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.

Joel McKerrow

Joel McKerrow & The Mysterious Few launch crowd funding campaign to produce their debut album

Melbourne Spoken Word’s Benjamin Solah had a chat to Joel McKerrow about his recent Pozible campaign launch, where alongside his band the Mysterious Few, they hope to launch an album blending spoken word and music.

What inspired you to form a band and collaborate with musicians? How does it enhance or support the poetics?

I have been performing poetry for years now and I absolutely love the synergy that happens between a poet and the audience in that moment of delivery. When the audience is right there with you and you feel as though you are on a journey together. Well, a few years ago I had the opportunity to do something with a musician and the same thing happened. Synergy. Connection. A fusion that surged me on in my performance and brought it to a whole different level. I have performed and collaborated on and off with muso’s since and in the last year found some that I just absolutely gel with and ‘Joel McKerrow & the Mysterious Few’ was born. The music, sets up a foundation for the poetry to sit upon. If its too overwhelming then it drowns out the poem, but if it is levelled just right and given the right tone to match the feel of the poem then it really adds another emotive punch to the lyrics. If poetry is about evoking a response and touching emotion then musical backing does the same, just as it does within a movie. It sets the feel that the words can then ride upon.

The other thing is that bringing in a band complete with muso’s and female vocals into a fusion of spoken word with acoustic, folk, rock type sounds is really not an expression that many others in the world are doing. There isn’t really a genre for it. Shane Koyczan would be the person doing this the best with his band, ‘The Short Story Long’. So its quite a pioneering field we seem to have found ourselves within.

What’s inside the poetics? Are these new pieces developed or older pieces with music mixed in? What kind of messages and stories are you hoping to tell?

The poetry of this new album is predominantly new pieces. There will be one or two renditions of older poems totally reformulated with the band, to the point where they feel like totally new poems. But it is mostly new material. Of late I have become increasingly obsessed with the power of stories and their ability to change the world around us. I even recently got a to do a TEDx talk focussed on such. I have been teaching lots of workshops in high schools all over Victoria in the last year and seeing what sharing story can do in their lives- it is EPIC! So much of the poems revolve around this general theme of stories and their ability to change the individual and the society. There will also be a few socially focussed pieces urging us to stand up for what matters in this world.

Why crowd funding? Do you think funding spoken word is harder than other art forms?

My band and I have decided to crowdfund for this album for a few reasons. Firstly it gives us the ability to bring about a really great professional album without having to take out a loan or sell a kidney. To bring together a quality album does indeed cost a lot of money and Spoken Word isn’t really at the point that music labels would pick it up. In this way Spoken Word is a lot harder to find funding for than many mainstream art forms. Though, unlike mainstream art forms it is not a saturated market. Instead of being one in a million trying to make it as a musician, we are one in a thousand trying to make it as a poet. And whats more we get to take a blossoming art form to a people that has, by and large, not heard it before. The moment when some experiences spoken word for the first time and falls in love with it and it changes their life. This is a way better reward than being able to get funding easily.

But more than the money side of things, through crowdfunding, the album becomes a community gathering point, a communal product. I am not going at this alone. I have my friends and my family and my poetry community backing me all the way. This is how it should be. The performance poetry scene is known for its community and its support of each other and I feel like crowdfunding really holds up such communal values.

Any advice for spoken word artists keen on collaborating with musicians?

Go for it. It absolutely stretches your artform in ways you dont even realise till you are performing so much better than you have in the past. It changes the delivery of poems and forces you to see them in a new light, in new rhythms. Make sure you find some muso’s who love improvisation and freedom and also who have a good ear to listen to what you are doing in the poem and so be able to follow you. Don’t let the music over-compensate. Let it be spacious- not to fill the silences between words, but to deepen the space between words. Experiment and have fun. You will be surprised.

Joel McKerrow & The Mysterious Few are trying to raise $7,000 to produce their album and have until the 15th of December to reach their target. You can find out more about their project, see the rewards on offer and make a much needed pledge on their Pozible Page.

