vpp is grateful to have received grant money from the Canada Council of the Arts and the Province of BC and will be organizing poetry workshops in the new year (2022)

*as of April 2020, due to COVID19, workshops have moved online.

workshops past

the write relationship: healthy art practices and how to maintain them
with dana neily and hannah berry

tuesday july 28th | online edition | 6:30-8:30 pm pst
this workshop will ask participants the question “what do you want from your art and how can practicing it work for you no matter the state of the world or what is going on in your life?” the facilitators will guide you through their personal practices and relationship with their art, and prompt you to think about the role your art plays in your life, what your ideal relationship would be, and how you can realistically bring these two concepts closer together. this workshop will allow plenty of time for discussion but every aspect of participation will be voluntary. learn from two experienced poets how art practices are developed and maintained, and remain flexible in our current uncertain world.

vibrant images with juliette blake jacob
monday july 27th | online edition | 6:30-8:30 pm pst
learn how to generate vibrant images to communicate your ideas and pack a mental punch. you will learn why it’s important to use well-chosen imagery, where to find ideas, how to choose verbs and nouns that support your goals, how to do image-generation free-writes, and how to create banks of source material.

the art of listening with marie metaphor
thursday july 23rd | online edition | 6:30-8:30 pm pst
this workshop will explore how your own practice of listening can affect your work as a writer, spoken word artist or storyteller. when we create we are first communicating with and listening to ourselves as we reflect, process and interact with the world around us. holding space for someone’s story and really seeing them is all sorts of magic, equal to being the one telling the story. as both artist and audience we will explore how we can be more intentional in our listening.

a workshop with k.p dennis
thursday july 16th | online edition | 7-9 pm pst
in this workshop we explore our deeper selves to find and create our own creation stories. through different poetic exercises we will explore the things our bodies remembers, the things/stories we hold dear, and the journeys that called us into being.

grounding – a workshop with sonya littlejohn
may 21 2020| online edition | 7:00 – 9:00 pm pst
this workshop will be about getting grounded before you start writing, honouring your process, and reviewing a writing session for material and meaning. please show up with a photo or painting that’s relevant to your lived experiences (if you have one that you’d like to study and write about) as well as an open heart, writing tools, and a little something to keep you engaged and connected if you need it (a lucky charm, a teddy, a pet, a stone/gem, etc).  we will have fun, go a little deep, and share as desire and time permit. my writing is about giving voice and discussion of tough subjects, empathy and compassion for self and other(s), and finding the language to facilitate connections, community and interdependence.

“white knuckle narrative”: exploration of empathy, mental health and healing through spoken word – a workshop by patrick de belen
april 23rd 2020 | online edition | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. PST
“white knuckle narrative” is an interactive storytelling workshop facilitated by award-winning spoken word artist, patrick de belen. it is designed to guide participants through the exploration of pdb’s process of writing and performing spoken word, and it’s impact on his mental health, youth work and life growing up as an angry, broke and mouthy filipino-canadian kid in toronto. he’ll also be talking about working with instrumentalists, engineers, graphic designers and animators on his newest project “in between lines” dropping early may.

tell the truth, but don’t be literal – a workshop by dana de samedi
april 17th 2020 | online edition | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
from journal entry to leaping off the page. this workshop is all about honesty and the power of words. from journal entry to the stage. my goal is to help change your raw emotions into poetry with wordplay to die for.

yesses and nos: defining the subtler sides of personal consent tic-tac-toe!
a workshop by erin dingle

march 12th 2020 | downtown library | 6:30-8:30 p.m.
free to attend | space is limited | registration is REQUIRED
please email to secure your spot

sometimes yesses and nos are much easier in theory than in practice. along with erin dingle, learn about your own consent landscape (and explore new creative approaches to your words) through group activities and directed writing prompts.
say yes to self-exploration!
it’s more fun than it sounds.
we promise.

writing under the influence — how to not plagiarise when grasped by others’ art – a workshop by torsten schoeneberg
february 23rd 2020 | mifflin wistar gibbs study room | 2-4 p.m.
sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ james bay branch
free to attend | space is limited | registration is REQUIRED
please email to secure your spot

we all have role models, but we don’t want to be copycats. we want to share works we admire, but we don’t like name droppers. we like to be influenced, but we don’t want to be imitators.
this workshop will focus on the thin lines that separate processing from plagiarising. we’ll talk about the use and abuse of homages, parodies and other “secondary” forms of art; about how to reference without writing scholarly articles; and maybe learn something about how to digest art and stand our own ground against the masters we admire.
bring a fruitful mind and at least one example of something that has influenced you
and how it has changed your work.

