Review: Fixing the Broken Nightingale by Richard James Allen

Fixing the Broken NIghtingale

Review by Gemma White.

Fixing the Broken Nightingale is a small, compact, beautifully produced book of poetry divided into seven sections; Prologue, Natural Disasters, Unanswered Questions, Occasional Truths, Flickering Enlightenment, A Scheme for Brightness and the Epilogue.

The preoccupation with artistic legacy is clear from the Prologue “Here we are, you and I, writer and reader/bound together in an eternal timeless dance”. It is later revisited in the poem The Disappearing Soul with a kind of melancholy disappointment in humanity, with the opening lines “I want to say something which makes us believe that the/human race was worthwhile after all./That we left some kind of legacy”.

The speaker in the poems highlights the fallibility of humanity, with personal confession: “if I had been a lesser man/I might have really/fucked up my life/but all I did was fuck up yours” and an psychological insight into the ‘shadow-side’ of the personality, the “dark, selfish, gaping, un/speakable, wordless part of each other/…The great, putrefying deep sea monster/…squatting in the heart of each of us”. The grossness, vulnerability and exposure of sexual relations is also explored in graphic detail in 13 Acts of Unfulfilled Love, with also a sense of searching, of the vain hope of finding a missing piece in the Other: “I have lost something/and am wondering/if I’ll find it/inside you”. But again, this idealised search for meaning is foiled, with a partner who compares sex with “taking candy from a child”.

In Fixing the Broken Nightingale, the creation of art emerges as a singular avenue of redemption for the failed human, as the speaker grapples with the big questions of existence – the intangibility of God in Chimera, the question of “not how to die but how to live” in the poem Flickering Enlightenment. The speaker counsels the reader “don’t try to lock down the mysteries” as even language is not sufficient, with poets mistaking “the prison bars of their minds/for the harpstrings of the heart”. Even so in The Disappearing Soul the speaker admits that “In this dark, my only candles are -/the poets,/who believed with their blood/in the secret potency of words”. So even as the speaker claims the power of art is an illusion, he still wants to believe.

I think this book has particular relevance to a largely secular society where there is still the human need to worship, without the outlet for such a need to be successfully fulfilled. Religions have been exposed, our idealistic search used in someone else’s private agenda. But still there is “the prayer that we may be useful before we perish”. Throughout the whole book there is a persistent need for meaning which I think is characteristic of the times in which we live. Richard James Allen’s work is informed by the struggles of humanity in a contemporary world. Rather than ignoring complexity, or seeking escapism, he enters the void, his words glistening with the many-faceted acts of life, love and creation.

The title of the book, which carries echoes of a whole poetic tradition of preoccupation with the nightingale, could most successfully be related to Shelley’s quote from his A Defense of Poetry: “A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds; his auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician, who feel that they are moved and softened, yet know not whence or why.” Similarly, in Fixing the Broken Nightingale, although the problematic nature of language, of legacy, of humanity and intimacy is explored and admitted, the fixing is in the cheering of solitude, not only for the writer but for the reader as well, so that all might feel “moved and softened”, and thus in some way redeemed, faith curiously restored in an inexplicable transaction of truths between writer and reader.

Fixing the Broken Nightingale can be bought directly from Richard James Allen via his website: www.fixingthebrokennightingale.com

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Review: Sean M Whelan’s ‘Everything all the time’

Words by Hannah Monagle

The discomfort of observing the intricate conversations between two lovers. This is my initial feeling upon watching Sean M Whelan’s ‘Everything all the time’. Set in Melbourne gorgeous bookshop ‘Hill of Content’. Whilst initially an unnerving setting, as two ghost like figures walk slowly before you, the play soon develops into the ‘everyday’ between two protagonists, Tully (James Tresise) and Patience (Kali Hulme). The pair go hurtling from nauseating loved up cinema dates towards the irritable monotony of the everyday. Amongst the super natural themes is something so heart wrenching and so relatable, the quiet breakdown of a relationship, perhaps occurring before either party is quite sure it is there.

Sean M Whelan’s script is laden with visual and pop culture references, a homage to his amazing spoken word and something which enriches the play to no end. The two actors play their roles with compassion but also a firm grip on the ‘everyday’, it feels as if you’re sitting across from two friends watching them interact.

