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Toronto Poetry Slam Finals coming to Royal Cinema April 19 (Includes first-hand account)

The winning Team will compete in international poetry competitions such as the U.S. National Poetry Slam in August and the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in November. Every year, Toronto Poetry Slam selects five top poets from its Finals competition who will represent the series at these international events.

On April 19, TPS Finals will return to the Royal, featuring New York’s Joshua Bennett. A youth slam team will open the show with a five-spot “un-open mic.”

The competing poets on Saturday night are:

Bassam
Andre Prefontaine
Sabrina
MultiPurpose Hot Air Machine
Estefania
Prufrock
Kara
Ketch22

A poetry slam is a spoken word competition whereby poets perform pieces that are then judged by five randomly selected judges in the audience, between 0 to 10. Judges base their scores on both writing and performance. The highest and lowest scores are dropped and the middle three are added, for a possible best score of 30.

Poet Estefania at Toronto Poetry Slam @ The Drake Hotel

Poet Estefania at Toronto Poetry Slam @ The Drake Hotel
Courtesy Michelle Darby

What kind of poetry should audiences expect on Saturday night? Bassam, 30, says his poetry touches on mental health issues, family life, relationships and work life. “I love painting a picture with words,” says the Brampton resident, “and I hope my poetry is something people can relate to.”

Bassam has some experience performing on the big stage: he was on the Burlington Slam Project Team last year and competed at the 2013 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Montreal. “CFSW is like the Burning Man of poetry,” he describes it, “and it’s a fantastic way for all the different spoken word communities to come together.”

Poetry slams are produced in almost every major city in Canada, including Ontario cities such as London, Guelph, St. Catharines and Ottawa.

At CFSW 2013, the Toronto Poetry Slam won the slam competition, the first time TPS has took the honour.

Advance tickets for TPS Finals are still available. $15 in advance. $20 at the door. Tix available at Play de Record, 357A Yonge St., A Different Booklist, 746 Bathurst St., Soundscapes, 572 College ($2 service charge). If you prefer to pay via online, Toronto Poetry Project accepts PayPal and e-transfer payment. If you do an e-transfer though, the cost is $16 per ticket due to bank fees for such transactions. Email address for both options would be: info@torontopoetryslam.com

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