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Performance poetry punches through to the truth with its high energy and biting satire. As part of the Weather Stations project, a global initiative that places literature and storytelling at the heart of the conversations around climate change, three poets will take on the powers that be in a night of rhythm and rhyme, focusing on what it means to be an artist living in a hostile world rife with political and social injustice.
Polish Weather Stations representative Jaś Kapela takes to the stage in an incendiary event that will tackle today’s most politically charged issues, most notably climate change. Kapela is a renowned master of the form, as well as an accomplished novelist and blogger.
Joining him will be Maxine Beneba Clarke, Abe Nouk, Emilie Zoey Baker and Geoff Lemon. Maxine is one of Australia’s best known performance poets and her much anticipated short-story collection Foreign Soil, winner of the Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award, is released in May. Abe is a Sudanese refugee and the reigning Victorian champion in the Australian Poetry Slam competition. Geoff is an author, poet and editor of seminal Australian literary journal Going Down Swinging.
Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Clarke is the ABIA and Indie award winning author of over nine books for adults and children, including the critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil, the best-selling memoir The Hate Race, the Victorian Premier’s Award winning poetry collection Carrying the World, and the Boston Globe/Horn Prize winning picture book The Patchwork Bike, illustrated by Van T. Rudd.
She is the editor of Best Australian Stories 2017, and Growing Up African in Australia. Her forthcoming poetry collection is How Decent Folk Behave (Hachette).
Abraham ‘Abe’ Nouk is the founder and director at Creative Rebellion Youth.
Jaś Kapela is a Polish poet, novelist, columnist and blogger. His darkly comic work is proudly left-wing, and focuses on the conflict of an individual living in a hostile society.
Emilie Zoey Baker is an award-winning poet, teacher and spoken-word performer who has toured internationally. She was a fellow at the State Library of Victoria, coordinator of the Australian National Slam, and was core faculty for the spoken word program at Canada's Banff Centre. She teaches in schools and universities and is creative director of OutLoud a youth slam poetry competition presented with Australian Poetry.
Geoff Lemon is a political satirist, sportswriter, spoken word performer, and editor of lit anthology Going Down Swinging.
The Wheeler Centre is one of five partners in a brand new global project, which places literature and storytelling at the heart of the conversations around climate change. Launched in 2014, the Weather Stations project harnesses the transformative power of words to imagine, in the context of a threatened environment, how we might live our lives differently.
Over 18 months, the project will bring together five cultural institutions from around the world: the Wheeler Centre, Free Word in London, internationales literaturfestival Berlin, Krytyka Polityczna in Warsaw and Tallaght Community Arts in Dublin.
Each Weather Station has appointed a writer in residence, whose task is to produce a body of work that reflects how they view our relationship with the environment. The Wheeler Centre’s writer in residence is Tony Birch.
Tony has been blogging regularly at globalweatherstations.com, alongside the other writers involved in the project –Jas Kapela, Mirko Bonné, Oisin McGann and Xiaolu Guo. From Monday 21 April to Monday 12 May, all five writers undertook a residency together in Australia – including several discussions held at the Wheeler Centre. Videos will be produced and posted here soon.
Still to come: in collaboration with some of Victoria’s young citizens, Tony will explore the wide-ranging implications of climate change on future generations. And the writers will undertake further residencies in the home countries of participating Weather Stations partners.
Find out more about Weather Stations at our project page.