For me Hulme was a clear stand out, polishing her performance with a harrowing rendition of Mama Cass’s ‘Dream a Little Dream of me’ at the end. Tresise without quite so much to work with (the poor dorky besotted hipster) still manages to stand his own. The Script is lyrical and rich, painting a picture of modern day Melbourne and the two lovers embedded in it. The super natural elements are pulled off with out any sense of kitsch as the two lovers watch themselves from afar, stating “we were so happy then” and weren’t we all?, At some point? reminds ‘Everything all the time’.

Review: Ryan Van Winkle’s Red Like Our Room Used To Feel @ Melbourne Fringe

Review by Amanda Anastasi

If I told you I visited a room where I was asked to sit/recline/curl up on a bed by a poet who offered me port/tea and read poems to me, you would think ‘What the…?’ Well, it’s not what you think! It is in fact Red Like Our Room Used To Feel, a one-man Fringe show by one Ryan Van Winkle. Upon entering the busy Melbourne Hub and hurrying downstairs to The Warren (I was two minutes late for my appointment – yes, you must make an appointment!), I was greeted by a nice sort of chap who gave me the following instructions: there will be four envelopes on a bed. Pick one – don’t look inside it – then give it to me.

I entered a red room. The walls were strewn with lights and pictures and the bedside with various objects. I was filled with the impression of memories revisited yet the people abandoned; the remnants of a life or a space once inhabited and now left untouched.

I picked my envelope and gave it to Ryan who then made me a tea, offered biscuits and once he was certain I was comfortable, sat at the edge of the bed and began reading poems from typed out sheets in his hands.

Having heard poets read for a few years now, I still see it as a vulnerable act to pull out a poem and read to strangers. Reading to one person often feels more confronting than reading to a full room. When one considers this, I imagine Red Like Our Room Used to Feel is intended as a confronting experience not only for the listener but for the poet himself. Ryan, throughout, delivers his poems in an assured calm voice, hence allowing his images and lines to absorb to the maximum. The lingering music of Ragland creates a meditative atmosphere.

I will not give details about the objects in the room or the poems themselves, as you really must go for yourself to experience them firsthand. What I will say is that the poems coupled with the surrounding knick-knacks and photographs give a feeling of something lost. I left with the notion of the coming and going of people, of the fragility of relationships and the beauty of these transient things.

Unfortunately, Melbourne Fringe positioned the red room in a loud bustling part of the Arts House, only separating it from the foyer with a curtain. This interfered slightly with the intended intimacy and quiet ambience. One must listen intently. It was nevertheless a beautiful special experience, which would have gained in intensity in a quieter environment.

Red Like Our Room Used To Feel is the perfect between-show interlude for anyone passing through the Fringe Hub, though it is well worth a special trip to experience Ryan Van Winkle, an American Edinburgh-based poet and winner of the 2009 Crashaw Prize. You must not miss it.

Red Like Our Room Used To Feel is currently showing every night at The Warren, Melbourne Hub at Arts House, 521 Queensbury Street, North Melbourne as part of Melbourne Fringe until October 5, and its free! For reservations email Ryan at ramvanwin@gmail.com (subject line ‘Booking for Red Room’)

CD review: Welcome to Country by Jacky T

Review by Carrie Hagan

artworks-000026017713-jecv1f-originalJacky T’s EP Welcome to Country opens with the title track – a catchy, clever, and sometimes comical piece which simultaneously addresses contemporary Australia’s attitudes toward Aboriginal people, while drawing comparisons between traditional and non-traditional practices in a celebratory way. From here we are taken on a journey through various pieces which deal with everything from the consequences of mindless consumption, to the empowerment of self, to the painful effects of growing up in a narrow-minded, small-town community.

Jacky T’s writing is nuanced and so attentively layered with multiple meanings that we are swept into the current of swift mental connections and transitions created by an artist who is clearly a deep and determined thinker.

What stands out most about Jacky T’s work is his combination of grit and eloquence; honesty which sheds light and darkness in equal measure, making for an incredibly holistic and fulfilling experience as a listener.

This EP is choca-block full of social and political commentary, irony, and lyrical prowess – finessed by an amalgamation of hip-hop beats, wordplay, and poetic technique to boot.

An absolute must-listen for anyone interested in discovering the place where unpredictable sound patterns meet the humble flow of a word-smith and producer dedicated to his craft.

Book and CD review: These Wandering Feet by Joel McKerrow

Review by Amanda Anastasi

“Start with that place within you”

joel book coverFrom the opening line of the first poem Water, you know that this collection is not merely an offering of poems but a spiritual offering. Good poetry is a thing of spirit and reflection by nature, however this collection has a focused intent from the outset. Subtitled “Reflections From A Travelling Pilgrim,” the author’s hope (as he states in his introduction) is that “your eyes become wider.”

