I've just had the most amazing weekend filled with spoken word goodness. It's all thanks to Benjamin Solah and the incredible team at Melbourne Spoken Word. They're worked their butts off to put together an incredible two and half weeks of events and workshops in and around Melbourne for 2019's Melbourne Spoken Word and Poetry Festival.
On Friday I headed into the city to the Toff in Town for the opening night of the festival. I got to see seven incredible artists strut their stuff in a room jam packed with enthusiastic poets and word enthusiasts. Natalie Jeffreys was heart-felt and moving. The rhythm and sound of Zaynab G Farah's voice was captivating. Emilie Collyer brought a moment of stillness with quiet poems to lean in to. Arielle Cottingham's performance blew my mind - it was a rollercoaster full of movement and sound that I never wanted to end. Eleanor Jackson was assured, cheeky and just a little bit outrageous. All she wanted was for someone to buy her a drink, there was no metaphor, there was never a metaphor. She was just thirsty. Singaporean poet Stephanie Dogfoot was funny and charismatic. I wanted to be as cool as her. And as young. Luka Lesson had presence and gravity and when he got together with Mena Shamaly on the oud and they improvised it was sublime.
Saturday saw me attending the Fresh Voices workshop with American poet Arielle Cottingham. After seeing her live the night before I was super psyched to learn with her and she didn't disappoint. Arielle's favourite part of the writing process is the editing and she shared some awesome techniques for improving your work which were just what I was looking for. It's super easy to look at someone else's work and say - get rid of this line or that's a cliche. It's much harder when it's your own stuff. I even got a poem out of the workshop which is always a bonus.
Yesterday was another day of poetry immersion, this time focussing on performance with Scott Wings. The workshop was incredible - we pretty much spent the whole time our feet, in our bodies and moving around the room with kinaesthetic response and other techniques. It was brilliant to be back in my body and I didn't want the workshop to end.
Over the weekend I learnt some awesome skills, meet some fabulous fellow poets and had a ball. Thanks Melbourne Spoken Word, you put on an awesome festival. And it's not over yet!