From the Northwest Territories to the 2010 Olympics, Shane Koyczan comes to the Sid Williams Theatre on Oct. 27 in one of the biggest concerts promoted by Cumberland Village works.
Born in Yellowknife, Koyczan grew up in Penticton. In 2000, he became the first Canadian to win the individual championship at the U.S. national Poetry Slam.
Also a winner of the Canadian Spoken Word Olympics, he has been featured on BRAVO television, and NPR, BBC, CBC, and ABC (Australia) radio.
Koyczan’s two books have been critically acclaimed. The poetry collection Visiting Hours was selected by both the Guardian and Globe and Mail for their 2005 Best Books of the Year lists. Stickboy is a novel in verse.
He was commissioned by the Canadian Tourism Commission to write a “poem for Canada” in early 2007. Koyczan wrote We Are More and has performed it to ovations across the country, including its introduction at 2007 Canada Day festivities on Parliament Hill. It’s a heartwarming, tear-jerking homage to Canada.
He performed a variation on his piece during the opening ceremony in Vancouver of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Koyczan’s performances have also brought audiences to their feet in New York, London, Edinburgh, Sydney, Auckland, and Los Angeles.
“If the [Auckland Writers] Festival had a Supreme Award, Canadian performance poet Shane Koyczan would have won it, packing the lower theatre and receiving a standing ovation. Koyczan played the heartstrings like a brilliant fiddler.” — New Zealand Herald.
“Shane Koyczan was a surprise hit. His raw poems about love, sex and cancer made the audience laugh and cry. Along with O’Hagan and Hirsi Ali, he received on of the festival’s passionate standing ovations.” — Wendy Were, artistic director, Sydney Writers Festival.
“Homer must have sounded [like this]… or Ginsberg or Kerouac.” — Amy Brown, The Lumiere Reader.
“It’s time to hand out a few awards. Best chairman: Ian Rankin. Best poetry reading: Shane Koyczan. Best superstar: Salman Rushdie.” — David Robinson, Literary Editor, The Scotsman.
“Shane Koyczan’s performance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival was one of the outstanding successes of our program. Not only did the event sell out, but the buzz from the audience was remarkable. Many said it was the best event they had seen all festival.” — Catherine Lockerbie, artistic director, Edinburgh Book Festival.
“A big Kelvinator of a man who loves women and free food, Shane swallowed the stage with the power of his verse, stepping from subdued deep hot sad love poetry to hip-hop power chord meta-meter, throttling the crowd with the weight of his rhymes, and effectively wiping the stage with us. And so, a whole new generation of rhyme readers will be born.” — Dave Bidini, author/musician, Globe and Mail.
“He has an ability to take you straight to the heart…. He makes you feel the depth of love, joy and pain in everyday life.” — Joel Pott, singer/musician, The Guardian.
“There’ll be comparisons aplenty — Gary Snyder, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Paul Durcan, John Cooper Clarke — but Koyczan is staking out his own literary acreage for himself. Koyczan employs a mysterious light touch to rip open your ribcage. Allow it.” — Colum McCann, Esquire Magazine Writer of the Year 2003.
“Shane is a real star … Undoubtedly the best poet we’ve had in a long, long time.” — Patrick Neate, Whitbread Prize winner, host of Bookslam.
“Shane Koyczan is electrifying. It’s a rare poet who can make his audience laugh and cry; this is a writer who will break your heart then heal it.” — Val McDermid, author of The Grave Tattoo.
“Listening to ‘My Darling Sara’ (I left the ignition on, long after I’d parked, to hear the end of that one) … it all sounds like something’s coming — a sound everyone asks for. Ride hard, and ride, ride, ride.” — Gordon Downie, Tragically Hip lead singer.
Cumberland Village Works is welcoming back Koyczan, the MC from the first CVW festival, which evolved into The Big Time Out. With him for a live performance of talk rock, Koyczan has his band the Short Story Long (Olivia Mennell, Maiya Robbie, and Stefan Bienz) whose musical range stretches from folk to funk.
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Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long appear Oct. 27 at the Sid Williams Theatre. Advance tickets cost $30, reserved seating. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8.
Tickets are available through the Sid Williams Theatre box office, online at https://tickets.sidwilliamstheatre.com or by phone at (toll-free at 1-866-898-TIXX 8499), phone 250-338-2430, ext. 1. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Sundays and Mondays — open one hour before showtime.