On Saturday the 21st I took part in heat 2 of the Melbourne Believer Slam at Westgate Baptist Centre in Yarraville.
A welcoming ceremony was performed by Aboriginal elder Reg Blow. His didge playing was awe-inspiring, and the ceremony created an atmosphere of solidarity amongst the participants, rather than competitiveness.
I'd never read poems in a church before. I'm not too fond of having to follow a bunch of rules when performing (it can throw me off in terms of focus), but the poems I read ('For Edwin' and 'Vipassana') were well-received, I thought. And I could understand why the rules had to be in place, given the context and audience.
Aside from religious/spiritual poetry, there were some great protest poems performed on the night, including the most powerful Hurricane Katrina poem I've heard. There were plenty of laughs to be had too though, which is pretty much guaranteed when you have the likes of Ezra Bix, Amanda le Bas de Plumentot and Cameron Semmons gracing the stage.
Thanks to Geoff Fox for inviting me along - I had a great night.
On Friday the 27th I was at the launch of Unusual Work #8. As ever, there was a bit of everything... poetry was the driving force, but UW launches are unpredictable, mixed-media affairs. I read 'free of the fear of freedom' (extended performance remix) and 'Found Poem #3' - the latter is featured in UW #8. Anna Fern & co were terrific... loved her haiku double act with Maurice Mcnamara... and Sean O'Callaghan's videopoems (with live delivery) just keep getting more and more mindblowing.
Track down a copy of UW if you haven't already - it's available from Polyester, Readings Carlton, and other non-shit bookstores.
Thanks to TTO for organising another off-the-wall launch, and for allowing me to be part of it.