Every year about 1000 spoken word artists, poets, wordsmiths and rappers rehearse their verse across the country for a chance to compete in Australian Poetry Slam – a live literary performance competition judged by the audience.

Following a hotly contested series of heats in Melbourne and regional venues across Victoria, 13 poets battled it out in the Victorian state final of the 2016 Australian Poetry Slam at State Library Victoria on Friday 2 September 2016.

Victorian winner Arielle Cottingham charmed the audience with her poem ‘History is an ocean’, an exhilarating incantation involving wayward women, history and weather patterns.

The rousing spoken word piece by runner-up William Beale also received much enthusiasm from the audience.

Both poets will now compete in the national final at Sydney Opera House on Sunday 16 October 2016.

The national champion wins a tour to China for the Bookworm International Writers Festival in Beijing, Chengdu and Suzhou in March 2017 and Bali for The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in October 2017.

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