Tuesday, February 28 @ 6:00pm
33 Saxon Street,
$20 (or $15 for Patreon Patrons: https://www.patreon.com/melbspokenword)
Has an Open Mic?
Book tickets @ https://www.trybooking.com/OOQL
As part of our Spoken Word Night School series presented by Melbourne Spoken Word.
In February, we bring you Komninos Zervos, where he will take participants through a 3-hour writing-based workshop, getting you back to basics, letting the words stand on their own and using language economically. He will also guide you in how this may be used to teach poetry in schools and community groups, as he did for ten years before teaching poetry at uni.
Komninos Zervos was born in 1950 in Melbourne. He has been writing poetry on a professional basis since 1985, taking his poetry to schools, community groups, hotels, music venues, prisons, coffee lounges, universities, radio, television, and now the internet. (http://www.komninos.com.au) He has published two collections of poetry with the University of Queensland Press (Komninos, 1991, and Komninos by the Kupful, 1995); a collection of poetry for children illustrated by Peter Viska and published by Oxford University Press (The Baby Rap and Other Poems, 1992); and a hardcover illustrated children’s picture book published by Harper Collins in 1991. In 1992 he received the Australian Human Rights Award for literature, and in 1993 he was awarded the Australia Council’s Ros Bower Award for outstanding achievement in community arts. In 1995 he completed a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Queensland, and authored a cd-rom of cyberpoetry for his dissertation. In 1997 he travelled to London to be writer in residence at Artec, a multimedia training and resource centre in Islington, where he authored a cd-rom, Cyberpoetry Underground. He also convened the Cyber Studies major at the School of Arts, Griffith University, Gold Coast campus, from 1999 to 2007. Komninos’s poetry is taught in schools and is on the syllabus for year 12 HSC Standard English in NSW.
Pay-as-you-feel restaurant, Lentil As Anything, located in the old nuns dining hall at the Abbotsford Convent, is hosting a monthly open mic poetry night based on a changing theme. An inclusive space for seasoned and amateur poets alike. Sign up on the blackboard from 5.30pm, the event begins at 6pm with 5 minute slots during dinner service.
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