Thursday, August 6, 2009

Exclusive Chat with ToF feature Elyse Maltin

She's got hair most people would kill for, a voice that everyone stops to listen to, and more things to say than a monk coming off of a vow of silence - it's Ontario's Elyse Maltin.

ToF: Labels suck, but if you had to label yourself as an artist, what would it be? Poet? Performer? Spoken Word Artist? Slam Poet? Why?

E: i usually use the term "spoken word poet" or "spoken word artist" when asked, but i'm not really sure how i arrived at that--probably because i don't feel like "poet" adequately captures the performance aspect, and because i don't like it when people use the terms "slam poet" or "slam poetry". i know there is a sort of a style that we associated with slam, but i think that using those terms confuses people that don't understand that a poetry slam is just a very particular type of spoken word poetry competition.

ToF: How did you feel the first time you stepped up a mic to read what you had written? How long ago was that?

E: the first time i stepped to a mic, i was terrified and shaking. it was in nov 2007. i had been devouring hours of def poetry jam online every day, after a friend introduced me to it, and decided "i can do that!". a week later, i saw a poster for a slam at school, and entered. unlike in a "real" slam, the judges were all from the english department, and they told me that with my feminist rant, my politics overwhelmed my art. so i started my own slam!

ToF: Ok- let's get a little 'Dating Game' here: if your poetry was a flavor of icecream what kind would it be?

E: if my poetry was a flavour of ice cream, i think it would probably be ginger--a little bit spicy, a little bit sweet, and makes you think.

ToF: You're organizing slam in your hometown and touring now, what's next on the list?

E: i hadn't really thought about my next poetry-related goal. i guess there are a few. the biggest two that come to mind are starting to write more consistently, and getting the london slam to a place where i can confidently hand it over to other members of the community.

ToF: What's the next poetry-related goal you want to fulfill? What is the poem you haven't written yet? You know, the poem that you aspire to write.

E: the poem i haven't written yet is the one about my mom's illness. my best friend is always encouraging me to get more personal with my writing, and i've tried starting that poem, but i haven't been able to delve deep enough to continue or finish it.

ToF: Are you excited to be coming back for the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in November?

E: i'm SO pumped to be getting to visit victoria twice in one year, and to get the chance to be at CFSW again. i'm also very excited that we will be flying this year--driving out to calgary with 5 poets in one crowded an was the experience of a lifetime, but i'm looking forward to a more relaxed travel plan this time around.

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