whirred: submission and contact information
whirred: poetry for your ears
have you heard? word is whirred is on its way...




Note: The submission period for Issue 1 of whirred has ended. Thank you to all who have submitted; you will be contacted in the near future. If you wish to submit material for the next issue, please watch the News page to find out when I am looking for new submissions. Volunteers are still needed and are encouraged to contact me at the e-mail address listed below.


I welcome all questions, advice, and comments (even negative ones provided they are constructive). If there's anything you want to tell or ask me, you can reach me (Steve Sauvé) at . If you do not see an e-mail address listed here, then you probably have Javascript disabled in your browser. If you are uncertain how to turn Javascript functionality on, here's an excellent guide I found on the UK's NSPCC site. Using Javascript to display this information prevents spambots from filling my inbox with unwanted solicitations.

In addition, to keep costs of the final product low and also to give whirred an appropriately unique style, I am not only burning the CDs myself, I am also designing and constructing the sleeves the CDs ship in, as well as producing the artwork for the sleeves and labels. I am not a visual artist by any means. If you would like to volunteer your skills to assist in the design of the product, contact me at the e-mail address listed above.

I would also be appreciative of help in assembling the packaging, canvassing bookstores and other venues in an attempt to get whirred on their shelves, and advertising through posters, magazines, and other media. Every individual who volunteers or otherwise plays a part in the process of getting the whirred out will be credited both on the CD and on the website. Substantial amounts of help may also snag some people free copies of the issue they assisted with. Return to top of page


Introductory Note:

Much of the work appearing on whirred will come from artists I have specifically requested contributions from. Unfortunately, I can't be everywhere at once, and I'm certain that there are more than a few brilliant performers who I have never had the pleasure of meeting. There are also some of you out there who are just starting out and want to break into the scene but have yet to read anywhere other than the more intimate, "normal" poetry readings that occur throughout the city... the crowds at performance poetry events such as Spoken Words Broken Brushes can be quite intimidating to those without any experience on the stage. Hell, I've been reading and performing regularly around this city for nearly two years and I still get terrible stage fright.

What I'm basically getting at is that I want to give everyone a fair chance to be in whirred. In fact, if it comes down to a choice between two pieces of equal quality, one by a friend and favoured performer of mine and one by a relatively unknown poet, I'm going to choose the latter individual. Maybe it's just a pipe dream, but I think whirred could play a part in helping to facilitate the growth and recognition of the spoken word community. The best way to do that is to help those who are just finding their voices get heard. Return to top of page

For a printer-friendly version of the submission guidelines right-click here and select "Save Target As..." to download them in Rich Text Format (.rtf). Optionally, left-clicking will open the document in your browser.

Format Options:

Your first step, before doing anything else, should be to check here to be certain that the poem you want to submit fits the style and spirit of whirred. Once you have done that, choose which of the three following format options works best for you, and then scroll down to the media specifications to see exactly what is expected from a submission of that type. Be sure to read everything carefully: blatant disregard for the guidelines listed below may and often will result in your submissions being ignored.

  • Live Audition
    • Come out to one of the poetry events I attend regularly so I can see the piece(s) you would like to contribute. Currently, my favourite events are Spoken Words Broken Brushes (monthly) and the Café Nostalgica Poetry Open Stage (weekly). I very rarely miss either of these events, but you may want to contact me at the e-mail address given at the top of this page to make sure I'll be in attendance.
    • You can audition at one of the above mentioned venues without e-mailing me first. That's perfectly fine. Come to the event, check out the atmosphere, and if you feel comfortable enough to get behind the mic, come introduce yourself to me before you go up and tell me it's an audition piece.
    • If you are unable to attend one of the aforementioned events but you would still like to audition, you can contact me and invite me to come see you at any other poetry-friendly literary event. Make sure you give me the correct date, time, and location for the event. I will let you know if I can make it there.
    • One last note, don't let the concept of "auditioning" get you too nervous. If you have an unruly audience or your delivery is off due to stage jitters, I am not going to automatically dismiss you from consideration. After your performance we will talk and if you feel your performance was not a personal best, or perhaps you think you would do much better in a private recording, please feel free to express these concerns. Return to top of page
  • Text Submission
    • If there is a poem you would like to perform for the CD but you can't fit an audition into your schedule any time soon, you can send me the poem by e-mailing it to me at the address above. Please make sure to put something along the lines of "whirred submission" in the subject line.
    • Put your poem directly in the body of the e-mail itself. In other words, if you have it saved in Word format, cut and paste it into the message area of your e-mail. Attachments will not be accepted.
    • The thing about spoken word is that your performance adds something to the poem that cannot be communicated by mere letters printed out on a page or computer screen. For this reason, text-based submissions are obviously not the preferred choice. They will be considered, but you will not be accepted on the merits of your writing alone.
    • Text submissions are best used as a "pre-audition." You can e-mail me a batch of poems (three to five) and I can tell you which one(s) I prefer and would like to hear. You can then use one of the other two submission options to show me your performance skills with the selected poem(s). Return to top of page
  • Digital Media
    • This is an excellent compromise between the two options listed above. Record your poem and compress it into either mp3 or Ogg Vorbis format, then put it somewhere online for me to download. All you really need to do this is a half-decent microphone for your PC. Refer to the media specifications below for appropriate recording settings and software recommendations. If you've got the bandwidth and a digital camcorder, you can even put a video of yourself online for consideration (whirred will occasionally have video content).
    • Do NOT e-mail me audio/video files. I'll say it for you one last time: e-mail attachments will not be accepted. Hotmail has limits on the acceptable size for attachments, not to mention the limited room in my Inbox. If you know of some other free e-mail service that does not have these limitations, contact me and let me know.
    • If you have a website, that should be the obvious first place you consider for posting the file. Keep in mind that placing the file on your website does not mean you have to make the file available to everyone. Just create a new page that is not linked to by any of your other pages, then e-mail me with the URL of the new page. I will let you know when I have retrieved the file so that you can remove it from your site if you wish.
    • If you don't have a website, a very easy alternative is to open up a Yahoo! Group and upload the file into the Files section. There is space there for up to 20 MB of files, and you can own multiple Yahoo! Groups if you want.
    • NOTE: I have a Yahoo! Group of my own for people to send me files, but this is only for those whose poems I have personally requested. All unsolicited files must be posted either to your own Group or to some other online spot you can give me access to. Return to top of page

