Category: Slam

Annual review: Summaries, essays and productive conferences

The post on 27 deaths out of 100 people receiving methadone in primary care over 17 years was the most frequently visited of the year but also the gloomiest.
I’ve had an inspired year here at the Be-seen, with a brilliant string of posts about new research articles ranging from a progressive post from the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine on improving writing groups for addiction researchers, to emerging treatments for cocaine addiction, and along the same theme a series covering my topic of interest in drinking by people who also use other drugs. Here’s the list of new paper summaries in chronological order:
Summaries of new papers 
* First or senior author papers
In sum, the main themes of this year were not only summaries of new papers but also essays on writing and conference reports.
Conferences April-June

With three new entries on academic and cultural meetings, these may be of great interest to my readers fascinated by communication in science and art and blending the boundaries between the two disciplines:

Write well
The fastest start is to listen to patients’ stories – make evidence based responses part of your toolkit, whether it’s responding to the iatrogenic overdose epidemic or writing effective paragraphs.  Secondly, consider making scientific writing something that sticks to the brain. Have a try at writing groups or writing classes – they can help. Have the courage to promote simplicity of writing in your field. I’m positive this is not all that I will have to say on the topic – watch this space.
Essays

Literary editors who helped
Adam Nanji, Vancouver is Awesome http://vancouverisawesome.com/
Tara Siebarth and Ashleigh VanHouten, University Affairs www.universityaffairs.ca
Stephen Strauss, Canadian Science Writers http://sciencewriters.ca/4072583
Journal editors who helped
Twelve addiction journal editors helped with publishing 16 papers:
Roger Jones, BJGP www.bjgp.org
Jeffrey Samet, Addict Sci& Clin Practice https://ascpjournal.biomedcentral.com/
Richard Saitz, J Addict Medicine www.journals.lww.com/journaladdictionmedicine/Pages/default.aspx
Richard Pates, J Substance Use www.tandfonline.com/loi/ijsu20
Tim Rhodes, J Int Drug Policy www.ijdp.org 
Michael Morgan, Addiction www.addictionjournal.org
John Lyne, Irish J Psychol Medicine www.journals.cambridge.org/article_S0790966700017535
Pedro Ruiz, Addict Disorders& Their Treatment www.journals.lww.com/addictiondisorders/Pages/default.aspx
Donata Kurpas, BMC Family Practice www.bmcfampract.biomedcentral.com
Axel Klein, Drugs and Alcohol Today www.emeraldinsight.com/toc/dat/15/4
Wim van den Brink, European Addict Research www.karger.com/EAR/
Jelle Stoffers, Eur J Gen Practice www.tandfonline.com/loi/igen20
In the meantime, I also continued to write in Slovak magazines and in my community of writers. In Slovak, I wrote for Slovo and Zpravodaj edited by Jozef Starosta and Marta Jamborova, respectively.
Early in the January and late in December, I wrote poems with my community of writers from the Thursdays Writing Collectivefacilitated by the fantastic Elee Kralji Gardiner and Amber Dawn. During the year, I wrote with the writers from the Writer’s Studio. Some of those poems landed on stage of the Vancouver Poetry Slam and on their video channel.
Thanks to all of my readers. It’s been over four years for the Be-seen blog now and I owe a lot to the editors and readers. I hope readers will continue to feel that this is a resource for them to visit and engage with.


