By Zara Khan and Jordan Daly
Photos by Ansel Wakamatsu
- Performances by four local poets: Onur Karaozbek, (UNSW’s very own!) Albert Lin, Fayroze Lutta and Hasitha Adhikariarachchi.
- Three words to set the scene: politics, culture and identity.
- Three minutes for each performance.
- A language other than English (featured languages included Mandarin, Turkish, German, Sinhalese, Arabic and French). Some poems had translation notes provided by Word Travels in the program, rather than subtitles.
- Scores from 1-10, with the winner going on to the NSW Poetry Slam Final.
- Miles Merrill and Sunil Badami to emcee.
- Additional performances by established and talented poets: Zohab Khan, MC Dobby, Bhuphen Thakker and Haider Catan.
- Mimosa Duo, a guitar and violin-playing band with the talent and style to rival Andrew Bird.
- Sponsorship by Arts NSW, the City of Sydney and a couple of NGOs, including The National Centre of Indigenous Excellence and The Red Room Company.
- Merchandise sales (merch isn’t available online, but Word Travels do accept donations).
- 7:30pm, Tuesday 21 March at the Long Room, Customs House, Circular Quay (previously hosted at Walsh Bay theatres).
- Fry up two cups of Public Enemy’s political grit. Mix in Gil-Scott Heron’s innovation and the sensuality of a ronggeng.
- Stir sauce thoroughly, with many hands.
- Sprinkle in emcees and other performances by professional poets, spoken word artists and rappers.
- Twist up the formatting by having five randomly-selected audience members read poems submitted by asylum seekers.
- Add zest by having an Archibald finalist sketch each performer on his whiteboard.
- Spoon it out on a bed of seasoned rice.
- Mix the garnish throughout the evening, particularly pre-performance and during intermission.
- Justify the sponsorship with feedback forms (to be filled out promptly during the intermission) and merchandise sales (so Word Travels can survive Scott Morrison’s cuts).
- Serve it up on a politically charged, stormy night, coinciding with World Poetry Day, Harmony Day and the Liberal Party’s “discussion” on section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act.
- Customs House was a lovely setting, and the lighting was well done and complemented the performances. The performances themselves were most enjoyable and definitely worth checking out next year.
- Similar events: the Sydney Writers’ Festival (22–28 May) and the Walk for Respect (Lakemba, 7 April).
But like any metaphorical recipe, you have to try it in person to really judge it.
See you next year during the Living in Harmony Festival!
امن خدا حافظ