Australian Poetry Slam, Bathurst heat | Video, photos, pictures

TWO Bathurst women have secured spots in the Australian Poetry Slam NSW Finals following an action-packed heat held in the city.

Poetry slam is not for the faint-hearted with competitors given just two minutes to recite an original work on stage and they are not allowed to use any props.

The Bathurst heat held on Friday attracted nine competitors, with Sophie L Meredith coming in first, Alice Blackwood second and John Song third.

Competitors spoke about a range of topics including politics, social commentary and sport, organiser Kylie Shead said.

“It’s pretty amazing to see some of the talent that comes out of the woodwork,” she said.

Ms Meredith said she was keen to speak about Indigenous issues during her performance and consulted Wiradyuri elders about her subject matter before the competition.

It’s pretty amazing to see some of the talent that comes out of the woodwork.

Bathurst poetry slam round organiser Kylie Shead

“I spoke about reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous and Australia Day and Windradyne,” she said.

English born Ms Meredith said she learnt more about Australia’s Indigenous history during her schooling in the UK, rather than since her arrival in this country.

“I feel really conscious of my privilege,” she said.

Ms Meredith said Australian author and commentator Anita Heiss had been an influence on her and agreed with her that non-Indigenous people need to do the heavy lifting with regards to reconciliation.

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  • VIDEO: Watch Sophie L Meredith’s 2017 poetry slam performance

Ms Meredith commended Ms Blackwood on her performance which focused feminist issues and and the right for women to walk safely on their own without fear.

“A lot of people do something quite political … a lot of people also do something quite funny,” she said.

 “You’ve only got two minutes to engage with your audience.”

Past Australian Poetry Slam Phillip Wilcox hosted the slam and encouraged the crowd’s support of each competitor.

While three places were awarded at the Bathurst heat, only Ms Meredith and Ms Blackwood have progressed to the NSW Finals on October 13, the national final will be held the following day.