CFSW 2011 - BEDROCC at semi-finals. Photo credit: Zep Tepi Photography.


Spoken Word Toronto
(Spoken Word) Noun 1. spoken word - a word that is spoken aloud
Synonyms: vocable
Spo´ken   Pronunciation: spō´k'n
 1. Uttered in speech; delivered by word of mouth; oral; as, a spoken narrative; the spoken word.
 2. Characterized by a certain manner or style in speaking; - often in composition; as, a pleasant-spoken man. “Methinks you're better spoken.”
Toronto - Some of the loudest movers and shakers in the province of Ontario reside here but by no means define the powerful and talented group of artists that are part of Toronto and the GTA. Make sure you take the time to check out your favourites and give those unknown to you the opportunity to blow your mind and tantalize your ear buds.
The Burlington Slam Project
The Burlington Slam Project (BSP) is a community based arts and entertainment organization, centered around the monthly Poetry Slam (in Burlington), and the National team it assembles annually. In October of 2011 the second National team to come out of Burlington placed fifth on the national stage, at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW), in Toronto. The small series in the suburbs garnered considerable attention for their teamwork and individual styles. Since October the series has achieved certification with the US National slam organization and has plans to send the 2012 team to the US AND Canadian Nationals.
In the past several years an abundance of poetry slam events have popped up across the country, while Ontario remains the essential hotbed of activity. The Burlington Slam Project relies on the credentials of its co-founder (Tomy Bewick) and the ever-increasing popularity of poetry slams to engage new writers, performers and other multi-disciplinary artists. Many artists are entirely turned on by this wildfire expressive epidemic of an art form. The event itself has been running for over three years and has recently branched out into Theatre and the Arts in Hamilton. In 2012, the Burlington Slam Project will be leading youth-oriented workshops, bringing in big name performers (Dwayne Morgan) and expanding the understanding of how arts effects us socially, in and around the GTA. Photographer Michelle Darby has been instrumental in supporting the BSP since its early years and continues to attend regularly as a volunteer and audience member, capturing rare moments of brilliance gleaned from the live performances.
BSP founder Tomy Bewick is also spearheading the organization of the first ever Ontario Team Poetry Slam Championship (SLAMtario), under his Open Minds Respect Events banner, in partnership with Cytopoetics events. This inaugural, provincial competition will provide a new forum for newer poetry series to get involved with the greater community and for the established series to test their chops and see who will be the best in the province (where close to 20 poetry slam series are currently running regularly).
For more info on the Burlington Slam Project please visit
Contributor: Tomy Bewick
People Engaging & Networking Through the Arts
As PENTA builds up to the launch of their installation, Convergence, they are co-organizing their second multi-disciplinary event in partnership with Ottawa-based Nationless Minds, and Burlington Slam Project. The event, Alignment, is to be held in Hamilton, Ontario at The Pearl Company on Saturday, May 12, 2012. The aim is to continue demonstrating the centrality of the word to expressive art ... engaging the public as to the many different ways spoken word can be utilized to deliver powerful messages about the world around us. This night will include paintings, photography, live performance (with dance, theatre, poetry and music), live art, projection video and other innovative means of sharing and experiencing art.
For more details about P.E.N.T.A., join their mailing list, or learn how to get involved, contact them at:
Contributor: Michelle Darby
A little intro to Michelle Darby
This amazing woman is a photographer, organizer, and artist who is currently based out of Guelph, Ontario. As Artistic Director of PENTA (People Engaging & Networking Through the Arts), Michelle is heading up their multi-disciplinary art installation, Convergence (targeted to be launched this summer). This installation is focused around Word and where it can merge and interplay with a wide variety of other mediums (music, photography, dance, fine arts, videography, and much more). She is currently partnering with Ottawa-based Nationless Minds, and Burlington Slam Project (of which she is one of the co-organizers), to organize PENTA’s second multi-disciplinary event, Alignment.

Michelle also keeps active in the spoken word community as a coordinator in the online community MSWGV (Make Spoken Word Go Viral); volunteers at both the Toronto Poetry Project and Guelph Spoken Word; and has also partnered with Don’t Fall Asleep Yet, a business designed to assist spoken word performers in taking “the business of our art to the next level.” She also had the distinct pleasure of being the photographer for the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word 2011, held in Toronto.

All photo credits to Zep Tepi Photography. A sampling of Michelle’s photography work (including a fair number of Canada’s favourite poets) can be seen on her website,
A little background on Cytopoetics Events Editor-in-Chief Greg Frankson a.k.a. Ritallin
Greg Frankson a.k.a. Ritallin is one of Canada’s most respected spoken word organizers, an accomplished performer and an experienced arts educator currently based in Toronto. Ritallin was a finalist in the 2011 national team slam championships in Toronto as a member of Kingston Pen. He’s the past National Director of Spoken Word Canada and currently co-chairs the SpoCan Youth Slam Committee. Greg is a co-founder of Capital Slam, the Ottawa Youth Poetry Slam, Bill Brown’s 1-2-3 Slam and YorkSlam. He is the Poet Laureate of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership. As a passionate youth ally, social justice activist and mental health advocate he takes his role as Creative Director of Cytopoetics with great sincerity and passion. “Ritallin” works full-time in schools, businesses and community organizations as a presenter, facilitator, speaker and consultant. You can follow everything on the ground happening here in the GTA with Greg’s coverage at .
The multi-dimensional Dwayne Morganpoet, speaker, actor, photographer & social entrepreneur
When Sisters Speak
This past January was the twelfth edition of When Sisters Speak and they had to turn people away at the door, which they never like to do, but is inevitable when the majority of people still wait until the last minute to get their tickets to this amazing show! If you'd like to see pictures from the event, you can do so at:
Members Only
The annual erotica show, featuring Dwayne Morgan will take place on Thursday, March 15th at the Lula Lounge. Tickets are on sale at Play De Record, 357A Yonge Street and email money transfer to Tickets will be at Knowledge Bookstore in Brampton at the end of the week. For more details:
If Only She Knew Her Beauty
For Black History Month, Dwayne Morgan has released his latest poetry video. Check it out and please share it with others:
Some Open Facebook Groups you may or may not be aware of:
Check back for continued coverage for what’s coming from Toronto and the GTA!
Burlington Slam Project, Jan. 2012 - Shoolie. Photo credit: Zep Tepi Photography.
CFSW 2011 Finals - Missing Lynx (UL). Photo credit: Zep Tepi Photography.
CFSW 2011 Pre-Finals - CauseMo & Switch. Photo credit: Zep Tepi Photography.