Monthly Archives: March 2009

Poet’s Breakfast #5 – Beverley George

This time for Poet’s Breakfast, we enter the intertidal world of Beverley George, so grab a cup of tea, and let your mind unwind… this is a breakfast landscape to lose yourself in.



lagoon sunrise –
the pelican’s bill keeps time
with my teabag

We live between an ocean and a freshwater lagoon.

The ocean is beyond tall houses on the other side of the street. The large freshwater lagoon is five metres from our back door.

I watch moorhens; egrets; cormorants; herons;  four species of duck.

It is the pelicans I love, when they are here, rather than being busy; flying west, flying north, being somewhere else.

At 6 am, heating the jug for my fresh lemon juice in water, I look for them. When they are present, plummeting from the north headland, folding onto the water, fishing, my day-start takes on a contemplative mood.  Breakfast is no longer something to merely fit in, or not.  It exerts its own weight amd circumstance.

In the kitchen, on our open shelves below the plate rack, there are five breakfast bowls from Kyoto.  The bowls are inexpensive but they have been shipped here, after my return, in a black lacquer box with slanting divisions, as carefully packed as if they were porcelain.

The bowls do not match in colour, but they tone. I take down one at random. Any one. That is at the heart of the ritual. Any one. No premeditated thought of which to choose, or memory of the last one I used. It’s like crossing fingers, not walking on cracks.

I scoop into the bowl the same brand of natural yoghurt, add blueberries or fruit in season. Wait for a pelican to drift into the water space I am watching, between boughs of melaleuca. 

I wish I could say inspiration strikes me in this quiet time, but it rarely does.  It’s just time out, a space for me, before the day begins.

Still facing the lagoon I find a teacup. Pour water onto tea.


About Beverley George:



Beverley George lives between the ocean and a freshwater lagoon and dabbles in most forms of writing. She is the founder and editor of Eucalypt, Australia’s first journal for tanka only and past editor of Yellow Moon 2000-2006 and the Society Of Women Writers NSW (Inc) Newsletter 2004-2006. Her seven international first prizes for haiku and related genres include the British Haiku Society James W Hackett Award 2003 and the Tanka Society of America’s International Contest 2006. She is president of the Australian Haiku Society. Her first book for children, Sneeze Power, was published by Blake in 2006.


Find Out More:

Eucalypt has reviews of her tanka collection, empty garden and an article on tanka first published in “Five Bells”.

Beverley was the featured poet January – July 2008 on Tanka Online, a teaching site for tanka. An interview by Jeanne Emrich and a selection of Beverley’s tanka are available

Simply Haiku vol 4 no 3 has an  interview of Beverley by Patricia Prime and examples of her haiku tanka and haibun.


Filed under Poet's Breakfast

Desert(ed) Island Poems #7 – Darkwing Dubs

SpeedPoets hits The Alibi Room this Sunday, April 5 from 2pm with a three-prong feature attack including sets from Skye Staniford, Pru Gell and Brisbane spoken word/hip-hop artist Darkwing Dubs. Darkwing shared his Desert(ed) Island Poems with me recently, so now I am sharing them with you!




1. Freedom – J5

To me Jurassic Five are what a classic hip-hop crew are all about: great funky samples, lyrical precision, and a cohesion of artistic talent on par with the greatest bands and orchestras in the world. In essence, the title “Freedom” says it all. And it’s been done before. And it will be done again. But if the message is pummeled into the brains of the many, maybe it will actually, finally happen. Freedom comes in so many shapes and sizes. To be free means different things to different people. Whether you’re in a domestic violence situation; or your whole culture is denied it’s basic human rights; or your sexuality is denied, unwelcomed, shunned, freedom is a thing to constantly fight for… Bring it on.

