Winning at Poetry

Slam Heat #3   photo by Luxi Photography & Filmography

My posts are becoming increasingly few and far between because I've been focussed on other writing projects and they are taking up most of my time. This is also partly a physical need - when I spend all day at the desk writing, I truly need to give my back and shoulders a break.

But here's a quick update: Since July I've been writer in residence at the South Australian Writers Centre, working on my first novel. As part of that residency I've been lucky enough to sit in on workshops by Sam Cooney (The Lifted Brow) Rohan Wilson, recent Miles Franklin winner Alec Patric and the prolific and gregarious Kirsty Murray. These workshops have directly fed into the work that I'm doing. They have made me look at where the gaps are in my own writing (where I've tried to get away with taking shortcuts) and as a result I've made big decisions such as changing the pov in which the story is told and cutting a significant character. The learning has been enormous (as will be the rewriting) and I am so very grateful for all the opportunites that have come my way. But writing a novel is an intense experience and I have found that when I make big creative decisions like those mentioned, I need to step away for a few days and do other things.
Me & Alison Bennett   photo by Luxi Photography & Filography

One of the other things I've done recently is perform in the heats of South Australia's Poetry Slam. I was extremely
nervous performing in Heat #1. Even though I have a theatre and performance background, I remembered that reading my own work is a whole other ball game. I felt I did okay but knew I could do better, and resolved to perform again. Also, I am really passionate about this particular poem (drought and its impact on the Riverland ppl of South Oz) and I figure the more ppl who hear it, the better. So two weeks later I performed the same poem in Heat #3. There was a lot of high quality poetry read that night and the scores were very close. I was gobsmacked, and totally delighted, when my name was read as winner. Truly close call. Like those 100 metre sprints at the Olympics, there was a mere 0.1 of a point in it. Incredibly lucky.

Thanks to Spoken Word SA and all their partners for their continued support of performance poetry in South Australia. The Poetry Slam final is on at The Goodwood Institute on September 30th. I'm told it sells out and there are usually no tickets available to buy at the door, so if you're keen for a night of excellent performed poetry, book your tickets quick.

C x

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