Tag Archives: poetry events

Want to perform at QLD Poetry Festival 2011?

Over the past decade, QLD Poetry Festival has established itself as one of the most important poetry festivals worldwide. The festival has showcased artists such as Steve Kilbey (The Church), Hinemoana Baker, Emily XYZ, Mia Dyson, Shane Koyczan, John Tranter, August Kleinzahler, Jacqueline Turner and Dave Graney… so if you want your name on the 2011 Festival Program here’s what you need to do.

QLD Poetry Festival (QPF) is now inviting proposals from poets and other performers / artists interested in being part of the 15th annual festival. QPF will run from 26-28 August 2011 at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. Full submission details are now available at: www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com. Expressions of Interest must be received by close of business, Thursday 24 February 2011.

So spread the word people… blog it, facebook it, tweet it, open your mouth and shout it! QLD Poetry Festival 2011 wants to hear from you!

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Another Lost Shark joins the Authors for Peace Reading

Tuesday September 21 is the International Day of Peace and to celebrate the International Literature Festival Berlin is putting on a day of readings that will be broadcast across the globe.

Priya Basil, one of the key organsiers of the event has this to say about Authors for Peace:

“Art cannot stop wars, but great literature – more than any other art – has the power to help people understand one another better. If we can do this, there’s a chance for conflict resolution and even harmony. The goal of all writers – whatever the causes they support, whatever the themes that preoccupy them, whatever the form or language in which they express themselves – is to negotiate the unmapped territory between us and the other: to conquer, word by word, the distances that seem too vast, too daunting, too unknowable. When writers succeed, readers too are able to bridge differences they previously conceived impossible.”

And I have to say, I am feeling really honoured to have been invited to be one of the readers on the day, I mean, I will be reading on the same bill as one of my all time poetry heroes, Ko Un. You can check out the full list of authors here.

So why not, clear the decks on Tuesday September 21, make yourself comfortable in front of your computer and help map the distance between one another. I will be reading from my latest collection Ocean Hearted as well as a selection of some of my favourite poets at 11:30am (Australian Eastern Standard Time).

Links to the live video stream will be available here (late) on Monday September 20.

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Emily XYZ – new poems & her final Australian reading

Avid Reader’s (193 Boundary St West End) Poetry Month celebrations continue tomorrow night (Thursday September 16) with readings from Tessa Leon, Jeremy Thompson, Bruce Dorlova and 2010 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence Emily XYZ. This will be Emily’s final reading in Australia in 2010, so make sure you are their to get your last hit.

Details are:

Date: Thursday September 16
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Venue: Avid Reader, 193 Boundary Rd, West End
Cost: Free
Bookings: Call 3846 3422 or book online at: http://www.avidreader.com.au/index.php?option=com_registrationpro&view=event&Itemid=0&did=86

Here are two brand new poems from Emily XYZ written during her 2010 residency to give you a taste of what tomorrow night will bring…

See you there,

 

 

motionless

 
those clouds are motionless overhead
it doesn’t seem possible
they sit in their white gold ness
unmoved by winds aloft
how is that turning force
suspended / has god told this
airspace position and hold
for a moment / is it an error?
for heaven’s sakes drift
in some direction / your
breath-held pause is most
unvaporlike / you’re not really
mountains, and you’re making
me nervous

 

 

climber
 

he likes to go up
he likes to climb
it’s in his nature
 
he wants to do better in life
he wants to see things from above
he wants perspective
 
the vertical is transcendent
ascent is musical
the ceiling goes underfoot
 
clouds obscure you
but I know you are there
 
I know there is a path, a plan,
an imaginary line in the sky
in the night stars a compass
 
a way in the chasm and the chaos
that must be taking you higher
even as it takes you away
 
rocks are steps that propel you to the top
the top is a place to visit
ambition in the abstract
the summit is relative,
you cannot live there
it is only a place from which you can see
further

 

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Why Poetry? The discussion begins…

Avid Reader (193 Boundary St West End) have declared September, ‘Poetry Month’ and to celebrate they are putting on some mighty fine events. The first of these is a discussion / reading taking place this Thursday night. To pick at the seams of the question, ‘Why Poetry?’ they have assembled Bronwyn Lea, Nathan Shepherdson, Ross Clark, Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence Emily XYZ and this Lost Shark.