Read the lyrics here:

Watch them perform it here:


2. Jack and The Beanstalk – Roald Dahl

Gotta love old mate Roald Dahl. What a creative genius! Hence you’ll find I’ve put two of his works in here. I was raised on Roald Dahl, loved his talent from the first sip of Fizzbang through to a journey with James and a ride on a chocolate river with Willy Wonka. I still pick up his books today with a smile, not just from the inevitable nostalgia, but because I genuinely still really enjoy reading his work. Me and some mates made a short film of this poem in high school, just for shits and giggles. Yet every time I read it I illicit that same mischievous laugh at how a book for kids could be so dark (something I discover more and more in his work, the older I get. I mean, what kind of psycho is Willy Wonka?… No, seriously! The dude’s a sadist!)

Read it here:


3. Papa’z Song – 2Pac

I was a bit skeptical of adding this one in. I mean, a lot of people know 2Pac as “one of those dead gangsta rappers”. But the 2Pac I know is far, far from it. I could go into his obsessive creative nature, being so transfixed by death and the ideas of dying, that he got more done in a single recording session than many artists do in a lifetime (hence the back catalogue of lyrics that pop up in “new” songs from time to time). How his acting ability in movies like Gridlock’d saw him break the conventional “rapper-actor” status quo. How his books of poetry piss on the conventional works in the poetry section at Dymocks.

But that’ll take too much time, plus it’s just my biased opinion, and if you want to talk 2Pac, I’m always just an e-mail or phone call away.

What I will mention is how this song touched my teenage, angst-ridden, only-child-single-mum-wanna-feel-sorry-for-myself heart.

I never had it this bad. There were no drugs. No weekly visits by strange men etc. But here is the crux of 2Pac’s universal appeal: emotion, emotion, emotion. I wanted to feel like someone out there knew how lonely I was. 2Pac let me. I wanted to feel angry at a world that looked at me as an outcast. 2Pac let me. I wanted to hate the dad I never met. 2Pac let me.

And even though I’m not in that place anymore, whenever I hear 2Pac’s voice, he takes me wherever he is. And I let him.

Read the lyrics here:

Watch him perform it here:


4. Television – Roald Dahl

You can just tell how pissed he is about the idiot-box. Great Stuff.

Read it here:


5. The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran “On Children”

This is the closest thing I’ve got to a bible, so to speak. I’ll look into it from time to time just to centre myself. “On Children” is great because I find myself thinking about parenting a lot (cluck cluck eh?…. shit….). So this verse helps me re-align the place children have, and deserve to have in society. As human beings.

Read it here:


6. Waiting For The Great Leap Forward – Billy Bragg

Easily one of my favorites. Billy Bragg is a folk singer from the UK who struts around the globe with his hand made electric guitar, fist raised. “If you’ve got a blacklist I want to be on it”. Tell ‘em Billy. Give ‘em hell.
“So join the struggle while you may, the revolution is just a T-shirt away”…

Read it here:

Watch him perform it on the Rollins Show here:


7. Coded Language – Saul Williams

I’ve only just recently discovered Saul Williams, and what a delight he is. So fresh and bold. Check out this on youtube if you get a chance.
Reject Mediocrity!

Read it here:

Watch him perform it here:


8. Shadows of Tomorrow – Madvillain (feat. Lord Quas)

I truly can’t get enough of anything Madlib and MF Doom touch. So hearing this music is the very definition of “music to my ears”. Madlib on the beats, Doom on the vocals, yet this track sees a switch up. With Madlib and his alter-ego Quasimoto stepping up to present a wordsmith’s dream of philosophy and downright confusion. I’m still unsure exactly what it all means, and for me, that signifies a great, sincere, mammoth effort (especially in the current hip-hop climate of wack beats with even wack-er MC’s).

Read the lyrics here:

Watch them perform it here:


9. The Creation Of Ea – Ursula K. Le Guin

This is the poem that begins her classic Earthsea novels. I’ve read this book so many times throughout my life I’ve lost count. I started reading the Earthsea books when I was about 7. These books symbolise, to me: death and life; hope and despair; love and hate; and youth and maturity. The poem at the start says it all.

She is an author who can say in one sentence what takes J.K. Rowling a whole chapter (not hating on Harry Potter, don’t get me wrong, I really dig a bit of expelliarmis and death eater action myself, but if you compare the two, you’ll agree). Le Guin transfixes me in worlds beyond your standard fantasy and science fiction.

