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