Monthly Archives: March 2010

Riverbend Poetry Series II – Featuring Tim Collins

The first Riverbend Poetry Series event for the year was one that I will long remember and I am already anticipating another great event on Tuesday April 27, when QLD Poetry Festival, QLD Writers Centre and Riverbend Books join forces to present a night of poetry with Tim Collins, Nathan Shepherdson, Kent MacCarter (VIC) & the launch of Brisbane’s favourite lit-mag Small Packages (vol. 11).

As always, I will be featuring a poem from each of the poets in the lead up to the event, so here’s a taste of what you can expect from Tim Collins:


That Night at the Powerhouse

And now this pale swan in her watery nest
Begins the sad dirge of her certain ending.


Your sandstone hair coloured the black
grace of evening, the resting river, baying
slowly, strobingly at the shore line, it was a
time to be written about (you away from him).

It could have been your wedding night,
you were that beautiful and the spelling
of your sensuality was in the way you
leaned against the wall as we kissed, your

tongue slim, soft and wet with warm intent,
your thighs all tensioned up as we pulsed
together, but the trip home in the cab had
the thistles of guilt growing in your every

breath, we sat apart in the cold back seat
of that cab, the cabbie wanted us to embrace
and harpsichord his lonely cold night drive
in the rear-view mirror…

and then not needing

a dictionary, I realised the way you got out
of the cab was the sheer epitome of rejection.
You walked to your home, to him, walked
slowly like the last refrain in a funeral dirge.

Tim Collins is a full-time poet, fictionist and playwright. His fourth book of poetry, House of Voices was short-listed in the 1993 Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize and highly commended in the 1995 Jessie Litchfield Award for Literature. His fifth poetry book, The Ruined Room was launched at the Queensland Poetry Festival in 2000. Along the Lip’s Edge – New & Selected Love Poems was launched in 2006 at the Queensland Poetry Festival.

His latest book of poetry, The Crooked Floor was launched in late 2009. Tim is one of the five founding members of Queensland Poets Inc. His poetry has been published in over 80 journals and magazines in Australia and overseas and he has received over 40 awards for his poetry.

Currently he is working on Night and Fog his eighth book of poetry. When he is not writing he is Poetry Editor for Etchings Creative Journal.

Date: Tuesday 27 April
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Tickets: $10 available through Riverbend Books and include sushi and complimentary wine. To purchase tickets, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at

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Five ways of looking at the River

Yesterday turned on some of the most perfect weather… and Brunswick Heads is definitely as beautiful as I remember. Here’s a quick look at a handful of photos from the trip.

                                     all photographs by Cindy Keong


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The Road Not Taken

Another Friday is here and as we enter that beautiful transition between night and day, my mind has drifted off to thinking about the weekend ahead… me, I am off  to Brunswick Heads.. Brunswick is one of those places that remains slightly ‘off the road’, and I hope it remains that way… We need these places in our lives. Places where we can return to our true self, places where landscape and body align.

And as today is Robert Frost’s birthday, I was drawn to revisit his poem, The Road Not Taken… a poem that illumines the beauty to be found when we move beyond the known. So whatever your plans for this weekend, I hope you find yourself on a road less travelled.

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Another Lost Shark Live at The Back Room

Brisbane is producing some really interesting events of late and The Back Room is one said event, that is making its debut on Wednesday March 31 at Confit Bistro (4/9 Doggett St. Fortitude Valley). Sheish Money and I will be playing a feature set to help welcome The Back Room to Brisbane alongside renowned Flamenco Guitarist, Andrew Veivers; live visual artist Warren Haney (Gallery 2120) and Storyteller, Jeff Cheyne. Crittenden Estate Wines will also be showcasing on the night, so if you are in Brisbane and like your art live, get along to:

The Back Room

Where: Confit Bistro, 4/9 Doggett St Fortitude Valley
Time: Bar opens from 5.30pm with music from 6pm.
Food: Tapas styled menu available.
Bookings: Limited table seating. To reserve a seat phone: 3254 4001



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The Lavender Room

The Lavender Room is a new outlet for Brisbane based artist Pascalle Burton and as of this Sunday, it is open for business and brimming with Zines, upcycled jewellery and other treasures. So to celebrate, I had a chat to Pascalle about what makes The Lavender Room tick.



The Lavender Room Zine issue #1 is now packed up in individual matchboxes and ready to hit the streets… so what can we expect to find when we slide back the cover?

