Tag Archives: Emerging QLD Poets

Spotlight on QLD Poets #6: Jenny Wright

This is the last in the spotlight series, but it will not be the last you hear from these exciting new voices, so be sure to keep your ear to the ground for new work from each of the ‘spotlighted’ poets. I also want to thank everyone who has read and/or commented on each of the spotlight posts. As a poet, it can be daunting to send your words out into the world, so thank you all for making each of these poets welcome. To finish off the series, it is my pleasure to introduce Jenny Wright.

Jenny Wright is Welsh and at fourteen arrived in Australia. In the sixties she went to P.N.G. and remained for twelve years. Jenny has had seven children, has eight grandchildren and one great grandson.

She lives alone, except for her dog, in a very old house that originally was a hall. Jenny does little housework and aims to paint or write most of the day, except when travelling, although friends and family do take up pleasurable time.

She enjoys wandering in the desert and tries to spend six months each year exploring Australia.



what country did they leave
to live in this poor shack?
rough walls
a rougher shelf for tea caddy, clock
and origami bird.

two cups of tea grow cold
‘be safe my love. take care.’
he stares at her hand on his.
how to bear this parting?
how long before she touches him again?

their child sleeps.
they fear to wake her
but she must not rise to find her father gone.

they never dreamed of this despair
or separation.
maybe they pray all will go well
or maybe faith has fled.


desert dawn

all is still and no crow calls
shadows listen for the sun
roos martial ready for the day

the light bursts against horizon
flows down Round Hill
engulfs spinnifex scrub and stones

roos disperse to forage
a wary rabbit twitches
as overhead an eagle hovers

an hour later a myriad flies swarm
and sweat needles red earth tattoos
on my bare face and arms


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Spotlight on QLD Poets #5: Deborah Norrie-Jones

It has been a time of riches here at Another Lost Shark… and those riches have come in the form of the words of some of QLD’s emerging voices. Today, the spotlight is on the crystalline words of Deborah Norrie-Jones.

Deborah Norrie-Jones is an artist, arts therapist and poet. Her childhood features the wild west coast of NZ, Dunedin and PS 43, Harlem, NYC. She had a solo exhibition of poetry and art; Grief’s Resonance in Brisbane 2005. An Australasian (citizen of both Aotearoa and Oz) she reads poetry at Speedpoets, Brisbane, and Poetry Live, Auckland. She has been published in Takehe and Poetry Lines, has been a guest poet at Lopdell House and is off in January 2013 with a one way ticket to Mexico for the San Miguel International Poetry conference.


back courtyard
golden canes sweep sunshine
into Buddha’s eyes



You’ve done enough.
Leave me alone
this night beside the river.

Into dark fig trees
I turn – A sudden slash
of silver light, slices
down my back.


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Spotlight on QLD Poets #4: Angela Willock

Thank you to everyone who has commented on the first #3 spotlight poets… the vibrant voices keep tumbling out of the Brisbane fabric! And this evening, I am delighted to shine the light on an exciting poet and performer, Angela Willock. If you like it, spread the word!

Angela Willock is a Brisbane based poet, awkward conversationalist, and alphabet enthusiast. She has been slinging words around Brisbane for the better part of a year, and can usually be found skulking in dark corners of Jam Jar Poetry Slam, Words or Whatever, and any other event going .

Her recent successes include becoming a finalist in the 2012 QLD poetry slam, performing roving poetry at Island Vibe festival as part of Monologolous Rex, and winning a jar of jam. She has also just finished facilitating poetry workshops with young women at a community organisation. She will be featuring at Raw Poet Roar on December 1st.


Learning to Count

It’s a matter of mathematics

One tired table hosts three empty chairs,
While two distraught lovers cover two months of heartache,
Dampen the death of speech by muffling one hand over the other.

Two cups of tea grow cold while four ears strain against the silence,
That was once filled by one child’s laughter.
One paper crane sits high on a shelf,
Saved by ruin from ten tiny fingers
While two breaking hearts pretend not to notice it’s irrelevance.

It’s ten past ten and the twenty concerned neighbours
Have stopped bringing food,
As if eight weeks was enough time for grieving

There are three pictures on the walls,
Stick figure photographs that they treat as priceless art
Too expensive to sell
They think of the countless number they threw away over his six years,
And go into too many pieces to count

Two sheets of blank paper mock them from the table,
Knowing they’ll never fulfil their destiny

It’s a matter of mathematics

When you’re a family
Three minus one
Leaves nothing.

