Tuesday, May 03, 2016


For the last few months BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! has been making a podcast for Canberra’s 2xx, it goes to air as part of Local'n'Live. Here are the first three episodes on Bandcamp. Thank you to Local'n'Live and 2xx for supporting the radio show, and thanks to the Phoenix for supporting BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT!.

Thank you too to Nick McCorriston (aka  NickaMac) for being our producer.
This is Nick on LinkedIn

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Disappearing 2.0

Last year the Red Room Company commissioned me to write a poem about my connection to Western Sydney and the theme of the disappearing. To complete my part of the project I travelled to Parramatta to record the poem and an interview about the process I went through in its composition. All the poets involved were sent the below series of questions. Because I like to prepare I wrote out some answers. What you will hear in the recording will no doubt be different as they sprung a few unexpected questions on me and I didn’t use these notes while answering, but I hope the sentiment remains the same.

What is poetry for you?

·        What made you start writing poetry? / Why is poetry important for you?

I started writing poetry when I was in primary school. The first poem I remember writing was about school desks chasing and eating people. It was published in the school newsletter. Mum still has it up on a board. I guess I started writing as a means to understand the world and how my imagination was engaging with it.

Poetry is important to me because it is something we can all engage with as reader, writer, performer, listener and critic. I also like the diversity of forms of poetry, from highly structured pieces, to works I find arcane, to free verse, direct and didactic narratives to protest pieces.  I like that poetry is studied at schools and universities, in pubs, in bedrooms and food courts. That authors from ancient civilisations wrote it and that their words live on alongside newly written work that may soon vanish forever. I like that people give away and sell poetry on streets, that they perform it in quiet auditoriums and noisy pubs, that music and visuals and live performance can lift poetry but that at its best for me it needs nothing but shape on a page and a reader, that at its best it doesn’t need its author and that it can be so layered that different readers will find different things in it.

·        What does The Disappearing and this project mean to you? What message did you want to convey through your poem?

The Disappearing started for me with my poem the Max and the vanishing of childhood, of memories of people, and that is still there in (En)Joy Rides in Police Cars, though I think it is more advanced or maybe more discernible in this new poem; that disappearing childhood does not come through age but through experience, and that experimentation with imagination, words on a page, with history, can capture something fleeting, or maybe portray something fleeting so people can examine it through time and space.

I like to keep away from explaining and conveying messages directly but what I did want to do was explore some conversations I’d had about Dad with Mum, to explore some vivid memories, but also explore how memories can be false, distorted, fractured and fuse with imagination in an effort to escape or survive.

·        What was it like writing on the theme of ‘disappearing’?

I enjoyed the research component. I spoke with my mum about dad several times to get a better understanding of my memories of him and what had occurred while they were married and during their divorce and custody battles. This poem is part of a group of three about my family and focussed on my dad and two grandfathers. You can find another with Cordite and a third was a commission for the Canberra Glassworks. So it was a useful opportunity to not only research and write the poem, but link it to the other works, to the location of some of the events it depicts, and to have it published for people to read. As part of the research I went back to Lakemba where my grandfather owned his shop, and to Auburn to investigate where I was born and lived the some of the early years of my life. Throughout this I kept in mind something I’d read in the Tate Modern while I was travelling in 2013, an artist’s statement about his portraiture talked about embracing the distortions and inaccuracies of memory while creating an image of something, hold onto the memories, don’t refine them in the hope of the true image, instead interrogate for meaning. For me that allows imagination to come into art, so while this and the other two poems are autobiographical, imagination is in there.

·        How does the poem begin for you, with an idea, for or image?

Poems begin for me in different ways. I have written for a long time with a writing group and we have a range of exercises that generate the start, middle and sometimes the end of a poem. I also write to prompts such as books, graphic novels and visual art. I really love travelling for this reason. In 2013 and 2014, I travelled in the US, Spain, the UK, France and Italy and visited galleries and museums in every city and town where I could find them. Travel really kicks my imagination into overdrive and combining that with art and architecture in a new place will lead me to write. I also really like to dwell on an idea, research it, and delve into a concept to develop a poem.

·        How do you improve or edit your poems? With the help of a workshop, a reading group, a mentor?

