Penticton poet Shane Koyczan.

B.C. poet Shane Koyczan responds to fatal mass shooting in South Okanagan city

Spoken-word artist and poet Shane Koyczan shares his thoughts on a dark day

Penticton poet, and one of the greatest spoken-word artists in Canadian history, Shane Koyczan shared his thoughts about the shooting that occurred on Monday where four people were killed.

READ MORE: Four dead, one in custody following Penticton shooting spree

Koyczan wrote:

The town I live in is small. Maybe 34,000 people? It’s not tiny, but because it sits between two big lakes there’s no room for it to grow any bigger. I’m okay with that. I like to live in a small place. I can ride my bike from one end of town to the other in 20 minutes. I can walk the street at night without my mind racing to collide with fear. Small places often feel removed from the rest of the issues that plague the world. We busy ourselves with yard work and watch the news thinking that the worst of it “could never happen here”.

Today 4 people were killed by a shooter in our small town. A place where violence like that could never happen. We were told to stay in our homes while streets were closed off and locked down. We waited for updates while we could still hear the helicopter circling overhead.

Everywhere

It used to be that our nightmares held no territory in the waking world

the monster of homelessness and the hellions of addiction were problems better left for elsewhere

violence was a sharp and broken stick not long enough to reach us here in our tucked away corner of the globe

it used to be that when our horrors

did somehow spill out over the threshold of sleep

it was only into the places

that were far away

places we could pray for

and think about from a safe distance

places that were “not here”

but what used to be is no longer

and what’s left is all that is

today

here is there

the place we thought we would never live.

Koyczan attended Okanagan College’s Penticton campus in 1998, where he took courses in the Associate of Arts degree program and excelled in creative writing. He received a major honour with the Young Alumni award from Okanagan College in 2011.

READ MORE: B.C. poet Koyczan pens poem for Humboldt

He gained worldwide attention performing at the opening of the Vancouver Olympics, has toured the world and influenced many with his anti-bullying video To This Day.

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