First Time Reading

Words by Sil

There is something invigorating about reading poetry to an audience for the first time. As I discovered at the Dan, it’s like taking a plunge into freezing water. It’s nerve wracking. But what is so invigorating about it is the sense of accomplishment after you’ve finished reading out your piece and come to realise that, even though you felt like your piece was bad, you’re reading to a room full of like minded people, some of whom are probably just as nervous as you. And in some cases, likely just as mad.

This is what I discovered at the Dan. The first time I had ever been to a poetry reading, on the 7th of February, was a competition organised monthly by the Dan Poets who run weekly poetry gigs at The Dan O’Connell Hotel. It was sincerely the most unexpected experience I’ve had in meeting with like-minded people. Hosted by Libby, the group consists of authors from many walks of life. Some of them already published authors (A couple proudly read books they had just printed), while others, much like myself, were shut away writers who had decided to take the leap.

If someone who writes poetry were looking for a warm welcome, I’d highly recommend this meeting. No sooner had I walked in the door, I was met gleefully. (The fact that first timers get a free drink played no role… Ok, maybe a little). The readings themselves were fantastic; there was no holding back or no mind for what content was in the poetry. Some of it was quite comedic. All in all, most people had a lot of fun in their writing and the reactions they received.

Of course, when it came time for me to read, it really did feel like plunging into freezing water. I did have to inform the audience that I might stumble. And one point, I thought my leg would give out, considering how violently it was shaking. But I stood and read with confidence, met greatly with applause. The invigorating factor, for me, came in when people came to me and commented on what I had written. It was at that moment that I knew most of these people knew exactly how I felt, both in terms of an artist sharing their work (Because we’re all our biggest critics, right?) and being a first time reader.

All things considered, if advising someone who wants to attend such an event and has never done so, I can only be blunt: do it. You can learn a lot about where writing can take you, make new friends, and form new connections. Pessimism and negative thinking are left at the door, and you’re amongst people who genuinely want to know what you have to say, and what you will express in your reading. You also get a free drink on your first visit. (But really, that plays no part in the decision right? Right??

SavedPictureMy name is Sil, currently living in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. I started writing when I was 11 years old. No one theme is constant for me. I draw influence from many sources; some of the music I listen to and books (Especially Tolkien). My first time ever reading poetry was at the Dan, but I have a background in acting and music.

Review: Coyotes by Ken Arkind

Review by Benjamin Solah

Technically, this website is meant to discuss poetry written by Melbourne poets, but Ken Arkind has been here enough so we can kind of adopt him. Plus, if he likes this review maybe he’ll jump on a plane and move here and we can smell his honey badger beard all the time and the poetry will be really great.

But in lieu of him not coming to Melbourne, I’ve always wanted a collection of Ken Arkind’s since seeing him perform here a few years back alongside a whole bunch of cool poets from The States. They all blew me away but especially Ken. Maybe there was something about this cadence and tone that reminded me of the poetry I was striving to write but just falling short of like making an awesome jump above a gorge and just missing and falling to my death.

81a-gcy07qLCoyotes contains a bunch of those first poems that got me hooked like ‘Maggie’ and ‘An Experiment in Noise.’ As you get to those pieces in the collection, they orient your reading, you read them with his voice in your head and add clarity to the new pieces. They are also just as strong yet different in how they’re read on the page. The way he plays around with the placing of the lines, sometimes shifting the font, goes someway to capturing the way it’s spoken. Like when it opens with ‘An Experiment in Noise,’ with lines like ‘Remember that refrain when the waves come. they will come‘.

But ‘David’ is clearly the standout piece. It’s the one that makes my insides stand in silence and it was an interesting experience when the lines ‘When I looked down the screen read, / I live you I live you I live you I live you‘ hit me like they always do. Usually, you can sit there as the lines collectively hit everyone around you and react naturally, but this time I sat on the tram, the passengers around with no real idea what I was reading, and I had to hold it all in, behind my sunglasses, but I really wanted to jump up and say to the whole carriage, ‘Listen to this! It makes you feel something.’

