Category Archives: Uncategorized

2015 Schedule Now Posted

The schedule for the 2015 edition of Can You Hear Me Now? has been posted under our Attend menu. Please check it out to see when you can watch your favorite school and poets competing.

For anyone interested in attending the slam, please bring 1 (one) non-perishable food item per person to donate as your entry fee. These items will be donated to the Calgary Food Bank, and you’ll receive a stamp that will then let you attend as many rounds of the poetry slam as you like during the weekend. Help us to support this valuable charity in our community.

See you on April 17!

CYHMN? Better than a Spanish Inquisition! Especially at Teachers’ Conventions

Poets, teachers, coaches, malcontents, and persons of interest representing Can You Hear Me Now? have been asked to appear at all kinds of teachers’ conventions in the month of February. In a manner completely contrary to how no one ever expects a Spanish Inquisition*, you can expect us to be presenting information, strategies, writing exercises, ideas, experiences, and various other intellectual and poetic odds-and-ends at a teachers’ convention near you in the near future!

Thursday, February 12 – Calgary City Teachers’ Convention

Presenters: Everyone

  • Can You Hear Me Now? POETRY SLAM 1: Welcome to the Calgary High School Poetry Slam Scene (8:30 – 9:45, St. Mary’s High School Theatre)
  • Can You Hear Me Now? POETRY SLAM 2: Writing Workshop (10:30 – 11:45, St. Mary’s High School Theatre)
  • Can You Hear Me Now? POETRY SLAM 3: Performance Workshop (12:30 – 1:45, St. Mary’s High School Theatre)

Friday, February 20 – Palliser District Teachers’ Convention

Presenters: Warren Lake, Tyler Perry, Richard Wagner

  • Can You Hear Me Now? POETRY SLAM 1: Welcome to the Calgary High School Poetry Slam Scene (10:30 – 11:45, Glen 203 in the Telus Convention Centre)
  • Can You Hear Me Now? POETRY SLAM 2: Writing Workshop (12:00 – 1:15, Glen 203 in the Telus Convention Centre)
  • Can You Hear Me Now? POETRY SLAM 3: Performance Workshop (1:30 – 2:45, Glen 203 in the Telus Convention Centre)

Friday, February 27 – Greater Edmonton Teachers’ Convention

Presenters: Nancy Krar, Tyler Perry, Richard Wagner

  • Can You Hear Me Now? POETRY SLAM 1: Welcome to Poetry Slam (9:00 – 12:00, Strathcona Room in the Westin Hotel)

Friday, February 27 – Southwest Alberta Teachers’ Convention

Presenters: Siobhan Feeney, John Williamson

  • Can You Hear Me Now? POETRY SLAM 1: Welcome to the Calgary High School Poetry Slam Scene (10:30 – 12:00, B730)
  • Can You Hear Me Now? POETRY SLAM 2: Writing Workshop (12:30 – 2:00, B730)

We hope to see you there (and not at a Spanish Inquisition*)!


CYHMN? Open Mic at Father Lacombe High School – December 4 at 6:30 pm

Tonight, Can You Hear Me Now? is hosting an open mic for any school-aged poets in the Calgary area at Father Lacombe High School (3615 Radcliffe Drive NE).

It kicks off at 6:30 pm and runs until around 9 pm, or until we run out of poets.

If you’d like to perform, email Nancy Krar ( and let her know, or sign up at the door when you arrive.

Students need to bring photo ID with them.

Come out for a night of some of the best poetry you’ll hear this year!

Writers’ Workshop 2 – Saturday, November 29 from 1 pm to 5 pm at Bishop Grandin High School

And not only that, but Paul Finkleman of the Ink Spot Collective (and member of the Calgary slam team in 2010 and 2014) will be offering his expertise and experience to help student poets improve their writing.

The workshop is free and is open to any student poets in the Calgary area.

The very rough and guess-timated schedule for the day is as follows:

1 pm – Greetings and snacks
1:15 – 1:45 pm – Icebreaker activity and snacks
1:45 – 3 pm – Writing workshop (small group work on solo poems) and snacks
  • developing a unique perspective
  • finding your voice
  • writing with concrete details
  • avoiding cliches
3 – 5 pm– Group poetry workshop and snacks
  • suggestions and strategies for writing group poems
  • write a group poem with other poets from your school
  • perform a group poem with other poets from your school

There will be signs in the building guiding you to the classrooms we’re using, and you can drop in whenever you want and stay as long as you like. Oh, and did I mention that we’ll have snacks?

Because we will have snacks. And we’ll be sharing them with any poets who attend.

We hope to see you then!

Writers’ Workshop 1 is Done

On October 28, about 24 students and 4 coaches met at Lord Beaverbrook High School for the first in a series of workshops being offered over the course of this school year (see our Schedule for a complete list of events).

The workshop focused on giving the poets an opportunity to meet, share, collaborate, and socialize with poets from other schools. In the icebreaker activity, they produced some wonderful group performances in response to 4 different topics (1. “A no good, terrible, horrible, very bad day”; 2. “If I was a teacher”; 3. “Writing a poem is harder than . . .”; and 4. “When we were young and foolish”), and they did it in about 10 minutes (5 minutes of individual writing time to produce 4 lines of poetry and 5 minutes of collaboration time to determine reading order and/or create lines to help transitions).

