Twenty three year old Jesse Brand was crowned Australian Poetry Slam Champion after a competitive bout of words on stage in the Drama Theatre at the Sydney Opera House on 13 October.
The former Toronto High School student impressed judges in the final with his poem about his younger brother, Joshua.
Although he has been writing poetry and watching slam videos for years, Jesse entered the competition “on a whim”, after searching online for local poetry slam events. He progressed through the regional heat in Newcastle to the NSW State Final before his appearance at the National Final in Sydney.
Jesse’s describes his poetry as characteristically lexical, narrative based and loaded with metaphorical imagery and interwoven themes, often science, mythology and history.
“Apparently I also speak in an American accent when I perform, which is news to me,” Jesse says. “I suppose it must be the rhythm it provides, or some articulation aspect.”
As winner, Jesse will perform spoken word sets at China’s Bookworm Literary Festival and the Ubud International Writers’ and Readers’ Festival.
As for his future plans, Jesse remains focussed on his literary career with plans to apply with the Australian Society of Authors for a mentorship for his first novel. “I love poetry, but primarily I’m a novelist. I usually incorporate poetry into narrative, and vice versa.”