Rowan White performing his winning piece ‘White Guy’ at the Slamalamadingdong Permission Slam on July 31, 2015 at 24 Moons.
Video recorded and edited by Benjamin Solah Produced by Melbourne Spoken Word
Abdul Hammoud is a spoken word artist based in Melbourne by way of Lebanon, a country that he is still captivates by and connects to. Abdul has performed alongside poetic giants like Luka Lesson, Ken Arkind, Anis Mojgani, Sarah Kay, Taylor Mali and Shihan. He has also managed to teach numerous writing classes and workshops for schools and various organizations. His art has taken him as close as New Zealand and as far as the United States, as well as to his beloved home country. In 2013, he became founder of The Dirty Thirty online writing platform, an ever-growing group for writers to challenge themselves every April. He is now also editor and compiler of The Dirty Thirty Anthology, a collection of poetry from the page he coordinates. Most of his work revolves around current issues including the constant state of war in the Middle East, cultural division, as well as the portrayal of masculinity. He is also a full time student and an avid purveyor of starting books but not finishing them.
Words by Fleassy Malay
There is a bizare phenomenon I see in the Spoken Word scene. I saw it in the Slams of the UK, the high fire nights of Vancouver and the diverse and rolling scene of Melbourne. I saw it every month for two years at Mother Tongue. Every time I see it, it feels like my heart is breaking just a little bit.
The phenomenon is this. To set the scene: A poet gets on stage, silent… walks to the microphone, looks at the audience. The tension is high. They take a deep breath and open their mouth. Out pours a passion driven, soul breaking, cry to the night. A war cry. A love cry. A sex cry. They even arch their necks, their backs, fists pumping in the air! They are speaking for the unspoken voices, they are freeing women from slavery, freeing hearts from chains, freeing people from labels and judgement. The voice of the people!
The audience goes wild.. I mean WILD! They holla and cheer. Whistles, tears and clapping!.
And then…it happens… this heart breaking phenomenon.
The poet curls inwards, the resonating sounds of the applause crumbling their height like a cheap fascade and their shoulders curve forwards. Their head sinks down. They blush. They even TURN AWAY from the audience.
Once the audience stops applauding the poets clears their throat, a meek voice of “Umm” and “Err” dribbles out of this suddenly coy and daunted creature as they go on to thank the audience and introduce their next piece with an air of “it’s new so please… I’m sorry I’ve not learnt it… it’s been a while… I’ve had a long day…”
I sit there in the audience, the bubbling potency of what was before me only a few minutes earlier fizzles out into a bizare sense of “…meh” or something. I want to take this person by the shoulders and shake them screaming “YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN TH