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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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Riverbend Poetry Series Event #3 – featuring Suzanne Jones

There is just under two weeks left until the final event in the Riverbend Poetry Series for 2010. The CD – A Million Bright Things – is now complete and at the printers and the launch is shaping up to be something special. The launch will feature members of the QPF Committee reading a selection of poems from the CD as well as guest performances from Zenobia Frost & Adam Phillips who feature on the CD and Rob Morris, Sheish Money & myself reprising the Vegemite Song (that’s right, this Lost Shark gets to sit behind the kit one more time!).

The CD launch alone will be worth the $10 entry fee, but we are finishing the 2010 series with a bang, launching the 2010 QPF program with readings from the QPF Committee and three of this years featured artists Ynes Sanz, Darkwing Dubs, and the enchanting Suzanne Jones.

Here’s a taste of what Suzanne Jones will bring to the Riverbend Deck:

Set against a backdrop of guitar, keyboard and original electronic soundscapes, poetess and singer songwriter Suzanne Jones weaves words via a tapestry of spoken word narratives and music. Two time finalist in the Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup she has been published in the likes of Going Down Swinging, Page Seventeen, Stylus, Cordite, Black Mail Press, Cottonmouth, and Spoken in One Strange Word; she has also featured at WordFood at Woodford Folk Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival and the Australian Poetry Slam; Suzanne is a founding member and committee member of  QLD’s premier experimental spoken word collective ouTsideRs.

Suzanne recently had two poems featured in issue #37 of Stylus Poetry Journal which I am hosting so you can read a sample of her work there or visit: www.myspace.com/suzanne_jones to find out more.

Tickets for the event are still available so check out the details below:

Date: Tuesday 22 June
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Tickets: $10 available through Riverbend Books and include sushi and complimentary wine. To purchase tickets, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at http://www.riverbendbooks.com.au/Events/EventDetails.aspx?ID=2253

These events are always hugely popular, so book early to avoid disappointment!

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Riverbend Poetry Series Event #3 featuring Darkwing Dubs

The final event in the Riverbend Poetry Series for 2010 is creeping closer. I have been frantically working on the CD – A Million Bright Things, featuring 16 artists who featured at the 2009 QLD Poetry Festival, and can I say, it has been a blast. There are some sparkling performances making their way on to the CD and it will be launched as part of this event alongside the 2010 QLD Poetry Festival Program. That in itself, is well worth getting along to this gig, but on top of that there will also be features from Ynes Sanz, Suzanne Jones and the mighty Darkwing Dubs, all of whom will feature at the 2010 Festival.

Here’s the lowdown on Mr Dubs:

Darkwing Dubs likes poetry, hip-hop and cooking; has an addiction to video games; and still doesn’t know how to use punctuation properly. He won last year’s QLD poetry slam and this year he’s hosted hip-hop and poetry workshops as a part of Youth Week celebrations; is working slowly on a long and overdue album; and is in the middle of a final year at QUT.

Back at QPF for a second year, he’s hoping to bring something fresh with The Broken Records Collective, made up of himself, Betsy Turcot and Dissent of Didymus. However he’s mostly occupied with collecting every South Park episode and wishing for world peace.

 

A Children’s (superhero) Poem

The Superhero came home
With sore limbs and tired bones
She’d saved the planet twice this week!

So she unplugged the phone and
Plugged her ears up with foam
And promptly went to bed and fell asleep.

 

Counting…

10  Revolutionaries

9   Fists Raised

8   Corrupt Cops

7   Barricades

6   Deaths in custody

5   Investigations

4   Limbs missing

3   Generations

2   Stories told

1   Is the Truth

0   Evidence in a
            Negative loop…

 

You can find out more about Darkwing Dubs at:

www.myspace.com/darkwingdubs or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Darkwing-Dubs/8703534945?ref=ts

To book yourself in for this wonderful event, check out the details below:

Date: Tuesday 22 June
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Tickets: $10 available through Riverbend Books and include sushi and complimentary wine. To purchase tickets, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at http://www.riverbendbooks.com.au/Events/EventDetails.aspx?ID=2253

These events are always hugely popular, so book early to avoid disappointment!

