My Solo Poetry Video Archive #1

 

Unlike the Slam videos previously posted, some of these are from readings. So, there is no pressure to be ‘entertaining’, no ‘cash prizes’, and no ‘popularity contest’.

Just pure poetry, written and delivered to a listening audience. It will become self-evident why the more lyrical or long pieces were not performed in the Slam setting.

Here’s the first:  ‘Debeaked and Dangerous’ by Liz Hall, filmed at The Punters Club, Fitzroy, as part of the show ‘Shelton Lea presents the Radical Poets’, circa 1989

And the SKA TV cover for that show:

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Performance on ACTV, Austin Texas, March 1994. Liz Hall.  ‘Snake’, ‘My Sister has a New Set of Breasts’, and ‘Notes for When the City Gets Too Much’

 

Austin International Poetry Festival, 1994.

‘Fires’, ‘Texas Separation Poem’, and ‘Penis Envy, Sibling Style’

 

AIPF, Chicago House Reading. ‘The Raped Woman’, ‘For Ms Ruthie’, ‘Smooth: Reflections on a Long Love Affair with Pink Disposable Razers’

 

Poem written spontaneously to a theme: ‘Is Sexuality an Issue?’

The only performance of this piece EVER.

 

Poem written spontaneously to a theme #2.

The theme was to argue for or against Capital Punishment, and I was given the ‘for’ side to argue, despite being against it. Which necessitated coming up with a real example in which I actually would endorse CP, taken from that day’s news stories.

‘Dead Women’. The only performance EVER of this piece.

 

And now for a REAL relic. The following video was shot at Cafe Jammin, Middle Park, Melbourne, circa 1984-5, with the interviews shot in our homes.

Both Komninos Zervos and myself were regular performers at this weekly venue. Unlike the pubs, Cafe Jammin was a friendly place for women from the get-go.  The videographer (Mark McAuliffe, from memory) made this as a pilot for a series that never got off the ground.

Before I started attending readings, my feminism was latent and quiet. But dealing with ‘poets’ and poetry audiences soon changed that.  I was appalled by the sexism and harassment I experienced as a young woman. The work here is bitingly indicative of this fact.

If only I had been a man, I might just have been able to play with being funny, as well as poetic, as Kom so clearly does in his excellent work here. (Some women, bless ‘em, did say they found these poems of mine funny anyhow, but i’d call them ‘satirical’.).  It’s a bit hard to be funny when you’re also feeling targetted and angry because some slime has his hand on your arse. Just sayin’!  😉

7 thoughts on “My Solo Poetry Video Archive #1

  1. MOMENTS

    Just watched and listened to the first two videos. Love your perfomance and the meaning of your words, so full of social criticism but never showing contempt for the persons you are talking about. Instead, you treat them with tenderness and compassion while reflecting on their wrong doings. So you masterfully criticise attitudes that harm us all, like the sisters just paying attention to their external beauty (too much women objectification), their aesthetic operations that will not solve their basic problems in life. Love this: “there is much more to love than a perfect body”. “Notes for when the city gets too much” is also very nice with the contraposition between the beauty of nature and the harsh life of the city. Love this: “Insanity is sanity’s last bastion”. The last lines are very beautiful too, a return to a much more simple life like that of a hermit and much more connected with nature. Excellent performances!

    1. Liz Hall-Downs

      Thanks so much! I think this work’s time has finally come, with #MeToo, etc, it seems like a good time to put it out there again. Appreciate your nuanced responses.

  2. MOMENTS

    I have watched the first video again. Again love the performance, beauty of words, images, eloquence and social critique. I like the reference to Sylvia Plath, love her poems with the beauty of horror I assume are a connection with the punk’s life in the darkness, “drinking the pain of ages”, the paradox of wanting equality in a better society ouf of a Melbourne ghetto but acting with bigotry. Love the way you express the hangover with words like “you sniff the hollow teeth of hangover in the faces of the faceless lovers”, “you flounder for reality in their fields of fantasy”. Beautifully expressed!

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