Friday, May 4 @ 6:00pm
The Wheeler Centre
176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne
Has an Open Mic?
Join David Stavanger for this free two-part event exploring the intersection of mental health and writing, as well as the divide between poets who write for the page and those that take to the stage.
The Electric Journal:
A reading & performance by David Stavanger including his recent prose-poem based on his experiences with ECT, pieces from his award-winning collection, The Special, and other new work.
Page meets Stage:
Based on New York’s Bowery Poetry Club’s long-running series “where the Pulitzer Prize meets the poetry slam.” Hosted and curated by David Stavanger, this event pairs acclaimed page poet Andy Jackson with renowned spoken word artist Eleanor Jackson, going poem for poem to find uncommon ground. The performance will be opened by emerging spoken word artist Time Evans and multi-disciplinary poet Misbah.
Free entry with drinks and books by all poets available to purchase on the night.
Presented as part of the Melbourne Visiting Poets Program and its program’s partners, RMIT non/fictionLab, Rabbit Poetry, Australian Poetry and Melbourne Spoken Word.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
David Stavanger is a poet, writer, performer, cultural producer and former psychologist. In 2013 he won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, resulting in the release of The Special (UQP), his first full-length collection of poetry which was awarded the 2015 Wesley Michel Wright Poetry Prize. His prose-poem ‘The Electric Journal’ was a finalist of the 2016 Newcastle Poetry Prize. David is also sometimes known as pioneering Green Room-nominated ‘spoken weird’ artist Ghostboy, winning the 2005 Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup and establishing poetry slam and spoken word in QLD via his active work with the Australian Poetry Slam and Woodford Folk Festival. David was the Co-Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival from 2015-2017, a period known for its inclusive programming and stronger focus on CALD and first nation voices.
Andy Jackson has featured at literary events and arts festivals in Australia, India, USA and Ireland, including the 2017 Castlemaine State Festival and the Queensland Poetry Festival with Each Map of Scars – a performance, puppetry and film collaboration with Rachael Guy and Leonie Van Eyk. He was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Prize for Poetry for Among the regulars (Papertiger 2010), and won the 2013 Whitmore Press Manuscript Prize for The thin bridge. His new book, Music our bodies can’t hold (Hunter Publishers 2017), consists of portrait poems of other people with Marfan Syndrome.
Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer and community radio broadcaster. Her poems have appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite Poetry Review and Going Down Swinging, and broadcast on national and international radio. She is the creator of the Melbourne Poetry Map and a former Editor in Chief of Peril Magazine. Her chapbook, A Leaving is published by Vagabond Press.
The Melbourne Visiting Poets Program acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations as the traditional owners of the land on which much of this program takes place. It respectfully recognises Elders both past and present.
The Dan is Melbourne’s longest running weekly poetry venue is now in its 24th year. Every Saturday between 2pm-5pm, The Dan O’Connell Hotel becomes, The Home of Poets. The Dan is a community of poets, who support each other’s work, and endeavour to improve their poetry. Some of the poets that perform at The Dan have been writing poetry for decades, but many, are just starting their poetry journey.
The Dan is also, for people that love to see poets performing their poems. Our poetry audience can listen, and watch the open mic, with a drink and a meal in front of them, you will hear words from around the corner, and around the world. It’s free entry, and everyone is welcome on the open mic.
Give yourself the gift of a living performance, come and experience Poetry @ The Dan O’Connell. Put your name on the blackboard and be part of the open mic. Co-ordinated and MC’d by the Dan Poet’s Collective, Libby, Steve, Anne, Norman and Tim.
Amanda Anastasi speaks to Sapologie curator, Green Room Award winner, and Slamalamadingdong Grand Slam Champion, wāni.
How and where did you first discover spoken word?
Through a collective I found when I first arrived in Melbourne. It was the first space I’d ever felt truly free to be able to explore forms that weren’t always so readily available to me.
One of the most interesting and moving spoken word pieces I have heard recently is your poem ‘Silence’. In it, you demonstrate the gaps in our speech if we removed the lies and half truths from our daily narrative. Why do you think it is so hard for us to speak plainly and truthfully?
I think perhaps it’s because of the way we’ve been socialised and conditioned to exist. It seems as if we have to be and exist in a particular way that perhaps is different to who we feel we actually are, and vulnerability as well as honesty is exposing and that’s risky, so we tend to hide behind masks we create. Perhaps.
I have often considered spoken word and poetry to be the most direct form of artistic expression. Is this part of its appeal for you?
Yes, most definitely. It tends to cut through the b.s, I feel. It allows both the giver and the listener to penetrate parts of each other that aren’t often received in the same way through other forms – not even conversations – because of the assumptions that it often carries with it at times.
Your performances are paced and phrased very deliberately through your clever use of pauses, silences, and acceleration. What are the things you have learned so far about performing poetry that you would like to share?
That there are no rules to it except the ones you make for yourself. For me, it allows me to enter a space where I can better understand myself and the world around me, in a way that opens me up to share it with those willing to hear me. It also allows me to explore new ways in which to deliver things t
The elegant Alan Pentland meets me at the Melbourne Bar, “Workshop”, to talk about the MSW poetry prize, comedy and the meaning of spoken word. Right after this interview, he retreated to his country estate to fix up a problem with a water tank.
Hi Alan. Congratulations on winning the 2017 MSW Poetry Prize! That was a great performance. Funny story about that. I was surprised to have walked away with the prize, there were so many amazing performances! I felt terrific for about a week, then I got the feeling, “What do I do now?” This felt like a watershed moment, a huge step. I thought the next step must be much bigger and I had no idea what it would be. There was an occasion I needed to rise to, but the writing actually became hard and I was quite depressed for a month. It’s funny because it’s ironic.
But I’ve started writing and performing again, I’ve got targets to aim for. I know what I’m going to do: use the prize as a leverage to contribute to the community, to others but also to myself. I think there are new ways to do things and I’d like to explore that.
I’ve been part of the poetry scene for about two years. Much as I appreciate the support mechanisms, I want to reach the people who don’t go to the poetry gigs. Ultimately you want to reach out to an audience that isn’t poets. There seems to be no prototype to achieve this, right now I’m going to non-poetry gigs and open mics — like music gigs. And I’ve been getting an encouraging response.
How did you get your start in poetry? I won an award for poetry from school. My friend and I used to self-publish a poetry newsletter in the days when you had to “roneo” them, you had to type the poems up on a stencil then run it through a machine to make copies. All sorts of people would contribute, people you wouldn’t imagine writing poetry. But then I studied architecture at uni and got into comedy, which is the kind of thing that seduces you away fr