Melbourne Spoken Word will now introduce you to the Melbourne Poets Union. We love the MPU because, disclaimer here, they gave us some money, which isn’t really a problem or conflict but if you want to balance it out a bit you can fix that by also donating some money to us. We plan to spend it on promoting the site (we’ve ordered stickers!), therefore promoting the scene as a whole but especially the gigs we sponsor ourselves, which we can do more of when other people generously donate. You will receive in return warm fuzzy feelings, hugs from poets and a special mention on our site if you are especially generous. But now I’ll give the page over to Randall…

Words by Randall Stephens: MPU President, 2013

MPU 35y -banner

The Melbourne Poets Union. We’ve been on strike for thirty five years. According to the legendary Sydney bard Tug Dumbly. We can’t afford Tug Dumbly. In spite of that we do monthly poetry readings anyway. Except December and January. Then we’re for-real on strike, I guess. Tug Dumbly didn’t answer my email. He must have been on strike too.

Anyway, Benjamin Solah asked us to tell you about our regular readings, which is good because there’s one on tomorrow night (or tonight, depending on when you’re reading this. Or it was last night if today is now Thursday, and you missed it. It was good too. No seriously, we had Amy Bodossian. More about that below) …can I start this over? No? Okay.

Well yes, the Melbourne Poets Union is a grass roots organisation that began life in 1977, an association currently under the auspices of Australian Poetry and the Victorian Writers Centre. So I have to be nice to them now. I also have to run these damn monthly readings.

If you’ve heard of us at all, the MPU has a reputation of being a little stodgy and conservative, and in 2013 we’re determined to help change that attitude by broadening our involvement in the local poetry community (including sponsoring this very site), and our events will be especially reflective of that, featuring a good mix of high profile and heretofore unknown poets and spoken word artists.

We’re committed to addressing the gender imbalance and under-representation of women in poetry (ooo shh everyone, Randall’s being serious now), as well as featuring more cultural diversity than has been typical in the past. Annually we help organise a multi-lingual poetry reading in collaboration with the Immigration Museum. Oh-oh and yeah, I also want to get more interstaters in too. You’ll be seeing a lot of this come to pass in the next few months.

A staple of our events is allowing a section for open stage readers, to encourage our members (and other attendees so inclined) to try speaking their poems aloud in a safe and supportive environment. There’s a great spectrum of styles and topics that emerge from poets each month.

Our venues tend to change from month-to-month, we try and keep a toe-hold in our HQ at The Wheeler Centre, but we also like to get out and spread-the-love around other spots around the City of Melbourne. It’s always on the last week of the month, typically the Wednesday or Thursday. Best to keep your eye on the MSW.com or our Facebook page.

ameeeeeThis month, (this Wednesday April 24th) our feature is amazing Amy Bodossian, multi award winning, eccentric, mercurial, vulnerable and vividly human. Supporting Amy is Di Cousens, whose witty, graceful and delightful poems have filled two chapbooks. Please come here what these two have to say…

Benjamin Solah

Benjamin Solah

Benjamin Solah is a writer, poet, spoken word artist, activist and the Director of Melbourne Spoken Word. He grew up in Western Sydney before calling Melbourne home in 2008, where he's performed since 2010 around Melbourne's regular spoken word and poetry nights including Passionate Tongues, The Dan Poets, Voices in the Attic and House of Bricks as well as the NGV and White Night. He's released a chapbook, broken bodies, and two spoken word albums, Duel Power with Santo Cazzati and The World Doesn't Make Sense EP.
Benjamin Solah

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