April 2015: The Brant Rant and Barb Day 

March’s Featured Artists are members of The Brant Rant. The Brant Rant hosts monthly poetry slams, which are competitions where spoken word poets recite original works and are judged on a scale by selected members of the audience. The Brant Rant kicked off their first poetry slam to a packed house of nearly 100 people at the Brantford Arts Block in September 2014, and now host monthly poetry slams in downtown Brantford.

Spoken word poetry is poetry that is written with the intent to perform on stage. Though it is most often associated with hip-hop culture, spoken word poetry also has strong ties to art forms such as storytelling, modern poetry, monologue theatre, and various types of music, such as folk, jazz and blues. Spoken word artists use only their voice and a microphone – no props, instruments or costumes are permitted.

Black and white group shot of members of the Brant Rant

The Brant Rant provides a safe and welcoming venue for emerging and established spoken word artists to develop their skills, as well as the opportunity for audience members to be introduced to the art form in an inclusive, high-energy and interactive style. Everyone is welcome; to perform at the Brant Rant Poetry Slam, all you need to do is show up. Performers have two options: they can sign up for the “open mic” to perform, or if they wish to compete they can sign up for the “main slam event”.

Barb Day, Spoken Word Artist

The organizer of the Brant Rant is Barb Day, a Brantford writer and spoken word artist who has been involved in the spoken word community since 2011.

Day was first introduced to spoken word poetry when she was a member of The Brantford Writer’s Circle. A poet named Kayla Fraser performed at a special event held by the Writer’s Circle, and Day was instantly inspired by the energy and diversity of the art form. Day expanded upon her existing prose writing skills, and began to write poetry to perform at open mics and small slam competitions. To continue performing and to provide the opportunity for members of our community to find their voice and share their experiences in a local venue, Day started The Brant Rant.

Photograph of Barb Day presenting information about the Brant Rant Poetry Slam

Using only your voice and a microphone to perform may seem daunting to some. Five years ago, Day was terrified of public speaking, but is now very comfortable on stage, where she says she enjoys the opportunity to share her words with the audience. To date, she has performed over 200 times to audiences ranging from 20 to 700 people.

Day has competed provincially and nationally on stages at events such as The London Poetry Slam, Guelph Spoken Word, The Kitchener-Waterloo Poetry Slam and The Burlington Slam Project.  At the end of this month, Day will be travelling to Vancouver to compete as a representative for The Brant Rant in Versus Festival’s Canadian Individual Poetry Slam. Poets from across Canada will compete in the slam to earn the opportunity to travel to Paris, France as a competitor in the World Championships.

Day encourages anyone who is interested or curious about spoken word poetry and competing to attend a Brant Rant poetry slam. “Slam is more than just a competition. It’s about getting yourself on stage and performing your work for other until you know that every person in the audience is feeling your words. It’s about community. It’s about wordsmiths of all ages, styles, creeds, and origins coming together to inspire each other.”

The Brant Rant holds monthly poetry slams at Rockling’s Tap & Grill in Harmony Square, Brantford, the second Wednesday of every month at 7pm. All performers and spectators are welcome to join.

For more information about The Brant Rant Poetry Slam, and upcoming events, click to open the page in a new browser window.

Photo credit: Colleen Rintoul, official photographer of The Brant Rant.