Tag Archives: Andy White

Stolen Moments Available To Order + Launch Details

The marvelous Mr. Andy White is in town tomorrow night to launch his second collection of poems, Stolen Moments at Riverbend Books alongside the launch of Brisbane New Voices III and readings from Tessa Leon & Brett Dionysius, so I took some time to ask Andy how he is feeling about the book and whether any personal favourites have emerged.

AW: Both of my poetry books are best read quickly. The ideas are instant and there aren’t any words you won’t understand. There are hidden layers, but you can get them next time around. What I take time on is finding the tone of voice for the whole collection, and the order the poems come in. If I get it right (and with the latest I had Graham and Julie’s invaluable help) you should be able to read the book backwards and it will make another kind of sense.

In fact I just read the whole of ‘Stolen Moments’ in about twenty minutes from back to front and got a whole different take on it. It felt like I was coming back to Australia, whereas for me it’s my ‘I have arrived’ book, starting off in ‘Suburbia’ with Sunday morning lawnmowers and frozen marmalade on  burnt toast.

I can now write about red and yellow flags, eternally blue sky and shopping malls without fear of being branded a tourist, but even though I wrote these poems in Australia they aren’t all set here. The poems circumnavigate the globe at top speed with ‘In LA I Dream Of Books’, ‘Judy Collins’ Cats’, something I wrote for Peter Gabriel based on a Tom Waits song, and a couple in Ireland before returning back to ‘Real Life Rushing In’, caught between Beckett fans and footy supporters on the 5.09 from Flinders Street.

It’s the instant quality of these poems which attracts me. When each new studio album is such a roll of the dice, with so much at stake, and has to be mixed and recorded with the utmost care, usually over a long period of time, I am almost embarrassed at the speed with which a thought can be scribbled down and become a poem.

Because of this, for me the poems are about freedom. It’s as if a whole collection of those songs I described in a previous question which arrive almost instantly, go straight from my head to the pages of a book. As such, it’s difficult to pick out favourites. I think they work – in fact, sometimes I think they only work – as a whole.

If you asked me again to choose, I’d say my favourites aren’t the ones which I might read out first. They are the ones which contain the most private moments. The ones stolen from all the public time you have to put in. The time spent hanging around waiting for the gap in the clouds where the magic gets in.

**********

Stolen Moments is now available to order from this site. Visit the Another Lost Shark Publications page for all the details.

And if you still haven’t got your ticket for the launch tomorrow night, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555. Doors open at 6pm for a 6:30pm start.

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April Pin-Up Poet Week #2: Andy White on the art of collaboration

The collaborative process, is something that continues to inspire me, so I thought I would ask our April Pin-Up, Andy White what it is about working collaboratively that continues to light him up. And remember, if you want to have some of his songwriting magic rub off, he is running a workshop here in Brisbane at the end of the month. Here’s the details:

What: Words & Music with Andy White: a songwriting workshop
Where:
Queensland Writers Centre, Level 2, State Library of Queensland, South Brisbane 4101
When: Saturday 21 April 2012
Time: 12pm – 6pm
Cost: $75 / $65 (concession)

For further details visit the QPF website, or to enroll email sarah.qldpoetry@gmail.com

Now, over to you Andy…

**********

Collaboration is obviously very important to you. Can you tell us what it is about the collaborative process that keeps you seeking out new artistic partnerships?

Co–writing totally changed the way I write. I only wrote by myself until I made friends who were used to co–writing – one was in a band, one a solo artist who’d also been in bands all his life. Both had brothers – I didn’t. One was a deep soul man working on instinct, the other a songwriter working on a mix of intellect, ability and talent. Both with amazing voices.

Starting off writing with friends is a good idea. You’re ‘in’ each others’ lives. You know their hopes, fears, enthusiasms and pet hates. Their emotional history and the tragic or ecstatic state of their family and love lives. It’s not a stretch to start jamming and writing down lyrics which come to mind.

