Kaveh Akbar has described one of his early adolescent encounters with poetry as profound and possibly fate-changing.
‘It was a total epiphany. Like, practically an angel playing its trumpet in my face. Just a miracle moment of clarity and perfect vision.’
How does poetry do this? How can poetry transform personal perspectives, or even lives? And how can non-traditional means of sharing poetry bring the form to new audiences?
Akbar is one of the brightest rising talents in American poetry. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and Best American Poetry and in two acclaimed collections, Calling a Wolf a Wolf and Portrait of the Alcoholic. For this event, hosted by Neil Morris, he’ll be joined by four accomplished, and very different, local poets – including Morris, Sista Zai Zanda, Abdul Hammoud and Hawiine – each with their own perspectives on teaching, performing and publishing poetry.
Join them for this unique event at the Wheeler Centre – part performance, part discussion – as they explore the spells poetry can cast.
Drinks available for purchase on the night.
Readings will be our bookseller at this event.
Neil Morris is a Yorta Yorta yiyirr. A poet, musician, community based activist, broadcaster. Known notably for his music project DRMNGNOW and indefatigable advocacy work around First Nations, rights, culture and country. Morris has made a significant mark within the decolonial movement in so called Australia with his clear messaging around the importance of Indigenous Sovereignty, Country and Decolonial paradigms since releasing song 'Australia Does Not Exist' in 2018. Coupled with his tireless work in advocacy, and awareness of key matters at the soul of this land , Morris is firmly centred in the vanguard of change now.
Kaveh Akbar's poems appear recently in the New Yorker, Poetry, the New York Times, the Nation, and elsewhere. His first book, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, was recently published by Alice James in the US and Penguin in the UK. He is also the author of the chapbook Portrait of the Alcoholic. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, Kaveh was born in Tehran, Iran, and teaches in the MFA program at Purdue University and in the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College.
Sista Zai Zanda is a storyteller, educator and curator of the Pan Afrikan Poets Cafe – an Afro-Literary matinée of beats, performance and poetry. Since 2015, Zai has spoiled audiences in Melbourne and Sydney with over 100 performances by African and First Nations storytellers including feature performances by renowned international artists Mahogany L Browne (NYC, Nuyorican Poets Cafe), Inua Ellams (Nigeria/UK), Kat François (Trinidad/UK) and Jive Poetic (NYC).
Abdul Hammoud is a spoken word artist based in Melbourne by way of Lebanon. He teaches writing classes and workshops for schools and organisations that are looking to explore new avenues of expression and identity.
His art has taken him as close as New Zealand and as far as the United States, as well as to his beloved home country. In 2013, he became founder of The Dirty Thirty online writing platform, an ever-growing group of currently more than 2000 writers who want to challenge themselves every April. Shortly after, he became editor and compiler of The Dirty Thirty Anthology, a collection of poetry from the page he coordinates.
Hawiine, known in equal fondness as Soreti Kadir, is a multidisciplinary artist. Most well known for her expression as a performance poet, writer, musician, organiser and speaker, her practice is always developing to better communicate her message.
A lover of storytelling, Hawiine recently released her second collection of written work, 167 Ways To Love, available as an ebook. Her most recent musical work is a compilation of poetry and music, titled Pride’s Claw, available on Soundcloud.