Call out for new Melbourne Spoken Word committee members

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.

Anisa Nandaula wins the 2018 XYZ Prize for Innovation in Spoken Word

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

Announcing the 2019 Melbourne Visiting Poets Program residents

The Melbourne Visiting Poets Program is proud to announce the selection of its 2019 regional resident.  

Mindy Gill has been selected from Australian poets based outside of capital cities.

Applicants represented emerging, mid-career and senior talents. The applications were assessed by representatives of the program’s partners, RMIT non/fictionLab, Rabbit Poetry, Australian Poetry and Melbourne Spoken Word. The program thanks all applicants to this round.

Mindy joins the program’s past residents including Lionel Fogarty, Amanda Stewart, Natalie Harkin, Stuart Cooke, Andy Jackson, Ellen Van Neerven, David Stavanger and Alison Whittaker. In August, Mindy’s residency will be followed by the program’s invited resident for 2019, Ali Cobby Eckermann.

Mindy Gill’s poems have appeared in Island Magazine, The Lifted Brow, Award Winning Australian Writing and the Queensland Art Gallery. She is the recipient of the Queensland Premier’s Writers and Publishers Award, a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship and the Tom Collins Poetry Prize. She is Peril Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief.

Mindy will be visiting Melbourne from the Gold Coast. She will be working with the program to deliver a series of public activities in early May. Details of events will be promoted through the program partners.

The Melbourne Visiting Poets Program acknowledges the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the Eastern Kulin Nations as the traditional owners of the land on which much of this program takes place. It respectfully recognises Elders both past and present.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. It is also made possible by in-kind support from its partners.

Crew call-out: Do you want to be part of the next stage of Melbourne Spoken Word?

Melbourne Spoken Word was founded in 2015, with the idea of it being a central online hub for spoken word in Melbourne, the place to find out about events, discuss spoken word, and involve the spoken word scene in a unified platform to amplify our artform and bring in new audiences.

A couple of years ago we expanded from a website that people could add their events and submit articles to, to an organisation consisting of a committee from the spoken word community to create accountability and share some decision making. This year, as we move towards incorporation, we wanted to expand that further.

We’re calling out for those involved in spoken word in Melbourne to fulfil some specific roles, namely some people for our new Board and some fresh perspectives in the current committee. We also want to create some co-ordinator roles, including a reviews editor, a comment/opinion pieces editor, some interviewers and a producer to help to produce our podcast and audio-journal, Audacious.

All roles unless otherwise stated are currently volunteer roles, and for people with a passion for spoken word and existing support for the aims of Melbourne Spoken Word. Currently, MSW is applying for grants and seeking other funds to provide payment for roles. We’d love for you to be part of the process of MSW becoming an official not-for-profit organisation for the spoken word scene in Melbourne. MSW believes in paying artists where funding is available. We’re not looking for someone who merely wants to use the role to add something to their CV, but someone who sees the value of this work in the community.

Board Members MSW is in the process of forming a legally recognised incorporated association, with membership, that is registered as deductible gift recipient (DGR) – that’s a not for profit organisation that you can become a member of. In order to do that, we need to form a board, and are calling for expressions of interests,

Quinn Eades wins the 2017 XYZ Prize for Innovation in Spoken Word

Queensland Poetry Festival runs the annual Queensland Poetry Awards. Their Arts Queensland XYZ Prize for Innovation in Spoken Word is Australia’s only 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. Open to all Australian residents, this award comes with total prize money of $1000 with winning entries also to be published online and CD by Melbourne Spoken Word (MSW).

2017 Selection panel: Benjamin Solah (MSW) + the 2017 Arts Queensland Poet in Residence Courtney Sina Meredith

Judges Comments: I really enjoyed listening to all the tracks, I tried them out in different settings – through a PA / on my headphones/ with the dog/ with friends – trying to get more of a panoramic feel for it.

I was thinking about innovation in a variety of ways: innovating from new perspectives, innovative content, and of course production value. Careful to place especial care and thought when dealing with the most tender of voices – that is – voices standing in their own light – voices coming from a space that many of us can count on our hands just how many times we’ve had such insight into that particular way of be-ing and see-ing. The journey for that voice is generations in the making.

The eventual shortlist and the top 3 selections by myself and co-judge Benjamin Solah, demonstrated the strata of innovation in contemporary Australian spoken word and the promise of development and exploration within and beyond the form.

Winning & Shortlisted poems

Winner Monday June 27 – Quinn Eades

Highest Placed Queensland Entry Fight with my soul – Anisa Nandaula


What poetic and spoken wordy things can you see at Melbourne Fringe?

Melbourne Fringe offers an amazing space for people to come and see art, performance and words each year. Jam-packed with too many shows to possibly go to all of them, we can understand that the guide can be a bit overwhelming. Within those shows, spoken word is representing and there’s some amazing shows you can get along that feature some familiar and not so familiar faces of spoken word.

This year, The Fringe program features a Word and Ideas section, and within that, Melbourne Fringe has partnered with the Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature Office to present the Open Book section to support artists who are casting light on Melbourne’s relationship with literature.

On September 23, we are of course hosting Wham Bam Thank You Slam at Second Story Studios in Collingwood. Like last year, we’re sticking poets, slammers and spoken word aaaaartists in a wrestling ring, pitting them against each other in a battle of words. Hosted by myself and Anthony O’Sullivan, it features Sean M Whelan, Alicia Sometimes, Steve Smart, John Englezos, Scott Wings, Roshelle Fong, Chalise van Wyngaardt, Will Beale, Timothy Train and Eddy Burger, plus anyone could be in our 12-poet Battle Royalle. It could even be you. Go on. Enter. We dare you.

From the 20th to the 22nd of September, Joel McKerrow and Anna McGahan, are putting on The People of The Sun described as ‘an immersive, roaming-theatre and spoken word experience’ at 75 on Reid in Fitzroy North. The audience are strongly encouraged to bring their fully charged phones especially if they have the torch function on them, adding to the intrigue about this interactive theatre piece.

From the 16th to the 23rd of September, performance poet Amy Bodossian is showing ‘Salvation Amy’ at The Fringe Hub at the Melbourne Lithuanian Club in North Melbourne. Amy mixes spoken word with cabaret to tell the story of a woman with OCD working in an op shop. It’s bound to be hilarious.

A regular