Tag Archives: Paul Magee

Just Kissed Goodbye… Some memories of QPF 2009

QPF 2009 may have just been kissed goodbye, but the words of the 40+ artists who took to the stage continue to resonate in the heads and hearts of the thousands who attended. I am certain that these words will form the seed of many new poems, new friendships, new dialogues and to quote Ferlinghetti, ‘give voice to the tongueless streets’. This quote, alongside ‘wake up, the world is on fire’ (Ferlinghetti), and ‘spoken in one strange word’ (Judith Wright) were written in bold lettering across the windows of The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. These words breathed life into the shopfront space, which was a new (and may I add, very successful) venue for QPF 2009 and set the tone for an amazing weekend of words.

From the Official Opening where I had the privilege of reading the winning poem from this years Arts QLD Val Vallis Award for an Unpublished Poem – The Severant by Andrew Slattery, the festival simply hummed. I would love to share with you a couple of lines from the winning poem… words that will undoubtedly stay with me:

We have ammended the world.
As I walk home I unpick the seams from the footpaths.

Each muscle locomotes my frame.
I wear my suit and walk into the vista city;

through the old mine with its pile of coal like a dead whale;
past the doctor who repaired my chest;

past the tailor who sews spines
into standing men as they wait.

Throughout the festival, there are many other lines that etched themselves into the very fabric of my being… here are a few:

Cancer’s what gets us. Got Grandpa. Got Baba.
It turns you yellow in the end. So, I’ve been smoking

(from Celebration by Elizabeth Bachinsky)


You suicided all my poetry was written on your skin first
second line
third line a tight rope tight knife

(from Chapter 5 by Paul Magee)


A scorched afternoon in the Alice
or the meltdown that lavas out of kiddies
when they cannot have a treat.

(from Station Street As A Dark Nickelodeon by Kent McCarter)


take with you plenty of water and one mustard seed of faith

(from Mount Wellington by Jane Williams)


Be still. I am the Bear from your dreams.

(from Nature Poem by AF Harrold)


And as the festival drew to a close on Sunday night, we celebrated another incredible session featuring the voices of the QPF Committee (Nerissa Rowan, Zenobia Frost, Debra Ralph, Alicia Bennett, John Koenig, Francis Boyle, Jodi DeVantier & this Lost Shark) alongside Jane Williams, Janet Jackson, Angela Costi, Paul Magee, Geoff Goodfellow, Neil Murray, Elizabeth Bachinsky, AF Harrold and Hinemoana Baker.

And importantly, we celebrated the many achievements of Festival Director, Julie Beverdige as she announced she would be standing down from the position. Julie has taken the festival to a new level during her two year tenure, building on the success of the first eleven years and putting in place the necessary structure to make QPF sustainable for many years to come.

QPF  has yet again provided some life changing moments for me (and many others). Moments that will fuel me, until we do it all again in 2010.


Filed under events & opportunities

QPF Spotlight #5 – Paul Magee

I am like a child with an advent calendar at the moment, marking off the days until QLD Poetry Festival is here. So to mark this day off in fine style, here is a poem from one of the poets featuring at QPF 2009, Paul Magee.



‘There are three barriers to learning: One is misunderstood words’
the taxi driver told me in response to my job at the university.
His eyes were lightly seared steak, his grin an all-knowing menu.
I thought of the kid who’d seen licence plates as words that speak,
the fantasies that connect the cloud-filled letters on a page,
those insane writers who believe you read what they meant.
‘When your students are reading and they have to re-read, that’s
misunderstood words.’ My ‘But that’s good’ fell on the side
platter. ‘When someone doesn’t understand a word you’ve said that’s
misunderstood words.’ His brain was fried. Barriers Two and Three
seared with somewhat less intensity. During them I looked him
in the words’ mouth, thought what flesh we are in that vision of chops.
We arrived. I took my knowledge from his larder and into the
scholarly fire of the puniversity, ruler of the world by centi
metre, and another centimetre, and another millimetre of mind.
Actually that driver had a doctorate in understanding
but it’s a faculty we rarely apply to get into
in any permanent way, because only animals are so direct.
It’s just that we have verbal sex.  There’ll always be
a hidden y, or an extra x, in Let x=x,
(I par-boiled) as I opened the gate and abandoned all hope
but a grain of salt.


[Reprinted from Blast: Poetry and Other Critical Writings, no.7, March 2008]




About Paul:

Paul Magee studied in Melbourne, Moscow, San Salvador and Sydney. His first book, From Here to Tierra del Fuego, was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2000. It was based on fieldwork in the far South of South America. His first volume of poetry, Cube Root of Book was published by John Leonard Press in 2006. It was shortlisted for the Innovation Award at the 2008 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature, and highly commended in the Ann Elder and Mary Gilmore Awards. Paul is a Senior Lecturer in Poetry at the University of Canberra.


Catch Paul at QPF 2009:

Saturday August 22 – 11:45am – 12:45pm

Phosphorescence at the Edge: feat. Paul Magee, Jane Williams & Rob Morris


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 – 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Proscuitto and the Pink: feat. Paul Magee, Angela Costi & AF Harrold


Sunday August 23 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Just Kissed Goodbye: feat. Paul Magee, Janet Jackson, Angela Costi, Jane Williams, Neil Murray, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Geoff Goodfellow, 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


Filed under interviews/artist profiles, poetry & publishing