Words
Interviews — March 10

Poetic Preface: Hunch

By Benjamin Solah

Hunch (not his real name) came barn storming onto the open mics a year or two ago, and in that time has won the Battle Royalle at Wham Bam Thank You Slam last year, opened for OVEOUS and just last month, won Slamalamadingdong. We had a chat to this fast-talking unique voice in Melbourne.

Can you think of a moment, like from your childhood, that was probably a dead giveaway you’d become a poet?

Well, my angle into this scene stemmed from writing down my dreams obsessively for years. I think dreams by their nature are poetic, so perhaps it was when I first decided to write down my dreams. More broadly, if you mean; When did I realise I had mental issues, was scared of the world, didn’t fit in, was susceptible to substance abuse and enjoyed my own company too much? Then that was much earlier.

How’d you discover spoken word?

I think the first time I recognised that spoken word was a ‘thing’ was when I heard Henry Rollins doing it back when I was in high school. I also liked Bill Hicks’ stuff back then too. Interestingly enough, neither were/are considered to be outright ‘spoken word’ artists, as it’s a side thing for Henry to his music and Bill was, by and large, classified as a comedian… With hindsight, these two were obviously very influential for me because I do tend to act like a rock star when I get a mic in my hand and I’m always drawn to the humorous side of things when I write!

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?

Clearly that would be my own poetry book! I could live without reading books but I don’t think I could last without being able to record my own thoughts and poems… Is that, like, totally self involved of me?

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

The default scenario in my mind when I’m practicing a new piece is th

Interviews — March 3

Poetic Preface: Waffle Irongirl

By Benjamin Solah

You might have seen her perform previously under a different name, but Waffle Irongirl is now the name to look out for, and the face of Audacious Four.

Can you think of a moment, like from your childhood, that was probably a dead giveaway you’d become a poet?

My parents had just politely declined a neighbour’s invitation to a soiree, making a fake excuse to soften the blow. My five-year-old self loudly declared that we certainly were NOT having dinner with grandma on Friday, in fact we didn’t have ANY plans*. I wasn’t judging my parents or the white lie, my brain just couldn’t deal with words not matching reality. I think poets are compulsive truth-tellers – even if they lie in their ‘real’ lives, once they get on stage or page, they can’t help but bring words and perceived realities into alignment.

*I’ve since learnt to collaborate on all manner of lies. In fact NEVER believe anything I say or write if it isn’t poetry.

How’d you discover spoken word?

I signed up for a poetry class with the peerless poet teacher Judith Rodriguez. She lent me an album. Hearing these famous poets read their own words made poetry come alive for me and I went looking for the live version. MelbourneSpokenWord.com led me to a wondrous variety of events. “Just one,” I said, next thing I knew I was reciting an open mic and I was hooked. Just say no kiddies!

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?

The thickest edition of Emily Dickinson I can find, and Nathan Curnow’s The Apocalypse Awards. I’m allowed that second one, cause technically, it classifies as an instruction manual for end times, just coincidentally written in poetic form.

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

My poems usual