Full details of the event are:

Date: Thursday September 9
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Venue: Avid Reader, 193 Boundary Rd, West End
Cost: $5.00
Bookings: Call 3846 3422 or book online at: http://www.avidreader.com.au/index.php?option=com_registrationpro&view=event&Itemid=0&did=80&shw_attendees=0

Avid’s monthly magazine is also brimming with poetic musings, reviews and other articles. You can download a copy of it from their website: http://www.avidreader.com.au/ but I thought I would post my article answering the question ‘Why Poetry?’ to get the discussion started…

Why Poetry?

Brisbane is definitely a bright star in the poetry sky, hosting major events such as QLD Poetry Festival: spoken in one strange word (August 27-29), The Australian Poetry Slam and the annual Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence Program alongside a number of regular events, including Brisbane’s longest running poetry/spoken word event, SpeedPoets. And now, Avid Reader are throwing a month long poetry party in September, featuring a panel of established poets (incl. Bronwyn Lea, Nathan Shepherdson, Ross Clark, Graham Nunn and 2010 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence, Emily XYZ) talking about the importance of poetry in our lives and readings from some of the bright new things currently setting the Brisbane poetry scene on fire. So why all this interest in poetry? Well, to give you a short answer, I couldn’t go past this quote from ‘poet laureate of the down and out’, Charles Bukowski:

Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.

For me, what Bukowski is getting at here is poetry’s ability to embrace and elevate all that makes us human. When you hear it, you should be able to see, as if in a flash of lightning, the words crystallise, and if you are open to it, the poem will contain more than images. Poetry invites us to cast off habit and reconsider life with new eyes and at its best, as Emily Dickinson put it, can take the top off your head.

I strongly believe that enjoying poetry is as natural as drawing breath. As a boy I spent many summers sitting beside my father watching Australia’s great fast bowler, Dennis Lillee tear through various batting lineups. Each time the stumps would buckle or Lillee would throw himself into his trademark appeal, shouting ‘Howzat’, my father would look over at my brother and I and say, ‘that was poetry’. Of course my father did not mean that it was literally poetry, he was simply pointing out that Lillee’s bowling had the qualities one normally expects of poetry – grace, surprise, beauty, rhythm. My father was not much of a poetry reader, but he, like all of us, had an idea of what poetry is and should be.

We know this because poetry is not firstly in the words; it is there to be discovered in the current of the river, the rush of the street, the strange angles of a spider’s web, a home cooked meal. Our senses are bombarded with literally thousands of stimulants on a daily basis… poetry is about stripping this back and getting in touch with the things that really matter; finding the truth in the everyday.

When I tell people that I write poetry, a common response is, ‘I don’t really get it’, but the truth is, that is just a reflection of society’s needless mystification of the art. A poem is not an obscure code or linguistic puzzle, if it works, it will speak to you. But remember, it’s a matter of chemistry. Not every song you hear or film you watch will speak to you, likewise, every poem you encounter will not hit the mark, but don’t let that deter you, there is an infinite number of voices and styles waiting to be discovered and when a poem hits, it will cast its spell and make the mind sing; it will engage your imagination and draw you into its universe.

As there are a myriad voices writing poetry today, I thought I would ask a handful of the poets participating in the Avid Reader Poetry Month festivities to get their thoughts.

One of Brisbane’s new voices, Jonathan Hadwen offered this:

“…it’s the way thoughts line up in our minds, a way in which we finally make sense of experiences and situations that have been difficult to understand.  The real power of poetry is in the sharing, as by doing so, we pass on this understanding. Poetry has been around in one form or another since we have had the ability to think and communicate those thoughts, and will be around until we lose those abilities.”