The book is divided in four sections: The Water That Flows Between Us, The Wind That Blows Above Us, The Earth That Stands Below Us and The Fire That Burns Within Us. That is, as Joel explains in his introduction “our connection with each other, with the divine, with the earth and with ourselves”. The structuring of the book under these four elements adds to the pervading universality of the work, the four elements of nature being prevalent in hindu, Buddhist and pagan traditions. There is also no shortage of biblical imagery, but the focus is on the expansiveness of the travelling spirit, the richness of the present and the dropping away of the ego.

In Ayrshire Scotland and Hasten Ye Back, McKerrow explores the places and people of his ancestry. In poems such as Betty Winifred King he makes himself the mouthpiece for the stories of those that came before him. Although Joel on one hand urges the “tossing in the fire…this notion of ‘I’ ‘you’ ‘us’ and ‘them’” in Kindling, he holds strong to things of culture and ancestry, perhaps giving him a point of reference from which to move in new directions. I enjoyed the slightly grittier poems in this section, such as Broken Pavement and Lawrence Cook. Refugee was also strong.

Joel subverts the traditional gender of ‘God’ by using the pronoun ‘She’ and then later also ‘He’. In the section titled The Wind That Blows Above Us, Joel is incessantly looking toward God, finding him/her in unexpected and untraditional places. Many of the poems in this section have a parable-like quality. In poems such as Veneration, the rhythms reminded me of the Beatitudes, but on the whole the influence of Gibran’s The Prophet is palpable.

In The Earth That Stands Below Us the poems are rhythmic, musical and yes, earthy. There are many quiet moments here, whether it be enjoying the cosiness of a pub in A Rainy Day In London, the light reflection of Turn of the Season or the recognition of lost innocence in Raindrops. Joel revisits his cultural heritage again in On Leaving Australia. I found Untwisting particularly resonant – the search for true self and the hard look in the mirror, recurring themes in this and the final section The Fire That Burns Within Us. There is a slight Socratic influence in Uneducation: “It is time to un-know all that I have known.” There is a nod to C.S. Lewis and Tolkien in The Inklings and there is nothing that sums up Joel’s poetic voice more than his words in Spoon: “May my gaze be gentle.”

Joel’s language is lyrical and accessible. Its messages are clear and it creates its own gentle music, even before the CD with musical accompaniment is played. In poems such as Water, Channel Crossing and These Drunken Fountains, the ebb and flow of water is mimicked in the syntax and line breaks of the poem. Also in Swagger & Stumble the lines are abrupt and short, suggesting the new and uncertain steps of one learning.

The CD of These Wandering Feet is well worth a play and features music largely composed, recorded and produced by Spike Mason of Poatina Tasmania. The piano tracks are composed by singer/songwriter and pianist Colleen O’Connell. On the whole, the music works harmoniously and beautifully with the spoken word. Joel has quite a pronounced, musical performance style that is aimed primarily for the stage, though I often found reading the poems on the page a quieter, more thought-provoking experience. Poems such as The God Poem and Veneration, however, are truly magical as an aural experience. Here McKerrow’s voice – at its most natural in intonation – combines with the musical accompaniment to deliver some quite moving moments.

Whether you choose to read the book or listen to the CD, there will be a line or an image to cause you to think or rethink. These Wandering Feet will inevitably, to use Joel’s words, “create space in rooms too crowded.”

Both the Book and CD for These Wandering Feet can be purchased from JoelMcKerrow.com or from Joel in person at any events he may be at.

ContraVerse, new regular open mic launched last night

A new spoken word and poetry open mic was born last night at Hares & Hyenas under the guidance of ReVerse Butcher, ContraVerse. It ran as a regular open mic night in Brisbane and has come down to Melbourne. A monthly thing, happening on the first Thursday of every month, last night’s first one attracted a crowd consisting of not just regular poets from other gigs, but those outside of the regular scene. (more…)

Anis Mojgani performs to a sold-out Melbourne crowd

Review by Benjamin Solah

Last night, Melbourne got lucky – at least if you’re a fan of spoken word or poetry. It’s very rare we get to see the slam poet heroes we’ve come to love on YouTube and from afar. Last time we saw them, it was Ken Arkind with a whole range of others about two years ago, and Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye last year.

