Tag Archives: Feeding Paper Tigers

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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March Pin-Up Poet Week #4: Vanessa Page looks forward

Sadly, this week, it is time to say goodbye to our March Pin-Up Poet, Vanessa Page… but never fear, the launch of Brisbane New Voices III is just around the corner, so we will be seeing and hearing lots more from her over the coming weeks and months. Vanessa, it has been a pleasure…


With Feeding Paper Tigers to be launched on Tuesday April 24, what’s next on the horizon for you? Are there any themes emerging in your new work?

With the pieces selected for Feeding Paper Tigers being drawn from my manuscript the lost art of penning you a love note, I’ve been turning my attention to reworking and refining that collection of poems and adding some new pieces in to the mix. My first manuscript, Memory Bone is still awaiting publication with PressPress and hopefully this will happen some time in 2012. This is a full length collection of my earlier work.

As for what’s on the horizon, I have written a suite of poems that were drawn from my recent experiences in Tasmania and have been working away at a couple of longer poems. Performing my work at various poetry events around the city is helping to keep me on track with writing new material and giving me some time frames to work within. I will also continue to submit my work to various competitions throughout the year, as I seem to be having more success with competitions than with submissions to poetry zines and journals. As an ‘emerging’ poet I think the anonymity factor helps in this regard. It’s a great way of getting my poetry out there to new audiences and again the ability to work to a deadline is great for me as there never seems to be enough time in the day for we single, working, poetry-writing Mums! That being said, I’ll also continue to persistently submit my poems to journals and zines and the like and just keep at it!

I think while many of my themes will stay the same, I am working hard on refining my style and paring my work back to a simpler form. Having had the experience of editing for publication, this process has become easier for me and I have been able to push through that tricky mental space that makes me want to stubbornly hold on to lines that aren’t working rather than just discarding them and coming back to the concept in a fresh way. Lately I’ve been going over poems that have been troubling me, deleting ‘offending’ lines and stumbling blocks and getting those poems working again. I’m enjoying that aspect of reviewing at the moment and the freedom that a bolder approach to my own editing is affording me so that I can move my projects forward.


Drunk in St David’s Park

Still awake under
Hobart-town’s drooping lids

a grass crackle reveal
over night’s cold sweat

we light the fuse
with ice blade fingers

the two of us
an awkward exercise
in propulsion, footprints
over an old burial ground

shoulder to shoulder
with emancipist headstones

monuments to new starts;
the same colonial sky

the moon appears
in a half-hearted way

sparkle darkness
flooding under streetlights
as the rain comes again

we run like hell


And one last time, here’s the Brisbane New Voices III launch details:

Date: Tuesday April 24
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Tickets: $10
Bookings: Online at: http://www.riverbendbooks.com.au or call the store on (07) 3899 8555

Copies of Brisbane New Voices are limited to 100, so be there to make sure you don’t miss out!


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March Pin-Up Poet Week #3: Launching Paper Tigers

It’s almost time to launch Brisbane New Voices III, featuring March Pin-Up Poet, Vanessa Page’s debut collection, Feeding Paper Tigers. This week Vanessa & I continue the conversation and she gives us the low down on the experience of putting together the manuscript.


The launch of Feeding Paper Tigers is fast approaching. It has been a real pleasure for me to work on the poems that make up the micro-collection; reading through the longer manuscript, the lost art of penning you a love note, to find poems that speak deeply to each other and create something unique as a whole. What was your first reaction to the poems that I selected and how have you found the process from start to finish?

It is a very exciting time for me to see this collection of poems being published and released to the world. The selected poems definitely speak deeply to each other and I think the selection sings sweetly as a little package. My initial reaction to the selection was surprise – and this is because it is always interesting to discover how others see your work, what speaks to them, what strikes a chord. I think the most interesting element is that more than half of the selected poems were ones that came to me very quickly and formed with a minimum of fuss, just a small amount of shaping. In that way, I believe the selection is very organic and stems from some pretty deep and intense experiences and concepts – all of which wanted to be told!

