How to be a full time spoken word artist… a panel!

I got to host a panel tonight featuring the likes of Lishai Peel, Ian Keteku and Dwayne Morgan.

As you can imagine it’s a constant hustle to be an artist. How could it be done full time? We explored this reality based on the lived experiences of new and long-time full-time artists, Lishai, Ian and Dwayne.

We explored questions like:

  • photo-13Who are you? How would you sum up what you do?
  • What was the poem that helped kick-start your career?
  • What piece reflects the cutting edge of your work?
  • What was the landscape of shows, venues, communities and key people that helped you get started?
  • What have been the challenges, the worst case scenarios you’ve faced?
  • When was the first moment you glimpsed the possibility of being a full-time artist? How did you decide to go for it?
  • How much do you make – or if you’d rather – what is the extent and impact of your work?
  • What’s your secret?

The rich responses from Lishai, Ian and Dwayne informed, challenged and inspired many of us in the room.

It was an honour and a pleasure. Thanks Toronto Poetry Project ( for organizing this informative gathering!

About tanyapoet

Queer poet and educator committed to access and equity
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