(In response to an artwork from Shaun Tan’s “The Arrival”)



July cable stitched winter over
white sandstone cliffs,
The vast sprawl of darkness
swimming near the shore

Witness the corrugated whiteness of her eyes,
and blazing glitter of her fall

The current ruffles
an unmade mind
Makes your eyes water
Leaves breath cold

You will find no sign of death here

But if you close your eyes,
you might completely miss
This unknown life within you

As if she never existed at all


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Spotlight on QLD Poets #3: Anna Jacobson

It is very exciting to be bringing you the sounds of some of QLD’s exciting new voices. This state seems to be splitting its seams with words! Tonight it is a great pleasure to introduce you to the gentle, intimate words of Anna Jacobson… another name you are sure to be hearing more from.

Anna Jacobson is a Brisbane based poet and photographic artist. She graduated from the Queensland College of Art with a Bachelor of Photography with Honours. She loves creating soundscapes with poetry and video art and in 2009 she won the Queensland Poetry Festival Filmmaker Award. She is currently studying Creative Writing at QUT. She is grateful to her poetry mentors Graham Nunn and Pascalle Burton for their inspiring workshops at the Queensland Writers Centre. Anna’s artist website is www.annajacobson.com.au



I would have liked
your picture,
the one that was lost,
framed in my room
so that I could gaze upon it each

Your laugh always helped
before my nerves got the better
of me and
you smiled when I told you this.

For you the war was
trapped in a radio
when you evacuated.

For me it’s trapped in my head.

Nana, you travelled-
I looked at your photographs,
imagined myself inside them,
mimicking your path.

The grandfather clock has stopped
but the wood still sighs-
the pendulum sways in a non-existent
breeze. And I breathe with it.


Typing Nana’s Story

Perfect skin and the scent of
something I can’t quite name.
We are both seated near the computer.
I am watching her type and there’s none of this two-finger business.
Every finger is typing in the correct position,
with slow but perfect precision.
Except for her pointer and ring fingers,
which have seized up.
I can see her trying to push past the MS,
to expel it from her being. And although it has her fast,
it may hold captive her body, but it doesn’t own her mind.
‘How do you know to type like that?’ I ask.
‘I used to be a typist.’

Next time I visit,
her hands are clawed and don’t press well,
so I offer to type for her. ‘Do you know what you’d like to write?’
‘How does this sound?’ she says
and she rattles off these brilliant paragraphs,
these intimate details.
‘That’s great,’ I say,
trying to capture it all,
fingers skate over the keys to keep the magic of her words.
I don’t want to tell her to stop,
so I push myself to catch each phrase, each story.

Her musical dictation plunges me into the scene.
At school her friends called her the Polish princess.
Now she is a regal queen, and I her loyal subject.
Her memory is wired and sparking.
The keyboard is electric with her tale —

Last week it was escaping the Pogroms in Poland.
This week is the final paragraph.
She writes the ‘Shema’, a parting prayer.
‘The Rabbi will like that,’ I say
and I know she wants to impress him.

And there’s this feeling of completion.
She has left her legacy, for generations to come.
I hug her awkwardly through the arms of the wheelchair,
sinking into her soft skin,
breathing in that nana scent.
And she is forever an artist,
forever my queen,
forever a Polish princess.


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Spotlight on QLD Poets #2: Helen Brake

Sunday afternoon is a heady mix of storm clouds and sunshine here in Brisbane… and of course, words. And today I have some that are diamond hard in their vision to share with you. The words of another super-talented Brisbane writer, Helen Brake. If you enjoy this, then why not spread the word… Helen is a voice you are going to be hearing a lot more of!

Helen Brake: If she were a derby player, her name would be Hell-dawg; a Sicilian baker, Elena; a sister, Eggroll; and if she were a daughter, it would be Emily. Regardless, her favourite smell is amarena cherries soaking in cooking sherry. Her words have been published in Eureka Street, Voiceworks and The State Library of Queensland’s website.



Tilt your head as a cat ordering a caress;
the streetlight turns raindrops into the hologram
of a pyramid. Inevitable as a fogging mirror
it disappears
at chest height—ventured too far from its source of light
and your range of vision.

Swing your legs and kick the cold. Hands clap twelve
and the 380 appears like a creature from a younger world. It’s
elongated Jurassic body follows a
blinkered gaze, and
spears light in
narrow tunnel vision.
Sax player
in the spotlight. Isn’t she lovely?
Isn’t she wonderful? Isn’t she precious?

