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Show Posts - DaveSilverberg

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General Discussion / Vancouver poet Zaccheus Jackson, RIP :(
« on: August 28, 2014, 10:28:28 AM »
It is with a heavy heart that I am informing you of the passing of Zaccheus Jackson, a long-time Vancouver Poetry Slam Team member. He was 36.
Zac was struck and killed by a train in Toronto during his Southern Ontario tour. No other information is available at the time.

For those who didn't know Zac, he was a bright light in the Canadian poetry scene, a guy who was always smiling, and whose talent inspired many Canadian (and I'm assuming, American) poets. His words will never be forgotten.

I know the Vancouver poetry scene is really hurting now (if not all of Canada) so feel free to reach out to those who may be grieving and, as Zac would have preferred it, have a moment of noise for this poet who will be fondly remembered by all who knew him.

RIP, buddy.

General Discussion / Why can't I renew my PSI membership?
« on: January 29, 2013, 04:38:49 PM »
Noticed the store only offers two things right now, renew a slam series membership or register for one fresh. Why isn't there anything about renewing a personal PSI or slammaster membership? Unless I'm looking in the wrong place
And is it right to assume a slammaster needs to be PSI renewed in order for a rep to compete at WoWPS?

General Discussion / Tom Hanks performs 'slam poem' about Full House
« on: October 24, 2012, 10:28:35 AM »
Kinda irked when spoken word is called slam poetry, but so it goes. Here's Hanks doing his poetry thing:

General Discussion / Lookin for a feedback on a weird slam idea I have
« on: September 12, 2012, 06:02:56 PM »
Dave here from Toronto Poetry Slam. So we try to come up with some unique slams/poetry show ideas, and one recently has been itching at my brain.

I call it a Slam Dunk Slam. It's a poetry slam AND a slam dunk competition.

Takes place outdoors, with a non-regulation net, rolled into a parking lot perhaps. Likely Nerf ball or a small basketball, not an NBA ball. You don't want it to be too hard.

So the poet first does his/her piece, judged by those in the audience like normal. Then the poet can choose - go for a slam dunk and get judged by the judges on the dunk; or shoot from the free throw line. You get it in, you get a 28. You miss, you get a 26. After all, some people might have injuries, think twice about it once they're there, etc.

Your total score would be the poem plus the slam dunk score, for a possible perfect score of 60. Highest lowest dropped in the slam dunk score too.

Sports and poets, together at last!

A friend told me if someone gets injured, I'd be liable, Toronto Poetry Project would be sued. So everyone competing would need to sign a waiver, that's what we concluded, so we won't be held responsible if someone breaks their wrist trying to do an under-the-legs reverse jam.

I know this slam idea isn't for everyone, but think it's got legs? I have a very good feeling it'll attract the right kind of attention here, in Toronto some decent media buzz, and who knows, maybe I can get Toronto Raptors to sponsor it,  nab Kyle Lowry to be a celeb judge.

Feedback welcome.

General Discussion / Where's the info for Side Events for NPS?
« on: August 01, 2012, 04:02:07 PM »
Went to the NPS site, nada. Unless I'm seeing a cached version of the site.

Anyone know where I can peep what side events, daytime/late night, are going down in Charlotte?

General Discussion / $10,000 poetry slam coming to Guelph, Ontario
« on: February 06, 2012, 11:03:58 PM »
So Guelph is not too far from Toronto, an hour and a bit bus ride, in case you guys want to hit up a poetry slam where you can win thousands of dollars in prize money. Canada is rich, I tell you, rich!

It's run by the Guelph Spoken Word folks and some arts promoters, and it's called the Ontario International Poetry Slam (OIPS), a single-day competition, which expects to have a total of 72 poets going head-to-head in six preliminary bouts.

It's on Nov. 10.

More info here:

and here:

General Discussion / Video: Shit Canadian Poets Say
« on: February 04, 2012, 10:35:22 AM »
We know the Shit Whatever Say meme should be long buried, but some poets in our Canadian scene couldn't resist making a vid they call Shit Canadian Poets Say.

Check it out at the link below, and let me know if there is an American equivalent...

General Discussion / Is a tattoo a prop?
« on: January 22, 2012, 11:23:04 AM »
Apologies if you've discussed this before on the forum or elsewhere...

Some Toronto poets and I were talking one day about the prop rules and we wondered how PSI viewed tattoos. If a poet references his/her tattoo during a poem, does that violate a prop rule? No one else has access to that, unlike a mic; then again, it's part of one's body, one's skin, and I've seen poets refer to their, say, hair without getting any penalty.


So did you know we in Canada have our own NPS? It's in its 8th year, and it's coming to Toronto in October, but alas same time as IWPS. If any of you want to make the trip north to see our 20-team fest, message me for more info...

The 2011 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word coming to Toronto
October 11 to 15

The top poetry slam teams from across Canada converge for one week of non-stop poetic competitions and workshops!

Invited poets include d’bi young, Dwayne Morgan, RC Weslowski, Brendan McLeod

TORONTO - Toronto Poetry Project and Spoken Word Canada (SPOCAN) are proud to present the 2011 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW) taking place Oct 11 to 15 in various venues in downtown Toronto. This annual festival features the top talent in the national spoken word community.

Poets from Victoria to Halifax will take part in Toronto for he country's largest spoken word festival. In the evening, 20 poetry slam teams will compete in spoken word competitions known as poetry slams. Daytime events will include workshops and showcases ideal for anyone interested in literary arts.