2010 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence, Emily XYZ responded with zeal:

“Poetry, like all art, is part of the human condition.  The reason people say they ‘don’t get poetry’ is because we are not usually called on to use our minds that way.  Quite the opposite:  ‘daily life’ generally requires us to dumb down and stay in the lower registers of what is possible for the human mind. ‘Why poetry?’ is a question that must be answered anew every few years, and yet the answer never really changes:  because it is resistance to misery.  Because it is a swing against dehumanization and an affirmation of freedom and possibility.  Because it makes jailer-minded people uncomfortable—and that really is something that can (ultimately) (maybe) change the world.”

And, John Koenig answered with a poem of his own:

“trembling under a love blue sky the thesaurus tree bears alphabetical fruit ripening and falling to be caught by slender feminine hands of faith held up in front of inquisitive gun smoke eyes with intriguing lashes curling over the words of sweet sorrow and joyful redemption making darkness and light fill the flowering iris with colour overflowing to flood the optic nerve becoming a raging river running along neural paths synaptic sparks jumping high and igniting the fire of imagination framing the question what does this mean poetry yes that’s right it’s magic”

The one thing each of these responses has in common is the passion and belief in which they are delivered. That is the power of poetry… when it hits, you are never again the same. So why not get along to one of the many poetry events happening in this fine city of ours or to your local independent book store and embark on your own quest to answer this question. The journey could just be life changing.

Look forward to reading other people’s responses to this question,

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Lunar Eclipses & Poeteevee

Well, this Lost Shark has made it through to the holidays and tommorow I head up to beautiful Woodford to perform at Woongooroo Estate Winery alongside John Koenig, Rowan Donovan & Clayton Adam and Glenn Donovan. Sheish Money and I will close the night, hitting the stage at approx 9:15pm, just as the lunar eclipse takes hold, leaving us to light up the winter sky. Needless to say, I am looking forward to this gig.

If you too are looking for some poetry this weekend, and there are no gigs happening in your neck of the woods, why not check out Poeteevee. It’s a relatively new site with the first posts made in April this year, but already there is a great selection of readings available. Well worth sitting down with a tumbler, cup or mug of your chosen beverage and taking in the words of Stacy Szymaszek, Frank Sherlock, Anselm Berrigan, Eileen Myles & co.

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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. Jane Williams

The brand spanking, A Million Bright Things CD is literally bursting with stars… and here is another one of them, Tasmanian based poet, Jane Williams.

Jane Williams was born in England 1964. Her first poetry collection ‘Outside Temple Boundaries’ (Five Islands Press 1998) received the Anne Elder Award. In 2006 her second book ‘The Last Tourist’ (Five Islands Press) was published and she was awarded the D.J. O’Hearn Memorial Fellowship. Her most recent poetry collection is ‘Begging the Question’ (Ginninderra Press 2008). Her short story collection ‘Other Lives’ was published by Ginninderra Press in 2007. She lives in Tasmania. For more information visit: www.janewilliams.wordpress.com

Jane’s poem Attention to Detail is featured on A Million Bright Things.

 

Attention to Detail

you ask me if I am a lover of books and I say yes you ask me back
to your place to look at your collection and I’m hoping
this is a ploy but once inside I see by lover you mean keeper
the walls are lined with shiny spines in alphabetical order
of subject and author you stand at attention before them
and I don’t know if I’m supposed to salute or genuflect
I don’t do either I just concentrate on moving my eyes
back and forth as if this is a tennis match as if I am a tennis fan
suddenly you say go on then they won’t bite that’s what I’m afraid
of I think reaching with the tips of my fingers only sliding a slim
volume of poetry from its holding you tell me it’s the one
you must have read a hundred times but as I fan its pages
I smell only ink where I would hope to smell blood sweat and
tears the pages are crisp unmarked and clean as false identification
papers the book does not automatically fall open
at a well thumbed well loved favourite all poems here are equal
in perpetuity I think of my own collection mostly second hand
dog eared and as I’m an early morning reader occasionally faintly
vegemite smeared I think of my favourites held together
by a different kind of attention to detail I think of that time
I read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World how it lived
bruised and battered at the bottom of my school bag for months
reminding me what it was to choose to be human I imagine
for the first time us making love but I can’t get past this vision
of you reaching for the surgical gloves this vision of me
still waiting when it’s all over aching cold on a cold slab
I’m sure you know all the right moves but I don’t I’m still learning

 

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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