From stage to studio – one poet’s journey

Spoken word poetry slams can be exhausting. Although the live feedback from interested audience re-charges most poets’ batteries, sometimes it’s good to just take time off and go back to the studio; more precisely, the Writers’ Studio (TWS). Don’t be confused. This isn’t a special recording studio for writers, but a year-long, part-time postgraduate certificate in creative writing at the Simon Fraser University, Department of Continuing Education
I “went” to the studio to learn how to write longer poems and how to edit poetry. 
The studio offered to:
  • Get hands-on creative writing training
  • Study under published authors
  • Make creative writing part of your life
  • Be part of a community of writers
As with every profession, there are many communities and sub-communities of writers. The studio made me part of a very special community of people who were published authors or who wanted to be published, but very few spoken word poets.
There were two main parts to the studio. First were the didactic lectures. Published authors lectured on theory and practice of writing. Second were the fortnightly workshop meetings. Each genre group met separately, about 8 students per group. As poets, we submitted our poems to everyone in the group one week before the meeting and read poems from classmates.
Workshop
The group feedback was the main vehicle of the workshop. When we got the poems from our classmates, we’ve read them, prepared a one-paragraph summary of our impressions on each poem and brought printed copy of each to the workshop night. At the meeting, a poet read their piece followed by oral feedback summary from two classmates. In this way, the structure of the workshop was similar to the writers’ taskforce group at UCLA. Later, we’ve abandoned the 2-reviewer model and let everyone say one good thing and one bad thing about the poem. All received written reviews from classmates and mentor.
Saturdays
Saturdays were killing me. Having a full-time job and a kid to raise, I’ve realized the high toll that weekend courses put on families. Because the whole cohort came to the Saturday classes, connecting with the rest of the class was very nice and well-earned gain of taking the time away from my family.
Readings
Mondays were for readings; in-class preparation for the real world readings in the Cottage bistro where the TWS community gathered. Tutors modeled reading style and gave pearls of wisdom to students.
Lessons learnt
Halfway there, I found that the Studio helped me to “see” into my poems more. However, the most useful learning came from realizing what I didn’t want to do:
I don’t want to write alone only.
I want to write with others regularly.
I don’t want to chase poetry publications.
I want to speak poetry out loud.
I’m not a page poet.
I’m a stage poet.
I don’t want to write concrete poetry.
I want my poems image full.
I don’t want to analyse poems too much.
I want to share instant thoughts on poems.
I don’t like long, elaborate prompts.
I like short, spontaneous prompts.
Watch this place for my views on the 2nd semester in the Writers’ Studio.

Discovering Thursdays Writing Collective

Thursdays
When I first arrived in Vancouver, Canada, I was desperate to join a writing collective. My experience with the Dublin’s Writers Forum and the Oregon’s Write Around Portland taught me the power of writing groups. I observed that collective writing fosters motivation and provides a way out of the isolation that this solitary activity can otherwise induce, making writing communal. It shows that though we’re able to write alone, we don’t have to. We can write together, too, and this changes the stereotype—and daunting nature—of being a solitary writer!
 
 
photocredit: thursdayswritingcollective.ca
 

Voice to Voice Book launch June 18, 7 pm, Lost + Found Café, 33 W Hastings‏, Vancouver, BC


Thursdays Writing Collective invites you to celebrate the launch of our seventh anthology, Voice to Voice!

Thursday, June 18, 2015
Lost + Found Café 
7pm-9pm

Join us for a fun evening of socializing and celebration. The evening will include a SHORT reading (15mins), catered free snacks, book sales and some silliness. Details will be posted asap.


This book of poems, stories, songs and memoir by members of the Downtown Eastside community of Vancouver represents a year of thinking about music and transformation. It also represents our collaboration with six composers from UBC School of Music who turned 11 of our poems into original new music art songs. Our collaboration was facilitated by Laura Barron of Instruments of Change.

Beautifully designed by Doris Cheung, Voice to Voice includes score excerpts of the songs which were performed in two concerts (at UBC and at St James Anglican Church).

The book was funded by the community via an Indiegogo campaign and we thank Canada Council for the Arts, UBC School of Music, Peter Wall Centre, Instruments of Change, Carnegie Community Centre and SFU’s Writer’s Studio for support in many guises.

Written, created and brought to life on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.

