Tag Archives: QLD Poetry Festival 2013

When I Have The Body Of A Man: Collaborate with Sachiko Murakami

qpf_2013_web

QLD Poetry Festival 2013, is just days away, and one of the many exciting guests about to land in our fine city, is Sachiko Murakami (Canada). Sachiko is well known for her collaborative online projects – Rebuild and Henko – so we are thrilled that she has cooked up a new online project especially for QPF.

When I Have The Body Of A Man (WHITBOAM) is a collaborative poem that you are invited to help write. It’s an exquisite corpse with a twist: it steals the form and first line of Elizabeth Bachinsky’s “When I have the Body of a Man”, from The Hottest Summer in Recorded History, (Nightwood Editions, 2013). Let’s call this a formal hijacking of Elizabeth’s poem.

In WIHTBOAM, you are invited to contribute a line to a poem, that is prepended by a “When” clause (i.e. ‘When I have the body of a man’). Your line then becomes the leading “When” clause of the next contributor’s line. After adding a line, you may view the whole poem. Or, if you really are too shy to contribute, you may sneakily view the poem here.

The collaborative poem WIHTBOAM, created for the 2013 Queensland Poetry Festival, opens on Friday, August 23 at 12 AM Brisbane time and closes on Sunday, August 24 at 11:59 PM. People can play around before then, but the poem OFFICIALLY opens on Friday – all lines added before then will be deleted.

So, no matter where you are in the world, be sure to be part of When I Have The Body Of A Man. Projects like this strengthen our global poetry community.

[WIHTBOAM was created for the 2013 Queensland Poetry Festival by Sachiko Murakami under the tutelage of Bill Kennedy.]

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WHITBOAM will also form part of the Poetry Unbound workshop with Sachiko Murakami, Friday 23 August, 10.30am. There are a few precious places left in this workshop, so check out the details below!

Sachiko

Poetry Unbound with Sachiko Murakami

Poetry is a living artform – one that adapts, adjusts, can be renovated, extrapolated. Canadian poet Sachiko Murakami has been doing just that with her online collaborative sites Project Rebuild and Henko. Join Sachiko for a three-hour demonstrative workshop that explores in greater depth the various forms of poetry unbound – collaborative poetry, constructed poetry, found poetry, interactive poetry. Explore further at powellstreethenko.ca and www.projectrebuild.ca.
When: Friday 23 August, 10.30am
Where: Room 1.A, State Library of Queensland
Cost: $40
Booking: limited spaces so BOOK ONLINE NOW to secure your place!

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Break Open and Burst: Talking with Jacqueline Turner

For my final interview in the QPF series, I had the absolute pleasure of speaking to a lady who has had a profound influence on my own work, Jacqueline Turner. Jacqueline is a QPF favourite, so it is wonderful that she is returning for her third visit.

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Your first visit to Australia and QLD Poetry Festival was back in 2005 as the inaugural Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence. What is your memory of that first visit and how did it change you as a person and poet?

That visit had an incredible effect on all aspects of my life. First, what stands out in my memory is the amazing people I met from getting off the plane and going straight to lunch with a room full of poets at the Red Chamber to the folks at the Judy, to all the small town writers up the north coast to everyone who came out at NOGO in the outback and then to cap it off, all of the spectacular poets who performed at the festival to huge sellout crowds. Literary types, musicians, performance poets, bush poets all mingling in green rooms and then pushing it out on stage. It was a version of a poetic life I couldn’t have even imagined existed.

The land had a huge impact as well — my work deals with place so the tectonic shift of locale for me was significant. The light, look at the light! I kept saying. I was also slightly traumatized by the kangaroo road kill on trips to regional Queensland and mesmerized when the jacarandas in New Farm Park burst out. The stars were different in the outback and I felt like I was on the edge of the earth, could feel the curve of the planet.

The time and space to work on my writing changed everything for me. Personally, it allowed me to step out of my life for a moment and reinvent myself outside the domestic sphere I had inhabited since my early 20s. In terms of my poetic practice it created a loosening, an opening up to the vast potential of language beyond the ways in which I typically operated. I engaged with the lyric form in a new way and the credibility of the position gave me even more confidence to go with my particular poetic inclinations. I stopped censoring myself. I experimented with connections to music that events like SpeedPoets provided. The flow of the river my hair blowing on the CityCat and me opening. The world. Really it meant everything.

Your residency had a profound effect on the Brisbane poetry community too and in many ways, set the bar for every other residency to come. You have also been a return visitor to QPF since your first visit in 2005, so what is it about the festival that keeps you coming back?

