I was talking to a younger poet a few weeks back about all things slam. During the conversation I asked him to list out his top five favourite ‘slam poets’ (he gave me mostly expected answers).
When he asked me, along with 4 other poets, I said Shane Koyczan.
He said “who is that”
Since we have been working on this blog I have seen a gap in terms of familiarity with of some of the best poets that have been around for a while, and some of the best poets just hitting the scene. A lot of younger poets don’t know much about the more established performance poets and vice versa.
Obviously its important for all of us to know about all of us. In order to continue to collectively push each other forward we have to have to, at the very least, know about each other and know about the things we are all doing.
That is one of the many goals of Eternal Graffiti. Which is why I have been waiting since that conversation to post a poem by Shane Koyczan
[From Wikipedia] Shane Koyczan – Born in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Koyczan grew up in Penticton, British Columbia. In 2000, he became the first Canadian to win the Individual Championship title at the National Poetry Slam. Together with Mighty Mike McGee and C. R. Avery, he is the co-founder of spoken word, “talk rock” trio, Tons of Fun University (T.O.F.U.). In August 2007 Shane Koyczan and his work were the subject of an episode of the television documentary series Heart of a Poet, produced by Canadian filmmaker Maureen Judge for broadcaster Bravo!.
Koyczan has published three books, poetry collection Visiting Hours, Stickboy, a novel in verse, and Our Deathbeds will be Thirsty most recently in 2012. Visiting Hours was selected by both the Guardian and Globe and Mail for their 2005 Best Books of the Year lists. Koyczan’s “We Are More” and Ivan Bielinski’s “La première fois”, commissioned by the Canadian Tourism Commission, were unveiled at Canada Day festivities on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on 1 July 2007. Koyczan performed a variation on his piece at the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Koyczan also collaborated on Vancouver-based musician Dan Mangan’s Roboteering EP on the track Tragic Turn of Events – Move Pen Move.
In 2012, Shane Koyczan released a full-length digital album entitled “Remembrance Year”, which “tackles abuse with courage and displacement with inspiration”, in collaboration with the folk instrumentation of Saskatchewan-based trio, The Short Story Long. In February 2013 Koyczan released an animated video of his spoken word poem “To This Day” on YouTube and at the TED Conference.The poem focused on the subject of bullying that Koyczan and others had received during their life and its lasting effects. “To This Day” went viral shortly after its release,with the video receiving over 15 million views as of December 2014, prompting many viewers to send Koyczan letters thanking him for publishing the poem. [end]
The thing I love the most about Shane is his continued efforts to break the mold, 15 Million views later, he is still doing that and more. I love the below poems that talks about bulling and finding yourself as you travel though adolescence
Shane has an awesome website – Shane Koyczan go there and follow along and buy his book!