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August 30, 2023

Giving voice to SA’s young diverse poets

Draw Your Swords is reviving the poetry scene for young diverse voices in Adelaide one slam competition at a time this spring.

poetry slam adelaide
  • Words: Grace Atta
  • Pictures: Pamo Boutros

Wallis Prophet, the co-founder of Draw Your (S) Words (DYS), says their upcoming slam competition and October writing workshops aim to celebrate South Australian talent and be a safe space for marginalised voices.

“Our ethos is all about putting the spotlight on local talent and showcasing poets and creative writers, in a welcoming, safe and inclusive space,” Wallis says of the group’s return after a pandemic hiatus.


Draw Your Swords
Summertown Slam — Heat 1
8 September, 6pm
Summertown Studio
13 Paringa Avenue, Somerton Park 5044


DYS has already featured many well-known local artists, including Katie Pomery and Tyberius Larking.

The first event is a slam competition on 8 September in Summertown Studio, an accessible space off of Brighton Road in Somerton Park.

Attendees can enjoy food from the on-site Braising Boy food truck offering fresh tacos and snacks for all dietary requirements.

Wallis says the decision to run a slam competition came from a desire to “keep things interesting”, with the organisation primarily hosting open mics and workshops since starting in 2014.

“We’re looking at having two heats, and a final. The first and second prize will either be a monetary prize or a product from a sponsor, and third place will win the role of being the feature poet for the next open mic event,” Wallis says.

A previous poetry event

This event will also include performances from local musician Stephi and singer/songwriter and poet Ronan Gallagher.

Wallis says it was a given Ronan would be invited as the feature guest, following the poet’s breathtaking performance at the last open mic night.

“Ronan came up to me at the last open mic feeling nervous and having a change in heart about performing, but during the event they decided to perform,” Wallis says.

“They asked to use the feature musician’s keyboard and they just blew everyone away. Their lyrics were beautiful, and I knew this is someone we had to invite back as a feature.”

Ronan shared how comfortable they felt at DYS events, noting the poetry scene in Adelaide is not a space they have seen themselves largely represented in.

“I think especially for creatives in Adelaide there aren’t heaps of environments that are safe and welcoming specifically for [marginalised] groups. I think minorities have never really had a platform given to them, and they’ve had to create their own spaces. So, I think having a shared space that is welcoming to all is really important and hard to find,” Ronan says.

Starting October 11, DYS will also be hosting five weeks of workshops at Howdy Partner located on Richmond Road in the wheelchair accessible studio space of Karma & Crow.

Each workshop will focus on a different aspect of the writing process with the fifth session allowing attendees to perform the pieces they have worked on to the group.

“People can go to one that interests them or to all five,” Wallis says.

“For people who may worry that this isn’t the space for them, I want to say that all levels of writing, from first-time poet to experienced novelist, are welcome.”

Wallis adds that DYS is constantly on the look out for South Australian creatives to feature at their events and encourages anyone interested to contact the organisation.

“We’re open to any local artists keen to be featured at our events. Musicians, poets, or even if you’re a self-published author and you want to do a reading as a feature, we’d love to support that.”

Tickets for DYS October workshops will be released soon across their social media.

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