There is a lot of ‘me’ in these poems, which is to be expected being an initial collection. For example, Christmas 1982 has come exclusively from memories of my childhood and Christmas days spent barefoot and carefree in my home town of Toowoomba . When I think of that poem I see it visually, like a collection of memories displayed under an Instagram filter. I think the collection also reflects my preference for simplicity in expression and I am completely enamoured of the idea that something moving and profound can come from a few lines of carefully selected words. Gone #2 is exactly that. A poem of great longing that lingers on long after its been read through.

The process of preparing the poems for publication has been very exciting. While I have had to do a little tweaking here and there during the editing process, I believe this process has helped to fine tune my poems to the point where I have no further ‘itch’ to tinker with them. It is amazing what the omission or addition of a comma can do for a line! It is a pleasure to work with Graham, who has been a fantastic support and mentor to me since I first started writing poetry ‘seriously’ just over three years ago. It is fitting that Graham is responsible for publishing this debut collection of poetry and I am very much looking forward to the launch event and sharing these poems with the world.



It’s in the way the foliage deepens to viridian, each
time you leave

and in how the sky spills over to inhabit
the impressions you’ve left.

these tiny fissures, these sweet little fractures.

I paint what’s left of the afternoon with a brush as fine
as eyelashes

a weeping emulsion, watercolour thin.

In this kind of emptiness, even the sound of a leaf
detaching and spinning back to earth booms.

I am a fulcrum. I am carved from stone.


Last month Riverbend Books lit up the Brisbane sky with it’s opening event… And we’re set to go again! On Tuesday 24 April the night will come alive with the voices of Victorian singer-songwriter / poet / troubadour Andy White, slam goddess Tessa Leon, Brisbane poet and former QPF director Brett Dionysius, and the launch of Brisbane New Voices III featuring March Pin-Up Poet, Vanessa Page and Carmen Leigh Keates.

Copies of Brisbane New Voices are limited to 100, so be there to make sure you don’t miss out!

Date: Tuesday April 24
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Tickets: $10
Bookings: Online at: www.riverbendbooks.com.au or call the store on (07) 3899 8555


Filed under Pin Ups

March Pin-Up Poet Week #2: Feeding Paper Tigers with Vanessa Page

It’s Friday night, time to check back in with our March Pin-Up Poet, Vanessa Page.


Feeding Paper Tigers opens with the poem Five fifty-three am; a poem in which you gloriously extend the metaphor of happiness to ‘night’s belly button, hung low and pale on the edge of day’. I am interested to know whether you wrote a long list of metaphors for happiness and then whittled the list down to what makes the poem really sing? And while we are talking about your writing process, how does a poem generally make it from first draft to being ready for the world?

Five fifty three am was one of those rare poems that seemed to effortlessly fall out of my thought space onto the page. After I had scribbled out the bones of it, I really only had to tinker with the layout and tighten up the wording here and there to get it to where I wanted it to be.

This poem came to me during my early morning commute which usually gets underway at five fifty-three (ish!) am. At that hour in the beautiful Bremer Valley the sky does amazing things and it feels as though you are hurtling through a kind of alternate reality. The senses are heightened and the smallest details are magnified by the simplicity of the surroundings. In this space, it is easy to become completely lost in thought and when this poem came to me I felt a strong sense of calm and clarity which I think translates quite strongly in the finished piece.

The poem itself is sprinkled with metaphors for happiness and was definitely inspired by that feeling of serenity and the empowerment of casting off negativities ‘like dried earth’, in order to strip things back to a simple and beautiful state.  I think what makes this poem ‘sing’ is the magnification of the detail to create a whole that reads like one giant exhalation.

Much of my writing process follows this ‘formula’. I am a writer who is very inspired by the natural world and by what I see and experience. Poems will very often start from a moment of clarity, an interesting observation or an emotion inspired by visual elements. Once the concepts are down I do like to take a lot of time to perfect each piece with both word selection and the way they balance and sit on the page. I like to revisit older files and will often take a line I love from an older piece and craft something new from it. I am, in that respect, a bit of a recycler of my scribblings and the process of picking over older poems that (for whatever reason) did not quite work before has often led to unexpected new pieces.

It’s hard to say how long a poem takes from the initial concept to the finished product. They are all different. Some of them tumble out sweetly, like five fifty-three am and others, like Chrysalid, will have had numerous incarnations before the combination finally clicks.