johnny macrae’s grant writing intensive: canada council edition
february 15th 2020 | 720 belleville street | 10 am to 6 pm
$25- $50+ sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds
registration is REQUIRED
please email to secure your spot

canada council’s spring intake deadline for the explore & create program grants is fast approaching! (april 3rd, to be exact!) so what better time for an intensive workshop that puts the “writing” in grant writing workshop? whether you’re an emerging artist curious about putting in your first-ever application, or a hardened veteran of numerous proposals, this workshop offers something for everyone, combining lecture, discussion, and hands-on writing exercises, with johnny macrae’s light-hearted, humorous approach to the subject of grants.
in discussion, he’ll cover everything from how public funding works in general to the ins and outs of applying for canada council funding, to a detailed look at how assessment committees work and the implications thereof for how you approach your application, to the difference between the “research and development” and “concept to realization” funding streams. after lunch, participants will get their hands dirty, actually creating and “submitting” applications, before being “recruited” to committees to assess other participants’ applications and award funds.
this workshop is designed to take the intimidation out of the application process, while offering you the benefits of a focus group to test run your next application! by workshop’s end, you should understand the role of the program officer, know how assessment works (and what it feels like), and feel significantly less intimidated (if not outright confident!) as you undertake your next application.

poetic forms – a workshop by juliette blake jacob
february 13th 2020 | downtown library | 6:30-8:30 pm
free to attend | space is limited | registration is REQUIRED
please email to secure your spot

in this 2-hour workshop with award-winning poet and slam champ juliette blake jacob, learn about poetic forms with a specific focus on centos, list poems, pantoums, and dual-topic poems with a fulcrum. required materials: bring electronic or paper copies of 5 poems that you love (by yourself, friends, or strangers) which won’t be shared, a list of 5 everyday nouns, 5+ sheets of paper, and a pen or pencil. environment: this is a writing workshop focused on idea generation. the goal is to build a happy, calm, low-pressure environment, and there is no sharing or speaking requirement.

the business of poetry – a workshop by nisha patel
january 30th 2020 | downtown library | 6-8 pm
free to attend | space is limited | registration is REQUIRED
please email to secure your spot

in this workshop, artists will learn about the self-management of being a writer.
topics will include booking gigs, planning shows, and teaching.

what do you know anyways? a poetry workshop with marie metaphor
january 11th 2020 | downtown library | 1-3 pm
free to attend | space is limited | registration is REQUIRED
please email to secure your spot

once upon a time someone asked marie to provide a ‘tip-sheet’ for folks exploring spoken word poetry; a daunting request… turns out, creating this tip sheet was more difficult than anticipated. turns out, like most difficult activities, it was a valuable process to explore; searching out those ever-evolving values and beliefs about writing and sharing creative work. stepping into that uncertainty. why do we do this whole poetry thing anyways? intrigued, are you? come to the workshop for some hot-tips according to marie and leave contemplating your own ever-evolving values and beliefs about this thing we call poetry.

personas, perspectives & identities past and present:
a writing workshop with lucia misch
thursday november 28st, 2019 | 5:30-7:30 pm |
free to attend | space is limited | registration is REQUIRED
please email to secure your spot
central library downtown

all of us contain a multitude of selves: personas, perspectives, and identities past and present. each has its own voice, its own (sometimes dubious) wisdom. maybe one has become so loud that the others feel ghostly. maybe your 9-to-5 self judges your go-out-late-to-find-unlocked-doors-in-municipal-buildings self. maybe it’s the other way around.some may nourish and some may nag, but each of these selves has something to say, and each one contributes to our poetic voice. this workshop uses writing, embodiment, connection, and creative play, to explore which selves we let speak and which ones have yet to be heard.come ready to move, collaborate, allow, and express!

 show vs. tell: a poetry workshop with marie metaphor
thursday november 21st, 2019 | 5:00-7:00 pm | free to attend
oak bay library meeting room
please email to secure your spot
explore the power of unexpected imagery and figurative language in your poetry through a series of prompts and writing exercises with marie metaphor. this workshop explores poetry that paints pictures, poetry that surprises and poetry that pulls you from the present moment to connect with your audience in a surprisingly personal way. participants will explore new ways to write about familiar themes by expanding their vocabulary around imagery and metaphor. the objective of this workshop is to shake out the narrative and push your audience to visualize your words, inviting them to help you tell the story by connecting it to their own experience.

voice, craft & action with tawahum bige
thursday november 14th, 2019 | 5:30-7:30pm | free to attend | space is limited
please email to secure your spot!
central library downtown

join tawahum for a workshop on poetry, performance and land defense, and all the ways they overlap from his dene & cree perspective. learn a little more how to unlock the activist behind your art or the artist behind your activism.
facebook event

community care for poets with yes
tuesday september 17th, 2019 | 6:30-8:30 | free to attend | space is limited
please email to secure your spot!
central library downtown
this workshop explores community care and accountability, and is heavily discussion based. we will be exploring our own care routines, how we care for each other, and the impact that this care can have on us as poets* and as humans. it is meant to run as a personal and community inventory tracking the flow of emotional energy, particularly looking at where we invest energy and how we engage with our respective communities, audiences, and art forms.
facebook event

the art of the cut-up with elise pallagi
may 9th, 2019 | 6-8pm | $10-20 admission with subsidized tickets available
elise pallagi will be presenting an objective workshop on cut-ups devised from chris cran of one yellow rabbit theatre company’s summer lab. the objective of this workshop is to show participants that they shouldn’t be afraid to take their writing and play with it, mess it up, destroy it if necessary. great works of art are never finished; nothing should be considered sacred and sometimes intervention is necessary to stimulate your creative process.
facebook event | registration link

