Shane Koyczan wowed the Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony and he will bring his poetic magic to Campbell River's Tidemark Theatre March 10.

Shane Koyczan dusts off the term poet

He wowed the nation during the Olympic opening ceremonies by defining Canada

One year ago, Shane Koyczan stood on a large pedestal during the Opening Ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics. When he concluded his performance with the words, “…we are the true north strong and free, and what’s more, is that we didn’t just say it, we made it be,” the stadium crowd erupted while the nation spoke a unanimous “wow.”We found the poet of our generation. And we weren’t even looking for one. Powerfully engaging and authentic in attitude, his explorations are relevant to our times in the way that Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Downie and Leonard Cohen are to theirs. But unlike the musicians that he’s 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.Folk rock converges with spoken word poetry as world-renowned poet, Shane Koyczan, takes the Tidemark Stage with his band, The Short Story Long, on Thursday, March 10 at 7:30. This group will take you through a rollercoaster of feelings, bringing you laughter, tears and perhaps even goose bumps. It will be a show well worth catching.Koyczan is both a writer and spoken word virtuoso. His first published collection, Visiting Hours, was the only work of poetry selected by both the Guardian and the Globe and Mail for their Best Books of the Year lists in 2005. Destined to become a future classic, Visiting Hours is now in its third edition, and includes We Are More, the powerful and moving poem that defines a nation often too humble to define itself, originally commissioned by the Canadian Tourism Commission and performed at the Olympics.Koyczan followed up on the success of Visiting Hours with Stickboy, a novel in verse that chronicles the dark and lonely journey of a bullied child gripped by helpless rage. Koyczan shines a light into the bleak world behind some of the most incomprehensible acts in our culture, and also shows the healing power of love. Written for anyone who has ever been a child, Stickboy continues to be hailed by teachers, academics, and mental health experts alike for its deft handling of the subject of bullying.Shane also breathes life into the new genre of talk rock with his band the Short Story Long. A trio whose musical range stretches from folk to funk, from ambient to rock, showcasing all of the beautiful in between, have along with Koyczan created a whole new style of song/verse. Winning “Best New Artist” at the BC Interior Music Awards in 2009, receiving standing ovations at festivals across Canada, and selling out theatres and café’s alike, the band has turned heads on the Canadian independent music scene.Koyczan however, is best known for his award winning spoken word performances. With his rhythmic verse in high gear, he navigates his audience 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 and Los Angeles. He was the first poet from outside the USA to win the National Individual Slam competition in the States in 2001. Also a winner of the Canadian Spoken Word Olympics, Koyczan has been privileged to share stages with Salmon Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Ani Difranco, and Utah Philips. He is truly an extraordinary talent that has blown the dust off of the designation “poet.”Don’t miss Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long Campbell River on Thursday, March 10 at the Tidemark Theatre. Tickets are $35 Adults, $30 Tidemark Members, $15 Students, (sorry, eyeGo tickets have sold out) and are available at the Tidemark Ticket Centre during their new hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tue. through Sat. or Charge-by-Phone at 287-PINK (7465) or 1-800-994-0555. Tickets are also available On-Line at www.tidemarktheatre.com

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