“Carrie Hagan’s poetry is a new world woven with the golden threads of sincerity. Many writers write beautifully, but it takes a belly full of the world’s whispers – and the courage of a pebble that faces a mountain – to write as she does.” – Alia Gabres
Melbourne was first introduced to Carrie Hagan at Slamalamadingdong last year when her poem touching on her experiences with racism hit a nerve, brought many in the crowd to tears, and won her the slam. Now she is less than a month away from releasing her debut chapbook.
Though she says she’s often confused for being indigenous, she said “I’m actually Mozambican/Mauritian on my mum’s side, and Kiwi on my dad’s,” but that “The racism I’ve experienced throughout my life, and the history of my ancestors, has been something I’ve grappled with for many years…If I’m going to take issue with racism, whether on a personal level in my every day life, or in a public and creative way, I want it to come from a place of empowerment, not from a place of bitterness.”
Carrie has been writing novels and non-fiction for years, but Meena Shamaly introduced her to poetry through the 30 Day Poetry Challenge in 2012, which led her the slam win and a feature performance at Passionate Tongues. Since then, we have seen her in many slams, but it’s only just the beginning for this emerging poet, who lives in regional Victoria but travels into Melbourne as often as she can. She says she finds the travel quite draining but finds herself “getting energised by people who have the same passion for words and performance.”
Carrie’s planning to move to Melbourne in August so its safe to say we’ll be seeing more of her. Luka Lesson said, “I feel like Carrie Hagan has been a poet waiting to happen all of her life, and we are so lucky that it finally has… great truth, fearlessness and skill combine to make this an inspirational debut.”
Now Carrie is set to launch a poetry chapbook at the end of the month when she returns to Passionate Tongues. Charcoal and Red Lipstick touches on the themes of how “femininity emerges from brutality.”
Including illustrations from her friend Rachel Gratton, the chapbook was produced herself and she described it as “a ten-piece collection set out as a story in poems. It begins with a girl’s loss-of-innocence, then explores the issues of gender-confusion, abuse, trauma, devaluation of self. And it ends with a woman taking back her feminine identity; realising her own value, facing intimidation, and learning to trust herself.”
Whilst Carrie finds inspiration in many poets she’s crossed paths with, she says it was Jacky T that really galvanised her writing process. “His writing is unapologetic and unnerves me in a vital way; one moment you’re bedazzled by his genius word-play, and the next you’re confronted by your own apathy or vices as you listen to or read what he’s written. We have become quite good friends over the course of the last year and his writing is as authentic as he is. It has encouraged me and convicted me to walk through my discomfort as a writer instead of avoiding it – then to resist the urge to apologise for being honest.”
About Carrie, Jacky describes her as, “Rarely do streams of honesty and personal uncovering hold so much clarity and warm insight. These words breathe steady with nuance and depth, a very relivable read.”
Carrie Hagan’s Chapbook Charcoal and Red Lipstick will be launched on Monday, July 29 from 8.30pm at Passionate Tongues, The Brunswick Hotel, 140 Sydney Road. She’ll be joined on stage by Jacky T, Kate Wilson and Meena Shamaly. See the Facebook page for more details.
She will also be the feature poet at the Pipe-Up Poetry Slam on August 16.