Friday, May 4 @ 6:00pm
The Wheeler Centre
176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne
Has an Open Mic?
Join David Stavanger for this free two-part event exploring the intersection of mental health and writing, as well as the divide between poets who write for the page and those that take to the stage.
The Electric Journal:
A reading & performance by David Stavanger including his recent prose-poem based on his experiences with ECT, pieces from his award-winning collection, The Special, and other new work.
Page meets Stage:
Based on New York’s Bowery Poetry Club’s long-running series “where the Pulitzer Prize meets the poetry slam.” Hosted and curated by David Stavanger, this event pairs acclaimed page poet Andy Jackson with renowned spoken word artist Eleanor Jackson, going poem for poem to find uncommon ground. The performance will be opened by emerging spoken word artist Time Evans and multi-disciplinary poet Misbah.
Free entry with drinks and books by all poets available to purchase on the night.
Presented as part of the Melbourne Visiting Poets Program and its program’s partners, RMIT non/fictionLab, Rabbit Poetry, Australian Poetry and Melbourne Spoken Word.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
David Stavanger is a poet, writer, performer, cultural producer and former psychologist. In 2013 he won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, resulting in the release of The Special (UQP), his first full-length collection of poetry which was awarded the 2015 Wesley Michel Wright Poetry Prize. His prose-poem ‘The Electric Journal’ was a finalist of the 2016 Newcastle Poetry Prize. David is also sometimes known as pioneering Green Room-nominated ‘spoken weird’ artist Ghostboy, winning the 2005 Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup and establishing poetry slam and spoken word in QLD via his active work with the Australian Poetry Slam and Woodford Folk Festival. David was the Co-Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival from 2015-2017, a period known for its inclusive programming and stronger focus on CALD and first nation voices.
Andy Jackson has featured at literary events and arts festivals in Australia, India, USA and Ireland, including the 2017 Castlemaine State Festival and the Queensland Poetry Festival with Each Map of Scars – a performance, puppetry and film collaboration with Rachael Guy and Leonie Van Eyk. He was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Prize for Poetry for Among the regulars (Papertiger 2010), and won the 2013 Whitmore Press Manuscript Prize for The thin bridge. His new book, Music our bodies can’t hold (Hunter Publishers 2017), consists of portrait poems of other people with Marfan Syndrome.
Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer and community radio broadcaster. Her poems have appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite Poetry Review and Going Down Swinging, and broadcast on national and international radio. She is the creator of the Melbourne Poetry Map and a former Editor in Chief of Peril Magazine. Her chapbook, A Leaving is published by Vagabond Press.
The Melbourne Visiting Poets Program acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the 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.
Lisa Bellear’s second collection of poetry, Aboriginal Country, will be launched by Gary Foley at The Brothers Public House, Fitzroy.
Hosted by ‘the patron-saint of Melbourne poetry,’ poet and photographer Michael Reynolds, what began as a one-off gig on Valentine’s Day in 1999, has turned into one of the longest running gigs in Melbourne, now hosted every second Tuesday at The Brothers Public House whilst The Brunswick Hotel is closed, with a diverse range of features from Melbourne and sometimes from beyond, and a substantial space for open mic, it is great for first time readers or performers.
You are part of the team that Slamalamadingdong is sending to US to compete in the National Poetry Slam. What excites you the most about competing in Chicago?
I’m immensely proud of Slama and of the whole Melbourne poetry scene, so I’m excited to go and represent everyone at such a huge event. I’d like to be a kind of ambassador for the amazing art being created in Melbourne and Australia. I’m keen to watch, connect with, and learn from lots of other amazing artists. I think we might also be able to push the boundaries of what American audiences think of as ‘Slam Poetry’ by bringing our own styles, experiences, and contexts into our work and our performances.
Your accent is decidedly English. What part of the UK are you from, and what brought you to Australia and Melbourne in particular?
I was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, but grew up down south in Surrey. The rest of my family are from in and around Manchester, so that was an influence too. I’ve also lived in Leeds, South London and North London. So, maybe I’ve got more of an ‘undecidedly’ English accent. I wonder whether those varied influences were part of what got me interested in accents, dialects, and language generally.
My partner and I met in the UK but her mum is Australian and her family emigrated to live in Geelong some years ago. That gave us the chance to try living in another country and we fell in love with Melbourne. We said we’d give it two years and see how we settled in. That was five and a half years ago. So, it looks like it’s going okay.
Yes, I did hear that you would travel from Geelong to attend poetry events. What made getting up in front of that mic worth the small journey each time?
The poetry and spoken word scene is my community, so it was well worth the journey just to be among those people and hear their art and their stories. I think it was important for my mental health to keep performing regularly too. There is some
The ‘aperture’ of an ‘OCDiva’s’ ’appetite’ by Hamish Danks Brown
“Beauty beheld in solitude is even more lethal.” Witold Gombrowicz, Ferdydurke
In mid-December 2016, Amy Bodossian launched her debut collection wide open in the standing room confines of Ferdydurke, a venue located above Tattersalls Lane in the CBD.
It’s a slim ninety-page volume containing two dozen poems, plus illustrations by an Adelaide-born cabaret performer who usurps any stage with such panache escalating to frenzy that I’ve christened her ‘OCDiva’!
The poems hone in on personal matters: the author’s body, mind and soul; the whenever, wherever, with whoever that all comes with outbreaks of love and influxes of sex. This book is not for the prurient and prudish among us. It is intended for a ‘wide open’ readership in print and for a like-minded audience with similar gaping predilections shown when the ‘OCDiva’ herself is on stage.
The overriding theme of this book is that adults are overgrown kids dealing with the alternative facts and fantasies of love lives and that none of us are getting any younger though we can tweak time and play depending on whose place we’re at, through the detouring routes of our boudoir behaviour patterns.
This collection goes full-cycle from a juvenile tryst in ‘Remember that Sunday Afternoon’, to a reflective ‘Reprise’ via a poetic cycle of remembered episodes and personal encounters such as ‘First Date’, ‘Coat Hanger Eyes’, ‘Summer Love’, ‘Phone Sex’ and ‘Over’:
I’m not into dominating / but I do like masturbating / over the thought of you telling me things / you’d never tell anyone else, / how you say you’d like to be punished / which I’m not really into, but I do get wet / over your wounded, he