Tag Archives: Janet Jackson

WA Spring Poetry Festival in review

Well, leg 3 of the 2009 Another Lost Shark tour was a huge success. I had never been to WA but know for sure that I will return many times. I met so many incredible people, and have made connections that I know will be lasting, and the place itself had a huge impact on me… Perth’s green space – Kings Park, Riverside Drive – is some of the best I have ever witnessed. Thanks to Holly & Mick for looking after me and showing me around.

So here’s what I got up to…

After touching down at midnight on Thursday, it was only a few hours until I was up and moving… and from then on, I remained in perpetual motion.

Fringe GalleryFriday started with a day long haiku workshop – from joy to grief in one breath. The group that gathered (including respected haiku poet, Maureen Sexton), were an inspirational bunch and were completely open to the haiku journey… We talked about the history of haiku, some definitions (if there can even be such a thing), the fragment and phrase theory, wabi and sabi, guidelines for writing and revising work, eight techniques for writing and asked the question – are the syllables important? We also went on a ginko around the Perth cultural precinct and then came back and workshopped many of the haiku composed.

Here’s two of mine…

 

winter chill
daisies keep their petals
                                   closed

 

   sharing a sandwich
   crows gather
   around the homeless man

 

Haiku were shared and the conversation was vigorous. The perfect way to begin the weekend.

It was then off to the official opening, where I had the great pleasure of being introduced by Kevin Gillam. After reading two poems – Brisbane Love Poems & All the Way Home, I introduced local dynamo, Scott-Patrick Mitchell who was the recent winner of the 2009 PressPress chapbook competition. He read from his winning chapbook – songs for the ordinary mass, which I recommend you all check out. Scott-Patrick’s work contains a healthy dose of rage. The words bristle on the page, at all times urgent. songs for the ordinary mass resists the oppressive rules of conventional discourse and examines ways in which language has long been used, quite often subtly, to oppress and exclude:

the strip
club does not strip
those men of
anything, as the
name suggests

(from the poem, catch)

So with the festival launched, we headed over to Sunyata Buddhist Centre, for the first reading of the festival. I have to pause here to add that this venue, is the most inviting space I have ever read poetry in. The energy in the room, so welcoming, so inclusive. A truly, unique room.

Sunyata Buddhist Retreat

The first reading, MC’d by Sue Clennell featured the lyrically elegant Annamaria Weldon (check out her book, The Roof Milkers, it is superb!), two times Tom Collins Poetry Prize winner Peter Bibby, the spontaneous narratives of Amber Fresh (you must also check out her book, Between You And Me) and this Lost Shark. The open section was also buzzing. It was so good to be immersed in the words of local poets.

I went home that night, head swimming, anticipating Day 2.

Saturday featured a number of panel discussions the first Poetry and the Environment and the afternoon panel – Cultural Diversity, which I was honoured to be a part of alongside Peter Bibby, founding editor of Magabala Books, the immensely talented Afeif Ismail Abdelrazig, and Glen Phillips. I talked about my experiences in Ubud in 2004 running haiku workshops and performing with a gamelan band as well as my regular trips to Blackall (Western QLD) and the lasting impact the land has had on me and my work. Listening to Afeif talk about his experience as a refugee living in Australia and the time he spent as a political prisoner was both humbling and deeply insightful. Truly people, you have to read this man’s work. I also got to read at the mighty Perth Poetry Club, run by Janet Jackson and a small but devoted team. Janet has enough energy to power a small village. Check out some of her work here.

Sunyata Buddhist Retreat1

Saturday night, we returned to Sunyata for a multi-cultural poetry reading MC’d by the delightful Vivienne Glance. This was the highlight of the whole festival… words can’t begin to capture the intense emotion in the room, the coming together of cultures, poets, humanity. Performers included Nick Di Lello, Istenad Haddad, Tam Thai, Lily Chan, Afeif Ismail Abdelrazig and the WAZA ensemble (playing traditional music from Sudan). Maureen Sexton and I were also invited to read haiku, so we joined forces and combined our reading, which confirmed my belief, that if you put two poems side by side (or in the air together), they will be drawn into dialogue. I then closed the reading with a selection of haibun from Measuring the Depth and my long poem Beyond, from the Black Stump Blues series.

This night, is etched in my DNA.

