Formed in November 2007, the Peterborough Poetry Slam Collective presents the monthly Peterborough Poetry Slam Series, as well as other spoken word, poetry, hip-hop, and storytelling performances, workshops and initiatives. In 2015 we hosted, SLAMtario! The Ontario Poetry Slam Team Championship and in October of 2017 we will be hosting the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.
The Peterborough Poetry Slam Collective is a working collective of spoken word artists. We strive to create accessible, safer spaces dedicated to the creation and performance of poetry. We encourage and promote performances of poetry that are engaging, interactive and relevant, and provide educational opportunities for local artists and enthusiasts, to increase the quality of spoken word in the community. We contribute to Peterborough’s arts and culture by featuring diverse spoken word artists and poets from across the country; and work with community and provincial/national partners to promote spoken word as an art form and as a vehicle for driving social justice and community engagement.
While the competition aspect of the Peterborough Poetry Slam is an initial draw to those in the audience who are at first skeptical about poetry readings, it is the culture of the series that has caused our audience to grow. Our regular season slams see audiences of 50-85 people; our finals have attracted crowds in excess of 150 people. The openness of the stage and our audience creates an inclusive environment where often-marginalized voices have an accessible space and are encouraged to speak. As well, the series fosters experimental and new works, while demanding that rigorous attention be paid to the quality of spoken word performances.
For the last 5 years we have sent poets to perform in the Canadian Independent Poetry Slam Championship and we have sent four teams to perform in poetry slams at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. We hosted Slamtario, the Ontario Provincial Poetry Slam Championship under the direction of Wes Ryan in 2015 and the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in 2017 under the artistic direction of Jon Hedderwick in partnership with Elizabeth Jenkins. Veteran poets from the collective have also gone on to feature nationally and internationally.