The mission of the Verses Festival of Words is to celebrate the transformative power of words – written, spoken or sung; to engage diverse groups in cutting-edge, live performances as both audience and participants; to present influential artists from both the oral and literary traditions, and to encourage the next generation of performers and writers. Verses embraces a wide definition of literature and orature that includes page-based poetry, oral storytelling, and singer-songwriters.
Verses takes place annually at venues clustered around East Vancouver’s Commercial Drive. This cultural district is the heart of Vancouver’s spoken word community.
Each year, as part of Verses, the best slam poets from across Canada come to Vancouver to compete in the Canadian Individual Slam Championship (CIPS). Sanctioned by SpoCan (the governing body of poetry slam in Canada). CIPS determines the nation’s best individual slam poet. Verses aims to serve this national community by staging CIPS in a way that ensures fairness and raises the profile of the slam movement in Canada.