Interviews with MPU Poets
Jacqui Malins interview
Jacqui is performing for MPU on November 1st, 2019 at Pride of Our Footscray. See our upcoming events page HERE.
Hi Jacqui, we're looking forward to seeing you in Footscray on Friday night. Just a few questions that I thought I'd send you as part of our promo for the gig. Here goes...
What is the first poem you remember reading or having read to you?
Hmmm – I guess the nursery rhymes were the original ones! ‘Wynken Blynken and Nod’, ‘the Owl and the Pussycat’. Then in primary school I did a project that involved animal poems, I remember finding Blake’s ‘The Tyger’ for that – wow, there is a whole letter Y thing going on here!
How long have you been a) writing b) performing for?
I stumbled into a Candy Royalle show at the National Folk Festival in 2014. The combination of powerful words delivered with passion was just compelling – I wrote a fan poem, got up with it at the next open mic I could find, and haven’t stopped. I was always a word nerd, but hadn’t really touched poetry since high school before that.
What are some of your primary influences as an artist?
I am quite a magpie, it is hard to single out a few in particular. Obviously Candy was instrumental. I love a particular clarity of writing, and a poet who does that and who has been tremendously encouraging and supportive is Melinda Smith. For ‘Words in Flight’ Ruth Pieloor, a wonderful director and actor was a huge influence - she directed the piece, and really expanded the theatrical vision and my performance. I am involved in organising a couple of poetry events in Canberra, so I am lucky to be constantly encountering a stream of new writers and voices. I am also interested in performance art and video at the moment.
What would you describe as the benefits of being a multi-arts practitioner, as opposed to having a single arts focus?
Hmmm – sometimes it feels as if I am being pulled in lots of different directions, but it gives me lots of different ways to explore ideas, in words and non-verbally. The different forms end up in conversation with one another. At the moment I am developing new work that mixes video (made using photography, sculpture and animation), sound and live poetry and physical performance.
Is this your first Melbourne tour, and if not, what gigs have you done here?
Apart from getting up at the open mic once each at Bar Oussou and Mother Tongue, I haven’t performed in Melbourne before. So this is really exciting!
How was your experience at Woodford Folk Festival, where 'In Flight' debuted and would you recommend other poets apply to be part of that festival?
Woodford Folk Festival is like stepping into a parallel universe for a week- it has a warm, positive, relaxed and friendly atmosphere and there is so much to see, hear and do. I definitely recommend giving it a go, whether as applying as an artist, volunteering, or going as a regular punter if you can afford it!
For those of our members and friends who haven't spent time in Canberra, tell us a little bit about the scene up there and how it differs from other Australian cities.
Because Canberra is my poetry home town, it is the one I know best, and hard to compare. For a small city, we seem to have a very high proportion of poets-per-head-of-population! And the scene is really diverse, we have a mix of slams, open-mics and more traditional poetry reading events, plus mulitilingual poetry events several times a year, and there are poets writing and performing in lots of different styles. It really does have a welcoming, supportive community vibe.
Isn't being 'in flight' scary?
Maybe - come along to the show and find out!