WORD TREE BIRTHDAY...

Last weekend I went to the Word Tree, a local spoken word event held in Upwey. This was special for a variety of reasons. Guest performers were Susan Hawthorne, Patrick Boyle and Max Kulessa....there was a small but select open stage for performers.....but the event had just turned eleven. Yes eleven. This is huge. Enormous. And frankly deserves cake at least...


Over the years there have been changes. Names....Red Room, Noises from the Basement, Talking in the Library, The Word Tree.... there have been a variety of hosts and MC's.... change of venues.....and some of the most wonderful poets have made their way up to the hills to perform.

Poet Marian Spires began this gig all those years ago....and I was there from the beginning.  With Marian's support and encouragement this is where I began to read and dare I say 'perform' my work. At that stage I only wrote short story and my first reading was...let's say interesting to say the least. I read my short story in mere seconds, without pause for breath, page fluttering wildly in my hands, without anyone in the audience understanding a single word I had said. There was polite applause and mumblings of 'what did she say?'

With much encouragement and in fact there were many times when Marian would be waving her hands to tell me to 'slow down'....I began to understand what open stage represented.  To understand the page does not always relay to the stage....that there is more to reading your work then merely opening your mouth.

Over the years I have learnt a lot about performance, I have seen so many wonderful word smiths and poets, and one of my greatest memories was when I was MC and actually introduced Dorothy Porter to the stage....yes the one and only Dorothy Porter. WOW.....

Marian is now tending a seasonal event. The next to be Spring- September 1st.

Gigs come and go....few last the distance without a lot of changes. I thought it was wonderful to see that even through all these changes the essence of the Word Tree was still there. Marian wanted a local gig,  where a range of poets could perform amongst the beauty of the Dandenong Ranges. She has achieved that...and more.

I don't know if she realises how many people she has encouraged and supported over the years. How many fledgling poets she has nurtured.  Given them the courage to try things they had never thought possible.


I'm just one of them.

Thanks Marian :)  And can't wait to see what the next year will offer up for the Word Tree.






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