Hinemoana Baker has hit the ground running as the 2009 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence. I caught up with her recently to have a chat about her experience so far.
Hinemoana walking down the long streets of Blackall
Since arriving you have had the opportunity to travel to the ‘big-sky country’ of Western QLD, visiting Blackall and Longreach. How was your experience and what affect did the landscape have on you?
The landscape was deeply affecting for me. I felt pretty emotional most of the time, and since I’ve been back I’ve cried a lot. I told Sam Watson Sr after seeing his play ‘Oodgeroo’ that I might just be crying for the three months I’m here.
At the same time as there was this kinda subterranean panic in me (being so far from the sea?), as the land just rolls out and rolls out and rolls out even more, past the windows of the car or whatever, just on and on, a sense of real calm arrives. I began to crave the space the more I saw of it and the more I was in it. I would go back in a heartbeat.
I don’t wanna be glib but it really put me in mind of that quote that’s often attributed to Kermit the Frog (at least in my mind): ‘Wherever you go, there you are.’
(Check out her recent blog post – Packing a lunch to cross the road – to get a full run down of her expeience in Blackall and Longreach)
One of the highlights of the residency is that local poets can book a time to come in and ‘talk poetry’ with you. What are some of the things you are hoping to achieve through this consultative process?
I’m hoping to learn more about poetry, and about Australia, Queensland, Brisbane, through its writers. I know how valuable it is as a poet to get some feedback about your work from trusted sources who aren’t your mates or your partner. And I know poets aren’t usually terribly wealthy. So to be able to offer some input for free to local poets is awesome.
(Indeed… if you want to book a free consult with Hinemoana you can email her at email@example.com)
QPF 2009 is just around the corner. What are you most looking forward to?
My partner Christine will be here by then. To be honest, being the homesick old bugger that I am, at the moment that’s what I’m most looking forward to!
Apart from that, I am keen to catch heaps of the other poets on stage and off – especially Zenobia Frost and Noelle Janaczewska. Be great to experience the one and only Santo again, too! Wooo! That boy blew me away at Speedpoets the other week.
Hinemoana performing at the Blackall Woolscour
Finally, what do you hope to leave behind as a legacy of the residency and just as importantly, what do you hope to take away?
I’ve started making a sound piece made up of field recordings from Blackall and Longreach. I’ll thread some text through and hopefully it’ll be just like a bought one.
What do I hope to take away? I’ll take the sounds with me, and the silences.
Catch Hinemoana at QPF 2009:
Friday August 21 – 7:30pm – 10:30pm
A Tangle of Possiblilties: featuring Elizabeth Bachinsky, AF Harrold, Neil Murray & Hinemoana Baker
Saturday August 22 – 4:00pm – 5:00pm
No Thrill Needs Faking: featuring Mofu & the Crepe Paper Kalashnikovs & Hinemoana Baker
Saturday August 22 – 8:00pm
A Million Bright Things: featuring a short set from every bright thing on the 2009 program plus a feature set from the awesome Neil Murray
Sunday August 23 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Just Kissed Goodbye: feat. Paul Magee, Janet Jackson, Angela Costi, Jane Williams, Neil Murray, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Geoff Goodfellow, AF Harrold, Hinemoana Baker and the QPF Committee
All sessions are held at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brunswick St. Fortitude Valley.
For full program details head to www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com