Tag Archives: Brisbane Writers Festival

In the Red Chamber

Just back from a cracking reading held in the gorgeous Red Chamber of Old Parliament House.

The evening opened with a reading from Ross Clark, who read a great new poem, The Death of Jazz (one to keep your eye out for). Next up were Emily XYZ & Myers Bartlett who totally nailed their set, opening with bill of rights: prologue, the whole room reverberating as they echoed, ‘You are called upon to deliberate those things which are essential to liberty.’ Never has a poem seemed so at home… every politician needs to hear this poem! They then went straight into the second part of the poem, Separation of Church and State. So good! Here’s a clip of them performing it at Cornelia St Cafe in 2008.

And to close the night, John Tranter gave us a selection of poems from his soon to be released collection, Starlight: 150 poems. His reimaginings of Charles Baudelaire’s poems from Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) were a real highlight. I totally recommend checking out the selection Tranter has published on his website: Starlight Selection. His reading of Paradise was particularly mesmerising. Can’t wait to get my hands on this collection.

And now, it’s time for dreaming…

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Brisbane Writers Festival – poetry has the last word

It was fitting (well for this Lost Shark anyway), that a session featuring five fine poets brought BWF 2009 to a close. The featured poets were Emily Ballou, Bronwyn Lea, Felicity Plunkett, Nathan Shepherdson & Lionel Fogarty. These poets had the last word, and for those of you who couldn’t make it, here are some of their words.

Darwin’s Noah – Emily Ballou

Taken from her collection, The Darwin Poems. You can read more of her work at: http://emilyballou.com/blog/

the square root of a full stop is the square root of 64 – Nathan Shepherdson

Taken from his new collection, Apples With Human Skin (UQP).

Antipodes + other poems – Bronwyn Lea

These poems are taken from her debut collection, Flight Animals (UQP). Her most recent collection, The Other Way Out was recently published by Giramondo.

The Negative Cutter – Felicity Plunkett

Felicity’s collection Vanishing Point (UQP) won the 2008 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize.

Remember Something Like This + other poems – Lionel Fogarty

Taken from Lionel’s collection Minyung Woolah Binnung.

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Brisbane Writers Festival in review + A Taste of Salt

After a big night of poetry on Friday night, this Lost Shark hit the road to get a taste of salt… but before I get to that, a little BWF roundup.

Friday evening’s Small Change Press reading was a lot of fun. It was especially wonderful to hear the words of Julie Beveridge, who has been absent from the mic for a while, due to her QPF commitments. The poems from Home is Where the Heartache is cut clean and deep, pulling back the fat from those moments in life that we often keep hidden. Take Last Cigarette for example:

‘Can I have a cigarette?’ he asks

That once familiar voice, now alien. I take out a cigarette, but don’t light it. In thirty seconds he will forget. I pull the blanket up over his chest. Finger the rim on the hole in his larynx. I want to wear him like a ring. As he falls into sleep his breath grunts and rattles.

thin red line
I light
his last cigarette

It still hurts as good as it did when I first read it two years ago. Check out this review of Heartache on Stylus Poetry Journal.

Next up Sheish Money and I blew out the cobwebs that had gathered during the week with a short set. I have to say, that I am absolutely buzzing about the launch this Thursday, September 17 at the Judith Wright Centre. Sheish and I are really hitting our straps at the moment, and we are both looking forward to sending The Stillest Hour out into orbit and putting the finishing touches on what has been an amazing series of gigs lately. The launch details are on the blog here so come along and help celebrate!

Nathan Shepherdson then read from What Marian Drew Never Told Me About Light. This long poem will never cease to blow me away. With each reading the microscope that Shepherdson so deftly wields, shifts focus and reveals new details:

pick a number between
one and ten
that is how many times
you have died today

Brilliant!

And to round off the evening, Afeif Ismail Abdelrazig was in town, so together we performed his poem, Book of Screams, Afeif in the original Arabic and me in English.

If you see, while your eyes are closed;
the image of a baby suckling at the breast of his
dead mother;
               then know
               that this miserable child
               is
               from
               Darfur!

This poem is profoundly haunting.

Then I dashed over to the Red Chamber of Parliament House to catch Bronwyn Lea, Rosanna Licari, Hinemoana Baker, John Bennett, William Barton and Delmae Barton.