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Review: Zenobia Frost’s Salt and Bone

Review by ReVerse Butcher

Zenobia Frost’s debut collection of poetry Salt and Bone bricks out a space for itself and builds from ideas that Brisbane as a place is not usually instantly linked to. Death, longing, love, the risks of being intelligently unconventional, the chafing of history, and the act of contemplative observation are very far outposts from the sunny, sporty, beachy, conservative town its official facades decry. Frost’s verse balloons and gasps with an overwhelming sensitivity and sighs out a fog of metaphor that cloaks only to reveal the harmony and fragility of human life.

lowres_cover__47590.1407536915.1280.1280 (1)The Brisbane that Frost has conjured from the salt circle of her pages is not the Brisbane that you or I are likely to see unaided. It is one that has been stripped down to its skeleton and wholly examined. Salt and Bone, true to its title, is like an emotional autopsy, but not one in which the spirit seeks to escape the body. It is calculating, methodical, naked, and wholly beautiful. As a poet, Frost has placed its very heart in our warm palms, gifted us a twin city borne of her own capacity to see beauty through layers of history, regressive politics and meaning. And the sharp accessibility of Frost’s writing kindly lifts the veil for the rest of us to get a glimpse.

In Brisbane in Pictures (pp. 22-23), Frost floats short stanzas describing the inner-city after the floods in 2010-11, dredging powerful images of what was lost, changed or damaged from what was left behind, in both the massive:

“in car park basement
lake of sludge
a nurse shark drowns…”

and in the short, quick shocks of returning to the devastation of (un)familiar mundanity:

“…from the oven,
a second flood
of unscaled fish…”

“…a wheelie bin
trapezes from a power line…”

Also included in this collection is The Hobby (pp. 4-5), which won second prize in the John Marsden Prize for Young Australian Writers. Frost delicately explores the fine line between grave robbing, exhumation, archaeology and obsession in this poem, which she dedicates to Anatoly Moskvin, a cemetery enthusiast of an entirely different kind.:

“our histories are six foot in all their rot
I’ve exhumed and slept in coffins for this art
I have walked for miles with my chisel
I’ve eaten dirt and sipped from graveyard puddles

yet with one bag of much loved bones
you find me, and you call me mad”

The themes of residue, archaeology, history and narrative are ones that Frost investigates in both a wider context and in a more personal one. In Archaeology (pp. 6-7) she compares two kinds of being studied, one post-mortem, desiccated and academic, with another kind, being stripped back and admired by a lover. The similarities are both moving and uncanny.

One of Frost’s strengths as a writer is that she has found a vocabulary for what some may label as morbid, without being maudlin or over-indulgent. Her observations are exquisitely described, and remain as capsules of tender moments, a tantalising meta-history of personal moments that whisper their place in a much wider world. She has a brave and exciting voice, and it is no wonder that her first collection was shortlisted for the 2013 Thomas Shapcott Prize.

I would recommend Salt and Bone to poetry lovers both far from, and within Brisbane, as while it does evoke a very particular Brisbane tone, it does so in a manner and context that can be admired from anywhere. Personally, as a Brisbane ex-pat, I found myself moved by a strange familiarity haunting these poems. The descriptions of the city, suburbs and sense of place itself was true enough, but Frost, with a rare and fresh talent has resurrected an entirely different vision – one that hit me with waves of deja vu for a site/sight I felt melancholy for missing before. Be aware, this is no tourist brochure. Salt and Bone reads more like a grimoire written in saliva by the tongue of reverent memory, ancient schematics drawn in ash threatened by a sudden wind, or a epitaph, like the one so fittingly outlined by Frost herself in Arrivals/Departures (pp. 49-50):

“In some languages, hello
is the same as goodbye”

However, I certainly hope that we won’t be saying goodbye to Frost’s vibrant writing talent anytime soon. I believe Salt and Bone is an achievement that marks the beginning of what is sure to be a bright and shining future bibliography.

Salt and Bone by Zenobia Frost in published by Walleah Press where’s available online for $20. The book will be launched in Melbourne on Tuesday, October 7 @ 6pm at Hare Hole, 63 Johnston Street, Fitzroy.

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Review: Magic Steven’s Try to Love Everyone

Review by Fury. First published at IllegitimateTheatre.com

When Magic Steven walked onto the stage, I’ll admit to being a little bit worried.

His opening music played and he pulled out a notebook of which he started reading from not unlike a fifteen year old high schooler might do for his out-loud homework assignment. I shuffled in my seat. I worried for him. This could all go so horrifically wrong. I felt like I would be spending the next hour trapped, listening to the smatterings of sympathy-laughs from the audience; something I find more cringe-worthy than The Office. I needn’t have been worried, however, as before I knew it I was full-belly laughing with the rest of the crowd.

