Archive for November, 2012

In the ModPo course (which I have just about finished, 10 weeks of hard but excellent work), some of the language poets studied, experiment with translation. Some use Google to write alternative versions of an existing poem, or a new poem.

Here’s the result of an experiment of mine.

I’ve taken a famous line from the Australian National Anthem, a line which is somewhat controversial, as it is certainly not observed in the attitude of politicians to refugees. The line is:

For those who’ve come across the seas we’ve boundless plains to share

I put the line into Google translator, and passed it repeatedly back and forth between English and a foreign language, in alphabetical order, starting with Afrikaans and ending in Yiddish. If the translation from English to another language, back to English resulted in any change to the line, I put the line into the ‘poem’, and then passed it onto the next language in the list.

What’s the point, you might say? Good question. Maybe none. Except that it does make us think about the meaning of words, the meaning of translation, the translation of meaning, and it was a bit of fun. The transformation from first to last line is an interesting one, I think.

Here’s the end result:

_________________________________________

For those who’ve come across the seas we’ve boundless plains to share

For those who came over the sea we’ve boundless plains to share

For those who came over the sea we have boundless field to share

For those who came from over the sea we have limitless field of post

For those who came from the sea we have an inexhaustible field post

For those who came to the sea we have a post in the field of renewable

Those in the sea we have a post in the field of renewable

Those who are at sea we have a message for renewable

The sea has we have a message for renewable

Sea we have a message for renewable

Tues we have a message for renewables

Tuesday we have a message on renewable energy

Tuesday we report on renewable energy

Tuesday we refer to renewable energy

Tuesday we refer to the renewable energy

Tuesday we refer to renewable energy

Tuesday we look at the renewable energy

Tuesday we are looking for renewable energy

Tuesday we are seeking renewable energy

Tuesday we want renewable energy

Tuesday we want to make renewable energy

Tuesday we want to create renewable energy

Tuesday we want to build renewable energy

Tuesday we need to develop renewable energy

… is a smart looking, new, online arts journal, run by some very lovely and talented young Adelaide people.

On the front page at the moment is a nice article about the 2012 State slam final, including the incisive photography of Tanya Jane Brain.

They’ve also published the slam version of my “Adelaide is….” poem. Thanks.

Click below and read, regularly:

 






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"Adelaide is ...."

“Adelaide is ….”

The State Slam final was last Friday night (November 2nd 2012), and I was one of 10 finalists, at a packed out Higher Ground, Light Square, Adelaide.

In case you don’t know how a slam works, here’s a quick summary:

- You’ve got 2 minutes only to present your poem.
– 5 Judges are picked at random from the audience. The judges score each poet out of 10, holding up a score card, just like they used to in the Olympics and Come Dancing.
– The top and bottom judge scores are excluded. So you score according to the other 3 judges scores. e.g. if the judges scored you 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 the 9 and the 5 are ignored and you score 6+7+8=21.
– For every 30 seconds or part thereof you go over 2 minutes you lose a point.
– Order of presentation is also random – 10 names go into a hat and the next contestant is picked out of the hat, usually by an audience member.
– the top 2 scorers win $500 and $250 respectively, and an expenses paid trip to compete in the National Final in Sydney in December.

So it’s all about tension and audience involvement and randomness and entertainment.

So on Friday night, I was up against the best in the State. I was convinced I would be picked first out of the hat, but as it turned out I was number 10, so I sat at the back of the packed venue right to the very end, nervously biding my time.

I did a much updated version of my “Adelaide is….” poem, which, in practice, I timed at about 1 minute 50 seconds give or take. I was very pleased with how I did it – definitely my best ever performance. I can’t remember the judges scores, because I was too relieved just to have ‘nailed it’, but there was a 10 in there and a 7.6, and the other scores were, I think in the 8s and 9s. Good scores, very pleasing. I got great audience response, so much so, that I had to wait a few times for the laughter to die down. I’m told that, as a result, I went ONE SECOND over time, which would have cost me a point. My friend Russ reckons I came 3rd overall, but wherever I came, I was up there with the leaders. And the two winners, who are off to Sydney to compete in the Nationals, Gemma Boyd and LaCole Foots, were worthy winners.

Amongst the many people I spoke to afterwards, one young bloke wants me to work with him in setting my poem to music – could be an interesting project.

So a great night, and the whole experience has made me lift my performing skills to a new level.

If you have Facebook, you can see pics at:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.454207311298220.124681.106793039372984&type=1

and here’s one of all the finalists:

Slam Finalists, Higher Ground, November 2nd 2012

(Photos courtesy, I think, Tanya Jane Brain)

I’m in the State final of the Australian Poetry Slam tomorrow (Friday 2nd November), 7:30 at Higher Ground, Light Square, Adelaide.

This morning I did an interview at Radio Adelaide, on the Breakfast Show.

The young interviewer, Angas, obviously didn’t know what to expect in terms of slam poetry. Sue Reece, who invited me along to do the interview, specifically requested that I do one of my poems called “Slam Poem”. The poem requires a fair bit of energy. It’s really written to be delivered to a rowdy pub audience.

So I put a bit of energy into it, and young Angas seemed to be caught a bit off guard. He said something like “Whoa that was pretty aggressive”, and said it had a fair bit of rap in it.

So now based on reaction from friends who listened in, I have a new identity: aggressive gangster hard core rapper.

You can hear the interview (about 10 mins, including that great character Jill Wherry), at

http://radioadelaidebreakfast.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/i-think-that-i-shall-never-see/