Last words the Outspoken Festival

Tattooed & talkative: Tourettes    PHOTO: Jon-Jo Ritson

Tattooed & talkative: Tourettes                          PHOTO: John-Jo Ritson

 

The Outspoken Festival of Words & Storytelling closed last night, and it ended exactly as it should have. The Ali Jacs and Tourettes Slam Champions gig at Amigos was loud, it was sweary, it was about everything from gay marriage to tattoo conventions to chatting to the guy next to you at the urinal and finding out he’s God to bad flatmates to how clouds are the ghosts of the water that flows through us all to hetero-normative standards of beauty to “thinking about fucking” to Foo Fighters gigs in Wellington.

 

Most of all, though, it was about words, needle sharp poems and stories that spoke of specific experiences and made them universal. As Tourettes said, “I don’t write poetry for poets. I write poetry for people who pick up their first book at 25,” and in this he summed up the spirit of Outspoken: poetry not for poets, or academics, or even readers, but poetry for anyone who uses words in any way, every day. Poetry for you and for me and for the guy wandering dazed out the door last night muttering, “I want to go home and write a poem now.”

 

I bet a lot of people felt that way throughout the festival. Here are a few of my highlights:

Tourettes told a story about how, as a creative person, he was no better off materially in his mid-thirties than his mate who had done 10 years in prison. It’s hard making a life for yourself as a writer/poet/spoken word performer. Yet, as this festival reminded us, words do matter. Let’s keep supporting them—see you next year, Outspoken!

LAURA WILLIAMSON

 

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