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Riverbend Poetry Series Event #3 featuring Ynes Sanz

The final event in the Riverbend Poetry Series for 2010 is coming up and it is going to be one heck of a celebration! The event will be the launch of the 2010 QLD Poetry Festival program as well as the launch of a new CD – A Million Bright Things – featuring many of the artists from the 2009 QPF Program. And if that is not enough to get the inner poet clicking their heels, there will also be feature performances from the word-spitting, rhyme-spinning Darkwing Dubs, the soulfully elegant Suzanne Jones and the author of some mad and magnificent poems and stories, Ynes Sanz.

I will be posting a feature on each of these artists over the coming weeks, so to kick things off I would like to introduce you (or reintroduce you as it may be) to Ynes Sanz:

Ynes Sanz won the Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award in 2005. Her poem ‘Taken as Required’ was short-listed for the 2010 ABR poetry prize.
 
In 2006/7 Ynes was on the QPF Committee. An experienced workshop presenter, poetry judge and editor, in 2007 she judged the Vallis with John Tranter and Luke Beesley. In 2009 she co-judged the QPF Short Film Competition with Francis Boyle.
 
Her short stories, haibun and other verse can be found online and in print. Some of her children’s poems and haiku are installed in the Children’s Rainforest Hide’n Seek Trail at Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens. Publications include Lady with Weasel, SweetWater Press, 2005; Talking Poetry Blues, 2006 and Fanny the Flying Housewife & other stories: poems for mad and magnificent women, 2009.
 
Ynes is currently working on Flash Harry and other stories: poems about mad and memorable men, a companion volume to Fanny the Flying Housewife.

 

S.W.A.L.K
(Rudolph Valentino, film star)
 
dear Mr Valentino
can I call you Rudolph
I wish I could visit your marble crypt in Hollywood
and if I could I swear
I would put roses in those metal rose-holder things
but I would not wear black like the Mystery Woman
my friends think you are Some Dead Guy
they don’t know you are Forever Young
I wasn’t even born when you got sick
didn’t they have decent doctors back then
my Nanna said the moment you passed away
a light went out of women’s eyes
she says a man these days is just No-Good
and will treat a woman Like A Slave
but I read how your Mamma spoilt you bad
and you will think I’m crazy but I have to know
did you toss your underwear
in the corner like they all do
or did my Nanna make that up
and were they really made of silk
which I hope they were on account of
you deserve Only The Best and even she agrees
or maybe you wore no undershorts at all
and were A Free Spirit or whatever it was called
before it was called Commando Style
sorry if this is embarrassing
yours truly
a fan

You can read more of Ynes’ work at http://www.commonshrew.blogspot.com/  

 

And to make sure you don’t miss out on this wonderful event, full details are below:

Date: Tuesday 22 June
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Tickets: $10 available through Riverbend Books and include sushi and complimentary wine. To purchase tickets, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at www.riverbendbooks.com.au

These events are always hugely popular, so book early to avoid disappointment!

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Brisbane Poetry Gig Guide – May 15

Saturday May 16
 
Words or Whatever – Performance poetry @ Blackstar Cafe 44 Thomas St West End from 6:30pm.

Featured acts this month include – Dissent of Didymus, Darkwing Dubs, Luke Townson + Special guests including some non english speaking poets.

As well as these awesome acts, we wil have our regular features including ‘Words of Honour’ (tribute pieces to great wordsmiths) &  ‘Words-worth’ – Live Poetry Auction. 
 
 
 

Saturday May 23

No Frontiers: a multi arts performance event featuring music, poetry, prose and visual arts.      

3–4pm at the Museum of Brisbane Gallery 3, within the Brisbane City Hall, (through main entrance and turn left – follow signs), King George Square, Adelaide St, City.
 
