What's that? You want a loudmouthed crazy spoken word slam champion to stand infront of your class and get your students excited about poetry in a new and dynamic way? WELL I'M YOUR GIRL!
I have been teaching slam and performance poetry to teenagers, little kids, old people and kids that aren't quite kids and are not yet teenagers for over 10 years. I was Education officer at Australian Poetry for 2 years and there I started Out Loud the first ever Victorian teen team slam which happens as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival! OutLoud is an amazing competition where students perform in teams of up to four with their own original new work fresh from the pen. There's been over 60 schools involved and last year we held two heats at the Wheeler Centre for Books Writing and Ideas, four teams made it through and they were ON FIRE. The official OutLoud Youtube Channel is live
Check out our winners from 2017, two time reigning champions The John Monash Science School!
Northcote High who KILLED IT.
The 2016 slam champions The John Monash Science School
Finalists from 2015 ViewBank College
Winners from 2015 University High.
Out Loud has been wildly successful and a great challenge for students and teachers alike. In 2012 Braemar college stormed the competition and here's what Anthony Young, Head of English had to say:
“Please be aware that the impact on the four students who participated today is almost incalculable. Those that took part last year have shown increased confidence, connection to their studies and passion for the arts. Those from today would have never have thought that they could stand in front of such a big crown and share something they had crafted and have such a positive result.
I feel really fortunate to have encountered this program and hope that it continues into the future. I of course would love our school to be welcomed back from year to year but from a more holistic view I think the role of promoting the arts, poetry and creativity in general is achieved so comprehensively through this competition – more schools should be encouraged to take place and it should be a major landmark on the state curricular calendar.
I am sure my students are at home now with proud parents and a new sense of achievement that will build their sense of self esteem and give them the impetus to continue believing in their own creative abilities."
Anthony Young Braemar College
I have had residencies with Rutherglen high (Extended schools residency with Arts Vic and the Super Poets), Preston Primary, Naree Warren Primary (both with Arts Victoria) Melbourne Girls, Melbourne High, Montrose high (TAS), Armidale High (NSW) Harrisfield Primary and Fairfield Primary. I have held workshops and presentations at over 150 Australian institutions including Wesley College, Brentwood Secondary, Deakin University, Seaford Primary, Rushworth High, Albury High, Braemar College (Woodend) Rutherglen Primary , Montrose High (Tas) Townsville High (QLD) and many, many more. I also taught creative writing for four years at Carlton Community House and Brunswick Neighborhood house. I have traveled to many writers festivals both locally and overseas where I have incorporated the teaching of slam into my talks and presentations for both students and teachers. In 2014 I undertook another Extended schools residency with acclaimed Australian hip hop artist Mantra MC, we worked with the kids to create little film clips and hold hip hop performances and slams, here's a taster of what the kids did.
In early 2011, realising there were very few poets doing team slam I founded The SuperPoets, a group of professional award winning writers who also educate. We travelled to schools far and wide to bring performance and slam into the classrooms as well as workshopping directly with teachers and presenting at VATE and TATE (Victorian/ Tasmanian Association for the Teaching of English)
The Super Poets are an ever evolving, changing, growing and blossoming phenomenon and include Omar Musa, Mantra MC, Sean M Whelan, Michelle Dabrowski and Ezra Bix.
Last year the Supers undertook an extended schools residency at Rutherglen high through Arts Victoria and produced an anthology, three slams and an end of year performance. Rutherglen also took part in the 2011 Out Loud competition
check out the vid we made of the residency along with excerpts of the RUTHERMOTHERLOAD-SHOW
We were blessed to have a Super Poet run a workshop for us that not only taught invaluable lessons in public speaking and the power of an individual’s voice, but also dealt with themes of self-confidence and belief amongst young people. It was incredible to watch the way the kids embraced the challenge!
- Harriet Dwyer, Indigo Night Coordinator at the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre
I thought it was going to be olden poetry but it was fun!
-Ben year 3
In 2015 I gave a talk at the annual 'Do' lecture series. Why poetry is ESSENTIAL in life.
It was so funny! I didn’t know poetry was funny.
-Jessica year 4
A project that I'm super proud of is working with Beyond Empathy in Armidale, Myself, hiphop artist Tom Thum and Australian Poetry Slam Champion Omar Musa spent a week working with the kids and local community on their December holidays to make team slam pieces. On the first day the girls were so shy they hid behind the piano (workshops were held in the music room, not just a random piano) The girls didn't even want to say their name infront of the group let alone into a mic. They told me performing was 'shame stuff.' Throughout the week Omar, Tom and I worked hard, slowly trying to crack them out of their shells and by the end they were starting to write and speak their minds. One girl suggested that 'shame was lame' and we decided on the day of the performance to name it 'National NO SHAME DAY!' and the girls then performed IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MALL to a massive crowd of locals. It was really one of the most wonderful things I have ever seen. Since then No Shame Day has grown and this year I will again be returning to Armadale to work with the kids and community for another shame-free day of hip-hop, poetry and performance.
This is the lil' animation we made called 'Shame is lame'
this is me, teaching. Really.
The four most amazing poets
They came to school one day
with a lot to say
oh these weren’t just any poets they were the most amazing of the lot
Sean could use pictures of artwork and turn it into his own masterpiece
while Ezra got his groove on and made a spectacular poem using music
oh these weren’t just any poets the were the most amazing of the lot
michelle could memorise a poem in just a few minutes and perform in front of everyone
Emilie could find the humour deep within any poem
oh these weren’t just any poets they were the most amazing of the lot
alone they’re amazing but together they’re astounding after all they are the most amazing of the lot.
Brandan- Year 7 Rutherglen High
For an idea of what I do in a classroom here's an article I wrote for Going Down Swinging; How To Get Teenagers Interested In Poetry
“Stay strong, have a good heart and let it out!” -David Nguyen year 9, Preston High