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Sound and Sense

"Poetry is overflow"

What is poetry? Where is poetry? How is poetry? Julia Christensen and Sean Maroney have the answers.

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Sound and Sense

Date: 11 Feb 2019

Sound and Sense asks, what is poetry, where is poetry, how is poetry? Julia Christensen and Sean Maroney – AKA inner west sweethearts Döggerél and Hal Jones explain …

Julia: Sean, you’re better at this stuff than I am, more concise. I’ll somehow end up talking about my … favourite … jacket, or something. It’s the red one, incidentally, the fluffy red Elmo looking one.

Sean: So, ok; Sound and Sense at KXT is the second in an entertainment series curated by me and my awesome co-conspirator, Julia Christensen.

Julia: Meeeeeeeeeee! A public confession of my awesomeness is all I’ve ever wanted from you. I think that’s just about the nicest thing you’ve ever said about me.

Sean: I have to temporarily suspend my actual feelings for the integrity of this article. Sound and Sense holds up the unpopular, stinky thing that is poetry and invites the audience to recraft their perception of it. Writers, musicians, and DJ’s exhibit their practices as poetry to inspire imaginative and critical responses to where the poetry might lie between disparate art forms. How’s that?

Julia: God, the boy’s good. Look at that. Look how concise. Behold the concision. Done. And now, I would like to take this opportunity to talk to The People about My Favourite Jacket …

Sean: Poetry is commonly spurned as school-child necessity, irrelevant, archaic, dull, uninteresting, blah blah blah …

Julia:  Sean, The People have the right to know! The Jacket will bring The People in! It’s a selling point! I’ll wear it! I’ll WEAR IT ON THE NIGHT!

Sean: The dusty institutionalisation of rhymed verse and structured syllables have a lot to answer for. I adore poetry, but get sad at these perceptions.

Julia: I remember just after we met, you sent me the poem that made you fall in love with poetry, or woke you up to it as an adult, I think was how you put it. D’you remember? You described it as ‘muscular’ and ‘sexy’ language, and sent me a poem about two sisters, and one of them became obsessed with forbidden fairy fruit. I still remember the line, “ah fool! To choose such part of soul-consuming care!” Clearly it hit me. Hit me they way it might have hit you, I think.

Sean: Evidently not quite the way it hit me – it was about goblin fruit, Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’, the clue is in the name. Don’t look sulky, I’m sorry, I’m teasing, I love you remember that, I do. I found that poem at uni, and my understanding of what poetry actually is has expanded enormously since.

Poetry is disruption: authoritarians fear it will undermine the government’s integrity. (We might cross our fingers for that outcome.)

Julia: Comedy! What a zinger, baby. Nice. Gladys definitely felt that one.

Sean: Poetry is overflow: feelings shatter the coils of conventional rationality. Poetry is potential: the potential of one line’s slippage into the next, a world of possibility between moments, and those moments suspended in between the worlds of others. Poetry is cutting: it finds breaks in rhythm, interruptions in the regular, possibilities in the annexed. Poetry is a hedgehog: when we draw close, its soft underbelly curls away, ever evasive.

Julia: Did you know a group of hedgehogs is called an ‘array’?

Sean: Are you making that up?

Julia: What, no! What?! I just … I know a lot about hedgehogs, I like hedgehogs! It’s an ‘array’, I swear. Which, considering the range of performers we have lined up, extends the metaphor nicely. Wait. I might be thinking about pangolins, I like pangolins, too.

Sean: Ok, I’m going to put a stop to this digression before the flood gates open completely. So poetry isn’t just words in lines, or slam poets on youtube: it’s a way of being. I wanted to draw my experience of electronic music, written and spoken word, and spectacular performance into one setting. Julia’s energy and love of the theatrical really brought the idea from the clouds to reality.

Julia: I genuinely don’t know what you mean by that *releases twelve pure white doves with glitter-streamers hanging off their feet* And from my perspective, the Sydney theatre community and scene is small. So small. Everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everything about everyone, like how everyone knows how I followed through in the middle of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui last year.

I’m sick of having to ask my actor friends to shell out money they barely have to support my independent show. We continuously sell and pitch solely to The Bubble. This model is broken. It means we have limited audiences, which means limited funds, which means limited theatre spaces, limited roles and opportunities for actors, and all creatives for that matter, which breeds competition rather than celebration. Where in the audience are the musicians, the writers, the creative hearts who have nothing to do with the theatre industry but want a sick night out on a Friday? Why is that not happening? How do we build, open up, community? You god damn encourage and foster an intersectional, in personal identity and artistic practice, support base. Yeah, that’s right. Don’t think you know me, you don’t know me. It’s not just all pangolins and doves, she has serious opinions, too.

Sean: We loved the first in the Sound and Sense series. It made us think and re-think what we’d thunk …

Julia: … And panic and cry into our homemade baba ganoush and get enormously sunburnt while spray painting for hours under the December sun and nearly have a mental breakdown …

Sean: And now we get to do it again! With a fantastically different night planned. Have a sneak peek at what to expect by looking at the video trailer. 

Also, KXT’s incredible new Popupstairs program offers a fantastic venue for this investigation: the Bordello room. Deep reds and a vintage feel will invite the audience in to the chaotic wonderland that our February 22 line-up has in store.

Julia: And we host the night as our 80s glam-rock alter egos! It’s weird that hasn’t come up earlier.

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