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word travels presents: desireé dallagiacomo


It’s a cold-bitten evening and I’m getting myself out of the house for an evening of poetry. Nestled in-between pubs and tourist shops in Sydney’s historical Rocks area, I find a woman with a makeshift sign that catches my eye. I’m here, and I’m in for a ride.

I go inside and then up some stairs, and then higher still, until my partner and I literally reach the attic. It’s warm up here; cozy, close, and strewn with blankets and cushions. I sit down and wait, thinking about what the past few hours have been like for me, and what they may have been like for others in the room. I know some of them would have been to a poetry workshop this evening, hosted and taught by our main act for tonight, Desireé Dallagiacomo, a talented poet and artist from the USA. What did these people learn? What did they see and hear? The thought intrigues me, and I wish I had shelled out the money to be a part of the learning. Alas, I must sit in the background of the room, and immerse myself on my own accord.

The backlit corner of the room is opened to an evening of slam poetry by local Filipino-Australian poet Eunice Andrada. Eunice is calm and cool, and her words fill the space with warmth and hope. We applaud, and click (or ‘snap,’ as Desireé later tells us what it’s called in the USA), and laugh as she reads a love poem to her ‘beau,’ who is literally sitting right in front of her. We are reminded once again of our closeness in this small space, and the vulnerability that we all share.

Desireé is introduced to us and steps up to greet the suddenly quiet room. She is confident, yet intrinsically human in her approach. What follows is an hour of her old poems, her new works, her tears, her thoughts, her life; all rolled into the space that binds us and separates us, that in-between and inexplicable air that inspires us.

Desireé brings a troubled past and a strong conviction to her words and stories. She pokes fun at pick-up lines in her poem Drop Off Lines, and stands up against body shaming in her extremely popular feminist anthem, Thighs. Desireé has a mixed-bag of tricks, that lend themselves towards feminism, the strong female body, and a connection to family and love. She has been there, done that, and is no stranger to standing up for herself. Her scars are shown to us through performance, and we are invigorated with the scent of her drive to press on and on, forward into the unknown.

The event was hosted by Word Travels, a not-for-profit arts company that focuses on the spoken word, and just how far it can get you. This event, which featured a poetry workshop with the featured artist and then a special, intimate performance, is the first of its kind that Word Travels is hosting, but it won’t be the last. You can join their mailing list to find out about upcoming events, such as the Australian Poetry Slam and WordShop events.

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