Contributors include: Anita Lo, Antonette Rea, Brian Topp, Cindy McBride, Christiaan Venter, d. n. simmers, Donna Dykeman, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Eleanor Guerrero-Campbell, Erol Almelek, Gene Emerson, Ghia Aweida, Gilles Cyrenne, Graham Cunningham, Harry Langen, Henry Doyle, Irit Shimrat, James McLean, James Witwicki, Jan Tse, Jane Miller, Jano Klimas, Joan Morelli, John Alan Douglas, Johnny “Chihuahua” Jaworkski, Judy Nordlund, Laura Barron, Leichandra Truong, Lucas Oickle, Martin Ritter, Michael Ducharme, Molly Skye Ancel, Muriel Marjorie, Neil Dato, Patrick Foley, Rena Sharon, Roger Stewart, Ruth Dato

Accessibility Info for Lost + Found Café:
Main entrance: 5 feet wide, double doors that open outwards, wing handles 41” from ground. Weather permitting, doors to street will likely be left open. There are no steps to entrance. The space inside Lost & Found Café is stair-free. Signage is a sandwich board on the sidewalk.

There is parking (paid by metre) on Hastings St directly outside and opposite the café. There are bike lock-ups directly outside café, as well as the Hastings bus stop. There will be transit tickets available at the event for those who need them.

This event is a scent reduced space. Please refrain from wearing heavily scented perfumes and hygiene products.

Readers will use a microphone and the space has minimal echoes. Lighting is even throughout space.

There are a variety of seating options. A variety of upholstered seats & couches with and without armrests. The majority of seating consists of unpadded wooden chairs with no armrests. There will be space for those who wish to stand. There will be priority seating reserved for elders; these seats will be marked “Reserved for elders”, please help yourself as needed. If you need a particular kind of seating for your physical comfort, please contact us beforehand and we will have that set aside for you.

There will be snacks provided for all attendees. There will be vegetarian options. Water is freely available. Alcohol is not provided but is available for purchase in the space. Counters are 3’3” from ground.

There will be two All Genders washrooms for the event.

The hallway leading to the washroom is 32” wide. There is a 90 degree turn in the hallway with a turning area of 40” by 37”. There are two washrooms, both of which have one stall. The doors to the stalls open inward and the stall entrance is 33” wide. The washroom on the lefthand side has a stall that is 57” deep and 61” wide with the toilet located in the rear left corner of the stall, immediately beside the wall. There is no grip bar. There is a scooter and wheelchair accessible public washroom located at the Carnegie Centre at Hastings & Main, three blocks East of the venue. For further info regarding washrooms, contact Lost & Found at 604-559-7444

This accessibility audit was done using part of the information provided in the RAMP project audit (http://radicalaccessiblecommunities.wordpress.com/radical-access-mapping-project-vancouver/). Thank you to RAMP for giving us feedback on this audit.

Writing Battle and New Year’s Social Night

January 29, inspired by Vancouver’s popular ‘Art Battle’, Vancouver writers kick started the year with the first ‘Writing Battle’, a chance for one writer to emerge victorious from a live writing competition.

 
 
Even if you’re not competing, this was a fantastic chance to socialize and meet other writers in a relaxed and fun-filled environment of the Railway Club.  

Ten bold and versatile writers competed live at the Railway club, and of course, were also supported by 20 others in the audience who chose the winner of the night, John Friesen.
 
 
The contestants were writing from writing prompts and the winner got a small prize, as well as the chance to share one of his pieces on a weekly radio show on Co-op Radio, Writing Life.
 



Over 600 members of the Vancouver Writers Group describe themselves as people who live in Greater Vancouver and love to write. We share our work, challenge and encourage each other, and read from our own writings to our fellow members. We argue over commas and colons, whether words in other languages should be translated or not, all things poetry, and anything else that happens to have words in it.

We usually have a few different meetings every month, mostly in coffee-shops around town, where we do writing activities and have discussions about different writing topics. Quite often we have social nights at a bar in Vancouver, and occasionally we hold writing competitions and one-off events. We welcome writers at all levels, whether you are just starting on your first story or are already published.

We also have a weekly radio show on Co-op Radio, Writing Life, which is live on Vancouver 100.5 FM on Tuesdays between 2pm and 2.30pm. Earlier editions of the show can be found here. 

http://www.coopradio.org/station/archives/39914