I’ll also not only silently read the drafts over and over to check the flow is there but I like to read them aloud to make sure they sound as good as they look on the page. Usually a piece is finished when I’ve gone through this process and there is no line or word or phrase that I keep stumbling over. As soon as the bumps and kinks are ironed out, it is ready to share with the world.


Five fifty-three am
For Peter

Happiness is this simple.

It’s the morning rubbing the last of a dream from its eyes
as day-broken birds open their throats to the light

It’s a weather beaten shack at a romantic lean, knee-deep
in mist drawn like eiderdown over still-sleeping fields

It’s night’s belly button, hung low and pale on the edge of day
where dawn is kindling, like tiny kisses on your lover’s shoulder

Your car slides along the Amberley road in confessional box
calm, and twenty thoughts fall away from you like dried earth

All the world breathes in, and out

It’s this simple.


You can read more of Vanessa’s work at: http://vanessapage.wordpress.com

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March Pin-Up Poet Week #1- Introducing Vanessa Page

March is here and that means it’s time for a new Pin-Up Poet! So I thought I would take the opportunity to invite Vanessa Page, one of Brisbane’s exciting new voices to join us for the month to talk about her forthcoming release and some of her recent successes.


You have recently been successful in some high profile awards, most notably being short listed in the Arts QLD Thomas Shapcott Award for an unpublished manuscript and the PressPress Chapbook competition. What have these awards done for you as a poet?

For me, the most important aspect of being shortlisted for the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Prize last year was the validation it represented for my work. Listening to the feedback from two of the judges – Felicity Plunkett and Justin Lowe at the Queensland Poetry Festival opening was very motivating, and being shortlisted in itself for such a prestigious award was fantastic. Results like this has really helped me to maintain my enthusiasm and desire to keep on working at my poetry in a disciplined way.

As an emerging poet, one of the best things I have been able to do for my development is to consistently prepare works for competitions and awards. Not only does it mean I’m working to ongoing deadlines and thus required to commit the time to refining my work but I am also exploring avenues for getting my work out there for others to read. As a working Mum, time is a precious commodity so ongoing feedback and encouragement through award results has helped me maintain focus and commit to dedicating my time to writing more often. I also like the idea of my work being viewed and critiqued anonymously, particularly as an emerging poet who has not had a great deal of my work published yet. Competitions offer this opportunity and have been a great platform for me to hone my craft and reach an audience. Now with some good competition results behind me, I hope my work will begin to find its way into more publications.

The PressPress Prize result in 2010 was extremely important for my development because it was the first manuscript I had put together and the first time I had submitted a manuscript anywhere. It helped in terms of letting me know I was on the right track and that my work had merit. Thankfully the Shapcott result verified that it wasn’t just beginner’s luck and it has been a great stepping stone for me with my first micro collection Feeding Paper Tigers being launched next month as part of Brisbane New Voices III.



The rain keeps coming.

Overnight, the broken
awning outside his bedroom
has become a form of water torture

drip, drip, drip, drip

This big old house
swells in downpour sheets

shadows in the crooks
of its knees and elbows
and spiders under its eyelids

he’s alone and silence
plays him like a music box

wounded thoughts
alate creatures blown from
a sepulchral mouth

The odd things she left behind
in this big old house
a cuckoo clock, potted rosemary
this emptiness

festive baubles
endemic beyond New Year

but he hasn’t the strength just yet

The rain keeps coming.

He rolls over, attempts
sleep on a misplaced ocean
back lit through venetian blind slits

drip, drip, drip, drip

That broken awning –
he might fix it tomorrow

if the rain stops coming.


Vanessa Page is a Rosewood based poet who hails from Toowoomba in Queensland. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Memory Bone, was shortlisted for the 2010 PressPress Prize and is due to be published in 2012.

In 2011 her manuscript The lost art of penning you a love note was shortlisted for the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Prize for an unpublished manuscript.

Vanessa has performed her work at various events, feature readings and gigs around Brisbane and is a founding member of the Beeble Poets group in Ipswich .

Feeding Paper Tigers is her first micro-collection of poetry and will be launched in April as part of Brisbane New Voices III.


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