Sunday, April 26 @ 2:00pm
The Dancing Dog Cafe
42A Albert Street Footscray
Has an Open Mic?
A Melbourne poetry event that’s been running for over a decade – West Word poetry holds regular events at the Dancing Dog Cafe to host various poets from around the country.
Along with a different feature poet at each session, there is an open stage section, which is open to anyone of any style: emerging, established, multilingual, slam, lyrical, experimental… (within a 5 minute time limit.) Just show at the venue, put your name on the list, and read to a receptive encouraging audience.
Gemma White’s first book of poetry, ‘Furniture is Disappearing’ (Interactive Press), was awarded ‘Best First Book’ in IP’s Rolling Picks Awards for 2014. Gemma has also been published in The Age, Award Winning Australian Writing 2011 and Best Australian Poems 2013, among other places. Gemma was involved in various poetry media projects such as RMIT’s PROD in 2009, in which one of her poems ‘The Mariner’s Lover’ was turned into the song ‘Ancient Love’ by singer/songwriter Gossling. Excerpts from her poem ‘Love Song for London’ were featured in Mash, a collaborative poetry initiative by the 9th Annual Overload Poetry Festival. And she also edited Sacred-Profane, a journal of contemporary free verse poetry by Australian and international poets.
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.