Last night, we got to see Anis Mojgani thanks to Bo Svoronos, Alia Gabres and Global Poetics, supported by the Emerging Writers’ Festival. And he performed in front of a sold out crowd at the Footscray Community Arts Centre hosted by Ken Arkind, supported by Carrie Rudzinski and a whole bunch of local poets. (more…)

Review: Rats Live On No Evil Star by Paul South

Review by Amanda Anastasi

Rats Live picI was born for the journey.
Want me to tell you who I am?
Am I
Who I am?

I have read Rats Live On No Evil Star three times now: the first time as a draft, the second after the Passionate Tongues book launch and now again as I attempt to review it. Each time I digested it cover to cover in one sitting! This has much to do with Paul South’s accessible, conversational style. This and the easeful honesty that is evident from the unassuming opening lines of AM radio. The words enter quietly and humbly in lower case letters:

well
i’ve had my day out
walked a bit
seen some things…

This book is divided in three sections: Short Trips, Bridge and Rats Live On No Evil Star. In Short Trips, Paul gives us anecdotes about putting a dead crow in someone’s front garden, eating a chocolate sundae, a guy chroming on the train and a bargain store misunderstanding – among other things – on suburban walks and train journeys. These acts of simple observance are full of small moments of epiphany that surprise, delight and occasionally take you off guard! The purity and simplicity of the voice has a way of injecting a kind of magic in the ordinary, and this really is the mark of a good poet. The most memorable moments in the first section for me are Hurtsbridge Train, Bat, Amber and I Am Laughing With You. I particularly enjoyed the lines:

Listen
Until you are deaf

Ask why
Until you fall asleep

And in Get Used It:

This is our life and this is how we share it; eyes that meet only in sly passing, none of us where we want to be.

Some of the poems, in their unveiled honesty can catch the reader off guard in confronting ways, like Toilet Phobia and In My Cage. Then there are those poems that are genuinely light and funny like Things To Do In Moreland, I See The Light and (in the last section) Right To The Personals and The Things I Live With.

In Dirge Of Myself there is a hint of self-deprecation, as he takes a dig at his (and hence our) illusions about himself. In Garbage Ideology, he also sends up our smallness in the scheme of things and that the things we do are very much a mere drop in the ocean! For the most part, South is pointing the finger at himself. This collection is very much a direct look in the mirror – on a personal level and, through South’s gentle search for truth, all of us collectively.

The second section Bridge contains one poem called – you guessed it- Bridge! This is an introspective, intimate poem in three parts detailing South’s domestic daily routine. There is a sense of putting one foot in front of the other, of building a bridge to a place of wellness and stability. Above all, it is vulnerable and unpretentious.

In the final section Rats Live On No Evil Star, there moments of both defiance (I Prefer The Rats) and humility. Striking humility: the kind that makes the reader, in turn, humbled before it.

Paul covers the heavy subjects of the thought of suicide and death, and with refreshing ease and acceptance. In addition, there are some truly beautiful ruminations in Utopia, The Rain and Graveside, where the reader gets a glimpse of the poet dreaming. Being a Kafka enthusiast, I particularly enjoyed Metamorphosis. Paul’s Metamorphosis is very much a statement about our human conditioned behaviours and need to assimilate.

In What’s In A Name, South underlines not human twice in a poem which is a clear rejection of the human compulsion to label things. There is also this idea of animals being on “a higher level” than human pettiness, which I rather like. In Fixed, there is the implication that everything that exists is in an experiment, narrowing the distinction between humans and rats. This narrowing continues in the title poem Rats Live On No Evil Star, where rats are likened to “visitations” and “angels”. Drums is another unique poetic experience, where the ‘miraculous’ beating heart of a rat is juxtaposed with the “distant steel sounds” of Coode Island – natural versus man-made machinery.

So now I can’t think of anything more to do than to share some of my favourite lines:

Industry cries out like beached whales

At sunset the crickets would ring like so many unanswered phones

Oh and this one hit home for me…not due to being clever metaphorically as the previous lines, but by just having struck me in its plain, painful truth (in reference to finding three rats sleeping on a lost twenty dollar bill!)

It is the fading of this magic
That is hard to accept.

Before I continue to go on and quote the entire book, just go to your local bookshop and buy Rats Live On No Evil Star! It is gentle yet confronting. It is refreshing. It is something quite special.

Paul South’s poetry collection Rats Live On No Evil Star is available at Brunswick Bound on Sydney Rd, Collected Works, Polyester Books, Sticky Institute and Amazon.com or from Paul in person if you see him at any events around Melbourne.

