Spoken word event honours the feminine

By Rachel Woodward, November 3 2015 —

Spoken word poetry thrives in Calgary, with numerous events showcasing poets throughout the city. Some are competitive readings known as “slams,” while others welcome speakers in a non-competitive environment.

Woolf’s Voices fits in the latter category as a spoken word evening that gives a platform for feminine spoken word artists.

Woolf's Voices showcases feminine spoken word artists. // Inongé Chimwazu

Woolf’s Voices showcases feminine spoken word artists. // Inongé Chimwazu

The event, held every three months, is celebrating its 10th event on Friday, November 6 at 7:00 p.m. at Shelf Life Books. The evening will feature a variety of spoken word poems presented by 10 artists. Since its creation two-and-a-half years ago, Woolf’s Voices has brought poetry, music, stories and art to the Calgary arts community.

“It’s about bringing women and feminine-identified people together to honour the feminine which exists in all of us,” Woolf’s Voices founder Adrienne Adams says. “It’s to create a cultural space to express and honour that. The feminine isn’t always honoured in our culture, especially in men.”

Adams’ goal in creating Woolf’s Voices is to foster a safe, open artistic space for individuals to share personal works.

“I think art doesn’t just feed us individually, it feeds us culturally,” Adams says. “It’s food for the soul and it’s as necessary for sanity and health as eating.”

The name was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own,” as well as the idea of wolf packs working together to have a singular community voice. In Woolf’s Voices tradition, audiences howl after each performance instead of clapping.

Past events featured a vast variety of voices, as Adams believes it’s important to acknowledge that feminine identities and traits can be found in anybody. A range of genders and sexualities perform at the events.

“Every performer, I have them define what the ‘feminine’ means to them. The only premise I put out there is to bring work that honours the feminine and how they define it,” she says.
The 10th edition of Woolf’s Voices takes place on Friday, Nov. 6 at 7:00 p.m. at Shelf Life Books. Admission is free.

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