14 June 2006

Openmouth Poetry Sessions :: Talking Loud In Perth

Openmouth Poetry Sessions :: Talking Loud In Perth
By Rebecca Giggs WA | 13.06.2006

"Poems. Yeah Poems. Poems read. Poems performed. Poems desecrated. Poems recited and spat... Poems burnt and shed nervously. Real poems in your smiley face. Poems with sweet guts and legs and blood and gravy. Poems with sex and drugs and nudity. Poems with music and soundscape. Poems with lilting beats n bones. Vegan poems. Extreme poems. Poems whispered, poems sang. Normal poems. Radical poems. Rhyming poems..."

So Allan Boyd, Perth’s own ‘antipoet’, begins his electronic incantations, calling readers, writers and listeners to the Openmouth Sessions - an extended prologue of sorts for WA’s Spring Poetry Festival held in September 2006.

On the last Thursday of every month in the seditious Mount Lawley venue of the Velvet Lounge, Perth poets are warming up their literature, road-testing their material, simmering their ink and breaking-in their nibs to the curious delight of audiences.

The Openmouth sessions are not just about carving a space for poetical expression in the Perth artistic landscape, they are a palm-slap to accusations that poetry is dead, that poetry is a redundant form or that poetry is dehydrating in Perth.

“Poetry is alive and well” says Allan Boyd, the antipoet, “and it’s not just on the ground, it’s in the radio, on the TV, in advertising; but poets have for some time had vacuous intentions. The Openmouth poetry sessions are about invigorating the poetical community in Perth, about growth, cross-pollination and collaboration. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of poets in Perth and Openmouth is hoping to bring them together.”

Following in the footsteps of the Fuel Bar open mics and the Fremantle Furphy nights of previous years, Openmouth is stitching a small island of colluding poets, feeding off each others’ ideas, giving sustenance to a greater depth of work. Openmouth includes open-mic for free-ranging poets, poems set to music, poems accompanied by moving art and slam poetry (the poems-in-combat dialogue that has been widely popularised in Australia by the Word Wrestling Federation (http://www.wordwrestlingfederation.com.au)).

The only poetical impediment of the Openmouth sessions is that they are inherently about performance; if your work is in concrete poetry or futurist-esque word pictures you might have a hard time conveying ‘true impact’, but then Openmouth is always interested in Poets using multimedia and sound. The best poets, in terms of audience-reception, are the ones who use subtle drama to amplify the meaning of their works.

Not to say Openmouth is theatrical pyrotechnics over substance, but that the most memorable pieces involve some degree of polish in their presentation.The definition of what a poem might consist of is kept broad and loose at the Openmouth sessions, as was keenly demonstrated last month when one wandering bard performed a piece entitled The Least I Can Say, involving only silence and the drawing of an empty box in the air.

Poetry can be structured and formal, or it can be spontaneous and amorphous; basically anyone who is prepared to put their words into the concert is applauded regardless of methodology or subject matter. You don’t have to be high-brow, faux-brow or any other sort of brow to participate in the Openmouth sessions, just speak loud enough to overrule the soft background jazz and you’ll find yourself a poet.

If you’re a wordmonger of any sort make your way down to the next Openmouth session on the 29th of June, 2006 at the Velvet Lounge - the back section of the Flying Scotsman Pub, 639 Beaufort Street Mount Lawley.

Entry to the Openmouth sessions is $5/$3 or by donation. Come prepared to have the conch-curls of your ears toasted, and find dormant words rising in your throat! Come prepared to get eaten alive by words that swarm the air!

Bring some ink, a well-placed phrase or two and settle in to the best poetry Perth has to offer!

Information about the Openmouth sessions can be found at Allan Boyd’s own blog: http://antipoet.blogspot.com.

The Spring Poetry Festival website is at www.thewordisout.net.

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