Tag Archives: Emily XYZ Twitter Poem

Emily XYZ talks about her experience as Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence

Tomorrow night (Tuesday Sept. 21) is the launch of Emily XYZ’s legacy item and farewell party at The Edge, so whether you have RSVP’d or not, I recommend pulling on your disco boots and coming along. Full details of the event can be found here: EVP Launch

With Emily’s time in Australia sadly winding up, I asked her a few questions to get her thoughts on her time as Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence.

How has living in this beautiful city of ours influenced you and your writing over the past couple of months?

Australia generally is a more upbeat place than much of the US right now, especially SE Michigan, where I’ve been living lately. The housing crash, the Detroit auto industry implosion, and the financial crisis all hit the midwest particularly hard.  Australia is in a very different place economically than the US right now.  That alone is nice!  You don’t have the social rifts we are dealing with, either — all the terrible debris of the Bush years.  The US is so polarized right now that forward movement is impossible, and so things are at a standstill.

Being in Australia reminds me that there is hope for the world.  That may sound funny, but it is very encouraging to me the amount of consciousness, on a mundane level, for things like the environment — As a simple example, you have the half/full flush toilets everywhere, which do not exist in the US, I’m sorry to say.  There is also less poverty here, less desperation, and a LOT less gun violence.  It just seems like the place still has a soul, and still cares about doing the right thing.

So all that has a subtle but powerful effect on one’s state of mind.  You find yourself kind of “calming down” here.  I worry less.  Of course, I’m in a special situation as Poet in Residence — visiting artists are treated well — but even so, I find it a very pleasant, civilized place in so many ways.  In terms of Brisbane specifically, it’s an easy city to live in with many things that make daily life good.  Like the Riverwalk, which is maybe my favorite thing here.  It is so unique — I don’t know of any American town that has a walkway like that all along their waterfront!  And it’s so fun — to walk in the air, to see the beauty of the city and the river and the weather.  It just cheers me up every time I’m there.  Just a great thing to have.

So I guess to answer your question, I’m not sure how it’s influenced my WRITING yet — as that is a much bigger, slower-moving thing, an influence on one’s output — but I can say that being here has definitely improved my state of mind.  It’s given me hope.  I feel like maybe Australia is the next great standard-bearer of democracy.  It’s a “young” place in a way that the US is not right now.  You are not afraid to confront things and find answers, or at least take the questions seriously.

You have taken in plenty of poetry events during your residency, so how does the Brisbane scene stack up?

Very well.  There’s a very lively local poetry & writing scene, which I have really enjoyed getting better acquainted with.  There’s a lot to do and participate in if you are a writer, a poet, a spoken-word artist here.  And there’s room for more!  So people should definitely be starting new things, as well.  New readings, new workshops, new venues, new events, new approaches to presenting stuff.  You have to PUT IN to keep the thing growing.  Ask not what the poetry scene can do for you — Ask what you can do for the poetry scene.
 
You have been busy recording some of your new two-voice poems at the moment… what can we expect?

I recorded two new two-voice poems, “EVP” and “A Little Revolution” (which I wrote here) with no accompaniment, then asked two local guys, Darek Mudge (a producer & sound engineer who also plays in the band Disco Nap) and Matt O’Neill (a music journalist who also creates soundscapes; he works w/ a dance duo called Nostalgia) for remixes, which they very graciously did in a ridiculously short time.  I love the remixes, they are very different responses to the original poems but both very cool.  I think the poems are good, too.  “EVP” means “electronic voice phenomena” and is inspired by those recordings people make of background noise in haunted houses; sometimes you can hear hear strange, unexplained speech-like sounds and those are called EVPs.  Peripherally it’s also about confusion & loss. “A Little Revolution” is a fun song, I call it imaginary disco, partly inspired by the Commodores’ song “Brick House,” a funk classic.

Looking back on the residency what have been your highlights… What will you miss most?

The workshop, no question about it.  I’m pretty happy with the writing I’ve done here, but the workshop was the thing I most enjoyed.  It kept me sane and on track, and I will really miss that group of people.  The twitter poem, too — 90 DAYS IN BRISBANE  (@xyzpoem).  That’s been funny, coming up with a poem in 140 characters or less, every day since July 1, the day I got here!

I was also very happy with the performances Myers & I did, especially at QPF and at the Red Chamber during the Brisbane Writers Festival.  And the slam that night was also pretty wild — Been a long time since I was in a room that loud and lively!

Beyond that, I will miss you and Julie, and Pascalle and Ian.  And Ghostboy most of all.  You guys have all been so great. 

And the laksa at Wok Inn on Brunswick St., and the french fries at Burger Urge.  And caramel slices.  And murraya.  And Speedpoets.  And the walk from Story Bridge to the State Library.  And the Wednesday market at Queen Street.  And the roses in New Farm Park.

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Z is for the Unknown…

And while she may be unknown to some of you, don’t keep it that way… as just hours ago Emily XYZ touched down on Australian shores to commence her 3-month residency here in Brisbane. To help out, the good folk at QLD Poetry Festival and QLD Writers Centre have planned a stack of ways for you all to get to know Emily. Here’s some of the great opportunities on offer:

Be there for her 2010 live debut this Sunday:

 Emily’s first public performance will be at SpeedPoets. This is a great chance to meet Emily so come along and see her in action

When: 2pm, Sunday 4 July
Where: Inspire Gallery, 71 Vulture Street, West End
Cost: Gold coin donation

 

Take part in her Poetry Workshop Series:

During this drop in series, you will get the oppportunity to get up close and personal with Emily to develop your poetic voice and writing practice. She’ll be focusing on a new topic each week and you can either enrol to the whole course or just a couple of dates. This series is designed for a small class so places are limited, best to book to avoid disappointment!

When: Tuesdays 13 July, 20 July, 27 July, 3 August, 10 August, 17 August
Time: 6pm-8pm
Cost: $5 a session or $30 the whole program
Book by calling Queensland Writers Centre on 3842 9922 or email qldwriters@qwc.asn.au 

 

Follow her Blog:

Emily will be taking over the Poet-in-Residence blog while she is here, writing about her experiences and posting some poetry. This site will be maintained during the residency with up to date info about all upcoming events . Check it out at http://poetinresidence.wordpress.com/

 

Check out her Twitter Poem Project:

One of Emily’s residency projects is a daily twitter poem ’90 Days in Brisbane’. She will write a new twitter length stanza each day throughout her residency. Follow her on twitter @xyzpoem.

 

Get yourself a copy of The Emily XYZ Songbook:

QWC has stocked up on Emily’s collection The Emily XYZ Songbook. You can buy a copy for $20 at the QWC online bookshop or by dropping into the centre.

 

And don’t be shy… drop her an email to say hello:

If you wish to contact Emily during her residency feel free to email her at emilyxyz@qwc.asn.au, or drop in to see her at her office at QWC.

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