I will constantly edit poems. Every day I will work on something, testing the images, experimenting with the structure, looking for gaps or weaknesses with what I am writing, taking notes of ideas and concepts I would like to explore, collecting images. I work to make sure that where I want the poem to factually and scientifically accurate it is, where the untruth is, it is there for a reason.  Editorially I put my poems through a taxing time. I will run drafts through the writing group I mentioned earlier. With this group I feel like I have received and given a lot of useful critique, hearing other people’s poems and ideas on your and others’ work makes me question my own style and approaches. I don’t always take on board critique but I do always consider it when it comes from a thoughtful place. I also have two close friends in Canberra who will give me constructive and thoughtful feedback on a poem I am developing, and I find their feedback incredibly useful in pointing me to areas of weakness in a poem. In 2015, with the support of an ArtsACT Project Grant, I had several months of mentoring and editorial development with Queensland poet David Stavanger in Brisbane and Canberra, his considered input has improved my overall writing but also given me confidence in the choices I make to break rules and push boundaries.

·        What is the impact of being commissioned and published in this project for your writing career?

I always enjoy when a poem exists without me, as it will through this Red Room Company commission. I usually avoid publicly unpacking my process or the poetry I write but being interviewed for the commission has been a useful process in having my articulate my writing process and the importance of poetry to me.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Book Launch - For All The Veronicas (The Dog Who Staid), Wednesday 27 April, 19:30–22:00

Presented by BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! with the support of the Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres.

Wednesday 27 April you are invited to a night of poetry, music and performance from some of Canberra’s most original writers, musicians and performers. Including Eleanor Malbon, David Finnigan, Nick Delatovic and Melinda Smith, this gathering is to launch Andrew Galan’s latest collection, For All The Veronicas (The Dog Who Staid) - New Poems, published by Brisbane’s Bareknuckle Books. The event will be MCed by BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT!’s Joel Barcham.

So join us at the Gorman Arts Centre from 7:30pm for an 8pm start.

Cost: Free.

Drinks and books available for sale at the event.

If you would like more information about each of our performers please read on.

Andrew Galan
Andrew Galan is an internationally published poet and co-producer of renowned poetry event BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT!. Described by reviewers as ‘riddled with satire’, his poetry is gut, direct, and imagination and reality meeting to eat and fight. Showcased at events including the Woodford, National Folk and Queensland Poetry festivals, and Chicago’s Uptown Poetry Slam, his verse appears in journals such as the Best Australian Poems, Jet Fuel Review and Cordite. That Place of Infested Roads (life during wartime) - KF&S Press, 2013 - is his first book. His latest is For All the Veronicas (The Dog Who Staid) - Bareknuckle Books, 2016.

Melinda Smith
Melinda Smith won the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for her fourth book of poems, Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call (Pitt St Poetry, 2013). She has performed her work all over Australia. She is based in Canberra, and is currently poetry editor of The Canberra Times. Her next book of poems will be out later in 2016.

Nick Delatovic
Nick Delatovic is a writer, producer and performer based in Canberra. He has been one of the folks behind You Are Here festival since 2011, creating and assisting with hundreds of experimental arts events in that time. An alumni of the Street Theatre's Hive program for emerging writers, Nick has written stage plays including Rig (2011) and The Last Prom (2013). He is currently touring Bomb Collar, his one-man sci-fi cabaret musical. As one half of music-and-film production company Lick Nuke he has created dozens of music videos and the odd short film, including the Screen ACT-commissioned Lights (2013).

David Finnigan
David is a writer, theatre-maker, festival producer and pharmacy assistant from Canberra, Australia. With science-theatre ensemble Boho, he works with research scientists from institutions including University College London, the Stockholm Resilience Centre, CSIRO and the Australian Academy of Sciences. He has been a resident artist for the Battersea Arts Centre in London, Tanghalang Pilipino in Manila and Campos de Gutierrez in Medellin, Colombia. David has been commissioned to create new work for organisations including, Coney, the Powerhouse Museum, the Canberra Street Theatre, Opera Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive, and the Free Word Centre in London, and his scripts have been nominated for the Max Afford National Playwrights Award and the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award. David is a Churchill Fellow (2012) and an Australia Council Early Career Fellow (2014-16) and founded and co-directed two ongoing arts festivals: the Crack Theatre Festival in Newcastle (2009-10), and the You Are Here festival in Canberra (2011-13).