What is clear in Coyotes is Arkind’s particular accuracy with the contemporary image and metaphor, his ability to pluck something that fits his generation and deploy it with clarity. ‘Portland is Seattle’s know-it-all little sister / who went backpacking across Europe for a semester / and came back with an attitude.’ Some of them are particularly American, but not so much that you’re left totally confused. The metaphors from backstory and pop culture make the poetry accessible, but not in any cheap or easy way. His language is gritty, not with one arm tied behind his back, tied back by form or obscurity. Most of all its a great accompaniment to his performance work that Melbourne would be love to see again.

Poet bio photoBenjamin Solah is the Director of Melbourne Spoken Word. He is also a spoken word artist from the western suburbs of Sydney, now calling Brunswick West home. He has performed at the National Gallery of Victoria, featured at Passionate Tongues, The Dan, among others. He released on EP with Santo Cazzati called Duel Power in 2012 and his chapbook broken bodies in 2013.

Farewell poetry@fedquare

Words by Benjamin Solah

Poetry gigs come and go. It’s always so exciting when a new gig comes up, in a new venue, or if we see someone taking the initiative to keep our scene chugging along by setting up their own gig. I’m in awe of some of the gigs and their organisers that have kept gigs running for so long, for their hard work and determination but also convincing venues and organisers to keep supporting spoken word when it doesn’t always seem like the most booming art form. Some gigs have survived many venue swaps, as one pub decides to shun poetry, that convince another to keep it alive.

It’s also especially sad when a gig has to wrap up. Dimitris Troaditis has been running poetry@fedsquare for the past two years, where he hosted a monthly poetry gig, inside the Atrium at Fed Square or upstairs at Beer DeLuxe, and was especially encouraging of poetry in other languages, himself writing and performing poetry in Greek. Melbourne Spoken Word was very happy to support this event, publicising it along with all of the other gigs, and doing our little bit to get people along. I hope some of you got the chance to make it along one Saturday. I had the pleasure of performing alongside some refugee poets there one Saturday afternoon, and it was always a pleasure to meet the regular open mic readers that had called this event home.

Unfortunately, Fed Square have chosen to discontinue to the event from this year and so we’ve lost this treasure. Like Australian poetry as a whole lost ABC Poetica, and everyone remembers losing The Spinning Room due to the venue being refurbished, we hope that Dimitris continues to host a new gig at a new venue when he’s ready. As one venue decides to not support poetry, we’ll find another that does and continue to find people to support it so we can keep on performing.

Melbourne Spoken Word Workshop and Pop Up Recording Studio

Friday, January 30 @ 1-7pm / Under the Hammer, 158 Sydney Road, Coburg

***Note the date change from the 23rd to the 30th***

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 2.45.58 pm

Melbourne Spoken Word is pleased to announce our first event of 2015!

We’re going to host a workshop and pop up recording session on a Friday afternoon at Under the Hammer.

Workshop:
The workshop will cover some basic writing exercises and performance games to get your writing muscles moving. No shortcuts. Just plain old group motivation and prompts to get you thinking and writing.

1-4pm, $5 entry. Book your spot and pay at the door.

Pop Up Recording Session:
Audacious is MSW’s audio journal, basically an album of spoken word released every 3 months and we’re extending submissions until the 30th so if you don’t have recording equipment, you can book a short 10 minute slot to come in and record your poem and submit that way.

Submission doesn’t guarantee publication. Please bring material already prepared. It’s recommended you don’t submit the thing you wrote at the workshop beforehand.

Times available from 4pm to 7pm. Book your 10 minute spot so you don’t miss out. $5 submission fee.