If you’ve never co-written before, it can seem daunting, but even if you’re wary of it I can’t recommend it highly enough. Here are some of my co-writing experiences:

1.    With close friends. As ALT, Tim Finn, Liam O Maonlai and I started playing shows in Dublin and hanging out at nightclubs. Or was it the other way round? One time we tried to get into a nightclub and things went decidedly pear-shaped … after many hours of deepest Dublin adventure we crawled home and wrote ‘Many’s The Time’ together. Four years later we ended up with an album ‘Altitude’, recorded in Melbourne, which still sounds fresh today. We toured the world (playing two of our best shows in Van Gogh’s Earlobe, Brisbane) and called it a day. One of the most exciting things I’ve ever done – and writing with two such talented guys who were friends too was very special. Here’s a track from the album:

2.    I was on a songwriting course put together by ASCAP (one of the US versions of APRA) and IMRO (the Irish version of APRA). Lot of famous writers there. We drew names out of a hat and I was teamed up with a laid–back American very used to co–writing. From Nashville. We talked about Dublin. He had a riff. I wrote our conversation into a lyric and we put the chords together. Recorded it and you’ll find ‘Hysteria’ on Kieran Kane’s ‘Six Months No Sun’ album and my self-titled album. The video was shot in Dublin on the canals and around Temple Bar before it was done up for tourists. Oh, and features Finnish dancing girls some of whom are bearing artificial limbs.

3.    With Allison Russell, a wonderful singer and writer from the Canadian group Po’ Girl. I brought chord sequences and lyrics, and she brought backing vocal lines which made unique melodies of their own, turning the songs into duets – plus lines and rhymes I would never have thought of in a thousand years. A woman’s point of view. The other side of the sky. You can hear one result of these writing sessions in ‘If You Want It’ from my last album Songwriter, although the whole album is based around these songs. The video for this track stars a dinosaur and a snail.

4.    A songwriting duo which started with a friendship has been perhaps the most successful of all these partnerships. Two is definitely the ideal co-writing partnership (even with ALT most of the songs were written by either Tim and myself or Liam and myself). A few years after ALT subsided, Stephen Fearing and I met in Winnipeg and became firm friends. We have a shared Irish background (he grew up in Dublin, me in Belfast) although he moved to Canada when he was a teenager. The two of us played together, touring Ontario playing principally my songs. Then we started completing each others songs, and this graduated to writing songs for others – and for fun – ending up with 15 or 16, most of which were demo recordings, and all of which sounded like a duo album. We’d written the songs over a period of nine years, so we recorded it quickly and it was released last year in Europe and Canada as ‘Fearing & White’. This was the most exacting experience of all in terms of the co–writing process. A combination of all of the methods described above, Stephen brougt an exacting meticulousness to the process which was really valuable. On a pure songwriting level it’s the most fully realised (though ‘Altitude’ is hard to beat for fun).  Here’s ‘Under The Silver Sky’:

So if you’re thinking of co-writing, or simply jamming with your friends, remember that it:
•     develops your style
•     takes you places you never imagined you’d go
•     challenges your songwriting habits
•     makes you rewrite more
•     gives you constant feedback as you write
•     forms a bond between the co–writers which can last forever

But most of all, ladies and gentlemen – the songs:
Lennon/McCartney
Jagger/Richards
Elton & Bernie
Rogers & Hammerstein
Lieber & Stoller
Mozart & the guy who wrote the libretto for The Magic Flute

Need I say more?

Good luck!

Andy
12 April, 2012

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Stealing the Moment: Talking with Andy White (part iv)

No more waiting… QLD Poetry Festival is here, live tonight (and continuing across the weekend) at The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. That means Andy White is walking down a Brisbane street somewhere, listening to its music. It also means that this weekend is your first chance to get your hands on a copy of Stolen Moments. Good times indeed!

Here’s the fourth instalment of our interview:

So far you have touched on influences such as Brian Patten, John Cooper Clarke, Leonard Cohen, Dylan and The Beats and how they played a pivotal role in turning you on to poetry as an art form. Could you talk a little bit about who you are reading/listening to now? 

It’s difficult to get the time, juggling things all the time. When you’re on the road you get given a lot of CDs, which I usually listen to all at once, and keep the ones I like. This is the main source of new and unheard music for me when I’m not in Australia (when I am, it’s a mix of 24-hour Muse and Triple J, courtesy of The Teenager).

