Saturday, June 22, 2013

Roar Poets - Tour Diary 2 - Nimbin

Depending on your experience with this small town in the hills of northern NSW, the very name has made your decision for you based on what I'm going to say next. You will either be disbeilieving and write it off entirely, or you will nod your head and go "yep". I doubt anyone will be somewhere in between.
Nimbin is the spiritual home of performance poets.
There I said it.
Now, like I said before, many of you will go "huh?" and shake your head, smiling at the thought of a bunch of stoners having a base of strong performance poetry.

This is the place that began the Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup 11 years ago. Nimbin is the original stomping ground for David Hallet and Robin Archbold. 2 poets who still stand strong as premiere performers in Australian poetics. In fact, Archie founded the cup, David won it in its first year. So there ya go.
But you will still probably shake your head and go "no, bloody stoners trippin out to words I bet..."
And you're right. Kinda.
We arrived in Nimbin on a chilly Thursday's eve to find Gail M. Clarke, co-founder and current bad-arse boss lady of NPPWC scurrying about collecting raffle money, organising sound, and generally chatting to people lounging at The Oasis Cafe, Nimbin's home of poetry nights. What this lady does is phenomenal. And yes, the joints were rolling thick and fast and the murmuring locals and silent backpackers all drank their coffees and teas with red-eyed abundance.
But, unlike Armidale, which had no idea what it was in for, they were ALL there for poetry. It's what Nimbin loves. Cultivated over the past 11 or more years this small town thrives on words. Big, small, political, humorous, love, hate and everything in between and outside the box, Nimbin is an underrated poetry Mecca.
Martin, Angela and I knew that, respected it, and gave the best performances we've possibly ever done. It was hot, frothing, loving, aching, potent poetics.
And the crowd loved it.
If you wanna get into the stoner thing, fine. But you're ignoring what Nimbin Poetry's really all about. The superficiality of Nimbin is that it's a place to get high. But anyone who's been to the NPPWC knows that Nimbin is a place to perform to a beautiful crowd. Roaring, cheering, laughing, crying. We took them there on Thursday night. But only because they were so willing to go with us.

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