Browsing Tag

poetry slams


7 March 2013

A quick heads up to let you know that next Wednesday I’ll be launching poet and rapper Omar Musa’s latest collection, Parang.

I first saw Omar perform some years ago at a poetry slam evening at the Front. I’d been hearing about how good he was for some time, and I’d read a few of his poems. That night he outshone everyone. Omar has the kind of x-factor reality show judges lust after. Combine that with the musicality and muscularity of his words and you’ve got something special. Coincidentally, the poem he performed that night, ‘Queanbeyan’ from his first collection The Clocks, was subsequently selected for inclusion in The Invisible Thread anthology that I recently edited.

Omar has won numerous awards for poetry, including the Australian Poetry Slam and the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam. He memorably performed ‘My Generation’ (included in Parang) on Q&A, and his debut novel, Here Come the Dogs, will be published by Penguin in 2014. He’s definitely one to watch.

All the details for the launch are here. In the meantime you might like to check out Omar’s book trailer, or watch an interview I did with him last year where he talks about the power of poetry slams for young people, how Sophie Cunningham unwittingly forced him to write his debut novel, and why he wants to change the perception that poetry is ‘irrelevant’.

The Invisible Thread series: Omar Musa

12 October 2012

Chatting with poet, rapper and Invisible Thread author Omar Musa was ridiculously enjoyable. Omar is passionate, sometimes controversial, and always candid. During the interview he had his say on everything from artists leaving Canberra and then disowning their hometown to why (and how) he wants to dispel the myth that poetry is boring and irrelevant.

At the time of filming, Omar was about to head off to the Melbourne Writers’ Festival to sit on a panel that included four women — most notably Germaine Greer — reading from their favourite poets. Surprisingly, Omar was the only panellist to choose a female writer. Chatting after the cameras were switched off, he worried that it would appear deliberate, when in fact the poet he had chosen, Anne Sexton, is one of his all-time favourites.

You can hear him talk about Sexton’s influence on his writing in our interview, and a lot more besides. Keep watching until the end or you’ll miss Omar performing his poem (evidence of why he won the 2008 Australian Poetry Slam and how he could turn even the most reluctant reader on to poetry). Enjoy.

Continue Reading…