Tag Archives: Amber Fresh

WA Spring Poetry Festival in review

Well, leg 3 of the 2009 Another Lost Shark tour was a huge success. I had never been to WA but know for sure that I will return many times. I met so many incredible people, and have made connections that I know will be lasting, and the place itself had a huge impact on me… Perth’s green space – Kings Park, Riverside Drive – is some of the best I have ever witnessed. Thanks to Holly & Mick for looking after me and showing me around.

So here’s what I got up to…

After touching down at midnight on Thursday, it was only a few hours until I was up and moving… and from then on, I remained in perpetual motion.

Fringe GalleryFriday started with a day long haiku workshop – from joy to grief in one breath. The group that gathered (including respected haiku poet, Maureen Sexton), were an inspirational bunch and were completely open to the haiku journey… We talked about the history of haiku, some definitions (if there can even be such a thing), the fragment and phrase theory, wabi and sabi, guidelines for writing and revising work, eight techniques for writing and asked the question – are the syllables important? We also went on a ginko around the Perth cultural precinct and then came back and workshopped many of the haiku composed.

Here’s two of mine…

 

winter chill
daisies keep their petals
                                   closed

 

   sharing a sandwich
   crows gather
   around the homeless man

 

Haiku were shared and the conversation was vigorous. The perfect way to begin the weekend.

It was then off to the official opening, where I had the great pleasure of being introduced by Kevin Gillam. After reading two poems – Brisbane Love Poems & All the Way Home, I introduced local dynamo, Scott-Patrick Mitchell who was the recent winner of the 2009 PressPress chapbook competition. He read from his winning chapbook – songs for the ordinary mass, which I recommend you all check out. Scott-Patrick’s work contains a healthy dose of rage. The words bristle on the page, at all times urgent. songs for the ordinary mass resists the oppressive rules of conventional discourse and examines ways in which language has long been used, quite often subtly, to oppress and exclude:

the strip
club does not strip
those men of
anything, as the
name suggests

(from the poem, catch)

So with the festival launched, we headed over to Sunyata Buddhist Centre, for the first reading of the festival. I have to pause here to add that this venue, is the most inviting space I have ever read poetry in. The energy in the room, so welcoming, so inclusive. A truly, unique room.

Sunyata Buddhist Retreat

The first reading, MC’d by Sue Clennell featured the lyrically elegant Annamaria Weldon (check out her book, The Roof Milkers, it is superb!), two times Tom Collins Poetry Prize winner Peter Bibby, the spontaneous narratives of Amber Fresh (you must also check out her book, Between You And Me) and this Lost Shark. The open section was also buzzing. It was so good to be immersed in the words of local poets.

I went home that night, head swimming, anticipating Day 2.

Saturday featured a number of panel discussions the first Poetry and the Environment and the afternoon panel – Cultural Diversity, which I was honoured to be a part of alongside Peter Bibby, founding editor of Magabala Books, the immensely talented Afeif Ismail Abdelrazig, and Glen Phillips. I talked about my experiences in Ubud in 2004 running haiku workshops and performing with a gamelan band as well as my regular trips to Blackall (Western QLD) and the lasting impact the land has had on me and my work. Listening to Afeif talk about his experience as a refugee living in Australia and the time he spent as a political prisoner was both humbling and deeply insightful. Truly people, you have to read this man’s work. I also got to read at the mighty Perth Poetry Club, run by Janet Jackson and a small but devoted team. Janet has enough energy to power a small village. Check out some of her work here.

Sunyata Buddhist Retreat1

Saturday night, we returned to Sunyata for a multi-cultural poetry reading MC’d by the delightful Vivienne Glance. This was the highlight of the whole festival… words can’t begin to capture the intense emotion in the room, the coming together of cultures, poets, humanity. Performers included Nick Di Lello, Istenad Haddad, Tam Thai, Lily Chan, Afeif Ismail Abdelrazig and the WAZA ensemble (playing traditional music from Sudan). Maureen Sexton and I were also invited to read haiku, so we joined forces and combined our reading, which confirmed my belief, that if you put two poems side by side (or in the air together), they will be drawn into dialogue. I then closed the reading with a selection of haibun from Measuring the Depth and my long poem Beyond, from the Black Stump Blues series.

