Verses celebrates poetry month with queer voices

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African-Jamaican-Canadian dubpoet, mono-dramatist and educator d’bi.young anitafrika will not only perform but will also lead a Spoken Word Masterclass at this year's Verses Festival.

Vancouver’s annual Verses Festival of Words celebrates the transformative power of words during eight days in April.

The largest Festival yet, organizers will bring together over 80 poets, storytellers, comedians, and spoken word artists performing in 33 events over the eight days.

“There are more music, more comedy, and more book launches than ever before,” says Managing Director Chris Gilpin.  “If you’re looking for what it means to be a writer in the 21st century, this festival explores all the newest possibilities.”

Held at venues throughout East Vancouver’s Commercial Drive area, said to be the heart of Vancouver’s spoken word community, the 2014 Festival includes a number of LGBTQ artists including Amber Dawn, Billeh Nickerson, Daniel Zomparelli, Esther McPhee, Leah Horlick, Rae Spoon, Lishai Peel and Sheri-D Wilson.

This year’s Festival also welcomes d’bi.young anitafrika an internationally celebrated African-Jamaican-Canadian dubpoet, mono-dramatist and educator.  Author of two collections of poetry, eight plays, two dubpoetry albums, and The Sankofa Trilogy. d’bi. will not only perform at the Sounds Like Fire event on April 7 alongside Magpie Ulysses and James Lamb, but will also lead a Spoken Word Masterclass on April 8.

African-Jamaican-Canadian dubpoet, mono-dramatist and educator d’bi.young anitafrika will not only perform but will also lead a Spoken Word Masterclass at this year's Verses Festival.

African-Jamaican-Canadian dubpoet, mono-dramatist and educator d’bi.young anitafrika will not only perform but will also lead a Spoken Word Masterclass at this year’s Verses Festival.

Also included as part of the Festival is the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam competition with slam poets from across the country competing for a $1,000 cash prize and a trip to represent English Canada at the World Cup of Poetry in Paris by the Fédération Française de Slam Poésie.

“Verses Festival is designed to be a community-conscious, adventurous celebration of the spoken word,” concludes Artistic Director Jillian Christmas.

The Verses Festival of Words is a program of Vancouver Poetry House.

The Verses Festival takes place April 5-12 at various locations in East Vancouver.  Visit http://versesfestival.ca for more information.

Mark Robins on Google+

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