Canada: Youth flock to bust rhymes at poetry slams across the country


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Youth flock to bust rhymes at poetry slams across the country

TORONTO — Once a month, in cities across the country, the atmosphere is electric as crowds of smooth-talking kids converge for a battle of words and ideas and beat.

Modern-day bards, these wordsmiths emerge from dens, bedrooms and back seats of buses to weave stories, sling sounds and make meaning for thirsty ears.

Busting rhymes one by one, they let loose with verses about body image, racism, bullying and coming out of the closet, along with satire on nosepickers, hatred for Santa and made-up languages from childhood.

Three rounds later, after heckles, hollers, laughter and even tears, one spoken word artist will win bragging rights as victor of the poetry slam.

"I don't know why I do it, I guess I just like it," says 21-year-old Kolby Seifried, a.k.a. Made Wade, who began writing rhymes in his hometown of London, Ont., at age 13.

"This is just what I do all the time, I'm always practising. I lose sleep, and it's all just words in my head. I don't even write it down anymore, it's all repetition. I just go where my mind takes me - it's all just creativity, flowing off the top of my head."

Rapping about his fantastical encounter with a genie with attitude, Seifried was recently crowned winner of the monthly Toronto Poetry Slam, giving him automatic berth into the city's semi-finals in the spring.

A slam is a friendly competition where poets performing spoken word pieces are timed, scored by impartial audience judges and slowly weeded out through several rounds.

It's coming out on top in the finals that poets really covet: those winners form a team representing their city and head to national and international competitions.

This year, the Canadian National Slam kicked off Wednesday at the Calgary International Spoken Word Festival. Twelve teams, hailing from places including Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, southern Ontario, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria, will vie to be named slayers of the stage on Saturday.


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Ο λόγος είναι μεγάλη ανάγκη της ψυχής. (Γιώργος Ιωάννου)


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