exposing the underbelly of western Canadian culture - gambling, drug use, murder, religion, the suburbs. His numerous CDs of original work explore the darkness and absurdity of these corner of Alberta life. 

While Kris' music has taken him around the world performing, he has become a fixture of Calgary's spoken word, theatre and music communities, creating music and lyrics for numerous award-winning projects.

Career highlights include taking the award-winning short film based on his song "I Have Seen the Future" to the Sundance and Toronto film festivals, collaborating with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra on the 2011 event "Acres of Dreams," and sharing a beer with David Byrne.

In addition to his musical work he writes extensively. Kris' work has appeared in magazines like Alberta Views and Canadian Geographic. In 2009 he was awarded the Best New Magazine Writer Award for his feature piece 'Get a Real Job' inUnlimited. He performs regularly at the Banff/Calgary WordFest and the Calgary Spoken Word Festival.


Magpie Ulysses

Magpie Ulysses is a dynamic performance poet and storyteller known for charming and slaying her audiences with intense stage presence and thoughtful insight about humanity. Her “confessional poems hit hard and take the reader through intense visceral terrain, but never wallow” (Robert Priest, NOW magazine).

Magpie began performing poems at the age of 17 in Calgary, Alberta. She has performed across North America at hundreds of venues, is a veteran of the Vancouver poetry slam, where she was a member of two national champion Vancouver poetry slam teams, was the winner of Vancouver’s 2008 CBC poetry Face off and just recently named as a poet of Honour at the Canadian festival of Spoken Word in 2012.

So much of her work surrounds the things we don’t say. She speaks on the topics of history, science, love, exploration, abuse, addictions, environmentalism, human triumph, sacrifice and struggle. She has been called “an anthropologist of the heart who doesn't apologize for her vastness when she sets fire to the shade you took for shelter from this thing we call living.”



2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac

From British Columbia’s fabled Cadillac Mountains, Johnny MacRae and shayne avec i grec are 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac.  As far as anyone knows, this Aquemini duo are the last of the Cadillac people, after a joint operation between the DEA and the RCMP led to the razing of their quiet backwoods home.  Long cutoff from the outside world, the Cadillac people had no idea the particular breed of “hemp” plant they were growing was illegal.  And so they were destroyed.

Separated in their flight, shayne and Johnny settled in Victoria and Vancouver, respectively, where they soon made names for themselves as poets and storytellers.  They also witnessed around them the manifestation of a Cadillac prophesy: the Anthropocalypse, or self-destruction of humanity.  After a surprise reunion during a spoken word program at The Banff Centre in 2010, the Dope Boys set out to spread the word as poets and storytellers, and they have been doing so ever since.  For the Anthropocalypse is nigh… and the Anthropocalypse is a psychedelic talk opera.


Dia Davina

"Dia Davina is a short-haired, wide-eyed pittlepatted, dancey-footed, big-spooner, Peter Pan-ing, fledgling of a poet. They are also a feminist, queer, gender-fucky, consent-activist pumpkin pie maker extraordinaire. Their passions include (but are not limited to): coffee, love, bow tie collecting, radical acceptance, tree climbing, cheese, smashing the patriarchy, David Attenborough’s voice and the thrill of the unknown.
Dia attended their first slam less than a year ago and fell deeply in love with the art, the competition and the community. They love building and supporting community spaces that encourage and celebrate diversity in all its forms and are passionate about using poetry as a way of encouraging critical thinking and open dialogue about important issues (and they think it's really fun).