Shane Koyczan makes spoken-word poetry and music. His poem "To This Day" is a powerful story of bullying and survival, illustrated by animators from around the world.

Why you should listen

Shane Koyczan is a poet, author and performer. He performed at the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, where  an audience of more than 1 billion people worldwide heard his piece “We Are More.”

He has published three books: Stickboy, Our Deathbeds Will Be Thirsty and Visiting Hours, selected by both the Guardian and the Globe and Mail for their Best Books of the Year lists.

In 2012, he released a  full-length album with his band Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long. The album includes the viral hit “To This Day,”  which explores the anguish of anyone who grew up feeling different or just a little bit alone. To bring visual life to this image-rich poem, Koyczan invited artists from around the world to contribute 20-second segments of animation to the project. Posted on YouTube on February 19, 2013, by the close of the month the video had been viewed 6 million times.

What others say

"Shane Koyczan is electrifying. It’s a rare poet who can make his audience laugh and cry; this is a writer who will break your heart, then heal it." — Val McDermid

Shane Koyczan’s TED talks

Shane Koyczan on the TED Blog

Art

8 beautiful and heartbreaking poems from Shane Koyczan

March 8, 2013

Shane Koyczan has a way with words. “I’ve been shot down so many times I get altitude sickness just from standing up for myself,” he says, beginning today’s talk. “That’s what we were told—stand up for yourself. But that’s hard to do if you don’t know who you are.” Koyczan appeared on the TED2013 stage […]

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Art

Live a life to do with beauty: Shane Koyczan at TED2013

March 1, 2013

Spoken-word poet and artist Shane Koyczan is onstage at TED, sharing his own experiences and charming us silly. This is an intimate, heartfelt look into a life that has not always been easy. “I’ve been shot down so many times I get altitude sickness just from standing up for myself,” he says. Being told to stand up […]

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