You are part of the team that Slamalamadingdong is sending to US to compete in the National Poetry Slam. What excites you the most about competing in Chicago?
I’m immensely proud of Slama and of the whole Melbourne poetry scene, so I’m excited to go and represent everyone at such a huge event. I’d like to be a kind of ambassador for the amazing art being created in Melbourne and Australia. I’m keen to watch, connect with, and learn from lots of other amazing artists. I think we might also be able to push the boundaries of what American audiences think of as ‘Slam Poetry’ by bringing our own styles, experiences, and contexts into our work and our performances.
Your accent is decidedly English. What part of the UK are you from, and what brought you to Australia and Melbourne in particular?
I was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, but grew up down south in Surrey. The rest of my family are from in and around Manchester, so that was an influence too. I’ve also lived in Leeds, South London and North London. So, maybe I’ve got more of an ‘undecidedly’ English accent. I wonder whether those varied influences were part of what got me interested in accents, dialects, and language generally.
My partner and I met in the UK but her mum is Australian and her family emigrated to live in Geelong some years ago. That gave us the chance to try living in another country and we fell in love with Melbourne. We said we’d give it two years and see how we settled in. That was five and a half years ago. So, it looks like it’s going okay.
Yes, I did hear that you would travel from Geelong to attend poetry events. What made getting up in front of that mic worth the small journey each time?
The poetry and spoken word scene is my community, so it was well worth the journey just to be among those people and hear their art and their stories. I think it was important for my mental health to keep performing regularly too. There is some
The ‘aperture’ of an ‘OCDiva’s’ ’appetite’ by Hamish Danks Brown
“Beauty beheld in solitude is even more lethal.” Witold Gombrowicz, Ferdydurke
In mid-December 2016, Amy Bodossian launched her debut collection wide open in the standing room confines of Ferdydurke, a venue located above Tattersalls Lane in the CBD.
It’s a slim ninety-page volume containing two dozen poems, plus illustrations by an Adelaide-born cabaret performer who usurps any stage with such panache escalating to frenzy that I’ve christened her ‘OCDiva’!
The poems hone in on personal matters: the author’s body, mind and soul; the whenever, wherever, with whoever that all comes with outbreaks of love and influxes of sex. This book is not for the prurient and prudish among us. It is intended for a ‘wide open’ readership in print and for a like-minded audience with similar gaping predilections shown when the ‘OCDiva’ herself is on stage.
The overriding theme of this book is that adults are overgrown kids dealing with the alternative facts and fantasies of love lives and that none of us are getting any younger though we can tweak time and play depending on whose place we’re at, through the detouring routes of our boudoir behaviour patterns.
This collection goes full-cycle from a juvenile tryst in ‘Remember that Sunday Afternoon’, to a reflective ‘Reprise’ via a poetic cycle of remembered episodes and personal encounters such as ‘First Date’, ‘Coat Hanger Eyes’, ‘Summer Love’, ‘Phone Sex’ and ‘Over’:
I’m not into dominating / but I do like masturbating / over the thought of you telling me things / you’d never tell anyone else, / how you say you’d like to be punished / which I’m not really into, but I do get wet / over your wounded, he
Love, loss, and loneliness all pop up in Kendra Keller’s (aka Lady Longdrop) lively and tender first collection of poems Hey Moon! Lady Longdrop demands a conversation that leads us away from an elusive state. With an active, empowered voice, she uses the moon the way many of us use it – to connect to the hidden self from, the self that is terrified of being seen. Poetry to her is a form of meditation.
In the section ‘Moon Poems’, she takes the reader out to see the moon, and in the poem, ‘Full-of-it’ lies a powerfully vulnerable question that requires sight:
Great fat moon
Why do you look at me and ask
Whether I am as fully human as you are fully stone
What would it take for many of us to articulate the pain our mothers and fathers caused us? To articulate back, to them, their state, and ours, through a question? Lady Longdrop insists that we rest before this journey – to connect with our larger selves.
What would it feel like if we took our problems to the moon, then feasted on her light as the narrator of the book does? Would we perceive love in ways suggested in ‘Love Is’?
A forgotten dream
Would we then dig deeper into our memories, and say:
Love is some clothes I threw out cos they didn’t fit anymore
Love is some papers
Dusty with nostalgia
That I had to burn
Where would we go? The ocean?
If we are to find ourselves, to find where we belong, we must find the things that truly know themselves. In her poem ‘As Though it is OK’, Lady Longdrop poetically displays the human demise when we compare ourselves to others without the knowledge of our capacity to transcend our conditions.
You hang there
As though it is ok
As though there are humans who can cope with your perfect
mirroring of yourself
Lady Longdrop consistently draws attention to the possibility of opening up
Ziimusic performs ‘Black Don’t Crack’ at the Slamalamadingdong Grand Slam in May. Ziimusic is on the 2018 Slamalamadingdong National Poetry Slam team travelling to Chicago in August.
ZIIMUSIC, is a Naarm based creative blending his artistry into a soulful experience. Originally from Zimbabwe, ZIIMUSIC began his creative career as a rapper and musician. He has had the privilege of performing in and around Naarm where his band have performed at festivals and sold out venues. 2017 saw ZIIMUSIC step into the Spoken Word scene as he was part of the Band Of Brothaz compromising of Naarms most decorated spoken word artists.
2018 Grand Slam Champion, Tenda McFly performs ‘Gladiator’ at The Slamalamadingdong Grand Slam on May 31, 2018 at The Melba Spiegeltent.
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Tenda McFly is best described as an amalgamation of hip-hop and spoken word poetry. He recently released a project titled Memoirs and subsequently presented it to a sold-out audience in a format which encompassed elements of theatre, spoken word, rap and visual art. In the past, he has opened for The Game, Lloyd and has been on the bill for a number of notable QLD & VIC music festivals. As a spoken word poet, Tenda has also performed as a TEDx Speaker at 3 different events. His material manages to pass as carefree and fun whilst being mesmerizing and thought-provoking. There is an accessible youthful intelligence here that is both representative of his experience and his generation. Tenda is also a member of Band of Brothaz & NoA.
David Stavanger performs “The Electric Journal” at The Wheeler Centre presented by The Melbourne Visiting Poets Program, with Melbourne Spoken Word, Australian Poetry, The nonfictionlab and Rabbit Poetry Journal.
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David Stavanger is a poet, writer, performer, cultural producer and former psychologist. In 2013 he won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, resulting in the release of The Special (UQP), his first full-length collection of poetry which was awarded the 2015 Wesley Michel Wright Poetry Prize. His prose-poem ‘The Electric Journal’ was a finalist of the 2016 Newcastle Poetry Prize. David is also sometimes known as pioneering Green Room-nominated ‘spoken weird’ artist Ghostboy, winning the 2005 Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup and establishing poetry slam and spoken word in QLD via his active work with the Australian Poetry Slam and Woodford Folk Festival. David was the Co-Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival from 2015-2017, a period known for its inclusive programming and stronger focus on CALD and first nation voices.