Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Lesbian lovers, slam poet rivals

Canadian Festival of Spoken Word sees girlfriends competing for two different towns

One of the main obsessions of a writer is to avoid clichés like the plague, but the moment that queer slam poets Beth Anne Fischer and Truth Is first spoke, all the typical things that people say about love became a reality for them.

Trumpets sounding, birds chirping — the whole deal.

In fact, from all accounts, sparks flew pretty wildly between the two wordsters even before they introduced themselves at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW) in Calgary in 2008.

“Our attraction was instantaneous and unrelenting,” says Fischer. “Up to that point, I was very jaded — I thought all that Hollywood/Disney love-at-first-sight drivel was bullshit and just set people up for depression. But, I have to say, I tripped. And as all my aunties say, When you find the one, you just know. Another phrase that pissed me off for years, but it’s true.”

The two poets are now engaged and recently relocated to the nation’s capital to make a life here. Why now? They hoped to start their Ottawa days off right by moving to town in time for this year’s edition of CFSW, which takes place from Oct 12 to 16.

“Ottawa seems to be it, what with its national championship team, the world poetry slam champion [living here] and the involved community,” says Truth. “I hear it gets pretty cold — I’m definitely not looking forward that!”

CFSW tradition dictates that the national slam champions host the festival in their own city the year after they win, and since Ottawa’s The Recipe won the title last year, our fair city will host the 18 competing teams in 2010, along with thousands of enthusiasts from across Canada.

This year, Fischer and Truth, who have just started performing together as part of a new troupe called Chocolate Fountain, will be competing against each other: Fischer on the Guelph team and Truth on the Burlington team — the cities they just moved from.

“[It’s a] whole new spin on ‘in bed with the enemy,’ but I find it helpful,” says Truth. “She has helped me with every aspect, and I don’t think I would be as prepared as I am if she wasn’t taking the ride alongside me.”

“I love some healthy competition!” says Fischer. “Playful jabs and smack talk…. Besides, [it’s] cool to get insight on how another team prepares.”

“Make no mistake; I would like my team to win,” says Truth. “But, regardless of the outcome — if it’s her team or if it’s mine — the trophy will sit on the same shelf and there’ll be a genuine smile on both our faces.”

The truth is (sorry), both of them are so happy about their recent move to Ottawa to be part of the thriving slam community here — and also to learn French — that they’re hardly going to let a little head-to-head competition throw them off. They plan to dive into the slam community right away and let their service-industry jobs support their shared poetry habit.

“The spoken-word community has been very welcoming. They knew we were coming and are excited,” says Fischer. “Part of this warm welcome includes the Bill Brown Slam booking me as a feature performer the first week that I was here.”

If you’d like to see these poets in action or get involved in the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, visit cfsw.ca.