Featuring:

Jena Woodhouse –  performing poetry on some vanished homes of Brisbane

Jack Sim – telling stories from the shady side of Brisbane’s ghostly past and ghost tours present; and
 
Peter Green and the Midnight Prophets – playing music of midnight, travellers cheques, a North Ryde girl and dancing skeletons.

 

Sunday May 31
 
Ahimsa House proudly supports the local community-based poetry group in West End—The Kurilpa Poets. The next gig is Sunday, 31st May 2009. Time: 02—04.30 PM at – The Emma Goldman Room – at Ahimsa House, 26 Horan Street West End (opposite the West End State School). Everyone is welcome. Murri and Koori poets please join in!

Our feature poet for May is Rhys Rodgers. Rhys is a dynamic young performance poet who has been performing poetry for the last few years, and has already gained a substantial following in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast. He won the Love Poetry Hate Racism Open Mic competition, and The SpeedPoets Open Mic championships in 2008. He was a finalist in both the Nimbin and Woodford poetry slams in 2008. He has also been invited interstate to run workshops on cultivating meaningful relationships with imaginary friends. Come and be dazzled by his brave naked words. Mostly loud, sometimes soft, but always saturated with feeling. Don’t miss a sensational performance from one of Queensland’s rising young stellar poets!

 
Sunday June 7
 
SpeedPoets is back for Round 4 of 2009! Be there as Brisbane’s longest running spoken word/poetry event takes over The Alibi Room (720 Brunswick St. New Farm) on Sunday June 7 from 2:00pm – 5:00pm. The June event features the soaring soundscapes and experimental blues of Bremen Town Musician. Their new album No One Is Holding A Gun To Your Head (Songs To Run To) was one of my favourite releases from 2008, a real album of discovery. And just to mix things up a little and showcase her diverse talents, Marisa Allen (Bremen Town Musician) will also read from her debut collection Fire in the Head and other works. To round off the afternoon, winner of the 2008 Ipswich Poetry Feast Mentorship Prize, Robert Bos will step up to the mic for his SpeedPoets debut. And as always there will be live sounds from the SpeedPoets poetic riff generator Sheish Money, giveaways, free zines and two rounds of Open Mic. Entry is a gold coin… See you there!
 
SpeedPoets, Sunday June 7 @ The Alibi Room, 720 Brunswick St. New Farm. 2:00pm – 5:00pm.

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Brisbane Poetry Gig Guide – April 26

Well, I am home, fresh from a great gig today in Brisbane Square Library with Ghostboy, Skye Staniford, DarkWing Dubs and the mighty Sheish Money. Thanks to all who came along.

Here’s what’s happening around town over the next few weeks. Hope to see you somewhere soon…

 

Tuesday April 28
 
Riverbend Books – Poetry On the Deck 
 
Queensland Poetry Festival, QLD Writers Centre & Riverbend Books are proud to present the second Poetry on the Deck event for 2009. Join us on the Riverbend deck and enjoy the rural sounds of Longreach poet, Helen Avery (Seduced by Sky) alongside established local voices Rosanna Licari and Philip Neilsen (Without an Alibi) and emerging poet, Sophia Nugent-Siegal (Oracle).
 
Date: Tuesday 28 April
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Tickets: $10 available through Riverbend Books and include sushi and complimentary wine. To purchase tickets, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at http://www.riverbendbooks.com.au/Events/EventDetails.aspx?ID=2199 
 
 
 
 
Saturday May 2
 
Bruce Dawe launches A Good Harvest (Post Pressed, 2009) by celebrated Queensland poet, Maureen Freer. The launch will feature readings of Maureen’s poetry by Ross Clark. Drinks and nibbles will also be served.
 
Where: In the Red Chamber, Parliament House
When: Saturday May 2, 2-4 pm.
All welcome. Free.

