Guelph Poetry Slam – May Edition! Ft. Johnny MacRae

Join us for an all ages poetry slam, open mic and special guest feature

  • The eBar (41 Quebec St.)
  • Doors & sign up 6:30pm, show start 7pm
  • $10 cover (pwyc) FREE If you have a birthaversary in the month of May!

**Unfortunately our venue for GPS is not wheelchair accesible.**

All Guelph Spoken Word events are promoted as consent positive spaces; we ask that all persons receive explicit consent before physically engaging another. Same goes for deep conversations and advice/feedback.

Language and content of GSW events can sometimes be intense and triggering, while GPS is an all ages event and we do most often have an active listener on hand, attendees discretion is advised.

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About the feature

Since first emerging onto the Vancouver Poetry Slam stage, MacRae has carved out a reputation as an innovative writer and performer, a passionate arts educator, and a dedicated community organizer. He’s been a regional and national level slam champion, in addition to which he was the 2013 Victoria Spoken Word Festival Poet of Honour.
In the slam community, MacRae has been a three-time regional champion (2010, Vancouver team champion; 2013/2016 Vancouver individual champion), as well as having won the inaugural Canadian Festival of Spoken Word underground indies title in 2011. All told, he has represented Vancouver at national poetry slam tournaments four times, and Victoria once.

Whether performing, teaching, or organizing, MacRae continues to prove that he is one of the most versatile, innovative, and dedicated spoken word artists in the country.

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Feeling Grounded

Grounded was a huge success as a first attempt at something new and different from our usual style. Thanks so much to everyone that came out and supported and thanks even more than that much to our spotlights and features. They spoke well, shared very different spaces and thoughts, and battled jitters, butterflies, and the occasional bout of violent throat-clearing to create a show that was thoughtful, sometimes playful, and creative.

The five submission winners were (in order of appearance) Marian Thorpe, Jeremy Luke Hill, Chelsea McIsaac, Bieke Stengos-Cammaert, and Jeff Reid Pettis.

It’s awesome that they took the time to write, submit, and accept the feature at our event and it will be great to keep seeing them and their works around our community.
Check out their bios on the Grounded event page, find their stuff, and support their endeavours if you can – art is hard and art as a living is even harder.

Rene Meshake, Danie McAren, and Bashar Jabbour rounded out our conversation on the land by being our community spotlights. From a beautiful, touching creation story, to finding emotional balance in soil, to crises involving citrus trees and the fact that they’re not as deeply ancestral as once thought, they shared some of their perspectives and experiences, which were very different from our featured voices.

We had organic cider from Timothy St. Germain, at the St. Germain Family Orchard, organic herbal tea from Scott Reid at Althea Herb Farm, Honeycrisp apples from Applevue Farm at the Guelph Farmer’s Market, and some delicious baked goods from The Grain Revolution bakery. Good food is heavily important, so we’re very grateful that these businesses were willing to be a part of our event.

Mega thanks to Beth Anne Ellipsis, our host, for keeping us on time and being our common thread between stories for the night; so many thanks are also due to our volunteers, who actually just decided to help out without being asked and made life SO much easier – Terran Boberran, Ilanna Tamari, Truth Is.

Thanks to Guelph Black Heritage Society for sharing their space and story with us – look for more with them from us, support their Ramp It Up campaign to make their space accessible if you can, and keep an eye on their page for updates!

Over all, Grounded felt like it accessed so many concepts on relationships and connections that bear conversation in today’s increasingly disconnected world – thank you for being there and sharing it with us in body, heart, and/or thought.

Sharpened Tongues: Alterna(rra)tives by Johnny MacRae

In this workshop, we’ll play with adopting non-human perspectives on the world and seeing narratives through a fresh lens. We’ll see how perspectives that may feel absurd can result in unexpectedly poignant or powerful writing, and talk about the ways in which character and perspective can be used to bring the audience into stories they might ordinarily resist.

  • Sunday, May 21, 1-3pm
  • Guelph Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk St *accessible venue
  • $25 (some subsidies available, contact patrick@guelphspokenword.com for details)

Register online today! There are only 15 spots available.

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Sharpened Tongues is a workshop series aimed at helping writers and performers develop their craft. It focuses on small, sustainable workshops that provide safer spaces to learn and grow while paying facilitators a fair wage.

About the Facilitator

Since first emerging onto the Vancouver Poetry Slam stage, MacRae has carved out a reputation as an innovative writer and performer, a passionate arts educator, and a dedicated community organizer. He’s been a regional and national level slam champion, in addition to which he was the 2013 Victoria Spoken Word Festival Poet of Honour.

Whether performing, teaching, or organizing, MacRae continues to prove that he is one of the most versatile, innovative, and dedicated spoken word artists in the country.