15 October 2008

Kalgoorlie Poem

(This one was written in about half-an-hour and then performed over the phone during a radio interview on ABC Goldfields - October 15, 2008 on the Morning Show with David Kennedy. They loved it! It's on their blog)

say it

a superpit* condition, a red yellow bowl of silky pear
a moon-sized, mass-mind hole in the ground, a nugget
going down town in the ripplin sun, my face an empty sky-mine
this easterly dust remembering all who trod this street
my economic reality, a hi-lux with the hubs in

say it

this is the place this is the town
heat the back o my head with the hay street nouns
waking up to the sound of a goldrush city
we follow the pipeline the pipeline the pipeline*
hey paddy* give us a drink o this
vanish to the vast, vastness this
wangai* country this

say it


allan boyd - antipoet
October 15, 2008


Some references:

Wangai: is the name given by themselves to the 26 Aboriginal groups of the Goldfields of Western Australia. It comes from the word meaning "Speaker".

Paddy Hannan: was a gold prospector whose discovery on June 17 1893 near Kal set off a gold rush in the area.

Superpit: This renowned Kalgoorlie-Boulder landmark is currently 3.5 km long, 1.5 km wide and 360 m deep, and will eventually stretch 3.9 km long, 1.6 km wide and reach a depth exceeding 500 m.

Golden Pipeline:
is perhaps the world's longest water main - stretching from Perth to Kal, some 580Ks.

Throwing rocks at railways

09 October 2008

wake up and smell the poetry

Documenting Slam 07:

"It's the 21st century and I think it's time to wake up and smell the poetry."

SOURCE - ABC Albany 19/09/07

So says Alan Boyd, a West Australian performance poet who was in Albany to run workshops ahead of the local heat of the National Poetry Slam. The Albany heat of the National Poetry Slam was just one of the many events on offer at the Sprung Writers Festival. The slam encourages people to present a poem to the audience in less than two minutes.

Even though he's running workshops in poetry, Alan calls himself an anti-poet. "Poetry perhaps is an old art form and many people think it's irrelevant these days," says Alan. "If that's the case I say I'm the anti poet and that poetry is relevant, and it's in our faces every day, in our ears as we listen to the radio and you see it in the street you see it in advertising and you see people and hear people making their own poetry."

He says there has been a renaissance in performance poetry. "If you think about performance poetry it predates written history," says Alan. There's no mystery about what makes a performance poem, he says.

"Once you take the words off the page then it becomes a performance poem." "It's about performance, it's about theatre, making the use of the stage, engaging the audience and making people part of the performance," he says. "A lot of academics dont like the idea of slams or performance poetry because it's too entertaining."

Alan describes the Slam as "poetry for the people". Even the judging is democratic. "The performers are judged by randomly chosen members of the audience," he says. In terms of what it takes to be successful, Alan says "rehearse, rehearse, rehearse".

"I suppose it's just a matter of being confident in the work that you're going to present," says Alan. "That means knowing your stuff, rehearsing it, recording it, pacing it, understanding things like enunciation and delivery, making the use of the space and things like that. It's just generally taking away some of the nerves because I think that's where some of us trip ourselves up. The more you practice and the more you're in tune with your work, the more confident you are and the better performance you'll give." Albany ABC RADIO

Some Australian Poetry Slam History

Slam Poetry in Australia

I assembled this last year when I built the initial aussie poetry slam website: australianpoetryslam.org

May 2007 - This section is an attempt to document a history of Slam Poetry in Australia.

Whilst Poetry Slams have been happening, albeit in random and sporadic pockets across Australia for around a decade, over the last two years the notion of performance poetry has attracted the imagination of Australian audiences and media alike.

Poetry Slams have been hosted by the State Library of NSW, the Sydney Festival, the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, at Openmouth in Perth as well as on ABC radio. In the US Slams have had popular appeal for over 20 years. (Stateline 2007) (Albany 07)

Below are some recent Australian events…


Victorian poet, Marc Testart, won first national slam title. The Australian Poetry Slam grand final was held on 7th December… Slam heats were held in city centres and regional venues across Australia between June and November 2007. Two finalists from each slam heat traveled to compete in their state’s final, and the two top point scorers from each state final went to Sydney in December to battle it out for the national title at the State Library of NSW.

All contestants were given a mic, a live audience and just two minutes to impress the judges (selected at random at each heat) with their original spoken word, poetry, hip hop, monologues and stories…


The 2006 ‘State Of Origin’ Team Poetry Slam -Thursday 25th May, 2006 - To an appreciative full house at the Bangarra Theatre on Thursday, 25th May 2006, NSW team Housecat Havoc and QLD team The OuTsideRS gave it their all - and that all-important little bit more - in the Sydney Writers’ Festival / WWF State Of Origin Team Poetry Slam. And it was NSW who hoisted the Shield on their shoulders, parading it through their hometown streets, with a 10 point margin making the decision decisive!

