Issue 2 Live Performance Reports

VERSeFest is the best thing to happen to Ottawa’s divisive poetry scene in a long time. An apt tagline for this festival might be: 'Poetry without limits'. This new annual festival, which took place March 8-13, 2011, is innovative not just in its open-minded, inclusive approach, but also in the way that it’s organized. The concept for the festival was simple: pull together the curators of fourteen different local poetry series — with programming that ranges from slam to the long poem — and get each curator to put on a reading or performance that would offer up a diverse sampling of the kind of poetic work that’s being written and presented in English language poetry today. Organizers hoped to cross-pollinate audiences, expose page poets to stage poets and vice versa, and get a mega poetry mix-tape happening in the Capital for one glorious week — while keeping genre snobbery to a minimum. As someone who straddles the worlds of page and stage writing, this blurring of borders was an especially delightful prospect. I definitely had my fingers crossed for the success of VERSeFest, and I can say without hesitation that the organizers achieved what they set out to do.