Alison Whittaker reads ‘A love like Dorothea’s’ as part Blakwork, a reading for the Melbourne Visiting Poets Program, at The Wheeler Centre in August 2018.
Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi poet, life writer and essayist from Gunnedah and Tamworth, north-western New South Wales. She now lives in Sydney on Wangal land, and is recently returned from the US, where she received a 2017 Fulbright Indigenous Postgraduate Scholarship to complete a Master of Laws (LLM) at Harvard. Her poem MANY GIRLS WHITE LINEN received the Judith Wright Poetry Prize in 2017. She is the author of Lemons in the Chicken Wire (Magabala Books), the debut collection that established her as a powerful new voice in poetry.
Her next book, Blakwork (forthcoming from Magabala), is a stunning mix of memoir, reportage, fiction, satire and critique. Blakwork is an original and unapologetic collection from which two things emerge: an incomprehensible loss, and the poet’s fearless examination of the present.
Sharifa Tartoussi performs ‘On blood and handprints’ at Slamalamadingdong in October 2018 at The Melba Spiegeltent.
Sharifa A Tartoussi is a dentist, poet and performer. She is involved in several creative projects, most notably becoming half the founding party of GriffinSpeak; a spoken word event that creates space for voices from marginalised groups around Melbourne. Her style has been described as teetering on the boundary between the fire that warms and the fire that burns with a mix of traditional storytelling, millennial boundary pushing and raw emotion with influences from eastern and western art and literature owing to her traditional Arab upbringing in a western climate. She released her first Chapbook “ColourBlind” in early 2018.
Thabani Tshuma, winner of Slamalamadingdong in March, performs ‘Put It In Writing.’
Thabani Tshuma was born and raised in Zimbabwe but has been globe-hopping for the greater part of the last decade and as such, considers himself somewhat of a cultural nomad. Whilst writing for as long as he can remember, he’s only actively engaged in the Melbourne Spoken word scene this past year. Thabani’s poetry is an aperture through which he views his world and the way he interacts in relation to others. Thabani studies journalism with the aspiration of immortalizing himself by leaving a dent in the literary world.
Alongside myself, since 2014, Melbourne Spoken Word has been run by a dedicated committee of poets, some that have come and gone along the way. Meeting roughly once a month, the committee is responsible for the day to day running of MSW, helping keep the organization running, promoting poetry and spoken word in general, deciding line-ups and the events we run, helping with the festival and The MSW Prize, working MSW toward incorporation and helping out at events.
The current committee is Benjamin Solah, Amanda Anastasi, Rowan White, Es Foong, Kendra Keller, Brendan Bonsack, Phil Kent-Hughes and Trixi Rosa.
We’re putting a call out for a couple of new committee members. MSW is seeking poets that are active in the spoken word and poetry scene and regularly attends a variety of events, someone who ideally already has a relationship with MSW and the things we do, and doesn’t have any other major spoken word projects on their plate like running their own gig. People from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.
Committee members would be involved in decision making, supporting with promotion, taking on some other volunteer tasks and helping out at events.
If you’re interested in becoming a committee member, please email benjamin AT melbournespokenword DOT com or via the contact page with some info about you and how you fit into the above criteria. If you have any questions, feel free to email or chat to a current committee member at any events.
Winner of the Midsumma Festival Queer Poetry Slam, Nikki Viveca, performs ‘Asexual Love Poem’ at the Malthouse Theatre.
Queer comedienne Nikki Viveca is a prolific performer in standup, spoken word and improv. Her solo storytelling shows include The Lazy Show, about her love affair with laziness, and Asexual Healing, about her lack of interest in actual love affairs. She has been a featured performer three times at women’s spoken word night Mother Tongue, as well as appearing in many queer and alternative events such as Trans Magic, Taint and Lemon Comedy. She can be seen at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival in Three Dollar Bill, Completely Improvised Potter and her new solo show, The Cake Bride.
In its 4th 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.
The winner receives $1,000 and publication with Melbourne Spoken Word.
Previous winners include Quinn Eades, Benjamin Wild, and Manna Marvel.
The 2018 Selection Panel was Daisy Lavea-Timo, Benjamin Solah.
Winner: Anisa Nandaula / I hate you
Anisa Nandaula is the 2016 Queensland poetry slam champion, the runner up Australian poetry slam champion and nationally renowned poet. This published poet has performed her work at festivals around the country such as the Queensland poetry festival, Townsville Multicultural festival, Women of the world festival and African Australian film festival. Her unique and captivating exploration of identity and politics has been showcased at the Sydney Opera house, Slama Lama ding dong in Melbourne and Adelaide writers center. Her combination performance, engaging use of language and profound ideas can capture the heart of any audience. She is a published author releasing her debut collection titled Melanin Garden.
Highly Commended: Joel McKerrow / The Brave Ones
Joel McKerrow is an award winning writer, speaker, educator, community arts worker and one of Australia’s most successful internationally touring performance poets having performed for hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world since 2010. Based out of Melbourne, Australia he is the Artist Ambassador for the aid and development organisation ‘TEAR Australia’ and was the co-founder of community arts organisation, ‘The Centre for Poetics and Justice’ (2010-2013). Joel was the third ever