Subscribe to our new email list!

We’ve just launched the Melbourne Spoken Word mailing list to complement our other channels of communication, this website, Facebook and Twitter. We’ve also been existing offline in the form of leaflets with upcoming events being handed out at various poetry events. We want to reach people in Melbourne new to poetry but also be a central point of communication between different sections of the poetry and spoken word scene. Each outlet is not meant to replace the other, but complement each other to help poetry take over Melbourne.

To that end, we will send out an email to those subscribed to the mailing list around about once a week, or if there is urgent news. Only Melbourne Spoken Word itself will be able to send out emails. It will be a weekly digest of upcoming events and news and what’s recently been posted to the Melbourne Spoken Word website over that week.

It will help reach those without Facebook or other social media, as well as help to access those people that already subscribe to our other outlets as Facebook has made it harder for smaller pages like ours to access all of the people that ‘like’ us. Facebook doesn’t show all ‘fans’ our posts automatically and not everyone is on Facebook all the time to catch everything.

We’ll be taking a sign-up sheet around to gigs for people to be added manually as well.

If you want to make sure we know about your news or events, like always, email [email protected] with the information. We’ll include all upcoming events that week in the email, as well as advance notice for select events, as well as things like books and CDs just released (and whether we’re looking for people to review them), awards, and other news. If you’ve got something like that, that might be appropriate, send it our way.

To subscribe to the Melbourne Spoken Word mailing list, go to this sign-up form. And please email us if you h

The relaunch of Keep Left

Words by Benjamin Solah

Saturday night was the relaunch of monthly left-wing spoken word night, Keep Left, after ending last year. Taking it over from Paulie, I moved it to the left-wing arts space, Under the Hammer and after a lead-up of a few months. With the help of leftie poets Amanda Anastasi and Santo Cazzati, I relaunched it on the weekend with success, but of course, I might be biased.

This is the first time I’ve started a monthly gig and my gratitude goes out to all those in the scene that organise regular gigs, some even weekly and fortnightly. I was worried no one would even turn up but there was over 40 people there, which filled up most of the venue and allowed me as an organiser committed to paying our feature poets, this time Maxine Clarke, to pay her a decent amount for her hard work. With a quality open mic, a good mix of regular open mic participants and people I haven’t seen before, plus a good proportion of people there just to listen, there’s reasons to be positive about the start of this venture.

There are a bunch of great new gigs attracting new crowds at the moment, complementing the staple events like Passionate Tongues and the Dan. House of Bricks, ContraVerse, Slamalamadingdong and now Keep Left attract people from parts of Melbourne that don’t usually come across other events. There’s real potential to bring those people into the wider scene and to help grow our community.

Keep Left is there to offer a space that encourages left-wing political poetry and make links with the left, activists, progressive and social justice minded people. We can show them the power of spoken word to articulate those ideas, inspire and entertain those people in new ways, and we hope that the open mic becomes a poetic reflection of the world that’s going on, out on streets. As inspiring movements rise up and the horrors of this world shock and disturb us, poets, even those who don’t usua

Video Verse: We’ll Always Have Paris by Randall Stephens

We’re proud to show you another video by Randall Stephens in the lead-up to the release of his album Product. As always, we accept submissions of things like videos, as well as articles and the like so if you’ve got a spoken word video see our submissions page and submit to us.

Video and Words by Randall Stephens

As we continue releasing clips my friend/filmmaker Alex Scott has edited with me, I thought it’d be good to include a few of the lower-key and more intimate performances too, starting with this, from a feature at Lygon street’s Red Wheelbarrow books, back in March.

“We’ll Always Have Paris” takes its title from a Casablanca quote (yeah the film not the city). One of my oldest flagship poems, it dates back to July 2008 and I usually have an intro/preamble explaining how it came about. The deal was: being stood up by a just-friends-friend who was supposed to meet me in Paris but suddenly changed her travel plans just before our planned rendezvous there, not knowing that I had a massive crush on her. To me this is about grinding yourself inside for not expressing yourself more honestly, clearer or sooner. A lesson I’m still learning.

The redoubtable Jacky T and I have also been working together on an audio version for the online release of my album Product. Jack has composed some achingly beautiful music to go along with this, and I can’t wait to share that with you too, soon.

Before you ask, yes the woman in question eventually did get to hear it. She liked… the poem. I hope you do too, and that you enjoy this new video version.

Randall can be seen featuring at the following events:

Melbourne Poets Union featuring Darkwing Dubs, supported by Elizabeth ‘Lish’ Škec. MC’d by Randall Stephens Wednesday, June 26 @ 7pm / The Basement, Architects 1:1, 31 Niagara Lane, Melbourne / $10-8 / Open Mic

The Oppositional Disobedience Disorder Support Gro

ODDies awards night to present something different with spoken word

Want a gig that contains spoken word, satire, political dissent…and wait for it – professional wrestling? The ODD support group has it all when they present their Inaugural ODDie Awards & ODD Ball next Saturday, the 29th at Revolt Artspace in Kensington.

