Australian Poetry Slam

Imagine two minutes in the spotlight. No props. No music. Judged by the audience. Just you…and your story.

Meet the 2012 National Finalists!


It’s time!  After almost fifty slam events across Australia, the 2012 Australian Poetry Slam finalists will finally be bursting onto the stage this Saturday, the 1st December.  In a battle of verb versus noun, whisper against shout, there’s no doubt that each of our competitors are wordsmiths with a message.  Make sure you take a sneak peak at the poets who’ll be setting the mic alight this Saturday!

Eleanor Jackson
Johnathan Sri
South Australia:
Gemma Boyd
LaCole Foots
Western Australia:
Chris Arnold
Colin Berry
Australian Capital Territory:
Calum Reid
CJ Bowerbird
New South Wales:
Zohab Khan
Jessica Santosa
Northern Territory:
Fred Van’t San (Top End)
Laurel May (Central Australia)
Freya Dougan-Whaite
Sam Hasell

Best of luck to all of our competitors!  Tickets are still available for the National Final at Sydney Theatre – click here to book!

Fred Van’t San – NT (Top End) National Finalist 2012


Born in Cooma, NSW, Fred has moved via teachers’ college in Goulburn and H.M. Customs in Sydney as North as possible without having to live in Queensland. He thinks of the Northern Territory as the home of the free and a place of limitless possibilities.  His interest in poetry evolved from writing summaries of the evening news for his deaf father on a nightly basis.  There is little chance of him writing anything longer than complaint letters to big business or politicians (though he is interested, given time).  He won the Darwin Poetry Cup in 1990 and was a finalist in the Red Earth Poetry awards in 2008.  He was heavily involved with Palm City Poetry in Darwin the 80’s and 90’s.  He is interested in his family, comics, good food, vodka, honesty, chooks and eccentricity in no particular order.  He dislikes willful ignorance with a passion and was called an obnoxious know-it-all by his brother, which is now a source of pride.

LaCole Foots – SA National Finalist 2012

I just want to right wrongs and write long fight songs for all of my knights, who at night, still fight strong.

LaCole started writing rhymes when she was 11 to prove she could be a better rapper than Lil Bow Wow. She quickly realized that the thug life didn’t choose her, so she took to writing poetry instead.
Today, she writes to organize and analyze the world in which she lives, tries to find humor in the grave and is eternally grateful to have this outlet to share her thoughts.
When she’s not baring her soul on stage, she is a full time student at Carnegie Mellon University, getting her Masters in Public Policy and Management.  She enjoys lasagna and her favorite color is lavender.
LaCole likes to play with words and is wondering if APS is going to honor her American spelling.
Live. Love Life.

Laurel May – NT (Central Australia) National Finalist 2012

Laurie May has been writing poetry since she was a kid in Brisbane and began performing while living in Darwin a few years ago. Her works/poems/slams are a distillation of her wide-ranging life and work experience from working and living in East Africa to her various anthropological studies with homeless Indigenous people in Darwin. Having left the ‘’croctastic’’ NT News with only one front page croc story, Laurie is currently working in Central Australia where her job takes her all over the desert. Laurie’s Indigenous background is on her father’s side and her mother is of New Zealand Pakeha descent. Laurie found her first grey hair at 21 and has been embracing each one ever since.

Jessica Santosa – NSW National Finalist 2012

“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks,” (Proverbs 4:23) and so Jessica Santosa has plenty she wants to say to the world.

Tired of compliments for being just a “great singer”, Jessica Santosa discovered spoken word poetry only six months ago, and wondered where it had been hiding all her life.
The “how” of her heart overflow began with her dabbling her fingerprints in screenwriting and music, and releasing a singer-songwriter EP, ‘Glutton’, in 2010.  She works professionally as a social worker, dreaming of one day pioneering a generation of voices that speak with conviction, wisdom, and passionate responsibility.  Santosa would like to leave a legacy of abundant life for her future babies.  She says “I want to sit front-seat at the wedding of our creativity and labour for justice, because it would be self-indulgent or draining for one to exist without the other, because they are perfect together”.


Zohab Khan – NSW National Finalist 2012

Zohab Z Khan is a 25 year old spoken word poet hailing from Wagga Wagga NSW. Through his writing Zohab aims to create positive change in the world.

Zohab Z Khan is a spoken word poet based in regional Australia and is the founding director of Zee Poetics, an organisation that aims to inspire a new generation of poets through performance based workshops. He has been actively writing poetry since the age of 13 and is a three-time Australian poetry slam finalist.
As a performer Zohab has had the pleasure of performing alongside the likes of Sarah Kay, Phil Kaye and Amir Sulaiman amongst others. Zohab is also an avid photographer and self proclaimed conscious hip-hop artist. He is currently in the process of releasing his first hip-hop mix tape.
As a poet he draws inspiration from the various characters in his life and the ethnocentric melting pot that is Australia. Through his writing he aims to create a positive change in the world.

CJ Bowerbird – ACT National Finalist 2012

CJ Bowerbird explores himself through poetry. He writes about things he has lost, things he never had and things that are slipping through his fingers.

Photo courtesy Adam Thomas

CJ Bowerbird explores himself through poetry. He writes about things he has lost, things he never had and things that are slipping through his fingers. Occasionally he makes witty social observations.
His poetry has been called ‘earnest’.
CJ has been performing poetry from his home in Canberra for the past four years. A National Poetry Slam finalist in 2010, CJ has featured at the You Are Here and Art, Not Apart festivals in Canberra and at poetry slams across NSW. He has performed in several cities in Australia and the US, and has read poetry on ABC National Radio.
CJ is the alter ego of a boring family man in Canberra, Australia. No, he is not a public servant.

Calum Reid – ACT National Finalist 2012

I am a twenty-one year old poet and guitarist/song-writer whose focus is on performing poetry and music together.

I am a twenty-one year old poet and guitarist/song-writer whose focus is on performing poetry and music together. I am particularly interested in narrative verse though occasionally drift into soppy love lyrics.
I’ve only recently started performing in public, though have been writing flowery prose from a young age and taken up poetry in the last few years.
I am particularly interested in science fiction and fantasy novels and am currently working on a project somewhere in between.

Colin Berry – TAS National Finalist 2012

Born east of Dismal Swamp, Tasmania, Colin has been an emerging writer for 58 years.  Published in The Age, Famous Reporter and Island Magazine.

Colin’s fiction and poetry have been published in The Age, Famous Reporter, Island Magazine and several anthologies.  He has won the Launceston Poetry Cup three times over two millennia, most recently in 2012.  He likes Pina Colada and getting caught in the rain.  Colin once visited mainland Australia, but didn’t like it.


Chris Arnold – WA National Finalist 2012

Chris Arnold is amongst the greatest poets living in his house today. He’s been awarded many door prizes, and his work appears in numerous notebooks.

Belowsky – WA National Finalist 2012

Belowsky is a spoken word artist who has paid his dues in coffee shops and stages of the world. He now resides in Perth, Western Australia weaving together poems and rants that seem to have the Belowsky trademarks. Nothing gives him greater pleasure than stepping onstage and taking people to places they never imagined. He loves to write and perform poetry and as State Slam Champion is honoured to be representing Western Australia at the Australian Poetry Slam Final.

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