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Australian Poetry Slam

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by Geraldine Massey (subscribe)
I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
Published August 7th 2011
How do you like your poetry? Pretty or pacey? Pedestrian or passionate? If your ideal is sitting in a comfy chair reading by candlelight then the Australian Poetry Slam is probably not for you. But if your tastes run more towards dynamic performances and verbal gymnastics then read on.

Poetry Slam was created in 1985 by Chicago construction worker and poet Marc "So What" Smith, as a vehicle for community building and bringing people together for self-expression, and has since exploded around the world. The Australian Poetry Slam was founded by spoken-word artist Miles Merrill and is now in its sixth year and offering cash and trip prizes.

The rules are simple. Contestants have just two minutes, a microphone and their own wild and witty words to impress the judges, who are chosen at random from the audience. No props or musical instruments can be used, and any kind of poetry is allowed comic, verse, hip-hop, you name it. Best of all it's free to enter or attend. In some places free workshops for aspiring slammers are also on offer prior to each heat.

People in regional Australia are not forgotten. Heats are not confined to capital cities and are currently being held around the country. For full details of dates and venues contact the following:

New South Wales
Felicia Eccles
0401 180 264

South Australia
Veronica Mathews
08 8348 2349

Giovanno D'Abaco
03 8664 7265

Kristy Madden
07 3840 7424

Cameron Hindrum
0437 762 707

Western Australia
Allan Boyd
0402 573 580

Northern Territory
Melissa Royle
Phone: 08 8922 0723

Julian Fleetwood
0403 885 873

The competition culminates in the National Final which will be held on Sunday 27 November at Sydney Theatre, Walsh Bay, Sydney. Tickets for the final cost $25 and are available here.

For the performers the stakes are high. State Champions receive $500 cash and Runners-up $100 cash, as well as places at the National Finals. The prize for this year's National Champion is a tour of China as part of the Bookworm International Literary Festival. The winner will also have a guest gig at the Ubud International Writers and Readers Festival in Bali.

So what are you waiting for? Take up your pen, sharpen your tongue and vocal chords, pick up that microphone and place yourself in the spotlight. Or if performing is not for you get along to hear some wordy wisdom at a free venue near you.
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Why? It's fun, fast, furious and FREE
When: Now until 27 November
Where: Heats around the country. National Final Sydney
Cost: Free for heats. State Finals vary. National Final $25.
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