Monday, July 24 @ 6:30pm
The Toff in Town
2 252 Swanston St
Has an Open Mic?
Book tickets: https://wheelercentre.com/events/…
Featuring Michelle Dabrowski, Kylie Supski, Roshelle Fong, Chalise van Wyngaardt and Reverse Butcher.
Poetry is at its best when it’s challenging: namely, when it’s challenging our expectations, the limits of the form, or a social boundary or taboo. And never is a challenge more keenly felt than through the voice: when performed aloud, poetry cuts deep, using words to reach wordless parts of us.
At this event – part performance, part discussion – we’ll hear from contemporary, local poets with new ideas about the possibilities of poetry. How does collaborative poetry work, in writing and in performance? Where does poetry intersect with other artforms? And how might technology enhance our experience of the artform?
See, hear and experience boundary-pushing poetry from the people who write it at a very special night at the Toff in Town.
Presented in partnership with Girls on Key and The Toff in Town.
Kylie Supski is a Polish-Australian poet and spoken word performer. Kylie’s inspiration comes from her personal experiences, all aspects of her life, and the people she is surrounded by. Kylie is greatly concerned with using art as a method of speaking out about global economic and political inequality. She encourages her audiences towards critical thinking, and to consider the weight of their own powers as citizens with specific regard to the inhumane policies backed by the Australian government controlled by less than ‘The 1%’. Kylie however, enjoys a diverse repertoire and is passionate about exploring the beauty of being alive. Kylie Supski was the winner of The Melbourne Spoken Word Prize in 2016.
Chalise van Wyngaardt
Chalise van Wyngaardt is a Spoken Word poet, writer, editor and performer with experience in everything from facilitating spoken word workshops to copywriting and editing fiction and non-fiction. Chalise’s storytelling tackles through faith, love, sexuality, culture, politics, addiction, and identity. She combines abstract mythology with historical exploration to weave together fractured connections between the human and the divine.
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