Tag Archives: Carmen Leigh Keates

The City We Build: A Poetry Adventure

Inspired by those childhood favourites, Choose Your Own Adventure Stories, QLD Poetry Festival (QPF) and if:book Australia joined forces in 2012 to commission three exciting poets – Julie Beveridge, Chris Lynch and Carmen Leigh Keates – to write a series of poems that traversed the glorious landscape of Fortitude Valley.

TCWBOriginally, handbills were designed with QR Codes and distributed at the QPF 2013 book store in the foyer of The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, where each journey began. These handbills invited readers to scan the code, read the poem and then make a decision where to head next. The project was so successful, that the good folk at QPF wanted to extend the project… so now we have, The City We Build: A Poetry Adventure.

This extraordinary, enhanced ibook was launched last night on the deck of Riverbend Books and is now available as a free download. As well as the original poems, the book features the photography of Cindy Keong and an opening essay by QPF Director, Sarah Gory.

It is wonderful to see projects like this embracing new technology and pushing the boundaries of poetry publishing.


Download your copy here!

While you are downloading your own copy, spread the word to your networks, so they can grab a copy. This is a book that needs to be read widely!

And in keeping with the community feel of Another Lost Shark, I am keen for readers out there to review the collection. The first three people to email me a 400 + word review will have their review published on my site, and receive a free copy of one of the Another Lost Shark Publications titles (or something else from my collection for those loyal buyers). Look forward to hearing from you… the email address is geenunn(at)yahoo.com.au (remember to replace the (at) with @).


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Tickets for Riverbend Poetry Series on sale now!

The Riverbend Books front deck has become synonymous with poetry in Brisbane over the course of the last eight years, hosting the annual Riverbend Poetry Series in collaboration with QLD Poetry Festival and QLD Writers Centre. So if you don’t want to be standing on the street, craning your neck (and ears) to get a slice of the action, check out the details below to book your ticket. These events book out notoriously early and the line-up… well, the year is off to a flyer!

Riverbend Poetry Series 1

The first event in the Riverbend Poetry Series features graveyard poet Zenobia Frost,  multi-award winner Anthony Lawrence and two very special launches – Vanessa Page launching her full length debut,  Confessional Box and the Choose Your Own Poetry Adventure amplified e-book launch.

When: Tuesday 19th February 2013, 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Where: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St, Bulimba
Cost: $10
Bookings are essential and can be made by calling Riverbend Books on 07 3899 8555 or via their website.


Here’s a little bit about the poets…

Vanessa-PageVanessa Page is launching her full length debut, Confessional Box. Vanessa is a Brisbane-based poet who hails from Toowoomba in Queensland. In 2011 and 2012 she was named runner-up in the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Prize for an unpublished manuscript for The lost art of penning you a love note and Confessional Box. In April 2012 she launched her first micro-collection of poetry Feeding Paper Tigers through Another Lost Shark Publications.

Confessional Box is her second collection of poetry, published by Walleah Press, combining the best of Page’s two shortlisted Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Prize manuscripts, Confessional Box is an extended love letter to place, heart and memory.

“Vanessa Page writes with the complex simplicity of an artist like Paul Klee – her language is ‘skin, papered/over skin’. There is an arresting music to this book, worked at deep pitch, performed with great skill and a compassionate vision.” — Robert Adamson

lawrenceAnthony Lawrence has published thirteen books of poems, the most recent being The Welfare of My Enemy (Puncher & Wattmann, 2011) which was shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Award and the Age Book of the Year Awards. His books and individual poems have won many of Australia’s major poetry awards, and his work has been translated into Italian, German, Japanese and Slovenian. He lives at Casuarina, on the North Coast of NSW, and teaches Reading and Writing Poetry at Griffith University, Gold Coast.

Zenobia-FrostZenobia Frost is a Brisbane-based poet and critic with a PhD in burning the candle at both ends. In 2012 she was invited to tour with the Queensland Poetry Festival Regional Roadshow; then, in October, she spent a week at Varuna, the Writer’s House, coaxing her debut manuscript into shape. Zen edits with OffStreet Press, Cordite Poetry Review, and Voiceworks Magazine, and she enjoys long walks in graveyards, incisive verse, theatre, and tea.