Eleanor Malbon
Ellie is a Canberran who writes poetry. She performs predominantly in Canberra; including for BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT!, Feminartsy, RIP publishing, Grapple publishing, Scissors Paper Pen, the Canberra Poetry Slam, You Are Here festival and various other charming pop up events.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


ACT Writers Centre Blogger in Residence Matt Lamb interviewed me earlier this year. As a consequence I turn up in two of his pieces for the blog Capital Letters. The first is about where to write in Canberra. This is for me very dynamic (within a narrow frame). I write in Civic and with the current high turnover of cafes, businesses and ongoing refurbishments of the Canberra Centre that means I am often looking for a new place. My current preferred spot is Supafine in the Civic Bus Interchange. But the second piece is my favourite. After coming to our February 2016 BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! Matt wrote a review of the night. I like it because it is a review that is unhindered by preconceptions of what a poetry slam can be.

Photograph by Adam Thomas

Friday, March 04, 2016



That’s right→BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! is the nation’s Australian Capital Territory Poetry Slam and it wants you on stage in the audience at the bar! For poetry; Or something else!

And to that end we provide you a stage, microphones, sound, audience, poets, bar, toilets, MCs, lights, The Score Adder, coasters, The Master of Conflict and doorways.

And because that isn’t enough we have feature acts! So many feature acts! Including the resplendent David Stavanger, the (in)famous Tessa Rose, the triumphanti̶n̶e̶ Beige Browne, and the Fanciful Fiction Auxiliary!

As well as the mystery we are keeping mysterious.

BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT!, it wants your words with you in the Phoenix Pub.

And because you want to know more about our feature acts:

David Stavanger
David Stavanger is an award winning poet, writer, and cultural producer. In 2013 he won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, resulting in the release of his first full-length collection of poetry The Special, which was also awarded the 2015 Wesley Michel Wright Prize. At the 2014 Queensland Literary Awards he received a Queensland Writing Fellowship to develop his next two collections. David is also the Co-Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival.

The Fanciful Fiction Auxiliary
Fanciful Fiction Auxiliary is a fictitious amateur writers’ group comprised of miscellaneous oddball characters with ‘ideas’ about their place in the literary world. The various ‘members’ of the auxiliary are devised and performed by a revolving group of established and emerging writers who have been invited to turn bad, go rogue, overwrite, underwrite. 'Do it Wrong.'

The FFA has appeared at Woodford Folk Festival, Bad!Slam!No!Memoir!, the Brisbane Fringe Festival, and the Queensland Poetry Festival.

Tessa Rose
Tessa Rose is a poet and performance artist. She has performed at Brisbane Square Library, Ruckus Slam, The National Folk Festival, and Woodford Folk Festival. She performs avant-Jazzercise with Pascalle Burton in 24-Hour Gym, composes Twin Peaks found poetry, and co-produced the Old Museum’s spoken word open mic night, BAD!SLAM!NO!MEMOIR!

Beige Browne
Beige Brown is Australia’s foremost feminist performance poet. Her permutative sound poetry introduces productive uncertainty into the phallogentric thrust of mainstream literary culture, fissuring the pompous edifice and causing little word-rivulets to trickle out from many smaller openings. A previous participant at Noted, she has been willfully excluded from other larger literary festivals, yet is highly regarded by the discerning amongst Australia’s literary cognoscenti.

The mysterious mystery
And of course there is the mystery we are keeping mysterious!

So, remember, join BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! inside the Phoenix Pub, sign up from 7:30pm, poetry slam from 8pm, 1st prizes! glory! 2 minutes! No music! No props! Your original material (unless you’re a rebel, we welcome rebels)!

All inside the Phoenix Pub. All part of Noted. All for your words and teeth.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

One Last Border: poetry for refugees

Join us for the launch of One Last Border: poetry for refugees; by Hazel Hall, Moya Pacey, Sandra Renew; Ginninderra Press (2015).

Thomas Albrecht, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will launch the collection, with readings from the authors, Hazel Hall, Moya Pacey, and Sandra Renew, and music from Iranian Oud player Salar. Your MCs for the evening will be Joel Barcham and Andrew Galan.

The entry fee of $5 includes a copy of the book and all profits go to the Canberra Refugee Support.