Time chases breath in a deep exhale. Reveals
night musician’s canvas face, dancing brows, ankle cloak—
a backlit silhouette
advertising neon joy. C major taps
bus stop blues. Tipsy teenagers
and misplaced Motown spin circles
over a wasteland cityscape.

Downstage centre
Stevie’s brass voice dances
Adelaide quickstep
with the cigarette scent of wet bitumen.


Sweat is born shouting

on a cheese square
and accuses the bewildered
vegemite audience
of stealing
its personal space.

Shadecloths adjudicate—
grow bored,
bend their knees, drop
shadows on concrete.

The rope claps a chant
and partners
each girl
claps a chant, partners’



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Spotlight on QLD Poets #1: Luke Best

In October, I had the absolute pleasure of spending my Wednesday nights with an inspirational group of poets as part of the QLD Writers Centre workshop series, Developing Your Poetry Practice. Over the next few days, I will be shining the spotlight on some of these exciting QLD voices… I am sure you will be hearing more from each of them over the coming years!

First up in the series, I shine the light on Luke Best.

An emerging poet from Toowoomba, Luke Best has held numerous atypical jobs such as Pest Controller and Postie and aspires towards a career as a Fireman. His poetry stems from an upbringing in his beloved Darling Downs and is based on regional idiosyncrasies found therein.

A child of the 80’s, he shares his birth year with influences like Sarah Holland-Batt and LK Holt. He was highly commended in the 2010 Thomas Shapcott Prize.


An Undoing

I wanted not to sleep last night
for it was raining;
heavy like a lull
woken with a shout.
Laughter was strewn
across the lawn-
the mess of it.
I took up my mattock
and set out to wipe
the smile off its face.

In a flurry of swipes,
a wound took form.
An oozing gash
of claret and earthworm.
I went deeper. Striking sandy loam
and stones and half-et-bones
and it smelt of
moss and myrrh.

Night averted her eyes;
branded me a fool.
Perhaps I was. Perhaps now,
as mud congeals on my every limb
and my yard is a frown
of motes and craters,
I concede.


Retribution of the Going Gone

I am without spine
and have tumbled down
the backyard – all heels
and arse.
I’ve a gun.

This Candlebark,
this mangy old mate.
His shavings drizzle.
I’ve a pocket.
Are there ways? Means? I too,
am Eucalypt.
Clock off time.
I’ve a note.
We begin to sap;
weep the stuff like sweat.


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QLD Writer’s Week Feature #14 – Barbara Brown

It has been a real blast to bring so many exciting voices to a new readership… so I hope you enjoy the words and wisdom of feature #14, Barbara Brown.

What excites you about poetry?

The brilliance and madness which co-exist within us all.  Poetry sings outward, into & unto itself.  I find it fascinating how peoples’ minds work; subject matter, creative process, interpretations & unravelling it (reminding me of being a child playing pass the parcel).  I’m naturally drawn to mysteriousness, and poetry offers that to me.  Poetry is many things to many people and discovering those reasons can be just as exciting.  For me right now, it’s unleashing pent up ideas and attempting to create something magical that I can call my own, hopefully before they or I go rusty!

What are the themes that interest you / that you like to explore in your own writing?

I’m not sure if particular themes are making an appearance in my writing yet, because I’m experimenting with different themes, styles & settings as much as I can.  Having said that, I enjoy dark fantasy, reflective, wit & sarcasm, love/sexual and generally try to play with words/phrases/concepts.

Charles Bukowski once said, ‘poetry is what happens when nothing else can.’ How does a poem happen for you?

To some it may seem an unlikely candidate but I love to pull random words and sentences, which I hear internally and spoken aloud and attempt to craft them into something altogether different from their first intent & purposes.  Poetry can be extremely cathartic (when given the opportunity) – I sometimes find myself working through & reflecting on issues which may otherwise go unaddressed.



distant dreams stifled by swollen fears
plagued by city beasts, tall poppies and
walking under cas-
herded by roaming sheep no longer black.
grappling with pens as if they were guns
firing words to a page
paper bleeding fiercely
the only wound is my own in the form of rsi
coupled with not knowing
if these actions
a difference


About Barbara:

I love arty & funky stuff and have always dreamed of doing something creative/artistic.  Ideally, I would love to one day organise music festivals, art & theatre shows.  I feel like there has been a slow burn in my hearth.  But it needs more fuel.  With the encouragement and support of my partner I am currently exploring and building my poetry writing (having dabbled in it since childhood) – I walked away from the Queensland Poetry Festival refreshed and inspired, a proud participant in the QPF open mic (my first) and am really enjoying the offerings of Speedpoets each month.  As usual, my mind is busy contemplating ideas to hopefully put together a small performance, fundraising event and perhaps see what publishing opportunities lie ahead.