And then it was Sunday. The panel on publication saw some really interesting discussions emerge, with topics ranging from self-publishing to traditional publishing to digital publishing to performance to journals and onward. The second panel for the afternoon, Poetry Into the Future chaired by the incomparable Jeremy Balius was another highlight for me. I shared the panel with Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Amber Fresh and Amanda Joy. The energy between us, electric. A real sense of coming together. We each shared our stories and Jeremy shot questions at us to keep it all flowing. And again, the topics covered were diverse. We talked about success, we talked about influences, we talked about innovation and most importantly… we read poems!

Fremantle2

Then, it was trip to Fremantle… seriously, if you have never been there, do yourself a favour. I got the opportunity to have a wander through the streets and the one second hand bookstore I stumbled across was incredible. The fish & chips on the water was pretty damn good as well.

And before I knew it, I was at Fringe Gallery, for the closing night readings. This is another space I am forever thankful for being invited into. There was open mic, there were features from Annamaria Weldon, Peter Bibby, Amber Fresh and I was thrilled to be able to hear Amanda Joy read from her recent chapbook (and even more thrilled to have received the last copy), Not Enough To Fold (Verve Bath Press). I have long enjoyed Amanda’s work and after hearing it, I have an even greater appreciation. I closed the night with a set of predominantly new poems… and they felt good. The room was smiling back at me and the weekend of memories flooded back. Chief organiser of WA Spring Poetry Festival Peter Jeffery’s words of thank you are still resonating. So again, thank you Peter for the incredible opportunity.

My first visit to Perth… well, the people and place are now in my blood. Back on the east coast… it doesn’t seem so far away.

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QPF Spotlight #2 – Janet Jackson

Next up in the QPF Spotlight is Janet Jackson.

 

jjackson

 

What is the role of spontaneity in your creative process?

Essential in a number of ways.

Many of my favourite poems are built around a line or metaphor that ‘just popped into my head’. I sometimes wake up with poems or songs in my head. Usually there’s something on my mind that I’m wanting to write about, but I have to wait for the moment to strike. Forcing it rarely works.

Lately I’ve been writing about people I just happen to meet or see.

Often I find poem titles by scanning randomly, around two-thirds of the way down the poem, for a word or phrase that ‘feels right’.

When editing, I use a brainstorming technique to find ‘missing’ words.
 

Eliot said, “Poets learn to write by being other writers for a while, and then moving onto another one.” Who are the people who have influenced you and who are you reading now?

Oh, this is the hard question. When I started writing and publishing poetry I was reading sci-fi and rock journalism and computer science textbooks. Eliot wouldn’t have liked me (I don’t like him very much, either).

At the moment I’m reading Going Down Swinging and WA Poets Inc’s Creatrix (at www.wapoets.net.au) and various zines and books I’ve picked up at readings.

I’ve been compared to H.D., Louis MacNeice, Lou Reed, Suzanne Vega and John Cooper Clarke! MacNeice is definitely an influence.

Music, lyrics and spoken poetry are probably a bigger influence than written poetry. My MP3 player features, among other things, U2 (check out the ‘Pop’ and ‘Zooropa’ lyrics), The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, and the Antipoet Allan Boyd’s bands Blac Blocs and Mitey-ko. And Steve Smart. If Geoff Lemon or Kate Wilson should record CDs — which they should — they’ll be on there too.

I also like sound poetry, poetry spoken in languages I don’t know, and the undefinable word/sound experiments of people like Ashley J Higgs.

Other influences? Joyce, Beckett, Yeats, Heaney, the Irish in general. Anglo-saxon poetry. Rumi. Surrealist poetry. Robert Frost. Dr Seuss. Frank O’Hara. Peter Goldsworthy. Kevin Gillam. Lily Chan. Amber Fresh. The occasional L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poem. Computer programs.
 

Why perform/read your poetry?

You can hear what it sounds like.
You can bring your poems to life and interpret them for the audience.
You get your poetry to people who otherwise would never experience it.
You sell a lot more zines and books.
You get to meet other poets and hear their words.
And it feels amazing!

I love reading other people’s poetry aloud even more than performing my own.
 

 
I am always interested in the thought processes and practices of writers. Would it be possible for you to share with us your process, in other words, what does Janet Jackson do in preparation for writing?

