Saturday, October 27, 2018

Poetry Slam in Ubud

That's Doni Marmer in the photo, a well-known Indonesian poet who was in charge of last nights event along with  poet Virginia Helzainka, an Indonesian woman.  These super good  Unspoken people - unspoken in that in poetry there's freedom to speak the unspoken (within reason - it is Indonesia with blasphemy laws and people can disappear and so forth.).

I've been busy with coming to Ubud for two poetry slam events that I happened into by accidentally winning one. It's put on by the Unspoken Bali Poetry Slam and their two events, a casual reading Thursday and Slam with judges Friday were part of the very busy Ubud Writer's Festival which I got a free one day pass to though I used it to go to only one event which I enjoyed a lot - Hanif Kureishi, British born, Pakistani father. Kureishi wrote My Beautiful Laundrette, the Buddha of Suburbia - books, plays, screenplays.  His Wikipedia page  gives a more negative impression than listening to him. He came across as fairly modest with a free-wheeling mind eager to make the most of life's lemons.

Last night was the poetry slam and naturally I was the oldest person reciting and was glad when my turn was over and that I hadn't forgotten or messed up any lines. Posted poem here yesterday and the day before and again, How did I get into this?! It was an impressive packed event - young people mainly, the youngest 13, 14, 15 up into the twenties and some older folks too. I bet the youngest ones were all from the same school and a private and maybe international one because their English was good. Pouring their heart out. Some strong stuff. Now I'm supposed to go to another one at the end of November and I really don't want to but it's so neat to be around all the vibrant young people. Almost everything in English. Actually, my poem (just a song not sung) had the most Indonesian of any entry and there were maybe half Indonesians reading (and 2 or 3 of the five judges who knew no Indonesian. There was a good deal of rapping and rap-influenced poetry. More Americans than I'm used to seeing. Hosted by Aussie slam winning poet Jesse Oliver. A guest poet was a dread-locked Jamaican dub poet, Sheldon Shephard. You can see more on these guys at the festival page for the slam.

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