About Us     Volunteers     Media     Artists     E-Zine     Links     Sponsors     Past Festivals
April 25 -30   bar











What is Spoken Word?  bullet  Background  bullet  Board of Directors


The Calgary Spoken Word Society was formed in November, 2003 for the primary purpose of presenting an annual Calgary International Spoken Word Festival (CISWF). With great pride we are happy to announce that the first annual CISWF was a remarkable success! The CISWF was conceived and created by a native Calgarian, internationally acclaimed Spoken Word poet, Sheri-D Wilson. Influenced by the passion of its creator, the Calgary Spoken Word Society’s vision is to make Calgary the epicenter of this energetic and increasingly popular art form. Our mission is to:

• Bring nationally and internationally acclaimed artists to Calgary/Calgarians
• Provide Alberta Artists with international exposure
• Attract cultural tourists to Calgary
• Produce Spoken Word multimedia materials for local/national/international educational purposes
• Present progressive approaches to literacy

To produce the 2004 festival, the Calgary Spoken Word Society received $10,000.00 seed money from the Spoken Word and Storytelling Program of Canada Council, $2,500.00 from CRAF, support from The League of Canadian Poets, and partial funding from HRDC to hire one student. We produced the festival on a shoestring and a prayer, with volunteer assistance and tremendous cooperation from the community, whose inkind support was overwhelmingly generous. In 2004:

• We formed a non-profit society called Calgary Spoken Word Society, which is the umbrella society for the Calgary International Spoken Word Festival
• Created a Board of Directors:

David Carten
Nancy Carten
Jane McClellan
Judy Tilston
Ed Washington
Tom Wayman
Sheri-D Wilson

• Produced two fundraisers called MYSTIX AT THE KNOX. These fundraisers featured poets and musicians from the Calgary community.
• Produced a two-part festival in July and August 2004.
• Applied for a Charitable Tax Number

The festival itself came about with assistance and support from the community. We received sponsorship from Big Rock Brewery, CJSW, ffwd weekly, random accuracy (web support), One Yellow Rabbit Theatre, Egg Press, Single Onion, Epcor Centre, The League of Canadian Poets, Canada Council for the Arts, Bankview Books, Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival. The CBC, A-Channel and The Calgary Herald, all gave us extremely effective coverage, not to mention the many places that listed us on their web pages and listings pages. We feel grateful for the response we received to make the first year of our festival such a rave success.

Readin’ Readers for 2004 Festival:
J. Alary, Lillian Allen, Christopher Blais, Jason Christie, George Elliott Clarke, Ivan E. Coyote, T. Crane, Lorna
Crozier, Carmen Derkson, Diane DiPrima, Emily Elder, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jill Hartman, Paul Kennett, Kirk Miles,
Dwayne Morgan, Ali Reilly, Andre Rodrigues, Jem Rolls, Gregory Scofield, Natalie Simpson, Bob Stallworthy,
Sheri-D Wilson

The first annual Spoken Word Festival received a huge response from the community in terms of attendance and Calgary audiences embraced this idea with open arms and hearts. In 2005 the Festival plans to involve sign language translators enabling us to expand our audience to include Calgary’s deaf and hard of hearing community.


2006 Calgary International Spoken Word Society