Dwayne Morgan Talks About the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word

CFSW2006: Slammin' with Dwayne Morgan

The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word kicks off tonight, bringing together the best spoken word artists from across the country for a weekend of inter-city slam competitions and daytime workshops and events.

In preparation for this fantastic event, I had the chance to chat online with Dwayne Morgan, artistic director for this year's CFSW, about the festival and spoken word across the city.

How important is the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word for the spoken word scene here in Toronto?
Even in Toronto, the spoken word scene is segregated and diverse, so a festival like this brings people together, and always creates a national sense of community. It's easy to get caught up in your own circle, and in your own city, but a festival like this opens people up to new styles, people, and perspectives, which they otherwise might not be exposed to.

How has Toronto responded to the planning of the festival and what kind of support have you received from the arts and literary communities in the city? Any serious challenges you have faced?
When given the task of pulling this festival together, it was important to me that I made it as inclusive of possible. We reached out to Now Magazine who has two of their writers performing in a Social Justice Showcase. We reached out to the Dub Poetry Collective to have them showcase some of their artists. We reached out to Xtra Magazine to have them come on board with the Queer Showcase, so we've succeeded in pulling various communities together.

The most serious challenge is that this festival is funded out of the pocket of the hosts, though this year we were able to get some money from the Canada Council for the Arts, which I haven't seen as yet. The economics have been the major issue, besides that, I'm used to producing big events in the city, so time and people management hasn't been an issue at all.

What can the average Torontonian expect (and look forward to) from this year's festival?
This year is the first time that the festival is all Canadian. In the past International guests have been invited, but for the Canadian National Championship I felt that the artists should all be Canadian. With that being said, patrons can look forward to witnessing and experiencing the best that Canada has to offer. People are going to laugh, cry, think, and meet new people, while taking in the variety and diversity of this beautiful country.

The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word takes place from October 11 to 14 at various locations across the city. Be sure to come out and support Toronto's team and support spoken word across the country.

More information and the festival program are available from the CFSW2006 website.

(Image: RhapsodE)


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