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ONE of the most exciting initiatives to arise out of last year’s Multicultural Fringe was, without doubt, the inaugural Mother Tongue Poetry Showcase.Picking up on the diversity of languages spoken in Canberra, the event saw Canberrans of all shapes and sizes packing into a marquee behind the Playhouse to hear people recite and read poetry in their own mother languages. It wasn’t quite a poetry slam but rather an opportunity for people to express themselves in a deeper way.
This year cofounder, Jacqui Malins, is preparing to stage the second such showcase. She has had plenty of practice in the last year since, although in the past year, with the help of a loyal band of multilingual and the charismatic Zimbabwean musician Felix Machiridza as MC, she’s been busy staging mother tongue poetry showcases everywhere from Belconnen to Tuggeranong, usually with top guests from interstate adding to the mix.
Malins is particularly chuffed to have as feature poet this time Eunice Andrada, the Tagalog-English language poet and performer from Sydney who’s been drawing attention for her performances everywhere from Sydney Opera House to the UN Climate Negotiations in Paris.
A first generation migrant to Australia, Andrada reconnects with her Filipino heritage by speaking her mother’s language and using poetry to share her family’s history of resilience.
Fringe director, Chenoeh Miller, tells “Citynews” that this will be her last stint in the role, with talk of transferring the Fringe to Floriade. Maybe so, but you can be sure it won’t be the last Mother Tongue poetry showcase.
The showcase organisers still has spots for performers who would like to read or recite in a language other than English – call Malins on 0433 845900 to sign up.
Mother Tongue Poetry Showcase, Canberra Multicultural Fringe venue, on London Circuit near Petrie Plaza, 10am to 1pm, Saturday, February 18.