Let’s make 2015 big for poetry in Melbourne

It’s been a busy year for the Melbourne poetry and spoken word community in 2014, and especially here for Melbourne Spoken Word. As usual, Melbourne was full of events on most nights of the week, we had special features and lots of open mic, and international poets and slam champions and people released books and CDs into the wild. We would love to see more of all of this in 2015. Melbourne has a reputation as one of the most vibrant, busy and exciting poetry and spoken word scenes not just in Australia but around the world.

In 2015, Melbourne Spoken Word hosted a number of events, 6 in fact. We held a showcase of Melbourne poets at the National Gallery of Victoria as part of the Melbourne Now exhibition in January, where we performed behind the waterfall entrance and lots of people came past and became exposed to a wide variety of poets. We were also very proud to host US slam poet Bill Moran, alongside local features Fury and Andy Jackson and many of those faces in the crowd were totally unfamiliar to us. We hosted our first ever ‘Poetic Lab’ with feature Steve Smart, where open mic poets get feedback on their poems, and we hosted two workshops, one with Brisbane poet Scott Wings.

But by far our most successful event was in September with our Drag Slam. We sold out Hares & Hyenas, and with Fury MCing the night, it was spectacular and very much in the vein of the unique poetry events we want to put on in 2015. We were event lucky enough for it to be the subject of a documentary, ‘Slam Poetry – Dressing the Medium.’

Our public goal right here, and we hope you’ll hold us accountable to it, is we want to host at least one event a month all year round, whether that be a feature poet, a special event, a workshop or a Poetic Lab. We’ll try to announce the events as soon as we know. We’ve got some cool ideas in tow.

2014 was also the year of the Crowdfunding campaign. We were pretty proud and excited to raise over $5,000 for the new website and our audio system and once again, we thank everyone who donated to us. Our goal in 2015 is to continue to collect ongoing donations, apply for funding, and run events and produce publications that can help us do what we love most, which is promoting and expanding poetry and spoken word in Melbourne.

Of course in 2015 our big project is the release of our new website. Our designers, Phil and Toby, are working hard on bringing our design to life where all of the gigs in Melbourne will become front and centre of what our website is all about, with individual event pages for each event, alongside more content. We hope more people will contribute reviews, interviews, their opinions and advice to make this truly a community website, plus we intend to get out and record more spoken word videos at some of Melbourne’s top events.

And of course, Audacious will be launching in early 2015. Our first spoken word audio journal or album is still looking for submissions. We’ll have a pop up recording studio in 2015 for submissions and we can confirm that the first issue will include touring American poet, Emily Weitzman plus the Victorian Finalist of the Australian Poetry Slam Championship and Slamalamadingdong Season Champion Brendan Reed Dennis. We’ll be opening pre-orders soon to help us pay for printing and the pressing of the CDs.

Personally, I have a million ideas for what we could do, but it’s often limited by funding or time, and so one our goals in 2015 is for more people to be involved in Melbourne Spoken Word and to help support people in their own projects. We’re very happy to reply to emails and chat to people at events if they have questions or need help if they want to put on a gig, publish their work in either audio or print form.

I’m issuing a challenge to all poets and spoken word artists to make 2015 big, let’s push ourselves, push ourselves in our own writing to produce new work, get it out there, on the open mics, as feature gigs, producing chapbooks and CDs, or submitting to Audacious, Going Down Swinging and any place that will take spoken word. Let’s push ourselves to put on new events, to cross promote and support each other’s gigs and projects. Let us all work together to bring us together even stronger as a community.

All that may sound very sentimental and over the top but there’s something in the do-it-yourself and community-minded nature of our scene that attracts people to it despite not having the backing of arts funders and big money promoters. Of course, if you have any ideas to improve our website or Melbourne Spoken Word, or the scene in general, we’d love to hear it, either in the comments or by submitting an article to our website.