This night, is etched in my DNA.

And then it was Sunday. The panel on publication saw some really interesting discussions emerge, with topics ranging from self-publishing to traditional publishing to digital publishing to performance to journals and onward. The second panel for the afternoon, Poetry Into the Future chaired by the incomparable Jeremy Balius was another highlight for me. I shared the panel with Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Amber Fresh and Amanda Joy. The energy between us, electric. A real sense of coming together. We each shared our stories and Jeremy shot questions at us to keep it all flowing. And again, the topics covered were diverse. We talked about success, we talked about influences, we talked about innovation and most importantly… we read poems!

Fremantle2

Then, it was trip to Fremantle… seriously, if you have never been there, do yourself a favour. I got the opportunity to have a wander through the streets and the one second hand bookstore I stumbled across was incredible. The fish & chips on the water was pretty damn good as well.

And before I knew it, I was at Fringe Gallery, for the closing night readings. This is another space I am forever thankful for being invited into. There was open mic, there were features from Annamaria Weldon, Peter Bibby, Amber Fresh and I was thrilled to be able to hear Amanda Joy read from her recent chapbook (and even more thrilled to have received the last copy), Not Enough To Fold (Verve Bath Press). I have long enjoyed Amanda’s work and after hearing it, I have an even greater appreciation. I closed the night with a set of predominantly new poems… and they felt good. The room was smiling back at me and the weekend of memories flooded back. Chief organiser of WA Spring Poetry Festival Peter Jeffery’s words of thank you are still resonating. So again, thank you Peter for the incredible opportunity.

My first visit to Perth… well, the people and place are now in my blood. Back on the east coast… it doesn’t seem so far away.

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Guided by Poets – WA #2

For this Guided by Poets thread we travel back to the west coast of Australia to check out five exciting, original voices. And here they are:

Amanda Joy – Scott-Patrick Mitchell – Gabrielle Everall – Amber Fresh – Simon Cox

 

 

Stuck Out

Deep night in Tokyo
Memories are smeared light
Sirens sparkle urgency
to pillow-covered ears

The girl            is gooseflesh
hidden by the scrim
                          of her smile

These places she doesn’t show
she sees            on her skin

Black dents and scars
she denies the pleasure  
                                      taken
in shadows       in the near silent
night                 the wet ground

Close still      all deadened day
the residual
smell of scotch on the yawning giant

The night presses     to show
her    how well pretty things look
their purity pressed     against
the contrast of a dark background

 
amanda-joy

Amanda Joy is a poet, writer, installation artist and sculptor living and gardening in Fremantle Western Australia. She is the keeper of a dog called Love and has a great fascination for portals and conduits. She blogs her poetry semi regularly at her website www.littleglasspen.com and www.myspace.com/amanda_joy1970 Her work is included in numerous journals online and every now and then she pops out a little limited edition illustrated chapbook for those who ask nicely. A more sizeable binding of her wordage is gestating.

 

 

Foundations Of Anatomy & Physiology

cheat notes for drown, the game

learning to swim can make 1ne sadly
short of breath, shouting help, help

sinks depth. deep is the river bed
. stoned on currents & babbling, waves

rip & break. a cross without a
bridge has no music to serenade

. shores line. tug, for water is
lonely. glug, for the bed wants

company. like a thug it drugs
heavy. saragossi into the mud

, a slow motion falling in
love. it bloats. you only have

1ne dry life so be sure your
wings don’t just fly.

 

spm

Scott-Patrick Mitchell is a poet & writer living in Perth. He works as a journalist for OUTinPerth, a lesbian and gay news and lifestyle community street press, for whom he writes fashion, arts, music and a regular graffiti column called Perth Street Art. His work has been published in such anthologies as neoteric, Interactive Geographies, naked eye, Poetry Creations, Lines of Wisdom , Red Leaves and Through the Clock’s Working, the world’s first anthology of remixed literature. He edits two zines – ‘COTTONMOUTH’ & the underground literary street art adventure that is MoTHER [has words…].

