The State Library of Queensland is pleased to announce the return of its exciting national travelling public events initiative – The Australian Poetry Slam 2009 – which is again available to public libraries to participate in QLD between August and October 2009.
In 2008 nine public libraries throughout QLD took part by hosting a Poetry Slam heat & workshops (see details below). Two winners from each heat then travelled to the State Library in Brisbane in October last year to compete in the QLD final in front of over 220 people. The top two QLD finalists - poets from Brisbane and Longreach - were then flown to compete in the national final in December in The Sydney Opera House.
What is a Poetry Slam?
- Slam is a poetry competition with a live audience open to all people and all forms of poetry
- Each contestant has two minutes to impress the judges with their own original word artistry – using spoken-word, poetry, hip-hop, monologue and even story.
- Contestants can choose to speak, sing, scream, rap, howl or whisper their words.
- Contestants may not use props or musical instruments
- Poetry Slam heats are limited to 20 contestants that sign up on the night.
- Five judges are picked randomly by the host Slam MC. The Five judges hold up score cards and give performers marks out of 10. Only the middle three scores for each performance are calculated.
- The performer with the highest score on the night wins
- Two winners from each QLD heat will compete in a state final, to be hosted by the State Library of Queensland in October 2009. In 2009 the state winner will also receive $500 and the runner up $100, as well as both being flown to the Australian final in Sydney in December.
- The National final will be held at the Sydney Opera House in December 2009. Over $10,000 in cash and prizes will again be on offer nationally including significant performance and mentoring opportunities to the winner and runner up/s.
Since its creation in the 1980’s by Marc Smith in Chicago, slam has spread throughout the US and across the globe. Each year, teams from American and European cities compete in the US National Poetry Slam, an extravagant festival which attracts audiences in their thousands.
In the past three years, Poetry Slams have increasingly attracted the imagination of audiences and the media in Australia. Slams have been hosted by the State Library of NSW, The Sydney Opera House, The Festival of Sydney, The Sydney Writers & Melbourne Writer’s Festivals, ABC & Triple J radio as well as the highly regarded Performance Poetry World Cup held annually in Nimbin, NSW.
Queensland has one of the largest poetry slam scenes in Australia. Monthly slams are held in Brisbane as well as two major slam competitions: the Australian Poetry Slam – QLD heats and the Woodford Folk Festival WordFood Slam. Both of these 2007 events attracted final audiences of 200-300 people of all ages and backgrounds and received media coverage in The Courier Mail and on ABC & Triple J radio.
Who will be involved?
Australian Poetry Slam 2009 - Queensland will be run by three facilitators: slam coordinator David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger who will be assisted by award-winning performance poets Benedict Coyne (2008 Queensland Winner) and Tessa Leon who will run one heat each.
David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger will again coordinate the QLD leg of the Australian Slam 2009, following on from him establishing this event in QLD on behalf of SLQ in 2007. Recognized as one of Australia’s premier performance poets and slam mc/workshop facilitators, his work has been widely published internationally and he has performed at a number of major festivals including the Sydney Writers Festival, Brisbane Writers Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, and in 2008 as part of the NightWords festival at The Sydney Opera House, the Tasmanian Poetry Festival, and the Byron Bay Writers Festival.
Tessa Leon is one of Brisbane’s most exciting new slam voices. In 2007 Tessa won Brisbane City Council’s Poetry Unearthed competition, as well as being a finalist at the Australian Poetry Slam – SLQ heats, QLD Poetry Festival and Woodford Folk Festival slams.
What will they do?
At the time of each heat either David, Benedict or Tessa will visit their designated Library for 2-3 days. They will facilitate two workshops: one x two (2) hour youth writing and performance workshop plus one x two (2) hour adult writing and performance workshop. Your delegated host poet will also coordinate the running of and MC the slam heat and perform a feature set of their own work. Additionally they will be on hand for assisting in the final set up of the heat venue & local media interviews.
What promotional material will be provided?
The State Library of Queensland will provide all participating venues with media kits, templates, branding, images and promotional materials such as postcards. David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger will also assist in arranging and making him self available for any media interviews in the lead up to the slam.
Why get involved?
• This is a great opportunity for both state and public libraries to work cooperatively and participate in one of the fastest growing national poetry slams.
• The competition is a fun way for libraries to engage with young and diverse members of the local community
• It presents a great opportunity for public libraries to work closely with local writers/performers, writers’ centres, venues and festivals
• It encourages your area to develop its own spoken word/poetry scene community.
When do the heats need to be held?
Heats are to be held between August and September 2009. Target dates for potential heats have been worked out for each area in this period but can be negotiated further directly with David Ghostboy Stavanger.
Are there any special requirements?
If suitable, the slam heats could be held inside or on the grounds of your public library. However, working with a suitable local venue or linking the slam heats to a local festival or literary event is another good option.
Running the workshops within the library and the actual slam heat at a local partnered venue or festival proved to be highly successful in 2007 & 2008. This can all be discussed in greater detail with David Ghostboy Stavanger, who will assist your library with seeking local support and developing partnerships with venues and festivals in your area.
What costs are involved?
In 2009 The State Library of Queensland will cover all marketing, workshop and coordinator fees, travel and accommodation for host/performers as well as travel and accommodation to Brisbane for the State Finals in October for the top 2 heat winners.
Catering at the heat events is an option for libraries and any catering costs incurred would be paid by the individual library themselves. Another optional cost at the heat is the booking of a local emerging act to feature & promote local talent at the actual heat.
Again, this can all be discussed in greater detail with David Ghostboy Stavanger.
Please note: a $500.00 contribution fee has been requested by the State Library from each participating Library (unless otherwise agreed).
What are the next steps?
Our slam coordinator David Ghostboy Stavanger will be in contact by phone within a week of this letter to discuss your initial interest in hosting a heat as well as being available to answer any questions you may have. His contact details are:
David Ghostboy Stavanger
Slam Coordinator 2009
Phone: 0409 66 9391
Public Libraries interested in hosting a heat in 2009 will then need to respond to this invitation in writing by Monday 30 March 2009. Your response should include:
- Description of heat and workshop venue and capacity
- Contact details of two representatives from your library who will act as liaisons for the heat & workshops.
- How you plan to publicise and promote the heat in your local area (including distribution of slam postcards)
Please send your written (or emailed) response to:
State Library of Queensland
PO Box 3488 South Brisbane QLD 4101 Australia
Phone: +61 7 3840 7307
Fax: +61 7 3840 7860Website: www.slq.qld.gov.au