Thursday 10 October 2019

Tasmanian Poetry Festival inspires

I was privileged to attend the Tasmanian Poetry Festival on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th October, 2019, in Launceston. 

The two half-day poetry workshops on Friday were great. Gina Mercer's "Mesmerizing Monologues" workshop gave us the opportunity to read different types and examples of monologue poetry and start writing one of our own. It's a great form and it was fun to play with different voices. 

Chrys Salt (pictured below), who came over from the UK, taught us about performing poetry. She gave us some excellent tips and tricks on reading or performing our poetry in a riveting way. With her direct, engaging and honest manner, Chrys coached us to improve our emotional expression, pace, voice projection and ability to "scoop" lines from the page and deliver them with eye contact to the audience. I learnt so much, and applied it in the open reading on Saturday morning which led to some great audience feedback afterwards. 

Gina and Chrys both gave great performances on the Saturday morning. Chrys used her set to deliver a series of powerful poems about the Iraq war, some of which used the technique of refrains to masterful effect. It was great to be there for Esther Ottoway's first open reading in a long time, and I enjoyed the other poets too, including Ross Donlon's ode to washing machines! 

The Friday night opening launch was great, with Rees Campbell reading some beautiful Tasmanian-based poems and Greg North bringing the house down with some hilarious performance poetry about fracking, carpets and sticky tape! 

The Poetry Cup on Saturday night saw a diverse range of poets try and beat the one-minute timer. My poem about trying to break my relationship with sugar went down well, (thanks to my friend Jen's help with work-shopping it in her kitchen that afternoon) although I ran out of time to deliver the last two lines. Nancy Corbett won the audience over with her gorgeous poem about wanting to save the world. 

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