It was great to see such tangible and vibrant manifestations of poetic communities when I arrived in Brisbane the first time and it only seemed to get better and better every time I returned. If my residency did anything, it was to merely encourage what was happening in Brisbane and regional Queensland already and to just reinforce the idea that community is vital to creative practice. It was also really important to me to come back and launch my book Seven into Even since I had written much of it during my residency and that QPF accommodated that desire was completely thrilling to me. QPF is unlike any festival or poetic event because it combines an intimate community feel with the expansiveness of performance with huge but particularly attentive audiences. To be in the presence of so many people who are genuinely seeking a poetic experience is intoxicating and gratifying. I could feel the way that certain lines were landing in the room. And then to combine that with the multi-disciplinary aspect of the festival made the conversations around the main events, in the lobby and out for drinks after, incredibly nuanced. It is a unique experience that I keep subjecting to the forces of repetition for my own pleasure!

We are so glad you do Jacqueline! And again, there are many fine Canadians sharing the QPF stage with you. In fact, QPF has had a real love affair with Canadian poets since your residency. What creates that spark of connection between Canadian poets and our audiences?

I think it’s the similar but different kind of thing. We have shared concerns resulting from similar histories with aboriginal people and the land. Also cultural considerations in relation to the dominant American culture. We all bring varying perspectives on those kinds of concerns. Aesthetically we push in a myriad of ways too that seem to both connect and echo with and maybe sometimes even provoke QPF audiences. And those audiences are amazing! Every Canadian poet I’ve talked to about being on the QPF stage is wowed by the particular responses to their work, but also to the fact that poetry is so important to this city, this country. That spark also comes from the opportunity for conversations around the pleasure and practice of writing, as well as the development of some genuine friendships that exceed distance in the age of social media. I’d also be remiss without acknowledging the support of the Canada Council of the Arts which helps to fund travel to bring lucky Canadian poets to Brisbane over the years as well as the incredibly dedicated work of people at the QWC.

This visit, Australian audiences will get the opportunity to hear you read from The Ends of the Earth (ECW Press, 2013), which is really exciting. I am also keen to hear about any other new projects you are working on that QPF audiences may get a preview of.

I’m working on a new manuscript called Flourish because I’ve spent quite a lot of time on dealing with the ends of things so I thought it would be good to explore how language operates when things are going well. I like the idea of an exuberant text so I’m experimenting with letting the writing break open and burst forth. The rush is an element I’ve used formally in my writing — the rush of the long line prose poem — as well as the mode of compression where language is put under pressure in short imagistic stanzas, so I guess I want to see what’s between the extremes of concision and excess. An recent example would be the Presence piece I did for the Cordite chapbook you curated and I hope to keep working that vein for awhile. It feels exciting. I’m curious to see how those stellar QPF audiences will take it all in…

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Jacqueline-TurnerJacqueline Turner has published four books of poetry with ECW Press: The Ends of the Earth (2013), Seven into Even (2006), Careful (2003), and Into the Fold (2000). She reviews for the Georgia Straight and lectures at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She was the inaugural Arts Queensland Poet In Residence.

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In the Mind’s Ear: Talking with Lawrence English

The third interview in my QLD Poetry Festival series, sees me chatting with renowned composer and sonic explorer, Lawrence English. I have to say, I am excited beyond words about Lawrence’s involvement this year and this interview explains why…

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QPF is thrilled that you will be taking the stage as part of the Saturday night event, The Star Folder. This event sees you working with some of the poets on the program to produce a new body of work. What excites you most about a project like this?

Well I have to say I find the name a rather exciting proposition to start with. It’s part Arthur C Clarke, part tabloid – it could be some intergalactic compression or an aspirational dossier young Hollywood types hope to end up in!

In all seriousness though, this is a wonderful opportunity for myself and video artist scott morrison to trial a series of deconstructivist approaches to language, text and ultimately poetry. We’re both very interested in the transition of the macro (sentence, phrase etc) into the micro (phoneme) – and what the spectrum of possibility might be along that pathway. Once words or phrases become repeated they take on new capabilities as tools for both visual and auditory stimulus and we’re keen to test in just which ways that can be played out.

The poets we’ve been fortunate enough to work with have all kindly handed over their words and voices for us to transform, extend and explode.

I love that you are excited about the title of the event. The Star Folder is the title of a poem by MTC Cronin. Are you familiar with her work? And speaking of poets you are familiar with, who are the poets you love to read or who have had an influence on you over the years?