vic voices writing workshop with alessandra naccarato
april 10th, 2019 | 5-6:30pm | $0-10 sliding scale – paid admission isn’t required, but registration is!
the 10th annual victorious voices festival is the island’s biggest youth spoken word poetry event of the year! featuring the high school slam championships, workshops and feature performances by award-winning poets, it is three days of mind blowing spoken word art. join award-winning writer alessandra naccarato for a writing workshop.
facebook event | registration link

vic voices writing workshop with ian keteku
april 9th, 2019| 5-6:30pm | $0-10 sliding scale – paid admission isn’t required, but registration is!
acclaimed poet ian keteku facilitates a workshop on the importance of storytelling and understanding the techniques used to express oneself. participants are led through a process of finding the inner voice and transforming it into poetry. the workshop contains humour, spoken word poetry and public speaking. no previous experience required – all you need is a willingness to try!
facebook eventregistration link

dana neily’s something from nothing workshop
february 24th, 2019 | 1-3pm | $10-20 admission with subsidized tickets available
writers of all experience levels are welcome to come to this workshop with nothing but a pen and some paper, and leave with a new piece (or at least a workable draft!). participants at the beginning of this workshop will write two separate free-writes, and then choose one of them to work on for the rest of the time. we will do exercises for brain-storming, editing, and getting unstuck at different phases of the writing process. all participation is voluntary and you can engage at whatever level you prefer.
facebook event | registration link

writing workshop with the 2018 vic slam team (olivia kompier, dana m. neily, marie metaphor, and hilary somerville)
august 28th, 2018 | 6:30-8:30pm | $10-20 admission with subsidized tickets available
exercise your creative side, break through that writer’s block, or find the voice you never knew you had at this workshop, led by the four members of this year’s vic slam team. flesh out your style, begin something new, or get something off your chest. bond with fellow writers and get support from seasoned poets. everyone is welcome, regardless of prior experience with a pen or a mic; we’re here to write and feel good doing it! ticket prices will go entirely to covering the costs of the team’s trip to guelph, ontario, where they will represent victoria on the national stage at the canadian festival of spoken word in october!
facebook event | registration link

performance workshop with aaron simm
august 27th, 2018 | 7-9pm | $10-20 admission with subsidized tickets available
feeling confident with your work but not sure how to perform it? join us as aaron simm walks you through his methods of polishing your work and getting performance-ready! this workshop is intended for poets who already have a small repertoire of work and are seeking help with transitioning from practicing in their bedrooms in front of a mirror to performing onstage in front of a live audience.
facebook event | registration link

branding workshop with [PROMOMACHINE]
june 23rd, 2018 | 1-4pm | $10-20 admission with subsidized tickets available
WHY PROMOMACHINE? PROMOMACHINE IS LOVE AND DESPAIR. PROMOMACHINE WILL IMPROVE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND. START YOUR OWN TALK OPERA SUPERGROUP. PROMOMACHINE HUNGERS TO UPLIFT YOU TO INVEST IN PROMOMACHINE AND BE YOUR best brand. This workshop will have several focuses and will start off with some collaborative writing and performance exercises, so prepare to walk away with new partners for your brand. A formal powerpoint presentation may or may not happen.
facebook event | registration link

story seeds with elysia glover
may 26th, 2018 | 1-4pm | $10-20 admission with subsidized tickets available
member of the 2014 vic slam team and co-producer of the victoria poetry project, in this workshop elysia will approach spoken word as storytelling, doing exercises to find the seeds for poems and talking about the journey those seeds may take through the seasons to develop into little plants, with the hope that you will leave with a catalogue of seeds.
facebook event | registration link

performing spoken word with emilee nimetz
april 21st, 2018 | 1-4pm | $10-20 admission with subsidized tickets available
a spoken word artist who has performed across the country, dancer slash choreographer, actor, shower-and-stage singer (but never both at once), emilee will be coaching you through spoken word performance to find your rhythm and style, with a bit of  time set aside to coach you through writing.
facebook event | registration link

finding your voice with pamela stewart
march 24th, 2018 | 1-3pm | $10-20 admission with subsidized tickets available
victoria’s 2018 canadian individual poetry slam representative, producer of victoria’s slam by the sea, poet in residence with the riot grrrl burlesque revue, and 4x vic slam team member, pam’s workshop will focus on finding one’s voice through writing and stillness.
facebook event | registration link

spoken word with annie lepage
february 24th, 2018 | 1-4pm| $10-20 admission with subsidized tickets available
coming from writer, artist, 2014 vic slam team member, and youth poetry workshop facilitator annie lepage, this workshop will have an even focus on writing and performance.
facebook event | registration link

spoken word with jeremy loveday
january 21st, 2018 | 1:30-4pm| $10-20 admission with subsidized tickets available
facilitated by 2x vic slam grand champion jeremy loveday, this workshop will focus primarily on writing, with time set aside for performance coaching and practice.
facebook event | registration link