Voiceworks #87 Launch: WA knows how to play

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Last night we launched Voiceworks #87 PLAY in Western Australia, and holy moly it was awesome.

Comedian Libby Klysz was our host for the launch, a perfect host for the PLAY issue as she joked around with the audience, played up performers’ introductions, and promised everyone “games … with prizes!”

First cab off the rank was sweet singer-songwriter Caroline J Dale, whose quirky lyrics and gorgeous voice never fail to win over an audience.

Next we had a poem by emerging artist Alex Wolman, who led us on a dark journey through relationships and suicide. Sj Finch came in with the lighter side; the dotdotdash editor and Voiceworks contributor performed a clever and entertaining piece that had the crowd chuckling.

Everyone was pretty engrossed by the performances, but in between-times they had a chance to wander around: looking at the Perth Zine Collective‘s amazing array of hand-made zines; buying copies of the latest Voiceworks issues; and admiring artwork by Western Australian artists Sam Pash and Mel Pearce, whose works have been respectively published in Voiceworks ‘V’ and ‘Play’.

Zinester and Voiceworks contributor Anna Dunnill opened the second bracket of performances with a reading of an intelligently written piece. She was followed up by hip hop poet David Vincent Smith (dvs) who slammed us with a barrage of clever wordplay. Holy shit that guy can poem. dvs was supported by his friend DJ Silence, who mixed sound effects and hip hop beats behind dvs’s poems, adding yet another dimension to the words.

Last, but certainly not least, we were blessed with a performance by the beautiful ‘Ofa Benness. Best known around Perth for fronting her band Odette Mercy & The Soul Atomics, last night ‘Ofa had ditched the band and played a solo set. Performing a mix of singing and spoken word, between songs she chatted with the audience, relating the theme ‘Play’ back to her life and her music. Then ‘Ofa brought the whole venue to a standstill with her breathtaking vocals and wryly beautiful lyrics. I totally have a girl-crush on her.

We wrapped up the night with a pretty raucous game of Heads and Tails, and two happy and highly competitive audience members went home with book prizes kindly donated by Express Media.

Many, many thanks to Mojo’s Bar for being such a welcoming venue, to Libby Klysz for being an entertaining host, and to all the performers for kicking ass. I can’t wait for the next launch.

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This Friday afternoon I’ll be holding the Perth edition of the NYWM Young Writers’ Workshop – 5pm at the Katharine Susannah Prichard (KSP) Writers’ Centre.

After the success of the Bunbury workshop, I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Perth’s young writers can bring to the table.

It will run for one hour, and we’ll talk about writing, getting started, and ideas for NYWM writing projects.

I’m also pleased to announce that we’ll have a special guest – Sj Finch, editor of dotdotdash and published author.

WHERE: The KSP Writers Centre, 11 Old York Road, Greenmount WA

WHEN: 5pm-6pm Fri 27 May

WHAT: Bring pen and paper, and be ready to write!

WHO: You, silly.

Although the workshop is free, you will need to reserve a spot if you wish to attend. CLICK HERE to let me know you want to attend.

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Poem: “New Year’s Day”

Poems, Posts

Speeding out of the sunrise,
on the first day of the year.
Eyes burning with hope,
eyes burned a hole
in the side of the road.
There lay a dog.

On her side, straight-legged,
neatly placed there by someone
who felt the thud, the crumple.
Who looked into her fading eyes
and sped into the cold night.

I waited with the body
until a car pulled up beside.
The man stooped over her, stared,
ran a familiar hand through her fur
and lifted her inside.
Her legs stuck at right angles;
I turned my face away.
In the rear view, the man grew
as he approached our car.

She’s scared of thunder,
he began, as if to explain,
And fireworks too. New Year’s Eve…
I swear I locked the gate.
I swear I locked the gate.

Her body shivered in my mind.
The world was booming and smelt wrong
but the ones she loved were all asleep,
all out of reach,
so she ran, escaped, across the street.

Published in dotdotdash, Summer 2009.