A few tips on submitting your recorded poems to Audacious

So you think you’ve got a vivid poem or passionate spoken word piece that would be perfect for the first edition of our audio-journal Audacious being released next year, but not quite sure how to record it? Well, we’ve got a few tips to help you record your piece and submit it right to give it the best chance of getting in.

And to give you the best chance of getting your submission in, because we’d love a wide range to choose from, we’re extending submissions until Sunday, January 18 and before then, we’ll have a workshop with time for an open mic/submission recording session for those who can’t access recording.

  1. Follow the submission guidelines.
  2.  
    The submission guidelines can be found on our Submittable Page here. Please read them carefully and submit your piece via the form. Please do not email us your poems. Please include a bio with your piece, but do not include a cover letter or a note in that box. We just need your bio. Also it’s really important that we get your recording in the highest quality possible which is why we only accept WAVE (.wav) files to produce our CD and upload the album to Bandcamp. Please don’t make a .mp3 and convert to a .wav file. Read on to see how to record your poem.

  3. Find a recording device.
  4. A microphone like this will only cost you $10
    A microphone like this will only cost you $10
    You don’t need a professional recording set-up to record your piece. If you have something like that, say a housemate has a microphone that they use to record music, or someone you know has a recording set-up, that’s great but not essential. You can purchase inexpensive microphones that plug straight into your computer from a computer store or off somewhere like eBay. Something
    like this(pictured) might be ideal for someone on a budget. You can also find microphones that plug into your smartphone to increase your quality of recording. You may also just record your poem via your computer or smartphone with the inbuilt microphone but it might not be as high quality, and it might be hard for us to hear it properly. When recording on your computer, you can download a free program like
    Audacity to record your poem onto and save it as a .wav file.

    For those looking to do more professional recordings, say if you wanted to produce a spoken word album yourself, you can buy audio recording interfaces for $100-200 and a microphone and cable for another $50-100 and record that way.

  5. Find a place to record.
  6.  
    It is really important that the recording is as clean as possible so find a quiet place to record, with no background noise whatsoever. Some microphones will pick up sounds from the next room, or from outside. Best to stay away from windows and ask anyone in your house to be silent for the couple of minutes you’re recording. And it’s best to listen to your recording over after you record it, and then re-record if you stumble a bit on a line or hear someone cough in the next room, and stuff like that.

  7. Come to our recording session in January.
  8.  
    We’re going to host a casual workshop in January at Under the Hammer, to help people get some writing done, with a few exercises and theatre workshops and a chance to share and ask questions about writing. In that time, we’ll allocate a section so people can record their poems and submit them. It’s preferable you bring a poem already and don’t just submit the thing you wrote that day. Fill out our poll below to let us know the best day to host it on.

    What day is best for our workshop and recording session

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    If you’ve got any questions, leave them below and we can help you out.

Can You Kill A Poet? “Our government” Kills Poets!

Words by Kylie Supski

For ABC Poetica

Perhaps, I attracted you, with this eye-catching title, but
it is up to you. You can take The Blue Pill, and continue
to live in a coma, a coma induced by words of Murdochs
and Packers, endorsed by “our government.” Or You can
take The Red Pill, read my words, “and I show you how
deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is
the truth. Nothing more.” (Matrix.)

I was recently at “Dan Poets,” one of many Melbourne
Spoken Word events. The theme of the day was
      “Dead Poets Society”.
We read words of poets who are no longer alive. No,
they are not dead. Poets live within their words, and
as long as we read and listen to poets words they never,
nonever die. So a question is
      Can you kill a poet?
“Our government” by shutting down ABC Poetica did
just that. They killed poets whose words were spoken
and listened to during Poetica shows.

Perhaps, you may ask
      Why? Why Poetry is so important?
      Can we live without Poetry?
Years ago, I was studying mathematics, specialising
in Logic. At that time, I was often asked why would
you study Logic. I can answer this question now.
Logic is the DNA code for science. Without Logic
most of the things that we use today would not be
possible. Poetry is like Logic to science. Poetry is
a DNA code of our culture that develops through
words which are spoken and written.

