L.E.V.I.A.T.H.A.N. The World Mangler

Reppin' Toronto at CFSW07: L.E.V.I.A.T.H.A.N.

The first time I saw L.E.V.I.A.T.H.A.N. The Word Mangler on stage, he was spitting a poem about how he could get rid of his girlfriend by giving her Diet Coke. Ah, the powers of aspartame.

L.E.V.I.A.T.H.A.N. 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 Morgan's 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 — L.E.V.I.A.T.H.A.N 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 L.E.V.I.A.T.H.A.N. had to say:

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

I was introduced to the genre of spoken word in high school and I HATED IT (I was like what is this crap this is for people who can't rap) but reintroduced to it in June of 2003, where I met a slew of spoken word artists in this city. I said to myself if I can rap, I can do that and in February of 2004 I started and ended up here in 2007 and never looked back.

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

The slam competitions, the open mics, the community fundraisers, the volunteering of services arts through education programs. Everyone in this community here shares for a reason and we all empowered by what we experience. Especially all the members of Toronto Poetry Slam Team as well as the Slam Fam Teams. We've slammed and jammed together and this is the first time I'm not apart of that team. So it's a weird experience not being on that team. I realized by meeting other poets throughout the city that we all have something of value to offer up to the LYRICAL GODS.

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

I'm exstatic, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?!?! This is why you come out of retirement, boys and girls. I've always wanted to go to Scotia 3 times I had been invited during my athletic carreer, and this will be the 4th opportunity. This time I get to go and spit some lyrical triple-twist verbal gymnastics. My goal is to have fun and learn. It's really not trying to win at all costs and be all serious about it. It's poetry; it's not that critical to be at each others throats. Everytime I participate in the CFSW I take something that assists in writing better poetry. The event is amazing and it just quantifies things for me.

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

Easy man: Lil Jack Jack from the Incredibles. Hopefully they made a comic after the movie or my choice wouldn't apply. Remember when Baby Jack JaAck spazzes out completely on the bad guy where he became fire, I bring the Fiyah, he became metal, I'm heavy my with material like that. He went thru walls: my poetry has that capablility also. He had lasers shoot from his eyes I'm that focused and intense with my rhyming style. He went from one extreme to the next; as does my brand of poetry Jack Jack is a baby, therefore he is still developing. My poetry is still in it's developmental stages. There are a lot more surprises ahead for all who are willing to listen.

L.E.V.I.A.T.H.A.N. The World Mangler 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 Junkyard Circus — the fundraiser for the Toronto Poetry Slam team — tonight at The Pilot at 9pm (more info on FB) and the Up From The Roots Fundraiser on October 9 at Cervejaria at 8pm (more info on FB).

(Photo from L.E.V.I.A.T.H.A.N.'s MySpace Page.)

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