Saturday, September 17 @ 6:30pm
Gryphon Gallery, Building 1888
Parkville Melbourne VIC
Has an Open Mic?
Open mic sign up at 6.45pm.
Tickets can be pre-booked at https://eventbrite.com.au/e/…
A special spoken-word event showcasing all that is diverse and wonderful in the melbourne spoken word scene. Based on the idea of the Griffin: a mythological creature made up of power and majesty of the kings of both land and sky, GriffinSpeak is a celebration of artists of diverse backgrounds and styles with a focus on creating space for their stories as they would have them told.
Join us for a night of poetic potency as our powerful super features: John Englezos, Ee’da Brahim and Esme Foong share the stage with our new and appropriately named Griffins as they break into the scene and our open mic-ers as they bring a heterogenous yet coherent ensemble of performances for purposes of both education and expression under the direction of our super poet MC Nour Abouzeid.
Waffle Irongirl regularly sets out to write poetry in the venerable tradition of Blake and Whitman. But she keeps getting waylaid by personal opinions, her cultural context and a fondness for the music of Cold Chisel. The fact she can’t resist the occasional slam just makes things worse. On-stage, she’s the poetical analogue of a heavy metal karaoke. Off-stage she’s vague and freshly introverted.
Ee’da is a half-Indian, half- Malay Singaporean poet, emcee, singer/songwriter, dancer and arts educator. She broke cultural convention by leaving her family home and coming to Australia where she knew no one. She went on to become an award-winning poet and community arts worker, receiving Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence for her work in the arts. In 2015, she was awarded the UNESCO City of Literature grant to receive mentorship in diversity education through poetry in New York City. She had featured twice at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC and The Silver Room in Chicago and has performed at the United Nations Conference, Arts Centre Melbourne and venues across Melbourne. Most recently her works were featured at International Writer’s Festival in Bali and she continues to run poetry and arts programs in schools and community organisations. She is also a singer/songwriter and has supported international hip hop acts such as Lyrics Born and Dead Prez. She is the Founder of ‘Sisters For Sisters’, a Melbourne-based music and arts collective aimed at creating a platform for female artists while addressing a myriad of social issues both locally and internationally.
POSTY Poetry & Spoken Word Special Delivery is a new fortnightly open mic event hosted by Hamish Danks Brown a.k.a. Danksta Downunder. All welcome to distribute and sort their poetry on stage and to deliver it in any language. The Post is well located on the corner of Brighton Road and Inkerman Street. If you’re coming from North of the Yarra catch the number 3 or 67 trams from Swanston Street and get out at Stop 34 right outside the pub. It’s a very warm and welcoming venue with good food and drinks.
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