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May 7, 2012 by Van Roberts

Melbourne is a poetry hot spot. Every week there are regular events throughout the city; Passionate Tongues, the Dan O’Connell, the St Kilda Army and Navy Club and the Plough Corner Poets. The newest kid on the block is Sweetalkers, a spoken word event.

Local performance poets Randall Stephens and Steve Smart created Sweetalkers because they believe “that poetry should be dynamic, entertaining and accessible to all.” The monthly gig features new or established, local or international, spoken word/comedy/performance artists.

The Sweetalkers feature I saw, Voices of Aotearoa, showcased New Zealand poets. The variety of performances was exciting: song, performance poetry, improvisation. There is nothing like being told a story and the crowd were riveted.

Zane Scarborough performed two moving pieces about the women in his life – his mother and his wife. His energy on stage was palpable, it’s no wonder he won the Trans Tasman Slam the night before.

When MC Randall was challenged to a slam by veteran Michael Rudd, the self-proclaimed “Grand Poobah” graciously accepted. A ten minute battle followed: Michael defended his hometown of Auckland, while Randall had a few criticisms. Michael’s passion and pride rolled off his tongue. Randall retaliated with swipes about the City of Sails. A valiant effort by Randall, but no one could deny the visiting poet’s verbal dexterity.

Sweetalkers work hard to promote emerging and established poets from Australia and the rest of the world. A beer and a few poems – it’s a nice way to end a Sunday.

Sweetalkers takes place regularly in Melbourne.


The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.

Author Details

Van Roberts

Van is a Melbourne freelance writer. She has contributed to Frankie, Time Out, RHUM and The Pluck. A book of poetry will be released soon.

Van spent hours on a typewriter as a child, which gave her a love for the written word. She also has an appreciation for wrestling, tequila and coffee. Van writes a blog, Scribbley-Ness.

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