Tag Archives: a. rawlings

spoken in one strange word 2012: The Sunday Wrap

… and before I can blink the sleep out of my eyes, I am back at The Judith Wright Centre, ready for the double helping of words on offer; Storm and Honey featuring performances from Doubting Thomas & Eleanor Jackson (aka DJ Thought Fox and MC Lady Lazarus) and Andrew Phillips & Tiggy Johnson + the launch of Nicholas Powell’s ‘Thomas Shapcott Award-Winning’ debut collection, Water Mirrors (UQP 2012).

Knowing that I can catch Nick reading later in the day, I opt for Storm and Honey and this is richly rewarded. Thought Fox & Lady Lazarus open up with a performance that has them embodying Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, re-imagining their lives through their own performances and interpretations of interviews and poems, alongside readings from both Plath and Hughes with the most stunning visual imagery creating a swirling backdrop (and later in the day Doubting Thomas is rewarded for his mastery of the poetic film, taking out the QPF Filmmakers Challenge). Thought Fox and Lazarus are captivating on the stage, their interaction crackling with energy. It’s the perfect poetry hair-of-the-dog to get the day kickstarted… intensely dark and joyous and I would kill to watch it all over again.

From there, we are taken on a full 360 degree spin with a life-affirming performance from Phillips and Johnson. They take us into the heart of their families, then skillfully and fearlessly, allow us to experience some of their most intimate moments. The reading is taken from their dual collection, That Zero Year, which I was honoured to write a blurb for. This is what I had to say:

From the sudden weight of Thirteen Weeks to the biting complaints of Fishing, That Zero Year, screams with joy.These poems form a dialogue of love and loss; unpicking stitches in the family weave to welcome us to the bedside table of these most private moments. Here, we witness breath-taking devastation – the missing knee in the chest, the remembered rub of a belly – and wide-eyed wonder – a smile wriggled through to the toes. That Zero Year is an unflinching celebration of breath and blood. Phillips and Johnson know what it is to be alive and we are richer for it.

This is a collection that I strongly recommend you seek out. You can do so by contacting author, Andrew Phillips via his blog. And their reading… earnest, heartfelt, wonderfully human!

So with a buzz in the temples I eagerly take in the opening of Whisper Me Awake. I have the pleasure of catching the majority of Vanessa Page’s reading and she proves just why her work has been shortlisted in the Thomas Shapcott Award in 2011 and 2012. Her voice is assured, her words ringing with the fullness of the heart. If you have not yet acquainted yourself with Vanessa’s work, you can do so here, and believe me… she is a poet to watch!

From here, I am on dad duty (the most wonderful duty in the known universe), so it’s not until the 3:15pm sessions, Through These Paper Walls and Sharp With Sparks, that I get my next poetry fix. And what a fix… first up I take in Robert Adamson’s last reading for the festival. Hearing Robert read is a wonderful experience… his voice, lifts the words gently from page to ear; easy as breathing. Highlight is not even close to describing Robert’s readings… his presence at the festival has had a profound impact on me. Then it’s off to the Theatre to catch the end of Nicholas Powell’s reading and the first half of the man I described as having the best fingernails in poetry, Steve Smart. Nick is dazzingly relaxed while Steve is poised and menacing. It’s a great combination! And then it’s back to the Shop Front to hear Paul Summers, close the session with another rousingly witty reading. His lyricism is sharp and his keen eye for detail takes us into the heat of each moment. Before QPF I was not familiar with Paul’s work… thankfully, I am now.

For me, it’s now a long stint working the book store, where I am fortunate to have incredible conversations with Robert Adamson and Jill Jones. Working the store is a real pleasure and a great chance to connect with many of the festival punters, all of whom are brimming with festival energy.

And then, in what seems an instant, we are all rolling in to the Theatre for the final session of the festival, Evening Draws Back The Sun. There are many stunning performances, but the closing trio of Darkwing Dubs, a.rawlings and Tylea showcase the vastly different styles that QPF so elegantly unites on the same stage.

