Culture | Politics, faith, and toilet paper

All subjects are poetic at the Throw Slam Collective

On Sunday, at Casa del Popolo, the Throw Slam Collective launched their first album, 3, 2, 1 Throw!, sponsored by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. To celebrate the best of their 2008 poetry session, the collective brought their live poetry to cosy Casa Del Popolo, featuring the music of Instant Release, band of fellow poet Ritalin from Ottawa’s Capital Slam Poetry Collective.

Throw Slam Collective is dedicated to creating a stronger spoken word community in Montreal. Members range from “groups of poets, spoken word artists, multidisciplinary artists, volunteers, dreamers, and lovers of linguistic phenomenon,” as stated on the group’s web site. I first heard of the collective in October when a friend told me about a group he’d gotten involved in, where people worked on and performed their poems. I was initiated into the world of the Throw Slam Collective the following November at Casa Del Popolo. There, the Throw Slam Collective Best of 2008 album was recorded live; members of Throw, with special guests Moe Clark and Kaie Kellough along with members of Capital Slam, spoke of politics, racism, love, faith, toilet paper, and fleeting time. That night, I returned home energized and intellectually riveted, and immediately imported some slam poetry onto my iTunes.

For many years, I complained that I was one of those lonely people who thought too much, destined to end my days writing delirious tracts on a boat amongst salty water and tears. I no longer think this, now that I know there are people out there who can render their thoughts musical and whimsical no matter the topic, and that speakers and listeners can come together to stimulate thought in a vibrant, laid-back setting.

Along with performance venues, the Throw Slam Collective offers workshops for poetry and an organic jam session called The Vibe, where people can create sounds, movements, and poetry of all sorts. Last November, four of the Throw Slam Collective members went to the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word’s National Slam in Alberta. Rob Hoover, Jay Alexander Brown, Jason Freure, and Chris Masson performed pieces collectively and individually among some of Canada’s best. To hear some of the pieces they performed at the festival, go to the Collective’s founder and podcaster Michelle Dabrowski’s blog and look for Episode 15 of her podcast of Throw Radio. The Throw Slam Collective is always looking for new members and will be putting on more events for those who want to participate by snapping their fingers, performing, and listening.

For details on the album and shows, check out You can also hear podcasts at, or sign up for Throw Radio on iTunes.