Monday, July 25 @ 6:30pm
The Toff in Town
2 252 Swanston St
Has an Open Mic?
Book tickets at http://wheelercentre.com/events/howl/…
Presented by The Wheeler Centre.
Hallucinatory, chaotic and confronting, Allen Ginsberg’s 1955 poem Howl sits with On the Road by Jack Kerouac and Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs at the very centre of the Beat literary canon.
With its wild, visceral depictions of sex, drugs and madness, Ginsberg’s poem is perhaps as famous for the obscenity trial that followed its publication as for its disturbing and much-parodied opening lines. Like the other Beat writers, Ginsberg was influenced by jazz music and aimed to capture in his writing something of the rhythms, spontaneity and subversive undercurrents inherent in jazz traditions.
At two very special performances at the Toff, Maxine Beneba Clarke will read Howl to modern music by jazz composer Darrin Archer. Archer’s composition, called Drunken Taxicabs of Absolute Reality: Howl to Music, features a seven-piece jazz band and aims to create a sonic landscape that accompanies and interacts with Ginsberg’s seminal poem.
Ginsberg himself described Howl as a ‘tragic custard-pie of wild phrasing’. Join Archer and Beneba Clarke as they bring that wild phrasing to life, more than 60 years after Ginsberg’s first reading.
Maxine Beneba Clarke
Maxine Beneba Clarke is an Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Her latest poetry collection is Nothing Here Needs Fixing (Picaro Press, 2013). Her short fiction collection Foreign Soil won the 2015 ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of The Year, the Indie Award for best debut fiction, and was shortlisted for The Stella Prize. Poetry his her first, and true love.
A night for the poetic sweepings of the inner north to degenerate into sleaze, vitriol, and confusion. And rise into revelation, liberating confession and poetic wisps of the sublime. A feast of clashing waters. All in a cozy artsy pup. No features, no list, no limits. Just put your hand up and come on up. Is your piece not really ready? It is for this gig.
Yoram Symons performing ‘The Whale’ at Melbourne Spoken Word presents Bill Moran at The Provincial Hotel, Fitzroy on September 1, 2017.
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Yoram Symons is an engaging and unique voice on the Melbourne poetry scene, known for his enchanting storytelling technique. Yoram is a writer, poet and VR/AR producer in Melbourne. His performance work is a mixture of hypnosis and intensity, exploring the intersection of history, culture, technology and the personal experience.
Slam. Is this once agent in changing the way we produce and consume performance poetry still relevant?
For those who are not familiar with slam: Slam is a competition format in which poets are given a set time limit to perform their pieces and are then scored by a total of 5 randomly selected audience members, the scores usually range from 1-10 to the nearest 0.1 with the top and bottom scores being dropped in order to avoid bias, giving each poet a final score out of 30. The poet with the highest score at the end of the night wins. There are many variations on this basic format (which was first introduced by Marc Smith) employed by poetry competitions across the globe.
Slam boasts origins in the idea that the people should have a say in the type of content they are presented with. That is, that those who are the predominant consumers of performance poetry or spoken word; the audience should be the deciding party in the kind of work that is allowed recognition and reward. This has given rise to a style of poetry unofficially termed “slam poetry.”
Slam poetry is a term used to define the type of poetry, both in cadence and content, that is likely to score well at slams. A poet who presents poetry predominantly of this style may be called a slam poet. And while slam, by definition, is a format for competition, the world of slam poets and slam poetry is a rapidly growing one with poets who have attained worldwide recognition for their execution of this style of poetry. However, over time and particularly on our extensive and hugely varied poetry scene, the idea that the poetry presented in slam is of an inferior quality is becoming an increasingly held one.
That is to say, there is a specific school of thought which views slam through a lens that portrays the art that is presented on slam stages as simplistic, repetitive and lacking in any depth beyond the concise point that the artist is trying to make in the allotted time limit.