KPU Student Chelsea Franz Featured at Vancouver Poetry Slam
Franz the Poet shared excerpts from a collection of her personal work, as well as her appreciation for the slam community, at the spoken word event
Culture / September 13, 2019
Chelsea Franz, a student in KPU’s creative writing program, was featured at Vancouver Poetry Slam at Cafe Deux Soleil on Aug. 19, where she read from her self-published chapbook, In a Rolled-Up Kilt and Faded Black Knee-High Socks.
The Vancouver Poetry Slam, which happens every Monday at Cafe Deux Soleil, is where the Vancouver spoken word community gathers to share work and compete on stage.
In her feature performance, Franz gave the audience her truth through sharing snippets of her life.
“It was nerve racking at first but it feels like a full-circle,” she says.
Franz, also known as Franz the Poet, proclaimed to her witnesses that they are not alone. In her work, she writes about the ridiculousness of institutions, the winding road of mental health, and her crush.
Vancouver Poetry Slam is where Franz first saw live performance poetry.
“I was alone,” she explains. “I wasn’t with anyone. It was my foot into experiencing this community. I was sitting by myself, and I cried and whatnot but just to feel all those feelings.”
In spoken word, she found a community that spoke of truth and vulnerability.
“I realized that there’s a place where it’s common to feel these things. People are here sharing their stories and just know that it exists. I wouldn’t have known it if I didn’t come here alone to do the thing,” she says.
“Fast forward a couple years … and I’m actually doing the thing that I said I wanted to do instead of just thinking about it. Now I’m featuring.”
This experience inspired her to take risks, and she encourages others to do the same.
“Do the thing. Do the thing even if people tell you not to, even if you think it’s scary, even if you tell yourself you’re not able to ‘cause you’re probably lying to yourself, you can probably do it, so do it and dont give yourself excuses,” Franz continues. “People should see more poetry. Do more things that scare you.”
Franz is also the slam master of Slamapalooza, KPU’s monthly poetry slam. She continues to build a poetry community at KPU and beyond to provide more opportunities for poets in the creative writing program.
The host for the night of her performance, Tawahum Bige, says that Franz’s poetry emphasized that “writing saves lives.”
“It saves the lives of people who are listening, and are inspired. When we go home and we write, we protect ourselves from things like suicide and that means we get to keep living,” he says.
Bige, who is also a recent graduate from the creative writing program, feels that “it provides an opportunity for folks from Surrey who are in the creative writing program, who are into slam, and are wondering how this means anything in the real world.”
“They get to come out to Vancouver and connect with poets that are here and the organizers, the many folks who are doing a lot of good work here,” he says. “You connect with community, you connect with opportunity. People from Kwantlen filled up half of the final stage tonight and that’s really wonderful.”