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A Poet's Reading List — William Beale


Hi Will, tell us more about yourself!
Hey, thanks for having me! I’m a spoken word poet from Melbourne who has been moving countries since I was 10, and now get to speak words on stages as well as in pages and via poetry and music albums, including They Call Us Loud  (2015, Perfect Binding Press). I’m consistently fascinated with multi-disciplinarian performance art and love exploring poems or poetry concepts with mixed media or music in mind.

I started off in poetry open mics in Malaysia, and have been lucky enough to perform at the Sydney Opera House, Ubud Writers Festival, White Night Melbourne and soon the Singapore Writers Festival.

I was also recently accepted to the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity in Canada, where I studied under Tanya Evanson, Buddy Wakefield and many more incredible lecturers and fellow poets. I’ve had the honour of being a convener and producer of Slamalamadingdong, which recently represented Australia at the National Poetry Slam in Colorado (F**KYEAHSLAMAFAM), and If Walls Could Talk in Malaysia — which is what home feels and sounds like to poets everywhere.

What are you currently reading?
I’m alternating between Omar Musa’s Millefiori, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and Prophet and the comic series from Rob Liefield.

Can you recommend your best five titles to us?
In no order of preference,

Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
Status: Cancelled. For your eyes only – Eirini Sourgiadaki
Salt – Nayyirah Waheed
The Art of Asking – Amanda Palmer
The Heart at 3 a.m. – Peter Bakowski

And why?

For me, Ender’s Game was when I dropped out of school for a while and would spend entire days in a library. Libraries all over Singapore, actually. That was when I really began to fall in love with books. I have a bad habit of doggy-earing pages of poems I click with and need to revisit later — half the pages of Salt are folded.

Status: Cancelled gives me the conceptual happies. It’s a dope concept — moving between poetry, storytelling and monologue from multiple perspectives, almost in a single instant. It’s highly rooted in the present, yet borrows sublimely from mythology. The Art of Asking is simple, honest and intrusive in the way poetry hardly ever is, but should be. It affirms self-belief and makes you a better artist.

As for The Heart at 3 a.m.Peter Bakowski is an incredible talent. Introspective, clever and deceivingly hilarious, with a moving body of work most poets would kill for.

What's one quote you live by?
“I say that failure doesn't exist, only changing paths. What you can't do in one art, you do in others.” – Alejandro Jordowsky
Where does the power lie in performing to you?
In the split second where the drunk butterflies are replaced with lights and stage. In stepping back inside the poem. In the pin drops between words. In a look or a hug afterwards, where a stranger tells you their grandfather had passed or when they missed out on a childhood or they’ve been holding their breath all day and you were part of the exhale. Also, post-gig mamak or kebabs.

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