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Spoken Word events in Toronto, February 2013

Posted by Greg Frankson / February 3, 2013

Dwayne MorganThis month is something else. It took extra long this time to get all the events into this post because the combination of Valentine's Day, longer stretches of sunlight each day and Black History Month conspired to create a month packed with heat, love and light. I don't think your hands can hold all the hot tickets I've marked for February, but I trust you'll give it your best shot.

HOT TICKETS

LOVE JONES SUNDAYS BLACK HISTORY MONTH SHOW HOSTED BY RITALLIN / FEBRUARY 3 / 7PM / NO ONE WRITES TO THE COLONEL / free
LJS returns with a special free show to commemorate Black History Month. Featured poetry and music performances by AfraKaren, Xolisa, Dahveed Delisca, Phile, Delorean, HaiYah Movement & Randell Adjei will be supplemented by the skills of special guest DJ Jus Nyce. Dress to impress if you want to make it through the door.

QUALIFIER SLAM FOR CANADIAN INDIVIDUAL POETRY SLAM FT. DAN MURRAY / FEBRUARY 5 / 8PM / SUPERMARKET / $5
The Toronto Poetry Project, producers of the Toronto Poetry Slam, host a special show to determine their representative at this year's CIPS tournament on April 8-13 in Vancouver. Poets will spit 1-minute, 2-minute, 3-minute and 4-minute poems in an elimination tournament anchored by a feature performance by Burlington Slam Project veteran Dan (AKA Dan Murray) AKA Dan)). The show is hosted by 2012 Canadian slam champion Dwayne Morgan.

LIVEWORDS 5TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW / FEBRUARY 7 / 8PM / BLACK SWAN TAVERN / FREE
The organizers of Toronto's poetry series converge on the Black Swan to help Livewords celebrate. Nearly twenty groups will be represented during a night of poetic presentations by those people who work to provide spaces for others to share their words. Kirsten Sandwich are the special musical guests.

R.I.S.E. VALENTINE'S SPECIAL: LIVING ONE VIBRATIONAL ENERGY (L.O.V.E.) / FEBRUARY 11 / 7PM / LULA LOUNGE / $10 ADV - $15 DOOR
An all-star line-up of spoken word, hip-hop and musical guests gather in the west end for this intimate tribute to the day for lovers, including world slam champion Ian Keteku, among others. Three segments focus on The Passionate Men, A Woman's Worth and Couples Performances. The whole thing is held together by spins courtesy of DJ Beanz and the energy of all who will attend. R.I.S.E. is a local group on the rise, so check them out for something a little different with your significant other.

THE GREAT BLACK NORTH: OFFICIAL TORONTO BOOK LAUNCH / FEBRUARY 14 / 6PM / U OF T JACKMAN HUMANITIES BUILDING / FREE
Canada's first comprehensive anthology of African-Canadian poetry, The Great Black North, will be launched at an event featuring Toronto Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke with many of the book's writers sharing their words. The event will also include a live link-up with the Word Iz Bond Spoken Word Collective in Halifax and words from the co-editor, Kevan Cameron a.k.a. Scruffmouth.

SWEET SLAMUSIC FT. C.R. AVERY / February 19 / 7:30pm / Supermarket / $10
The Toronto Poetry Slam Team that placed 3rd in Canada in 2012 presents this poetry slam with a twist - all the performers must use backing music (either live or recorded) when they hit the stage. And one of Canada's all-time greats in the poetry-with-music category is the feature - the acclaimed world traveller C.R. Avery. Check out some of his work:

BILL BROWN'S 1-2-3 SLAM FT. WHITNEY "WITNESS" GREENAWAY / FEBRUARY 20 / 8PM / Q SPACE / $7
This month, Cytopoetics (in association with the Ontario Spoken Word Circuit) presents a special feature appearance by Nuyorican Poets Café slam veteran Witness at Toronto's only monthly $100 slam. She is a highly accomplished Caribbean artist from New York who will perform only one night in the city, so this is a show not to be missed. The video below gives only a small sample of the prodigious talent she possesses:

ONTARIO SPOKEN WORD CIRCUIT PRESENTS T.MILLER / FEBRUARY 21, 27 & 28
The OSWC is a consortium of five spoken word groups that stage monthly spoken word events in London, Guelph, Hamilton, Burlington, Mississauga, Toronto and York Region. Thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts they bring a high-profile artist each month to perform at the venues on the circuit. This month Detroit-based firestarter Natasha Miller (also known as T.Miller) will bring her heat to Burlington Slam Project's CIPS Qualifier (February 21), YorkSlam (February 27) and We Flip Tables! in Mississauga (February 28).

THE LAST POET STANDING POETRY SLAM / FEBRUARY 24 / 7:30PM / THE GREAT HALL / $20 ADV - $25 DOOR
The event that took the Toronto poetry community by storm in 2012 returns for its second annual installment. This show pits 16 poets from Canada and the US against each other in a head-to-head format in the center of a boxing ring. Celebrity judges and music by DJ Manifest combine with the poetic haymakers thrown in the ring for an evening of spoken word performance you won't forget.

OTHER SHOWS AND EVENTS

Sunday Poetry / February 3, 10, 17, 24 / 11:30am / Ellington's Music & Café / free

Pluralism and the African Diasporic Aesthetic / February 4 / 11am / University of Toronto Scarborough Campus / free

R.I.S.E. Poetry Movement / February 4, 11, 18, 25 / 6pm / Tropicana Community Services / $2

Loose Leaf Poets & Writers / February 4, 11, 18, 25 / 7pm / The Maple Leaf House Grill & Lounge / free

The Art Bar Poetry Series / February 5 (Discovery Night), 12 (Valentine Poetry Night) , 19 (Black History Night) and 26 / 8pm / Q Space / PWYC

Flowetic Wednesdays ft. Alana P. Cook & Brian Millado / February 6 / 7pm / Zemra Bar Lounge / $5

I Am Slam Charity Event hosted by Ritallin / February 6 / 8pm / No One Writes to the Colonel / $10

The Beautiful and the Damned, The Femme Fatale Valentine's Day Edition / February 10 / 7pm / Glad Day Bookshop / PWYC

Toronto Poetry Slam / February 10 (ft. arRay-of-woRds) and February 23 (ft. Winona Linn) / 8pm / The Drake Hotel / $5

Acoustic Soul Tuesdays / February 12 & 26 / 8pm / Lambadina Lounge / $5 before 8pm; $10 after 8pm

BAM! The Toronto Youth Slam ft. JV da Poet & Randell Adjei / February 13 / 6pm / The Central / $5

Toronto Wordstage / February 13 / 7:30pm / Q Space / free

The Great Black North: Book Launch Event with Performance / February 15 / 7pm / Accents Bookstore / free

Roots Lounge Open Mic & Poetry Slam / February 17 / 8pm / Harlem Restaurant / $5

Plasticine Poetry hosted by Cathy Petch / February 17 / 6pm / Pauper's Pub / free

Hot-Sauced Words / February 21 / 8pm / Black Swan Tavern / PWYC

For more listings, head on over to the events calendar or check out the Cytopoetics Events spoken word blog for local info updated weekly during the month.

Have a spoken word event coming up that you'd like us to plug? Submit your own listing to the blogTO events calendar.

Top photo via Digital Journal

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