Media Specifications:

  • Live Audition: Anything goes. Music, props, audience participation... whatever. If it fits in with the general concept of spoken word as detailed in the mission statement, then go for it. You can audition as many poems / performance pieces as you can fit into the time allotted by the venue we are attending.
  • Text Submission: As stated above, embed your poetry into the body of the e-mail. Do not include your poems in an attachment. You may submit as many as five poems at one time. You should also indicate if you can upload a digital file or make yourself available for a live audition if one or more of your poems is considered for publication.
  • Digital Media: As stated above, mp3 and Ogg Vorbis (.ogg) are the preferred compression formats for digital submission. If you are going to record yourself at your computer, you should use a unidirectional microphone. If you're unsure if your mic is unidirectional or not, don't worry too much – your submission will be considered either way.
    • Software: If you don't have recording and/or compression software, I suggest the free Audacity audio editor. I recommend that you download the latest stable version (1.0.0), not a beta version: a beta application may crash your system. However, I am currently using version 1.1.3 without any problems (1.2.0 caused crashes for me), which can be found on the Audacity team's SourceForge.net project download page here, but if you don't speak geek that list of downloads can be very confusing. (You should also note that, regardless of which version of Audacity you choose, if you want to export your media in mp3 format, you'll need to download the LAME MP3 Encoder Library, which is linked to on the same page where you find the stable version of the Audacity audio editor.
    • Settings:
      • Record in either one (mono) or two (stereo) channels; you can use more if your poem includes some form of accompaniment and you know what you're doing, but for most cases 1 or 2 channels is plenty.
      • Sampling: 44100 Hz or higher rate, 24 or 32-bit format (don't worry if your software doesn't give you control over sample format).
      • Export: If you export in mp3 format, choose a bit rate of either 128 or 160. As for Ogg Vorbis exports, I'm not sure—I haven't played around with .ogg files enough to know what would be ideal here. I'd say mid-quality. If the .ogg file has unpleasant audio artifacts that weren't present in the uncompressed audio session then simply export it again at a higher quality level.
      • I can do the volume leveling and noise reduction myself. Just make sure that your voice is clear and above all background noise. Live recordings are, of course, acceptable.
    • Note: A well-recorded audio submission may very well be directly converted into CD audio for use on whirred; if the recording quality is found to be lacking but your poem is accepted for publication, another recording will be requested and/or arranged. Return to top of page

Accepted Submissions:

Soon this space will detail the process from getting accepted to getting published, including the requirements and benefits that go along with getting into whirred.


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The 2004 Canadian Spoken Word Olympics will be held October 8-10 (tentative) right here in Ottawa! Slam teams as well as individual spoken word artists from across Canada and the U.S. will compete for the coveted Flaming Mike. Return to top of page

The Golden Star Lounge is an event that happens on the last Friday of every month. It includes an open mic set followed by the featured performers, and the night wraps up with an open poetry slam. If you've never been to a slam, GO. Return to top of page

Join the Writers' Deadline!! mailing list to keep up to date with information of interest to the Ottawa writing community. I've been a subscriber to this free listserv for years and it's an invaluable resource. Return to top of page

Bywords.ca should always be your first stop if you want to know what's going on in the Ottawa literary scene. Their event calendar is pretty comprehensive. Return to top of page

magOmania is an awesome resource for finding Canadian magazines. Check out how many literary journals there are in this country! And that's not even including the small distribution 'zines like... Return to top of page

Kiss Machine! What a brilliant idea! For every issue they choose two discordant themes and ask for submissions that incorporate the two. This formula has resulted in some great writing and comix over the course of it's still young run. I highly recommend it. Return to top of page

Page Half-Full Poems is local poet Pearl Pirie's website. She has a sizeable collection of her own poetry there, as well as an excellent links page. Return to top of page

I am more than happy to trade links with other poetry-related sites. Check here for contact information. Return to top of page

This site is best viewed with Internet Explorer 4, Netscape 4, Opera 7 or higher at a resolution of 1024x768 with Javascript enabled. This site is also best viewed at a distance through dense fog whilst under the influence of no less than three psychotropic substances. All literary and artistic content on this site is the property of the indicated individuals and is used with their express permission. All other content copyright © 2003 Stephen Sauvé unless otherwise indicated.