When Shane Koyczan embarked on his current tour of B.C. he was in “rocky shape.”
The B.C. poet, who gained international attention in 2010 with his performance at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, lost his computer and with it some of his newest and rawest work. He took it as a bad omen.
After searching his vehicle multiple times Koyczan eventually found his computer tucked in the driver’s seat back pocket. He said he had to rewrite a bunch of poems on the fly but came to realize that may have been a good thing.
“Going through the stuff that I wanted to present from the start of the tour and reading through it now that I have it back I realize losing my computer might have been a little bit of a blessing because I’m not sure I’m ready to talk about some of these things,” he said. “So in that regard … the ‘hand of destiny’ is reaching into my life and saying, ‘Hey, let’s put that on the back burner for right now.’”
He said the show he’s been working on is mainly about his grandmother, who he supported with his poetry and who died in May.
He said it is still a delicate subject that has eclipsed everything else in his life right now. He reflects on that loss in his recent poetry, including First Time Again, which opens with, “When you lose the person who taught you to tie your shoes, you will have to tie your shoes again for the first time without them.”
Koyczan wraps up his tour in Nanaimo at the Port Theatre on Oct. 2. He says traveling and performing has been cathartic.
Koyczan said being a touring artist has a heavy emotional cost, likening it to going on stage and “opening a vein.” He said it’s lonely work going from crowded theatres to empty hotel rooms, and without his grandmother as a steadying influence, he’s not sure what’s next for him.
“One of the things that the road or touring has given me through my life is sort of an emotional sounding board where you can say things that are in your heart and it’s being heard and accepted by people in the audience and they’re connecting to you on an emotional level,” he said. “And so in that way what I do is very much a part of therapy. I’m glad that people come to the show, I’m glad they get something out of the pieces, but most of that time what I’m writing about and what I’m talking about is for me.”
WHAT’S ON … Shane Koyczan performs at the Port Theatre on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. All seats $35.