Funding renewed for Slamapalooza
Culture / March 22, 2016
The monthly slam poetry event gets the final word
Slamapalooza recently had its funding renewed by the Kwantlen Student Association after a long period where it was uncertain whether or not the event would be continued.
“In the last year, we had a bit of an enrollment drop, so with less students enrolled the KSA collects less fees,” says Simon Massey, the host and organizer of the event. “They weren’t in as good of a position money-wise so we had to go back and forth and look at the planning tool, and make sure it was really efficient before they felt comfortable passing it.”
The slam’s funding was renewed until May, partially so that they could finish the season and partially because it gives the next executive team a chance to look it over, as the newly-elected KSA council takes office in April. “I’m very confident they’ll like it and they’ll want to approve it again,” says Massey.
Since the slam was renewed so recently, Massey is in the process of dealing with all the bookings. “Generally we book about half a year in advance but again, it’s all tentative now, so I’m just contacting all those people and confirming them.”
Slamapalooza is open to the community and has attracted students from a wide variety of faculties, as well as award-winning poets from across Canada and the U.S. As Massey points out, “Slam or spoken word poetry is very accessible to everyone. It’s not like T.S. Eliot or something where you have to study for four years before you can understand what they’re saying. This is art that should be accessible to everyone.”
When Massey took the slam on, he made the decision to have it as a monthly event and wanted to focus more on building an arts community at Kwantlen. “It’s always important to have the arts happening,” says Massey. By including events such as Slamapalooza, it allows exposure to the arts to extend well beyond the classroom and which invariably enriches the community.
For the remainder of the semester, the slam is looking into having some special guests. “I’m hopeful that, in April, we’ll have one of the people who was on a team which won the Canadian Nationals, so that’s going to be really cool,” Massey explains. “In May, we might have an opportunity to feature someone who has been a World Individual Poetry Slam Champion [the top-level of competitive slam poetry].”
“This coming series, we’re having finals to determine who will represent us at the Verses Festival of Words, which is a huge spoken-word festival that happens in Vancouver at the end of April,” says Massey.
Part of what makes slam poetry so coveted is its electric connection with the audience. It acts simultaneously as a focal point of energy and raw emotion.
“In May, we’re going to have finals to select the team that we’ll send to the Canadian Nationals, which will take place in October,” adds Massey. This kind of spoken art form captures emotional depth on a scale that can swiftly move from heartbreaking to uncontrollable laughter within seconds, carving out words that impeccably resonate with our inner voices and outer realities. It’s a stripped-down, naked version of storytelling that’s as honest as it is universal.