Dubs is a master of the blackly comic, bringing the room to its knees as he surges through a treasure trove of Saturday morning super heroes and threatens to slap an orangutan in the face; but he can also kick hard… delivering a slap to the senses with a poem that takes a child’s-eye look at domestic violence. a.rawlings then delivers a superb reading from her collection, Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists. Her presence on stage is magnetic, her voice control, thrilling. Having angela with us in Brisbane as Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence for the past two months has been nothing short of inspirational. And then, Tylea hits a big open chord, heavy with delay and sends the most delicious shiver right through to my toes. Like rawlings, she is impossible to look away from… her easy manner and delightful banter (school fetes, jumping castles and sick children) hold the audience captive allowing the emotion of her songs to burst inside us all. Tylea closes the festival by inviting Pascalle Burton on stage, to pay tribute to Yoko Ono. It’s a rush and the perfect way to sing QPF to sleep for another year…

Before I sign off, I have to pay tribute to Sarah Gory, Talina McKenzie and the volunteer committee. I hope you are all, like me, high on festival spirit. QPF is the pinnacle of our poetry community; the fire that brings us all together and I for one, am incredibly proud to have sat by its warmth.

Til next year…

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Set your tongue on fire at QLD Poetry Festival 2012

It’s only weeks away people… so wherever you are, start circling your program and plotting a course through this extraordinary weekend of words. It all kicks off on Friday August 24 and yes… you are invited! In fact, here’s your invitation:

So don’t forget to RSVP to qldpoetry@gmail.com

The official opening is followed by festival showcase, Tongues of Flame featuring one of Australia’s true poetry superstars, a man who has made the Hawkesbury sing like no other, Robert Adamson; the politically charged, jazz poetry of L.E. Scott and the sonic art of  2012 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence a.rawlings. To close the night renowned Australian singer-songwriter, Holly Throsby will play an intimate set… and you know, a lineup this good just might change your universe!

Here’s a hit of Robert Adamson and Holly Throsby to brighten your day… Tickets you ask, well you can buy them here!

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Introducing 2012 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence a.rawlings

The arrival of the Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence is always an exciting time, so it is with great pleasure that I welcome Canadian interdisciplinary artist a.rawlings to our shores for the next few months.

After chatting with her over lunch the other day, it looks like she has a full-on schedule that will see her traveling north to the tropics and west out to big sky country to harvest sounds and visuals for her legacy piece that will be launched as part of A Million Bright Things on Saturday August 25  at the QLD Poetry Festival (the full program is online here).

But before she heads off on her explorations, she is running the first of many workshops at QLD Writers Centre this coming Sunday, July 1. There is still room for anyone interested in enrolling in her Ecopoetics workshop where she promises new work will be devised through an exploration of contemporary poetic forms such as erasure and collaborative cut-up. The workshop is just $15 and runs from 6pm – 8pm. To book a spot email Talina McKenzie: qldpoetry@gmail.com

Here’s a.rawlings in full performance mode, collaborating with maja jantar from their Centre for Sleep and Dream Studies project:

Can’t wait to see her back on stage! To keep up with her residency, I recommend checking out her site: http://qldpir.tumblr.com/


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Reduce / Reuse / Recycle with a.rawlings

a.rawlings has been exploring the possibilities of sound and language for as long as she has been creating and from the month of June right through to early September, her exploration will take in the Australian sonic and ecological landscape, as she settles in to her role as the 2012 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence.

As part of her residency, rawlings will run a series of workshops, all of which have strictly limited places, so if you want in, best get booking! Here are the details:


Join a.rawlings for ECOPOETICS, the first of two one-off workshops designed for poets of all levels.

“The owls are not what they seem.” — Twin Peaks

In this workshop, participants will apply the three rules of the environment (reduce, reuse, recycle) in ecopoetic exercises that experiment with structural approaches to poetry. New poetic work will be devised through an exploration of contemporary poetic forms such as erasure and collaborative cut-up. This workshop will provide you with an opportunity to generate new text in joyous company. Welcome to anyone who is curious about language!

Time: 6pm – 8pm
When: Sunday July 1, 2012
Where: Queensland Writers Centre, Level 2, State Library of Queensland, South Brisbane
Cost: $15


Join a.rawlings for the second of two one-off workshops designed for poets of all levels.

“Is it not first through the voice that one becomes animal?” — Deleuze & Guattari, A Thousand Plateaux

Participants are invited to experiment with sound, collaboration, and improvisation. EAR KNOWS THROAT will be comprised of exercises focusing on acoustic ecology, sound poetry, and polyvocal performance. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing as you will spend time moving. This workshop gives you a chance to listen and raise your voice. Open to all resonant bodies!