Dream.
Go out into the world and look at it.
Get hurt. Get angry. Get tired.
Dream.
Watch films. Read anything. Read poetry.
Listen to poetry. Listen to music.
Dream.
Clean, wash dishes, walk, drive.
Carry a notebook.
Dream.
Write my stream of consciousness until the words start to dance.

I would suggest that my poetry is about myself in the same sense that ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ is about Hunter S Thompson.
 

 
Finally, where are you looking when you write?

Across the ocean, across the desert, across the street, or straight into your eyes.

 

 

A Poem:

 

Dress in rags

I love it when you dress in rags.

The ragged edges show how whole the centre is.

When you dance in your old clothes
simpler than today’s clothes
your powerful body shows me the child inside.

We are just children wearing layers.

Dress in rags. Show me a bit
of your skin, and if your hair gets thin
don’t fake it. Take it
all the way ascetic,
desert dirt aesthetic,
in rags, in patches, in mixed
colours, in glory,
exulted,
enlightened,
unlimited

making it up as you go along
in your rags.
 

(From ‘Coracle: Selected poems 1991-2007’, published by the author. www.proximitypoetry.com)

 And view Janet performing at Cottonmouth here.

 

 
About Janet:

Since 1986 Janet Jackson has sculpted in English, seeking poems that work whether declaimed loudly or whispered in the mind.

Janet featured at the inaugural Missing Link Festival (Perth 2008), the 2006, 2007 and 2008 WA Spring Poetry Festivals and 2007 and 2008 Melbourne Overload Poetry Festivals. She has featured at many readings, performances and slams and can be heard at all the places in Perth where poets gather.

Her poems have been published in many print and online magazines and anthologies, and she has self-published three chapbooks and her own website, Proximity.

Her first collection, Coracle, was published in March 2009.

Janet is the convenor of The Line Mine, an online community promoting poetry events in Perth, and the organiser of the Perth Poetry Club.

 

Catch Janet at QPF 2009:

Saturday August 22 – 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Drenched with Desire: feat. Kent MacCarter, Janet Jackson & Marissa Allen

 

Saturday August 22 – 8:00pm

A Million Bright Things: featuring a short set from every bright thing on the 2009 program plus a feature set from the awesome Neil Murray

 

Sunday August 23 – 12:15pm – 1:15pm

Basement of Grins: feat. Janet Jackson, Fiona Privitera & Jayne Fenton Keane

 

Sunday August 23 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Just Kissed Goodbye: feat. Janet Jackson, Angela Costi, Jane Williams, Neil Murray, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Geoff Goodfellow, Paul Magee, AF Harrold, Hinemoana Baker and the QPF Committee

 

All sessions are held at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brunswick St. Fortitude Valley.

For full program details head to www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com

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Guided by Poets – Western Australia

Guided by Poets is a new way of showcasing poets on Another Lost Shark. It takes the McSweeney’s concept of Poets Picking Poets. A poetry thread will begin in each state of Australia, so for this thread, I headed west and asked Kevin Gillam to send me a poem. Kevin then had the job of inviting the next poet and so on, until a thread of five poems was created. The result… an eclectic offering of words.

 

 

           flottle


and sea breathes louder,
out in creeds of spume, gulls in
squabble for full stops.

you wish you were up there, all
warm updrafted and
weightless. oceans – who draws the

dotted lines? found a
bottle once, flung off Cape Town,
read the message but

scrawl of weed said more. does sand
tire of this rush then
suck? ‘flottle’ – best word for it,

while tonight, moon brushed orange,
In no mood for rhyme

Kevin Gillam

 

 
kevin-gillamKevin Gillam: is a West Australian writer with work published in numerous Australian and overseas journals. He has had two books of poems published, both by SunLine Press, “Other Gravities” in 2003 and “Permitted to Fall” in 2007. He works as a secondary school music teacher and freelance ‘cellist and conductor.

In 2000 he was Emerging-Writer-in-Residence at Tom Collins’ House,and was granted the same position at the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre in 2002.

 

 

Suddenly sideways…


She told her news
scans  tests  appointment times
sub-text unsaid    almost inaudible.

A mundane act
a phone call ended
the self thrown suddenly sideways.

I knew bile-fear
black stench of frostbite
heard a white howling of wind

peered through goaded snow
saw the wolf
loping loose-limbed

casual in the chaos.