We thrilled to the delights and challenges of 2-up, 3-up and 4-up poetry, laughed ’til our ears all but fell off as Tug Dumbly anti-serenaded the PM pre-match, and Dr Plumb serenaded us all at half-time. We gasped at the kinetic wonders of synarcade’s live visuals and video scoreboard, and made the rafters of the Bangarra Theatre ring with applause at a wonderful night of poetry in motion. The final score:NSW 110 points QLD 100 points

The day before, Bravo and Citizen took on Ghostboy and Spiritgirl in a live to air triple j poetry slam, and again the Housecats took the line honours, as triple j’s national audience SMS’ed their votes (and some strange poetry of their own) into the studios… Word Wrestling Federation


The State Library of NSW launched its inaugural competition – the Sydney Poetry Slam - in 2005 and was so successful it was expanded to include five venues from regional NSW in 2006 (NSW Poetry Slam 06). Slam heats were held in libraries and cultural spaces in Armidale, Wagga Wagga, Broken Hill, Newcastle, Wollongong, Sydney (Glebe and Newtown) and Parramatta.

Over 200 poetry enthusiasts and students attended workshops and participated in regional and metro poetry heats, and the NSW Slam Final in Sydney last year. At the Final the sell-out crowd was treated to over two hours of amazing entertainment, including a guest performance by Australia’s first poetry boy band, The Bracket Creeps. SLNSW teamed up with spoken-word artist Miles Merrill to co-organise, host and perform at both the Sydney and NSW Poetry Slams.


Radio National’s daily arts and music program, the Deep End selected nine finalists to perform in Australia’s first national poetry slam. On Wednesday November 24 the slam came to radio audiences across Australia, when one writer from each state and territory performed a two-minute poem live on the Deep End. You had one week to decide the winner by lodging an online vote for your favourite performance.

The winner was Mitchell Joe from the ACT.The finalists were:Murray Jennings (WA), Mitchell Joe (ACT), Jayne Fenton Keane (Qld), Benny Walter (Tas), Pru Gell (NT), James W Dennison (SA), Jay Hambly Jones (Vic), Jess Cook (NSW), Klare Lanson (Wildcard) … Find out more and listen to the poems here




06 October 2008

WA slam heat dates

I'm stoked to be MCi ng this event! 2008 Poetry Slam in Western Australia - 60 spoken word artists to compete across 3 Perth heats. The WA State winner and runner-up get $500 and $100 in prize money, and flown to Sydney in December to compete at the Sydney Opera House for the national Australian Poetry Slam 08 title and $5,000 cash. Highlights of slam heats and the Poetry Slam final will be broadcast on 720 ABC Perth: abc.net.au/perth

Participation is free. Attendance at Perth events is free.

233 James St, Northbridge
8.00pm Thursday 2 October - winner Kate runnerup Bianca
8.00pm Thursday 9 October
8.00pm Thursday 23 October

8.00pm 6 November


4 Dec 2008

Full details at: writingwa.org

Contact: writingWA @ E: info@writingWA.org or T: 08. 9228 9908

blac blocs pics

02 October 2008

Audience Please... WA Slam heats start tonight!

audience please
and so the poetry is dead
but the werds in my head
keep tumbling,
between us

audience - yet so much depends upon this: check
this microphone as a phallic expression
and with each generic layer of spit-sprayer aggression
we gather in hectic carbon clusters
we breed and muster like polite helicopters
to read and feed and kill each others post-teen angst

audience please - yet so much depends upon this: check
this toxic, clotted bowel movement at the station*
as the words pass around like a joint
at the back of a pub - in my head, this regret
an apparition of these bloated faces in the crowd
red rose petals on a wet, black bough*
a dead wheelbarrow* filled with white chickens and blackened swans
a potential depression glazed with daisy cutter rain
a CGI gesture resonating into the stars and back
at the planet - on the stage here tonight

audience please every
and he says: big bang - big bang - hadron collider- hadron collider*

yet still so much depends upon this: check
this collective battered noun of us all
in this glitter-ball room, speaking at a murder of poets
fully armed and ready to rumble
and here comes the stumble, the stumble, stum-ble, the stum-ble…

and so the poetry is dead
but the werds in my head keep tumbling, tumbling - between us:

audience please every minute
we breathe, breathe, breathe and sigh from geneva to northbridge
to receive a noble prize for my ambiplasmic peace convergence
my economic rastafarian cycle, my sonic puncture repair kit
and at this juncture

she says: they shoot atoms at us, in us - don't they
and he says: big bang - big bang - hadron collider- hadron collider

audience please every minute matters
like children so much depends upon petals and wheelbarrows
to fix fix fix with a rubber hammer
and a letter to queen victoria* and stalin stalin stalin*

but the werds in my head keep tumbling, tumbling… between us

audience please every minute matters


allan boyd: antipoet - 4 october 2008

this poem was performed as the "sacrificial poet" at the first WA heat of the 2008 australian poetry slam. audience please every minute matters is a line from a FOTL song. I've also played with William Carlos Williams' Red wheelbarrow; Ezra Pound's In a Station at the Metro; Banjo Patterson's Man From Snowy River, and sound poet Jas H Duke.