Thursday, April 30 @ 7:00pm
House of Bricks Gallery
40 Budd Street Collingwood
Has an Open Mic?
Speak to the host and poetry jockey Santo Cazzati
House of Bricks Spoken Word happens monthly around the end of the month. It has been going since 2012 under the stewardship of House of Bricks gallery organiser Crib Millen and the MC of the poetry gig, Poetry Jockey Santo Cazzati. Santo is the only known poetry jockey in the cosmos (insert academic footnote for verification here by authority on cosmological poetry jockeys, Amanda Anastasi). A poetry jockey is like a disc jockey in a bar or night club. Santo controls the aural environment by selecting his four feature artists and ten open mic candidates in any order that he sees fit (insert acknowledgement here to Anthony O’Sullivan, from whom the idea was stolen to then be brilliantly modified by Santo). This creates a particular atmosphere, sometimes scintillating, sometimes profound, poets being listened to in pindropping silence, or being positively heckled during their performance. The emphasis is on the way poetry comes from the voice of the poet, wafts in the air, and gently caresses the listener.
Poets at HOBSW might be very performance oriented or very literary oriented, and the two seem to happily coinhabit the space. And the space is unique in the world as probably the only poetry gig with an open roll-a-door onto the world, allowing smokers to participate without causing passive smoking danger to other participants.
Sjaak de Jong
Sjaak strayed into the world of poetry about 30 years ago from the halls dungeons and cellars of rock and roll, and was founding member of the sound-poetry chorus UQ, a very strange and edgy performance group that managed to be in existence for over 20 years. He has often worked with poets striving to create a genuine hybrid of poetry and music and continues to be the producer/convenor of a number of experimental poetry compilations “Voiceprints XX” that aim to expose local practitioners to a wider audience.
Lawrence Tobius Sampson Greene
Lawrence honed his craft while living by the skin of his teeth in Cambodia, where he spoke for his supper all up and down the bars of Otres Beach. He likes words, he likes rhythm, and likes making people laugh, so he’s not at all bothered that the poem he gets the most compliments for is the dumbest one he’s ever written.
Jeltje Fanoy has been writing, performing and editing poetry since the 1970s. Her publications include the collections “Living in Aboriginal Australia”, “Catching worms” and “Poetry Live in the House”, the collaborations of poetry and music “So Be It” and “Dreaming in English”, and the compilations CDs “Poetry for Peace” and “Heart to Heart” (Reconciliation Poetry at La Mama Poetica). She has also translated works by Netherlands poet Arjen Duinker into from Dutch into English, including her translation of “De Zon en de Wereld” (The Sun and the World). Jeltje was a convenor of poetry performances at La Mama Poetica from 2004 until 2010.
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.
With the world in a pretty unprecedented situation, as people already know, and although it’s by far not the most important issue right now, it’s had a pretty devastating effect on the arts, including the spoken word community.
Obviously, us coming together as a community at events in person are a crucial part of spoken word, and one the main reasons MSW exists is to support those community events. For us, it’s not just about the art form or individual artists, but how the art form brings people together, whether you’ve been doing this as a career for ages or whether you’ve turned up to an open mic for the very first time.
It’s been a learning experience and a bit of brightness amongst the darkness to watch how people have responded to self-isolation and lockdown measures by finding ways to use online platforms to continue to host open mics and other events. Alongside us starting to live stream events, we’ve been watching the rest of our community and the different ways events have gone online.
Spoken word, storytelling, poetry and writing still remain a way we can express ourselves and try to make sense of the world we live in and for us to come together as a community and for people’s voices to be heard. This remains critical in a time of self-isolation.
With most expert opinions predicting that this situation is likely to continue for months, not just weeks, the likelihood of us being able to hold in person events with an audience in July or August is pretty unlikely, and so Melbourne Spoken Word has made a decision to not hold The Melbourne Spoken Word & Poetry Festival in 2020.
Instead, we’re announcing The Melbourne Spoken Word Festival Online for 2020, with a new expressions of interest period now open for organisations and producers to propose events to be held on online as part of our program this year. We’re excited to see what spoken word
Morgaine van Wingerden, honourable mention at The 2019 Melbourne Spoken Word Prize performs ‘The Waitlist’ at Collingwood Town Hall. The 2019 Melbourne Spoken Word Prize was supported by Yarra Libraries.
Morgaine is a Melbourne based poet and artist who shares stories exploring family, mental health, relationships and womanhood. She has featured at numerous events across Melbourne and Sydney, and has performed at the Bowery Poetry House and Nuyorican in New York. She has been a member of Slamalamadingdong’s Team Slama the last two years in a row and was awarded an honourable mention in the 2019 Melbourne Spoken Word Prize.
Miss Yankey performs ‘The Rose That Never Grew’ at Slamalamadingdong in March, 2019.
Miss Yankey is a British/Ghanaian Spoken Word artist; Founder of Poetry Prescribed; FLO Poet; Co-host and Resident Poet at The Chocolate Poetry Club; Open Mic Host at Mind Over Matter; and milli-tasking mother of twins. A passionate advocate of mental health and domestic violence awareness, she often writes poetry on these topics in a bid to takle the stigma attached to them.