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Riverbend Poetry Series II: Vanessa Page

The second event in the Riverbend Poetry Series is edging closer and it is another stellar line up of poets that will light up the Riverbend Deck on Tuesday April 19. Taking the stage on the night will be David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger, Julie Beveridge, Max Ryan and emerging Brisbane poet, Vanessa Page.

Vanessa Page is a Rosewood-based poet who hails from Toowoomba in Queensland. Memory Bone is her first collection of poetry and is due to be published in 2011 by PressPress

Vanessa is a frequent reader at Brisbane’s SpeedPoets events and has been a feature poet at 2010’s Poetry Author Month readings at Avid Reader bookstore in West End.

Her work has been published at kipple, the bluepepper, SpeedPoets zine and in the 2010 Central Coast Poets Inc Anthology. She won the USQ Poetry Prize in 2010 and in 2009 was runner up at the Ipswich International Poetry Feast.

Vanessa will be reading from Memory Bone on the night, so if you are yet to have the pleasure here is a poem by Vanessa to introduce you to her words.

Christmas, 1982

We are kiss curls wet under
paper crowns, sun licked noses over
seersucker cloth, and milk teeth
nibbling corners off white Christmas

Skin poached by December and
hands burnt blue in the mouths of
concrete laundry tubs, fishing
for the last creaming soda 

In bullet heat, the fig tree is
a tangle of arms and legs and
skinny tinsel is threaded loose
through may bush spindles
 
We are barefoot over bindii eyes,
blurs melted into photo paper
squares, lips smiling over icy pole
slicks and fossilised in tangerine

We carve our initials deep into
asbestos cement off-cuts for
safekeeping, and bury them with
memories under the mulberry tree.

                        **********

Full details of the event are:

Tuesday April 19
 
Queensland Poetry Festival, QLD Writers Centre & Riverbend Books are proud to present the second event in the Riverbend Poetry Series for 2011. The April event features one of Brisbane’s finest new voices, Vanessa Page, reading from her debut collection, Memory Bone, the wildly wonderful, David Stavanger (And the Ringmaster Said), lover of all things rock’n’roll, Julie Beveridge (Home is Where the Heartache is) and Max Ryan, who’s latest collection Before the Night won the inaugural Picaro Poetry Prize. 
 
Date: Tuesday 19 April
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Tickets: $10 available through Riverbend Books and include sushi and complimentary wine. To purchase tickets, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at http://www.riverbendbooks.com.au/Events/2491/Riverbend+Poetry+Series

These events are always hugely popular, so book early to avoid disappointment!

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A few days with Salt on the Tongue pt. 1

Well I am finally back in home waters and my head is leaking poetry, thanks to an incredible weekend in Goolwa + Tuesday night’s Riverbend Books reading & last night’s Back Room event at Confit Bistro.

So my thoughts on the Salt on the Tongue festival…

Let me start by saying that Goolwa is beautiful country and it was a true privilege to be welcomed to the land by Aunty Eileen of the

Ngarrindjeri people, in traditional language as part of the festival’s opening night celebration. Other highlights of opening night were the debut screening of a film produced by Joe Dolce, featuring one of the last ever interviews with the late Dorothy Porter, detailing her love of C.P. Cavafy and the festival launch speech by Stefano De Pieri, best known for his television series A Gondola on the Murray and his work with the Mildura Writers Festival. Stefano spoke passionately about the land and the devastation of the Murray River as a result of the years of irrigation; his speech brimming with the same wild fire that makes poetry so vital, concluded with a poem about the Murray written by Paul Kane.

And then came readings by the international guests: Glenn Colquhoun (New Zealand) who charmed the audience, reading a series of love poems for an ex-girlfriend who was born in South Australia; welshman Robert Minhinnick; Slam Queen, Arianna Pozzuoli (Singapore) who lit up the stage every time she got near a microphone; and Elizabeth Smither (New Zealand). A big first night… and after rising at 4:30am it was time for this Lost Shark to close his eyes and prepare for Saturday.

Saturday kicked off with readings from Bronwyn Lea (her poem Insufficiaent Knowledge gets better every time I hear it), who then introduced Yvette Holt who read a selection of her work from Anonymous Premonition and Sandra Thibodeaux who’s new collection ‘extinctions’ is an absolute gem. Favourites from her set included Extinction (An obsession with the sea steers his poems/ but he’s no lovelorn sailor/ no spilt seaman) and Rabies (Your dog bit me/ right on the throbbing part of my thigh./ And I know why:/ he sniffed that I was another mongrel/ grovelling fro your scraps). A bristling first session!