Producing records or pre-producing with songwriters and sorting out their songs, a lot of decisions have to be made about music and words. I find inspiration in people starting off writing or recording. Not usually the material, but the vibe. So to relax, have time off, I find myself going back to the classics and digging deeper into music I discovered when I was younger, finding things I couldn’t have known were there.  Also listening to music I know nothing about and have only an instinctive reaction to – where I can’t analyse the structure and can’t understand most of the lyrics. Jazz. I like Italian singer songwiriters – Fabrizio di Andre, Vinicio Capossela. Usually though, what I am listening to is related in some way to what I am digging in a more general sense.

Jazz is a great example of this. I was in Los Angeles and stopped by a junk shop which had obviously inherited the vinyl record collection of an older guy. He lived in West Hollywood and his albums were in pristine condition. I bought a George Shearing live record from the 50s – so I can hear what Kerouac writes about so beautifully. Also a fantastic-looking New Christy Minstrels album which anyone who’s watched ‘The Mighty Wind’ (the folk ‘Spinal Tap’ – same cast just as great) would appreciate. The Minstrels on the cover look exactly like the New Main Street Singers and I swear there are 15 people sitting on high chairs all playing acoustic guitars and smiling. How could I resist? I also bought a Television album I’d lost track of in red vinyl and an LP of inauguration speeches of US presidents from Roosevelt up to and including Richard Nixon. Nice.

For what I’m listening to in general, here’s what I listened to on the plane journey home from Canada slash LA a couple of weeks ago. Just after I’d visited that store and the evening of the afternoon I wrote this blog http://www.21stcenturytroubadour.blogspot.com/

Installed in United’s economy cabin with its 1970s feel – terrible food, annoyed stewards and an entertainment system designed by John Logie Baird – there’s nothing for it but to settle upright (‘back’ is not an option) and listen to whatever music is on the Pod, read whatever’s in The Bag.

I crank up the hand-me-down iPod I have been given by The Teenager. Since I don’t live by the Pod (I don’t like the ear-things too much and I like hearing the sound of the streets when I am outside) there’s not  too much choice. But at least all of it’s good.

Doctor – the screens. I feel another list coming on.

1. Blood On The Tracks.

Straight to this one. The depth in the narratives and the quality of each line is stunning. Age brings out the depth, for sure, and I’ve learnt that the songs reveal themselves gradually.

2. Andrea’s rough mixes

I am producing an Oslo singer-songwriter, piano-player who’s simply super-talented. Plays the piano and autoharp. She’s got an incredible voice, writes lyrics in Scandinavian style – getting to the heart of the matter with both a quirky touch and without a lot of the baggage songwriters carry around.

3. Tom Waits’ new song

‘Bad As Me’ New song by old favourite. Great lists in this song. Waits is probably the most talented of the old masters (well, he has been permanently ancient for years) whose current output is  as good as it’s always been. Lloyd Cole is like that too –  it’s just that if an album hits you in a particular way at a particular time (like ‘Rattlesnakes’ did for me) it’s impossible for the fan (not the artist) to get back to that place again. Nothing to do with the songs.

4. Twilight Hotel album

Brandy from TH sang with me at Edmonton Folk Festival. This album’s got atmosphere and cool old guitars everywhere. Drums rule the mix – as with a lot of my current favourite albums – Robert Plant, Ray La Montagne.

5. Muse

Hold on. The Teenager must have borrowed the iPod before I left and filled it with the entire Muse catalogue including studio albums, out-takes, live concerts and video footage. I see why they’re huge and (sort of) love them but … five minutes and I’m done. Better take a turn reading …

6. Elvis biography.

‘Careless Love’. I loved visiting Sun Studios in Memphis a few years ago, and Graceland too (see ’21st Century Troubadour’ for a chapter on this visit) but only had my childhood memories of Elvis to guide me. I remember he died the summer punk took off in Belfast and we were busy ripping up t shirts and borrowing safety pins off our mums – and practising in a basement listening to the first Clash album – to really care.

