VERSe Ottawa is a collective of Ottawa organizations who curate and produce reading and performance series.  One of the principal strengths of VERSe is the inclusion of both traditional written- and spoken word poetry groups.  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 for coming together, since 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:

  • Plan 99
  • Urban Legends
  • Voices of Venus
  • Factory Reading Series
  • Sasquatch Writers
  • A B Series
  • In/Words
  • Capital Slam
  • Dusty Owl Reading Series
  • 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:

Rod Pederson, President
Michel Thérien, Vice-President
Kevin Matthews, Treasurer
Allison Armstrong, Secretary
Monty Reid, Member
Rusty Priske, Member
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 2012 Website
VERSeFest 2013 Website

Contact Us



143 – 2166 Loyola Avenue
Ottawa  ON  K1J 8H5

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 19 events provide a number of promotional opportunities covering most of the marketing media.