This was followed by a reading from three Tasmanian Poets – Esther Ottaway, Anne Kellas and Adrienne Eberhard. I was particularly taken by Adrienne’s work. Her poems Phosphorescence (When I pull the rope, a bucket/ of drowned stars appears, as if the night-/ sky’s fallen into the sea) and Earth, Air, Water, Fire: A Love Poem in Four Elements ( from earth: We carry caves inside us/ – the heart’s dark chambers,/ water-washed cavern of the womb) are still resonating with me.

Then we were off to Cafelicious for the launch of Andy Jackson’s debut collection, Among the Regulars. While it was sad that Andy’s book was not there for the launch (it is however now available online), it is always a pleasure to hear Andy’s wonderfully physical work. And he is one of Australian poetry’s true gentlemen!

Following this we took off to catch the end of the Motherlode launch. And what a launch. This was a true poetry sampler, with 21 of the included poets (incl. Jordie Albiston, Jill Jones, Jan Owen, Rebecca Edwards, Jude Aquilina, Lisa Gorton) getting up to deliver a poem from the anthology. Motherlode is an incredibly vital anthology and it was a real treat to hear so many of the voices in one live setting.

It was then time to prepare for my own session alongside Alex Skovron, Sarah Day & Louise Oxley. I have long enjoyed the work of each of these poets so it was a real thrill to be able to introduce them and hear them weave their spell. Many of their lines are still circling in my head:

‘one night a thousand calendars from now’ – Alex Skovron

‘ with a brushstroke I can take myself into and out of the dark’ – Louise Oxley

and Sarah Day’s description of a cat poised, ‘a laser beam of concentration’

Saturday night’s main session was a symposium on the state of poetry in the country. While it was wonderful to have a gathering of minds, sharing their thoughts on various aspects of Australian poetry – establishing touring circuits, models to overcome the difficulties with distribution, the merge between Australian Poetry Centre and the Poet’s Union – for me the event missed the mark. Too many of the speakers approached the forum with a narrow focus, speaking emotively about specific strategies being implemented in their state, when what we really need to be looking at is the bigger picture of audience development on a national (and even global) level. Julie Beveridge presented some really interesting data, gathered from a survey of more than 50 poets in Australia, which confirmed that audience development is where our national body needs to be focussing its energy. I do, however, think there are some interesting discussions beginning, as on the positive side, the forum provided an opportunity for many of us to network and make stronger connections.

These discussions continued at the festival club, housed in a little boutique brewery right on the river… and to soundtrack the discussions Max_Mo were carving out a mean groove, featuring some cool jazz and the words of Amelia Walker, Mike Ladd & Rob Walker. A great way to close a massive first day…

I will post my highlights from Sunday and Monday + a few photos tomorrow night.

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Out of the water…

This Lost Shark will be out of the water for a few days… but before I go, here’s a couple of poetry opportunities worth exploring.

So, pens out, blue ink and let’s get the cameras rolling!

1. PressPress Chapbook Award: The PressPress Chapbook Award is for an unpublished chapbook length manuscript of poems. The winning manuscript will receive $600 and chapbook publication with PressPress. The Award will be announced in July 2010 on the PressPress site.

2. Poetry in Film Festival: Australian Poetry Centre and Palace Cinemas have teamed up to host the Poetry in Film Festival. Artists are invited to produce a short film in response to Libby Hart’s poem, The Briefcase Phenomenon. Deadline for entry is August 2, 2010.

And if you are in need of a bit of poetry in your life this weekend, why not check out Poetica’s recent feature on Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

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More Killer Opportunities – PressPress Chapbook Award

PressPress is a poetry publisher and that is something that this Lost Shark can get behind! The good folks at PressPress have as their unofficial motto – Poetry in a time of fire. The aim of PressPress is to have good, accessible chapbooks at a reasonable price. It’s a bit idealistic they say, but then, so is writing poetry in a time of fire.

 The PressPress Chapbook Award is now open for submission and comes with the highly desirable prize of $500 cash and publication of your chapbook.

For all the details visit the site: http://www.presspress.com.au/award.htm

 

And don’t forget the Small Change PressThe Dream Aint Broken Chapbook Competition is also now open so be sure to get your entries in for that competition as well: http://www.smallchangepress.com.au/comp.htm

 

And while you’re at it… why not put in an application to perform at the 2009 Queensland Poetry Festival: spoken in one strange word. This is Australia’s finest poetry festival and each year brings together some of this country’s finest poets, spoken word artists, theatre performers, filmmakers and singer-songwriters as well as a number of international artists. Applications close February 27, 2009. For all the details visit: www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com

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