Writers On Writing / Jazz Money

‘When a piece is going to exist off the page there is a beautiful invitation to consider an additional form and function in that new medium.’

Writers on Writing is our regular conversation with a writer or industry professional about the writing craft, industry insights, and their own practice. This week, we spoke to award-winning poet Jazz Money about what inspires them to write and grow in their craft, ahead of their Poetics of Place workshop at Writing NSW on 22 July.

What is the most unexpected place that has triggered the urge for you to write a poem immediately? 

I often write poems in nature, thinking about the power of Country, and so when the exact opposite happens, when a poem strikes when confronted about the griminess of life I’m usually quite surprised. A doctors waiting room, the back of an Uber, the supermarket, are all places where poems have appeared for me. Have to stay prepared!

Do you keep editing your poems years after they were first published as your voice changes, or do you let past poems lie?

I love reviewing and revising pieces. When something is being republished it’s a lovely opportunity to look at the piece anew.

Your poetry comes in so many forms — song, art, film, and projection —  does your writing practice change depending on the form?

Absolutely. One of my favourite things about poetry is the meeting of form and function, and so when a piece is going to exist off the page there is a beautiful invitation to consider an additional form and function in that new medium. 

After contributing to more than two dozen anthologies and collections, how does it feel to have an entire book— how to make a basket — of your own?

I don’t know if I’ll ever fully recover from having the opportunity to publish a book! But now after how to make a basket being out in the world for almost two years, I feel the way I’ve grown and changed. I’m looking forward to having another collection out in 2024! More on that soon.

What other poets’ work have you read or seen recently that you loved?

Just this morning I was watching Melanie Mununggurr’s performance with Jessica Mauboy at Australia Fashion Week – so deadly! I’ve loved the recent collections Dress Rehearsals by Madison Godfrey, Non-Essential Work by Omar Sakr and Burnt Tongue by Daley Rangi. I was lucky to see live readings by Joshua Whitehead and Anthony Joseph at festivals in the last month, and I’m still thinking about a performance I saw lisa luxx deliver last year. In the near future I’m really looking forward to the debut collections from Sara M Saleh and Anne-Marie Te Whiu. Finally, Dakota Feirer is a 2023 black&write! fellowship recipient and I am excited to read what he is working on, Dakota’s work is always brilliant.

Jazz Money is a poet and artist of Wiradjuri heritage producing works that encompass installation, digital, performance, film and print. Across different mediums Jazz’s practice is centred around questions of narrative and legacy: place memory, First Nations memory, colonial memory and the stories that we tell to construct national and personal identity. 

Their writing has been widely published nationally and internationally, and performed on stages around the world, including: TEDx Sydney, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Sydney Opera House, Literature Live! Mumbai, Performance Space New York, PEN International, and a wide range of arts and literary festivals in every Australian state and territory. Their first poetry collection, the best-selling how to make a basket (UQP, 2021) was the 2020 winner of the David Unaipon Award. In 2023, Jazz is a resident artist at the Carriageworks Clothing Store in Sydney.

Join Jazz’s workshop Poetics of Place: Writing new poetry wherever you are at Writing NSW on Saturday 22 July 2023, 10am-4pm.


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