Miles Merrill is the artistic director of this simultaneous hook up event where musicians, poets and producers share their newest revelations.
“Performance of narrative envelopes us in empathy and understanding. The spoken word is really the thread that keeps us all together,” said Merril.
Also the creator of Word Travels Story Week, Australia’s national poetry slam, which travels all over the country every year for National Poetry Week, Merrill has this year reached beyond our borders to other countries across the globe also running word festivals. So this year, via Zoom, all can come together to create an international story web.
What is really important is to bring together diverse and marginalised communities who find it almost impossible to make their voices heard. In a digital world it is possible to gain the attention of a much wider audience. There will be an all star line-up of international poets from Canada, the USA, South Africa, Asia and Australia, to name just a few. With the artists all exploring themes of race, identity and ancestry, sharing, questioning, provoking and ultimately daring us to think, feel and respond.
On the whole, this action-packed week of wordsmithery will include Australia’s first Nations artists sharing their stories alongside other performance writers of colour who understand what it means to be stereotyped.
“In fact that is why I became a writer,” said Merrill. “I knew that as a person of colour, if I waited to be cast in the mainstream as anything other than a stock character as best friend of, or military personnel, or servant/slave, I’d never get anywhere.”
As part of this online narrative feast there will be prose, rap, song and even lessons for parents on how to create unique stories and songs to lull their children to sleep at night. The festival finishes with the Australian Poetry Slam National Final, a showdown between the nation’s best. The final will feature poets competing for the title of National Champion.
Nov 6-14, Online streaming. Info: www.wordtravels.info
By Renee Lou Dallow