Melbourne Spoken Word is a website and arts organisation with the goal of supporting spoken word and poetic performers and events around Melbourne, Australia, especially the live spoken word and poetry scene. Melbourne has a vibrant culture of poetic performances, open mic nights and poetry slams, most of which is not widely known about in mainstream media. Our goal is make spoken and poetry visible in this city.
Melbourne Spoken Word was founded on the 22nd of February 2012, by Benjamin Solah, as a website aiming to promote and discuss the Melbourne spoken word and poetry ‘scene’ or community, and become a central online space to list and advertise all of the spoken word gigs, open mics, slams, workshops and goings on around Melbourne.
Our focus is two-fold. We are a city-focussed organisation, focussing on what is happening in this city, and on the outskirts of Melbourne and we unashamedly focus on the spoken word, the readings, the performative. We list every gig in Melbourne that’s primary focus is spoken word or poetry.
We also publish discussion, news, reviews, interviews, history, video, opinion and debate, as well as produce a quarterly audio-journal Audacious, an album of spoken word. Melbourne Spoken Word is now more than just a website. We also endeavour to get out to gigs, help with cross-promotion and get out to festivals and markets to promote spoken word.
Benjamin Solah – Director
Benjamin Solah is the founder and Director of Melbourne Spoken Word, and the main editor of the website, Audacious and the curator of The Poetic Lab and other Melbourne Spoken Word events. He manages the ‘Upcoming Events’ page and sends out the Weekly Bulletin. He is also very busy and full of ideas but is slowly expanding the team to have more people help out, especially with skills he doesn’t have.
Benjamin is also a spoken word artist, writer and political activist, raised in the western suburbs of Sydney and now lives in Brunswick West and studies Creative Writing at RMIT. His work has been described as “…no-holds-barred, passionate…” and often focusses on themes of oppression, inequality and resistance, with an interest in popular culture, asylum seekers and the workplace. Benjamin released an EP in 2012 with Santo Cazzati, Duel Power and in 2013, released broken bodies, a chapbook focussing on the plight of asylum seekers in Australia and his activism.
Amanda Anastasi – Writer
Amanda Anastasi came on board in the beginning writing reviews of books and CDs around Melbourne. She is now the writer of The Last Word, a regular article for MSW interviewing writers about their latest publication.
Amanda is the curator of La Mama Poetica and a Melbourne poet. She studied Professional Writing and Literature at Deakin University. Her work has been published in magazines and anthologies both locally and in NZ, the US, the UK and Ireland. Amanda has performed at various festivals and poetry events around Melbourne, and her words have been seen on the scrolling text screens of Federation Square and on the walls of Prahran’s Artist’s Lane. Amanda’s first collection 2012 and other poems was named in Ali Alizadeh’s ‘Top Ten Poetic Works of 2012’ in Overland Literary Journal. She was also the co-writer of Loop City, along with poet Steve Smart and NZ composer Yvette Audain, produced by MSO’s Sarah Curro.
Freeman Trebilcock – Video Producer
Freeman Trebilcock is the Video Producer for the Melbourne Spoken Word YouTube Channel, behind the camera and working hard to get as many Melbourne poets and gigs onto film as possible to show the world our poetry scene.
Freeman Trebilcock is a photographer & film maker currently studying at the Victorian College of the Arts. He is a dabbler in poetry, piano, and home-made salad dressings. Be on the lookout, he may be making a documentary about you right now…
Armand Petit – Audacious Sound Enginner
Armand Petit, known by friends as Mandy/That Barry Manilow Song, has no clue how to write about himself in a manner of marketing. So instead he steals ‘red spot’ sale stickers from Coles and attaches them to whatever he is wearing at the time. Bargain hunters find him alluring, the colour blind loathe him, traffic lights temporarily relate and want to become friends, and everyone else just tentatively passes him and thinks he’ll be around next week – I might give him a go then.
When he’s not writing/performing spoken word he is devoting his time to swing dancing, attending gigs and galleries, training in mixed martial arts, rock climbing, doing archery, collecting stories, talking to homeless people at 3AM whilst walking through his backyard (the CBD), and solving MX jumbles really fucking fast! His solo music project ‘Prey Bird, Pray’ keeps him noisily occupied whilst serving as a good coating/barrier for loud neighbour sex. “Seriously, these walls are paper thin. And it’s always hilarious when they get more vigorous during climactic parts of my playing”, did’st speaketh the Armand. One of his recent compositions was used as backing for the short film ‘SONDR’ which is being screened at this year’s MQFF.
Armand’s book ‘Choose Your Own Misadventure’, comprising of short stories, poetry, journal entries and imagery – shall be available in Spring ’15.
Other Team Members
Fury is a writer, advocate, SJW and trans activist based in Melbourne’s suburban west. They have toured, written, bent and broken across Melbourne and Australia for the past 4 years. They manage their own website(/s) at The-Australasian.com and thisisnotapipedream.com. They were once described as the Andrea Gibson of Melbourne.
Krish Prasad is an Indian-born spoken word artist and performer whose work is based around deconstructing human relationships and behaviour, and providing perspective on how one’s everyday struggles with life and its challenges are a near universal experience. Using biting humour, theatrical portrayals, and sudden changes in tempo and intensity, he creates an authentic representation of the modern human and his war with identity.
Krish started writing at 14, but has only been giving stage performances for around 2 years. During this time, he has performed at several venues in both his hometown of Mumbai, India and his adopted home of Melbourne, Australia. He has featured at the Big Mic and readings at Café Goa in Mumbai, as well as at Passionate Tongues, Dan Poets and the House of Bricks in Melbourne, and has been received exceedingly well.
He also cooks a mean red-bean curry, loves warm weather and warm socks, and is a part-time human.