Words
Interviews — February 17

Poetic Preface: Komninos Zervos

By Benjamin Solah

Komninos Zervos has been performing poetry since 1980, and doing it professionally since 1985. He’s performed all over the place including the National Folk Festival, Brisbane Livid Festival, had a residency on Triple J and most recently featured at La Mama Poetic and Melbourne Spoken Word’s VCA Slam. He’s released nine poetry collections and can be regularly found at the Dan Poets of a Saturday afternoon.

Can you think of a moment that was probably a dead give away you’d become a poet?

when i registered for unemployment benefits in 1985 after being a research microbiologist at kraft foods, a youth worker for australian greek welfare, a travel agent for jetset tours, a coffee lounge proprietor and a welfare worker trainer, i decided to be a poet with no other job so i put poet as my occupation.

How’d you discover spoken word?

well it discovered me. i had a coffee lounge, tsakpina, in warratah place melbourne (now the wah wah lounge) and in 1982 thom the street poet asked me if they could have a weekly reading on wednesday nights, pio also asked me for monthly readings for his 9to5 magazine. that was my first contact with spoken word events. after listening to their poetry i decided what i had been writing in my diary, mainly about painful relationship break-ups was similar to some of the performance poems i was hearing, so i started reading some of my diary in public.

If you only had one poetry book to take with you in the bunker when the end of the world comes, what would it be?

an empty note-book.

When you write a brand new poem that you just have to read, which open mic do you first think to take it to?

well the dan poets on saturday i feel is the most accepting and critical enough to try new work. in fact a lot of my new work is written at the dan and performed on the same day.

Which legend of the Melbourne poetry scene do you wanna become when you grow up?

t

Podcast — February 13

Podcast: Melbourne Speaks Poetry 00 - What is spoken word?

By Benjamin Solah

Welcome to the first episode of Melbourne Spoken Word’s new podcast, Melbourne Speaks Poetry, where we discuss the art form of spoken within and around Melbourne.

In episode 00, we introduce ourselves and discuss what the podcast aims to do and what is this art form we call spoken word. Featuring Benjamin Solah, Anthony O’Sullivan, Amanda Anastasi, Esme Foong and Brendan Bonsack.

You can subscribe to the podcast via RSS, SoundCloud, iTunes and many other podcast apps.

Chapters

0:00 – 13:08: Introductions 13:09 – 19:46: “Community” in the Spoken Word Community 19:47 – 23:20: Do you write differently for performance? 23:21 – 26:03: Voice, theatricality and presence in performance 26:04 – 31:00: Why Melbourne Speaks Poetry? The point of this podcast. 31:01 – 35:43: Conflicts in poetry 35:44 – 1:05:04: What is Spoken Word? 41:48 – The difference between ‘spoken word’ and ‘poetry’ 42:55 – Does poetry/spoken word have to be written? 46:09 – Memorising poetry 48:11 – The performative aspect of spoken word 51:04 – Spoken word as a conversation: The audience. 53:02 – Getting out to new gigs! 55:22 -Is Spoken Word about Art or Community? 1:00:53 – 1:08:06: Markers of a good spoken word piece 1:08:07 – 1:15:22: What works for live performance versus audio? 1:15:23 – 1:23:43: Highlights of the month

POETRY EVENTS/GIGS MENTIONED

Can I Kick It?

La Mama Poetica

Ms Millie’s Pop Up Poetry Cafe

The Owl & Cat Readings

Paper Waves

Passionate Tongues

Poetry @ the Dan O’Connell

Ruckus Slam

Slamalamadingdong

SHOWS MENTIONED

Colossi by Scott Wings

Roshelle Fong – Virtual Reality Performance

VENUES MENTIONED

Lentil as Anything

MEDIA MENTIONED

3CR Community Radio – Spoken Word

Triple R –

Interviews — February 10

Poetic Preface: John Englezos

By Benjamin Solah

Ahead of the launch of If the world were turned upside down, we chat to John Englezos.

Can you think of a moment that was probably a dead give away you’d become a poet?

Not really. I think storytelling has always been something I’ve enjoyed, in reading, speaking, listening and performing so it was only a matter of time.

How’d you discover spoken word?

I photographed Joel McKerrow’s book launch, then went to his writing workshop and was invited to Slamalamadingdong after to see some poets do their thing. That was 2013, fell quickly in love with the community and the rest is history.

If you only had one poetry book to take with you in the bunker when the end of the world comes, what would it be?

Just one?? Couldn’t I build a shelf in the bunker?

Through The Lover’s Window by Cameron Semmens.

As much care has gone into the pages themselves as the words written. It’s just a really beautifully prepared book.

When you write a brand new poem that you just have to read, which open mic do you first think to take it to?

Bar Oussou for the laid back and welcoming crowd.

Which legend of the Melbourne poetry scene do you wanna become when you grow up?

Rowan White, for his profound words, his intentional living and his love for everyone.

What’s one spoken word artist or performing poet you wish more people knew about. Do you have a favourite poem or video of them?

Brendan Bonsack. This man never fails to amaze me, the moments he describes distilled with his choice words.

“a rough guide”

What are you working on now?

I’m working on putting together a really special night for my book launch in March.

I’m working on a couple of other creative projects to hopefully release later this year.

And just generally, trying to take better care of myself and others.

Interviews — February 3

Poetic Preface: Kylie Supski

By Benjamin Solah

We spoke to the winner of The 2016 Melbourne Spoken Word Prize, Kylie Supski.

Can you think of a moment that was probably a dead giveaway you’d become a poet?

Kylie’s career as a spoken word artist was brutally interrupted when she was only a couple of months old. A careless babysitter dropped Kylie from the change table and she did not speak, until she was magically awakened by Melbourne Spoken Word. As for becoming a poet, Rainer Maria Rilke once said: “Don’t ask me about being a writer. When you wake up in the morning and you can think of nothing BUT writing, then you’re a writer.” (from Letters to a Young Poet Quotes).

How’d you discover spoken word?

After taking part in “Queering the Body” theatre workshop and performance, at Theater Works, in January 2014, Kylie could not wait to get back on a stage again. In February 2014 Kylie attended her first spoken word event at Slamalamadingdong. She missed out on reading that night. But luckily next month Michelle Dabrowski pulled Kylie’s name from a hat and this was the first time that Kylie read, and she never stopped ever since.

If you only had one poetry book to take with you in the bunker when the end of the world comes, what would it be?

It would have to be Sylvia Plath’s “Ariel.” Just to be on a safe side, Kylie tattooed one of the poems from “Ariel” (“Edge”) on her arm.

When you write a brand new poem that you just have to read, which open mic do you first think to take it to?

Kylie reads her new poems first to me, then to her daughter Savannah and her love Stefanie. Once they approved and after many rehearsals, Kylie loves reading her poems “Girls on Key” or “To the Ends of the ‘Verse” or “Passionate Tongues.”

Which legend of the Melbourne poetry scene do you wanna become when you grow up?

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