And after hearing Hinemoana’s set, I am even more excited to be sharing the stage with her on Thursday and helping to farewell her in style as she launches her CD, gondwanavista.

 

So with Brisbane turning out perfect Spring days at the moment, Julie and I loaded Hinemoana into the car on Saturday morning and hit the road for Coolangatta, as with her residency coming to a close next week, we felt she (and we) needed to feel the pull of the Pacific, to get a taste of salt.

The sky was spotless, the tide high, the temperature cool enough to bring the skin to goosebumps and then loosen. We checked out Kirra, Greenmount, Rainbow Bay, Point Danger & the Tweed.

                                                           still river
                                                           the current releases
                                                           a mullet

I had forgotten just how much I need the water, how it levels me out, brings everything back into focus. We drove home, smiling and sleepy-eyed. Yep, this Lost Shark is definitely Ocean Hearted.

 

So today, I am heading back to BWF to catch Hinemoana Baker in conversation with Kate Eltham and the final event of the festival, a poetry reading in State Library of QLD’s Red Box featuring Nathan Shepherdson, Bronwyn Lea, Emily Ballou, Felicity Plunkett and Lionel Fogarty.

A great way to wind up BWF, so if you are looking for something to do this afternoon… get along and add some poetry to your Sunday afternoon.

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Brisbane Writers Festival: Small Change & other poetic happenings

The mighty Small Change Press roll out the red tongues of three of their finest tomorrow at Brisbane Writers Festival. If you are in town, come along and make some (poetic) noise and get behind the poetry programmed as part of BWF 2009. If we all get behind it, they may just program more of it in 2010.

So here’s what’s happening:

BWF & Small Change Press presents:

Julie Beveridge, Nathan Shepherdson + Graham Nunn & Sheish Money with MC extraordinairre & co-founder of Small Change Press, David Stavanger.

Come and experience the wild and whirling words of these poets as they transform their poems into columns of air ready to be devoured by your hungry ears.
 
Date: Friday 11 September
Time: 5:15pm – 6:15pm
Venue: The Studio, State Library of QLD (SLQ)
Cost: Free

 

Earlier in the day, you can also catch FLIGHT.

FLIGHT = something is not quite right. QLD performance poets (and Charles Ulm disciples) Ghostboy & Pascalle Burton + guest pilot The Stress of Leisure present FLIGHT: their well feared Q150 experimental spoken word theatre in-flight entertainment for the first time in 2009 ,as part of the Brisbane Writers Festival. Proudly co-funded by Brisbane City Council’s Creative Sparks. 130pm-230pm @ BWF: Aud 2, The State Library of QLD. Remember – no two flights can ever be the same.

And later on you have the choice of Poetry in the Red Chamber featuring Hinemoana Baker, Bronwyn Lea, William Barton, John Bennett & Rosanna Licari. 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Old Parliament House, Red Chamber.

or

Heat 2 of the Australian Poetry Slam @ Brisbane Writers Festival (The Studio, State Library of QLD). Sign up 730pm / slam 8pm. MC Ghostboy with Tessa Leon + feature band The Stress of Leisure.

So get your poetry boots on and I’ll see you there!

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Another Lost Shark On Tour

It’s poetry season… having just experienced the delights of QPF 2009, I am now preparing to head west for the WA Spring Poetry Festival this weekend. The programme features WA poets Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Amber Fresh, Amanda Joy, Annamaria Weldon, Peter Bibby, Gary de Piazzi & Deanne Leber. I have never been to WA so I am really excited to head on over and check it all out. The programme is now available online.

Then the following weekend, I am heading south to Melbourne for the Overload Poetry Festival with Brisbane ‘Rock Pig’, Mr Sheish Money. Sheish & I will be debuting tracks from our new CD The Stillest Hour and the mighty Small Change Press will be launching Maurice McNamara’s debut collection, Half-Hour Country.

Then it is back home for a gig at Brisbane Writers Festival on Friday September 11 from 5:15pm – 6:15pm alongside Nathan Shepherdson & Julie Beveridge as part of a Small Change Press showcase.

And finally, I am off to Terrigal (NSW) for the 4th Pacific Rim Haiku Conference.

Indeed, if I was so inclined I could put these dates on a t-shirt and call it a tour. Five weekends of poetry across four states… who could ask for more!

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