Wodonga Council

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Young poet shines a light on teen mental health

18 Oct, 2023

A Wodonga student who recently competed in the national final for poetry slam says the competition helped her find her voice.

Eve Francis blitzed the local Australian Poetry Slam heat held at Hyphen – Wodonga Library Gallery last month, earning a spot in the state final in Melbourne where she placed runner-up.

She went on to compete at the national competition in Sydney and while she did not progress from the first round, she said it was ‘one of the best experiences’.

It was her first time on a plane and her first time in Sydney where she met some fantastic writers who have become friends.

The 13-year-old prepared three poems for the Sydney competition, with up to 12 hours of work put into editing and rehearsing.

“I write a lot about teen mental health because I believe it’s overlooked by the older generations,” Eve said.

“A lot comes down to what my friends and I have experienced.”

The Wodonga Middle Years College Felltimber Campus student has been fortunate to meet performance poets, Joel McKerrow and Ren Alessandra during past Ignite programs, writing workshops hosted by Hyphen.

Eve said while she is nervous when she takes to the stage to perform, she remembers something Joel McKerrow told her.

“He said that our story is more valuable than the fear you feel in this moment,” she said.

“Joel and Ren taught me so much, they taught me how to write and express myself through my words and through my body language.

“What I love about slam poetry is people want to hear what you have to say.

“This was important in helping me find my voice and find my confidence.”

Her mum, Aimee, said she was proud of her daughter and how she portrays herself.

“She has a big vocabulary and she loves literacy and it just oozes from her,” she said.

Eve said she will continue to work on her poetry and is looking for more opportunities to express her voice through the spoken word.


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