The Melbourne Writers Festival officially started yesterday and without spoken word, the festival would lack a very special element to this city’s literary culture.

Lisa Dempster, Director of the Melbourne Writers Festival told Melbourne Spoken Word, “We’re very proud to present a number of events this year which feature spoken word, with guests including Maxine Beneba Clarke, Emilie Zoey Baker, Alia Gabres and Mark Seymour.

“We’ll also see students from secondary schools across Victoria fight it out for the right to be called the best young performance poets – it’s great to see young people embrace spoken word.”

Starting Sunday, there’s a bunch of events at MWF featuring spoken word or poetry:

Writers Across Borders featuring Maxine Beneba Clarke, Francesca Rendle-Short, Robin Hemley , David Carlin, Alvin Pang, Eddin Khoo, Laurel Fantauzzo
Sunday, August 24 @ 2.30pm / Performance Space, The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Writers Maxine Beneba Clarke, Alvin Pang and Eddin Khoo share their experiences of wrICE, a program of reciprocal cultural exchange and cultural immersion focused on writers and writing. This lively and performative session includes readings from the participants’ diverse bodies of work.

Out Loud!
Tuesday, August 26 @ 1.45pm / Deakin Edge, Fed Square, cnr of Swanston and Flinders Streets, Melbourne
Students representing Victorian secondary schools fight it out for the right to be called the best young performance poets. It’s poetry, it’s live, it’s loud and it’s not to be missed.

Poetry Live & Direct featuring Adam Ford, Emilie Zoey Baker, Alia Gabres
Tuesday, August 26 @ 10am / ACMI The Cube, Fed Square, cnr of Swanston and Flinders Streets, Melbourne
Catch the beat with two of Melbourne’s freshest, feistiest poets. Emilie Zoey Baker, the Ma’am of Slam and Alia Gabres, a a rising star of the Melbourne poetry scene, offer up powerful rhymes and stories from the world today.

Poetic License featuring Komninos Zervos, Ebony MonCrief, Natalia Mann, Koraly Dimitriadis, Irine Vella, OUP Emerging Artists Kevin Nugara, Mahmoud Samoun, Ileini Kabalan, Dante Sofra, and special guests
Wednesday, August 27 @ 12pm, Thursday, August 28 @ 6pm & 8pm, Friday, August 29 @ 6pm & 8pm / Footscray Community Arts Centre, 45 Moreland St, Footscray
Once upon a time a god called Dionysus believed that he could save an ancient city from ruin by bringing a dead poet back to live. And now the need has again arisen. Our world, our city, our neighbourhood is in need of poetry and a great poet to save it. Poetic License is a cross-generational performance work about the power and limitations of words. Presented by Outer Urban Projects in association with FCAC and Melbourne Writers Festival

Poetry of World War One featuring Robert Newton, Tony Thompson, Alia Gabres
Wednesday, August 27 @ 11:15am / ACMI Cinema 1, Fed Square, cnr of Swanston and Flinders Streets, Melbourne
The poetry of World War One written by soldiers and those at home helps us to understand the terrible sorrow of war. Robert Newton and Alia Gabres introduce and read of the poetry of Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and other witnesses to war.

Local Libraries: Caroline Springs
Wednesday, August 27 @ 7pm / Caroline Springs Civic Centre Library, 193-201 Caroline Springs Blvd, Caroline Springs
A poetry slam for local poets, with Maxine Beneba Clarke as the MC, performing a couple of her own pieces and acting as one of a panel of three judges.

Passing Bells: The Poetry of World War One featuring Richard Stubbs, Simon Armitage, Alison Croggon, Mark Seymour, Jeff Sparrow, Sian Prior, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Andrew Marlton
Sunday, August 31 @ 2pm / St Michael’s Uniting Church On Collins, 120 Collins St, Melbourne
About: The terrible grief of World War One gave rise to poetry of intense emotion and poignancy. Remembering the Great War poets, writer and performers read and reflect, curated by Overland editor Jeff Sparrow. With Simon Armitage, Maxine Beneba Clark, Alison Croggon, First Dog on the Moon, Sian Prior, Mark Seymour, Sigrid Thornton and Richard Stubbs. Supported by Overland

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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