One Last Border: poetry for refugees was written during the Canberra Poet-A-Thon for Refugees on Saturday, 26 September 2015, at Tilley’s Cafe in Lyneham. The three poets — Hazel Hall, Moya Pacey and Sandra Renew — were writing, writing, writing. They wrote for 7 hours to raise money for Canberra Refugee Support, a non-profit organisation that helps refugees and asylum seekers to become as independent as possible as soon as possible. You can read more about the Poet-A-Thon and their experiences here: https://canberrapoetathon.wordpress.com/

Canberra Refugee Support said of the poets work, ‘In Canberra Refugee Support, our aim is to help asylum seekers and refugees to become as independent as possible as soon as possible. We are not funded by government - so we really value donations. The work of Hazel Hall, Moya Pacey, Sandra Renew and Tikka Wilson on the Poet-A-Thon fundraising event and on this volume, One Last Border, is a magnificent initiative. The funds raised for our clients will help to change their lives. Thank you!'
- Geoff McPherson, President, Canberra Refugee Support. You can find Canberra Refugee Support here: www.actrefugee.org.au

Read more about those launching the book below:

Sandra Renew
From my home in Australia my poetry now raises contemporary issues and questions about war, language, translation, dislocation, border crossings, dissent, gender. As a community poet, I led a poetry writing workshop with fellow poet Denise Burton as part of the Noted! Writers Festival Canberra 2015. https://sandrarenew.wordpress.com/

Hazel Hall
I am a musicologist naturopath, researcher into music medicine, and former lecturer, now turned cafe poet. Sponsored by Australian Poetry and Biginelli Espresso, School of Music Australian National University, as a café poet I organise the SOM Poets who meet on the first and third Fridays of each month at 2.00 pm at Biginelli Espresso. We are group of ekphrastic poets interested in responding to works of art of all forms, and community outreach. http://hazelhallpote.blogspot.com.au/

Moya Pacey
Moya Pacey was born in the UK but has lived in Canberra since 1978. Her poetry has been published in journals, newspapers and magazines in Australia and overseas and has won prizes. In 2006, she was selected for a Macquarie Bank Longlines poetry masterclass and went to Varuna Writers House with five other poets. The Wardrobe, her first collection, was runner-up for the ACT Poetry Prize in 2010. Her poetry has featured on ACTION buses in Canberra, and in 2011 she won the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Writing Competition Nova Scotia and was shortlisted for the Frogmore Poetry Prize UK.

Salar Ayoubi is an Iranian Oud (Lute) player who immigrated to Australia in 2001. Salar plays Tar, Setar and diverse range of Persian drums as well however in the Iranian Musician directory book (Bargi az Bag) published 2001 he was recognised as one of the top three lute players in Iran and this is the instrument recognised as his main instrument.

Thomas Albrecht
Mr. Thomas Albrecht is the Regional Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) based in Canberra, with geographical responsibility for 16 Pacific countries. Mr. Albrecht’s role is to work with governments and other partners to ensure all persons of concern to UNHCR, including refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons, receive protection, assistance and durable solutions to their plight. He is also keen to promote long-term cooperation on the protection of persons of concern in the region, and to increase understanding and support for refugees worldwide.

Friday, February 19, 2016


On Wednesday 16 March, 8:00pm in the Phoenix Pub, BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! launches the Australian Capital Territory’s definitive national anthem, THE BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! CANBERRA NATIONAL ANTHEM.

To fix Canberra’s Centenary Celebration’s failure, BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! commissioned Canberra’s renaissance person of fitness and music, Nick Delatovic, to compose THE BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! CANBERRA NATIONAL ANTHEM.

The inaugural singing is at BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! in the Phoenix Pub, before forever being free online under creative commons.

Find the lyrics in Bill Poetries (as part of the Noted Festival) and in your very own songbook available at the Phoenix Pub on the night.

Be part of history as BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! gives Civic, the inner north, the Australian Capital Territory, Australia, the World what they’ve always needed- THE BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! CANBERRA NATIONAL ANTHEM.

Since 2009, BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! has fought for poetry in the Australian Capital Territory! It’ll fight anyone for poetry, even when no one wants poetry fought for. Which is frequently. To that end, with the support of the Phoenix Pub, it runs BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! as the World’s first and last poetry slam in The Phoenix, and with the support of the Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres it runs the Salt Room in the Gorman Arts Centre. The Salt Room is the poetry night Canberra deserves. The longest-running team behind BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! contains Andrew Galan, Joel Barcham and Amanda Coghlan, with regular assistance from Canberra’s documentator of Canberra’s Arts Scene, Adam Thomas.

Thanks to Merloc where the recording is taking place, and thanks to Ryan Schipper for his support as one of the producers.

Thanks also to long-time sponsors Impact Comics and The Games Capital.

RIP BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! co-founder Adam Hadley.