Poetry and writing give people an incredible amount of catharsis and empowerment especially when performing their works in front of an audience. Word Travels’ Story-Fest is a unique writers festival dedicated to the art of spoken word and it includes forums, workshops, comedy and poetry slams.
Starting from humble beginnings as a small open mic event in Leichhardt and later evolving into the Australian National Poetry Slam, bringing some of the finest poets from different regions around the country (whose voices were often marginalised) onto the stage of the NSW State Library and the Sydney Opera House.
This art form originated in Chicago and has now become a global phenomenon. Poet and storyteller Miles Merill is from the city that birthed slam poetry and instead of staying there to pursue his artistic practice, he decided to start the first national slam in Australia by creating Word Travels, a non-for-profit art association in 2007.
City Hub spoke to Miles about what makes the poetry slam such a spectacle for audiences.
“It’s a poetry reading but because there is an artifice of competition you get the audience interacting with a number of techniques that will keep them engaged. We choose five judges randomly from the audience and they put up draw cards and give a rating out of 10 for the performances. The audience also gets to decide which poet will perform first by pulling the participants name from a hat so it keeps the night flowing and keeps the audience constantly engaged.”
Story-Fest will unleash your imagination and will expose you to the many diverse voices coming from this country. You won’t want to miss out on this special weekend festival.
Oct 13-15. Various Venues. FREE-$54+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.wordtravels.info
By Daniel Jaramillo