One of the greatest writers, W. H. Auden, once said
in his poem “In Memory of W. B. Yeats”
      “poetry makes nothing happen.”
Perhaps, some of you would consider Auden’s words
as a dismissal of poetry. But I think, what Auden
meant was that poetry can make anything happen.

The avant-garde composer, John Cage, in his work
“Lecture on Nothing,” said
      “I have nothing to say / and I am saying it /
      and that is poetry / as I need it.”
To paraphrase, all words we say and write are poetry
as we need it. Poetry is everywhere. In our letters to
friends and lovers. In our personal diaries. In our daily
conversations. Words are often considered the best
form of therapy. Words help us cope and survive
many adversities we so often face in our lives.

Couple of years ago, I was at a point in my life ready
to give up. My concerned daughter gave me an empty
diary. Only one page was covered with words, her words.
Here is what she said:
      “I am giving you this book so maybe you will
      write again. The book is red, and red means
      love. And I love you, so the colour is perfect.”
The pages stayed empty for a while, until one day words
started to flow onto the pages of My Red Diary. Initially
words of other poets, but these words inspired me to write
again. The words, that you are reading now, were written
in My Red Diary.

My daughter recently told me, that she is receiving emails
with poems written by children currently being held in
Australian detention camps. They said to her, that writing
and knowing that perhaps, someone will read their words,
helps them to survive
      The Horror of
      Australian Detention Camps.


So what happened to “our country?”
     Why are we no longer
          “Land of the Fair Go?”
     Why is golden soil and wealth no longer
          for all of us to share?
     Why for those who’ve come across the seas
          have we built detention camps to share?
     Why is our culture once so rich and full of growth
          now being destroyed?
     Why does “our government” kill poets and take
          away the freedom to speak and write words?

Perhaps by now you’ve noticed, that when I write
the words
     “our government”
these words are enclosed in quotes. “Our government”
is not ours. It is not even a government. It is an assembly
of spineless puppets whose strings are pulled by

     The 1%.

The 1% who controls all the resources and wealth.
They have no interest in our culture or words.

Their ideology is
     “growth for the sake of growth, like Edward Abbey
      once said, the ideology of the cancer cell.”

Now when we know, it is up to us, to find the cure.

Interview: Randall Stephens on riding across Australia and touring poetry

Melbourne Spoken Word’s Benjamin Solah checked in on the controversial Randall Stephens as he begins the toughest leg of his cycling and poetry tour, riding across the big expanse of desert in the middle of Australia.

So you’re riding across the Nullarbor on a bicycle, tell us when and why you decided to do this?

indian pacificThe idea came to mind mid-2010, during my first poetry tour over here in WA. I was talking to a local Perth poet after a gig who’d just come back from cycling throughout Europe, and what an amazing time she had had doing that. I’d flown over to Perth and felt very little sense geographically of where I was, I mean considering Perth was touted as the world’s most isolated capital city. I thought a follow-up trip that involved going coast-to-coast on a bicycle would make for great experiences in getting to know and understand Australia, which was becoming more important to me, after having done a big bought of overseas travel.

But you know there’s never a singular reason for doing anything, there’s lots of whys wrapped around this. Partly to shake up my somewhat stagnant urban work-a-day lifestyle. Partly to (force myself to) get into better physical and mental shape. To have the life experience, and hence interesting things to write about in the future. But the forefront reason is to inspire other Haemophiliacs (and by extension, anyone suffering under limitations on her or his health) to attempt something that defies those limitations. So in conversation with our national Haemophilia organisation, I decided it was worth attaching a fundraising effort too. But also… yeah I just thought it would be fun. Life’s short, get some kicks.

