Verses Festival of Words 2024

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Vancouver Poetry House presents the 14th annual Verses Festival of Words from April 18 to 27, 2024 at venues across the city. The festival is Canada’s largest spoken word festival and brings together generations of poets. This years theme is “Learning and Remembering”.

Performer at Verses Festival of Words
Photo by Mary Matheson.

14th Annual Verses Festival of Words 2024

  • Date: April 18 to 27, 2024
  • Location: Various venues across the city
    • PerformanceWorks (1218 Cartwright St)
    • The Nest (1398 Cartwright St 3rd Floor)
    • Vancouver Film School (198 W Hastings St)
    • The WISE Hall (1882 Adanac St)
  • Tickets: Admission prices start at $15 and are available for purchase online.

Verses Festival of Words 2024 theme is Learning and Remembering. The program highlights education, lineage, and the passing of knowledge, fortifying the bonds between emerging and established poets through workshops, performances, talks, and the annual Canadian Individual Poetry Slam. The 7th poet laureate of Toronto and considered a godmother of spoken word, Lillian Allen, will provide a keynote address on the festival’s closing day. A full lineup of events is available online.

Featured Events

Hullabaloo: Spoken Word Jamboree and Alumni Showcase (Vancouver Film School)
April 18 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
A chance for the teams participating in Hullabaloo to meet and greet with one another. Following a showcase from three of Hullabaloo’s outstanding alumni, ll attending teams will perform a short 1-minute piece to introduce themselves.

Hullabaloo: All Star Slam (PerformanceWorks)
April 19 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm
Hullabaloo: Poetry Slam Round 1 (Vancouver Film School)
April 19 from 6:30pm to 10:00pm
Hullabaloo: Poetry Slam Round 2 (Vancouver Film School)
April 20 from 2:00pm to 5:30pm
Hullabaloo: FINALS Featuring Marie Metaphor Specht (Vancouver Film School)
April 20 from 8:00pm to 10:00pm

Embodying Spoken Word: Johnny Trinh Workshop (The WISE Hall)
April 24 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Poets who perform or want to perform their works will be invited to experiment with and practice various techniques in embodying their poetry in performance. 

Canadian Individual Poetry Slam PRELIMS Bout 1 (The WISE Hall)
April 24 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Poets will be paired up via random draw and compete head-to-head. The first round of poems are 3 minutes long. This will be a double knockout competition. Meaning 24 poets will compete with each other in 12 groups of 2. Bout two will be held on Thursday and Finals on Friday.

Canadian Individual Poetry Slam PRELIMS Bout 2 (The WISE Hall)
April 25 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
The poets competing will be the 12 poets who lost in the First Preliminary Night. The top 6 poets who survive the first round, will compete against the 6 poets who were knocked out in the final round of the First Preliminary Night. This will determine the top 6 poets. Both rounds will be 3 minutes long.

Canadian Individual Poetry Slam FINALS (The WISE Hall)
April 26 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Featuring Lillian Allen and followed by a performance by Kimmortal. The top 6 poets from Preliminary Round 1, and the top 6 poets from Second Chance Night will go head to head.  The knockout format is as follows: 6 groups of 2,  2 groups of 3 and the final faceoff between two poets and then the last poet standing will be crowned the CIPS winner.

Public Keynote: Lillian Allen (The Nest)
April 27 from 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Dub Poet, educator, changemaker, Lillian Allen will be offering a talk on spoken word, the movement ahead, and what is needed to continue the evolution of spoken word poets.

Following Verses Festival on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date.

Browse more Vancouver Festivals this season »

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