Nour Abouzeid and Tariro Movondo emerged as winner and runner-up in the Victorian final of the 2010 Australian Poetry Slam at the State Library of Victoria on Friday 19 November.

Performing to a capacity audience, Nour and Tariro wowed the judges with their two minute powerhouse poems; each addressing fear of cultural difference in their performances.

Nour Abouzied announced ‘they called me a terrorist … perhaps because my middle name is Mohammad’ and that he delivered ‘poems of mass destruction’.

Tariro chanted ‘live less in fear, live fearless’ and called for the chapter of the white Australia policy to be closed.

They beat a talent-packed field of 14 contenders (winners of Victorian regional heats) to win $1,000 and $500 respectively and a spot in the National Finals at the Sydney theatre Company on Sunday December 5th. There they will compete for all-expenses-paid trips to the 2011 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali and the 2011 Bookworm International Literary Festival in Beijing.

The evening included performances by MC Emilie Zoey Baker, winner of the International Literature Festival Berlin SLAM!Revue, Geoff Lemon, of Going Down Swinging, and the winners of the 2010 OutLoud Youth Poetry Slam.

How does a Poetry Slam work?

The rules of the Australia Poetry Slam are simple:

  • A random draw determines the performance order
  • Judges are chosen at random from the audience by the MC
  • Each performance has a two minute limit. Time starts at the first word or when the timekeeper feels the performance has begun. Points are deducted from the final score for exceeding the time limit.
  • Judges hold up score cards using a 1 – 10 scale, with 10 being the highest. Of the five scores for each poet, only the middle three scores are counted. The decision of the judges is final.
  • Poems must be the original work of the performer written within the last 12 months.
  • Performers must be prepared to perform two different poems in the heat.
  • In the case of a tie a “slam off” will be used at the discretion of the slam organisers.
  • No musical accompaniment. No props. No costumes (clothing related to the content of the poem)

For more information on the National competition visit: http://australianpoetryslam.com/

The Australian Poetry Slam is presented by the State Library of Victoria and is co-created nationally by Word Travels, supported by state, territory and public libraries and festivals across the country. Express Media and the Australian Poetry Centre are sponsors of the Victorian program.

Poet 11 ‘Nour Abouzeid’ WINNER from SLVictoria on Vimeo.

Poet 5 ‘ Tariro Movondo’ RUNNER UP from SLVictoria on Vimeo.

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