Ian Keteku

Ian Keteku

Ian Keteku’s autobiography begins at the tender age of 6 when he was first introduced to poetry and creative writing. The piece he scrawled on loose-leaf was about a recent family trip to the Calgary zoo. Since then, Keteku has been chronicling his world travels, writing about everything from his laptop to social justice and uses his words to free humanity from its own mental cages.

The most recent chapter in this autobiography took place in Paris, France this June where Ian Keteku was crowned the 2010 World Poetry Slam champion.

Ian Keteku also known as Emcee E uses his voice to speak for the voiceless and inspire messages of peace, action and critical thought.

He has performed his poetry and music all over the world and continues to plant seeds of poetic justice globally. Ian is also part of the critically acclaimed spoken word troupe The Recipe.

Ian Keteku has shared the stage with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Ursula Rucker, members of the Wu Tang Clan, K-OS, critically acclaimed poet Saul Williams and others. In addition, he had the opportunity to perform for the Governor General of Canada (Michaëlle Jean), on three occasions.

But there is more to Emcee E than just thought provoking poetry and music.

Ian conducts poetry, writing and performance workshops for youth and various community groups. Inspiring people to accept the power of their own voice.

He is also a journalist who has been featured in CBC, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, TVO and countless other broadcast and print publications.

Right Side Up

I wonder if stars in the sky ever wish on a shooting human
Or what butterflies get in their stomach when they are scared?

Somewhere there is a grown monster checking for a little boy in his closet
There is an alien with Facebook, who hates the new interface

Most times, I still sit on the back of the bus

Freedom fighters searching for revolution on Wall St.

Crying hyenas and right-handed polar bears
Sometimes the world makes more sense from here.

Like plants going inside for fresh air
Or how she only gets high because the world is trying to say goodbye

I know Chinese women with English words tattooed on the small of their backs
And young girls who would rather burn a beetle to oblivion than play house
Real boys that dream of being Pinnochio

When moons hang out, do their lunar cycles match up?

Do books read human fingers?
And if so, what story do they tell?

I wonder,

If the assassin of Bambi’s mother had children?

Or what would happen if I bit a vampire?

Being a well-rounded square is cool
Being nerdy is hip
I mean, indie is not pop, right?
But pop is popular, right?
However, indie is popular, right?
So doesn’t that make indie-pop?

Dumb hipsters.


All I know is if you look at the world through rose petals
All you see is red

There is a cheetah wishing to be slower
A sloth hoping to be faster
A microbe wanting to be larger
An elephant asking to be smaller
A girl on a bridge waiting to be lighter
A body of water wishing it was softer

Somewhere the darkest girl in class is the brightest in the room

From here a smile is just an upside down frown
And a 6 is just a 9 right side round.

Without looking back
You can’t look forward

Without knowing safety how can you really know horror?
Without knowing what’s new how can you know what is old?
Without being scared how can you learn to be bold?
And if you’ve never known sour, you will never know sweet
So turn everything on its head
Because you can never raise your soul
Until the sky has the feet.


Birds © 2012 Calgary Spoken Word Society