CYOPA-2Choose Your Own Poetry Adventure, a co-production of QPF and if:book Australia, is a journey through the byways and the streets of the Valley. Weaving language into the physical spaces that we walk around daily, these poetic trails combine language and landmarks to showcase Fortitude Valley in a whole new light.

Choose Your Own Poetry Adventure has three poetic journeys created by three Brisbane poets: Julie Beveridge, Carmen Leigh Keates, and Chris Lynch.

Carmen Leigh Keates’ collection One Broken Knife was published in Brisbane New Voices III, 2012. Her verse novella, Second-Hand Attack Dog, was commended in the 2011 Alec Bolton Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript.

Chris Lynch’s poetry has appeared in Blackmail Press, page seventeen and Islet. He recently edited The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder, and Evolution, an anthology of speculative fiction, poetry, and artwork about evolution.

Julie Beveridge is a poet and cultural producer. Her collection, Home is where the Heartache is (Small Change Press), was her first collection of haibun. Her follow up collection, home{sic}, was released in June 2012.


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And the SpeedPoets Open Mic Champion for 2012 is…

Before I rush in and announce it, let me first say that today was a reminder of why the SpeedPoets engine has been running for 12 years… the sense of community was overwhelming and each of the Call-Back-Poets kept the poetry bar set high.

This made the judges – Darkwing Dubs, mr oCean & Stuart Cooke – job incredibly difficult, but a decision was made and the announcement sent a roar of approval through the venue.

Sharing the runner-up prize of $100 was Carmen Leigh Keates & Chloe Callistemon and taking out the $200 cash prize with a set that popped with images of family life and the meandering Bulimba Creek, was Andrew Phillips. It’s been a massive year for Andrew. He released his debut collection (with Tiggy Johnson), That Zero Year, performed at QPF and has now taken out the title of SpeedPoets Open Mic Champion.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks for a feature on Andrew, but for now, here are three links for you to enjoy more of his work:

Link 1: Andrew’s feature poem on SpeedPoets from July
Link 2: Andrew’s feature poem on Another Lost Shark
Link 3: Andrew’s blog

Let me close by saying a big thank you to everyone who has come along to a SpeedPoets event this (or any other) year. Without you, there is no SpeedPoets. And to Sheish Money & Giselle. We wouldn’t sound half as good without you!


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SpeedPoets Call-Back-Poet #3: Carmen Leigh Keates

Just back from a great new Poetry Open Mic gig at Little Prince Espresso and feeling very lucky to live in this city. For those keen to fill their ears with words, the next gig there is scheduled for Thursday November 15.

And of course there is SpeedPoets on Sunday November 4. One of the many features at the gig will be Carmen Leigh Keates. Carmen has had a big year, publishing her first collection, One Broken Knife as part of Brisbane New Voices III, featuring at Riverbend Books and QLD Poetry Festival and being the Call Back Poet at the April SpeedPoets gig. She is currently writing a series of poems about Russian Filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, so I thought I would share one of these works:

Flocks of Eider
(Watching Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev.)

When it snows
in the cathedral the snow is
feathers. Some say
it is an embarrassing oversight
while others think this is
poplar fluff floating by to
subtly mark a change in season.

Maybe it is flocks of eider
gliding overhead where
the frescos used to be.

Or ectoplasm streaming
like bandages in the wake
of the ghost of Theophanes.

Perhaps the film is actually
on the sea bed and the sky
is the water’s surface refracting
all Russianness into a kind of
woven papyrus of light
from which our Kirill reads
in his mysterious hood

and from his mouth the bubbles
need no translation for us to recognise

incapacitating self-suspicion.

(for those of you keen to check out the film, you can watch it free online here)


Carmen Leigh Keates was born in Brisbane. Her verse novella, Second-Hand Attack Dog, was commended in the 2011 Alec Bolton Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript, and her poem ‘One Broken Knife‘ was commended in the 2010 Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize. Carmen is undertaking her PhD candidature at the University of Queensland, for which she is writing poetry about the films of Andrei Tarkovsky.


