Tag Archives: poetry and photography

Looking back on Ocean Hearted…

This time last weekend, I was in the the thick of QLD Poetry Festival 2010. Fourteen years on, this festival just keeps going from strength to strength. There were far too many poetic highlights to mention… seriously, I couldn’t do it justice, but the real highlight, as always, was the warmth and openness of the festival audience and the artists. Being at QPF is a unique experience and one that I love dearly. My own personal highlight was without a doubt performing in the main theatre of The Judith Wright Centre on Saturday night with Sheish Money & Namedropper, with a backdrop of sublime images from Cindy Keong. It was the strangest feeling…

I had been planning the show for 12months, working with Cindy on the photos, getting the book ready, rehearsing with Sheish and then the band. It was a big process… and then I was up there; the lights hit, the music swelled and I lost myself in the poems; gave myself to them. As soon as we hit the end of the first poem and the band locked straight into the next groove, I knew we were on.

It quite simply flashed by and as Sheish took vocal duties on the last piece – Save Myself / Lessons, I filled with emotion. Sheish and I have been doing this for almost a decade and here we were, surrounded by people we love, still surprising each other, still pushing the creative process. And as the applause rose and we walked off stage, I felt, I had left nothing behind… you can’t ask for anything more than that.

There are already plans to perform this show again, so keep your eyes out for details later in the year.

The photos here were sent through to me by the lovely Angel Kosch (and keep your eye out for official photos on the QLD Poetry Festival website in the coming weeks).


Filed under events & opportunities, poetry & publishing

The Ekka 2010: pics and poems

Today is the last day of The Ekka for 2010. Sheish and I played our last show yesterday afternoon and we went off with a bang… the crowd responding with whoops and hollers and people coming to the front of stage at the end of the set to talk and thank us for our performance. This is what I love most about The Ekka… the generosity and kindness it brings out in the human spirit. It really does widen the smile on everyone’s face!

So with a little sadness in this weary heart (8 gigs in a row + a stint drumming for Sheish Money’s band last night at The Step Inn is seriously tiring), I post these pics captured at the 2010 Ekka by Cindy Keong and a few of the haiku she was responding to. Ah yes… another project emerges, so keep your eyes peeled for more news about this later in the year. 


                                                                people’s day
                                                                the whirling lights
                                                                of thrill rides

                                                                   dappled sky
                                                                   the appaloosa’s
                                                                   perfect run 

                                                                  watching the fireworks
                                                                  in people’s eyes




Filed under poetry

The Speaking Page

To get myself ready to ‘grab some world’, I have been firmly ensconced in my reading chair with a copy of Robert Adamson’s ‘The Clean Dark’.

The Speaking Page (the title poem of the second section of the book), has long been one of my favourite Adamson poems, brimming with his classic Hawkesbury River imagery, so I was thrilled when I came out to the computer and discovered this short film of the poem, read by Robert Adamson with images by his long time partner, Juno Gemes.

So if you too need a fix of the ocean and a hit from one of Australia’s finest living poets, look no further than The Speaking Page.


Filed under poetry & publishing

Five ways of looking at the River

Yesterday turned on some of the most perfect weather… and Brunswick Heads is definitely as beautiful as I remember. Here’s a quick look at a handful of photos from the trip.

                                     all photographs by Cindy Keong


Filed under poetry

In Port

here, at the port where we aspire to
clearer skys we are never entirely sure of
what was done to you upstream

what bends straightened
which of your channels filled in
what sheer rise of rock once leaned
to stare in to your clear defenseless face

* photography by Cindy Keong


Filed under poetry

Love Letter to Bramble Bay



ghost the shore

                                                          the hard pods
of sheoak spray their seed
across the path

                                                          and my words disappear 

                                                          like stones
skipped across a wave

                                                          sinking through
the pages of water.


                                                      Stately Queenslanders, convalesce
guard the shoreline;
ghosts of old men
cast in the shadow of jetty lights.

Eroded hardwood pillars
now remnants of your playground;
the pioneering spirit lingers
in the slow bite of rust.

Rolling tide,
churns forth your memory;
as the sea circles my ankles
I am written into your pages.





Filed under poetry

Jetty Lights

                                                                        photo by Cindy Keong


Jetty Lights

the quiet of midnight
lost in fishermen’s lights

the seabreeze blowing gulls
& a full moon slipping through

we walk side by side, you
dreaming your quiet music

the pylons gently
played by the waves.



Filed under poetry

Ekka Days

Well, the 2009 Ekka has come to a close and I am still buzzing with a strange kind of delirious energy. The Ekka has that effect on people. I am not sure whether it is the flashing lights, that distinctive voice advertising dagwood dogs and jam donuts (it seems to be on a permanent loop and is able to be heard from almost any point in the grounds), the heady mix of perfume, sweat and dung, the swarms of soap bubbles pumped regularly into the air, or the mile wide smile on almost every face that passes by, but once you are inside the gates, the sticky fingers of excitement take hold and your inner child is bursting at the seams.


ekka haiku - strawberry sundae


Our performances (myself and poetic riff maker Sheish Money), on the International Food Hall Stage were a blast and it was a real thrill seeing faces light up in the audience. In the end, that is one of the things that keeps us going. Performing in front of an appreciative poetry audience is great, but turning just one person on in a crowd of people high on that Ekka buzz takes it all to another level. It was also very cool to be joined by the delightful Hinemoana Baker for our final gig. You can read how much she loved The Ekka from her blog post Ekka-stasy.


ekka haiku - showtime


As I walked out the gates for the last time, I could not help but feel nostalgic… 2010 will see many changes at The Ekka – the Showbag Pavillion will be gutted, the Douglas Wadley Dog Pavillion will be torn down and the iconic chairlift will no longer decorate the Valley sky. I just hope that this change is well managed and that the spirit of the Ekka remains the same. It is a Brisbane icon, and we can’t afford to lose any more of these.

So as I come down off my Ekka high, here’s a few poems that I wrote for a photographic exhibition that was on display in the Errol Barnes Dining Room. If you were not able to get there this year, I hope that these poems help conjure some of the magic.



ekka haiku - cattle shed



ekka haiku - shooting ducks



ekka haiku - secret pocket


All photographs taken by Andrea Higgins for Artisan.



Filed under poetry