lowercasepoetry speaks up and upper in Geelong

At West Word in Footscray early this month, we were joined by half a dozen poets and spoken wordsmiths visiting from Geelong. They introduced themselves as members of a new spoken word group called lowercasepoetry, and issued a general invitation to come to their next event, as well as participated in the open mic with enthusiasm.

We were all impressed with their contribution to West Word and their keenness.

So, last Thursday afternoon (21 July), I changed trains at Footscray for the V line to a regional city only 75 kms or an hour away, which I had not visited since 1987! What little I know of Geelong reads like prompts for a poem: auto industry, Cats, Deakin Uni, ex-Mayor Darryn Lyons, wool. So I arrived early and spent a couple of hours strolling the streets of the CBD and admiring both the domed architecture of the new Library, and the disinctive art collection of Geelong Gallery.

lowercasepoetry formed only 5 months ago and holds a monthly event in Analogue Academy, a cosy bar / cafe / photography gallery / studio located in a laneway which is handily adjacent to the Cultural Precinct and a short walk from Geelong Station. The venue opens at 5pm for social drinks and the spoken words begin spilling from 7pm.

The three convenors of lowercasepoetry are creative writer Yasmin Mobayad, English teacher Annie Mullen-Walsh, and photographer-poet Joshua Maxwell de Hoog, all of whom I had first met at West Word.

From the time the doors opened a crowd steadily built up until there were somewhere between 60 and 80 people there during the open mic instalments. Analogue Academy is a well setup venue for a spoken word event. One feature I especiallly liked was that the stage backed on to one side of the bar, so that performers have a backdrop of bottles of wine & spirits close to hand. Refill while you recite! Makes good ergonomic commonsense to me. There’s also a delicious range of gourmet hot dogs available.

It was a most entertaining and lively evening of spoken word delivered in 4 swift yet sweeping sets of open mic from 14 locals and 1 out-of-town ring-in who felt very welcome in the relaxed atmosphere there. A diverse variety of poems answered the call for this month’s theme of Teenage Vices, which in my case, are carbon-dated nowadays. The tone and style of each performer ranged from comic to emotive to topical and sometimes off-the-wall, and the quality of the material was consistently good and sometimes standout. Take another bow and more applause, all of you!

The mostly but not entirely young spoken wordsmiths on the night: Darren Burt, Antoine Saleh, Corey William Notaristefano, RBJ Thomson, Miranie Nabarte, Fletcher Scott, Declan McDonald, Leigh Smith, Laura Alice Bracken Dredge, Harry Ware, Lauren Nicholls, the 3 convenors Yasmin, Annie & Joshua plus my alter idiomaton Danksta Downunder.

Hopefully we will be seeing at least some of the Geelongtimers turning up and also featuring at spoken word events here in Melbourne soon enough. Do drop in if you’re in the Corio area! With much appreciation to everybody there for their poetic company and hospitality.

The next lowercasepoetry event will be on Thursday 18 August, Analogue Academy, 23 Cuzens Place Geelong, wine from 5, words from 7. Next theme: Risk vs Perceived Risk. Special guest poet: Farah Beaini. Gold coin entry donation goes to The Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Photo by Vince Frandina

Hamish Danks Brown