An October Re-cap


October was a heck of a month, full of travel to new places and meeting people that have opened me up to new ideas!

Days after we wrapped up the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, I was sponsored by the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation for a road trip up to Opaskwayak Cree Nation. There, students from upper Manitoba congregated for a conference on the interconnected relationship to life on land, and learned from yours truly about how to use their voices to speak up for sustainability.


Next was a bit of fun with the folks at IF: The Winnipeg Improv Festival. Gathering one afternoon, a few of us spoken word poets collaborated with improvisers on a brand new show which debuted that very night! Building scenes off of snippets of poems, we went back and forth until the show culminated in a wild cacophony of sounds and bodies. You’ll never know what happens until it does, and it was a great experience to perform outside of my comfort zone!

Group shot

The end of October saw the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word touch down in Nogojiwanong, a.k.a. Peterborough, Ontario. Traveling year to year, the festival hosts poetry slam teams from across the country in a national competition, as well as a full program of workshops, master classes, panels and showcases. Qualifying in early June, our own Winnipeg Poetry Slam Team (comprised of myself, Joanne Schapansky, Kier Mailan and Lindsey Olver) brought heartfelt poetry to the stage, and soaked in all the fun of the annual “poet camp.”


More than the performances, I took away a bundle of new ideas on how to decolonize my art, and build a sense of inclusiveness in the local slam community by acknowledging the land and history that it’s built upon. Special thanks to The Winnipeg Arts Council for sponsoring a portion of the trip!


As the season changes, I can feel myself expanding and contracting with every  experience, and I look forward to the art and community that will be built around each new idea!

Upcoming Shows in September

It’s going to be a busy month!

On Friday, September 1st, I’ll be joining fellow spoken word poets as well as local improv legends Stephen Sim and Caity Curtis for a First Friday event at Little Brown Jug. There, us poets will be sharing written pieces that the 2 improv gurus will play off of, creating short scenes. In the past, I’ve had the pleasure of working with both Stephen and Caity in a similar format and I can say that it’s a lot of fun to be a part of – and watch!

This show is presented by THIN AIR: The Winnipeg International Writers Festival which kicks off later in September. We’ll be hosting Stephen and Caity there for the “Forewords” event on opening night, as well as a bevy of writers from across the globe! I say “we” because I’m a part of the staff helping to put the festival together (it’s my day job)!

Next, I’ll be performing alongside me fellow Winnipeg Poetry Slam teammates at the Anything Goes Slam – where the rules (except for the time-limit) are thrown out (oh, and the nudity rule as well)! I’ll be trying out material to be used for the national poetry slam competition at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in late October. I’m excited to dust off some old work, and try out some new stuff!

Finally, Thom Bargen is hosting a Winnipeg spoken word showcase at their downtown location as part of Nuit Blanche. The Winnipeg Poetry Slam will be well represented there by a fantastic lineup of voices that have comprised recent slam teams. Come see the best of the best before the slam season kicks off later this fall!

All that said, October will be a whole other story: a trip to The Pas to engage youth in public speaking through spoken word workshops, and of course, CFSW itself!


You might have heard through social media posts already, but here’s the official announcement: Our inaugural SLAM! Champion is Tiana Northage!!!!!!!
Our Finals saw the best crowd of our run, and amazing performances from our poets on stage. Thank you to those who spread the word about our little niche production, which is only just a taste of what you might experience in the Winnipeg Poetry Slam community.
Big thanks to Rob Malo for hosting the entire run, and doing a fantastic job of it at that! Also to KimmyZee Jaremglinski for her hard work in mentoring me through the process of building and promoting a show (Rob did a fair bit of that too!).
Big love to my fellow poets who showed up for meetings, fundraisers and shows, knowing that they were all stepping outside of their comfort zones to grow as writers and performers. To Rob Malo, Mike Johnston, Tino Hove, Brenden Gali, Larysa Musick, Kortnee Stevens, KimmyZee, and Tiana Northage, thank you all for coming along on this ride with me. I’m so proud and honored to have experienced this with you.
Thank you to our volunteers, Aaron Simm, Amber O’Reilly, Kier Mailan, Lindsey Olver, Mason Victor Kanne, and Joanne Schapansky for helping us make the show happen. Super big thanks to Stephen Sim, Caitlin Curtis, Rob Gee and Penny Ashton for joining us and helping us to build a space inside of the Fringe community!
We have something here, folks. Something that impacted audience members enough to come back and see us a second and third time. I can’t wait to see the show, and our community grow as a result!

SLAM! Hits Winnipeg FRINGE!!


The days are winding down until SLAM! debuts at the 2017 Winnipeg Fringe Festival!

For months, I’ve been working hard to gather local spoken word performers and Fringe veterans together into a cast of competitors for a bonafide poetry slam tournament. I’ve taken on many roles in this production including producer, promoter, and of course, performer, and I’m excited to see what will come of this art/social experiment.

We’re taking our familiar slam format into the Fringe playground to show off to the neighbourhood theatre kids. Let’s see if we pick up a few new audience members and poets for next season! And in the meantime, let’s celebrate our words in front of a new crowd…with a few special guests along the way! (Stay tuned to Winnipeg Poetry Slam social media to find out!)

I want to thank some of my fellow cast mates who have risen above and beyond to offer their time and energy towards helping me along. Rob Malo’s confidence and performance experience, Kimmy Zeglinski’s personal support and knowledge of all things Fringe, and Larysa Musick’s design skills have all helped to make this thing a reality (that’s her image design above)!

