Saturday, September 17 @ 6:30pm
Gryphon Gallery, Building 1888
Parkville Melbourne VIC
Has an Open Mic?
Open mic sign up at 6.45pm.
Tickets can be pre-booked at https://eventbrite.com.au/e/…
A special spoken-word event showcasing all that is diverse and wonderful in the melbourne spoken word scene. Based on the idea of the Griffin: a mythological creature made up of power and majesty of the kings of both land and sky, GriffinSpeak is a celebration of artists of diverse backgrounds and styles with a focus on creating space for their stories as they would have them told.
Join us for a night of poetic potency as our powerful super features: John Englezos, Ee’da Brahim and Esme Foong share the stage with our new and appropriately named Griffins as they break into the scene and our open mic-ers as they bring a heterogenous yet coherent ensemble of performances for purposes of both education and expression under the direction of our super poet MC Nour Abouzeid.
Waffle Irongirl regularly sets out to write poetry in the venerable tradition of Blake and Whitman. But she keeps getting waylaid by personal opinions, her cultural context and a fondness for the music of Cold Chisel. The fact she can’t resist the occasional slam just makes things worse. On-stage, she’s the poetical analogue of a heavy metal karaoke. Off-stage she’s vague and freshly introverted.
Ee’da is a half-Indian, half- Malay Singaporean poet, emcee, singer/songwriter, dancer and arts educator. She broke cultural convention by leaving her family home and coming to Australia where she knew no one. She went on to become an award-winning poet and community arts worker, receiving Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence for her work in the arts. In 2015, she was awarded the UNESCO City of Literature grant to receive mentorship in diversity education through poetry in New York City. She had featured twice at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC and The Silver Room in Chicago and has performed at the United Nations Conference, Arts Centre Melbourne and venues across Melbourne. Most recently her works were featured at International Writer’s Festival in Bali and she continues to run poetry and arts programs in schools and community organisations. She is also a singer/songwriter and has supported international hip hop acts such as Lyrics Born and Dead Prez. She is the Founder of ‘Sisters For Sisters’, a Melbourne-based music and arts collective aimed at creating a platform for female artists while addressing a myriad of social issues both locally and internationally.
Every second Wednesday, behind the bookshelf in Sooki Lounge’s secret downstairs ‘nook’, you will find a collection of Belgrave’s local creatives opening their chests and sharing their heart with one another.
An incredibly supportive environment where each poet is greeted with genuine applause.
Yoram sometimes has the air of a man possessed when he’s performing. I was interested to find out what drives this dynamic performer. I wasn’t surprised he suggested we meet at the underground bar, E55. When I arrived, he was already comfortably ensconced in a background of drumbeats.
Where did you start with spoken word? I’ve been involved with public speaking all of my life. From an early age I was trained to deliver long speeches without notes and without learning content off-by-heart, but rather, to take a theme or topic and improvise on it, sort of like a jazz of public speaking. Throughout my twenties and early thirties, I practiced this kind of speaking extensively, but exclusively within the Jewish community, and almost always within the context of a religious setting. Basically, I was a preacher.
Regarding the Spoken Word form specifically, it began for me in about 2014. I had returned to Australia from Israel where I had been deeply involved in the Arab Spring movement in that country. I had been engaged in everything from street protests to electioneering and when I returned I felt compelled to write about my thoughts and experiences.
I found, however, that when I actually put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) I was writing in a totally new way for me, using loads of rhymes and masses of adjectives and weird assonances and alliterations. It seemed entirely gratuitous for prose. So I sat there looking at my screen and wondered; “Is this was what people call spoken word?” Shortly thereafter I came across Slamalamadingdong and so it began.
Why spoken word? You aren’t explicitly in it for the self-exploration… That’s definitely true, I am not in spoken word for the self exploration per se. I am really in it for the revolution. I see the spoken word stage as a place to talk about political ideas and use the voice to inform and effect political transformation.
Spoken Word serves
You wrote a poem about last year’s tragic Bourke Street incident, which was read at the Bourke Street Memorial Service in January by the Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood. What were you feeling, hearing your poem read by a public official at a major event?
I didn’t watch the poem read live at the venue or on TV. Let me explain why. One of the survivors of the Bourke Street attack is a friend of mine. As the first anniversary of the attack approached I found myself dwelling on those days. It was a difficult month. My father had died a few weeks before, in terrible circumstances. One day I was talking to my friend about what happened to my father, trying to make sense of it all. Then, a week later, I was visiting that friend in the Alfred Hospital, trying to make sense of such a senseless act.
So, a year on, I was thinking about January 2017 when the organisers of the Memorial emailed to ask whether I knew any poems that might be appropriate to read out. That email triggered me. I spent the next three days trying to write a poem about the events of January 2017. Before I sent the poem to the organisers, I told my friend what I’d done. I guess I was seeking his permission. He told me to send it, so I did. On the day of the Memorial I watched a bit on the TV, then turned it off. Once I heard from my friend that he liked the poem, I went back and watched the video. I thought Arron Wood did a great job with the reading. As for me, I was just relieved my friend thought it was OK.
Most of your poems are rather economical and look as though they are suspended and solitary on the blank page. Others are longer, less spaced out, and laid out in neat lines. What dictates the way a poem looks on the page?
I don’t know the answer to that question. The truth is that, for me, writing poetry is all about the process. I only write a poem when I feel something I don’t understand. Once I start writing, the poem shows me its form