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Literature Review

Are You Ready to Slam? The Finale

Australian Poetry Slam 2020 presents: WA Heats – Final

And just like that! It’s all over. AND the winner (besides poetry, of course) is… LOVE! 

Saturday the 29th of August proved to be a monumental night with the Main Room at the Rosemount fully sold out, drenched with an alternative vibe of pure excitement for WHO was going to be named the 2020 WA APS Champion. In this open, inclusive and diverse community, I personally have thoroughly enjoyed attending all four heats and the final for this years comp, and shout out to everyone in WA for doing what they’ve been doing (re; Covid), for allowing the final to go ahead. 

The final was split into two rounds: round one for the top 8 to slam their stuff, and round two where the top four continued on. The Sacrificial Poet, and someone who I’ve mentioned repeatedly in these reviews for their inspiring, thought provoking words, was Daley Rangi, who once again blew us away with their raw passion and sweet beat. Treating us once again to a poem they performed in Heat 2, Rangi took command of the room and was a terrific gateway into a fantastic night, ending their slam with “Black Lives Matter, Free The Flag!”. A performance artist as well as playwright, more of Rangi’s work can be found at www.daleyrangi.com.

Once again in random order, each of our eight poets delivered new poems that covered a range of themes and topics, delivered in different styles, memorised and read. To give every finalist a bit of the spotlight, here’s a summary of each:

Zen (Heat 1, Winner)

Called up to bat first, Zen delivered a memorised slam tackling themes of Australian culture, set in the structure of Advance Australia Fair. Well written and highly clever, Zen’s slam was inspirational, calling all Australian’s to stand up, using body language and hand gestures to ask if Australia is actually fair.  Well written and highly clever, Zen is always a memorable slammer. 

Daniel Youndegin (Heat 2, Runner Up)

Humorous, political and engaging, Nyoongar aboriginal slammer Youndegin graced us again with their memorable stage presence and slam poem addressing today’s kids lack of knowledge, and messages of “turn off mainstream media, you’ll feel a positive change.” There’s something great about a performer that can laugh at themselves as well, and Youngegin deserved all the high scores they received for their slam.  

Manveen Kohli (Heat 2, Winner)

“I cannot speak on behalf of boys, but I can speak on behalf of humanity”. Manveen’s poem entitled “Man Up, Princess”, I thought was one of the most memorable poems of the final. Pro-men in their abilities to show their feelings etc, Manveen as in their heat, again delivered an engaging poem with relatable content that we’ve most likely all thought at some point. Lines such as “This world has been brutal to men”, and a want for “…a world that stops telling men to man up, and starts telling men to speak up” were moving. Receiving scores in the high 8’s and 9’s, Manveen is known for relatable content, and much more of their work can be seen @uncensored.poet. 

Scott Patrick-Mitchell (Heat 1, Runner Up)

2010 WA Slam Champion, Scott Patrick-Mitchell just oozes talent and quick wit with their writing. Patrick-Mitchell’s highly relatable poem “Welcome to 2020”, presented a humorous, yet positive slam about events that are currently taking part in our world. Their line “I’m here to remind you that in the middle of darkness, there is light”, remains etched in this reviewers mind, and what better way to end this relatable slam than getting the audience to yell in unison at the end. Already such a prominent poet in Perth, check out @spmpoet on Instagram now.  

Pictured: Moonchi

Moonchi (Heat 4, Runner Up)

Since seeing Moonchi perform in Heat 4, they are the ultimate definition of age not defining one’s ability to slam, especially with such finesse and heavy content. Moonchi is 14, and their slam for the finals was one to be remembered, 100%. Emotional and heart felt, Moonchi’s slam touched on themes of sexual assault and equal rights for women. Lines such as “I’m not saying that’s all men, but fuck it’s a lot of them “and “I am a girl and I will change this world”just screamed how confident this slammer is and as someone who identifies as a woman, I found it be very inspiring. It must be noted that Moonchi was scored the only 10 for the night, and it was so deserved. 

Mali Jose (Heat 4, Winner)

Receiving high scores, Mali Jose approached the final this year with a stand out slam and lines that were stuck in the audience’s brains for way after I’m sure. Jose’s slam addressed their unwanted definition of being a menace to society, which was relatable and engaging, but I believe it is Jose’s delivery and ability to hold a beat similar to that of hip hop, in their slam, similar to that of rapping, that makes them so memorable. “You might be another statistic for the suburbs to talk about showed how much Jose’s environment and experiences growing up influences their poetry. Find more of Mali Jose’s work @mali.jose_ .    

David Cox (Heat 3, Runner Up)

Dedicated to their late Grandmother, David Cox took a different direction with the finals and chose to slam about a topic that was obviously close to their heart, with raw emotion that we could all feel. Having seen Cox slam a few times now, they are known for their beautifully poetic lines. Referring to dementia as “Like a glacier moving over a once vibrant landscape”, as well as leaving us with motivating one liners like “May we all have fond memories of every new spring”. Cox’s writing proved in itself why they deserved to be in the finals for 2020, and I can’t wait to see more of what they can do very soon.

Love (Heat 3, Winner)

Highly anticipated, Love was lucky last for the finals, but their slam was sooo worth the wait. Memorised, emotional, heartfelt, Love always manages to have even the coldest person in the room, feel something. Their poem as always was skilfully written, and played on themes and symbolism of losing someone down a rabbit hole.  Using repetition of the line “If I knew I was going to lose you…” meant we could all really feel what Love had gone through the perform a slam like this. Love actually filmed their performances for the final (and in the heats) so go watch them perform on their instagram @_love_poet. You will not be disappointed. 

After being graced by the fantastic words of WA Finalist from 2015, Zainab ZS, the top four were revealed to be: Love, Moonchi, Manveen and Zen. Met with mixed responses from the crowd due to the want to get certain favourites through, the final four was definitely a mix of different slammers. With each poet performing an entirely new slam, the scores were so close with literally .54 of a point between the runner up and the winner… who was Love! Known for slamming about themes of identity and self-acceptance, Love’s final slam addressed their transition, asking questions of “What does it mean to feel like a man?”and “What rules are men like me meant to play by?”. Moonchi, our Runner Up, with their emotional, self love soaked slam, left us with lines like “You are not alone, we are all made of similar skin and bone”, will be joining Love for the 2020 Australian Poetry Slam final, held in Sydney which will probably be streamed live. Please follow Perth Slam to stay up to date!

Well, even though the 2020 Australian Poetry Slam is finished for WA, 29th of September marks another lot of Slam! These one off, winner takes the door slams are a great opportunity for any poet to perform, and in my experience, are a great way to get your foot into the door to become part of Perth’s “slamily”. The regular crowd of amazing slammers will be there, so why not make slam a regular part of YOUR life?

by PIP WALLER

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