QPF 2011 raised the poetry bar high last night. From the joyous opening address by Jenny Galligan (Exectutive Director, Arts Development, Arts QLD) the atmosphere was crackling and then the Val Vallis and Thomas Shapcott Awards were announced and the first wave of rapture spread through the audience.
West End local, Rachael Briggs held the room to pin-drop silence with a powerful performance of her Val Vallis award winning sonnet sequence and Brisbane favourite, Nick Powell thrilled with a poem from his Thomas Shapcott Award winning manuscript. Nick’s first full length collection will be published as part of the award and launched at QPF 2012, something I am already looking forward to!
* Get along to see Nick take flight with Sheish Money & co. on Sunday afternoon as they debut their show, Shift (3:15pm, A Crash of Chords, Theatre Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts)
Two poems in to the festival and already the hair on the neck was dancing. And they didn’t stop…
Sandra Thibodeaux, gave us a rhythmic hit of politics, satire, sex and the Australian landscape as she opened Of Rhythm and Rapture; her presence on the stage, lighting up the room. Ah yes… wave of rapture #2.
Sandra was followed by the first of the international guests, Sawako Nakayasu, who delivered a razor sharp series of short poems from the collection, Time of Sky, (translations of the work of Ayane Kawata). This was one that knocked me out:
A scream inside a fish
A table is a table
The raped orange becomes the blue sky
Another favourite was her ‘hamburger nightmare poem’ (from Texture Notes), where the light at the end of the tunnel might just be a lump of fat. Wave of rapture #3…
And closing the first half of the night was the second international guest, Jacob Polley. Jacob opened with his poem Smoke, a poem that sits up there as one of my all time favourites. Hearing it read for the very first time is something I will not forget. Polley’s rich voice, ringing every last note from the poem. You guessed it… wave of rapture #4!
And then after a trip to the book store (more on that later…) and the bar, we were back in and settled for the second half of the show, a solo performance by Kate Fagan. From the outset, Fagan’s voice filled the room, and what a voice it is… clear, bell-like, each note perfectly realised. She moved from guitar to piano to reading poems seamlessly, but it was when she sang A capella, her interpretation of Child Ballad #3, that you knew undoubtedly that you were in the presence of a truly incredible talent.
And here I am this morning… words shivering under the skin ready for another day of words. And I can let you in on a secret… today I will be sitting in on drums as Sheish straps on his guitar and Ashley Capes breathes his words into the mic as part of the set, Torching the Shadows at 11:45am in the Shopfront Space. Going to be a blast!