Tag Archives: interviews

A quick chat with Zenobia Frost

Zenobia Frost is one of the five feature readers at the final Riverbend Books: Poetry on the Deck event for 2009 to be held on Tuesday June 23 (see below for full details). She has also just launched her debut collection The Voyage … so I took the time to fire a few questions her way.




What initially drew you to poetry?

The way so much can be expressed in so few words.


When is a poem ready to be published/performed?

As Paul Valéry said, ‘A poem is never finished, merely abandoned.” It takes a rare poem to be publication-ready on the first draft, and I find that my poems need to be hacked away at for weeks or months before I find the gem shiny enough to put out into the world.


Has publication changed the way you approach your writing?

In a sense. Sometimes I write with a specific project in mind, considering where this poem might fit in a potential collection. (But usually, I don’t think too hard and just write.)


Why perform/read your poetry?

Words taste nice, and chewing them over tends to let more subtle flavours come out. I find different things in my poems when I read them aloud. Performing other people’s poems can be like tucking into a gourmet dinner; performing my own can be like baking and eating my own cookies. (They might be a bit burnt, but they’re mine, and I get to wear a pretty apron.) 


What is the greatest challenge faced by poets/poetry today?

Th vwl shrtg—lttl knwn sd-ffct f th glbl rcssn. T’s vry hrd t fnd pms wtht thm. Strvng pms qckl thn nd bcme jst lttrs sldng ff ppr.

We are concerned that the vowel shortage will soon extend even to ‘y’. Please conserve your vowels during this difficult time.

Seriously, though, I think the trickiest thing is staying abreast of new publications, new opportunities, and changing ideas. The Interwebs allow things to move disturbingly quickly.

Winter also presents the problem of needing to type with kid gloves on.


Poetry on the Deck:

Join Zenobia Frost on the Riverbend deck as we wrap up the 2009 Poetry on the deck events with a QLD Poetry Festival Showcase. This QPF showcase event also features multi-skilled artist, Angel Kosch (Standing on the Road); winner of The Dream Ain’t Broken chapbook competition Nicola Scholes (Dear Rose); one of Australia’s finest exponents of the Japanese forms haibun and tanka, Jeffery Harpeng (Quarter Past Sometime); poetic adventurer and protector of apostrophes; and experimental writer and musician, Marisa Allen (Fire in the Head).

Date: Tuesday 23 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

The first two events this year have been hugely successful, so book early to avoid disappointment!


Filed under interviews/artist profiles

Strange Conversations

I was flipping through some old mags and journals tonight and came across an issue of University of QLD journal, Vanguard. Inside the issue was a series of ‘conversations’ between some of the greats of twentieth century literature – Raymond Carver, Allen Ginsberg, e.e. cummings and Jack Kerouac – and a number of local Brisbane poets. The editors had pitched us a series of questions from the works of these literary giants and encouraged us to go nuts. The results… some frenetic, curious and strange conversations.

Here’s a sample from each interview… and if you want to add your own response to one of the questions, feel free drop it in the comments.


Interviewer: e.e. cummings, from 100 Selected Poems

Interviewees: Jef Caruss (JC) and Sheish Money (SM)

e. e.:  shall the voice of liberty be mute?

JC: If I can’t yell the occasional obscenity, then I cannot be free.

e. e.:  I say to you who are silent.—“Do you see Life?”

SM: I say to you who are dead do you hear noise?

e. e.:  what if a dawn of a doom of a dream bites this universe in two, peels forever out of his grave and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?

SM: Then the twilight of a beginning being will forge a pact with grave and gifted and float nothingness on air till you and I return.


Interviewer: Raymond Carver (RC), from All of Us: The Collected Poems

Interviewee: Graham Nunn (GN)

RC:  What the hell is going on?

GN: In a soft skinned sunset, the hot breath of prayer is sketching new purpose; bleeding silver sutures to stitch up the remnants of something far more interesting, for we are gone sweetness…wired, split, shot to elsewhere.

RC: What’s wrong?

GN: All the trees are dressed in flames, houses stumble forward menacingly, foaming at the windows and the road has torn itself free from underfoot. Our heads are filled with avalanches and our mouths with waterfalls.

RC: Have you had any fresh lemonade lately?

GN: I have written english nouns without capitals, bared my teeth at the tatting of tongues, watched a thunderstorm in my cupboard, philandered over elegant chairs and drank myself silly thank you very much!


Interviewer: Jack Kerouac (JK), from Old Angel Midnight

Interviewee: Rowan Donovan (RD)

JK: How are you Mrs Jones?

RD: Since the operation? Good! And since my marriage to Mr. Jones? Even better! It’s amazing what these doctors can do today. A little nip here. A little tuck there and—Hey Presto—just me and my new private parts. Actually, it was the wedding and all the fuss that was trying but now I’m good, and thank you for asking, Mr. Kerouac. Mind if I call you Jack?

JK: Why read Don Quixote when you can read The Diamond Sutra or the Wonderful Law Lotus Sutra?

RD: That’s right! Why read a classic of Western Literature when you can read the sutra that first enlightened Hui Neng?

JK: Do I dream?

RD: Not if you have read The Diamond Sutra.

JK: What kinda world we’d have (Hi Missus Twazz) (O jullo Mr. Moon mock) a world all poits?

RD: Ahh, Jack. I love it when you talk dirty.


Interviewer: Allen Ginsberg (AG), from Planet News:

Interviewee: Julie Beveridge (JB)

AG: The colour of the wind?

JB: The wind had no colour til I quit smoking and now it looks like all the cigarette smoke I no longer inhale, it just follows me around asking me why I don’t drop by anymore.

AG: Do you want to live or die?

JB: I don’t know whether to kill myself or go bowling.

AG: Well, who knows?

JB: The guy at the bowling alley said to kill myself. He’d know I guess.

AG: How big is the prick of the President?

JB: Not as big as mine… but bigger than yours.

AG: You’re in a bad mood?

JB: Don’t get upset, your prick is a fine size. There’s no need to get personal.


Filed under interviews/artist profiles