In a realm where poets rarely intersect with stardom, the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics introduced the world to Shane Koyczan.
Garnering a collective wow across Canada and beyond, Koyczan’s 2018 B.C. tour will include a performance at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Sept. 24.
The world took notice when Koyczan’s influential, anti-bullying, To This Day Project video went viral in early 2013 with more than 14 million views and counting.
Powerfully engaging and authentic in attitude, his explorations are relevant to the changing times in the the way that Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Downie and Leonard Cohen are to theirs. But unlike the musicians that he is often compared to, poets rarely infiltrate pop culture.
Koyczan emerges in a new wave of 21st century poetry that dares to belong to the people and speak directly to them in their own voice.
Troll, a poem about cyber-bullying is dedicated to all of those who have lost friends or family through online abuse. Koyczan’s much lauded novel Stickboy became the subject of both an art exhibit and an opera.
Stickboy at Ayden Gallery showcased more than 50 visual artists responding to the theme of bullying explored in the novel. The subject of bullying is an issue Koyczan addresses, and he has gained much acclaim across Canada for his work. The event kicked off Vancouver Opera’s production of Stickboy featuring Koyczan as Librettist. More than 8,000 people saw the production of Stickboy, and leapt to their feet to applaud the artistry.
Koyczan performed on dates with the David Suzuki Foundation’s Blue Dot tour, that took him coast to coast and saw him share the stage with a number of performers including Neil Young, Feist, Margaret Atwood, Raine Maida, Joel Plaskett, Jenn Grant, Chantel Kreviazuk and many more.
Koyczan wrote the poem Shoulders specifically for the tour, and it comes from a collection of poetry entitled A Bruise on Light.
“When I first heard Shane perform ‘Shoulders’ it brought tears to my eyes.” said Suzuki. “Poetry, like music, connects people in a powerful way and Shane lifted the entire audiences to their feet with his incredible words.”
With his rhythmic verse in high gear, Koyczan navigates his audiences through social and political territory with a furious honesty and a tender humanity that has brought audiences to their feet in New York, London, Edinburgh, Sydney, Stockholm and Los Angeles, just to name a few.
He has received five star reviews for his performances around the globe. Winner of the US Slam Poetry Championship and the Canadian Spoken Word Olympics, Koyczan is an extraordinary talent that has blown the dust off of the traditional designation poet.
Koyczan’s 2018 Fall tour is presented by the Kootenay Concert Connection, and is coming to the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Sept. 24 at 7;30 p.m. Tickets go on sale April 13 at the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca. All seats reserved and priced at $32.50. For more information go to www.shanekoyczan.com.