Time: 6pm – 8pm
When: Thursday August 30, 2012
Where: Queensland Writers Centre, Level 2, State Library of Queensland, South Brisbane
Cost: $15

For further information or to register: contact Talina McKenzie on qldpoetry@gmail.com



This workshop series is an in-depth opportunity for participants to develop new works intended for publication or performance. Participants will experiment with non-conventional poetic forms and collaborative performance strategies. As well, you will consider how to shape a project, appropriate one’s own material, rework texts, and develop performance. Emphasis will be placed on environmental, corporeal, aural, and spatial awareness within poetry generation.

If you sign up, your full commitment to all five sessions is requested. Please note that August 18 will be a longer “field trip” session. Workshop participants are also encouraged to attend the stand-alone workshops, as this will provide them with an opportunity to experiment with additional composition forms and performance strategies touched upon within the series.

The series is designed for poets of all levels, and is a fantastic opportunity to learn from an internationally acclaimed poet.

When: Tues Jul 24, 6-8pm, Tues Aug 7, 6-8pm, Sat Aug 18, 11am-5pm, Tues Sep 4, 6-8pm, Thurs Sep 13, 6-8pm
Where: Queensland Writers Centre, Level 2, State Library of Queensland, South Brisbane (plus a field trip location to be confirmed)
Cost: $40 for the entire series

For further information or to register: contact Talina McKenzie on qldpoetry@gmail.com


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Bits & Pieces: Cassady’s Denver Years, Call for Zines, QPF Poet-in-Residence & a shot of Fahey

Have been happily trawling the interwebs and have some gold that is worth sharing this fine Sunday.

First up, I came across this courtesy of Issa’s Untidy Hut. For all you Beat fanatics, this new documentary, Neil Cassady: The Denver Years is an absolute must watch. It features interviews with Carolyn Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti & many others. You can watch it here on Colorado Public Television.


If you are a zine maker, then you need to know of this wonderful opportunity! The good folk at dotdotdash are doing something very special to celebrate their 10th issue. The project is titled Fingerprint and it will take the place of thewir usual submissions process. Rather than submitting creative writing or art to the magazine, people are invited to submit a zine of their own making. Each copy of Fingerprint, instead of a magazine, will be a package filled with a unique combination of zines. Sounds wonderful… you can read more about the project here.


Arts QLD recently announced that poetic innovator, a.rawlings will take up the post of Poet-in-Residence at The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts this winter. As part of her residency, a.rawlings will be exploring the state to harvest some of our unique sounds and images as part of her Sound Poetry and Visual Poetry Project. If you live somewhere in QLD that you think a.rawlings should be visiting, then she is inviting you to complete the survey below and email your responses:


I’m thrilled to visit Brisbane this winter as the Queensland poet in residence. During my tenure, I’ll work in part to create a new project with the working title “Sound Poetry and Visual Poetry.” This project is multidisciplinary and intended to work in a site-specific capacity— harvesting text, sound, and image from locations within Queensland.

In preparation for the project, I’m undertaking preliminary research into potential locations, sights, species, and sounds that may hold relevance. I’m interested in learning from locals what, in the Queensland environment, holds personal relevance for you. This is less a request as a foreigner to know what sites to visit, and more a request to know what resonates with you as ‘Queensland,’ ‘home,’ ‘real,’ ‘escape,’ and/or quintessential within the region. If you have time, I’d love to receive an e-mail from you with recommendations relating to any of the following.

·         Landscapes or landmarks. What, if any, are particular landscapes or landmarks within Queensland that speak to you? Why (optional)?
·         Soundscapes or soundmarks. What, if any, are sounds for which you hold a particular affinity? Why (optional)?
·         Species. What, if any, plant or animal species hold significance for you? Why (optional)?
·         Cartography. Occasionally, I meet people with strong affinities for maps appeal to their aesthetics and associations with a particular place. Is there any specific map that has personal resonance for you? This could range from geographic (topography, aerial, geology, etc.) to historical, linguistic. Could be mass-produced or hand-drawn. Anything goes.
·         Is there anything else you’d like to recommend to me?

Thank you so much for considering my request. I look forward to visiting Brisbane in the coming months. Hopefully we will have an opportunity to meet through one of the literary events.

With warmth,


Please send responses to angela at anarcheologia(at)gmail.com

Here’s a video of a.rawlings improvising in Djupavik’s old herring factory in 2010.


And finally, here’s a shot of the legendary John Fahey, described by Pete Townshend as doing for guitar what Burroughs did for literature. This is some classic footage of Fahey playing Red Pony.

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