Maureen Freer is one of  this state’s best-known and loved poets. Indeed, as Bruce Dawe has said, ‘She is one of our most immediately accessible poets, and one who has established a firm reputation over many years’. She has received a number of awards including the Premier’s Poetry Prize 1987 and the Order of Australia for services to Australian literature, 1984. She was Chair/Convenor of the Brisbane Writers Festival from the early Warana days for fourteen years, and also chaired the 1982 Commonwealth Writers Week.

Maureen was the first person to organise a poetry reading in the Red Chamber — featuring Tom Shapcott, Bruce Dawe, David Rowbotham, John Blight and Rodney Hall. It’s appropriate, then, that what is probably her final collection of verse is launched there also.
 
 
 
Sunday May 3
 
SpeedPoets is back for Round 3 of 2009! Be there as Brisbane’s longest running spoken word/poetry event takes over The Alibi Room (720 Brunswick St. New Farm) on Sunday May 3 from 2:00pm – 5:00pm. The May event features the delicate beauty of Ichabod’s Crane: http://www.myspace.com/ichabodscranemusic. This Brisbane ensemble conjures the sounds of horses being ridden on sand and snake tails speeding beneath gumboots… music to be shipwrecked to! And to celebrate the pending launch of her debut collection ‘Voyage’, Zenobia Frost will perform a short feature set with a special appearance from Madrigal Maladies, her collaboration with Nerissa Rowan and if that’s not enough for you, winner of The Dream Ain’t Broken Chapbook Competition, Nicola Scholes will also perform a short feature set, showcasing poems from her forthcoming collection. As always there will also be live sounds from the SpeedPoets poetic riff generator Sheish Money, giveaways, free zines and two rounds of Open Mic. Entry is a gold coin… This is a gig not to be missed!
 
SpeedPoets, Sunday May 3 @ The Alibi Room, 720 Brunswick St. New Farm. 2:00pm – 5:00pm.
 
 
then get along to…
 
 
The launch of The Voyage, a poetry chapbook concerning the adventures of Zenobia Frost with illuminations by Bettina Walsh.
 
Time: 7:00pm
!Metro Arts Basement
109 Edward Street, Brisbane
Featuring [~support act James Sherlock~]
$5 entry / free drinks and nibblies
http://zenobiafrost.wordpress.com/
 
Presented by SweetWater Press
 
 
 
Saturday May 16
 
Words or Whatever – Performance poetry @ Blackstar Cafe 44 Thomas St West End from 6:30pm.

Featured acts this month include – Dissent of Didymus, Darkwing Dubs, Luke Townson + Special guests including some non english speaking poets.

As well as these awesome acts, we wil have our regular features including ‘Words of Honour’ (tribute pieces to great wordsmiths) &  ‘Words-worth’ – Live Poetry Auction.

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Ghostboy & F(r)iends – come join us!

This Sunday, April 26, Brisbane’s surrealist spoken word ringmaster Ghostboy will gather a few of his f(r)iends together for a stripped down afternoon of poetry and performance at Brisbane Square Library. It’s all happening in the Sound and Vision Lounge on Level One from 12:00pm – 2:15pm as part of the monthly Acoustics on Sunday gigs.

 

darkwing-dubs1

 

First up in the three prong poetic arsenal is local rhyme-spittin’ genre bender DarkWing Dubs. DarkWing got the room stomping at the last SpeedPoets with his unique blend of sci-fi spoken word & hip hop.

 

ghostboy-with-golden-virtues

 

Next up is an up close and personal set from Ghostboy and his muse, the delightful Skye Staniford. Ghostboy’s shows have been known to move people in ways they never knew possible.

Here’s a clip of Ghostboy doing his thing at The Globe Theatre in Brisbane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7QGczPoJhI

 

graham-nunn-sheish-money1

 

And to round things off, Sheish Money & I will be performing tracks from our forthcoming album ‘The Stillest Hour’. You can listen to a track from the new album here: http://www.pool.org.au/audio/graham_nunn/in_devotion_to_lifes_sordid_affairs

This is bound to be an afternoon of words to excite more than your ears.

Love to see you there…

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