Poet Telia Nevile doesn’t mind cutting a rug

I am not a fighter, I’m also not a winner very much, but I am a lover, and have frequently been a sinner (I do work in the arts after all…).  I am not a sports-capable person, but I do enjoy cutting a rug; I am not outgoing, but I love being with friends; I am not a vegetarian, although I once was; and I am not normal, but neither are any of my friends

You’ve incorporated a wide range of music into your poetry performances, including rap, blues and even industrial metal. Is there a musical style that doesn’t work with your poetry?

Musicians like Jack Johnson and Angus & Julia Stone make me want to chew my own knuckles, and the sugary pop that dominates the mainstream charts (Guy Sebastian, I’m looking at you) is so stuffed with clichés and ‘ooh baby’s that it seems to have very little room for lyricism.  But then again I used Richard Marx in my latest show and he’s as sugary as they come…  I’m contradicting myself aren’t I…  Say, have you listened to Magnetic Fields lately?  Best lyrics ever!

Is there a word that you haven’t been able to rhyme?

I’ve come across quite a few but I’m positive that I will find rhymes for them one day, even if I have to bend English into pretzel shapes to do it.

In your shows you often bemoan the widespread misuse of the English language. Why people no talk good?

Like Ferris says, ‘life moves pretty fast’.  I think we all get a bit caught up in modern society’s drive to go faster and faster so abbreviations and acronyms tend to run rampant.  The great thing about some of the more archaic and neglected words in the English language though is that they convey so much nuance and flavour.  I think we over-simplify a lot right now, using broad-brushstroke language, and it means that our communications rarely drop below the surface to something meatier.  So I say more laugh-out-louds and less LOLs.

What isn’t real about the Telia Nevile stage persona?

I turn the volume up to 11 on the social ineptness and crazy outbursts for my stage persona, so where I may have those thoughts on a low murmur, my stage presence has them at a full-throated yell.

What isn’t poetry?

Hateful discrimination, wilful ignorance, pointless violence, badly-made coffee, getting up while it’s still dark, being clogged up with phlegm, insomnia…anything that makes you shut down instead of open out.

You’ve appointed yourself Australia’s poet laureate. Why doesn’t Australia have a poet laureate position?

The word poetry seems to make a lot of Australians flinch.  Hopefully that will change

Finally, if you got to appoint Australia’s first official poet laureate, who wouldn’t you choose?

Bob Katter

Keep an eye on Telia’s latest projects here

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