Amanda Anastasi is a poet whose work ranges from the introspective to the socio-political. Her work has been published in magazines and anthologies both locally and overseas, including Cordite, FourW, Page Seventeen and Short & Twisted. She was the 2010 and 2011 winner of the Williamstown Literary Festival’s Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize, a prize which she judged in 2012 and 2013. She also won the C.J. Dennis Poetry Award as part of the Laura Literary Awards in SA in 2011. Amanda’s first poetry collection 2012 and other poems, was named in Ali Alizadeh’s Top Ten Poetic Works of 2012 in Overland Literary Journal. This year she performs at the Melbourne Fringe Festival in the Kollaborayshun show, the Newport Folk Festival and is back at the Williamstown Literary Festival. Amanda has also co-written Loop City with Steve Smart and composer Yvette Audain, produced by MSO violinist Sarah Curro and premiering this July.

Review: Still Snapping for Slamala!

Review by Heidi J. Loos

Photo credit: Richard at Urban Artistry

Photo credit: Richard at Urban Artistry

My emotions were stretched and twisted and snapped on Thursday March 21st at Slamalamadingdong, a local, monthly poetry slam here in Melbourne. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much in one sitting, at one event, ever. My heartstrings plucked, then stroked, and healed by poet after poet after poet. They sucked sadness from my soul, vacuuming in the depths of our shared despair, relatable struggles, and shared oppression, then handed me a ticket to an even darker place where sadness meets hate and violent histories bleed into the present: lives are ruined by rape, racism, colonialism, war… I was so deeply saddened in one moment by one poem, but by the next, my tears had evaporated into laughter, pure awe, overwhelming inspiration and ambition. Rage erupted from my stomach to my chest, exploding in my head, but my rage was welcomed, invited, accepted, and harmonized by other voices.

They say every book you read changes you, but I think every spoken word event, every poetry slam, changes you too. Slam poetry is such a powerful genre and I think this particular slam was a really great showcase of all of the things slam can do. Whether its autobiography, memoir in poem form, relating funny anecdotes, or just telling really good, relatable, fictional stories, short and snappy, three minutes max, pointing out the good, the not-so-good, and the down-right-horrendous; instructing, complaining, entertaining, and transforming audiences. These slamalama poets had the crowd snapping constantly, snapping our fingers in appreciation of really magical moments, for poetic lines that blew our minds and rhymed words we had not even known sounded alike until tonight, for metaphors we’d never tasted and rhythms we’d never danced to: foreplay for our ears, and sex for our brains. I cried, and I laughed, and I snapped my fingers more.

I snapped for humour, for boldness, for performance, for poetry that raised me up to the moon and poetry that pushed me down, six feet underground. The people beside me, behind me, in front of me, snapped and snapped, and clapped and whistled too. It was clearly a well-received and well-attended event. The venue was packed, all chairs were filled, and everyone else stood in the back, around the edges, so still, watching, snapping. The only stir of disappointment came from the questionable judging, but as is true slam tradition, the crowd was always ready and quick to boo any score less than eight, and then applaud the poet not the score. The judging became more and more generous as the night went on, and as the beer was bought, sipped and spilled. Coincidence? Maybe. But, for me the poetry started strong and ended strong, and everything in between was pure gold. Almost every poem would have received a 9.9 from this judge right here…But honestly, it wasn’t just the slam participants that made this event so great, it was the music, the DJ who mixed beats in between each poet’s appearance, and the colourful, artistic and political backdrops, the video message shout out from the 2012 Slamalama Champion, and the exceptional feature, Omar Musa, and the charismatic host who got the crowd ready, and kept the energy level up until the very end. Through all of this I was able to witness and experience firsthand the love and strength and power of Australia’s spoken word community. Like, Omar Musa said, Slamalama is his favourite Australian spoken word event, and I can definitely see why.

Wow.

I am still snapping for Slamalama!

FWORDHeidi J. Loos is a Canadian writer, musician, and activist from the Yukon Territories. She holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of British Columbia. She has experience writing and editing across genres. Currently, she is travelling around Australia on a working holiday and blogging about her experiences at http://heidijontheloose.com/

Review: Sweetalkers presents Anthropoetry with Ben Mellor and Dan Steele

Review by Heidi J. Loos

If my doctor could mix medicine and metaphor as quickly and as rhythmically as Doctor Ben Mellor, I think I would move into the clinic!

