The power of words
NOLA Naera will have just one tool at her disposal when she takes to the stage at the Auckland Town Hall tomorrow – her voice.
The 18-year-old is among 12 emerging poets bringing their words to life with no music and no props to battle it out for the title of champion in the Rising Voices Youth Poetry Slam.
The central Auckland resident has been writing since she was 10 but has been taking to the stage to perform her work only for the past year.
Slam poets perform from memory using their own style of delivery to keep the audience hooked on their every word.
‘‘It’s a great chance to express yourself,’’ Ms Naera says.
‘‘You have complete freedom of expression to talk about things that matter to you. I can wake up at 3am and start writing.’’
Audience reaction is every bit as important to the overall experience as the reading itself.
‘‘In my experience, audiences have been great but I hear they can also be pretty tough.’’
The slam consists of three rounds, for which each artist must prepare three original poems, each lasting no longer than three minutes.
A panel of judges will decide which five performers reach round two before knocking out a further three - leaving just two to battle it out in the final round.
The audience then takes control and decides who walks away as champion.
Ten poets from Auckland and two from Christchurch, aged from 16 to 24, will be competing.
Rising Voices is the first poetry slam providing young poets the chance to develop their writing and performance through six weeks of intensive workshops.
The competition first hit the stage in 2011 and was born out of a collaboration between previous Auckland poetry slam winners Grace Taylor and Jai MacDonald.
Both were teaching emerging spoken word poets and saw a need for a poetry slam catering for young poets out- side the traditional environment.
‘‘We wanted to create something that would focus not just on the competition, but to create a positive space prior to the slam for the competing poets to learn and
pub develop,’’ Ms Taylor says.
Despite the competitive edge community is what it’s all about, Ms Naera says.
‘‘There’s no rivalry between us, poetry slam artists are all really supportive of each other.’’
Poetry slam: Nola Naera is competing in the Rising Voices Youth Poetry Slam at the Auckland Town Hall.
Go to aucklandcityharbour news.co.nz and click on Latest Edition to watch last year’s Rising Voices winner Brian Gashema perform.
The competition will be at the Auckland Town Hall tomorrow from 7pm. Go to buytickets.co.nz or phone 0800 BUYTICKETS for tickets.