The best resources on Shane Koyczan, laid out here for your use.
1. Stickboy – a semi-biographical novel in verse. Link!
This is the stuff. Stickboy shines a light onto the formative years of Shane Koyczan, and is a window into the worst experience of many children’s lives – bullying. 10/10.
2. Our deathbeds will be thirsty/ Silence is a song I know all the words to/ Remembrance Year – poetry collections. Link!
Koyczan’s work is powerful and compelling; capable of bringing even the staunchest readers to tears of joy, and sadness. 9/10.
3. To this day/ Heaven or whatever/ Troll/ We are more – Poetry ‘Music Videos’ released by Koyczan. Link!
These multimedia presentations showcase the best that poetry has to offer. Incredibly evocative. 9/10.
4. Stickboy – the Opera. Link!
The novel turned opera is a smash hit with critics and viewers alike. Very informative.
5. Interview on ‘Q’ – podcast from CBC. Link!
Cntl-F “11/26/2014” to find this interview – in the last 30 minutes of the podcast. Shane is ‘articulate’ incarnate. Excellent if you are looking for his thoughts on bullying in a very digestible format. 9/10.
6. Wikipedia Article – Link!
The best place for finding out the basic info of Mr. Koyczan’s life (birth date, place of residence, etc). Besides that however, useless. 7/10.
“…. and I know that a poet without words is kind of like a kid without salvation, so Grandma, I am here looking for your wisdom. There are still deserts, full of kids, asking God why he chose them. They are still waiting, for their clocks – “
Cue the beard falling off my face.
Oh the agony! What was the best rendition of my speech that I have ever delivered, quickly turned into an attempt to stifle the laugh/sob that threatened to escape. In retrospect, it really wasn’t that bad, but in the moment it felt like a truck and just driven through the finish line right before I took first place.
Despite all the issues though, I think it turned out okay.
NotN was filled with on the spot problem-solving. Materials went missing, learning centres were falling apart, the flat on the stage – we solved them all.
Eric Kim even stained his shirt, and thus was concerned about looking classy as an MC: but fear not Eric! My sweater was ready for you!
Eric, you are styling!
My learning centre was way more successful than I had expected. It consisted of a stage, some of Koyczan’s work on display, and some rewards for participation. Simple, right? I insisted that the people who came by needed to fill out a mad-lib of my (Koyczan’s) work. Upon completion, I would then try to charm them onto the stage with honeyed words. It worked maybe 50% of the time?
I now have a stack of creative, heart warming, witty, touching or satirical mad libs to show for it as well!
In the near future, I will be interviewing my eminent person, Shane Koyczan. Post interview I will post an edit detailing my final thoughts on this project.
Will I remember this night forever? Probably not. Will I remember for it for many years to come? Assuredly.
Shane Koyczan has responded! An interview will be happening promptly, and pieces of the transcript will be posted here post-interview.
My success at NotN was derived from two things.
1) Some wonderful, one-of-a-kind circumstances that occurred that in no way I could’ve foreseen
2) My prep work. Of course, as #2 is the factor I had control over, it is the one I will be focusing on for this blog post.
For the last 4 years, I have been an avid Shane Koyczan fan. Before I ever wrote a word of my own poetry, I was in love with his. Because of this, I knew a lot about him – I knew the outline of his life story, I knew his work, I knew the cadence and rhythm with which he spoke so entrancingly. Thus, when I began to study him, I realized that the ‘research’ component of this project didn’t seem quite as large as it had originally appeared.
All that changed on October 18th, when I saw Stickboy.
Stickboy is Shane’s first, and wildly successful, opera. It was loosely biographical, and detailed extensively the horrendous experience of being bullied. Seeing this opera completely changed my ideas of Shane Koyczan, and caused my focus to narrow in on a specific part of his life/ psyche/ work: his childhood.
Approximately 2 weeks later, we went off to SFU!
I had realized that I wanted to learn more about the formative years of my eminent person, and now, heading to SFU, I realized that I did not have the knowledge I needed to write my speech and create my learning centre. At SFU my goal was to obtain minimum 3 books, with one of those written by Shane himself. I ended up walking away with 2, of which I only read 1. Nonetheless, I would call the trip a success!
It began with some bus-bonding.
I fell asleep in the Museum of Anthropology, so I can’t really comment there…
We enjoyed the beautiful grounds.
And then enjoyed the beautiful, beautiful food.
A tour of the grounds led by my older sis kept things moving.
On the way, I learned about effective and eye-catching advertisements.
And, of course, all roads lead to the library, from whence we departed after completing our tasks. The library was quite extensive, especially compared to the Gleneagle selection.
The books I took out were:
Our Deathbeds Will be Thirsty – by Shane Koyczan (a poetry collection).
Wonder – by R.J. Palacio (a novel detailing a boy born with a horrible facial abnormality, and the struggles that came with it).
Both books would be a 5/5.
If nothing else, the books I obtained from SFU would’ve made the trip worth it. However, if I add in some spectacular food, the misty and rain soaked campus, and my classmates – an excellent day, indeed.