Read it here:

The Creation of Ea – by Ursula K. Le Guin in “A Wizard Of Earthsea”

Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying life :
bright the hawk’s flight on the empty sky.


10. Extract from Macbeth – William Shakespeare

I returned to Shakespeare last semester at uni. It was really great to explore that world again. Shakespeare’s work is something that will be examined and defined and redefined until the human race is extinct. It works on the basic human levels of love and loss, hate and love and pain and death death death death death.

You’ve got to love a morbid ending or nine.

I love Macbeth. The witches, the death, the betrayal. Underbelly needn’t be true or not, it’s still the same story!

I particularly liked this scene, because the way it’s written is top class Shakespeare. You can hear the heavy breathing of a man suffering between each line. The despair and the grief. “Out, out brief candle!”

Read it here:

Extract from “Macbeth”
By William Shakespeare


I have almost forgot the taste of fears;
The time has been, my senses would have cool’d
To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in’t: I have supp’d full with horrors;
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
Cannot once start me.

(Re-enter SEYTON)

Wherefore was that cry?

The queen, my lord, is dead.

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.


About Darkwing Dubs:

Darkwing Dubs has been performing hip-hop for over five years. After joining M.A.S. in 2003, he quickly established himself as a charismatic front man and skilled MC and Producer.

While a member of M.A.S., Dubs supported:
The Herd, Hermitude, Cog, Apsci, Morganics, Dogg Pound, Bone Thugs N Harmony, The Coalition Crew, Bias B, Muph n Plutonic, The Serenity and Rainman.

Since leaving M.A.S. at the beginning of 2008, Darkwing Dubs pursued the Poetry Slam scene in QLD. Taking out the Chermside heats, and earning a spot in the QLD final held at the State Library.

He has since performed Poetry and Hip-hop at:
Queensland Poetry Slam 2007 and 2008
‘Outsiderz’ @ Tongue and Groove 2007 and 2008
Queensland Poetry Festival 2008
Woodford ‘Word-food’ Slam 2008
City Cyphaz 2008 and 2009

Collaborating with fellow Hip-hop artist and Poet, Zennabomb, Darkwing Dubs has had rave reviews including:

Darkwing Dubs & Zennabomb take a sci fi twist to the unlit sparks and torch the space between The Cramps swallowing Sage Francis and where every comic book villian with three feet finds a beat and starts to dance. Hip hop sonic word twisters for the bent generation, boyyzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  – Ghostboy

Find Out More:

Last FM:


Be there to catch Darkwing’s set at SpeedPoets this Sunday, April 5 at The Alibi Room (720 Brunswick St. New Farm), from 2pm – 5pm.


Filed under Desert(ed) Island Poems

The Book Is Dead, Long Live The Book: An Evening with Bob Stein

On Friday night I went along to hear Bob Stein speak at Wordpool, an event presented by QLD Writers Centre as part of the 2009 Ideas Festival. Stein challenged the conventional idea of the book, its cultural role and the role of author and reader by focussing his presentation on the central question: What is a book?

In answering the question he began by looking at Copernicus’ book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (“On the revolution of the heavenly spheres”), famously referred to by Arthur Koestler as, ‘the book nobody read‘. This however, was not the case, as when Owen Gingerich, a former astrophysicist at Harvard, had a chance to examine a copy of a first edition of De revolutionibus, he was impressed by its extensive annotations, proving as Stein said, that even in 1543, there were conversations taking place between author and reader in the margins.

It is these conversations that are now commonplace on blogs, social networking sites and e-book readers that are placing author and reader on the same page and transforming the role of the book.

As reading moves from a solitary act to a social act, the book, once viewed as a ‘complete aretfact’, is fast becoming an endless continuum of ideas and discussion.

So just what is a book? This is a question I would love many of you to respond to as we have certainly moved beyond the Merriam-Webster definiton where the book is defined as ‘a set of written, printed, or blank sheets bound together into a volume.’

