The founder of slam poetry, Marc Smith (so what!) this construction worker in Chicago had a vision of going beyond stuffy poetry readings that so people imagine a poetry gig is like to put poets in a ring to duke it out. Around the time of slams birth and growth, there were numerous events in the US where poets actually performed in rings, sometimes dressed up like boxer or wrestlers and had “fights to the death” and other such antics.

Melbourne Spoken Word is presenting ‘poetry SLAM!’ on Friday, October 16 at Scratch Warehouse in North Melbourne. We plan to take this metaphor into the literal and place poets in the ring using words as no-holds-barred weapons with some of the characters and unique personalities in our poetry scene duking it out.

We’re off scouting and creating matches of a lifetime, finding which poets to pit against each other, but we’re also putting out an open callout for poets who think they fit the bill, or have particular ideas for characters or personas to take on during the night. We’re looking for poets more of the performative ilk, people who are happy to exaggerate themselves a bit, and play with and subvert tropes of both performance poetry, with a playful take on professional wrestling, and subvert that too.

You would need to be available on the night of Friday the 16th plus there will be another dress rehearsal scheduled.

Benjamin Solah

Benjamin Solah is a writer, poet, spoken word artist, activist and the Director of Melbourne Spoken Word. He grew up in Western Sydney before calling Melbourne home in 2008, where he's performed since 2010 around Melbourne's regular spoken word and poetry nights including Passionate Tongues, The Dan Poets, Voices in the Attic and House of Bricks as well as the NGV and White Night. He's released a chapbook, broken bodies, and two spoken word albums, Duel Power with Santo Cazzati and The World Doesn't Make Sense EP.
Benjamin Solah