That’s great, but what does this have to do with poetry?

on the roadWell, the very first poem I ever wrote was about my bicycle, so poetry and cycling have always had been inextricably linked for me. However, in less tangible/quantifiable terms I thought the best thing I could do for my poetry at this point was stop doing it for a while. I think I’d gotten to the point in Melbourne where my writing was really reacting to reactions to what I was writing, or venting, or attempts at caricature of masculine ideals, and I’ve been feeling very burnt out.

As you know I’ve caused controversy at times in some circles, a lot of it came down to misinterpretations of what I was presenting (in terms of typical heteronormative male attitudes) and looking back at this, I question myself what was really achieved. Not to disavow anything I’ve said or done, it’s all part of a continuing journey to find my voice and better articulate my concerns in life, but certainly now I wouldn’t be writing what I did a few years ago, and I have quietly retired a few performance pieces that no longer speak (no pun intended) to me.

So yeah with all that it seemed like a good time to go do something else worth writing about, y’know? Get back to what started me as a poet those seven or eight years ago, that is writing as a bi-product of the living you do, as opposed to what you’re living to-do. My mantra used to be “you can’t be half a poet” later it became “you can’t be just a poet” now I feel like you need to have, or to get, personal/life experiences worth writing about. I think I lost that along the way, in the last few years becoming more interested in characterisation and satire, as performance. An intellectual game that I know for a fact not everyone followed along with, or shared any interest in.

This trip is about gathering material for later use, keeping up an online journal (through the Facebook page), and I’m really enjoying this style of writing, an ongoing stream of consciousness, not wrapped up in any of the stylistic/performative trappings I’ve used for so many years. I just… say what I’m thinking. I know that sounds obvious, but for me it’s been a big deal trying to get to that place of pure expression.

But you’ve been performing too, right? Tell us a little bit about the poetry tour?

Enough Said -photo courtesy of Lorin ElizabethOh yes, of course. For better or worse (and probably contradicting everything I’ve just said haha) any time I go travelling now has to involve poetry somehow, either writing it or performing while I’m away – it’s too much a part of me to neglect.

There was no way that I could go through the six or seven cities on this route (Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, Adelaide, Perth, Fremantle) and not do at least some performing. Over the years I’ve made friends with lots of poets around Australia, and in some cases it was as much about dropping in to see them as getting feature spots.

Even though the logistics were difficult to organise on east coast… making sure that the dates I was performing were far enough apart that I could definitely cover the distance between destinations on my bicycle. Ultimately, I love performing for an audience, and it’s too much fun to miss out on.

On that note, any tips for poets thinking of touring in other cities?

Yeah, in terms of dos-and-don’ts there’s lots of advice to give. First of all you’ve got to be brave, inasmuch as not being afraid to ask for things, and secondly you need to have lots of patience and tempered expectations of what you’ll find in other states.

All the touring I’ve done has been completely DIY, no one organising any solo or supported gigs on my behalf, no agents or anyone one helping out with publicity or admin or sponsorship etcetera, it’s just been a matter of meeting people as they came through Melbourne, or being introduced to friends of friends.

I started touring as a double act with Steve Smart in 2009/10, he was already a fifteen year veteran of this stuff, the couch surfing, the late night buses, getting a few hours sleep at train stations, and he introduced me to a lot of great people. So he helped ease me into that world and on stage he and I played off each other really well as a double act. I was Kirk to his Spock, or the other way around.

So yeah, it helps to have someone to go with, who’ll hand-hold you and show you around. It helps to have merchandise to sell, both because it makes you more attractive as a feature and it shows people that your work is to be taken seriously enough, that you believe it’s worth paying for.

Do your homework… Facebook is invaluable like that, for finding out what and where the poetry gigs are, and who you may already know. Tell anyone and everyone what your plans are, because they might be able to help, or know someone else who can.

A big one (maybe the most important thing, actually) is when you’re contacting poetry conveners interstate, give them plenty of notice. It’s no good writing to someone saying “hey I’m going to be in Brisbane next Friday, can I have a gig, please?” Most poetry gigs worth their salt organise a few months ahead, and maybe they’ll have some wiggle-room, but really I think people deserve at least three or four months’ notice, if you want to find a good feature somewhere.