2012 SpeedPoets Open Mic Championships

Date: Sunday November 4
Location: Brew (Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City)
Time: 2:30pm – 5pm
Entry: Gold Coin Donation
More details at www.speedpoets.com


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Brisbane New Voices III reviewed on APR + special offer

I was thrilled this morning to be sent a link to a fine review of Brisbane New Voices III on Martin Duwell’s site, Australian Poetry Review. The review also looks in depth at two other Australian new voices, Eileen Chong and Mathew Abbott.

Here’s a little of what Martin had to say about the two micro collections contained in BNV III.

On Feeding Paper Tigers by Vanessa Page

Vanessa Page’s poems tend to focus on emotional states: the first, “Five fifty-three am” is about happiness, and its structure – a set of rhapsodic metaphors (“It’s the morning rubbing the last of a dream from its eyes / as day-broken birds open their throats to the light”) – mimics the way the state lends itself to imaginative celebration rather than, say, sceptical analysis.

On One Broken Knife by Carmen Leigh Keates

The poems of Carmen Leigh Keates have an eerily individual quality which derives not so much from their subject matter – though that is often disturbing enough – as from their disjunctions.

In “Out There By the Airport” which “tells the story” of the experiences of a Salvadorean hospital cleaner there is a disorienting and very unusual juxtaposition of direct and indirect speech.  But the title poem uses this technique in the most radical way. It begins with a domestic enough set of comments about the use of knives which modulates to:

It is the twin of a knife
found in the grave
of someone you used to be
in the fourth century.

before beginning the next stanza, even more radically:

Radio feels mysterious.
You walk about
listening with your eyes . . . . .

Disjunctions and unexpected movements such as this between the domestic, the sinister, and the analytical, give these poems a tremendous internal drive.

You can read the full review here.

And with such a great review, I thought there was need to celebrate!

Here’s the special offer:

Brisbane New Voices III – $10 incl. postage
Brisbane New Voices II & III
– $15 incl. postage
Brisbane New Voices I, II & III
(the complete series so far) – $20 incl. postage

Payment options include:

PayPal – make all payments to geenunn(at)yahoo.com.au – replacing the (at) with @ – and clearly state that payment is for BNV. {Note: All overseas payments should be made in $USD}

Cheque / Money Order (In Australia Only)– make all cheques / money orders payable to Graham Nunn and post to:

Another Lost Shark Publications
86 Hawkwood St.
Mt Gravatt East
Brisbane QLD 4122

Direct Deposit (In Australia Only) – email me off site at geenunn(at)yahoo.com.au – replacing the (at) with @ – for bank details.

It’s a great way to support emerging poets and poetry!


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Brisbane New Voices III about to Launch!

It’s a matter of days now until Brisbane New Voices III featuring Vanessa Page & Carmen Leigh Keates will be launched at Riverbend Books on Tuesday, April 24. Joining Vanessa & Carmen on the Riverbend deck will be Slam Queen, Tessa Leon, founder of the QLD Poetry Festival, Brett Dionysius and global traveller, singer / songwriter / poet, Andy White. Following the launch, Brisbane New Voices III will be available for purchase on this site, but more on that later…

For now, here’s the details of where to book your ticket. It’s going to be a night to celebrate!

Venue: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford Street, Bulimba.
Date: Tuesday April 24
Time: Doors open at 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Tickets: $10
Bookings: Call 07 3899 8555 to reserve your seat
More details at the QPF website


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Brisbane New Voices III: Carmen Leigh Keates Breaks the Knife

This is one of those rare months where a fifth Friday muscles its way in. So as the April Pin-Up Poet isn’t due to appear here for another week, I thought it was the perfect time to showcase the title poem from Carmen Leigh Keates‘ half of Brisbane New Voices III, One Broken Knife.

One Broken Knife

There’s a rightness
in using one knife for everything
from cutting up a chop
to dividing the bulbs of daffodils.

And when the point is broken
and it attains that animalistic
pig-angry bearing
it becomes your weapon

not seriously
but it becomes your totem knife.
Nobody picks the broken one, right?

It is the twin of a knife
found in the grave
of someone you used to be
in the fourth century.

