AND just like that, somehow the heats for the Western Australian heats of the 2021 Australian Poetry Slam are over. Where did that time go?
Heat three on August 21 saw a massive 15 poets take a final stab at getting into the final on August 28, once again at FOUR pm. Slamming starts at 4.30.
With a confirmed $1000 cash prize for the winner, and $500 for the runner up, heat three was not one to be missed with both newcomers and returning slam poets taking to the stage.
Once again – who knows what is happening with the Australia wide slam. But as the Antipoet said: “Who gives a fuck? We’re in WA. We’ll just hold the final here.”
A shout out to start with to the slam poets that continued to share their poetic brilliance throughout the entire slam competition so far: David Cox, Niel Smith, Lana Moon, Taylar, Evie, Annette Orr and Baby Talk, as well as the newcomers to heat three.
In third place – with a completely new poem that what they performed in heats one and two – was Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM), with a score of 27.23.
Having personally been to a few slams now, SPM is definitely a slammer to watch, with their witty way with words and relatable content that gets everyone thinking, no matter what their background or context.
SPM’s poem was centred around therapy and addiction, referring to themselves as an ex-addict.
Lines packed with imagery such as “I was so skinny, you could count the bones behind my ears” were a definite stand out.
But I think it’s SPM’s passion and confidence that make their slams so captivating.
Also their animated body language and hand gestures just took the slam to that next level of engagement.
“Let me hook you up with the good stuff – it’s called therapy!”
In second place was newcomer to 2021, Jo.
Now Jo has been to a few of the heats as an audience member (sorry if I sound like a stalker, Jo!) but this was the first time she hit the stage.
Jo had a quiet confidence about her which I found quite admirable, slamming a poem which touched on themes of chronic illness.
Amongst a somewhat quiet demeanour, Jo performed a memorised slam, displaying obvious passion and confidence in the topic.
For me, it was also pleasing to hear a somewhat commonly talked about topic, that hadn’t been mentioned during the heats so far.
Jo used poetic devices such as rhyme and repetition (don’t tell me, don’t tell me) to deliver lines like “Say it softly, say it loud. I’m crip and I’m proud.”
Finally, first place, with only .12 of a difference in score, went to a very familiar face indeed, Sally Newman.
I’ve been watching Sally slam her highly emotive, though provoking poems since even before the 2021 heats, so it’s great that audiences will be able to see her slam two new poems (potentially) at the finals next week.
For her poem, Sally brought back a poem she performed at the July slam touching on the topic of domestic violence.
Memorised and seemingly simple, Sally’s poem showed the importance of tone of voice and how saying the exact same stanza twice, each with a different tone filled with very differing emotions, can prove so powerful.
Sally left all of us on the question: “When does I love you change from a promise, into a plea?”
Heat three of the Western Australian heats of the Australian Poetry Slam definitely had a whole different vibe to it, in that it was drenched in passion.
I left feeling heavily inspired because of how many fantastic poems were performed from truly talented slam poets.
Highlight lines for me were from David Cox (“I am not confused about sexuality, I’m confused about taxes), Lana Moon (“When it comes down to it, who does it serve to set yourself alight?”), Taylar (“Behind the curtains, some families are broken, but I am not”) and Baby Talk (“I wonder what dreams have the honour of dancing in your consciousness”).
The final three from heat three, join Biddle, Skylar J Wynter, Zendog, Jane, Manveen Kohli and Ross at the WA final on Saturday, August 28.
Get there early!! 4pm.
by PIP WALLER
Editor at Independent Press Co.