I’d confess to being aware of the reputation more than the work itself. Everything Holy is in fact the work that I first came in contact with her work. I’ve not had a chance to read any of the books for the past half decade or so.

I have to say it’s only very recently that I’ve found some poems that directly feed into my work – that’s not to say I don’t value the form – more just that the written word has not been a place I’ve sought inspiration for the kind of pieces I’ve been exploring. That changed fairly radically with the book ‘The Peregrine’ (which I honestly feel is a very long, free flowing poetry work…of sorts) and most recently I’ve been spending some time thinking on Gerontion – specifically the phrase ‘Wilderness of Mirrors’, which is in fact the title of a new solo LP I am working on presently. That collection of words I find profoundly provocative and insightful – somehow so very fitting of many of the challenges of the modern age.

Gerontion is right up there with my favourite poems by Eliot, so I can’t wait to hear how his words are helping to shape your new album. With your last album, The Peregrine, how did you discover J.A. Baker’s text of the same name? And I am really interested in what role the text took in the creation of the album.

I first discovered The Peregrine some years back whilst I was visiting with a friend, David Toop, in London. He’d just ordered a copy and it was sitting on his desk. Being an admirer of the bird, I picked it up and within a page, I’d decided I needed to order a copy for myself. What struck me first was the articulation of sound in his writing. To me, Baker seems able to create sound in the mind’s ear in a way very few authors can – truly stunning.

In terms of how the book shaped the recordings – often it was quite literal – taking Baker’s phases and descriptions of spaces and objects and using them as kind of compositional shaping tools. It was an interesting way to work and I’m not sure all texts lend themselves to this approach, but Baker’s work more than surely does.

Will you be transforming the poems of Jennifer Compton, Ian McBryde and Anna Fern in a similar way, or are you taking a completely different approach?

I’d say this will be an entirely different process – for the peregrine – it was taking those written materials and using them as a way to shape abstract musical concepts. For this work, myself and scott morrison are working with the poets – jennifer compton, ian mcbryde and anna fern – in very ‘concrete’ ways – using their voices and faces as material sources from which the sound and video world can be created. It’s an exciting process of discovery as we reduce the texts, gestures and voices into radical new forms.

I want to finish off with a grandiose kind of question… what do you think should be the relationship between an artist and the society they live in?

Well, that is a wide sweeper of a question.

Honestly, what keeps me involved in making works is a very simple proposition – ideas.

We have these quite amazing brains encased in our skulls and it sometime surprises me how much time, as a species, we spend trying not to use them.

Lets take something like TV as an example. Now not all TV is bad, but lets face it, a lot of it is there to ‘help me wind down’ or ‘turn my brain off’ – and lets be clear there’s nothing wrong with rest…but what other daily activity would you spend 3-5 hours doing consistently. People watch an awful lot of TV that does nothing but occupy time…if even a fraction of this time collectively was spent on other pursuits – writing a letter on a topic you feel important to your local politician, taking a moment to visit with people who might need company or assistance, tending some native trees in your yard that might provide food for other native mammals or birds – just a little bit of time spent thinking about ways to make this world somewhat better than what it is – to me, that sounds like a good plan…

So to summarise, I guess, my role I’d like to think is to share my excitement about ideas. About using these wonderful clumps of soft tissue that can make so many wonderful things happen. We’re faced with challenging times in this country – questions about who we are and ultimately who we want to become – a small bit of thought and the odd bit of action for all of us might just make a world of difference.

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Lawrence-EnglishLawrence English is a composer, media artist and curator based in Australia. Working across an eclectic array of aesthetic investigations, English’s work prompts questions of field, perception and memory. English utilises a variety of approaches including live performance and installation to create works that ponder subtle transformations of space and ask audiences to become aware of that which exists at the edge of perception.

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Delightfully Slant: Talking with Jon Paul Fiorentino

Here’s number #2 in my QLD Poetry Festival interview series… a chat with the delightfully slant Jon Paul Fiorentino, who is keeping his promise and making his way back across the Pacific to launch Needs Improvement at QPF 2013.

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2013 is your second visit to QPF. What is it about the festival that has drawn you back across the Pacific?

When I was asked to read in 2010, I was able to launch Indexical Elegies and read with Ken Babstock, Angela Rawlings and August Kleinzahler. It was like a dream. I was overwhelmed to discover this amazing community of poets and writers. The positivity and kindness of the people was infectious and reminded me very much of the arts community I grew up in in Winnipeg. Brisbane quickly became one of my favourite places in the world. I promised myself that when the next book was ready, I would do everything I could to launch it at the QPF. Thankfully, I was invited again and my publisher, Coach House Books, helped to make it happen.

