VERSe Ottawa is a fully-incorporated collective of Ottawa organizations who curate and produce reading and performance series. One of the principal strengths of VERSe is the inclusion of written- and spoken word poetry groups, as well as other leaders in the poetry community. In coming together, the members of VERSe Ottawa have created an organization that, we believe, is unique in Canada and, perhaps, North America. The group and its activities are all the more durable since, as a team, VERSe’s activities will not be dependent on any one group or executive body. VERSe membership changes from year to year as series come and go. The current members include, in no particular order:

  • Urban Legends Poetry Slam
  • Factory Reading Series
  • AAOF
  • RECF
  • Ottawa International Writers Festival
  • Arc Poetry Magazine
  • Sawdust Reading Series
  • KaDo
  • In/Words
  • Capital Slam
  • Blue Mondays
  • Railroad Ottawa
  • Tree Reading Series

Poetry in Ottawa

There is a high density of activity in poetry in Ottawa. More than 14 reading series hold regular events, which enjoy a cumulative attendance of between 600 and 1000 people per month. Poets featured and nurtured by these opportunities include the best of local talent, as well as some of Canadian Poetry’s brightest and best-respected poets.

The Organization

VERSeFest is a fully-incorporated, not-for-profit organization with a Board of Directors, organizing committee and charitable status. The Board of Directors are:

  • Yves Turbide, President
  • Michel Thérin, Vice-President
  • Monty Reid, Festival Director
  • Avonlea Fotheringham, Festival Administrator
  • Vivian Vavassis, Director of Communications
  • Éric Charlebois, Secretary
  • David Stymeist, Director of Sponsorship
  • Didier Pilon, Volunteer Coordinator
  • Rod Pederson, President Emeritus
  • Rona Shaffran, Member


VERSe began planning in spring of 2010 for our first festival, VERSeFest 2011, which made the most of the planning and organizational capacities of the component organizations of the collective, as well as the high artistic standards, of all these organizations in order to give Ottawa its own annual poetry festival.  VERSeFest will be an annual international festival of poetry, befitting Ottawa’s place as a world capital, and showcasing the artistic accomplishment and high-level activity of the Ottawa poetry scene.

VERSeFest 2011 Website
VERSeFest 2012 Website
VERSeFest 2013 Website
VERSeFest 2014 Website
VERSeFest 2015 Website

Contact Us



2 – 80 Cambridge St. N.

Ottawa  ON  K1R 7A6

Supporting VERSeFest

Receipts with a charitable number will be issued with any donations.

We are seeking interested, local and independent businesses which will benefit directly from our shared goals. Our events provide a number of promotional opportunities covering most of the marketing media.