Magic Steven: Try to Love Everyone is a very minimalistic show. The flashiest aspect of which is when he says “thanks Jess” at the end of each piece and Jess, presumably, plays the music. His really, really, really deadpan tone of voice and presentation compliments the style of writing to a tee. It’s quirky, sideways writing filtered through absurd half-logic that makes Steven so funny.

He describes talking to a girl at a party about how sometimes he pretends to drive his car: sitting in it behind the wheel completely stationary but pretending to be turning down streets and the like. This sort of childhood playfulness is completely lost on her – especially when he sees her later on that evening, parked in the driveway of his friend’s house. He toots at her, waves, then continues to pretend driving on.

Ultimately Steven’s Try to Love Everyone strikes startlingly close to A Complete History of My Sexual Failures –an auto-bio-documentary about Chris Waitt who spends the entire documentary trying to figure out why his romantic relationships failed so miserably. Try to Love Everyone, however, has less self-flagellation and better humour as the stories that Steven’s encounters are largely very personable.

I imagine actually encountering one of these odd instances Steven describes would actually be a bit intimidating and confusing. They were funny to hear from him, though, because Steven himself seems very intimidated and confused; harshly nudged onwards by an internalised idea of society’s expectation to find and keep a girlfriend.

It’s both endearing and unsettling to see him become aware of his own biases and objectifications of women. Compelled to be a better person and conflicted about how to do so, he comes across as torn; incapable of approaching or understanding both the biases he has and the symptomatic echoes of objectification.

This may well be a farcical act that he puts on – an extended characterisation of a facet of himself – but in an age where women are subjects of extreme harassment online (amongst other things) this sort of representation is interesting and really important in understanding how society shapes men’s actions towards sexual partners.

Magic Steven is performing his final show at The Toff in Town on Sunday, 5th October @ 8pm for $12. You can book on the Melbourne Fringe website.

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Interview with Omar Musa – Here Come the Dogs

Interview by Carrie Maya

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with Omar Musa outside a cafe beside Readings on Lygon St in Carlton. He had the Melbourne launch of his book Here Come the Dogs there the night before – which I had, sadly, been unable to attend. So having the opportunity to interview him was cause for excitement.

When I rocked up to interview him, I was doubly excited to see that he and Rob (a.k.a. hip-hop Artist, Mantra) were just chilling and chatting over pots of tea. I sat with them for a little bit and felt a little bit lucky to be a fly on the wall during their conversation; so passionate and articulate.

Once Rob said his goodbyes, I began the interview with Omar over a cup of Earl Grey.

So, Omar, whose hands would you like to see this book end up in?

Here come the dogsThat’s always a really hard question. When people ask me that I always just think “Why did I write this book?” And I wrote it because I, personally, find writing pleasurable, I wanted to get my head around certain things, and I was writing the type of book that I would like to read. Something that was about dreams, and madness, and chaos. So I wrote it for myself, principally.

But then, after that, I would really like it if it stirred up a little bit of debate about race and class in Australia. I’d like young people to read it, but I’d like old people to read it, too! It’s such a hard question. I wrote it for everyone, you know? It’s about a specific social milieu and it’s about the hip-hop generation. But I tried to put structural things in there that are, hopefully, timeless; largely concerns about change, generation, love, redemption, and violence.Whether I’ve been successful at that, I don’t know, because I was looking through that small key hole at the world.

I also hope that people from other countries could find something interesting in this book. Something to wrap their heads around.

Maybe a little bit of solace?

Maybe a little bit. I lean towards the darkness, in general. I think it’s really easy for me to fall into the abyss, the chaos.

I think there’s something really powerful about exploring darkness, though.

Yeah, me, too. I think you have to deal with it in art. I’m not intersted in art that doesn’t really deal with life, and death, and madness. But I always try to find redemption and light within that, somehow. In unlikely places. One of my heros,Werner Herzog – the film director…I heard Errol Morris quote Werner Herzog to Werner Herzog. Supposedly, once upon a time, he said that “Part of art is extending sympathy where it has not been extended before. And looking for stories where they haven’t been looked for before.” And that’s what I’m trying to do.

Beautiful. So how long did it take you to write the book?

Two and a half years. But I was putting a lot of my life’s questions and life’s thoughts into it.

