This Thursday morning between 9 and 9.30, I’ll be interviewed by Peter Goodyear on 3CR’s Spoken Word program (855 AM). 3CR can also be streamed online.
Apart from reciting a selection of my prose and poetry, I’ll also be discussing my influences, the writing of my novel Misplaced and the Melbourne rock band, Trial Kennedy – helping me bring my story to life. This interview is my introduction to 3CR soundwaves, and I’ve been invited to be a monthly presenter on the Spoken Word program along with Peter Goodyear, Rhonda Jankovic and Santo Cazzati. My first show as interviewer, to air on Thursday 3 June, will feature Overland blogger, Tara Mokhtari who will be reciting her poetry and talking about her experiences as a teacher of creative writing.
Presenter Rhonda Jankovic started up the Spoken Word program in May 2009 in response to 3CR listeners who would periodically mention that 3CR lacked a specialised poetry program. ‘My intentions were to create a program that is designed in the interests of its guests and listeners’, Rhonda told me. ‘I envisioned the program as providing an opportunity for listeners to get to know a little about the author in conversation with the presenter. In that regard it is different to an open mic situation where you are more likely to hear the poetry but not learn much about the author.’ A poet herself, Rhonda told me she believes ‘humans are intrinsically poetic – it is part of our nature, always has been. Some of the poetic works being created in Australia are world class. We are gifted with a long tradition of oral and written poetry, including indigenous works, those imported with our migrants, and traditional rhyming poetry arising from our colonial, convict history. In Melbourne we have many long established venues and more are emerging’.
Someone who readily performs his poetry is spoken word artist and musician, Santo Cazzati. ‘It has been an utter pleasure and privilege to record these grassroots talents’, he said when I asked him about his experiences as a presenter on 3CR. ‘These poets have outstanding voices and highly individual styles, which, in most cases, would baffle the academy. To build an archive of these performers is, for me, cutting edge, and I have not the slightest doubt that their work will be one hundred times more significant than that of the precious “literary” celebrities.’ In his early years as a poet, Santo would submit poetry to be published in print and was published a few times, but then decided to focus his energy on performance, where he found success. He told me he was noticed at open mic gigs and was then asked to become a feature poet. ‘That is the best way for anyone whose style doesn’t fit into the conventional academic or “quality literary” scenes.’
Although Peter Goodyear is the only presenter who isn’t a poet, he explained to me that he has found a new appreciation for poetry since starting on the show. ‘Some of the imagery of the poets is amazing; some of then write with an incredible amount of passion. It has been a pleasure to meet Melbourne’s poets and chat with them, and has allowed me to extend my own talents.’ But the show isn’t just limited to poetry; it’s any kind of spoken word. Peter explained that this year they also broadcast a play.
In joining the show, my aim is to bring in diverse poets from different backgrounds, ones with voices that challenge the conformist attitudes of our literary landscape.
3CR’s Spoken Word program is broadcast every Thursday morning 9-9.30.