Radio feels mysterious.
You walk about
listening with your eyes
looking at your hands
going about their thing
straightening books.

Your hands
do not hear
and go on working.
Your hands are farmers.
But your ears are little children
who ask about God
just as they fall asleep.

Dad used his broken knife
to eat apple.
Sitting at the kitchen table
slicing off shapes
feeding them into his mouth
with the same knife-hand.

The blade missed his eye
by a distance
so small
it was religious.

He’d sharpen his knife
and the greasy drag
would ring through the house
like a local abduction.

Once he used the knife
to open a bag of cement
and out of the rip
a grey dust rose
like the spirit.

When I broke
the tip off my knife
I saw
it could leave the kitchen.

The hands that don’t listen
from a root-bound aloe
a clutch
of sappy broken knives
and hurled them into a vacant plot
where if inclined
they could live.


Carmen Leigh Keates was born in Brisbane. Her verse novella, Second-Hand Attack Dog, was commended in the 2011 Alec Bolton Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript, and her poem ‘One Broken Knife‘ was commended in the 2010 Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize. Carmen is undertaking her PhD candidature at the University of Queensland, for which she is writing poetry about the films of Andrei Tarkovsky.


Brisbane New Voices III is printed in a limited edition of 100 copies and will be launched on Tuesday April 24 at Riverbend Books along with readings by Victorian Singer/Songwriter, Andy White and QLD mistress of SLAM, Tessa Leon. To book your ticket call the store on (07) 3899 8555.


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QLD Writers Week Feature #2: Carmen Keates

Day 2 of QLD Writers Week and we are leaving the landscapes of Central QLD, to hurtle, full-on into the hustle of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, a place that has been a creative force in the life of Carmen Leigh Keates.

Carmen Leigh Keates: Fortitude Valley

I’ve lived in my unit in Fortitude Valley for about seven years. I’m in Harcourt St, widely known as Prostitute Laundromat Street, because of the well-known business on the ground floor of the Avalon Apartments up on the corner where this street intersects with Brunswick.

I’m 32. Ten years ago I moved into an old New Farm art deco flat down by the park with a friend from high school when I got a job around here as a production assistant (glorified receptionist, or ‘shit kicker’, as we liked to say) in a corporate video house. After a year or two, I realised I wasn’t taking advantage of the Valley. Living here, I could drink and then walk home; certainly my workmates were jealous that I didn’t have to run for the last train, but could just keep on enjoying the band. When I moved to Harcourt St, even closer to the Valley, I started reviewing bands for the street press.

Now, my time in the Valley is almost over. The Troubadour’s gone, and Ric’s has been bought by the Royal George… I have the same complaints as most people who love what music used to be in the Valley. Now, even the long-vacant piece of land next door to me has an apartment block that is just that – a block—it blocks my view of where I used to be able to watch the Ekka fireworks over the RNA showgrounds.

I used to keep a blog, a kind of diary about going out in the Valley, and I think giving a sample from it would be the best way to show what it was like, rather than trying to remember, as I sit here with no view, listening to a tile-cutter putting finishing touches on the white-and-aluminium units no Valley person will be able to buy…


Went to bed last night at about 11pm so I could get some proper sleep, but just woke up before at 4:49am and laid there like a dying horse until it was clear I should just get up.

Yesterday afternoon I went with my remaining $23 to see Spencer P. Jones’ 3pm set at Ric’s. It ended up being a 4:30pm first set, then another around 6pm, so in between 3pm and the start I bummed around drinking two slow beers (which went down like medicine – I’d really drank enough that weekend, but I had nothing else to do) and reading Vice Magazine. Then some of the Ric’s people I know from during the week turned up and we smoked like Iraqi oil wells all afternoon.

Beers are $6 so on my last bit of money I was $1 short but it was ok as there was a buck sitting there on the bar. I think Blake [the bartender; he often gave me triple vodkas for $4] had kept it aside when some dude bought a drink earlier and forgot to pick up his change, but then Blake swiped some of my fags, he said, to cover the dollar. What goes around comes around.