Since going to America and a friend lending me the two volume Elvis-biography-to-end-all-biographies (there will never/should never be another) I have spent hours with this book and its predecesssor ‘Last Train To Memphis’ (more exciting – generally the rise more interesting to me than the fall and especially so with Elvis).

7. James Ellroy

I’m on Part 3 of the trilogy. ‘Blood’s A Rover’. It’s been years now since I read a book by an Englishman. God how I miss proper sentence structure and educated wit. I can’t wait to get back to the latest Martin Amis.

Hang on a moment … (Shurely shome mishtake – Ed)

Here comes Melbourne.

I also wanted to ask what is the heart of invention for you as a singer-songwriter-poet?

William Blake said it all – “Innocence and experience.”

Thanks Graham it’s been a pleasure. See you in Brisbane.

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Stealing the Moment: Talking with Andy White (part iii)

Here’s the third instalment of my interview with Andy White. Not long now until, Andy launches Stolen Moments at the 2011 QLD Poetry Festival this weekend at the session, All Is Roar And Crash (4:00pm, Theatre Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts).

There are a number of poems in Stolen Moments, such as avenue B and 1925 that show the hardships of life on the road. How difficult is it to remain creative and connected when the exhaustion of touring kicks in?

This is one for my book ’21st Century Troubadour’ (published in Ireland I hope to bring it to Australia next year) which almost has the creative spirit of exhaustion as its guiding principle. The book is centred round an Irish singer-songwriter who travels the world carrying an acoustic guitar and accompanied by a bag so heavy it’s “currently showing up on Google Earth as a small island.”

It’s such a major theme that it spills over into the poems. However, poems are not perhaps the place for the kind of Dickensian hyperbole which most of these adventures require. They’re more for the moments in which the world caves in and you feel you’re being taken down in the process of this collapse. It’s a tangible feeling and one which most travelling musicians experience.

The fact is that creativity is more likely to come out of a scenario in which every nerve in your body is shredded from the schedule, the promoter is a crazed transvestite ruling his own kingdom with the help of a rod of iron and a smoke machine, the sound system is swimming in beer, the check-in girls at easyjet don’t want to let you off paying excess baggage and everyone in one particular LA shoe shop thinks you’re a member of U2 when all you’re trying to do is catch the bus to the next gig.

(Although I must say in passing that U2’s beshaded lead singer referred to me as “a legend” in an interview in New York last month. I wonder if he’ll ever read “o god let me die after bono”).

All of this is the real life glamour of the road. It’s tough, but it sure is sexy. It’s a big part of what I love about what I do, and it’s what people are interested in asking about. Something underneath the skin is what excites people. Everyone knows that the celebrity tittle and tattle is just that – concocted by a paid PR person in an office somewhere. I’d rather be on a Greyhound than in the First Class lounge. Though I wouldn’t mind stealing their sandwiches.

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avenue B

hauling gear
past second-hand stores
and dusty cafés

I saw the man
I once was
smoking outside
a coffee shop
leaning back in a straw chair
inhaling

he glanced at me
just for a second
our eyes met
and I looked away

straining and sweating
concentrating on
keeping the wheels of

the bag
the case
my guitar
a ukulele

from falling off the kerb

eyes down
the only way
forward

nobody’s getting off this planet alive
declares the woman in front of me
to anyone who’ll listen

I’m listening

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Stealing the Moment: Talking with Andy White (part ii)

Andy White launches his second poetry collection, Stolen Moments (Another Lost Shark Publications) on Saturday August 27 in the Theatre Space of the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts at 4:00pm as part of the session, All Is Roar And Crash. This is one of many events not to be missed at this weekend’s QLD Poetry Festival.

Here’s the second part of our chat, including a poem from the collection to whet your appetite! For those of you who aren’t able to be there in person this weekend for the launch experience, stay tuned for details of how to get your hands on a copy of the book post-launch.

Now, over to Andy!

Do you have a favourite ‘Brisbane poem’ in the collection? What are your memories of writing this poem?