I first notice people’s faces when they open it up; it’s a kind of childhood delight.  Like the only things you might expect to find in a box of matches is either a load of match sticks or perhaps a trapped beetle. Here is a little book – it immediately transforms our ideas of proportion, which I dig.  I have, however, noticed an expression of despondency when pyromaniacs look inside.

The zine-in-a-matchbox comes with a solitary match and a mission statement that ‘dares’ you to burn the zine after reading.  But prior to that moral dilemma, you’ll get to read:

Ye Olde Picture Books – vintage books with inspirational graphics;
Raise High the Salinger – ‘The Lavender Room’ is named after the New York piano bar from Catcher in the Rye and there’s quotes from the dearly departed J.D.Salinger;
Thankyou for Being a Friend – my Golden Girls pick of talented friends;
For Want of a Word – want a word? I’ve got one;
Tools in Vogue – predominant tools that I’ve been using;
The ebay That Got Away – it’s tough being outbid; and
It’s all rounded off with a poem, or Pome.



How do you see the Zine contributing to innovation in the publishing market? Are they the laboratories of the publishing world?

I would consider them as neither innovative nor marketable, necessarily. Zines have been around for a long time, embracing traditional ideas of manual printing and limited distribution in order to make uncensored work available, like the Beats and their mimeographed chapbooks or the Surrealists’ Situationist International publications. And it’s not really a scene for making money – for example, I charge $4 for each zine but they take a fairly long time to make. Zines have a different currency; the pay off for me is putting work out there, getting positive responses and, due to the miniature nature of my zine, developing my fine motor skills.

It’s not in my neighbourhood, though, to say whether zines are the forerunners, or ‘laboratories’, or the descendants of the publishing world. In some ways, it’s hard to see where appropriation begins and ends. Your blog is a kind of zine, isn’t it? But I do warm to the idea of being inventive with packaging and that is where zines can really shine – we’re able to mess with the perception of what a ‘book’ is.

There’s the notion of the Wunderkammer, or cabinet of wonders, collections of strange and wonderous natural history objects. I think that’s what zines are, little wunderkammers, microcosms of the producer’s world, reflecting philosophies about politics, religion, art, whatever curiosities you like. If only the business of the publishing world were as enchanting as that concept!


I see you have also branched out and are creating your own brand of upcycled jewellery featuring farm yard animals, toy cars and dinosaurs. What is the inspiration behind your range and what can we expect to see in the future?

I love making the upcycled accessories! I construct brooches, rings and earrings out of children’s toys or other unconventional objects. Again, it is not really creating, it’s remaking in a way, taking it somewhere different.  My approach is that dressing up should be fun, never too serious or austere. I’ve always been inspired to make accessories out of strange objects, as anyone who has seen me perform would know. The days of wearing headless Barbies, typewriter necklaces or cassette fascinators have laid a foundation. The Lavender Room is an experiment – a daring ride into being sartorial while maintaining a sense of humour.

I’ve only recently started selling online and at markets, so I have to wait and see if it takes or not. But I will continue to add to the collection – I’m making bottlecap earrings and brooches with distinctive images in them.  I made a range of John Waters brooches for when I went to his show the other night. I was fortunate enough to meet him afterwards and I gave him one of Mink Stole; he seemed to take a shine to them.



Which artists or works are currently shaping your vision?

I am constantly inspired by art and artists so this will merely be an immediate response to all this discussion about the zine-in-a-matchbox.  We’ve spoken on numerous occasions, Sharky, of my love for McSweeney’s innovative packaging; there’s collaborations like Dark Night of the Soul, that mix music with art, despite contractual obligations; Visionaire, for their coveted limited editions, particularly Issue 53 Sound; David Shrigley for his neuroses; Détournement, the original upcycling; Italo Calvino and Vladmir Nabokov for mutilating the convention of the Book; mandalas for momentariness and John Waters, for trash with integrity.


