Thursday, May 24 @ 6:00pm
Collected Works Bookshop
1 37 Swanston Street
Has an Open Mic?
Michael Farrell, Frankie Hanman Siegersma, Antonia Pont, Kent MacCarter, Gemma Mahadeo, Claire Gaskin, Carl Walsh, Zoe Kingsley and Natalie Briggs
This event celebrates the launch of the 24th issue of ‘Rabbit: a journal for nonfiction poetry’–the LGBTQIA+ issue–with poems guest-edited by Michael Farrell. The ‘Big Rabbit Read’ will feature short readings by poets published in issue 24 as well as by poets published in previous issues of the journal.
FREE / ALL AGES
(Part of the Melbourne Spoken Word & Poetry Festival 2018 #MSWPF18. For full program of this exciting 2 week festival, go to https://mswpf.com.au)
Melbourne Spoken Word, with the support of Yarra Libraries, presents Fresh Voices, a spoken word event for emerging spoken word artists and poets in Melbourne.
This August we’re featuring Mumu, Caitlin Saunders, Gerard L. Fitzgerald, and Katie Lohner. Hosted by Rowan White.
Each event features four poets that have rarely or never featured on the spoken word scene, found from watching poets rock the open mic around town and noticing who hasn’t had a chance to perform a longer, paid set before or rarely and inviting them to perform.
It also features an open section especially for new or first time poets from around the scene. If you’ve open miced elsewhere a lot, we ask you go on the waiting list to let new poets have a chance. There’s a 5-minute limit to allow as many people to perform as possible. We ask you please keep to that limit to respect the other poets performing.
Doors open at 6pm. You sign up for the open mic at the door.
It’s free but please book so we get an idea of numbers.
The space is alcohol-free, all ages and wheelchair accessible. Some light snacks and refreshments are provided for a small price.
I like to think that every poem or collection has a ‘hook’, or a ‘way in’ that reveals itself gradually to its reader or listener. When reading John Englezos’ collection If The World Were Upside Down, it seemed important to honour that John is a poet whose words need to be heard as he performs them, rather than to be read off the page.
Thankfully, there’s lots of clips online of John performing many of the poems in this collection. I wanted to start with the one that personally ‘hooked’ me in – ‘The Proper Way to Make a Cup of Tea (YouTube)’:
I admittedly giggled cheekily at the beginning words, because I am a tea-lover, and also may still fall in love with not-just-men:
If you wish to learn the proper way to make a cup of tea
meet a girl
fall in love
and get married
John preempts the feelings this might bring up in the reader/listener – perhaps ridicule, amusement, excitement, inward groaning as the poem continues:
Hear me out
In an age where gas was lit and fire burned
a kettle would whistle to you the constant reminder of its boiling brew
Now he’s captured our full attention, and we feel like we need to know what has to follow – he’s mentioned things that are common to many of our everyday lives, and we want to know: what does making tea well have to do with love, with care, with intentional acts shared?
This collection is full of poems that celebrate the wonder in the ordinary, in those things we might take for granted in our lives. I especially like that ‘The Proper Way to Make a Cup of Tea’ can also be taken as an exercise in mindfulness. From a mental health perspective, the act of listening to or of reading a poem that talks to you the way John does is incredibly comforting, or downright amusingly raucous.
An example of his playful, more surrealist take on life is in the title poem ‘If The Worl
Rhiann Isaacs performed ‘Taking Back the Neighbourhood’ at the Slamalamadingdong New Shit Slam at The Melba Spiegeltent.
Rhiann Isaacs is an outspoken Afro-Guyanese poet that has nurtured a love for words and storytelling from a young age. Rhiann’s pieces are explorative narratives that mainly centre around identity, Pan-African issues and mental health. As a rising artist, she brings energy and passion to the stage as she treats each poem as living art pieces that deserve to take up space. Expect transparency and straight forward expression from beginning to end.