I don’t have a favourite, it’s a bit like the Steve Martin ‘I never smoke marijuana’ sketch. Or having to decide what your favourite time of day is. I’d instinctivelly say ‘breakfast’, but if you pressed me then I’d have to add ‘late at night’. My mum would chime in with ’11pm’ (the time I was born – unsuspecting that this could qualify as ‘early in the evening’). ‘Lunch’ sounds good although sadly it’s an outdated concept. ‘Early afternoon’, ‘late afternoon’ and all of ‘the evening’ have got to be up there in the reckoning too.

So, even though the poem where the chinese spacecraft lands on the magnolia tree – and the one which sticks like frozen marmalade on burnt toast – come to mind, if I’ve got choose one it’s:

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in brisbane, when it rains

it’s 3:43 in a brisbane suburb
and I am staying in a
poetry house
bare-walled
uncomplicated

all around me
many-shelved bookcases of delight
containing the true holy writ
of the beat generation

on the radio
people discuss
drought statistics
water solutions and
a pipeline from the north

the rain starts swiftly
not separate drops but
a deafening sheet of water
confounding drought statistics
blowing talk of pipelines
into the middle of
next week

and just when you think it can’t
the rain on the roof gets louder
and just when you think the poem you are reading
with its list of mundane details
can’t get any longer
it increases in length and adds another verse

and the mundane details improve with each
repetition and you end up
so severely
impressed
you doubt your own
verbal sanity

for lord I have heard the word and
I have felt its power
I have witnessed public anger
private animosity
emotional severing and
passive acceptance of
the verb the adjective and the
non-rhyming conjunction

I am in a place where
the word is both king and queen
and metaphor is a holiday destination
where the king and queen go
to take a week off from meaning
from the cruelty of
here and now

then the rain eases
the noise on the roof decreases
the decibels descend
and I am drawn towards sleep
my brain racing with images of
czechoslovakia
and spain

paragraphs and public laughs and
poetry and all its worth
spread out in front of me
like an audience
super-sized
around a table

clock says
3:54

love you

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Defying the cliche of the modern poet writing poems after breakfast, the first time I read at QPF I decided to drink red wine and stay up late as late as possible. Not  on ebay buying anthologies or facebook ‘liking’ youtube clips of Steve McQueen, but writing actual poems.

Or maybe it was the fact that I couldn’t pluck up courage to go back into the room where I was staying, where the walls were lined with books – many of them valuable first editions. All of them bearing down on me from positions of power. Intimidated? N-n-no. Challenged? But of course.

I like staying up listening to people talking on the radio. Not chat or phone-ins, but news radio. Like a lot of musicians, I’ve got music going on in my head all the time anyway, so listening to voices talking is good. Doesn’t get in the way (unless of course you want to get rid of the music in your head – in which case, ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ or ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ will do the trick).

I like the crescendo of this poem. Preachers always grab my ear – in a real sense (my Northern Irish background) and a purely dramatic one (Burt Lancaster). It’s got the usual mix of a mangled ‘TS Eliot buys a Happy Meal’ reference, Iron Curtain nomenclature, and a series of seemingly random half-rhymes (really just products of a killer combination of internal deafness and a strange accent).

I can exclusively reveal that the two stanzas in italics are the most rewritten of the whole book, and that ‘my brain/racing with images of czechoslovakia and spain’ are my two favourite lines.

There you go – I got to ‘favourites’ in the end. Next I’ll be making lists. For isn’t that what we guys spend hours doing?

A good list can:

1. Waste a good amount of time so you can put off starting to write a poem.

2. Fill up an equal amount of space as a paragraph containing real depth and insight.

3. Tell you a lot about yourself through your reactions to the list. How attracted to/jealous are you of the person writing the list?

4. Inspire you to write your own list which you can send to the writer of the list with a pithy note attached. He or she will then…

5. Write back with a witty and generous riposte, ensuring a happy ending.

Which this is.

Undoubtedly.

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Stealing the Moment: Talking with Andy White (part i)

Andy White’s return to QLD Poetry Festival this year is extra special for me as Jules and I are now holding sparkling new copies of his second poetry collection, Stolen Moments (Another Lost Shark Publications), which will be launched at the festival on Saturday August 27 at 4:00pm in the Theatre Space of The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts as part of the session, All Is Roar And Crash.

