Tag Archives: Poetry Events at Riverbend Books

A Million Bright Things – feat. Barbara Temperton

Reading back over the poems I have posted during the last few days has been a real thrill. Each of these poems, a highlight from what was (and remains) one of the best poetry readings I have ever attended – QPF 2009’s, A Million Bright Things. And the thrills don’t stop there, as each of these poems will be performed at the CD launch this coming Tuesday at Riverbend Books, either by the poet or by one of the QPF Committee. To round things out, here is the fifth and final poem I will feature from the soon to be launched A Million Bright Things CD, by WA poet, Barbara Temperton.

Barbara Temperton is an award-winning Western Australian writer. Her poems, song lyrics, short stories, reviews and articles have appeared in journals, newspapers, anthologies, have been performed live and broadcast on radio. Barbara lives in Geraldton where she is employed as Librarian and editor and moonlights as the poetry editor for Westerly. Barbara has also worked on community writing and theatre projects and as tutor in English and Creative Writing courses at the UWA – Albany Centre, Edith Cowan University and Curtin University in Perth. Southern Edge is her third collection of poetry, written for her MA at the University of Western Australia.

Barbara’s poem Purl, from her collection, Going Feral appears on A Million Bright Things.

 

Purl

If she wasn’t knitting, she says,
she’d be down the road measuring the level
of the muddy brown puddle her husband calls a dam.
And if she wasn’t knitting,
she’d be ironing a dress
for the CWA show she’s supposed to be going to,
pumping fuel by hand from a forty-four gallon drum
into the tank of the car for the long drive into town,
and she’d have to come home straight after,
has to hand-feed the horses, milk the goat.
If she wasn’t knitting, she’d be patrolling the farm
checking fences for breaks and tangled stock,
crow-struck lambs, fly-struck wethers,
inspecting gates
so plagues of emus and kangaroos
gathering at the boundary can’t get in,
watching the clear hot sky – no clouds,
paddocks burned bare by drought.
If she wasn’t knitting, she’d be down in the yards
where her husband and her daughter
are killing starving sheep with crowbars
because they can’t afford the bullets.
If she wasn’t knitting, she says.

 

A Million Bright Things will be launched at Riverbend Books on Tuesday June 22 so make sure you are there to experience what is sure to be one of the poetry events of the year. Doors open at 6pm for a 6:30pm start. Tickets are $10 and include a glass of wine and sushi nibbles. To book your ticket call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at www.riverbendbooks.com.au

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A Million Bright Things – feat. Zenobia Frost

Here’s another dazzling local, featured on the soon to be launched CD – A Million Bright Things… ladies and gentlemen, Zenobia Frost!

Zenobia Frost writes poetry in cemeteries, articles at a desk in a backyard rainforest, and to-do lists on receipts, bits of paper, the back of her hand, and flatmates’ spare bits of skin. She writes, edits, and types for a living, and occasionally orchestrates cabaret events that are really an excuse to drink tea. Her work has appeared in Stylus, Mascara, Small Packages, Burdock (USA), Rave Magazine, Famous Reporter, and Voiceworks, and she has performed at the Queensland Poetry Festival, Tasmianian Poetry Festival, and around Australia with the Queensland Touring Poets Program. Her debut collection, The Voyage, was published by SweetWater Press in 2009.

Zenobia’s poem, Bathing with Gaiman is one of the sixteen poems featured on A Million Bright Things.

 

Bathing with Gaiman

Before reading in the bath,
I ease the book’s
jacket off. I

test
the steaming water with one toe
and shuffle off my own dust cover
to step
and slide
in and under,

holding the book above my head
like an umbrella. Then, spread
with my arms leaning on my legs,
I read, turning the pages

with the tip
of my tongue.

Later, while I scrub
idly
or shave my legs
with my right hand,

I realise I’ve gone
cover to cover (or nearly).

The fingers of my left arm sulk
and strain, and I must
balance the book on my head
to flex the lameness out (and again

till feeling returns).
Then I swap hands and finish
my story and scrubbing,

to step out clean and complete,
steeped in someone else’s
glistening words.

 

Zenobia will feature at the launch of A Million Bright Things at Riverbend Books on Tuesday June 22. Doors open at 6pm for a 6:30pm start. Tickets are $10 and include a glass of wine and sushi nibbles. To book tickets call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at www.riverbendbooks.com.au

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A Million Bright Things – feat. Geoff Goodfellow

My second feature from the forthcoming CD – A Million Bright Things – is South Australian poet, Geoff Goodfellow.

Geoff Goodfellow is as tender as he is tough . . . as hard as he is soft. He is a walking contradiction. Throughout his twenty year career in poetry, he has revealed a considerable capacity for listening and close observation. His first collection No Collars No Cuffs, first published in 1986, is now in its 9th printing. Eight books have followed, most running into multiple print runs. He writes with a ‘contrived simplicity’, detailing the lives of seemingly ordinary people. It is however, his poet’s eye for the micro, rather than the macro, that allows him to focus on and dramatise a single crucial moment or situational aspect, to suggest much more the extraordinary.

Geoff’s poem, Blue Sky Mornings is featured on the CD A Million Bright Things.

 

 

Blue Sky Mornings

 
I remember being five years old
& walking up & down
the white quartz driveway
of our family home in Copley St
       dragging on a Rothmans Plain
 
i was often up at 5am on those
summer mornings
       tip-toeing over the floorboards
& being careful not to let the
screen door slap as i’d creep
out to dad’s cream FX Holden
       to sneak a smoke out of
the red soft pack he’d left on
the front bench seat
 
i’d walk the driveway then —
& practise doing the drawback
       feeling dizzy at times
but somehow enjoying it
       & i might do the
Chinese drawback too —     
feeling the smoke drift up my
nostrils
       & i remember blowing
smoke rings into perfect blue
sky mornings
       looking up at the apricots
at the end of the driveway —
& sometimes hearing them fall
       & seeing white cling peaches
still setting on the tree
       & the corn already high enough
to hide a boy like me
 
but i was big enough to work
       & even then i knew
i wanted to be a working man
 
those mornings i’d listen for
the jingle of empty bottles
& the clip-clop of hooves
on our unmade street
       knowing that Lennie Sugars
the milky was coming
       & i’d butt my smoke into
the red clay soil & bolt out
to meet him
 
i’d spend the next two hours
placing pints on front verandas —
        hearing the clink of empties
from the back of the cart as the
horse worked his way towards
Lennie’s low whistle
       i remember too —
my forefinger & index finger
       greasy from the residue of
so many poorly washed empties
i’d picked up
 
but over the next fifty years & more —
       i’d pick up more than just
greasy bottles

there were sixty to eighty cigarettes
a day for fifteen years
       & over twenty half coronas
for another ten
       & lots of five paper joints
too

& i’d pick up solvents & sealants
& stains & paints & fluxes
& fluids with peculiar smells
       working through twelve hour
days on building sites in blinding sun 
with no UV protection

& yet no one can tell me with any
authority
       just how i got cancer.

(forthcoming from Waltzing with Jack Dancer)

 

A Million Bright Things will be launched at Riverbend Books on Tuesday June 22. Doors open at 6pm for a 6:30pm start. Tickets are $10 and include a glass of wine and sushi nibbles. To book tickets call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at www.riverbendbooks.com.au

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