The winner of this year’s Nelson Poetry Slam is heading to Vancouver at the end of April to represent Nelson in a national competition.
Dazza MacAskill says he’s placed second so many times in other events that he’s excited at this chance to reach the next level and compete at Verses Festival of Words.
Born in Fruitvale and a longtime Kootenay resident, the 34-year-old says poetry helped him overcome challenges and heal from injuries both physical and emotional.
“The cadence helped cure my head injury, the rhythm and repetitiveness, repeating positive messages. It’s really important what you say to yourself and what you listen to,” says MacAskill, adding that he wants to offer poetry therapy coaching in the future.
In terms of his prospects facing off with some of B.C.’s best slam poets, he says he looks forward more than anything to meeting all the high calibre artists.
The level of competition doesn’t faze him because he’s been competing in poetry slams — events where judges are selected from the audience and winners calculated afterwards, prizes awarded — for five years.
“I was very competitive growing up. Trail is one of the top sports town in BC, so I grew up surrounded by very competitive people,” he adds.
MacAskill is currently studying the art form, trying to expand his repertoire and material. He says that part of his mission is to channel his energy into positive outcomes as an alternative to unhealthy forms of mean-spirited competition.
It’s a big month for MacAskill. He’s also the featured reader at the upcoming Nelson Poetry Slam on April 14 at John Ward Fine Coffee — he will have a 20-minute window to showcase a larger body of his work.
There will also be an open mic and regular slam contest that night, with a donation jar to collect money that will help the slam council pay for his trip to Verses in Vancouver.