Chris Masson trained as an actor at John Abbott College before studying Creative Writing at Concordia University. He has acted in professional television and theatre productions. He toured one-man spoken word play Pathos, Punchlines and Painkillers to cities in Canada and the U.S. He was a founding member of Montréal’s Throw Poetry Collective. He has won poetry slam championships in Montréal and Vancouver, where he has also taught writing and performance workshops for teens and for his peers.
Chris arrived at spoken word as a way to integrate his two lifelong passions: writing and performance. His work is characterized by dynamism, engaged physicality and a multiplicity of voices and perspectives. Most prominent, though, is his use of comedy to provoke thought. "When you make people laugh, they let down their guard," Masson says, "then you can really get them thinking." He strives to achieve both accessibility and profundity in his poetry. Through his workshops and his community development work, he aims to give a voice to new artists and to youth. In his teaching practice, he marries the fundamentals of performance and writing, demonstrating how these two separate stages of creation inform each other.
Other example of activities
Spoken-word poetry: exploring orality
The class begins with a performance from Chris Masson, followed by a discussion of what spoken word is by identifying common examples like hip-hop lyricism, stand-up comedy and storytelling. Another short performance follows. By identifying some of the literary devices and performance techniques ("How was what you saw different than how people normally talk?"), students are made aware of some of the tools available to them through spoken word. Through a series of short writing exercises, students are then guided through the process of creating short poems using the literary devices they’ve just experienced and discussed. Finally, students are challenged to share this work using some of the performance techniques examined. This workshop makes poetry relevant and exciting to youth by launching off the page and into action.
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Secondary 1, Secondary 2, Secondary 3, Secondary 4, Secondary 5
Montréal, Laval, Montérégie