Poet and Changing Minds Board Member Malcolm Dixon shares his experience of one of Aucklands most iconic poetry events:
“Poetry Live!” (www.poetrylive.co.nz), now 33 years old, began at the Globe Theatre, held now for many years at The Thirsty Dog Tavern and Cafe (corner Howe St, and Karangahape Road, in Auckland’s CBD). It meets each Tuesday, 8pm-11pm, hosted by a variety of MC’s. The usual format is: Guest Musician, Guest Poet (bios on the above website), and Open Mic (where anyone can read their Poem[s], 5 minutes max., so everyone gets a chance). Entry is by Koha – from that, a gift for the guests. Sometimes it has a theme, or is a fundraiser night (e.g. supporting the victims of the Christchurch Earthquake).
I got involved about 2 ½ years ago, invited by Miriam Larsen-Barr, an accomplished poet, and former member of the Changing Minds governance board.
I was very nervous in the beginning, but built confidence in public speaking from such an accepting and encouraging audience, they accepting me for who I was/am (the feedback has been helpful). The atmosphere is so conducive that I so often write a Poem at the venue.
It has been healing to express my Mental Health journey in verse (though not usually rhyming). From that confidence, I auditioned, and was accepted for the “The 2012 Big reTHiNK”, a week-long multi-media event, to reduce Stigma and Discrimination in the Mental Health arena, held the 1st week of October last year, at the Q Theatre, organised by Taimi Allan and Miriam.
Another great way of writing it down is “Journaling”. A few weeks ago, for the first time, I was one of a group of guest poets, for the annual “Matariki Night”. At the end of last year, all “Open Mic’ers”, in 2011 and
2012 were invited to submit up to 5 poems. For the first time, one of mine is going to be published in the next edition of Live Lines, “Live Lives V”, available at the end of this year.
Do come along. It’s great that each week, so many read one of their Poems for the first time. “Feel the fear, and do it anyway”. Some of my Poems have also been accepted for Barry Pearman’s blog “Turning the Page”
(www.turningthepage.info), Poems appearing on Thursdays.