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Melbourne Spoken Word brings you the return of Australian Poetry Slam Champ, Arielle Cottingham. Supported by a sample of local Melbourne spoken word and poetry, including Waffle Irongirl, Quinn Ea


Listen to the latest issue of Audacious

Listen to the latest issue of Audacious, the audio-journal of Melbourne Spoken Word, a quarterly album of spoken word of the most bold and fresh voices in Melbourne.

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Comment — September 20

Workshop critiques: fitness coaching for your poetry

By Esme Foong

Do you have a fitness coach?  Well good on you. I don’t.  Probably why a flight of stairs leaves me huffing and puffing.

But if I did, I imagine it would function for my health the way critique workshops function in my writing life.  

A critique workshop is where a group of artists meet regularly to share their work with each other and give feedback.  This group can consist of peers or might be facilitated by a teacher/leader.  Groups can be as broad as a meeting of mixed artists, to something as specific as a group of speculative flash fiction writers wishing to publish in journals.  I’ve experienced the full range and gotten benefit from every meeting.  Melbourne Spoken Word’s free Sunday workshop, We Work This Shop, is a poetry/spoken word specific one to try.

Generally, a critique workshop has the following structure:

Warmup: the purpose is to pull people out of their daily lives and get them in the mood for their art.  In some groups, this is social, for example updating each other on recent progress.  In others, this might be a free-write or specific writing exercise. Sharing & Critique: participants take turns to share their work, other group members take turns to provide feedback.

Now I don’t want to lecture you to join a critique workshop anymore than I want you to evangelise to me on fitness.  But if you are interested in giving it a go here are some tips (not rules!) to getting the best out of a critique workshop.

RECEIVING CRITIQUE Don’t apologise for your work: Your co-participants are about to invest their time and consideration into helping improve and progress your work.  Show this investment due respect.   If you have to, provide information about what stage you’re at, “This is a first draft/ I haven’t written the ending” etc.  But disparaging your work skews people’s evaluation before you’ve even started – you won’t get the objective feedback you’re seeking.  I

News — September 14

Quinn Eades wins the 2017 XYZ Prize for Innovation in Spoken Word

By Benjamin Solah

Queensland Poetry Festival runs the annual Queensland Poetry Awards. Their Arts Queensland XYZ Prize for Innovation in Spoken Word is Australia’s only arts award that recognises the growing field of spoken word, and is named after the former 2010 Arts Queensland Poet in Residence, Emily XYZ, who left a deep impression on many of today’s Queensland spoken word artists. Open to all Australian residents, this award comes with total prize money of $1000 with winning entries also to be published online and CD by Melbourne Spoken Word (MSW).

2017 Selection panel: Benjamin Solah (MSW) + the 2017 Arts Queensland Poet in Residence Courtney Sina Meredith

Judges Comments: I really enjoyed listening to all the tracks, I tried them out in different settings – through a PA / on my headphones/ with the dog/ with friends – trying to get more of a panoramic feel for it.

I was thinking about innovation in a variety of ways: innovating from new perspectives, innovative content, and of course production value. Careful to place especial care and thought when dealing with the most tender of voices – that is – voices standing in their own light – voices coming from a space that many of us can count on our hands just how many times we’ve had such insight into that particular way of be-ing and see-ing. The journey for that voice is generations in the making.

The eventual shortlist and the top 3 selections by myself and co-judge Benjamin Solah, demonstrated the strata of innovation in contemporary Australian spoken word and the promise of development and exploration within and beyond the form.

Winning & Shortlisted poems

Winner Monday June 27 – Quinn Eades http://melbournespokenword.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Monday-June-27th.mp3

Highest Placed Queensland Entry Fight with my soul – Anisa Nandaula http://melbournespokenword.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Fight-With-My-Soul.mp3