One of the highlights of last year’s season of spoken word events around Melbourne was undoubtedly the monthly competitions held by the Dan Poets on Saturday afternoons, a break from the regular format of feature performers with an open mic section.

These monthly competitions were the inspiration for The Winter Feast Spoken Word Competition that’s also to be held at The Dan O’Connell Hotel this July.

It’s been launched by Shane Hill, a Dan regular for over four years, who only considered himself in the ranks of the ‘Dan Poets’ after last year, when he began reading on the open stage for the first time.

“I was utterly delighted with the quality of the performances. I found it very exciting and inspiring to see such excellent work,” he said. “A spoken word competition is an awesome way to inspire people and show others the very best of what performance poetry is.”

With the help of Libby Charlton to compile the procedures and rules and an anonymous donor for the prize money, the new competition offers $1,700 in cash prizes and Shane hopes that the prize money will attract performers from across Melbourne and Australia.

With two qualifying rounds between 10am and 1pm on the Saturday the 23rd and Sunday the 24th, a maximum of 150 registered poets will be whittled down to 30 poets for the final at 4pm that Sunday afternoon.

The judges are yet to be announced, and they won’t necessarily be people from the spoken word community but will be headed by Joseph Carmel Chetcuti, another regular at The Dan. On their Facebook page, the criteria for judging includes performance, content, language, rhythm and captivation. The criteria “allows [their] judges to convert their authentic reaction to your chosen piece and your performance into a number score on the score sheet.”

The Winter Feast joins a now growing list of prizes for spoken word and performance alongside The Australian Poetry Slam, Slamalamadingdong, other slams, the Melbourne Spoken Word Prize, and Queensland Poetry Festival’s XYZ Prize.

You can find more rules and details on their Facebook Page, as well as the dates of the registration and qualifying round details. It’s worth reading the rules and procedures carefully if you’re intending on entering. Make sure you put June 18 in your diary or calendar as that’s the day you need to register to be one of the first 150 poets entered to get into the qualifying rounds.

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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