ODD stands for Oppositional Disobedience Disorder and is a kind of joke ‘disorder’ as a way of highlighting political dissidents and critics. The organisers said, “The ODDies are, of course, a dig at awards ceremonies as well as a chance to acknowledge those who are struggling to create a better world. Many of those who suffer with Oppositional Disobedience Disorder die young or are incarcerated for much of their lives. Some have been murdered, while others, given support and access to creative forms of Direct Action and political franchise, have been able to live long productive lives.”

There’s a whole bunch of spoken word artists presenting, where they’ll perform some poems and present an award. And it’s MC’d by the editor MelbourneSpokenWord.com, as his alter-ego, Mr 99% Bolshi Ben Solah, with two-times Commonwealth games participant, Oddie Grrl.

Spoken word presenters include such as Angry Randall Stephens, Steve ‘Smarty’ Smart, Pope Fred, ReVerse Butcher, James ‘The Beast’ Jackson, and Matthew James. With some performers, including the MCs, Randall Stephens and James Jackson planning to heighten the night’s excitement by wrestling.

The night is sure to be odd in a good way and rumour has it that this mix of spoken word and wrestling could be a trial run for something bigger in the future.

So it’s at Revolt Artspace, 12 Elizabeth Street, Kensington from 6.30pm. There’s a Facebook event and to help fund the night, the ODD support group have set up a Pozible page with some cool rewards from hugs on the night to Poetical Ukelele Burlesque from George O’Hara.

Candy Royalle launches new video before Melbourne tour

Sydney-based spoken word artist Candy Royalle released a new video live on YouTube before her tour of Melbourne that starts tonight at Mother Tongue.

The new track, ‘The Will of the People’ features L-FRESH The Lion and Kween G, and is in tune with the insurrectionary style we saw when she featured at events like Sweetalkers.

Candy said, “I’m really excited to be heading down to Melbourne – it’s been 18 months since I last performed on a stage down there. I love the scene, it’s so vibrant and the community is always so supportive. I’m going to be doing heaps of new work and look forwards to sharing it with my family down south.”

Her tour starts tonight at Mother Tongue before performing at events such as Slamalamadingdong and the Dan O’Connell Hotel.

Mother Tongue 6 featuring Candy Royalle and Jessie Ray Friday, June 14 @ 7.30pm / Physically Natural Studio, 1/393 Smith St, Fitzroy (enter via Kerr Street) / $15-12 (open mic performers free) / Women Only Open Mic

Art Party featuring Candy Royalle, Fleassy Malay, ReVerse Butcher and other non-spoken word artists Saturday, June 15 @ 7pm, Norm, 34 Breese Street, Brunswick / $12

Slamalamadingdong Open Slam Featuring Fury and Candy Royalle Thursday, June 20 @ 7.30pm / The Bella Union, Trades Hall, cnr of Victoria and Lygon Street / $15-12 (ticketed) / Open Slam

“Write, Breathe, Perform” – A workshop with Candy Royalle Friday, June 21 @ 6.30pm / 1.1 Architects Space, 34 Niagara Lane, Melbourne / $25-20

Hares & Hyenas Present PERFORMOETICS The Melbourne Edition featuring Candy Royalle, Romy Hoffman AKA Macromantics, ReVerse Butcher & Brigitte Lewis Thursday, June 27 @ 7.30pm / Hares & Hyenas, 63 Johnston St, Fitzroy / $15-10

Dan Poets featuring Candy Royalle Saturday, June 29 @ 2pm / The Dan O’Connell Hotel, 225 Canning Street, Carlton / Free / Open Mic

Interview: Darkwing Dubs on the Roar Poets Tour from Brisbane

Interview by Benjamin Solah

Brisbane Poets Darkwing Dubs, Martin Ingle and Angela Peita Willock will tour the East Coast of Australia including a gig in Melbourne on the 28th of June, alongside a bunch of solo shows by Darkwing Dubs. The tour, dubbed the ‘Roar Poets Tour 2013,’ will also head to Armidale, Nimbin, Sydney and Canberra.

Darkwing Dubs visited Melbourne two years ago and did a bunch of gigs including Sweetalkers, the first ever Slamalamadingdong and Passionate Tongues, where he impressed Melbourne with his very physical and dynamic style of performance poetry, and then came back and did a gig with the Stillwaters Women’s Storytelling Collective. It’s clear he loves Melbourne and can’t get enough of us so I spoke with Darkwing Dubs a.k.a. Scott Sneddon about visiting Melbourne again, and bringing two other Brisbane Poets with him.

Darkwing Dubs

What do you look forward to the most about coming down to Melbourne to perform? What’s unique about doing gigs in Melbourne?

What do I look forward to most? Melbourne is always a challenge. You learn a lot from coming to Melbourne. In both good and bad ways. It is a notoriously gated artistic community for an interstate person – especially from sunny QLD. Yet also one of the most warm and welcoming. I hate comfort zones. So coming to Melbourne is always a bit of a walk in the lion’s den. It’s rewarding and humbling and tiring and beautiful. There are people in Melbourne who constantly ask me to come back and perform again, and people who never want to see my face again.

You don’t get that in Brisbane. Everyone’s just like “Yeah, I’ll come to your gig”, and then they come and then they leave and you’re never sure whether anyone enjoyed anything. In Melbourne you know for sure. Melbourne peeps either love it and talk to you and shout you dinner (score!) and ha