So with the festival only 9 days away, Andy and I have been talking poetry…

Many of the poems in your new book, Stolen Moments, were born in Brisbane. As a touring artist you get the opportunity to visit many cities each year, so what is it about Brisbane that gets the poetic synapses firing?

When I was at school I knew I should like poetry. It was one of those things which was in my blood – distilled emotion, the perfect phrase. I didn’t love it, but I knew its worth, as we battled with Heaney and Longley and the Old Victorians. None of them saying much to me. Spike Milligan was better – reminded me of Lewis Carroll and the Beatles lyrics I’d grown up listening to. When we reached third form – maybe your Year 9 – we had an English teacher who thought she was Miss Jean Brodie (without the fascist baggage). Told us to throw the anthologies in a heap in the corner, loosen our ties (yes, all schools in Belfast had uniforms then – evened everything out a little) and tell the class a little bit about each other. Likes, dislikes. Loves, hobby horses. She believed that we only needed to know one poem – ‘Ode To A Nightingale’. Said it was all we needed for now – and we all believed her, hung on her every word. I still love that poem.

But something else happened that year which awoke me to the power of poetry. Brian Patten came to visit the school – a real live Liverpool poet. Someone who knew the Scaffold and probably, by extension, the Beatles. We gathered at his feet and listened. I bought the ‘Liverpool Poets’ Penguin book. Listened to old records of Roger McGough. Then our Miss Jean Brodie teacher was supplanted by a Leonard Cohen-loving teacher, just in time for sixth form and for falling in love. She wore scarves and eyeliner and burned incense in the classroom. And – let me remind you – this was 1980s Northern Ireland with a full-on terrorist war raging outside. The girls in the class talked make-up with her and she told the boys how to talk to the girls. During this time my fascination with the Liverpool Poets’ style didn’t disappear, but listen enough times to ‘So Long Marianne’ in  a darkened aroma-filled room when you’re supposed to be hurrying to chemistry class and you’ll understand my new-found devotion to the singer-songwriter’s version of the spoken word.

Things changed, I went to college.I studied English in England and got familiar with all types of poems – not even the Nightingale could save me from the rest of the 19th century. I saw Ian McEwan read ‘The Cement Garden’ to twelve people in an all-nighter. Sat in lectures listening to structuralists and post-structuralists. Barthes worshippers and Leavisites. Back home the troubles got worse, then better. I had been writing scraps of poems since I can’t remember when. It was always the natural thing to do. Then I saw John Cooper Clarke at a reading in a college disco. Amazing. I’d heard ‘Snap Crackle And Bop’ – but seeing him was something else. I was back in that school room again – charged up about poetry like when I saw Brian Patten for the first time. I went back  to my room, found a litttle black book and started copying poems into it. A friend organised a poetry reading gig and I was away. Reading fast and furious. Slamming before I knew the word. For me it was all about a mix of JCC, Dylan, Beats and the Liverpool Poets, all leaning a little bit towards Leonard.

After I started putting my poems to music, bashing them out with an acoustic guitar, it all changed. Poetry became something either to be considered on the page, not heard, or scribbled real fast – a thought which wouldn’t necessarily turn into a song. My first volume ‘The Music Of What Happens’ collected all my poems together. Written from 1971-1999, twenty-eight years collected in a suitcase and edited into some sort of shape by a novelist friend of mine. I launched the book in Dublin, Belfast and Galway. At the heart of the Irish literary establishment – who all thought of me as a singer. They never looked beyond my album covers, which amused me – I knew I started off with the word on the page, when music was something you listened to on Radio Luxembourg or which granny taught as I tried to keep up with her on the piano or violin. Before I discovered the acoustic guitar.

The next time I was excited by poetry was arriving in Brisbane and experiencing QPF. In 2006, I think it was. It’s as simple as that. I was booked to play but I was encouraged to read too. I got to my feet and didn’t stop for four days. The weekend inspired me to write – I filled books sitting around in Graham & Julie’s house (great I didn’t stay in a hotel that time) in the company of the Beats, Cohen and a fantastic collection of CDs and first editions, happily co-existing and drawing from them.