 

Indi rock god

You saunter through
Rilke’s narrow lyre
there’s nothing of you
to kiss
a rake —
I want to be part
of your progress

I am purdah
I am abject
closer to death

my blind girl body
is sacrificed in you
still rising up to you

my body becomes your name

to believe in you
is to be God’s lover —
the only legitimate passion —
moral passion
triggering moral panic
we must eat
the sweetmeats of Christ

your child body, wafer thin
swallowed with wine
leaves me swollen

Saint Teresa’s eyes
roll in orgasmic jouissance

I want to kiss
every part of your wasted face
the revolt of your christly flesh
that I thought
wasn’t good enough

like a pig in mud
I wallow in thoughts
about you
you’re a belly god
I’m rapacious

the slashing of my skin
is a breath of fresh air

to reach Godhead
tie me to the bedhead
beat me with your beatitudes

the catch 22
of a suffering that causes jouissance
and a jouissance that causes suffering —

deprivation is your scripture

I a desiring ascetic
you an object
that is handed to me
like a child
is given a toy

a daddy toy
a never ending sweet
I’m an all day sucker

Christ has been there
God started it all.

 

gabrielle-everall

Gabrielle Everall has published Dona Juanita and the love of boys with the assistance of The Department of Culture and The Arts in late 2007.  She has been previously published in The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry, Herding Kites, Cordite, The Sleeper’s Almanac, A Salt Reader etc and has work forthcoming in Going Down Swinging.  She has performed her poetry at The Big Day Out, Putting On An Act, NRLA, NYWF, Overload and The Emerging Writer’s Festival etc.  She also performs at Perth poetry readings Cottonmouth and Voicebox.

 

 

Bitumen

one time i asked a boy to push me over in the carpark
where we were and

at that instant i thought it was an incredibly
romantic thing to ask a boy

just as that feeling of possible romance was fading he did
push me over

when  i say ‘push’ i mean
suddenly his whole body was rammed against mine and i
flew about a million centimetres into the air

well, across the air and through the air really, and then
onto the bitumen, with my whole body smacked and
crushed against itself and into the ground at the same
time

that boy would have done anything i asked
so i’m glad we didn’t have a gun

one time if you get someone to push you over you will
know exactly what i’m talking about

but only if they are exactly the right person

 

amber-fresh

Amber Fresh is a writer from Perth (via Albany and Paris). Her poems have been published in Westerly, Navigations, Cottonmouth Zine, MoTHER [has words…], The Ponies Zine, and Metior. This year she released her first book of poetry, “Between You and Me”, with funding from the Department of Culture and the Arts. She writes on a typewriter and makes music in a band called Rabbit Island.

 

 

The Same Place Twice

Nothing. Nothing but the storm held aloft by a kite string,
the mind an empty bucket in the rain, beds freshly poured
for the leaf litter, puddles open pores in the pavement.

Nothing but the sky gone cerebral with storm clouds,
the rain coming on like a migraine, synapses lit up with
the one thought, clouds epileptic with lightning. 

Nothing but the thought like water vapour over our heads,
the answer around which all questions hang rhetorical,
the perfume of the executioner sweet as summer rain,
the moment perfect in its passing.

Nothing but the boy pulling down
on his kite string, the sky pulling back up.

Nothing but the stars come unstuck in the storm
and the clouds gridlocked on the horizon,
the wiring live between my fingers
and the sound from inside the seizure. 

 

 

simoncox

Simon Cox was the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre Young-Writer-in-Residence in 2008, and has been published in Voiceworks and the Sleepers’ Almanac. With friends he organises Perth’s monthly spoken word showcase, ‘Cottonmouth’, and will help publish an anthology of Cottonmouth performers this June. In 2008 he self-published a chapbook of poems, Book Lung. http://www.cottonmouth.org.au/

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