Word Up at the Artesian

Literally just a microphone. Kane Reinholdtsen via Unsplash

November 3 iteration of Word Up features poet Charlie Petch amongst local performers

The time was 7 p.m. It was a cold, windy Wednesday night in Regina. The night sky was beaming. However, the atmosphere inside the Artesian was warm and cozy. The crowd was cheerful, empathetic, and welcoming.

Attendees of the event were welcomed to share their work. In return, they won’t have to pay the admission fee. Although it’s nerve wracking to be open in front of strange people, I decided to share that night. Shaking, I recited some of my work in front of a lovely audience that cheered for me and chanted for me to come back next time. That was the aura of the event; it inspired people to be raw, unfiltered, and open, and even commended them for it.

Other members of the audience also shared their pieces. There was poetry, comedy, and much more. The recurring Word Up event is a versatile event that welcomes all forms of spoken art, whether it be stories, poems, or singing. The invited performer was a “disabled/queer/transmasculine multidisciplinary artist”[1] named Charlie Petch who joined the Regina Word Up event through Zoom.

Residing in Toronto, Petch is a poet, playwright, and musician with a background in lighting design. Petch was named the 2017 Poet of Honour for SpeakNorth. He was also the winner of the Golden Beret lifetime achievement in spoken word alongside The League of Canadian Poets. Petch was there to promote their new book called Why I was Late with Brick Books. Charlie read some excerpts from their book, one titled “broiled meat.”

Petch also recited poems for the audience with his own live music in the background showcasing his many talents. Petch stated that they spent many years doing lighting for television. Their next piece, “Electric,” illustrated the reality of our fast-paced world whereby people are expected to work endless hours. “The world is our television,” read Petch. The poem highlights the reality of working behind the scenes on television and film sets in relation to the rigorous long hours commonly seen in the entertainment industry.

Petch’s book featured many pieces such as “Why did the trans kid cross the road,” “How to tell if a poem is trans or not: Helpful guide for Slam judges,” as well as “Stealing candy at the movies,” among others. A copy can be purchased at Brick Books. The website directs you to local bookstores in any area that have copies for people to purchase.

Petch emphasized that the book is essentially a transformative journey that details his life and the experiences he has been through as a disabled, queer, transmasculine person. Petch says he thinks it’s “a good book for men to read.”

The Regina Word Up event followed the Government of Saskatchewan’s public health orders. The event upheld Saskatchewan COVID-19 guidelines and regulations to ensure it went by in an efficient and smooth manner. The audience was masked up. Moreover, the event organizers encouraged social distancing guidelines. Proof of double vaccination was required along with an ID or a negative test dated within 72 hours. Contact tracing was also set up at the event. Overall, it was a total success!

[1] Regina Word Up Facebook event advertisement.


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