The Vancouver Writer’s Festival generously funded a school visit by Spoken Word Poet, Alessandra Naccarato on June 1, 2015. Alessandra performed some incredible poems to Mr Gebert’s and Mr Forsythe’s English classes, including “Coyote Medicine/ Medicine Coyote” which was a CBC Poetry Prize Finalist. Ms. Naccarato is a recipient of a Canada Council Grant, writes creative non-fiction and is an RBC Emergent Writer. She is set to release an album of spoken word and music in the coming weeks. She is also working on her first YA novel, an environmental thriller set in a dystopic Canadian future. If you want to read further works by Alessandra Naccarato, “Re-origin of Species” is a free ibook put out by the Writers’ Trust of Canada.
Student Q & A:
Why does your speaking voice sound different from your reciting voice?
I use my training in theatre to change octave, rhythm and tone to accompany and emphasize the message of the poems.
Metaphors or similes : which do you prefer ?
Similes are easier to insert into poems and are effective for conveying imagery. However, extended metaphors can structure an entire poem and are effective for drawing your audience into your thought process as they provide multiple points of entry into the poem.
Who are your literary influences?
In Grade 10 I had an English teacher introduce me to Howl by Allen Ginsberg. Howl showed me what poetry was capable of , in particular, its revolutionary aspect; Howl inspired me to become a poet. My other influences are Ursula K. L Guin and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Where can young people hear and participate in spoken word ?
Check out the Vancouver Poetry Slam and monthly open-mic events at Café Deux Soleils
Do you have any hobbies?
I like to make jewelry, teach yoga, and read tarot cards. I study tarot cards with mentors who use the cards as storytelling devices through the analysis of archetypes.
Any words of advice ?
“Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and do the work.” This means that sometimes, poems come easily to me; most times, I just have to write everyday and refine my work, sometimes for years. Basically, the more I write, the easier it becomes.