Dwayne Morgan

Reppin' Toronto at CFSW07: Dwayne Morgan


Dwayne Morgan is one of Toronto's most recognizable spoken word poets. Not only have I had the chance to see him on stage at his slams and showcases, but I've worked with him on projects such as urbanNOISE, I have some of his work on CD, and I'm a regular at some of his musical events.

Dwayne Morgan is one of the ten poets representing Toronto at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Halifax this year. Toronto will be sending two teams — one from Dave Silverberg's Toronto Poetry Slam scene and one from Dwayne's own Up From the Roots scene — to compete against teams from across the country all vying for spoken word supremacy.

If last year's CFSW in Toronto was any indication, this year's competition is going to be incredibly intense and will feature some of the best spoken word anyone in this country has ever seen.

I had the opportunity to have an email exchange with some of the poets — Dwayne being one of them — representing Toronto at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Halifax this year and ask them a few questions about what they expect from the upcoming experience. Of course, since they're poets, I'm including their answers verbatim: why mess with a poet's own mastery of the language?

Here's what Dwayne Morgan had to say:

When did you start to get involved in the spoken word scene? What got you interested in the first place?

I got involved with the spoken word scene in 1993. At that point I had just started writing, and was looking for a place to share my work. There wasn't much happening at the time, so I had to many of my own opportunities.

How has the spoken word community in Toronto help you develop your poetry and how has it influenced other parts of your life?

I can't really say that the spoken word community in Toronto has helped me to develop my poetry, because much of my energy since 1993, has been spent developing the scene, and creating opportunities for others that didn't exist when I was first starting out.

Spoken word has however influenced all of other aspects of my life, because it's been my full time job for almost 15 years now. There are few who can live off of their art, and because I live off of mine, it influences every aspect of my life.

How does it feel to represent Toronto in Halifax this year? What are your goals for this year's CFSW?

The goal is to win! As one who brought regular slams to Toronto in 1999, I had retired from participating in them. I came out of that retirement this year to try to make the team, with hopes of being able to mentor a group of younger artists to a National Championship. That's the goal. Whether we achieve it or not will be determined in October, but I have a wealth of knowledge to pass on, and that process has already begun.

And now for some fun...extended metaphor time: if you were to compare your poetry to a world leader, what world leader would you choose, and why?

Malcolm X. Malcolm was of the people, and spoke directly to the people, no matter his location, who the people were, or what they looked like.

Dwayne Morgan is one of the ten poets representing Toronto at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Halifax this year. Keep checking blogTO for more updates about the festival and Toronto's progress during the competition.

Support Toronto's poets by attending the Up From The Roots Fundraiser on October 9 at Cervejaria at 8pm (more info on FB).

(Photo from Dwayne Morgan.)


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