Two things begin this weekend that means there’s a bunch of spoken word to get along to for the next week or so. St. Kilda StripFest goes for a little over a week, with a bunch of different events, but with a healthy dose of spoken word, and add to that, WA Poet Jackson begins her Melbourne leg of her tour.

St. Kilda StripFest isn’t what you think. Most performers will remain clothed but it will take place along the St. Kilda Shopping Strip: Acland Street and connected streets starting today.

Tomorrow, the spoken word begins with Melbourne Spoken Word presenting Pop-Up Poets from 1pm until 4pm at various locations. Meet at Acland Court at 1pm and follow us along our casual tour featuring Izzy Roberts-Orr, Santo Cazzati, Oliver Mol, Steve Smart, Andy Jackson and Benjamin Solah.

On Sunday, Loop City featuring Amanda, Anastasi, Steve Smart and Sarah Curro is a show not to be missed and this is their second performance, which will happen at Veludo from 4pm.

On Tuesday, you’ve got two gigs to choose from. At 7pm at Veludo, Bar Stanza host Anthony WP O’Sullivan presents Amy Bodossian, Koraly Dimitriadis and Ben John Smith in a gig called Layer Cake Poetry. And at 7.30 the Village Belle Hotel, Mother Tongue moves south side this month, and is featuring Ee’da and Charlotte Roberts, plus a women only open mic, but guys are welcome to come watch.

And then on Thursday, Keep Left is spreading the message beyond their regular home of Under the Hammer in Coburg, to feature Cece Ojany and Brigitte Lewis at The St. Kilda Branch from 8pm which will include open mic.

There’s a lot to check out, but wait, there’s more, Western Australian Poet Jackson will be doing gigs in Melbourne at The Dan, West Word, The Barley Corn and Passionate Tongues plus a workshop.

Dan Poets featuring Ezra Bix (with a mini-feature by Jackson)
Saturday, August 24 @ 2pm / Dan O’Connell Hotel, 225 Canning Street, Carlton / Free / Open Mic

West Word featuring Jackson
Sunday, August 25 @ 2pm / Dancing Dog Cafe, 42 Albert Street, Footscray / Free / Open Mic

Muses, Musos and The Barley Corn featuring Jackson (WA), Meena Shamaly, and Michael Reynolds
Sunday, August 25 @ 6.30pm / The Barley Corn, 177 Johnston Street, Fitzroy / Free / Open Mic

Passionate Tongues featuring Jackson
Monday, August 26 @ 8.30pm / Brunswick Hotel, 140 Sydney Road, Brunswick / Free + Raffle / Open Mic

Jackson had this to say about coming to Melbourne:

I’ve been coming over once or twice most years since 2007, when I was a guest of the Overload festival, and I find Melbourne and its poetry scene incredibly welcoming. I walk the tightrope between page and stage, so Melbourne’s diverse venues and audiences suit me well.

I also look forward to hearing all the other poets and what they’ve been writing. At the Dan on 24 August I have a mini-feature alongside the main feature Ezra Bix, whom I remember from the Goolwa festival as a very entertaining poet.

One of the best things about the Melbourne scene is the number of venues for poetry, and the number of people who organise gigs. Every year there are new events in new venues as well as old favourites. This time I’m performing at three of the most perennial gigs — the Dan, West Word and Passionate Tongues — and at Muses Musos and the Barley Corn, which has started since my last eastern pilgrimage.

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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