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Sheri-D to perform at Kootenay Literary Competition Awards

Spoken word performer Sheri-D will be at the Kootenay Literary Competition on Friday, January 18 and hosting a workshop the next day. - submitted photo
Spoken word performer Sheri-D will be at the Kootenay Literary Competition on Friday, January 18 and hosting a workshop the next day.
— image credit: submitted photo

By Julia Gillmor

Artist, performer, writer, producer, advocate and spoken word poet Sheri-D is coming to town.

With roots in the Beat Generation, and teachers that include Allen Ginsberg, Sheri-D has been at the forefront of the spoken word movement since before there ever really was a movement.

“Spoken word has a life of it’s own and has no boundaries,” says Sheri-D. “It came from the beats and before that it came from the surrealists and the dadaists.”

A hybrid of music, theatre, poetry, political and religious rant, spoken word has evolved out of hip hop, dub and jazz beats.

It was time spent at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, in Boulder, Colorado that fueled and informed Sheri-D’s path.

“I’d read and idolized the beatniks but never imagined going where they were. I sent them a postcard with a limerick and Anne Waldman sent me a postcard back that said ‘You’re in baby!’” Not bad for a born and bred Alberta girl.

“I love humour so there’s a lot of humour in my work, and metaphysics, and my more serious pieces deal with spirit and the magic that happens in life.”

Sheri-D’s list of awards and accomplishments include eight collections of poetry and two CDs. She founded The Calgary Spoken Word Festival in 2003, one of the most respected Spoken Word Festivals in North America. Most recently she stepped down after seven years at the Banff Centre where she founded and held the position of Director of the Spoken Word Program.

Spoken word has faced its fair share of challenges according to the poet. “We’ve been the underdog. We haven’t yet made it as equals and that has to do with academics and page poets sitting on juries for the awards.”

“I have made it Saint Joan’s mission to kick down the doors for the people that will follow me. I feel like it’s been my mission in life to have a voice for the people that follow me; the young people,” she says.

A fan of Nelson and arts in the region, it wasn’t hard to convince her to come perform at the Kootenay Literary Competition Awards. Sheri-D will also be offering a workshop on January 19.

“It will give participants’ work a charge and if they’re interested in writing and they haven’t written for a while it may inspire them. I can say if you want to write or if you are writing, I will teach you at least one thing.”

The Kootenay Literary Competition Awards will be held on Friday, January 18 at the Prestige Resort in Nelson. Admission is free. Visit the KLC website for more details on the awards and to register for Sheri-D’s workshop, kootenayliteraycomp.com.

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