Saturday, September 19 @ 6:00pm
Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston St Melbourne
Has an Open Mic?
Over a series of workshops at the State Library of Victoria, facilitators and artists Abdul Hammoud, Ebony Moncrief and Sukhjit Khalsa have been collaborating with budding wordsmiths to create new poetry and spoken word pieces exploring identity and role of faith in our everyday lives which will be launched at a free performance at the State Library of Victoria’s Village Roadshow Theatrette on Saturday 19 September 2015 from 6pm-8pm featuring spoken-word and live music.
The Common Ground participants have met every Saturday to come together to craft their own spoken word poetry by exploring topics including identity, belonging, conflict, balance and peace alongside facilitators and community liaisons Ajit Singh, Zakia Baig and Amona Hassab. Each participant has brought the wealth of their experience, coming from a range of backgrounds. Participants have been introduced to new writing techniques, group discussions and performance styles. The performance on the 19th of September will feature the work the participants and artists have created over their journey together.
In addition to the performance, a selection of the pieces created during this project will also be set to soundscapes created by Melbourne-based producer Cazeaux O.S.L.O and accompanied by a video produced by Rogue Pixel to be released online in November- stay tuned!
This project is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, the Victorian Multicultural Commission and Uniting Through Faiths.
Abdul Hammoud is a spoken word artist based in Melbourne by way of Lebanon, a country that he is still captivates by and connects to. Abdul has performed alongside poetic giants like Luka Lesson, Ken Arkind, Anis Mojgani, Sarah Kay, Taylor Mali and Shihan. He has also managed to teach numerous writing classes and workshops for schools and various organizations. His art has taken him as close as New Zealand and as far as the United States, as well as to his beloved home country. In 2013, he became founder of The Dirty Thirty online writing platform, an ever-growing group for writers to challenge themselves every April. He is now also editor and compiler of The Dirty Thirty Anthology, a collection of poetry from the page he coordinates. Most of his work revolves around current issues including the constant state of war in the Middle East, cultural division, as well as the portrayal of masculinity. He is also a full time student and an avid purveyor of starting books but not finishing them.
Ebony MonCrief, raised in Birmingham, Alabama, is a writer, performance poet, inspirational speaker and producer of the open mic Voices in the Attic. Through words, she explores art, music, humanity, the universe and most importantly self. Her vibrant storytelling style engages, entertains and provides audiences with a honest look at the person behind the words.
This event celebrates issues 27 (the TENSE issue) and 28 (the POLITICS issue) of ‘Rabbit: a journal for nonfiction poetry’–with poems guest-edited by Pascalle Burton & David Stavanger and Ella O’Keefe & Alan Wearne respectively. The ‘Big Rabbit Read’ will feature short readings by poets published in issues 27 & 28.
I’m sitting down for an interview with Waffle IronGirl, me on one end of old faithful (Facebook Messenger), her on the other. I’ve – somewhat unwisely – started off proceedings with a list of ‘suggested’ questions from my partner Lexi, all of them uniquely bizarre. For instance:
“How adaptable is the waffle iron as a printing technology?”
Waffle IronGirl shoots this one down:
Waffle Iron isn’t a printing technology.
It’s very adaptable personal weaponry though.
Things are off to a cracking start.
We’re here to talk about performing in Singapore (she was recently a support act in the Singapore poetry slam) and chapbooks (she’s running a workshop on chapbooks for the Melbourne Spoken Word and Poetry Festival). But I can’t resist. Where does the name “Waffle IronGirl” come from? ” I once wrote a flash fiction story about a vigilante called Waffle IronGirl,” she explains. “She used a waffle iron to dispatch with those who would violate her boundaries or the boundaries of those she cared about. When I started performing I needed a stage name, and it seemed like she could impart a courage and frankness that I felt I was lacking personally.”
I could pause here to note that Waffle IronGirl is one of the most original performers I’ve seen, and when she featured for us at the Dan, I felt like the top of my head had been taken off and I had a whole range of new weird and wonderful ideas poured in. Instead, I ask about the Singapore slam; what differences between Singaporean spoken word and Australian spoken word did she notice? “What struck me wasn’t so much the difference in style”, she says, “although that was certainly there. From a style perspective, there was certainly a more natural use of multiple languages and accents and dialects within the same
What does your name mean?
Thabani means “be happy”.
What makes you happy?
Connecting with people. I enjoy consuming art in all its forms. Art is one of the most connective things in which we can participate.
What made you leave Zimbabwe and come to Melbourne? Is Melbourne home now or is there more to your journey?
I left to study in the US and South Africa and finally Melbourne because I have family here. I just thought it would be beaches and people in swimsuits all day but had a rude awakening!
There is so much more to the journey. The project I’m working on now is about the sense of identity displacement. Even in Zimbabwe, I was not culturally accepted because I went to a lot of “white” schools. I’m still searching for a sense of belonging.
Do you know what this place looks like?
No, that’s why it’s so hard to find. But it’s not about the finding, it’s about the journey towards finding. In fact, I’m content to continuously search and not find it because it’s in the search that the most meaningful interactions are to be found.
You’re a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow. What that does mean to you?
It is a great opportunity. Connecting to other writers and becoming a part of the literary world – that is the most valuable aspect. The biggest growth for me is the discipline – working on one full body of work thematically linked, where the content needs coherent narrative. I’m usually very sporadic and volatile in writing, so it’s been an interesting challenge to get into the frame of mind where I’m still authentically expressing myself but it’s a controlled expressing. Not writing to the feeling, but bringing the feeling and writing to it.
You’re part of the Slamalamadingong National Poetry Slam Team. How do you feel and what are you expecting at the event?
A lot of poetry! It’s great to see people workin