Victoria Spoken Word Festival 2014

Spoken_Word_Victoria_2014

Graham McDonald asked five questions of Missie Peters, director of the Victoria Spoken Word Festival. Missie in turn asked the same questions to the festival’s Poet of Honour, punk accordion poet, Barbara Adler of Ten Thousand Wolves. Here are the results:

 

1 What are some of your favourite spoken words?

Missie Peters: Oh, that’s tough. Asking a spoken word poet what their favourite spoken words

are is like asking a jazz musician what their favourite notes are. It’s not the individual notes —

it’s how you put them together. I love all words, because it’s in putting them together in new and

inventive ways that the magic of poetry happens.

 

2 What is your chosen form of analogue entertainment?

MP: I guess spoken word poetry is a really pure form of analogy, because words are symbols:

the word tree is not a tree. So when we put these symbols, these words together, we can create

unbelievable new analogies, new metaphors, new insights. That’s what this festival is all about

— creating something new and innovative.

 

3 How would you relate the term dualism to what you are bringing to this festival?

MP: In the context of the festival, I think we’re really trying to tear down barriers. Dualism is

often “This vs. This”. We’re not restrictive at the festival. The Victoria Spoken Word Festival

is about introducing the poets to other art forms, such as puppetry, and then saying, now that

you have these new skills, what kind of poetry can you create? Maybe the only way dual really

applies is in the dual purpose of the festival — that the poets are learning and growing, and that

the audience is getting to enjoy some very fresh spoken word.

 

4 What is something real, exaggerated, or suggestive about your future?

MP: Well, last year we sold out and had to turn people away. So this year we partnered with

Intrepid Theatre to grow the Victoria Spoken Word Festival into a bigger venue. So I’m pretty

excited about what the future holds for us next year.

 

5 Why is this festival is all that, with a side of some of that other great stuff too?

MP: Most people don’t have high expectations for poetry, so I love how the festival just blows

their expectations out of the water. This is poetry as you’ve never seen it before: interactive,

engaging, funny, innovative and above all relevant. This is a festival that speaks for itself.

 

Five questions with Barbara Alder

1What are some of your favourite spoken words?

Barbara Adler: I kind of get a kick out of listening to Jian Ghomeshi’s opening essays on his

CBC show, waiting to find out what sentence he will awkwardly force into a rhyme with the show

title, “Q”. So, maybe my favourite spoken words happen when velvet-voiced people sound a bit

inelegant. I think I like beautiful voices having a hard time.

 

2 What is your chosen form of analogue entertainment?

BA: My favourite way of imaging “analogue” is as sound that has a body. You know, like tape

being a material that cracks and ages in a charmingly/frustratingly human way. My instrument

(the accordion) also cracks and ages in a charmingly/frustratingly human way, so I think that

might make it my favourite analogue entertainment.

 

3 How would you relate the term dualism to what you are bringing to this festival?

BA: I have to admit that I don’t think a lot about dualism, but I do think a lot about hybridity.

My work that I’ll be sharing at the Fest will be a mash of spoken and sung, human and digital,

authentic and blatantly artificial.

 

4 What is something real, exaggerated, or suggestive about your future?

BA: I plan to take the stage cloaked in a shivering mist of lavender light. I also plan to tell some

stories about cat food and cancer, play the accordion, and sing songs inspired by doomed

young love.

 

5 Why is this festival is all that, with a side of some of that other great stuff too?

BA: Exactly how many other festivals do you know about, where an ensemble of poets is made

to take lessons in puppetry, dance and improv theatre, and then make a show together in less

than a week? Even if you dislike poetry, the sheer nail-bite factor of the human drama should be

intriguing. I probably need to mention that the thought of taking dance and improv lessons (with

a bunch of poets!) is the scariest sh*t I can think of…

 

originally published in analogue magazine’s March 2014 issue