Look forward to hearing from you…


Filed under poetry & publishing

16 haiku from today’s reading

I had a blast reading at Under A Daylight Moon this afternoon… for all those who weren’t able to be there, here are the 16 haiku I read (those without an author attributed to them are my own):


how fine to see
the pure white fan
of my beloved



girl cat, so
thin on love
and barley



swat those flies
softly please
I want to sleep



my last resort —
I borrow the cat’s



not speaking
our shadows
keep touching



sun & moon
in the same sky
the small hand of my wife



holding you
in me still…
sparrow songs



If I go alone
I’ll lie in the wildflowers
and dream of you


in your panties
slightly pulled down
a crisp fallen leaf


her hair smell
in my face, my fingers
count her vertebrae


up her leg
I trace a line
of goosepimples

at sunset
two cats in love
the old dog moans

first date
too scared to kiss
on the ghost train

love letter
so humid
the page curls

faint glow
the moon on her skin
afer lovemaking

in love again
the kettle
boiled dry


Filed under poetry

Who Listens to the Radio: The Go-Bewteens

Here’s another of the articles I wrote for the Taking it to the Streets Exhibition that was held at the Museum of Brisbane. First up I posted my homage to The Saints – I’m Stranded and now…




 Before Hollywood – The Go-Betweens

Bursting onto the scene in 1977 as a Dylan infected, neo-pop band, The Go-Betweens were immediately at odds with Brisbane’s prevailing macho culture and the punk explosion created by hometown heroes, The Saints. Their lyrical genius, sweet harmonies, surprisingly intricate melodies and off kilter guitar sound stood them apart from anyone in the country at the time. Their sound had a melancholic intensity that had yet to be captured. By the time the band recorded their second album, ‘Before Hollywood’ (1983), they had relocated to England. They were critically recognised as an important band, but ‘Before Hollywood’ took things one-step further. For many, it was one song, ‘Cattle and Cane’ that made the breakthrough possible. The song is undeniably a classic, with its beautifully nostalgic lyric and elegant acoustic/electric arrangement. It is a song you can attach memories to, more like a painting than a story, and when it makes itself felt, it is never forgotten.

“I recall a bigger brighter world
A world of books
And silent times in thought
And then the railroad
The railroad takes him home
Through fields of cattle
Through fields of cane
From time to time
The waste memory-wastes
The waste memory-wastes”

This was the first sign of the real magic of The Go-Betweens. A magic that never faded throughout the recording of more than ten albums, a 12-year hiatus, several line up changes and too many tours to recall.


Sadly, since writing this article, Grant McLennan passed away on May 6, 2006.

Here is the poem I wrote for Grant after attending his funeral:


The Stillest Hour
 (for G.W. McLennan)

when the black car came
and took you away
the traffic lights
all turned red

suddenly the sound of a siren
a prolonged sound, the painful howl
of police or fire’s red engine
like the bellow of a mule in the night

it got closer and closer
over the streets and grey city buildings
it rose, like the complaining of cats
and like an animal, it died, wordlessly

leaving the gathering clouds black
and the day as well
not even a tear could make it rain
the salt of human hope

stirred by eulogies and the stories
that are now history
dry on our faces
shows us the air is troubled

this is the stillest hour
the quietest room
standing on the side of the road
with the cathedral looming

I don’t know whether to breathe
or sink …
now it’s you up there
lighting fires


Also if you need a reminder of just how magnificent Cattle and Cane is check these links out:

Film Clip:

Live on Rock Arena 1987:


Filed under who listens to the radio?

Artist Profile: Pru Gell

The April SpeedPoets gig is shaping up to be something special. Pru Gell is a spoken word artist living and working in the Northern Territory and a member of the gathering sister’s stories collaborative project. Luckily for us Brisbane folk, Pru is heading our way and will be performing a feature set at SpeedPoets on Sunday April 5. I had the pleasure of chatting with Pru recently about the role of poetry in our culture, her role models and the gathering sister’s stories project.



Who are your models and how do they/have they informed your writing?

I once heard Dorothy Porter say that she is drawn to read “poetry that’s like black oil from a poet’s heart.” I relished her saying this and asked her what she meant just so I could hear her talk about this more. Dorothy Porter, Suheir Hammad, Romaine Moreton and Audre Lorde are poets whose work I respect immensely.

