Words by Benjamin Solah
The Emerging Writers’ Festival is beginning this Thursday and if you’re into spoken word, there’s certainly events for you to get along to. The line-up of spoken word artists and poets in the festival program include Jessica Alice, Ali Alizadeh, Khairani ‘Okka’ Barokka, Alison Croggon, Josephine Rowe, Alicia Sometimes, Jessica L. Wilkinson and Arda Barut. There are also a heap of events that are relevant to spoken word artists, as it is for all kinds of writers.
But the most impressive event is One Night Stanza coming up this Sunday night, supported by the Emerging Writers’ Festival. American slam poet, Anis Mojgani, will perform at the Footscray Arts Centre, hosted by another American slam poet, Ken Arkind as well as Carrie Rudzinski, Randall Stephens and Steve Smart, Michelle Dabrowski, Grace Vanilau and Ajak Kwai. It is an impressive line-up and like the Global Poetics tour a few years back that Ken Arkind was apart of, it’s a very rare chance for an Australian audience to be wowed by the American slam poets that some of us have come to love on YouTube. Tickets will likely sell out so people need to book ASAP to avoid being heartbroken when all your friends rave about how great it was.
The other spoken word event that looks impressive is Sweatshop Stories. It’s brought to you by the Sweatshop Western Sydney Literacy Movement and featuring eight performers, the event describes itself as “Welcome to the sweatshops of Western Sydney, where every Aussie gets a fair go. Pockets are full and guns are empty. There are no racists here. No misogynists and no homophobes. Where the Wogs rule and the Anglos have assimilated.” It definitely sounds politically charged and unlikely to be accused of being mild-mannered and holding anything inside. As someone who grew up in Western Sydney, and who loves poets who hang their politics up on their microphone, I am sad to miss this one as I’m performing at the Dan O’Connell that afternoon from 2pm, but going along to Sweatshop Stories is probably the best excuse you’ll have for missing my own performance.
Melbourne Spoken Word will also be representing the spoken word scene in Melbourne as part of Page Parlour on the night of the 30th of May, where we will be selling books and CDs from Melbourne spoken word artists and poets. Look out for us!