Press Esc to close

'I like observing the world around me'

Rajitha Menon, DH News Service, Nov 16 2017, 21:01 IST
Miles Merrill

Miles Merrill

Writer, performer, mentor, facilitator - there are many designations one can ascribe to Miles Merrill. Credited with introducing poetry slam to Australia, Miles is known for combining poetry with theatre, experimental audio, hiphop beats, standup and occasionally, political confrontation.

As part of his India tour, where he will be participating in the Bookaroo children's literature festival and school outreach programmes, Miles made a pitstop in Bengaluru recently, where he had a brief chat with Rajitha Menon.

How did you enter this field?

I used to write poems in my notebook when I was young. One night, I decided to get up and perform them at an open mic. After the performance, someone asked me if I could perform the same poetry at their pub for $50. This was in 1996. And I started performing in pubs, then got together with a band, put out an album and toured around the world. Now, I have set up a not-for-profit organisation that runs poetry slams in Australia, China, Indonesia and New Zealand.

How would you describe this art?

It's immediate and accessible. You can share it with friends or large audiences. So I could tell you a poem right now and you would have experienced the art form.

Oh, could you tell me one then?

Sure. If tonight had a nose, of course it would be running from the bridge on down. Tonight's sick cabs would cha-cha-cha holes in your dance floor. It's hair is black fire, under control but still dangerous.

Did you just make it up?

No, I wrote it earlier, memorised it and rehearsed it. There are people who do freestyle though.

Why do you think it resonates with youngsters so much?

That's because of the immediacy and the accessibility, so they can do it themselves. They don't need to wait for permission, they don't need to be cast in the perfect role.

What makes for a good work in a poetry slam?

There are a number of things. One is literary quality. The performers don't just talk about their emotions, they take the audience through those situations so they can get to feel what the poet felt. We also want vulnerability; we want to know that the person on stage is just like us. Someone who is expressing something that maybe most of us will be afraid to express.

Favourite topics to include in your performances?

I like observing the world around me. Today I was in a car and I saw a beautiful woman in a dress on a motorbike. I could only see her reflection in the rear view mirror of the bike. I felt like seeing her face and when I did, I saw that she had her finger very deeply in her nose. To me, that simple observation is worth a poem.

Thoughts about India...

It is my first time here and I am still trying to process it (laughs). There are so many different sights here. The Australian Embassy has been treating me very well.

What did you do here?

I walked from The Lalit Ashok Bangalore, where I am staying, to Chickpet. I roamed through the markets and had food from the vendors on the street. It was amazing and I was surprised at how cheap the food was there.

What should be done to promote poetry slams?

Young people can record videos of their performances and put it on their social media platforms and spread the word about the art.

Go to Top

More from this section
Photo Gallery
Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar met members of the Indian Womens cricket team at the MCA BKC...

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar met members of the Indian Womens cricket team at the MCA BKC...

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu joins hands with ASEAN Ministers...

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu joins hands with ASEAN Ministers...

Karni Sena activists demonstrate against the release of Padmaavat, in Bhopal...

Karni Sena activists demonstrate against the release of Padmaavat, in Bhopal...

The tableau of Gujarat for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

The tableau of Gujarat for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

An artist of J & K tableau for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

An artist of J & K tableau for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

Jana Sena Party chief and actor Pawan Kalyan offers sweets to his wife Anna Lezhneva before...

Jana Sena Party chief and actor Pawan Kalyan offers sweets to his wife Anna Lezhneva before...

The tableau of Maharashtra for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

The tableau of Maharashtra for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

A woman shows the damage at her house after heavy shelling from the Pakistani side of the...

A woman shows the damage at her house after heavy shelling from the Pakistani side of the...

School students wear the customary yellow dress for Basant Panchami ...

School students wear the customary yellow dress for Basant Panchami ...

Police personnel guard as Buddhist monks wait at the entrance gate to enter Mahabodhi temple...

Police personnel guard as Buddhist monks wait at the entrance gate to enter Mahabodhi temple...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.