Australian Poetry Slam
By David Graham
A packed theatre, a line of over twenty poets wanting to compete, a hastily written up media release form, what was going on? The Newcastle heat of the Australian Poetry Slam is what was going on! A cracking night of wordplay, comedy, karate rhymes and profanity laced fuck ups, this year’s heat was bursting with talent, tyrannical crowd judging and the scintillating sound of finger clicks of appreciation. K-Rock slayed the intermissionary periods with some sweet soulful tunes and even instigated a four person on stage dance party at the end of the night. Host and 2013 slam champion Jesse John Brand never failed to entertain and prevailed over the poor handwriting of David Graham when announcing the next contestant.
Third place was a draw between Roje Ndayambaje and Will Small resulting in a ‘slam off.’ Each performed an extra poem, but in the end Roje came out the victor. Second place went to Marie McMillan and first to Bianca Maja Joltyn. These two will represent Newcastle at the State final on Sunday October 12th at 7pm at the Sydney Opera House.
Check out their bios below:
First Place Name: Bianca Maja Foltyn Age: 33
What you do outside of being awesome slam poets: I work as an alternative healer/counsellor part time most of the time and sporadically in the human resources sect. Aside from that, I follow my hearts impulse across the globe. This has lead me to have lived on three continents and be able to connect with many wild and wondrous communities around the planet. My heart has anchored in Australia now and I feel I will be staying here for a long, long time.
Winning poem title: Creation Speaks
A short explanation of the piece: This poem came about from my internal and external experiences arising from having to leave my homeland due to violence and danger.
How you felt when you performed at the Royal Exchange: I felt nervous yet nurtured by the absolutely beautiful community there.
What it was like when you heard that you had come out on top at the end of the night: I felt shocked and honoured and grateful.
Your ambitions for the NSW Australian Poetry Slam Final: I would like to be able to capture truths in my words in a way that I bring something of value to at least one person in the audience.
Second Place Name: Marie McMillan (nèe Murphy) - Irish Age: Senior Citizen
What you do outside of being awesome slam poet: Two book clubs, tango, bridge and French conversation classes, chorister local choir, volunteer Story Factory, walking (2014 City to Surf and Fantasea) ... and I try to write ... I won the “So You Wanna Be a Writer” Competition at the Sydney Writers’ Festival 2012, spruiking “The Lost Day”, my as-yet-unpublished novel. Recently, my short story “The Dean’s Prize” – which I read on air in front of the 2014 Sydney Writers Festival” – won the Radio National Linda Mottram Storytelling Competition. My short story “Margaret Mary” appeared in the 2014 Grieve Anthology, published by the Hunter Writers’ Centre and, on Sunday, 31st August 2014, I read my poem “A Fistful” to a large gathering to commemorate The Irish Famine Victims at the Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney. Winning poem title: THE THAITCH FACTOR A short explanation of the piece: A satire on “skills”for the Sub-Class Visa 457 and a “twist” on “The Haitch Factor” (by Susan Butler). There is NO H consonant in the Irish language. Rather, it is an accent. So ... I’m commenting on why we Irish pronounce “h” and “th” in our inimitable, Hibernian way. Yea ... I’m gonna Hibernicise you Aussies with my special approach to the English language. Ha ha. How you felt when you performed at the Royal Exchange: I felt delighted when the audience “got it” and responded accordingly. Thank you, Newcastle audience.
What it was like when you heard that you had come out second at the end of the night: Truly amazed – the competition was very impressive – but the results confirmed my belief in random, “democratic” voting. (I just happened to be in Newcastle for other reasons and didn’t know anyone in the audience.)
Your ambitions for the NSW Australian Poetry Slam Final: This will be my second attempt in the NSW Poetry Slam Final and I hope to rise to the challenge and give of my personal best.
For more information on the Australian Poetry Slam go to http://australianpoetryslam.com
To learn, hear and get involved with other performance poetry events in Newcastle look for ‘Word Hurl Anti-Slam’ on Facebook.
Word Hurl Anti-Slam occurs on the first Thursday of every month from 7pm at The Terrace Bar.