The Dan Poets are an eclectic and unconventional mix of poets, writers and creatives. Each Saturday they take their seats in the Dan O’Connell Hotel in Carlton and wait in trepidation for their audience. They are proud to hold the title of the longest running poetry event in Melbourne, having established in 1994. I joined them on the 25th February to watch the show.
I felt like I had stepped into the enchanting world of a Tim Burton movie, with creative characters taking their seats ready to bare the vulnerability of their souls. It was welcoming, open-minded and without judgement. A looming excitement filled the room.
The performances were raw, personal and vulnerable and one by one the poets shared the darkest and lightest parts of their souls, hearts and minds. The performances ranged from sombre and dark to charming and extremely funny. Our host Libby engaged with and connected to the audience, which was responded to by laughter, heckles and energy.
My favourite performances were by two poets. Komninos Zervos who told the story of his life growing up as a child of Greek heritage in Australia, about this young boy who didn’t think he fit in with Australian culture, who became the man that relished and celebrated his rich bi-cultural identity and recognised the need for recent migrant/refugee groups to demand their cultural rights. He told the story of his mother’s dementia and despite the loss that he experienced during the onset of his mother’s condition, he told how his mother became increasingly liberated from her inhibitions which gave her something new, free and positive.
Angie Fazio gave her second-ever performance, which was unwavering and confident. Her poem unravelled the fears and anxieties of the performers mind; “behind the curtain, where shadow chases light is where she waits. Anticipating every murmur, watching bodies dart swiftly, purposefully, unwavering. A stage hand eyeing every imperfection”. Her poem was raw, visual and descriptive. I was transported into her world.
We need to celebrate our writers, our creatives, those who dare to entertain, to evoke feelings of sadness, pain, love, joy. To passionately share something to personal is so vitally important, especially within the traps of social media and definitions of what is socially acceptable. It felt humbling to hear something so real, where it’s was ok to be unconventional, to have opposing views, for thoughts to be shared without criticism. Catch the next event at The Dan O’Connell, each week between 2pm and 5pm.
Feature Image: Angie Fazio
Feature Image Credit: Pam Kirkley