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Literature Review

Are You Ready to Slam? Round 4

Australian Poetry Slam 2020 presents:
WA Heats – Round Four

Just as the Antipoet says… “between the space of a bee’s dick there’s winners and runners up,” and Heat Four of the WA heats of the Australian Poetry Slam, was no exception. With an unpredictable landslide of high scores from the judges, Saturday’s slam brought fifteen poets to the stage, including (at this late in the game) mostly newcomers to the competition. 

In this review, I’d like to shine a bit of spotlight onto the Slam Poetry community itself. With a huge respect for diversity as well as a zero tolerance for abuse, Perth Slam for years has been giving poets, both aspiring, new and established – a platform. From the four heats of this years WA leg of the Australian Poetry Slam, we’ve been introduced to so many fantastic writers, who have brought to the stage a variety of topics and themes, and slamming pretty much what they need to. It’s not just about the competition, it’s about saying what feel you need to say, and that simply being enough. And I really love that about WA. Any poets who missed out on competing in this year’s Slam comp should really consider signing up next year. The environment is so safe and welcoming, and who knows who WA’s next slam champ will be.

Anyway, we’re still in 2020, with fifteen poets for Heat Four. A massive night, and as always Tonja, The Antipoet and Laundryman were all over it. Newcomer Moonchi was the runner up of the night, with a high score of 28.41 out of a possible 30. With a memorised poem using poetic devices such as rhyme and repetition (“I’m Sorry”), Moonchi’s poem was so heartfelt and full of emotion that I’m sure hit all audience members in the feels. Memorable lines such as “If you love me through my lows, I’ll love you through the rest” made for a relatable poem to all of us who have gone through some sort of difficult relationship in our lives. Moonchi joins a diverse range of poets at the final this weekend.

Snagging the title of Winner of Heat Four with a score of 28.53, Mali Jose took the top spot with his culture and identity inspired slam. A newbie to this years slam comp, Mali had such a powerful stage presence, which of course paired with their slamming abilities (sweet rhythm) and relatable, thought provoking lines, made for a clear winner. Statements such as “I never really felt safe in a world of ignorance” and “What jewels do I possess in a mind so reckless?”, definitely stuck with me. Mali Jose makes the eighth and final slam poet to perform at the final.

Repeat slammer and special mention-er Shab took out third place for their poem for Heat Four, with themes of culture, LGBTQI and a general I’m sorry aimed at family. Shab’s line “Yes I’m gay, I just don’t know how to be safe in a world you ask me to tolerate”rung true to a lot of us I’m sure. Another repeat slammer and someone I’ve mentioned in previous reviews also is the highly memorable Daley Rangi. Consumed by passion and detailed writing, Rangi blew us away with their Polynesian/culture themed poem, slamming “I wondered to myself just how dark the hearts of men can be.”

Other standout slammers were two newcomers to the comp, spitting memorable lines that I caught myself thinking about long after the night was over. Sally presented us with a poem about co-dependent violence in relationships, leaning towards the empowerment of women in our society. Sally confessed to us “I am just too weak to bleed”, and their highly personal poem made even the coldest hearts feel something. Ruth with an inspiring letter to their younger self was also a standout to me. Paired with a lovely stage presence, their poem seemed to be quite healing, with powerful lines such as “You will learn to walk, talk and act like you deserve to take up so much space”. Deep. Well that’s it for the heats of the 2020 WA leg of the Australian Poetry Slam. You can get your tickets for the FINAL on Saturday the 29th (4.30pm, but get there early to get a seat!) by following the link.

The night will feature special guest poets, as well as our final eight. 10 judges, two rounds, to crown the WA rep for the Australian Poetry Slam, 2020. 

Will it be: Zen, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Daniel Hansen, Manveen Kohli, Love, David Cox, Moonchi or Mali Jose??? 

by PIP WALLER

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