Desert(ed) Island Poems #2 – Julie Beveridge

Here is the 2nd chapter of the Desert(ed) Island Poems series. This time Brisbane poet, Julie Beveridge talks us through the poems that would accompany her to a deserted island.




I write the below list with the understanding that I am entitled, at any stage, to change my mind because there are so many variables… did I know I would be stranded on an island… has the world and all its literature been destroyed apart from myself and the island… am I pleased that I am stranded?… is my partner alive somewhere wondering where I am?.. you know, all the details you need to know before packing for a stint of being deserted on an island.

So, if I were stranded on a deserted island, today and for an undetermined amount of time, these are the poems that I would want to have with me… (in no particular order)

Mein KampfDavid Lerner   

This poem always excites and incites riot in me … Lerner, in a lot of his poems, affirms to me how seriously exciting poetry – and life – can be.. it’s a dancing alone in your living room poem – and seeing as I would be alone on this desert island I would love the chance to climb to the top of something and scream this poem out before flinging myself into the ocean (for thrills not kills obviously).  It’s also completely pretentious and I love that too.

I come not to bury poetry
but to blow it up
not to dandle it on my knee
like a retarded child with
beautiful eyes

throw it off a cliff into
icy seas and
see if the motherfucker
can swim for it’s life

Read the poem here:


Howl – Beau Sia 

A beautiful elegy for Allen Ginsberg…  a gorgeous response to Giny’s Howl with a 21st Century perspective – but gentle and grieving and attempting to understand something. A great mix of contemporary American lines and sonic American performance poetry.

Read full poem here:


The Red – Judson Evans

This haibun has so much hidden in it I could read it every day for a year and find something new – perfect for those long days stranded alone on a deserted island. The simple narrative has the protagonist getting out of bed in the morning, taking stock of her surrounding … and you are hit with the accompanying Haiku –

one year from your death
bright red bristles of your beard
in an old razor


Comma – Martin Johnston 

This poem was my introduction to Australian poetry – and it will always be in any list I write about favourite words.

because a comma can’t be spoken
I present you silence
one million translucent cigarettes
someone’s sweet-smelling tree with moons among its branches


Totem – Luke Davies 

A love poem in 80 amazing pages – contains a line which connected me to the love of my life. This poem is so sumptuous you almost need to be stranded on a deserted island so you can really reach inside it.

Read a review of the poem here:


You Don’t See Me – Graham Nunn 

Speaking of loves of lives – I would have to take this poem for the selfish reason that it’s for me and I would miss my partner terribly what with being stranded and all… though I have to clarify I can tell a frog from a toad.

Read the poem here:


Love Letter Post Marked Van Beethoven – Diane Wakoski 

Diane Wakoski is ridiculously prolific and delightfully mad… this would be a great poem to slowly go mad to…  she’s famous for her revenge pieces on all the ‘motorcycle betrayers’ she loved in her youth.. This one sees her day dreaming about taking them all out with a .38 Thompson Contender – a poetic Dirty Harry.

Read the poem here:


Lady Lazurus – Sylvia Plath 

Another wonderfully mad lady – this is another poem that hooked me in at an early age – I see a lot of humour in it and it’s dramatic as Elvis, I love reading this poem out loud. A great poem to get swept up in.

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
and I eat men like air

Read the poem here:


Hymn to the Rebel Cafe – Edward Sanders 

Sanders pays homage to the great people that gathered at the Rebel Cafe – but more. I think it’s a comment on communities and progression and what people doing not a whole lot can achieve when they aren’t really looking. Sanders represents how important place is to everything.

We’ll have to keep on opening & closing
our store fronts, our collectives,
our social action centres
till tulips are in the sky

Read the poem here:,M1


Mulga Bill’s Bicycle – Banjo Patterson  

Mainly for comic relief and to aid in going quietly mad whilst stranded on a deserted island – my chances of stumbling across a soccer ball like Tom Hanks did are few so a bit of Mulga Bill would do the fantastical trick I think … although if he is unavailable I’d happily take anything from Spike Milligan.

Read the poem here:


About Julie:

Julie Beveridge is an emerging Queensland poet. At 26, she was the youngest director of QLD Poetry Festival to date.

She has two collections of poetry rock’n’roll tuxedo and Home is Where the Heartache is (Small Change Press) and is regularly published in print and online publications.

As an active member of the Brisbane poetry community, she is passionate about the innovation in promotion and distribution of new poetry and is always looking for a new way to deliver poetry to an audience.

Julie has been a feature artist at the Queensland Poetry Festival: spoken in one strange word; Byron Bay Writers Festival; Tasmanian Poetry Festival and the Sydney Writers Festival: 2006 Word Wrestling Federation SLAM as well as reading at various arts events in Brisbane, Noosa, Bulimba, Rockhampton, Ipswich, Nambour, The Gold Coast and Melbourne.

Julie is excited to be directing QPF 2009 and is looking forward to what is always a great experience.


Buy Julie’s latest collection Home is Where the Heartache is at:


Filed under Desert(ed) Island Poems

6 responses to “Desert(ed) Island Poems #2 – Julie Beveridge

  1. There’s some pretty solid juicy sustenance on that desert(ed) island.. and Mulga Bill’s Bicycle.. I cackled aloud remembering it.
    I haven’t read Luke Davies Totem.. will have to seek it out.
    I’m lovin these shares!


  2. gnunn

    Yeah, there is some amzing stuff here… from the love epic Totem to the love crazed Love Letter Postmarked Van Beethoven. Definitely seek out Totem by Luke Davies. I was lucky enough to read on a bill with him where he read from it. I had never read the poem when I heard him read from it and it just put its hooks in me straight away… so vivid and majestic. Glad you are enjoying these posts!


  3. yes indeedy. the wakoski (and others) made me think of that line of john lydon’s in PIL’s’rise’ song: “anger is an ENERGY!” found the beau sia piece spot on (and hard to do well, those sorta poems), and the lerner and the sanders are both INSPIRING IN EXTREMIS. just what you need when you’re doubting your own writitng — ya just keep on keeping on. like a bird that flew. ooops, spuriousous dylan quote alert! and will DEFINATELY search out ‘totem’ now. onya, jules.

    • gnunn

      Wow… I haven’t thought about Rise by PIL in a while. Love that song and will now have to dig it out and give it a spin. There is certainly alot of urgency in list Desert(ed) Islands list. I was talking with a friend last night and she was saying that what she loved about Wakoski was that she saw herself as the chooser and not the chosen… I love that and you can certainly sense that in her work. Glad you are enjoying these Matt.

    • gnunn

      Oh and you should check out the interview with Max Ryan as well… got a few tasty Dylan references in there for you!

  4. oh, and jack foley’s comments on ‘mein kampf’ are great: “a perverse love poem addressed to a woman who is definitely functioning as his muse but lamentably not as his lover” etc. it’s HIS struggle, but ours too….what a poem, tho!!!!

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