Wow… you know now that we’re talking this could be a whole other article. I mean I’m only talking about the small-time grass roots stuff that I’ve done. It’s a different thing again if you’re part of a festival or putting on your own book launches, fringe festival shows, doing workshops etcetera. That’s outside my experience, for the most part.

Yeah big topic that, so you mentioned before a fundraiser you’ve attached to the bike ride?

Oh yeah, it’s for the Haemophilia Foundation Australia (HFA) to contribute towards social programmes to help people with bleeding disorders, in terms of education, advocacy, material aid and international aid in developing countries too.

Thanks Randall. If you’d like more info or to contribute a small donation to the fund, check out his fundraising page.

To follow along with Randall’s’ online journal and photos, check out his cause page on Facebook. And Randall’s poetry website.

Submitting doesn’t mean submission

Spoken Word artists just get asked to do gigs, so are we out of practice of submitting our work? Melbourne Spoken Word’s Benjamin Solah ponders.

If you’re like me, one of the attractions to the spoken word scene was actually that you just weren’t getting rejected all the time. It can seem like a bit of a sad thing, but the truth is being an ‘emerging writer’ writing alone and sending your work out to strangers only to receive rejections with no feedback can be extremely disheartening.

The democratic space of the open mic can therefore be welcome but potentially misleading if you’re the kind of writing who’s looking to develop their own writing. It can be a good way to get initial feedback, reading the attention or lack of from the audience, or their body language and comments after. All of this can be useful. Though ‘politeness’ and social niceties can sometimes mean you might want to take advice or praise with a grain of salt (or sugar) unless you have a relationship with other writers where you can be honest, sometimes brutally so, without taking it personally.

But we’re accustomed to not really submitting to do gigs, unless in the rare instances of festivals, and so the open mic is a kind of no pressure approach to being published. And yes, it’s being published. More poets potentially reach more of an audience performing in a pub on a Monday night that if they were put in print, though funding bodies and other arts organisations might not see it like that.

Spoken word artists aren’t reliant on ‘gatekeepers’ in the same way other forms of writing are, we can just put on our own gig and self-publishing your collection is more acceptable, but submitting and being published outside of performances can still be useful. I’ve been thinking about this when producing Audacious, our new audio-journal. Are we a little out of practice of submitting? Do we brace ourselves at the thought of putting our work out there for potential rejection?

There are very few publications that accept spoken word recordings. Going Down Swinging is the best of them and one of the only places that has been doing it regularly. Audacious hopes to become the second. But other places do special editions where they might produce a CD with their journal as a once off. Overland have done two ‘Audio Editions‘ published online.

Having your piece as part of a CD and downloadable album of spoken word, alongside other writers, opens you up to new audiences and is a treat to existing ones. People that can’t attend gigs get to listen to you, those that enjoy your work live can take a piece of you home, listen to your poem as they’re on their way to work, or at home, without your physical presence not needing to be there. It’s like a gig but you not needing to be there. Perhaps it’s not as good because you don’t get to see or hear the reactions of people as they listen but they will remember your poem that’s played in their head as they do the dishes and when you’re next feature comes around, they’ll more than likely come along.

It’s best not to think about it as being rejected or accepted too much. From our point of view, we hope to listen to more poems that we want to publish than we possibly can and sending you an email saying we chose not to publish it is not a sign we thought the poem was bad.

We really hope the birth of Audacious can exist side by side with the likes of Going Down Swinging, begin to encourage further publication of spoken word, compliment the live gigs and perhaps begin more of a culture where poets record their work and produce their own albums.

Submissions for Audacious can be made through Submittable and close December 19, 2014. Though we might extend submissions.

Your online connection to spoken word & poetry in Melbourne