So this is you fleshing out your existential stuff?

I guess so. But in a very intuitive way. I’m not one of these people who will be able to define for you every – ism under the sun. I’m interested in politics, but I don’t approach it from that theoretical point of view. I’m a storyteller…and I feel my way through these things.

Wow. So how long have you been writing for? When did you start considering yourself a writer?

I’m sort of interested in how you choose to define yourself, you know? Are you an artist? Or are you just a person who chooses to make art from time to time?…But I’ve been into poetry from a really young age. My dad was a poet in Malaysia. I come from an artistic family. My mum was a theatre critic and historian. So I went to a lot of theatre growing up. And my dad introduced me to a very famous Indonesian poet when I was about 8…And my dad said, “See this guy? Remember this guy. When he performs poetry, he doesn’t use the paper. He lives it with every fibre of his being; his voice, his body. He does it to stadiums full of people, at political rallies, and it can change the world.” And I didn’t know anything about poetry or politics. I was 8 years old! But I kept what my dad said in my mind because I was really impressed by it.

Then I began looking for a form of poetry that was like that, but it just didn’t seem to exist in Australia. Well, at least when I was growing up and in school. Then, at about exactly the same time, I came across hip-hop. And it was the poetry of hip-hop that lured me into it. But also I was really into the Black Muslims. Like Malcolm X and Farrakhan because they were, of course, brilliant orators. I was intrigued by people who would go on stage and perform their words and captivate people.

Then I came across Spoken Word poetry, probably when I was about 19, when I was in Santa Cruz, California. I saw this guy do a really sexual poem, but had everyone cracking up. And I was like, “This is really cool!” But it didn’t click in my mind, at the time, that this is something I wanted to do. I was too preoccupied with hip hop. But then I got a call from a guy who was running the ACT Poetry Slam and he was desperate for people to enter because a few people had dropped out. And he said, “Look, I’ve heard that you rap. Can you come around and spit some raps without the music?” And I felt like it was a good opportunity to try something a bit different.

I did this poem about The Cronulla Riots, well it was a rap, really. And I ended up winning that one. I went to nationals and came second. And that’s when a new world opened up for me.

Cool. That’s exciting! So do you see yourself getting back into Spoken Word in the future? I mean, as heavily as you were before?

Yeah, it’s all a matter of time, at the moment. Obviously the book promo is really crazy, I’ve got a play to finish by the end of the year; a commission by the street theatre in Canberra…I wish I had more time to dedicate to creating some new Spoken Word stuff, but that will happen naturally. At the moment, I have to say, I am enjoying having these bigger projects that I can sink my teeth into.

But, yeah, I think I’ve got a long way to go as a Spoken Word performer; to learn, and different ways that I could push my poetry.

It’s so interesting because, many of the people who will end up reading this interview will be like, “Are you kidding?” Because you’re someone who is looked up to quite a bit by people in the Melbourne poetry community. Especially people like me who, sort of, came on to the scene years after people like you, Luka, Joel, Alia. You guys are, sort of, the people who made me go, “Hmm, I kind of like this spoken word thing and I think I want to give it a bash!”

Cool!

I remember those very first pieces that inspired me. Like your piece “My Generation” and Luka’s “A-Z” piece.

Luka and I were touring in China together and I saw him do that with a bunch of kids and it was great. he good thing about Luka is that he keeps his mind really open. And he’s willing to push himself, stylistically, to try different things. And, also, thematically; to try and delve deeply. He does have his stuff that, well, you know he’s Luka Lesson: so some of the early stuff is didactic. But he’s brave enough to look at the dark parts of himself. And I value that in anyone.

[Regarding Luka Lesson’s new album EXIT]… he didn’t have to make an album like that; weird and slanted. I just love Luka, man! He’s like a brother and he’s a hell of a performer. You can’t deny that sort of talent…I remember seeing him perform in Melbourne once and I was like, “That guy’s going to become Australian Slam Champion one day.” And he did it…

Some people disagree with me about this, but I think the good thing about Spoken Word, in Australia, is that it’s not homogeneous. It’s still pretty diverse. I mean, every now and then, I’ll go out there and I’ll see…like a bush poet at a slam, and then a Marxist poet, and then some hip-hop guy. I think that’s really cool.

That’s beautiful. So, speaking of poetry and hip hop, how have they influenced this new work here? Here Come the Dogs.