Their poems show vulnerability, are unapologetic, tender, courageous, share ugliness and beauty and expose elements of the human experience. They are comfortable writing themselves into their poetry and they share their own experience as the foundation of their story making. I believe when poets, and or artists in general, are honest and reveal themselves in their work then audiences are more likely to be able to connect with the work and make their own linkages to personal and universal experiences.

Their work cuts through comfort to tell the heart of a story. Yet they tell enough of a story so that the words stand strong on their own. Reading, and or hearing their pieces, I can feel drawn in and connected to something visceral and therefore their words don’t just float in the ether or on the page.

I want to look back in a few years and feel that my writing and performing is imbued with such qualities.



What is the Gathering Sister’s Stories Project that you co-founded?

gathering sister’s stories: desert to sea is a collaborative poetry project working on developing a writing collective and a collection of poetry on the theme of invasion/colonisation. The gathering sister’s stories collective is around 10 Indigenous and non-Indigenous women from the desert (Australia) to the sea (Timor Lorosa’e) who are poets and spokenword artists. The collective is spread out from a small country town near Adelaide to Dili in Timor Lorosa’e.

For a while now I’ve noted that I’ve been compelled to write about connections and collisions stemming from invasion and living in an invaded land. Over the last few years at different writing festivals and on travels I’ve met a number of other writers whose work is also often responding to invasion. I wanted to get some of these writers together and find other folks who are also compelled to write on this theme and see what kind of pieces we could create if we worked collaboratively and shared stories and writing processes. So my friend and spoken word collaborator Ella McHenry and I asked a bunch of women if they’d like to work together and the collective began to form. It is a great collective of writers and I’m really exciting that we’ve just begun to share drafts of poems on a monthly basis.



What is the relationship between your speaking voice and your written voice?

For me there’s a significant difference between reading a piece of poetry and performing a spoken word piece. For my spokenword pieces I feel more comfortable having more flesh on the bones and using more words to tell a story. Whereas my poetry for the page tends to be sparser, with more flesh carved off but hopefully with enough words left so that the heart of a story is shared.



What is the role of poetry in our culture? We have so many media we can choose from – film, video, performance, etc… so what does poetry have that is unique to offer the human spirit?

Once I heard a quote along the lines of “the need to have a poet guide to walk beside when entering Dante’s inferno”. Poetry can be a ‘poet guide’ as we walk into and through the everyday.

I feel poetry has a number of roles. To connect. To illuminate. To capture moments and essence of a human experience and reflect them back to people. Breathe life into the spaces between commonly told stories and the unspoken. Zoom in and out of experiences and offer observations in the form of a few select words, a concise story. In a few distilled words a poem can tell the heart of a story.

In an essay called Poetry is not a luxury (1977), which I adore, Audre Lorde talks about the role of poetry to distill and illuminate experiences “… poetry as illumination, as it is through poetry we give name to those ideas which, until the poem, are nameless and formless, about to be birthed, but already felt” and the “revelatory distillation of experience” …. “that distillation of experience from which true poetry springs births thought.”





extraneous, some
thing not from here, interfere
not belonging to

with 4 week contract
working to save the children
no really it’s true

wearing new red beads
scintillating dinner talk
“hmm yes hmm yes hmm”

boots slightly dusty
long drive rust sand roads, just back,
“geez they don’t talk much”

swiped on basics card
2 jelly snakes, white bread bought
my silence tastes sour

50 minutes passed
5 longer that had been planned
3 town camps reviewed

I stuff your mouth with
bursting, crimson, tart quandongs
now will you listen?



