Featured Event

When

Saturday, September 1 @ 7:00pm

Where

Bar 303
Northcote VIC AU

Price

$15/12 (or $20/15 on the door)

Has an Open Mic?

No

Melbourne Spoken Word is excited to bring you back Texan poet, Bill Moran, following previous tours of Australia. Bill has been a regular guest of Melbourne Spoken Word over the years, and the star

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Words
Reviews — August 8

Review: If The World Were Upside Down by John Englezos

By Gem Mahadeo

I like to think that every poem or collection has a ‘hook’, or a ‘way in’ that reveals itself gradually to its reader or listener. When reading John Englezos’ collection If The World Were Upside Down, it seemed important to honour that John is a poet whose words need to be heard as he performs them, rather than to be read off the page.

Thankfully, there’s lots of clips online of John performing many of the poems in this collection. I wanted to start with the one that personally ‘hooked’ me in – ‘The Proper Way to Make a Cup of Tea (YouTube)’:

I admittedly giggled cheekily at the beginning words, because I am a tea-lover, and also may still fall in love with not-just-men:

Young man

If you wish to learn the proper way to make a cup of tea

meet a girl

fall in love

and get married

John preempts the feelings this might bring up in the reader/listener – perhaps ridicule, amusement, excitement, inward groaning as the poem continues:

Hear me out

In an age where gas was lit and fire burned

a kettle would whistle to you the constant reminder of its boiling brew

Now he’s captured our full attention, and we feel like we need to know what has to follow – he’s mentioned things that are common to many of our everyday lives, and we want to know: what does making tea well have to do with love, with care, with intentional acts shared?

This collection is full of poems that celebrate the wonder in the ordinary, in those things we might take for granted in our lives. I especially like that ‘The Proper Way to Make a Cup of Tea’ can also be taken as an exercise in mindfulness. From a mental health perspective, the act of listening to or of reading a poem that talks to you the way John does is incredibly comforting, or downright amusingly raucous.

An example of his playful, more surrealist take on life is in the title poem ‘If The Worl

Interviews — July 12

The Creativity of Ordinary People: Interview with Tim Evans

By Amanda Anastasi

You are part of the team that Slamalamadingdong is sending to US to compete in the National Poetry Slam. What excites you the most about competing in Chicago?

I’m immensely proud of Slama and of the whole Melbourne poetry scene, so I’m excited to go and represent everyone at such a huge event. I’d like to be a kind of ambassador for the amazing art being created in Melbourne and Australia. I’m keen to watch, connect with, and learn from lots of other amazing artists. I think we might also be able to push the boundaries of what American audiences think of as ‘Slam Poetry’ by bringing our own styles, experiences, and contexts into our work and our performances.

Your accent is decidedly English. What part of the UK are you from, and what brought you to Australia and Melbourne in particular?

I was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, but grew up down south in Surrey. The rest of my family are from in and around Manchester, so that was an influence too. I’ve also lived in Leeds, South London and North London. So, maybe I’ve got more of an ‘undecidedly’ English accent. I wonder whether those varied influences were part of what got me interested in accents, dialects, and language generally.

My partner and I met in the UK but her mum is Australian and her family emigrated to live in Geelong some years ago. That gave us the chance to try living in another country and we fell in love with Melbourne. We said we’d give it two years and see how we settled in. That was five and a half years ago. So, it looks like it’s going okay.

Yes, I did hear that you would travel from Geelong to attend poetry events. What made getting up in front of that mic worth the small journey each time?

The poetry and spoken word scene is my community, so it was well worth the journey just to be among those people and hear their art and their stories. I think it was important for my mental health to keep performing regularly too. There is some