Sounds like Sylvie Hill

The Ottawa XPress – March 4, 2004
By: Matthew Firth

Poet Faces Off for Victory

Ottawa’s Sylvie Hill will be one of 70 Canadian poets vying for victory when CBC Radio’s Poetry Face-Off starts next week. The competition for a national champion kicks off in 14 Canadian cities with five poets in each making words work before a live, voting audience. Each poet will read on the theme Belonging. The audience chooses the winner. Ottawa’s champ will move on to battle poets from Toronto, Moncton, Edmonton, Victoria, and the other cities. These 14 finalists will read on air on CBC Radio One’s Sounds Like Canada April 19-22. Listeners will vote by phone and through the CBC website to crown a grand champion, to be announced April 30.

In Ottawa, Hill is up against Garmamie Sideau, Wanda O’Connor, Segun Akinlolu and John Akpata – all experienced and accomplished poets/spoken-word artists. They will face-off Monday, March 8, with the winning performance airing the next day on CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning. Hill is the author of Hoxton Square Circles: Starfucking Tales of Sexless One-Night Stands, a visceral collection of poems that kicks you right where it counts, to use an old, schoolyard phrase. But it’s apt because Hill’s poetry doesn’t back down, whether ranting about lost love, blow jobs, Elgin Street racists, or “the perversity with which life rubbed me the wrong way.” Direct, honest, opinionated, occasionally upbeat, but never sugar-coated, she packs tonnes of raw emotion into her short book.

Hill is fired up about Face-Off and will be “reading a piece with plenty of punch,” she said, consistent with the poetry in her book. She also wants her reading to be comedic, because, she said, making an audience laugh–even at poetry–is a good way to engage listeners. Look to Hill and the other poets to throw down their stuff with verve.