Wednesday, September 23 @ 7:00pm
63 Johnston Street Fitzroy
Has an Open Mic?
Book tickets at https://melbournefringe.com.au/program/event/…
Five non-conforming women take you on a poetic and musical journey into unashamed individuality.
A diverse group of five women embark on a poetic and musical journey into self-discovery. In doing so, they transcend and challenge societal expectations, gender stereotypes and often, their expectations of themselves. At times irreverent, at times funny, at times deeply poignant, they will share stories of courage, solidarity, and hope.
I am That Woman, featuring Viki Mealings, Lana Woolf, Amanda Anastasi, Jax Jacki Brown and Elizabeth ‘Lish’ Skec, plays as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2015.
Amanda Anastasi’s poetry has been published in magazines and anthologies both locally and overseas. Amanda’s first collection 2012 and other poems was named in Ali Alizadeh’s ‘Top Ten Poetic Works of 2012’ in Overland Literary Journal. She also co-wrote Loop City, with Steve Smart and NZ composer Yvette Audain, produced by MSO’s Sarah Curro. Amanda won the 2010 and 2011 Williamstown Literary Festival’s Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize. She has since been a judge for both the Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize and the Right Now Human Rights Poetry Prize. She has performed in many spoken word events and festivals in Melbourne.
Lana Woolf is a writer, spoken word artist, radio producer and activist among many other things. She has won the annual Percy Shelly Poetry Slam two years running (2012/2013), has placed in both storytelling and performance poetry at the Sydney Rd Writers Festival (2013), has featured at Keep Left (2012), JOY 94.9 International Lesbian Day Show (2012 & 2014), House of Bricks (2013), Laughs for Diversity (2014), The annual Percy Shelly Poetry Slam (2014) JOY 94.9, International Women’s Day Event (2014) University of Melbourne, Judy Punch magazine launch (2014), Out In The Open (2014). Lana’s collective work is self reflective and often examines the experiences of racism, sexism and homophobia that exist in the world in which we live.
A night for the poetic sweepings of the inner north to degenerate into sleaze, vitriol, and confusion. And rise into revelation, liberating confession and poetic wisps of the sublime. A feast of clashing waters. All in a cozy artsy pup. No features, no list, no limits. Just put your hand up and come on up. Is your piece not really ready? It is for this gig.
Eleanor Jackson and her infant daughter graciously hosted me for this interview. Over tea and cake, we had a wide-ranging conversation about spoken word and its revolutionary potential.
One of the things I love about poetry is that it is deeply transgressive, precisely because of its anti-capitalist tilt. We live in a system that assigns a utility to every person and their time. To do something that is a ‘waste of time’ and makes no money — it is a revolutionary act.
I was listening to your performance of “Shave and a Haircut” at Slamalamadingdong. I was struck by the musicality, how it evoked the sounds and rhythms of jazz. I wanted to ask about musical influences. Is that a conscious thing for you?
Yes, spoken word and poetry is about musical language. There is so much resonance between the way that musicians and poets use language: for its rhythm, tonality and song. My earliest musical loves were discovered scrounging through my dad’s vinyl collection of 70s classics, including all of Joni Mitchell’s work. She is an incredible lyricist, a beautiful painter and writer, a phenomenally talented musician. Her sense of story and lyric form is just exquisite. I loved the standard folk troubadours like Bob Dylan or Elton John. The 70’s rock-folk classics almost seem daggy in their sincerity, but I think they are still really beautiful. They continue to influence me at some level, although I don’t use end rhymes the way that musicians seek to use them in their songs.
The other striking feature of your work is pacing, your modulation of both pace and emotion.
If there’s one thing I miss in Australian spoken word, it is space and silence. Pace is about finding the beauty that happens in the pause. The pause allows for contemplation and absorption, allows for the time and space to sit with a thought, to then decide if the words truly resonate. Poet and spoken word artist Anthony O’Sullivan said he thought m
Your most recent collection, ‘The Courage Season,’ opens with ‘Portrait of a teenage boy wandering the CBD, Melbourne.’ In it, you are observing a young man navigating the city and all of the possibilities. There is a sense that this may also the younger Peter. What were you like as a young person and how did your journey in poetry begin?
The main character portrayed in ‘Portrait of a teenage boy wandering the CBD, Melbourne’ is partly autobiographical, as I worked and wandered (during lunchbreaks) around the Parliament end of Bourke Street for 30 years. I remain a habitué of Pellegrini’s, The Paperback, and the Hill of Content bookshop. The poem is about restlessness, choices and searching for nourishment, stimuli and connections within and also beyond one’s stomping ground/hometown.
I was an extremely unhappy teenager who loved books, the map of the world and the idea of going on the road as soon as I could manage. I wrote my first poem on the road at the age of 28, still an unhappy young, questing man.
You have written many ‘portrait’ poems. ‘Portrait of Frida Kahlo’ is written in first-person, while ‘Portrait of David Bowie’ is in third. How do you approach inhabiting the world or character of someone else, and is a certain level of commonality between yourself and the subject needed in order to take on that first-person voice?
My portrait poems come out of empathy and research. Given my own medical history, major surgery and health crises, I can relate to the sense of body violation and salvation Frida Kahlo faced. In regard to David Bowie, his investigation into the multiplicity of identities one could adopt and discard is an ongoing investigation of mine, as I feel I am multiple selves within any 24-hour period. I’m always imagining other lives – the lives of total strangers and passers-by.
Your short poem ‘Self Doubt’ is very much about procrastination. How do you avoid the rut o