In this edition of "10 things" we talk with David Silverberg, the extremely busy host of the monthly poetry slam at The Drake, about poetry, Mike Myers, basketball and the freelance lifestyle:
- The Toronto Poetry Slam has been a regular monthly happening since November 2005: "It used to be a roving slam. We're at the Drake full-time for now. It's just been a big success. It's word of mouth that's really generated a lot of popularity."
- So, what's in slam poetry for the general public?: "People just want something different out of a Saturday night. They're able to hear at a poetry slam a lot of raw truths coming out of people and a lot of passion and entertainment in the end as well. "
- Does Silverberg think the slam community will ever recover from Mike Myers' portrayal of a poet in 1993's So I Married an Axe Murderer?: "That's always tough for us to get past, let people know that it's more than 'Whoa, man' and snapping fingers and berets and whatever it is associated with what my friend John calls 'the P-word' because poetry can scare off some people but I like to think that spoken word is that umbrella artform that allows a whole bunch of genres to be included."
- Silverberg is a man of many jobs, one of which is at citizen journalism site DigitalJournal.com: "People can post news articles as they see fit. The community decides what articles go on the front page by voting. The little twist we have is that people can make money off of this. Those citizen journalists who contribute really popular articles with a lot of comments get a share of our ad revenue every month."
- He's also editor of Mic Check, a compilation of spoken word poetry from fifteen Canadian writers that recently received a 4-N review in Now: "A lot of people think it's a little weird to put that into a book, but I've always thought the best spoken word is still very well written and can come alive on the page."
- A recent major coupe for for Silverberg is actually getting Mic Check onto high school reading lists: "One of my main goals is to get spoken word into schools, not only through us getting gigs in schools, but getting a book so English classes can have good curriculum on spoken word."
- A proud resident of the Annex, his new favourite neighbourhood hot-spot is the literary-themed coffeehouse, Ezra's Pound: "This Dupont stretch was in such need of a good coffee shop. There's not even a big box like Starbucks or Second Cup on Dupont. You got to go to Vesta at Bathurst to get a decent cup of coffee but I'm glad Ezra's Pound came along to give us writers a place to go and hang out and have a really stunning cup of coffee."
- As a writer, Silverberg is a busy freelancer: "I freelance for Now Magazine and Broken Pencil Magazine. I really like writing for Now because I'm starting to write for the news section and branching out beyond the technology section that I usually write for."
- Another freelance gig he had until just recently was as an advice columnist for teens: "I was an advice columnist for a company called Young Peoples Press that just recently folded. I was doing that for six years. That was a really enriching experience. That was a lot of fun to do, to help out teens who sent me letters from Detroit or Alabama or Halifax."
- In his downtime, Silverberg is a basketball fanatic, both as a player in pick-up games and as an NBA spectator: "I'm very hopeful for the Raptors this year. I'm going to be trying to take in as many games as craigslist scalpers will sell me."
Want to hit up the next Toronto Poetry Slam? blogTO is offering you a chance to win a free pair of tickets to Toronto Poetry Slam on Saturday August 16, going down at the Drake Hotel Underground, (1150 Queen W). To win, all you have to do is post a comment below with the name of a relatively famous dead poet after 12 noon EST today. First post to meet these criteria wins.
Photo by Roger Cullman