We also did some work with a sharing and revising process that saw the poets read a piece of their work to a group, who recorded lines that they felt were powerful or amazing. After the group was done writing, they gave their lists of great lines to the poet and then told the poet the lines they could remember. This provided poets with helpful information about their poems. First, lines that were not mentioned were to be evaluated very carefully as the poet decided whether to keep them or cut them, or to revise them or leave them. Second, lines that were written down were viewed as lines that held promise, but should be targeted for improvement. Third, lines that were remembered and repeated from memory back to the poet were treated as miraculous gifts to humanity that should not be messed with in any way.

Meanwhile, another group of poets spent time discussing and sharing their writing processes with one another, before writing a short piece, and sharing it using the same process stated above. This group watched Erin Dingle’s performance of “Freeze Tag” and then did a timed writing exercise based on the topic: “Someone you would like to help.”

Oh, and there was also lots of snacks. Glorious, heavenly snacks!

The next writers’ workshop (November 29 at Bishop Grandin High School from 1 to 5 pm) will be a drop-in style event (you don’t have to stay for the full 4 hours, but you can if you want). The title for the next workshop is “Be Unique Concrete While You Flee from Cliche,” with the sub-title: “How to Avoid the Poison of Atrociously Mixed Metaphors.” More information will be posted about this workshop a couple of weeks in advance.

The cost for the all workshops is only a bit of your time and possibly some transit fare or gas money (because you have to get yourself to the workshop). Not only that, but these workshops are offered to any aspiring school-aged poets, whether your school has a poetry club/team or not. So come out and join us for some fun, poetry, and snacks!

Glorious, heavenly snacks!

This Year – Now with 500% More CYHMN?!

CYHMN?, with the assistance of The Ink Spot Collective and several Calgary high schools, is pleased to announce monthly events for Calgary-area school-aged poets to develop their writing and performance skills.

Writers’ workshops will focus on the writing and revision of poems, with an emphasis placed on developing ideas, choosing effective and powerful language, using concrete and powerful imagery, as well as working within the three minute time limit required at poetry slams.

The open-mic event will provide an opportunity for student poets to perform the poems they have been working on in front of a crowd, and to see how a crowd responds to their writing and performance.

  • Writers’ Workshop 1 – Tuesday, October 28 – 4:30 to 6:30 – Lord Beaverbrook High School (9019 Fairmount Dr. SE)
  • Writers’ Workshop 2 – Saturday, November 29 – 1 to 5 – Bishop Grandin High School (111 Haddon Rd SW)
  • CYHMN? Open Mic – Thursday, December 4 – 6:30 – 9:30 – Father Lacombe High School (3615 Radcliffe Dr. SE)
  • Writers’ Workshop 3 – Saturday, February 28 –1 to 5 – Lord Beaverbrook High School (9019 Fairmount Dr. SE)
  • Writers’ Workshop 4 – Tuesday, March 10 – 4:30 – 6:30 – Robert Thirsk High School (8777 Nose Hill Dr. NW)
  • CYHMN? 2015 Poetry Slam – Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18 – Lord Beaverbrook High School (9019 Fairmount Dr. SE) and Robert Thirsk High School (8777 Nose Hill Dr. NW)

If you are interested in bringing students to a workshop or the open mic, or for more information about any of the events, please email Richard Wagner (

CYHMN? 2015 Logo Unveiled!

At a star-studded event including a vast array of intergalactic celebrities, the who’s who of interplanetary culture were awed by the spectacular new logo for the 2015 Can You Hear Me Now? poetry slam (to be held on April 17 and 18, 2015).

And even though you may have missed this exclusive, invite-only and once-in-a-lifetime event, you can now see the 2015 logo for yourself.

Logo CYHMN 2015

CYHMN? organizers are incredibly grateful to Michele Lam, the artist (and Lord Beaverbrook High School student) who created the design, for her creativity, artistic talent, and effort. Keep watching for Michele Lam’s poster, t-shirt, and book-cover designs that will be revealed over the coming months.

Updated Info Bulletin Now Available

Figuratively hot off of the digital presses: The Can You Hear Me Now? 2015 Information Bulletin is now available!

You just click on this link: Info Bulletin 2015, to download your very own copy that includes everything you need to know about CYHMN? including starting a team, the rules, and other fascinating and important information.

Kick Off Meeting – Monday, September 22

To kick off the slam season (at least the CYHMN? slam season), we’ll be meeting at Wine Oh’s (811 1 Street SW) on Monday, September 22, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

If you’re interested in starting a slam team at your school, are thinking about entering a team, or would like some more information about the slam, please join us!

Immediately after the meeting some of us will be going downstairs to participate/watch the monthly poetry slam sponsored by The Ink Spot Collective, and you’re welcome to join us for that, as well.

CYHMN? Goes Province-Wide for 2015

Incredible though it may seem, Can You Hear Me Now? is going to be open to all high schools in Alberta in 2015!

So if you’re attending a school in Alberta, or if you teach at a school and would like to enter a team, check back in the Fall for more information about starting and entering a team, as well as information about timelines and deadlines.

For 2015, the competition will be open to the first 16 teams to register, with teams after those first 16 being added to a waiting list.

In the meantime, check out the information on our website about “How to Start a High School Poetry Team,” and check out videos of the 2014 Can You Hear Me Now? competition on our “Videos” page. (More videos will be added over the summer, so keep checking back!)