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QLD Writer’s Week Feature #13 – John Parke

Still a couple more features to round out my QLD Writer’s Week series… lucky #13 introduces John Parke.

What excites you about poetry?

I find it the best way to capture the essence and emotion of a story. Recently, I have started using poems as the basis for short films that incorporate footage, photos, animation, and music. There is plenty of scope to get the creative juices flowing in this approach.

What are the themes that interest you/ that you like to explore in your writing?

I am using poetry to capture the stories of the commercial fishermen of Wynnum Creek on Moreton Bay. They have fished from the creek for 150 years and were responsible for the second largest annual catch in Queensland. Around 150 fishermen worked from the creek in the 1950s. Today there are only 8 fishermen left and their stories haven’t previously been recorded.

Charles Bukowski once said, ‘poetry is what happens when nothing else can’. How does a poem happen for you?

I find a topic for a poem and let my subconscious ‘chew it over’ for a couple of weeks. I then often write the first and last lines for the poem. find a start and an end for the poem. Then I think through the journey the poem will take. Finally, I fill in the details. Often the first draft of a poem takes about half an hour to write and then I revise it over the few days.


The view from the front steps

Our homes have nestled here since 1900
on the creek bank, watching boys become men.
Watching boats crafted to master the waves, in search of mullet,
watching nets tarred and fish sorted.

You were part of our family.
We shared our lives together within your walls and around you.

Those first tentative steps in the nursery rejoiced with glee by all.
The familiar smell of the Sunday roast, the laughter of welcome guests.

The slipway now a relic
Our memories, rubble.

The menacing truck collects its load
our kitchen, lounge and our past bound for Coffs.

It will return tomorrow for our bedrooms
and the corridor where we once played.

My hand on my cheek
brings small comfort.

Our family homes are gone.
They now build duplexes that surround me.

The grief so heavy is not mine alone
but that of our forebears.

What will tomorrow bring
to this place where we once built boats?


About John:

I live in Manly and am assisting approximately 60 unemployed people in the local area and Bay islands to establish their own business. My career has focussed on community development initiatives using a capacity building approach for both Indigenous and no-Indigenous communities. At present I am establishing an initiative called the Friends of the Fishermen of Wynnum Creek. The initiative involves collecting and making available stories (particularly through poetry) and images of the fishermen to the general public.


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QLD Writer’s Week Feature #12 – Marilyn Roberts

Still a few more features to keep the QLD Writer’s Week celebrations going… feature #12 showcases Marilyn Roberts.

What excites you about poetry?

I crowd myself with pens, and paper and notebooks, in which and on which I
scrawl, scribble and play. Sometimes the play of words come unbidden, finding tiny cracks that I had not know were niggling at the very edge of my conscience. Sometimes I dig and find nuggets of thoughts that just lead, and lead and into intricate musings. This tiny poetic thoughts help me recognize myself and others. The give me courage to express the world as seen through MY eyes. They give me a chance to say the unsayable, think the unthinkable and and the courage to let others know THIS is where my mind takes me, on colourful rambles through the epoch and ages that make up my life.

What are the themes that interest you/ that you like to explore in your writing?

I don’t follow themes, they follow me and seem somehow to always come back to ME. If today I start to write a Halloween type poem, I am never surprised that somewhere in there I am discovering something about me or my relationships to others and the world. My experience of choosing a rather difficult life, with quite a bit of tragedy, colours all that I write. Some people become victims of their lives and take on the role survivor as an atonement, I like to think that I been given a world to explore in poetry, particularly performance poetry, other voices, the voices of of those who aren’t.

Charles Bukowski once said, ‘poetry is what happens when nothing else can’. How does a poem happen for you?

I am a messy writer, I like to reach out for a notebook and grab a pen,
usually something bright and colourful and just go for it. I have a large array
of notebooks, coloured pens and highlighters. Sometimes I write words meaning nothing, going nowhere, and sometimes I simply draw coloured lines and sometimes some of those words jump off the page and begin a poem, that leads to a place of discovery and acceptance and joy.