Visit our SLAM! landing page for a rundown of the show, and follow the scores and standings as we move towards the last show of the run – the SLAM! Championship Final!

I’ll be on stage at the Roblin Centre in the Exchange Campus of Red River College on these dates:

Saturday, July 22 – 3:30pm

Tuesday, July 25 – 1:45pm

Friday, July 28 – 12 noon

Also, I’ll be joining Larysa Musick, Mike Johnston and former WPS feature Beatox (Adam Fainman) at the CUBE for an outdoor performance on Thursday, July 27 at 7:00pm!

Then, I’ll be just about ready for a nap, eh?



New Tricks for Old Slam Dogs


I’m very honoured to have participated in the Winnipeg Poetry Slam season this year, which was facilitated by a dedicated group of volunteers who provided a safe and supportive space for this old dog to try some new tricks. Warm thanks go out to Larysa Musick, Mason Kanne and Joanne Schapansky for their generousity and enthusiasm for the community.

And it was a very special evening last night’s finals as the season culminated in me winning first place! I’ll be representing ‘the Peg this fall at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Peterborough, Ontario. And I won’t be alone – I’ll be joined by 4 stellar young voices who are just itching to leap headfirst into the community culture and grow as artists and people. Big shout out to Derrick Natchtigall, Lindsey Olver and Joanne Schapansky! I can’t wait to see what tales we’ll weave together as a team.

After a couple of rough years, it feels like a landmark has been reached, giving me a solid pick-me-up for my current work, and whatever is to come next, including the Winnipeg Fringe Festival production: SLAM!

SLAM! Hits Fringe This Summer!

I’m excited to announce that a project I’ve been working on, called SLAM! will be hitting the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival this summer! Gathering up a troupe of 8 amazing poets and one fantastic host, we’ll be showing the theatre crowd what slam poetry is all about in a full-on tournament!

Stay tuned to the SLAM! production website as we’ll be featuring bios and links for each troupe member and posting scores and rankings as the tournament progresses to the grand final!

In the meantime, meet the troupe in person and preview the show at either (or both!) of our fundraisers coming up at the Handsome Daughter, the home of the Winnipeg Poetry Slam!

Sustainable Poetry

Roots and Shoots

I have to share because I’m super proud of this one!

I recently completed a project with Meadows West School that explored sustainable relationships through Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program (yes, that Jane Goodall, author of Gorillas in the Mist). With funding provided by the Manitoba Arts Council’s ArtsSmarts program, I worked with students to develop spoken word skills in a two-week residency back in the fall. And from those groups, teachers picked four superstar students who met with me last month to discuss what it means to “Act Locally, Think Globally”.

Over the course of three half-days, we had the school’s art room to ourselves to put those skills to the test and come up with a collaborative piece. Together we explored writing on sustainable relationships to the environment, businesses, and of course, each other. On the last day, I put them through the grinder of performance rehearsal and voila! we came out of it with a solid team piece recorded on video!

I look forward to returning again to see the team present their piece in front of the school at their assembly next month. It’ll be a large audience for them, but given the individual creativity and charisma, they’re sure to wow their peers and teachers alike!

Though I enjoy working with entire classes, I love the small, dedicated groups that I can focus towards creating art that explores important social issues, like my work with The Manitoba Council for International Cooperation. In a similar setting, I met with students in 2015 and 2016 to create spoken word pieces that were recorded and shared via YouTube, as well as during International Development Week in their respective years. Such great talent and experience!

New Artists in the Schools Directory!


The 2017/2018 school year is still a ways off, but the new Manitoba Arts Council’s Artists in the Schools Directory is out now! I’m going in for my second year of residencies, working with middle and senior years classes in developing creative communication skills and confident self-expression through spoken word and slam poetry.

The last of my residencies in my first year is about to wrap up, and I’ve already logged quite a few hours building confidence in students’ abilities to construct thought-provoking pieces that touch on personal narrative, cultural awareness, and social justice issues along the way. Also, chapbooks, puppet shows, and classroom open mics!

Visit the Artists in the Schools page to see how the program works, and find me in the downloadable directory (.pdf). Also feel free to navigate over to my For Teachers page to have a look at some lesson plan ideas.

And finally, don’t hesitate to contact me to ask any questions or discuss residency options. I’m all over social media too, @stevelockewpg.

2017 Begins with a Bang!

January was a heck of a month! I traveled to Saskatoon to feature in one of my favourite communities (Tonight it’s Poetry!), and had it covered with a travel grant from the Manitoba Arts Council. Later that week, I came in first at the slam here in town, and followed that up with an Artists in the Schools residency at Montrose School, teaching spoken word and public speaking to grade 5/6’s.

Thank you so much to the community organizers, arts admins, teachers and friends who offer me these opportunities to share my work and otherwise live the dream! Please visit the links to learn more about community events and professional opportunities.

This month in town, I’ll be hosting the WPS February slam on the 15th with my birthday-brother Matt Moskal, and visiting H.G. Izatt school with a new lesson plan that incorporates spoken word with chapbooking and puppeteering. The wacky odyssey continues!

Photo credit: Sean Guezen.

Oratorealis Interview

I had a nice chat with the guys at Oratorealis, a lit mag that explores experimental and spoken word poetry – in print! This was (the first!) for their online series where I talked about my (inconsistent) writing routines, National Novel Writing Month, and a bunch of other stuff.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the magazine in stores across Canada, or sign up for a subscription. It’s two issues into its run and has already featured some of my favourite poets from the community like Johnny Trinh, Pam Stewart, Chimwemwe Undi, and Joshua Whitehead, just to name a few!