The League of Canadian poets is proud to present the shortlist of the inaugural LCP Spoken Word Award! Selected by Andrea Thompson and Eric Schmaltz, this shortlist celebrates the wide range of styles represented within the spoken word genre, from dub poetry to spoken word poetry to sound poetry and beyond.
Congratulations to all the shortlisted poets!
Winners will be announced Wednesday, January 31, 2024
About the shortlist
Gary Barwin is a writer, performer, and multidisciplinary artist. He is the author of 30 books including Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy which won the Canadian Jewish Literary Award, was shortlisted for the Vine Award, and was chosen for Hamilton Reads 2023. His national bestselling novel Yiddish for Pirates won the Leacock Medal for Humour and the Canadian Jewish Literary Award, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was long listed for Canada Reads. His 2022 poetry collection, The Most Charming Creatures won the Canadian Jewish Literary Award. His latest book is Imagining Imagining: Essays on Language, Identity and Infinity. A PhD in music composition, he has been writer-in-residence and taught at many universities, colleges and libraries. His visual and audio works have been presented internationally. Many are online at www.youtube.com/@garybarwin and garybarwin.bandcamp.com/ He lives in Hamilton and at garybarwin.com
Meet Priscille Bukasa, a spoken word artist, writer, and teaching artist based in Calgary who has been captivating audiences with her powerful performances for over 13 years. Priscille has become an integral part of Calgary's spoken word landscape. Her compelling presence has graced diverse stages, from conferences to festivals, high schools to elementary schools, and even marketing campaigns to churches. Priscille was a part of the Arts Common TD Incubator program in its augural year 2021-2022 an initiative to support multidisciplinary artist and their artistic practice. Beyond her captivating performances, Priscille dedicates herself to nurturing budding poets and guiding workshops, helping others discover their expressive voice through the art of spoken word. Priscille is an arts facilitator at Arts Commons, working within The ConocoPhillips Hub for Inspired Learning—a Campus Calgary School Site that serves as a launchpad for curiosity and imagination.
As she continues to grow and evolve as an artist, Priscille remains committed to using her platform to speak out on issues that matter and to inspire others to do the same. She is also an active member of the Cultural Instigator (CI), an initiative supporting artists in promoting equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, and creating projects to address pressing social issues and strengthen community capacity.
Angelic Goldsky (they/them) is a queer trans-masculine slavic Jewitch poet working at the cross-roads of imaginations beyond diaspora, ancestral lineage repair, transgender spiritual justice, and queer mercy. Angelic deep roots in spoken word poetry has propelled them to travel internationally performing for the past decade, including, as the opening act for Shane Koyzcan at the Vogue Theatre with their trio Tiny Tricycle Poets, performing in the 2SLGBTQ+ Word Poetry Slam Championship showcase in Brussels where they also represented Canada as a judge and featuring in the Lila Queer Arts Festival in Switzerland. Their performances bring together oracular, transexual and experimental healing– using shadow magic, clown and music to transcend complex-trauma and survival codes into soul retrieval. They love to curate all forms of spoken word magic, whether that was serving as the Assistant Director for the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (2022) or programming spoken word performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (2023), the Museum of Anthropology (2020-2023) and at the Chan Centre (2019). Currently Angelic is living in Tkaronto and grew up as a youth-poet in the spoken word poetry community on the lands of the The xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) – colonially known as Vancouver, BC.