The Visitor

It’s just outside the little town.
    The Land of the Not-Forgotten.

Follow out beyond the pub,
          the men all drunk and rotten,
    and up around the village school
where laughter skips all day
and echoes of a class of mates
can still
be heard at play.

Then out around the banyan trees
and well beyond the pool
where sunlight
broken splashes through a dive,
I fancy ripples still.

And keep the mountain on your right
    the canefields to your left.
And past the stacks
    and steam and lights
keep heading for the west.

And there you’ll find the houses mean
they fall away
  in drunk despair.
The shoulders of the road will cease
  and sink
your pathway to impair.

You travel light,
    it’s just as well
      now through the gates and straight to hill.
You have a climb, ’tis hard to reach the top
    where marble vaulted palaces
peer out to guard the lot.

Oh! On your way, though,
    would you mind
    there is a spot that you should find?
It’s halfway up and near the tap
  and there you’ll find my little chap.
He’s resting now, but as you’re bound
    you’ll find him sleeping undergound.

Tell him I’ll come,
I’ll come for him
when my time is done.
But tell him that it’s not quite yet
  my race is not yet run.
And tell him that we miss him
  I have so much to ask.
    tell me first why you make this trip
    you must have some odd task?
And tell me why you go at night?

What’s that! Accompany you?
I look an awful fright.
And I really am too tired now
    just let me have some sleep.
  Perhaps a nap and while I do
    return my soul to keep. 


 About Marilyn:

I love to write – any eavesdropping from the universe will do, regardless of its source. I pop them into journals of all shapes and colours spreading across my house. But it is the magic of story, in its many forms, and its ability to bring the inside out (or is that the outside in?) and make deep connection that truly inspires me. As a librarian my life has been immersed in story; ‘selling’ story and telling story and encouraging others find and share their own stories. As a professional storyteller and workshop facilitator I have thrilled as songs, poems and stories have sung to the listener’s heart. I am still  urprised when I’m writing just how much clarity and healing I get although my poetic writings as the “Nag Hag” aren’t exactly about finding peace!!!! Writing for me is profound experience of giving a story a chance to be relived.

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QLD Writer’s Week Feature #11 – Vuong Pham

Feature #11 in my QLD Writer’s Week series showcases the words of Vuong Pham.

What excites you about poetry?

I am enthusiastic about poetry because I strongly believe that it is the highest form of written communication through use of clever and intended purpose. For example, poetry steers away from societal norms of: “red hot sex” or mind-numbing sayings like: “I miss you so much it hurts”. So I do strongly believe that poetry expands the imagination not just for the individual, but also for society as a whole. Also, what excites me about poetry is the happiness, understanding and knowledge I obtain from reading and writing poetry.

What are the themes that interest you/ that you like to explore in your writing?



I like experimenting with Shape Poems.

Charles Bukowski once said, ‘poetry is what happens when nothing else can’. How does a poem happen for you?

Poetry comes to me instinctively, whereby words, thoughts, ideas ‘hit’ me spontaneously. When this occurs, I then progress the poem through a continual process of editing.


Elegant Night
As I ponder the peppered and salty skies of royalty, I behold
Mirror-light curls and carves on the moon-dyed
Willow trees and velveteen seas.
Yet so soon in the horrific horizon ghostly clouds haunt closer.
Moreover, I feel that Cupid is marshalling his archers near,
To laden me with lead-headed quarrels.
For I shall nay glimpse such pearly elegance upon firmament.
Naught to feel love’s venom throughout veins flow,
Nor pain on one’s feet with a walk measured and slow,
Like the naivety of an octopus in the jelly jar and not the sea,
Or like the feeling of the ravine’s minuet of sadness
Amongst so much societal gaiety,
These instances of blazing lust detain:
Again – Again – Again.
And now, shipwrecked, on the generous shore
Of weeping willows and sighing seas, I witness
How a wandering hermit crab outgrows its cabin—
Moreover, I feel once again that my heart is a shell,
Not precious or beach-like, merely
A shelter for someone else to occupy.


  About Vuong:

Like Atticus Finch, I am unwaveringly dedicated to doing what is righteous and beyond my capacity with humility and genuine empathy. I am a first year high school Teacher of SOSE and English. Funnily enough, this is also my first year of writing poetry and I am immensely enjoying it. I have been reading and studying poetry ever since grade 9, and now my “poetic tongue” is finally coming to life! Here’s my poetry website: http://versesoftheinnerself.blogspot.com/

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