1000’s of kilometres between


Looking skyward
I Find
Familiar stellar pictures
Pull same three from infinite
Fooling self
That’s all there is

Scorpio, Southern Cross and The Pointers
Drown in swarm of stars
Constellation sea so milky
Tongue tempted
Linger there
Moistening pink lips



Catch Pru live at SpeedPoets when it returns for its second gig of 2009 on Sunday April 5. It all happens at the The Alibi Room, 720 Brunswick St, New Farm from 2pm. The gig will also feature local spoken word/hip-hop artist Dark Wing Dubs and Brisbane songbird, Skye Staniford. There will also be live sounds from the SpeedPoets engine room of Sheish Money, free zines, giveaways and the hottest Open Mic section in our fine city. Entry is a gold coin donation. See you there!

SpeedPoets: Sunday April 5, 2pm – 5pm @ The Alibi Room, 720 Brunswick St. New Farm.


Filed under interviews/artist profiles

Brisbane Poetry Gig Guide – March 25

Saturday March 28

Under a Daylight Moon returns to Novel Lines Book Shop, 153 LaTrobe Tce, Paddington from 3pm with feature readings from Ron Heard (tales of Homer creating himself) and Pam Schindler who will be previewing her debut collection. There will also be live music from Mark Shorts and a haiku reading by this Lost Shark (see yesterdays post – haiku + haiku reading). Entry is free but buskers rules apply. See you there!


Sunday March 29

Ahimsa House proudly supports the local community-based poetry group in West End—The Kurilpa Poets. The next gig is Sunday, 29th March 2009. Time: 02—04.30 PM at  – The Emma Goldman Room – at Ahimsa House, 26 Horan Street West End (opposite the West End State School). Everyone is welcome. Murri and Koori poets please join in!
Our feature poet for March is Co-convenor of The Kurilpa Poets, and one of Brisbane’s gifted kavi (poet[s])—Vijan (Vij) Chandra. In his poetry Vij Chandra demonstrates a sharp sensitivity to his surroundings, with powerful impressions recollected through a prism of tranquillity. Vij Chandra brings an ardent sensibility to his exploration of human relationships, the loneliness in a crowd, the wistfulness of fleeting unions, the pining for love, the endless waiting to fulfil dreams, and the urgent, mortal necessity to live life to the full.


Sunday April 5

SpeedPoets returns for its second gig of 2009 with a a three-way feature attack. Be there when Brisbane’s longest running poetry event, rolls back into The Alibi Room, 720 Brunswick St, New Farm from 2pm, with features from local spoken word/hip-hop artist Dark Wing Dubs, the hauntingly beautiful sounds of Brisbane songstress Skye Staniford and a special treat, all the way from the Northern Territory, spoken word artist Pru Gell. There will also be live sounds from the SpeedPoets engine room of Sheish Money, free zines, giveaways and the hottest Open Mic section in our fine city. Entry is a gold coin donation.

SpeedPoets: Sunday April 5, 2pm – 5pm @ The Alibi Room, 720 Brunswick St. New Farm.


Friday April 17

Contraverse launches into 2009 at The Book Nook, Boundary St. West End from 7pm with Round Robin Open Mic and a feature set from Miss Ruby Fizz herself, Zenobia Frost. Entry is free.


Saturday April 18

Words or Whatever is Brisbane’s newest gig. All the Spoken Word, Slam, Hip-Hop and Subversion takes place from 6:30pm at Black Star Cafe, 44 Thomas Street, West End. The April gig features performances by LESSONMC, SURREAL, MANTIST, TRIKS & CHARLIE CHOCOLATE.


Filed under events & opportunities

haiku + Reading this Saturday

autumn moon
my barefoot love
swinging a bunch of leeks


          warm breeze
          the schoolgirl’s hair


For those of you in Brisbane, I will be the featured haiku poet at this Saturday’s Under A Daylight Moon reading. The event is held at Novel Lines Book Shop 153 LaTrobe Tce, Paddington and starts at 3pm. Entry is free. Hope to see you there.


