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Reviews — November 25

Slamalamadingdong – a year in review

By Benjamin Solah

Words by Farah Beaini

Know nothing, and forever evolve – Michelle Alina Dabrowski

For the more seasoned slam poetry goers, Slamalamadingdong evokes a deep emotional response; a recall of their first introduction to the Melbourne slam poetry scene; a place that reignited and nourished a dormant love for poetry, breathing fire into their oral storytelling traditions.

Now in its fourth year, Slama, as it is affectionately called, has grown into one of Melbourne’s iconic slam poetry communities, attracting a diasporic world of both emerging and well-established poets, artists and performers.

At the heart of Slama’s success has been founder Michelle Alina Dabrowski’s meaningful curation of events and willingness to explore and experiment with spoken word’s place within the wider art scene, all the while honouring the show’s deep-rooted slam foundations. Supported by a loyal crew, it is Michelle’s innate and authentic ability to simultaneously hold and navigate through space – and the audience’s acceptance of her offerings – that makes Slama’s tagline ring true: “Poetry Slam meets ritual meets celebration meets community coming alive”.

While renewal has always been part of Slama’s vocabulary, this year has undoubtedly seen its greatest transformation.

The June 2015 relaunch saw Slama’s rebirth at 24moons in Northcote, with shows now scheduled for Fridays instead of Thursdays, and poets afforded 5 minute slots rather than the usual 3. Unlike its previous homeground (the Bella Union), 24moons is a much more intimate space, allowing for pockets of conversations to grow and flow and for a freer mingling of poets and audience. The new venue also affords greater flexibility to celebrate after each Slama gathering, something not possible under the old 2 hour timeframe at Bella. While the dim lighting at times makes it more difficult to gauge the audience’s reaction, the familiar finger-clicking and up