The Lavender Room will open at Brisbane’s Southbank Lifestyle Markets this Sunday 28th March between 9am and 5pm.  So drop by and say hello, and see if there is anything that intrigues you and your accessory collection.  And if you can’t get to the markets but like what you see (and don’t mind paying postage), you can go to The Lavender Room etsy store at


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Paint A Vulgar Picture: fiction inspired by The Smiths

I was having dinner on Saturday night and again the topic turned to how terrible music was in the 80’s… well, I am always the one to disagree. For me, the 80’s were a time of huge upheaval. There was the surface popularity of your Stock, Aitken and Waterman produced types, but bubbling below that were a group of bands who were doing things differently. The Church, Died Pretty, The Triffids & The Go-Betweens were just some of the bands on the Australian front consistently releasing albums that garnered critical acclaim. While in England, the Manchester scene was exploding… and at the forefront of that scene were The Smiths.

So I was rubbing my hands together when I discovered the recent release of Paint A Vulgar Picture: fiction inspired by The Smiths. The collection features 25 short stories named after various Smiths songs. There is Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before by Richmond Fontaine frontman Willy Vlautin, The Queen is Dead by Jeff Noon and Death of a Disco Dancer by Nick Stone to name but a few.

You can read a review of the collection at the short review and you can listen to an interview with editor, Peter Wild by visiting Willy Vlautin’s site and clicking on the link below ‘Paint A Vulgar Picture’.

For me, this collection has just climbed to the top of my wishlist. Oh yes, I would go out tonight, but I haven’t got a stitch to wear…


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The New Folk pt X

Sunday is shedding its light, but never fear… this handful of songs are perfect for the approaching darkness. They have been shining their light in my world of late and it has been brighter for it. Enjoy the last hours of your weekend…

Worst Friend – Vic Chesnutt

At the Cut has been on high rotation for this Lost Shark in 2010, so I was thrilled when I finally got my hands on a copy of Vic’s other album from 2009, Skitter On Take Off, recorded live in the studio with Jonathan Richman. This is classic Chesnutt… no overdubs, just the man, his beaten acoustic guitar and some very minimal backing. Lyrically Chesnutt seems to tap the global psyche, writing songs that make you stop and wonder, was that written for me? Worst Friend is one of those songs. I don’t think there is anyone alive that couldn’t put a name to at least one of the friend’s Chesnutt sings about… and the Wheel of Fortune guy sounds hilarious!

Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent pts I & II – The Besnard Lakes

Montreal ensemble, The Besnard Lakes have created another epic album – Are The Roaring Night – that rolls out of your stereo, like a driving wave. Part I slowly builds until Jace Lasek’s falsetto erupts over peaks of psychedelic guitar swirls and rumbling percussion. Rather than be constrained by the convention of a song, The Besnard Lakes create sonic landscapes of tension and beauty. Close your eyes for this one and let yourself be plunged headlong into the roaring night.

King of Spain – The Tallest Man on Earth

Scandanavian folksinger, Kristian Matsson has followed up his 2008 debut Shallow Grave with The Wild Hunt, an effortless album of raspy vocals and crackling acoustic guitar. And while there is nothing new about this sound, The Tallest Man On Earth does it better than most. He has tapped the roots of American music to write an album of earnest, front porch poetry that will have you smiling before the first four bars have rolled.

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Poetry Opportunities

As the lights go down on another working week, it’s a fine time to explore some of the poetic opportunities that are currently in orbit.


Reason-Brisbane Poetry Prize

This is the competition’s seventh year and in 2010 it is open to budding and established writers across Australia. Open theme. Prizes: 1st $1500, 2nd $500, 3rd $300. Ross Gillett, multi-award winning poet, will judge the entries and winners will be announced at the morning poetry event of Words in Winter, Daylesford on 14 August. For guidelines, see <> or send a SSAE to Rules, PO Box 545, Daylesford, VIC 3460.

Closing Date: July 2


Best Australian Poems 2010

Submissions are now being accepted for Black Inc.’s, The Best Australian Poems 2010, edited by Robert Adamson. The 2009 anthology was stunning so this is well worth checking out. Full submission details are available here:  


Going Down Swinging

Submissions for the 30th anniversary issue of Going Down Swinging close at the end of the month. So to be part of one of the coolest lit journals on the planet visit:

May your words all find good homes…

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Interpeting Poetry as Song

Poetry and song are never too far away from each other… as Ezra Pound famously quoted, “poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music…”

So when I read recently that The Waterboys were setting a number of Yeats’ poems to music as part of their show An Appointment With Mr Yeats, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. The Waterboys are one of those bands that transport me back to my early teens – in 1985 I was madly in love with their song The Whole of the Moon and  even now it gives me that giddy floating feeling .