Spencer P. Jones [best known from The Beasts of Bourbon] was apparently in his second week of mourning for a dead friend, and drank messily but no more messily than everyone else. Naomi said last time he was there they took him to a burlesque show after his gig and he just sat there in the crowd, she laughed, “like a bored old guy”. I should point out how unsexy Brisbane burlesque shows happen to be at the moment; it’s just like a new kind of Tupperware party for some women. So clearly Jones displays impeccable taste even when wasted. Bravo.

The night before, I was watching ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ while sipping a big tumbler of scotch and marveling at Marlon Brando’s young body. How did that get destroyed? It looks invincible! (etc) and O phoned and said she would like to do some vodka shots. I had been watching the movie because on Friday I got a bunch of old films out in preparation for an indoors, virtually alcohol-free weekend where I could recoup, and listen to Radio National documentaries. But when O said “Are you in a staying home mood?”, I just said “I used to be” and we got to Ric’s just before 10pm, where she ordered like this:  “Vodka! 2 shots! No, 4 shots! No, 2 shots! No! 4 Shots!” and that about paints a picture of the rest of the evening’s drinking.

Ric’s was full of really young people so we went to the Troubadour where there was a Gram Parsons tribute, which might have been interesting if it had been interesting. It was hot in there so we hung around outside for a bit to get some air and when we got back we’d missed Jacob S. Harris, one of the few sets we definitely wanted to catch. Kate from Texas Tea was at the bar and I stretched out to tap her hand to ask when she would be playing and I realised she has the tiniest little thin white hands in the world. She has a big death-scythe of a voice so that surprised me. Anyway, turns out she’d just played one song with Jacob so we’d missed both of them. Shit.

O could no longer abide the bad country fashion efforts – they were really freaking her out – so we left and got home by about 1am, and stood around suddenly talking about involved sexual details for what must have been over an hour. O said “Why did we start talking about that?” and I said “I dunno. It just came out.”


Appearing Tonight

Down in the Valley Mall 
through the crowd’s Cyanean Rocks
there’s a corridor of bricks
with a high-protein glaze
and strings of lights all over it
like a calendar punctuated
with incandescent hangovers.

The tables are people lumps,
and everyone’s looking
for someone who hasn’t arrived.

A new phone number’s on the toilet wall,
the DJ ignores all requests,
and finally, the band comes on.

(A deleted poem from the draft of the verse novel Second-Hand Attack Dog.)


Carmen Leigh Keates received a commendation in the 2010 Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize for her poem ‘One Broken Knife’. She has recently completed her MPhil in Creative Writing, for which she wrote the verse novella Second-Hand Attack Dog.

Carmen’s work will be featured in Brisbane New Voices III, which will be released in April 2012.


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Dada Doesn’t Catch Flies (but it has caught poets)

The delightful Fiona Bell of Dada Doesn’t Catch Flies, has been firing questions at some of the local artists who will be hitting the QLD Poetry Festival stage. So far she has chatted with Carmen Leigh Keates, Nicola Scholes, Ghostboy & my lovely wife, Julie Beveridge (yes, that’s her arm below).

She has also been posting poems and other morsels for you to devour, so, if you have not yet taken the left turn to Fiona’s site, then now’s the time!

Only 10 days to go…


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SpeedPoets warms it’s new home

SpeedPoets held their first event at Brew yesterday and it was a cracker! There was a great crowd that gathered in Brew’s elegant basement/lounge to take in feature sets from Brisbane ladies, Carmen Leigh Keates, who took us on the road with fictional band, The Dick Candles in a fine selection of poems from her verse novella, Second-Hand Attack Dog; Charity Carleton, who delivered an achingly beautiful acoustic set, featuring songs from her band’s (Ichabod’s Crane) recent album, Honeydew; and Michelle Dicinoski, who stole our breath with a reading from her forthcoming collection, Electricty for Beginners.

Sheish Money was also in fine form, delivering a set of new songs, brimming with tales of youth, love and the shortening of garden hoses. And the Open Mic Section… well, it showed why SpeedPoets has been leading the way in Brisbane for the last decade. Twenty-five poets unlatched their lungs into the mic, 8 of them for the very first time and each one gave it their all.

You can check out more photos on the SpeedPoets website (photographs by Cindy Keong).

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