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!
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!