The smile on my face was particularly wide because I just knew in my gut that in the hands of Mike Scott, often descirbed as more of a poet than a songwriter, Yeats would really sing (and you can check this out for yourself  in this clip from the show and this review) and I could not help but think of my first year as Director of QLD Poetry Festival in 2004 when I had the opportunity to commission Katie Noonan and her band Elixir to present a concert of songs based on the poetry of Thomas Shapcott.

The end result was a night I will never forget… Thomas would read his poem, sitting side of stage on a stool and the band would look over at him, wide-eyed with amazement as if hearing the words for the very first time, then they would perform the lyrics and Thomas would return the same astonished grin. The true magic of the collaborative process played itself out on the stage that night… and it was a thing of rare beauty. 

So with memories of that show warming my heart, I just had to include a link to one of the tracks that was later recorded for their Live at The Cornish Arms album. Here is Last Night’s Comfort… hope it gives you all the same warm glow it gives me.


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SpeedPoets Feature Poem #3 – Amanda Joy

The first SpeedPoets for the year was a raging success, with more than 60 people packing out InSpire Gallery Bar for what was a massive afternoon of poetry and music. Sheish Money opened proceedings with a brilliant set of his unique poetic blues, 30 people hit the mic in the Open Section and Brisbane New Voices, featuring Jonathan Hadwen and Fiona Privitera was officially launched! Definitely a fine way to start the year…

And it won’t be long until our April event rolls around…

Due to Easter Sunday falling on the first Sunday of the month, SpeedPoets will be held on Sunday April 11 (the 2nd Sunday in April). Our feature for the month of April will be Perth based poet, Amanda Joy.

Amanda is a poet, sculptor, installation artist and songwriter born in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. She currently lives, works and gardens in Fremantle and travels as often as she can. Her poetry has been published in various journals online and in print such as Cottonmouth, Up The Staircase Literary Review, Killpoet, Fragile Arts Quarterly, Black Rider Press, Another Lost Shark, Heroin Love Songs, The Toronto Quarterly, Black Listed Magazine, Speedpoets and The Best Australian Poems 2009. She has a fascination with portals and conduits and every now and then she pops out a little limited edition illustrated chapbook for those who ask nicely. A tiny, yet sincere chapbook of her poetry, Not Enough To Fold was lovingly published through Verve Bath Press early this year. A more sizeable binding of her wordage, In Hand will be released in the U.S. in April. She blogs her poetry semi regularly at her website and

And as always, there will be two rounds of Open Mic, live sounds from the mighty Sheish Money, the free monthly Zine, raffles and other giveaways, so make sure you are there from 2pm to settle in for an afternoon of words!

SpeedPoets, Sunday April 11, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, InSpire Gallery Bar – 71 Vulture St. West End. Entry is a gold coin donation.

In anticipation of Amanda’s feature spot in April, here is her poem, Chased Seas Urge from SpeedPoets 9.1, which was also selected for publication in The Best Australian Poems 2009 (Black Inc. Press).


Chased Seas Urge
          by Amanda Joy

In the mangroves, we avoid the shade black with swarming sandflies.
I know I should tell you. I should say, I know I would tell you.
But the sun is going down and the tide is coming fast and invisible as fear.
To erase the partings.
The shadows are growing longer and we have to walk further into the water
to avoid the bites that will itch for days.

Your back is covered in black flies hitching a ride for a while.
I follow the wake left by your strong legs. I am strong too, but smaller,
the sea has a hold on more of me so I try to use my cupped hands like paddles.
I have that curiosity, what happens if I let go?
Give way to the pull, go with the flow.
I mean you hear stories. Behind the island is a whirlpool,
the old man told me last night. He told it better than I remember it.

You turn to smile and that knowing is closer than the shadows.
My toes feel the sharp roots in the mud, more tiny cuts to keep clean.
There is a deep waterhole, more an undersea landhole here, somewhere,
we fished it yesterday until the turtles snapping the lines won,
competition, not a battle and I cried to think of the hooks in their stomachs.

Then you said “sshh, there’s enough salt water here”.

The Bardi woman came with a spear and caught one real quick
and we shared her family’s meal.
My mind is there now with the turtles and the fish we didn’t eat.
We need to hurry.
Creature and creature relocate now, at dusk. Some will eat each other.
Soon it will come down to a choice between the bites and currents
that will sweep us out fast to sea. Discomfort will win.

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