“Spoken word is one of the most popular literary art forms in the world, for a reason,” notes David Silverberg, artistic director of the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and producer of Toronto Poetry Slam. “This kind of poetry is visceral and hits you right in the heart. Toronto is very lucky to host the CFSW this year, because for a full week talented poets from coast to coast will give us their best work.”
The week kicks off in style with The Legends Showcase, at the Drake Hotel Underground in honour of pioneers of spoken word who helped transform the art form. The Oct 11 opening showcase will feature performances by dub poet Lillian Allen, spoken word educator Andrea Thompson, the "Mama of Dada" Sheri-D Wilson, beatboxer/poet Eddy Da Original One and Vancouver slam legend RC Weslowski.

On Wednesday evening and beyond, the competition begins with bouts at downtown Toronto performance venues Trane Studio and 918 Bathurst, and will progress to a semi-finals competition at the Royal Cinema. The Finals on Oct. 15 will take place at Metropolitan United Church and will include special performances by Poets of Honour Robert Priest and d’bi young.

Late night events include HipHop Karaoke, Haiku Head-to-Head Battle, Poetic Music Showcase and a massive after-party on Oct. 15.

More than 3,000 people are expected to take in the CFSW festivities throughout the week, making this festival one of the most exciting spoken word events in the country.

For more information on the 2011 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, visit

Ticket information is available by emailing

General Discussion / IWPS 2011
« on: May 11, 2011, 11:21:07 AM »
When and where is IWPS 2011? Thanks.

General Discussion / Is the NPS 2009 DVD for sale?
« on: November 02, 2010, 11:11:34 AM »
At this year's NPS in St Paul, was looking around for the NPS 2009 DVD and couldn't find it. Sold out? Never made? Let me know what's up, thanks..

General Discussion / International exemption from W&YI?
« on: May 02, 2010, 11:37:01 PM »
So here in Toronto, we don't get a lot of W&YI love. We've tried to get something going this year, but no avail. There just aren't enough close PSI-ceritified cities to do a regional with, especially with some new passport rules hampering travel between US and Canada.

(note: there are LOTS of slams in our province but they aren't PSI certified)

I have an idea: international exemptions from W&YI. I'm pretty sure Paris gets it already, understandably, but Canadians teams don't. I know, we're not THAT far away from NYC and Michigan, but it seems those scenes are already doin regionals within state. And getting our asses to the US does cost a pretty penny, even though it's obviously doable.

I understand W&YI was introduced for a number of logical reasons, one of which is to control how many teams get into NPS. Everyone wants to go to NPS but there are so many slots. Fine. But if NPS wants to broaden its reach beyond American borders, they need to encourage international teams to take part, to better showcase the range of spoken word talent rockin stages on Planet Earth.

Perhaps the W&YI rule could only apply to teams coming from the States?

Right now, the W&YI is a real albatross hanging over Toronto's head, and we're not entirely certain we can get into NPS this year, because we didn't do a W&YI (even though we paid our fees and sent a proxy to the SM meeting)

Curious to know what you all think. I admit I'm a PSI/NPS newbie, relatively, so I might not know of any sub-rules relating to this issue.

Slam Selection Processes / Toronto Poetry Slam, team selection process
« on: April 06, 2010, 07:13:30 PM »
Toronto Poetry Slam ( is a monthly slam held on the third Saturday of the month, at the Drake Hotel Underground.

Our season begins in June and ends in February. Semifinals is March, Finals is April.

Poets who win slams earn a bye into the semis, as long as they compete in one more slam. The top 12 poets in the semifinals are determined by their scores throughout the season, averaged.
The scores from Semis n' Finals are added up, and the top four poets (plus alternate) from both Semis and Finals make the team.

General Discussion / Toronto looking to host a W&YI
« on: February 08, 2010, 10:33:40 PM »
Oh, to be one of the two Canadian teams at NPS...

Toronto still has yet to complete a W&YI, despite reaching out to some nearby American cities. It's kind of tough for us.

I know we're up in the frigid north, but we are willing to host a W&YI in the coming months if any northeastern US cities are interested. Rest assured, we can pack the joint: we always sell out Toronto Poetry Slam, and when we hosted the Rustbelt Slam it was wild. And poets do pretty damn good for merch sales here too (ask Mike McGee).

Get a hold of me through this email:


General Discussion / What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« on: December 28, 2009, 06:06:28 PM »
This week, while watching the Lakers-Cavs game on NBC, I noticed two Sprite commercials promoting the upcoming slam dunk contest. What was intriguing about the spots? They used spoken word to convey the advertising message (by artists Marcus n Kessed). In my mind, this is the first time I've seen spoken word in commercials on a mainstream broadcast. I'm in Canada, remember, so maybe we don't get some of the stuff airing in the States.

Check them out here:


Now, some may wonder whether spoken word used as a vehicle to sell sugar water and/or a sporting contest could be somewhat...disagreeable. There are other who may view it as spoken word's increasing relevance in pop culture, and its progression from a niche art form to one that is socially acceptable, perhaps even giving those hired artists a chance to make a living through spoken word.

What do you think? Do these Sprite commercials treat spoken word with the dignity it deserves? Do you find them distasteful? What would happen if a dozen commercials sprung up with poets getting paid to pump product? Perhaps it depends on the advertiser, or maybe it doesn't.

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