Filed under poetry

Guided by Poets – Queensland

Here is the second thread in the Guided by Poets series. This thread started in Queensland and gradually wound its way south. Each poem speaking to the next, contibuting to the ongoing poetic dialogue.


i called the number

handsomely written on my forearm

in true black nikko

and gave my credit card details

to her anonymous voice


and three days later

my left hand was returned

in the mail




Nathan Shepherdson is the son of painter Gordon Shepherdson. He was the winner of the Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize in 2004 and 2006. In 2005 he received the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Award for an unpublished manuscript. As a consequence of that award, his first book, Sweeping the Light Back into the Mirror was published by the University of Queensland Press. At the 2006 Queensland Poetry Festival he was the recipient of the Val Vallis Award and in the same year was awarded the Newcastle Poetry Prize. His recent collection, what marian drew never told me about light was released in 2008 by Small Change Press.



Come on then my pretties
with heads or tails down at the bar
let’s drink to a strange kind of paradise
coz it’s double or free
and the bar always wins
Oh! I’m wearing my head of hard mud
and fallen in the river after insane nights
Oh! I’ll drown before the mud softens
for there’s never enough love with you
no there’s never enough love with you




Angela Gardner won the 2006 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and 2004 Bauhinia/Idiom 23 Prize. Her first book Parts of Speech was published by University of Queensland Press in 2007. She is founding editor of the poetry journal and a practicing visual artist with work in public collections. In 2008 she travelled to the USA and UK on a Churchill Fellowship to investigate small press poetry/printmaking collaborations. In 2009 she will take up a residency in Ireland supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.





 when i’m not drinking australian wine

                     ‘i like the way she
breaks her                  (her) lines’           the way the
music introducing no repeats for house                     (the tv
with cello sounds)     like     like how the mind can conjure
          i like the way curtis teases how curtis makes me roll     roll
how          blogpost armantrout
          her third     way i          i like the way she takes her time
(is it the bach?what number?what conductor?)     the glass     late like




Louise Waller is an Australian poet from Yeppoon in Queensland.  She devises work for theatre and writes poetry.  Her first collection Slipway is published in Swelter (IP2003) and (IP Digital 2004).  She has received national awards and grants for her poetry and work in theatre.  Recent poetry from her developing collection Aftershocks appears in Blue Dog:Australian Poetry and papertiger #04. Her latest collection is holding Job’s hand published by light-trap press in 2008. 




observational number i forget

fear of necking fear of basalt optimistic
about all white cliffs of dover ambivalent though
at rampant prolixity / achromatopsia / idiocy
magniloquent when fusing systems of
thought to suit this apparent

internationally registered mail from
turvey park p.o. after 4pm / wet clothes
& whatever xeransis / cheese is lunch /
this to type as if an act after
unintended celibacy   

a steady vein-cut dotting the patina 

         i’m stable while everyone
twitters about turning into angelina jolie




Derek Motion is a poet, a writer of fictions, a PhD student at Charles Sturt University, and Director of the Booranga Writers’ Centre. He also occasionaly writes reviews for *Famous Reporter*.




Escape (third confession)

this is where we spat into the sea
this is how we clapped for snakes
what I meant when I said north for starters
he tried hiding beneath kelp with bait 

naming the winds we spoke of sealers
who fuck their eel skin bags
never of cannibals who starve until
they see the house they are most afraid of 

he swore he could steal us a firestick
but his balls shrank to a purse inside him
he pissed on his feet to warm them up
then his chalky feet grew cold  

and frogs that roared as loud as cattle
he asked me how to suck his teeth
I felt my head for monstrous signs
each glance a thieving octopus  

all the time swearing on the book of Job
all the time with one eye open
until he seemed to me a lake of milk
I chewed his ears like apricots




Nathan Curnow’s first collection of poetry is No Other Life But This (Five Islands Press).  Funded by the Australia Council he has written a new collection of ‘ghost poetry’ based upon his stays at ten ‘haunted’ sites around the country (forthcoming with Puncher&Wattmann in 2009).  With further assistance from the Australia Council he is currently writing a new play based around convict stories and escape myths.


Filed under Guided By Poets

Where do the Words Come From #7 – Skye Staniford

SpeedPoets rolls around again on Sunday April 5 and this month’s music feature is Brisbane songbird Skye Staniford. Skye is a member of local music outfits,  ‘We All Want To’ and ‘Golden Virtues’, who regularly collaborate with Brisbane’s Ringmaster of Debauched Cabaret, Ghostboy, so I asked her the big question… Where do the Words Come From?

