Shane Koyczan: Talk-Rocker (4 stars)

This article is from 2012

Shane Koyczan: Talk-Rocker

Canadian spoken word poet conjures tears as well as belly ache laughs

Canadian spoken-word poet Shane Koyczan combines poetry with anecdotes to create an hour of word-wending magic that conjures tears as well as belly-ache laughs. Evocatively he recalls the loneliness of growing up and the bedroom monsters of his childhood, and vividly recreates his on-going battle against these monsters alongside his grandfather, drawing again and again on the power of love and the different forms it takes with the melodic, compelling momentum of his poetry.

These different forms are handled in expert ways, including a humorous haiku entitled ‘Herpes’ for an ex-girlfriend who always begged Koyczan for a poem and then cheated on him: ‘Because you would give it to someone else / You re-gifter’. Unresolved yearning (‘Why did you run away / I was running to find you’) and the love for a lost childhood friend, whose lessons will never leave him (‘It’s not rainy, it’s just the weather trying to look busy … ’ / ‘A heart can’t break / It can only bend’) have moments of both humour and of heart-breaking sadness.

In his sometimes laconic, often hopeful style, Koyczan paints vivid descriptions that will leave you reeling. The most memorable actions of his usually silent grandfather are carved into his mind: ‘He would split the night with a whisper …’ / ‘His lips crept across his face, and he laughed’, and through verbal osmosis are carved into ours too, as if we had lived these moments ourselves. Tripping lightly into his poems via anecdote, often without introducing them, Koyczan delivers his words with a melodic levity that belies the weightier subject matter.

Underbelly, Bristo Square, run now ended.

Shane Koyczan - Beethoven

Shane Koyczan

  • 4 stars

Canadian spoken word artist with a line in powerful and engaging poems.

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