Watch slam poets Alice Eather and Ee'da Brahim give a powerful voice to the unheard

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Daisy Dumas

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Episode 2: Alice Eather

As an indigenous activist, primary school teacher and poet, Alice uses her words to build a bridge between her two cultures. Alice Eather's performance is part of the new ABC iView exclusive series, The Word: Rise of the Slam Poets, and can be found here: http://iview.abc.net.au/collection/the-word.

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"You don't have to be a constant wall of noise," says The Word: Rise of the Slam Poets co-director, Darius Devas. "You can have articulate, subversive moments."

The film-maker is behind a powerful new ABC mini-documentary series, out on Monday, exploring Australia's burgeoning and wonderfully fertile slam poetry movement. At its core are six Australians with politics, history, race, equality and family in their thoughts and on their tongues. 

Victorian Ee'da Brahim, a Malay muslim poet, founded Sisters for Sisters, and arts collective that raises funds for ...

Victorian Ee'da Brahim, a Malay muslim poet, founded Sisters for Sisters, and arts collective that raises funds for women around the world. Photo: ABC, The Word, Darius Devas

Devas and his co-director Timothy Parish spent four months making the iView exclusive, spending time with two remarkable women whose considered, strong and quietly told messages are underpinned by their ethnicity and place in the world.  

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"It was just really inspiring to see how both these women use the spoken word with such a sense of gentle power," says Devas. Like their male counterparts, he says Ee'da Brahim and Alice Eather are drawn to the idea of stripping everything away and allowing only their voices to be heard.

"This feels like a new evolution," he says of the slam poetry emerging from Australia's remote communities,  inner cities and unsung suburbs. "We hope this encourages more people to use spoken word as a form of expression because it's so simple and so powerful."

Over to Brahim and Eather.

 

I'm standing by this fire, the embers smoking, the ashes glowing, the coals weighing us down, the youth are buried in the rubble, my eyes are burning and through my nostrils the smoke is stirring. 

I breathe it in. Yuya Karrabura. 

I wear a ship on my wrist that shows my blood comes from convicts. 

On the second fleet, my father's forefathers came, whipped, beaten and bound in chains. 

The dark tone in my skin, the brown in my eyes, sunset to sunrise, my Wornow. Mother's side.

Alice Eather, mixed-race Djebbana woman from Arnhem Land


My body is not your dumping ground.

Not your place of release. My body is the sacred site. Yes. But not for the tourist bucket list. Tick. Yeah, I've been there. 

It is not the free soup sample section at the supermarket.

My body's too vast for shallow slurps in its herb garden that grew cardamom and cinnamon and turmeric and sage and ginger that gives and heals like homeopathic drops.

Ee'da Brahim, Malay muslim woman from Victoria, founder of Sisters for Sisters