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?
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:
Interview by Sarah Fallon