The book is drenched in hip-hop references. Maybe almost to the point where some people find it a big confronting. But I feel like every piece of literature is coded in its own way. When we have to read Shakespeare in high school, we have to decode it. I read Coetzee’s Disgrace, recently, and it refers to a lot of classical music and that’s something I don’t know much about! Just in the same way that someone might pick this up and be like “Oh, what’s a cypher? What’s all this stuff about a hip-hop show?” So then they’ll have to go find out and decode it!

But I’d like to think that the best type of art, in general (but hip-hop, especially), is fearless. It’s unafraid to be unruly, and dangerous, and wild. And I like to hope that this book is a little bit fearless; that I kind of went for it. But then, of course, a third of it is in First Person poetry format. I mean, I don’t know if Penguin have put out a verse novel in a long time, but two thirds of it is prose, a third of it is influenced by, you know, Dorothy Porter; that verse style. So yeah! Poetry and hip-hop have really influenced this book.

Omar’s debut novel Here Come the Dogs can be bought online or at most bookstores near you.

You also have a chance to win a copy of Here Come the Dogs! Just like the post on our Facebook page or Favourite/Retweet the tweet on our twitter account.

APS

Australian Poetry Slam 2014 Victorian Heats announced

It’s your chance again to represent Victoria at the Australian Poetry Slam finals and bring the trophy back to Melbourne. The prestigious Australian Poetry Slam have announced the details of the Victorian Heats and the Victorian State Final and they’re coming up soon!

Be sure to lock those dates in your diary and get along for your chance to get to the State Final at the State Library. As usual, the top two from each heat go through to final.

Wonthaggi
Thursday 28 August
7pm
Bass Coast Principal Library
Watt Street Wonthaggi
5672 1875

Ballarat
Friday 29 August
7pm
Ballarat Library
178 Doveton St North
5338 6850

South Yarra
Tuesday 2 September
6.30pm
Toorak/South Yarra Library
340 Toorak Road
8290 8000

Hoppers Crossing
Wednesday 3 September
6.30pm
Plaza Library
Cnr Heaths and Derrimut Roads
9748 9333
***please allow extra time for parking as the Plaza is undergoing renovations***

***PLEASE NOTE NEW LOCATION***
Nunawading
Thursday 4 September
6.30pm
Nunawading Library
379 Whitehorse Road
9872 8600

Brunswick
Friday 5 September
7pm
Brunswick Library
Cnr Sydney Road and Dawson Street
9353 4003

MWF

Spoken Word at the Melbourne Writers Festival

The Melbourne Writers Festival officially started yesterday and without spoken word, the festival would lack a very special element to this city’s literary culture.

Lisa Dempster, Director of the Melbourne Writers Festival told Melbourne Spoken Word, “We’re very proud to present a number of events this year which feature spoken word, with guests including Maxine Beneba Clarke, Emilie Zoey Baker, Alia Gabres and Mark Seymour.

“We’ll also see students from secondary schools across Victoria fight it out for the right to be called the best young performance poets – it’s great to see young people embrace spoken word.”

Starting Sunday, there’s a bunch of events at MWF featuring spoken word or poetry:

Writers Across Borders featuring Maxine Beneba Clarke, Francesca Rendle-Short, Robin Hemley , David Carlin, Alvin Pang, Eddin Khoo, Laurel Fantauzzo
Sunday, August 24 @ 2.30pm / Performance Space, The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Writers Maxine Beneba Clarke, Alvin Pang and Eddin Khoo share their experiences of wrICE, a program of reciprocal cultural exchange and cultural immersion focused on writers and writing. This lively and performative session includes readings from the participants’ diverse bodies of work.

Out Loud!
Tuesday, August 26 @ 1.45pm / Deakin Edge, Fed Square, cnr of Swanston and Flinders Streets, Melbourne
Students representing Victorian secondary schools fight it out for the right to be called the best young performance poets. It’s poetry, it’s live, it’s loud and it’s not to be missed.

Poetry Live & Direct featuring Adam Ford, Emilie Zoey Baker, Alia Gabres
Tuesday, August 26 @ 10am / ACMI The Cube, Fed Square, cnr of Swanston and Flinders Streets, Melbourne
Catch the beat with two of Melbourne’s freshest, feistiest poets. Emilie Zoey Baker, the Ma’am of Slam and Alia Gabres, a a rising star of the Melbourne poetry scene, offer up powerful rhymes and stories from the world today.