Adeena Karasick, Ph.D, is a New York based Canadian poet, performer, filmmaker, cultural theorist and media artist and the author of 14 books of poetry and poetics. Her Kabbalistically inflected, urban, Jewish feminist mashups have been described as “electricity in language” (Nicole Brossard), “proto-ecstatic jet-propulsive word torsion” (George Quasha), noted for their “cross-fertilization of punning and knowing, theatre and theory” (Charles Bernstein) "a twined virtuosity of mind and ear which leaves the reader deliciously lost in Karasick's signature ‘syllabic labyrinth’” (Craig Dworkin); “demonstrating how desire flows through language, an unstoppable flood of allusion (both literary and pop-cultural), word-play, and extravagant and outrageous sound-work.” (Mark Scroggins). Massaging the Medium: 7 Pechakuchas, (The Institute of General Semantics Press: 2022), shortlisted for Outstanding Book of the Year Award (ICA, 2023) and winner of the 2023 Susanne K. Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Symbolic Form. (MEA), Checking In (Talonbooks, 2018) and Salomé: Woman of Valor (University of Padova Press, Italy, 2017), the libretto for her Spoken Word opera; Salomé: Woman of Valor CD, (NuJu Records, 2020), and Salomé Birangona, translation into Bengali (Boibhashik Prokashoni Press, Kolkata, 2020). Karasick teaches Literature and Critical Theory for the Humanities and Media Studies Dept. at Pratt Institute, is Poetry Editor for Explorations in Media Ecology, Associate International Editor of New Explorations: Studies in Culture and Communication, 2021 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award recipient and winner of the Voce Donna Italia award for her contributions to feminist thinking, and has just been appointed Poet Laureate of the Institute of General Semantics. The “Adeena Karasick Archive” is established at Special Collections, Simon Fraser University. Hot off the press is Ærotomania: The Book of Lumenations, Ouvert: Oeuvre: Openings, (Lavender Ink Press, 2023), and Eicha: The Book of Lumenations film, NuJu Films, NY, 2023.
Ian Keteku is an award-winning poet and multimedia artist. He is a national slam champion, and the 2010 World Poetry Slam Champion. In 2016, Keteku was awarded the Poet of Honour at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. Keteku's art extends beyond poetry, as a writer and director, where he produces thought-provoking films and empowers people of all ages to embrace the power of their own voices. He has written and directed projects for TVO, CBC, PBS, Crave and Sesame Street. Keteku’s work is strongly influenced by journeys throughout Africa. His work follows in the lineage of ancient African storytellers by paying homage to the past and revisiting themes and lessons from previous generations. He has released two spoken word albums Lessons From Planet Earth (2011) and Love and Lumumba (2015). His debut collection of poetry Black Abacus was published in 2019 by Write Bloody North. Keteku teaches art-activism and creative writing at OCAD University in Toronto.
About the jurors
Andrea Thompson is a writer, editor and educator who has been publishing and performing her work for over twenty-five years. In 2005 her spoken word album, One, was nominated for a Canadian Urban Music Award and in 2009 she was the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word’s Poet of Honour. In 2019 Thompson’s spoken word album, Soulorations, earned her a Golden Beret Award and in 2021 she received the Pavlick Poetry Prize. Her collection, A Selected History of Soul Speak, was shortlisted for the Lowther and Souster awards and longlisted for the Robert Kroetsch award. Thompson currently teaches the first spoken word course to be offered through the University of Toronto’s English and Drama department. Her most recent album, The Good Word, is a critically acclaimed exploration of the intersection of Black history and faith. www.andreathompson.ca
Eric Schmaltz (he/him) is a poet, intermedia artist, editor, and academic. He is the author of the poetry book Surfaces (Invisible Publishing) and his intermedial artworks have been published, exhibited, and performed nationally and internationally and selected for inclusion in the 2020 anthology of Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University Press). He is also the author of Borderblur Poetics: Intermedia and Avant-Gardism in Canada, 1963–1988 (University of Calgary Press), editor of Another Order: Selected Works of Judith Copithorne (Talonbooks), and co-editor of the critical edition of I Want to Tell You Love by bill bissett and Milton Acorn (University of Calgary Press). Schmaltz holds a Ph.D. in English from York University and was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Tkaronto (Toronto), where he teaches creative writing and Canadian literature and works as Writer-on-the-Grounds at York University’s Glendon College. More at ericschmaltz.com
About the LCP Spoken Word Award
Launched in winter 2023, the LCP Spoken Word Award consists of two awards, presented annually to two poets for a single poem or suite of poems up to 10 minutes in length.
With this award, the League will celebrate the wide range of styles represented within the spoken word genre, from dub poetry to spoken word poetry to sound poetry and beyond. This award will recognize two poems or suites of poems that represent two distinct schools of spoken word poetry.
The League of Canadian Poets is Canada's only national professional poetry organization. The League serves the poetry community and promotes a high level of professional achievement through events, networking, projects, publications, mentoring and awards. We administer programs and funds for governments and private donors and encourage an appreciative readership and audience for poetry through educational partnerships and presentations to diverse groups. As the recognized voice of Canadian poets, we represents poets' concerns to governments, publishers, and society at large, and we maintain connections with similar organizations at home and abroad. The League strives to promote equal opportunities for poets from myriad literary traditions and cultural and demographic backgrounds.