It’s the company I keep in Brisbane which gets me going, and the collective aspect of poetry I’ve found there. Above all the excitement generated at readings – and not just during the festival. Speedpoets is amazing – the highest standard poetry readings I’ve ever seen. Woodford too – something so right that it anagrams into Wordfood – I found the same electric atmosphere in a huge circus tent one New Year as 2007 slipped into 2008. Not the darkened upstairs of a pub with three or four people huddled round a candle mumbling – this was poetry on a grand stage (even if the work was small scale) with costumes and applause and performance.

It’s this dressing-up too – the way poets act out their poems and know how to speak into microphones and don’t mumble solo into their navels but get up collectively in pairs makes it exciting. Everyone knows it’s hip and relevant and funny and moving they don’t need to be told – just like in San Francisco and Liverpool, poets need a scene – they need a city and it’s not always going to be London or Paris or Sydney. Better if it’s not. That’s where poetry is hip and happening and live and emotional.

Just like poetry is in my head. That’s why Brisbane means poetry to me.

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Lost Shark Radio #3: The sounds of QLD Poetry Festival

QLD Poetry Festival 2011 is only days away (20 to be precise), so I thought it was time to tune the dials of Lost Shark Radio to some of the sounds that will be bursting from the walls of the Judith Wright Centre, when QPF takes centre stage from August 26 – 28.

Andy WhiteIf You Want It

He’s a restless and prolific bugger, is Andy White. In a career spanning more than a dozen albums, collaborations with the likes of Tim Finn  & Peter Gabriel, three books, including the soon to be released, Stolen Moments through Another Lost Shark Publications, Andy has always kept the bar high. Here’s the clip for If You Want It, the first single from his last album, Songwriter (2009). Andy will launch Stolen Moments at 4:00pm on Saturday August 27 as part of the session, All Is Roar And Crash. And I am sure he will dust off the guitar at some stage during the weekend!

Kate FaganCity of Ghosts

Kate recently released her debut album, Diamond Wheel, winning the National Film & Sound Archive Award for ‘Best Folk Album’. Her work has been compared to the likes of alt-country royalty, Joni Mitchell & Gillian Welch and described as ‘lyrically lucid, emotionally persuasive and evocative‘ (Bruce Elder, SMH).  And let’s not forget, she has also published three books of poetry, most recently, The Long Moment (Salt Publishing). At QPF 2011, Kate will showcase both facets of her stunning career. Kate will perform as part of QPF’s opening night concert, Of Rhythm and Rapture on Friday August 26. Tickets for the show are available here.

Bity Booker: Gallop

Bity grew up in Umbria in the countryside in a big house with horses, dogs and cats. She recently moved to Australia, where she has been gigging regularly and developing her unique style of songwriting with her clean, bright voice and classical guitar. Bity will perform as part of the session, Shooting Out The Lamps on Saturday August 27 at 6pm alongside Eliza Hull, Eleanor Jackson & Nick Powell.

To see the full QPF Program, visit http://www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com

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The latest release from Another Lost Shark Publications is…

That’s right, in between trips to Vancouver & San Francisco, becoming expecting parents and various other pursuits, my lovely wife and I have been hard at work on the next release for Another Lost Shark Publications – Stolen Moments, by acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter, Andy White. And we are excited to announce that it arrived early this week and looks spectacular! So stay tuned for more details over the next couple of weeks, as Andy will be launching the book at QLD Poetry Festival on Saturday August 27. For now, here’s a sneak preview of the cover:

Ah yes, books are a thing of beauty… a big thank you to Marcel Schwartz for his work on the cover.

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SpeedPoets Open Mic Championship this Sunday

While Brisbane is in the midst of festival fever, SpeedPoets keeps things hot, hosting its annual Open Mic Championships at InSpire Gallery Bar (71 Vulture St, West End) this Sunday September 5. And to make the afternoon extra special, there are three interstate feature acts, that you don’t want to miss!

Fresh from her appearance at QLD Poetry Festival, Tiggy Johnson will perform a feature set alongside fellow Melbournite, Randall Stephens. And to round out the southern trio, the delightful Andy White will make a special appearance playing a set of songs and poems; his first performance in Brisbane in more than 2 years. Here’s a quick taste of Andy’s work:

There will also be the regular live sounds from Sheish Money, free zines, raffles/giveaways and much, much more!