Her reply…

In bursts from my mind. Past, present and imagined love. Being. 

Beautiful, tell me more, I said… and she did:





I’m influenced or inspired by many things I come across. It’s a recurring process:

1. Come across ‘thing’. IE: book, album, sauce.

2. Get caught up in the moment of ‘thing’. IE: adopt language of book, begin singing in same style as on album, start putting Worcestershire Sauce on everything.

3. Initial hit of thing wears off. IE: finish book, get bored of album, start questioning the versatility of Worcestershire Sauce.

4. Some element of ‘thing’ weaves its way into me forever ie: A love and gift for using Nadsat, a love and gift for singing harmonies (thanks Simon, thanks Garfunkel), a love and gift for preparing and consuming  an incredible Bloody Mary, and we all know who the star of that show is…

It’s all about the ‘thing’.


The writing process

The pen is romantic but the keyboard is swift. Writing the words and working out how to express what I’m feeling and wanting on the guitar is a very strange ‘thing’. Explain I cannot. I have to jump on any desire to write straight away or it vanishes. I rarely practice. I don’t sit down and go ‘ok, I’m going to write a song now’. When I have done this in the past, the songs have been shit. I’m not extremely prolific but I’d like to think that means I’m a quality over quantity kind of girl.


The importance of voice

I’m a flautist and singer who smokes. I spent a large part of my childhood in hospital, hooked up to machines, with acute athsma. So aside from being insane, I will say that I don’t value and respect ‘the importance of voice’ enough.


Recurring themes

Longing and dysfunction. Satisfaction and contentment. Caring too much or not enough. Infected tattoos.


How have my feelings about lyrics, changed since I first started writing?

I used to be able to hammer out a stream of consciousness filled with mistaken rhyme. I also used to go night swimming on mushrooms. I’m more careful these days – less is definitely more.


Find Out More:



“ Brisbane ’s premier folk and roll outfit” – RAVE MAGAZINE

 Here we have a spearfishing guitarist. He can find a feast on any suburban street. Where we see pavers Reece sees starfruit. Background: Garage, Punk, Stoner Rock. Foreground: Words, Voice, Guitar, Bass, Harmonica. 

Coming up like a hurricane is our Shakespearean Siren and calligraphic enigma. An olde world, r-rolling violinist; Hannah Jane sings sweeter than syrup and looks like a wrapped present in any garment. Background: Classical, Gypsy, Folk. Foreground: Words, Voice, Violin, Guitar, Keys.

To her left we have a wandering minstrel. All legs and mellow, Robbie is a teleported-from-the-seventies cat, a melody-mining machine who loves on the frets like he loves vintage vinyl. Background: Prog Rock, Psychedelic, Experimental. Foreground: Voice, Bass, Guitar, Mandolin.

Then there is the ale-sipping chanteuse Skye, who sings off headlands and relates to the pied piper. She wants to eat a devilled egg and lay across your piano. Background: Blues, Doo Wop, 90’s Rock. Foreground: Words, Voice, Flute, Guitar, Bass, Tambourine.

Lastly, a true gentleman. Radovan holds his knife like a jazz drummer and plays a mean slide ukulele with a ripe pear. A Serbian pimp daddy with the crib to prove it, he reigns on sticks and mallets but draws the line at brushes. Background: Metal, Hip Hop, Heavy Rock. Foreground: Drums, Percussion


Catch Skye live at SpeedPoets when it returns for its second gig of 2009 on Sunday April 5. It all happens at the The Alibi Room, 720 Brunswick St, New Farm from 2pm. The gig will also feature local spoken word/hip-hop artist Dark Wing Dubs and Pru Gell (Northern Territory). There will also be live sounds from the SpeedPoets engine room of Sheish Money, free zines, giveaways and the hottest Open Mic section in our fine city. Entry is a gold coin donation. See you there!

SpeedPoets: Sunday April 5, 2pm – 5pm @ The Alibi Room, 720 Brunswick St. New Farm.


Filed under Where do the Words Come From?