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it's never enough said with Lorin Elizabeth

Lorin Elizabeth is an Australian spoken word poet who fuses sound, meter and rhyme to express her political and socially charged content that captivates audiences. As a founder of Enough Said Poetry Slam in Wollongong, Lorin has a strong sense of community engagement within her local community as well as the arts community as a whole. Word Travels had a chat with Lorin about her work, her inspirations and the future of spoken word in Australia. 

How did you first get in to spoken word?

One time in the USA, my university professor paid for our class to see the film "Louder Than a Bomb" at the cinema instead of going to class. It's about a youth poetry slam in Chicago and it inspired the crap out of me. I've seen it a million times. The first time I saw a poetry slam was a couple of months later ay the renowned Nuyorican Poets Cafe in NYC and when I arrived home in Aus, I started performing myself.

You founded Enough Said Poetry Slam in Wollongong.
Can you tell us a little bit about how it got started?

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Luka Lesson, Joel McKerrow & Alia Gabres toured to Wollongong in 2012, the year I arrived home totally in love with poetry. Sherry Landow and I attended their workshop + show and met Laura E. Goodin there. We realised that we needed a regular space in our town to continue sharing words - Laura kicked a monthly night off at Rad Bar and Sherry and I took over a couple of months later and called it "Enough Said".

 

Do you prefer to create and perform alone or do you enjoy being part of a collaboration?


I think I write best alone with my plants and perform those poems best alone on stage. That being said, I get such life from working with other poets! I've written a bunch of duet poems with Rachel Calleja when we toured the USA, and that process probably surpasses any solo creation ever. You have to find the right collab partner though, I think you have to have some soul connection. I'm creating with Bella Luna at the moment and we literally come up with the same ideas, it's amazing.

Which performing writers most inspire you?


Candy Royalle always and forever. Olivia Gatwood, Eunice Andrada, Desiree Dallagiacomo, Eleanor Jackson, Mahogany L. Brown, Bill Moran.
Youtube all of these supernovas now!

What do you think sets the spoken word industry apart from other arts/literary industries?


We are significantly less funded. Haha. But seriously, the Australian spoken word industry is still cosy and supportive. Community is everything to me. To have a group of poets and poetry lovers in a room on a weeknight celebrating creativity, storytelling and wordplay is my idea of perfect and I don't think you get that sense of community in many other areas of the arts.

Thinking of the scene as a whole, I love that we all communicate well, value each other as artists and organisers, bounce touring poets between different cities, put poets up on our couches, crowd-fund, encourage new voices, surprise audiences with our amazing difference and talk about such important stuff out loud. 

What are your hopes for the future of the spoken word industry in Australia?


I speak a lot on cosy community BUT I also hope there's continued growth and expansion. Having lived in the USA I know how big spoken word can be and how valued it can become in the greater arts community. I hope for a spoken word publishing house like Button or Write Bloody. I hope for a Women of the World Poetry Slam in Australia and more youth and team slam. I hope for more spoken word in theatre and music and more artists being paid better fees for their work.

Where can people see you perform next?


Enough Said Poetry Slam turns 6 on July 26th at The Chamber in Wollongong and features Australian Poetry Slam Champ Jesse Oliver!
I'll be performing in Townsville & Northlakes, QLD on the 10th and 11th of August at the Australian Poetry Slam heats. 

People can also check out:

Website

Facebook

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Interview by Sarah Fallon

An Interview with Candy Royalle

Candy Royalle is an award winning performing writer, performance artist, poet, storyteller, activist, educator and vulnerability advocate who fuses cinematic storytelling, poetry and unique vocal rhythms with confronting, political and heart thumping content seeking to break open closed hearts. Word Travels asked Candy some questions to find out what inspires her, what challenges her and what she sees for the future of spoken word. 

 Candy Royalle - Photo by Nicola Bailey

Candy Royalle - Photo by Nicola Bailey

What does spoken word mean to you? How does it differ from other performance or literary art forms?

Spoken word provides an opportunity for the artist to share personal stories, political ideas and philosophical musings, we reflect society back to itself and offer an opportunity to engage with people in a real, visceral and tangible way. Humans connect through the art of storytelling - whether amongst friends, through cinema or on stage, storytelling reconnects us with our humanity. It’s a shared experience - we gather, to hear each other and to be heard, which is different from reading or going to galleries. Additionally, good spoken word utilises aural tools to make the work sound a specific way - the use of alliteration, rhyme, onomatopoeias, repetition, tone and speed of delivery etc. makes it particularly beautiful and interesting to listen to.

How did you first get into spoken word?

When I was 19, a friend took me to “Bardfly” at The Friend in Hand Hotel in Glebe. The event was run by Tug Dumbly and Benito Del Fonzo. Though I had been writing since I was very young, I had never seen poetry performed. It changed my life.

What do you find most difficult about performance writing?

The most difficult aspect is trying to ensure each piece has its own feel, its own flow. It can sometimes be difficult not to produce pieces that sound too similar. I work hard on thinking of new ways to deliver work so that it’s interesting for both the audience and myself, as well as honouring the piece itself in the way it should be honoured.

What’s your favourite part about it?

I definitely love the connection I get to experience with an audience. Leading them on journeys and having them there with me, knowing they’re feeling my work, or that I’ve transported them somewhere, or even rallying them into some sort of positive social action. It all demonstrates the power of poetry.

What is your favourite piece to perform? Why?

This shifts and changes regularly. Pieces start to lose their magic if I perform them too often and so I try and rotate my work so that I don’t “kill” any particular piece. At the moment, I’m preparing some new work for some upcoming events and I’m really enjoying feeling them out and preparing them for the stage.

Who are some of your idols or inspirations?

Poetically I would say Suheir Hammad is one of my favourite poets - she’s fierce and political and unapologetically so. It’s nice to see an Arab woman taking up space. Creatively, a lot of my inspiration comes from Patti Smith, the original rock n roll poet and Frida Kahlo, fierce female extraordinaire.

What are your hopes for the future of the spoken word industry in Australia?

I’ve been in involved in the community for many years now and watching it steadily grow has been a beautiful thing to witness. One thing I’d like to see change is the imitation of the American Slam style, which has a very recognisable cadence and delivery style. I’d love to see emerging Australian poets carve out their own unique styles and discover their own voices. This to me is far more exciting than an imitation of a style that sounds predictable and tired…to me anyway!

Additionally, it’s important that marginalised voices are given as much space (if not more) than the dominant voices we hear so much from. I find those stories far more interesting and engaging. It’s time the poets with a platform better reflected the diversity of Australian culture.

Where can people see you perform next or find out more about you?

I’ll be appearing at a number of Sydney Writers Festival events, more information and tickets available here.

People can also check out:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Interview by Sarah Fallon.