Poetry is having a renaissance in Australia and queer First Nations artist and poet, Jazz Money, is here for it!

Jazz had a chat over the phone with the Star Observer, and with her bubbly personality and easy laughter shining through it’s easy to see why this fresh voice is making such an impression with her writing.

During our chat Jazz spoke about her process and how poetry always seems to end up being the end product!

“I’m just really bad at writing anything else! I’m terrible at grammar and beginnings and endings and following through with ideas. I’m much better with messiness and complexities and unresolved things in writing. Every time I try to write something else, like a short story or an essay, I’ll get to the end and be like, ‘oh fuck, it’s a poem.'”

She also laments how poetry is taught and accessed in Australian schools, saying “I think it’s a failing in our education system actually because I think the way poetry is presented to young people in our schooling system is as this very elitist, aloof, lofty, irrelevant thing. I think it’s kind of coded in this really classist way and it feels really inaccessible, really uninteresting and really irrelevant to a lot of folks. But it’s not that, it’s actually an incredibly dynamic, contemporary and experimental form and once I got into it, it was so not what I had imagined it to be when I was in school.”

When asked if writing poetry was the same skill as performing poetry, Money considered her answer before responding, “Aaah, well, if you’d asked me that a few years ago, I would have said I can only write it and I can’t perform it. But that has changed! With the kind of nature of what poetry is, there is a big performance component, a lot of people prefer to hear poetry read by the writer and I think also, poets really enjoy performing their works because they can give the emphasis in certain places that they intended. I think I only realised that properly when I started hearing other people read my stuff!”

Money, who is of Wiradjuri heritage and an award-winning poet, has just released her first book of poetry, titled, how to make a basket, with the collection examining the tensions of living in the Australian colony today while celebrating black and queer love.

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