 Flora Smith

 

Flora Smith is a former language teacher who wrote short stories before she turned to writing poetry five years ago. She is widely published in magazines and journals throughout Australia, such as Westerly, Stylus Poetry Journal, indigo and Famous Reporter. She is an active member of writers’ groups in WA and takes part in regular Perth readings.
After gaining entry to a FAW(WA) Masterclass mentorship program in 2007, she has just published an anthology with 4 other group members. The book, titled ‘Amber Contains the Sun’, will be launched at the Perth Writers’ Festival early in 2009 and other celebratory readings are scheduled to take place in the Perth metro area and country centres throughout the year.

 

 

Coracle


I will find a place to wait.
A niche in the shore-held sea-crags.
I will watch the lighthouse and the coming
and going ships, the world-cruisers,
oil-bringers, war-makers,
the private and public yachts,
the racers, fishers, fighters,
pirates and smugglers,
the ships of dull metal and
boats with bright paint,
with sail-quilts, mast-needles, nets,
radar, radio, GPS,
pitching and reeling and rocking and
blustering with a Babel of balloons and
sparkling miniature winebirds and
tinny electronic bells and
genetic gladiators and none

of them will detect me
in my grey waitplace. I will watch them all
until that ship comes, the ship

with the black and red sails that are made of pure skin
with the decks of ebony and carbon steel
with the tall sailors whose robes bear
witness, who reserve
their grey-and-silver wings, worship
their titanium anchor on its hawser spun
from their once-long hair. They will cast
their continental-shelf-gripper gently, with careful
hallelujahs, place their sleek ship
in the tossing flapping sea and in the sea of vessels
and sing and sing, rumgutted, steelsilked,
calling, responding, calling the land,
naming it.

And I in my hermit-hole will have built
my coracle, small
and sturdy, its
making a ritual. Built
my boat and carved my oars
and practised to strengthen my arms
and heart. I will hear
the singing and launch,
row my raw face through the buoys
and dinghies and liners, row and row, back burning,
arms screaming, row and row, and throw my line,
climb cold railings, fall,
collapse
among coiled ropes and mysterious much-used tools

and salt rain will needle me,
giant wings will beat on me,
torn tongues will lash and lacerate and feed on me,
as I lie on that wet deck bleeding in ecstasy.

Janet Jackson

 

 
janet-jacksonSince 1986 Janet Jackson has sculpted in English, seeking poems that work whether declaimed loudly or whispered in the mind.

Janet featured at the inaugural Missing Link Festival, the 2006, 2007 and 2008 WA Spring Poetry Festivals and 2007 and 2008 Melbourne Overload Poetry Festivals.

Her poems have been published in many print and online magazines and anthologies, and she has self-published three chapbooks and her own website, Proximity (www.proximitypoetry.com).

Her first collection, ‘Coracle’, will be published in March 2009.

 

 
Maggot, an Ode


Animated rice-grain

born of blowfly
her gift to carrion
and infected wounds

you work blindly
clearing the decks—
barbecue and dead rat
roadside and battlefield
a teeming carnevale

such denial of flesh,
catholicity of taste
we could aspire to.

Come the morning
you’ll have flown:
a modest
re-incarnation.

Dick Alderson

 

 
dick-aldersonDick Alderson was born in Perth and has been writing poetry since 1994.  Several of his poems have been published in journals and periodicals including Westerly, Indigo and Blue Dog, and he reads his work at venues in Fremantle and Perth.

 

 

Cumquats

waxen flowers
lift their petticoats
to reveal green ovoid
pregnancies that swell
and are born
golden balls
decorating courtyards
like the testicles
of some bright orange god

in late spring
summer flirting with us
we pluck the god of his gifts
and they roll into baskets
padding memories of thunder

then with the   thin   sharp   knife
we slice   and slice   and slice
and see stars

citrus scent feathers our nose
juice stickies our blade

the stars float
in a galaxy
add a flame
a comet of sugar
and I am the goddess now
stirring stars and sugar
to heavenly translucence
and watch sunset settle
over the pot
until it darkens
to a rusty dusk

promising zest! in the morning

Josephine Clarke

 

 
josephine-clarkeJosephine Clarke came to writing through the short story.  An active member of Out of the Asylum (OOTA) Writers’ Group, she has recently ventured into poetry.  She has been published in indigo,Thirst and Blue Giraffe.

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