Hosted by ‘the patron-saint of Melbourne poetry,’ poet and photographer Michael Reynolds, what began as a one-off gig on Valentine’s Day in 1999, has turned into one of the longest running gigs in Melbourne, now hosted every second Tuesday at The Brothers Public House, with a diverse range of features from Melbourne and sometimes from beyond, and a substantial space for open mic, it is great for first time readers or performers.
This venue is not wheelchair accessible. It has an automatic door entry, and a small step but no wheelchair accessible toilets.
To the Ends of the ‘Verse is all open mic, all the time, hosted at the warm and cozy Open Studio in the inner-northern suburb of Northcote. Hosted by poets Justine Walsh and Emma Belle, it began as a spoken word poetry event for Belgrave’s inaugural End Of The Line festival in November 2012 and has been hosting events ever since. This event has two open mic poetry sets and a band that improvise two sets of hip hop jazz fusion. Audience members are welcome to freestyle with the band.
The venue is not wheelchair accessible.
On Wednesdays, behind the bookshelf in Sooki Lounge’s secret downstairs ‘nook’, you will find a collection of Belgrave’s local creatives opening their chests and sharing their heart with one another.
An incredibly supportive environment where each poet is greeted with genuine applause.
The venue is not wheelchair accessible.
Thabani Tshuma, winner of The 2019 Melbourne Spoken Word Prize, as well as The People’s Choice Award and The Convener’s Choice Award, performs his winning poem, ‘No Strings’ at Collingwood Town Hall.
The 2019 Melbourne Spoken Word Prize was supported by Yarra Libraries.
Thabani Tsuma is Zimbabwean born and raised, living abroad for the greater part of the last decade. His work is influenced by the myriad identity challenges of the diaspora, expatriates and immigrants, while also addressing awareness around addiction, mental health and generational trauma. He is currently in his final year of studying journalism, a 2019 Hotdesk fellowship recipient with the Wheeler centre, Featured author with Djed Press, Slamalamadingdong’s 2019 Grand Slam champion, a member of the National poetry slam’s winning team and ranked among the top 50 slam poets worldwide at IWPS 2019. Writing is the aperture through which he views the world and experiences self in relation to others.
In its 5th year, the Arts Queensland XYZ Prize for Innovation in Spoken Word is Australia’s only national arts award that recognises the growing field of spoken word and is named after the former 2010 Arts Queensland Poet in Residence, Emily XYZ, who left a deep impression on many of today’s Queensland spoken word artists. It is open to applicants Australia-wide.
This year, the winner of The 2019 XYZ Prize is Fable Goldsmith and the highest placed QLD entry is Rae White.
Home – Fable Goldsmith
I kiss her first.I wait I hold my breath, in this moment reciprocation means everythingI do not know if I can take another breath without it.I draw breath as she kisses me back I take her in, Holding on to each breathAs If I have only ever breathedunderwater,
How light she feels,How she fills the empty spaceinside my chest,How she navigates her way into my veins,turns question to meaning, meaning to answer.I surrender.my body to hersnaked and honest, tremblingThis is the first time I am not afraid. The first time another body has become a safe space.
We find each other in the dark,as our hands reachwe find ourselves in each othernavigating new worlds under bed sheets.
She tells memy body is a poemshe will never get tired of readinga trailshe will never tire of taking She tells me homeis where we both stand.
Years pass, Every time I touch her feels like the first time, I still catch my breath from her kissesHer skin is always new
Years pass, I kiss her firstShe stallsHolds her breath,hands trembling as if holding a trigger she just can’t bring herself to pull
BangHer honesty becomes a rain of bulletsand I the only target
She tells me her heart is needy,never full
she tells meher hands are travellers,that have wandered from my touch.
She tells me her mouth is hungr
Rania, I remember seeing you and your fellow artists in the very first performance of Bukjeh at the Immigration Museum. I understand that the show has been developed since and performed at various venues and festivals. A ‘bukjeh’ is a bag or sack that a refugee carries throughout their journey, containing all of their belongings that can be carried. What was in your bukjeh?
My memories mostly. I was an 11-year-old at the time that I arrived in Australia. I couldn’t bring my cabbage patch doll, but I would have loved to. I brought as many of the objects and treasured possessions that inhabited my 11-year-old world as I could.
What was it like for you at that age, arriving in a new place?
It was a shock! I was astonished at how quiet it was here. Back then, all the stores closed at 5pm and on weekends. In Egypt, everything was open until midnight, so you would hear cars beeping late into the night and constant human activity. Most people lived in flats and you could hear the sounds and conversations of your neighbours. If you opened the window, you could hear a couple’s argument. I would open the window the next day to hear the sequel to the argument from the day before.
Like watching a soap opera or a radio play?
I used to call it Streets FM – you learn a lot!
What did you see and hear and learn?
I often heard women manipulating their men, actually! Egyptian women are very smart about getting what they want. I used to say that I was never going to get married.
What were your first impression of the new language and the landscape you found yourself in?
It was greener. The shapes of the leaves were different. Here the leaves were long, not wide. In Egypt we had a lot of palm trees, mulberry and fruit trees. It really was desert and the trees were largely not native. Many of the tree trunks in Australia were smooth and grey, not brown with thick bark. I had never see