Photo by Michael Reynolds

Photo by Michael Reynolds

But Ben Mellor is not actually a real doctor he was simply dressed up as a doctor for his performance of Anthropoetry at Sweetalkers on Tuesday, March 13, 2013 held at the John Curtin Hotel in Carlton, Melbourne. Mellor revealed his fraudulent identity of Doctor at the beginning of his set, but continued to feed the audience with a generous dosage of the very best medicine, well-crafted, well-delivered poetry.

Apparently this was the first Sweetalkers gig of 2013, and the first Sweetalkers event in almost a year, but it was my very first Sweetalkers event ever, and it was my second taste of the Melbourne spoken word scene. Enchantingly sweet and salty, sweaty, actually, but it left me wanting more!

Despite this event happening in the middle of a record heat wave, with a high of 37 degrees, held in a venue without air conditioning, I found myself constantly chilled by the talent and depth of the poetry. Goosebumps crept up my arms on more than one occasion, forced out of hibernation by pure passion and creative genius. The line up was diverse in style and performance and we heard everything from sassy love poems to boarder line satires. Topics skyrocketing from dinosaurs to soap powder, lustrous murder, individualism, hipsters, and optimism, to beautiful, dangerous, and romantic activism, Paris Hilton, and a call and response poem about breasts! And all of this happened before the UK Slam champion and feature of the night even took the stage. Let’s just say, the bar was set extremely high, but luckily Ben Mellor and his musical counterpart Dan Steele delivered a phenomenal performance that was bubbling over with passion and precision.

Their concoction of music, poetry, hip hop, beat boxing, science, left-wing environmental activism, comedy, acting, and improvisation was wildly complex, yet so simple to watch and listen to and get lost in. Steele’s guitar rhythms seemed to bleed into Mellor’s voice until you could not separate note from word, sentence from strum. Each poem, song, blend explored the human body literally and as metaphor, twisting words through veins, pumping music and poetry from heart to mouth, sharing their talents with an eager and responsive crowd.

My favourite piece in Anthropoetry was set in the region of the heart: a poem about our future as a dystopia where love has become a commodity and smiles and hugs must be purchased. Where our governments make choices to drill into the ground to mine ‘love’, destroy our economies for ‘love’ etc. The metaphors in this piece held such agency, and screamed for attention, for cooperation from the listeners, and the speaker’s intentions were crystal clear. However, the themes and messages from this poem and a few of Mellor’s other more political works within Anthropoetry did not flow through the entire performance equally and there were some poems and songs that I found extremely jarring and poignantly contradictory. Mellor spoke of love and equal marriage rights, of environmental justice and equality, so I was disturbed by some of the underlying sexism, gender essentialism and unrecognized misogyny. Two poems that did not sit right with me for these reasons were the poem set in the region of the chest and the poem for the genitals. Perhaps I was disappointed because I had anticipated that at least one of these areas would be used to stage a more political piece that might dismantle objectification of women, sexual assault, hegemonic rape culture etc. But instead Mellor seemed to be criticizing women who object to objectification of women, and placing ‘maleness’ and masculinity on a pedestal. I found both of these poems reiterated essentialist notions of sex and gender, and did little to nothing else, politically anyway. I was also shocked and appalled by his casual use of the term Femi-Nazi (an oxymoron in itself, but one that I would not expect from someone who for the most part presents as an ally). That said, I found the performance as a whole to be very progressive and sent a lot of really positive messages. And of course, Mellor’s poetry, in structure and in presentation was absolutely, undeniably, sensational.

Mellor spoke of the conception of Anthropoetry revealing that it was inspired by anthropometry, the study of measuring the human body. As he elaborated on multiple measurements and contexts for measurements, I couldn’t help but make my own mental measurements, comparisons in my head, of this event to others I’ve been to. Of this poetry and spoken word, to the spoken word of my home country, and how the Melbourne spoken word scene compares to the Vancouver spoken word scene, the people, the community, the venues, the hot topics and the slam trends, the differences and the similarities, but the only conclusion I could come to, was that I’ll have to go to many more spoken word events here in Melbourne before my measurements are anywhere near accurate.

Anthropoetry as a book and/or CD is also available to buy and download via Bandcamp

FWORDHeidi J. Loos is a Canadian writer, musician, and activist from the Yukon Territories. She holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of British Columbia. She has experience writing and editing across genres. Currently, she is travelling around Australia on a working holiday and blogging about her experiences at http://heidijontheloose.com/

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