The Open Mic Championship Rules are:

1.  Sign on for the SpeedPoets Open Mic Competition will commence at 2pm and cease at 2:30pm

2. Each poet will be given 3mins to perform/read one poem (without musical accompaniment or props).

3. Each poem read must be the original work of the poet.

4. Two judges will be selected to choose a shortlist of at least 5 poets for the second round

5. Poets selected for the second will be given another 3mins to perform a second poem. This poem cannot be the poem they performed in the first round and again, must be their own original work.

6. A winner and runner up will be selected by the judges from the second round performances.

7. The winner will receive $100 and the runner up $50, with a range of book prizes to be presented to commended performances.

(NB. Judges decisions on the day will be final and no further corresspondence will be entered into)

 
So start fine tuning your poems and your performance! Doors open at 2pm – along with sign up for the Open Mic Competition.

SpeedPoets, Sunday September 5, 2:00pm – 5:30pm, InSpire Gallery Bar – 71 Vulture St. West End

featuring:

Tiggy Johnson, Randall Stephens & Andy White

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2010 SpeedPoets Open Mic Competition

Entry is a gold coin donation

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Leonard Cohen Live in Melbourne: a review in the shape of a poem by Andy White

belief in beauty

i’m in the same room as leonard
he’s kneeling on stage,
he’s singing low
lower than you would think
sonically possible

it’s a big room
and he welcomes us in
thanks us for our hospitality
with charm, charisma and
class

he – twice – describes his band with a
flow of great adjectives
incomparable
sublime
irreplaceable
acrobatic

all could apply to leonard
even the last,
as his 74-year old frame
skips lightly off stage
after raising his hat and smiling
from a heart as deep
as his voice

there are many hats on stage,
leonard’s is pulled over his eyes and
removed between the songs
to acknowledge our applause
to put on his guitar
to thank the musicians

leonard recites lines from songs
before the band begins to play:
‘a thousand kisses deep’, and
‘there is a crack in everything
that’s how the light gets in’

tears come to my eyes
easily

now he’s singing about
the moon and broken violins
love and solitude
intimacy and
fond farewells

old europe to his left
three angels to his right
north america the swing
in his step

each word is chosen
with care
every phrase delivered
lower than the last
beauty and
belief in all i hear

he says:

“thanks for keeping these songs alive
through the years”

thank
you
leonard

sincerely,

a. white

 

Set List from the Melbourne Concert February 5, 2009

Dance Me To The End Of Love
The Future
Ain’t No Cure For Love
Bird On A Wire
Everybody Knows
In My Secret Life
Who By Fire
Chelsea Hotel # 2
Hey That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
Anthem

* * *

Tower Of Song
Suzanne
The Gypsy Wife
The Partisan
Boogie Street
Hallelujah
I’m Your Man
A Thousand Kisses Deep
Take This Waltz

* * *

So Long Marianne
First We Take Manhattan

* * *

Famous Blue Raincoat
If It Be Your Will
Democracy

* * *

I Tried To Leave You
Whither Thou Goest

 

andy-white1

 
About Andy:

Belfast boy Andy White is a rock’n’roll star in his own land. He has merged pop sensibility with lyrical excellence, social commentary and acoustic guitars ever since his debut single ‘Religious Persuasion’ and first album ‘Rave On Andy White’ in 1986, right up to and including his last album ‘Garageband’.

Since ‘Rave On’, Andy has released 8 solo albums, two compilations and a live album. He has written classics such as ‘James Joyce’s Grave’ and ‘Street Scenes From My Heart’, won Ireland’s top songwriting award, lived in Ireland, Europe and currently Australia.

Andy White has worked with the likes of Peter Gabriel and Tim Finn, been the A of ALT, won awards and critical acclaim for his albums, and toured the world with his acoustic guitar.

His new album Garageband (MGM) was recorded in Melbourne and Real World Studios by John Leckie, producer of ‘The Bends’ and ‘Z’ by My Morning Jacket.

 

Find out more:

http://www.andywhite.com/

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