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Poet set to surprise at Verses Festival of Words


Burlesque meets modern dance meets poetry in C.R. Avery’s upcoming performance at the Verses Festival of Words on April 6.

Catch C.R. Avery at the Verses Festival for Words.
Catch C.R. Avery at the Verses Festival for Words.

Avery is turning the release of his new poetry book Some Birds Walk for the Hell of It into a full-blown theatre production for the second day of this year’s festival.

“It’s not a book release where people are eating wine and cheese and someone reads for 20 minutes from their book,” said Avery. “It’s a two-act show.”

Avery, a Vancouver artist, has written two other books of poetry, recorded over 15 albums and written and directed six hip-hop operas.

Avery has performed at the four-year-old spoken word Verses Festival in past years. “It’s fantastic to see the street come alive even more than it is. It’s just a very inspiring time . . . there’s no sleeping involved for seven days,” he said.

The festival runs from April 5-12 in venues along Commercial Drive.

Festival artistic director Jillian Christmas said the festival’s location is what makes it so unique.

“It’s designed to be a community festival and to bring people from across Canada to East Vancouver,” she said.

Avery’s upcoming performance team includes world-famous burlesque dancer Lola Frost, modern dancer Darcy McMurray and DJ Su Comandante.

The performance is also scheduled to appear in Edmonton, Calgary and Saskatoon starting in May.

Christmas said Avery’s poetic significance spreads across not just Canada, but the world.

“He’s really a jewel that we should appreciate . . . He is unafraid to mingle harmonica and beat-boxing and hip-hop styles, and really very well written and insightful and political poetry,” she said.

The festival encompasses events including slam poetry and comedic acts, and new this year is a visual art display featuring four different artists.

Also new is the venue Astorino’s where Avery will be performing.

“I’m just really excited to get all of the poets in there because it’s a great big space inside. It’s got a great community feel to it,” Christmas said.

Forty poets will compete in this year’s Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Championships, with the winner being determined on April 12.

Tickets for the festival can be purchased here:

Reported by Megan Bobetsis

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