A VERSe For Every Ear

2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac, Johnny MacRae and shayne avec i grec. All photos by Pearl Pirie.

VERSeFest, Ottawa’s International Poetry Festival, is back.

VERSeFest_Sue Goyette_credit Pearl Pirie
Poet Sue Goyette.

Returning for its sixth annual edition, VERSefest will run from Tuesday, March 15th until March 20th, and it will host more than 60 local, Canadian and international poets. The festival bridges written poetry and spoken word alongside emerging and celebrated poets speaking in both official languages.

Governor General (GG) Award winner Elise Turcotte will be taking the stage on opening night, along with an exciting mix of poets including Goblin Fruit editor and poet Amal El Mohtar, Griffin Poetry Prize winner Jane Munro and New York University professor Yusef Komunyakaa.

Expected programming also includes experimental poet Christian Bök, a slam poetry event, and readings from George Elliot Clarke, Canada’s newly appointed Parliamentary Poet Laureate, along with recent GG winner Robyn Sarah.

VERSeFest_Moe Clark_credit Pearl Pirie
Spoken word poet Moe Clark.

VERSeFest will be hosting poets from far and wide, although approximately a quarter of the poets are from the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Some out-of-town poets include performance artist Caroline Bergvall from Norway and Icelandic poet Gerdur Kristny.

Festival director Monty Reid is thrilled for this year’s festival.

“We’ve got a great program lined up again!” says Reid. “For anyone in Ottawa who cares about poetry, this is the event of the year!”

VERSefest takes place at Knox Presbyterian Church at 120 Lisgar Street. Tickets are $15 for an evening pass (two events) or $50 for a festival pass. You can buy tickets here or at the door. For additional listings and times, visit versefest.ca.