Poetic License featuring Komninos Zervos, Ebony MonCrief, Natalia Mann, Koraly Dimitriadis, Irine Vella, OUP Emerging Artists Kevin Nugara, Mahmoud Samoun, Ileini Kabalan, Dante Sofra, and special guests
Wednesday, August 27 @ 12pm, Thursday, August 28 @ 6pm & 8pm, Friday, August 29 @ 6pm & 8pm / Footscray Community Arts Centre, 45 Moreland St, Footscray
Once upon a time a god called Dionysus believed that he could save an ancient city from ruin by bringing a dead poet back to live. And now the need has again arisen. Our world, our city, our neighbourhood is in need of poetry and a great poet to save it. Poetic License is a cross-generational performance work about the power and limitations of words. Presented by Outer Urban Projects in association with FCAC and Melbourne Writers Festival

Poetry of World War One featuring Robert Newton, Tony Thompson, Alia Gabres
Wednesday, August 27 @ 11:15am / ACMI Cinema 1, Fed Square, cnr of Swanston and Flinders Streets, Melbourne
The poetry of World War One written by soldiers and those at home helps us to understand the terrible sorrow of war. Robert Newton and Alia Gabres introduce and read of the poetry of Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and other witnesses to war.

Local Libraries: Caroline Springs
Wednesday, August 27 @ 7pm / Caroline Springs Civic Centre Library, 193-201 Caroline Springs Blvd, Caroline Springs
A poetry slam for local poets, with Maxine Beneba Clarke as the MC, performing a couple of her own pieces and acting as one of a panel of three judges.

Passing Bells: The Poetry of World War One featuring Richard Stubbs, Simon Armitage, Alison Croggon, Mark Seymour, Jeff Sparrow, Sian Prior, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Andrew Marlton
Sunday, August 31 @ 2pm / St Michael’s Uniting Church On Collins, 120 Collins St, Melbourne
About: The terrible grief of World War One gave rise to poetry of intense emotion and poignancy. Remembering the Great War poets, writer and performers read and reflect, curated by Overland editor Jeff Sparrow. With Simon Armitage, Maxine Beneba Clark, Alison Croggon, First Dog on the Moon, Sian Prior, Mark Seymour, Sigrid Thornton and Richard Stubbs. Supported by Overland

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Melbourne Spoken Word presents Drag Slam

Saturday, September 13 @ 7.30pm / Hare Hole, 63 Johnston Street, Fitzroy / $15-10 (pre-booking recommended but tickets at the door if not sold out)

Poetry for kings, queens and in-betweens.

Head to Hare Hole for the first in a series of themed slams. Melbourne Spoken Word is proud to present a night of gender bending poetry fun with MC Sue Pository (Fury) guiding you through Drag poetry shenanigans. There will be wine, song, and enough glittery makeup to drown a small elephant.

Invitational slam. Line-up of your favourite poets in drag to be announced shortly.

$15/10 (or via a MSW Pozible pass)

Doors open 7.30pm, show starts at 8pm.

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MSW presents The Poetic Lab Open Mic featuring Steve Smart and Mic Launch

Saturday, August 30 @ 8pm (doors open 7.30) / Under the Hammer, 158 Sydney Road, Coburg / $5 (free for Pozible pledgers) / Open Mic (see below) / RSVP on Facebook

Pozible banner

Melbourne Spoken Word presents a brand new open mic concept, The Poetic Lab.

Happening every month or two, MSW will host an open mic for people who want feedback and a chance to improve and test their work. Open to poets from beginner to seasoned performers.

A feature poet will present their work alongside talking with The Poetic Lab about the process of writing and performing their poetry.

The Open Mic section will include a space for the feature, host and people from the audience to offer constructive feedback to the poet.

The first Poetic Lab will also be the launch of MSW signature microphone to be used at all future MSW events.

Doors open 7.30. We aim to start at 8pm so please be on time.

Limit 10 spots and 5 mins per poet. It’s recommended that poets only present one poet to maximise the usefulness of feedback.

Please email benjamin@melbournespokenword.com to book a spot in the open mic. If 10 spots are full-up, we’ll add you to a waiting list in case someone pulls out, doesn’t turn up, or we have enough time.

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