Words by Kylie Supski
For ABC Poetica
Perhaps, I attracted you, with this eye-catching title, but it is up to you. You can take The Blue Pill, and continue to live in a coma, a coma induced by words of Murdochs and Packers, endorsed by “our government.” Or You can take The Red Pill, read my words, “and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.” (Matrix.)
I was recently at “Dan Poets,” one of many Melbourne Spoken Word events. The theme of the day was “Dead Poets Society”. We read words of poets who are no longer alive. No, they are not dead. Poets live within their words, and as long as we read and listen to poets words they never, nonever die. So a question is Can you kill a poet? “Our government” by shutting down ABC Poetica did just that. They killed poets whose words were spoken and listened to during Poetica shows.
Perhaps, you may ask Why? Why Poetry is so important? Can we live without Poetry? Years ago, I was studying mathematics, specialising in Logic. At that time, I was often asked why would you study Logic. I can answer this question now. Logic is the DNA code for science. Without Logic most of the things that we use today would not be possible. Poetry is like Logic to science. Poetry is a DNA code of our culture that develops through words which are spoken and written.
One of the greatest writers, W. H. Auden, once said in his poem “In Memory of W. B. Yeats” “poetry makes nothing happen.” Perhaps, some of you would consider Auden’s words as a dismissal of poetry. But I think, what Auden meant was that poetry can make anything happen.
The avant-garde composer, John Cage, in his work “Lecture on Nothing,”
Melbourne Spoken Word’s Benjamin Solah checked in on the controversial Randall Stephens as he begins the toughest leg of his cycling and poetry tour, riding across the big expanse of desert in the middle of Australia.
So you’re riding across the Nullarbor on a bicycle, tell us when and why you decided to do this?
The idea came to mind mid-2010, during my first poetry tour over here in WA. I was talking to a local Perth poet after a gig who’d just come back from cycling throughout Europe, and what an amazing time she had had doing that. I’d flown over to Perth and felt very little sense geographically of where I was, I mean considering Perth was touted as the world’s most isolated capital city. I thought a follow-up trip that involved going coast-to-coast on a bicycle would make for great experiences in getting to know and understand Australia, which was becoming more important to me, after having done a big bought of overseas travel.
But you know there’s never a singular reason for doing anything, there’s lots of whys wrapped around this. Partly to shake up my somewhat stagnant urban work-a-day lifestyle. Partly to (force myself to) get into better physical and mental shape. To have the life experience, and hence interesting things to write about in the future. But the forefront reason is to inspire other Haemophiliacs (and by extension, anyone suffering under limitations on her or his health) to attempt something that defies those limitations. So in conversation with our national Haemophilia organisation, I decided it was worth attaching a fundraising effort too. But also… yeah I just thought it would be fun. Life’s short, get some kicks.
That’s great, but what does this have to do with poetry?
Well, the very first poem I ever wrote was about my bicycle, so poetry and cycling have always had been inextricably linked for me. However, in less tangible/quantifiable terms I thought the best thing I co
Spoken Word artists just get asked to do gigs, so are we out of practice of submitting our work? Melbourne Spoken Word’s Benjamin Solah ponders.
If you’re like me, one of the attractions to the spoken word scene was actually that you just weren’t getting rejected all the time. It can seem like a bit of a sad thing, but the truth is being an ’emerging writer’ writing alone and sending your work out to strangers only to receive rejections with no feedback can be extremely disheartening.
The democratic space of the open mic can therefore be welcome but potentially misleading if you’re the kind of writing who’s looking to develop their own writing. It can be a good way to get initial feedback, reading the attention or lack of from the audience, or their body language and comments after. All of this can be useful. Though ‘politeness’ and social niceties can sometimes mean you might want to take advice or praise with a grain of salt (or sugar) unless you have a relationship with other writers where you can be honest, sometimes brutally so, without taking it personally.
But we’re accustomed to not really submitting to do gigs, unless in the rare instances of festivals, and so the open mic is a kind of no pressure approach to being published. And yes, it’s being published. More poets potentially reach more of an audience performing in a pub on a Monday night that if they were put in print, though funding bodies and other arts organisations might not see it like that.
Spoken word artists aren’t reliant on ‘gatekeepers’ in the same way other forms of writing are, we can just put on our own gig and self-publishing your collection is more acceptable, but submitting and being published outside of performances can still be useful. I’ve been thinking about this when producing Audacious, our new audio-journal. Are we a little out of practice of submitting? Do we