I am really glad that you have been able to keep that promise! What can you tell us about the new book? Is there a poem that you would like to share here as a preview?

Needs Improvement has three sections. “Things-As-Facts” which is a series of alyrics; “Needs Improvement” which is a series of misreadings and appropriations of various pedagogical materials as well as some visual schematic poems; and “Moda” which is a series of villanelles linked to various geographic places. It’s a very strange book, but I am a very strange person. Sure. Here is a poem called “Gag”:

GAG

Entirely my idea not a great one but entirely mine
There was a bicycle and an objectivist poet sort of riding it. Not
red or blue. Entirely my idea all twig and spoke and gag

I gag often these days like as if it wouldn’t catch up
Never my bicycle always entirely my idea and I share
the poet with a post-mountain time scholar from out east
Grey. Not silver but entirely grey

How does it feel to share the QPF stage with another bunch of fine Canadian poets – Sachiko Murakami, Jacqueline Turner, Paul Vermeesch & Shane Rhodes? And are there any particular events/artists on the program that you are really excited about seeing?

When I heard the other Canadians who were coming, I was thrilled. I am a fan of all four. I know Sachiko very well from the time she lived in Montreal. We have worked together on various projects and I was pleased to recommend her first book, The Invisibility Exhibit, for publication. Last time, I discovered the works of Jennifer Compton, Andrew Burke, and Jeremy Balius. I hope to discover more new voices this time.

What is your earliest poetry memory?

My earliest poetry memory is a memory of my grandfather’s laughter, and feeling shag carpet on my skin and being without words but longing for them. My earliest true engagement with poetry happened when I listened to The Smiths and heard Morrissey’s lyrics. The song was “These Things Take Time.” It prompted me to go out and steal a book of Oscar Wilde’s collected poetry. I read “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” over and over again. Since then I’ve never looked back but I’ve often looked sideways.

The root of the word ‘poet’ is ‘maker’. You’ve made wonderful mention of sense memories such as your grandfather’s laughter and lyrical memories such as hearing The Smiths for the first time, so what are the things that are currently influencing the ‘making’ of your poems?

I’m influenced a great deal by critical theory. Barthes is still my go-to guy. I’m very much moved by collaborations / discussions / healthy arguments with other writers these days. Also, I find that if I skip a day of anti-depressants, I see the world in a delightfully slant way.

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Jon-Paul-FiorentinoJon Paul Fiorentino’s first novel is Stripmalling, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Hugh MacLennan Award for Fiction. His most recent book of poetry is Indexical Elegies which recently won the 2010 CBC Book Club Award for Best Book of Poetry.  He is the author of the poetry books The Theory of the Loser Class which was shortlisted for the 2006 A.M. Klein Award for Poetry and Hello Serotonin and the humor book Asthmatica. His new book of poetry is Needs Improvement (2013: Coach House Books). He lives in Montreal where he teaches creative writing at Concordia University, and edits Matrix magazine.

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Blissfully Losing My Mind: chatting with CJ Bowerbird

QLD Poetry Festival is fast approaching (August 23 – 25) and in the lead up to the event, I have been lucky enough to have been given the job of chatting to some of the festival artists. First up in my interview series, I chat with winner of the Australian Poetry Slam, CJ Bowerbird.

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You were the winner of last year’s Australian Poetry Slam. How has this experience changed your life?

Winning the Australian Poetry Slam threatens to ruin my life as it currently exists. I have always written creatively in my spare time, the little spare time that exists between having a family and a non-creative career. But it is only in recent years I have shared my work with live audiences. And I love it!

It is the performance aspect of spoken word that particularly appeals to me. Winning the Australian Poetry Slam has given me opportunities to break out of the strictures of slam poetry to develop longer, more theatrical pieces. These have been well received by audiences in Australia and China, encouraging me to write and perform more.

Writing creatively does not necessarily fit well with a balanced home life or a regular 9-to-5 job. Now I have been given a taste, though, I am hooked. Through exploring concepts and situations creatively, I am re-discovering things about myself and about others I did not realise I knew. I am trying to find ways to continue developing as a writer and performer without risking everything I already have.

And I believe I am slowly, blissfully losing my mind.

I know what you mean about balance. I have come to think it’s almost impossible… there’s always a sense of something toppling. But if the slow losing of the mind helps the process of discovery, then let the unraveling begin! I am really excited to hear you perform some of the longer works you have been working on. The opportunity to perform this type of work in China must have been incredibly exciting. What will stay with you from this trip?

Taking part in the Bookworm International Literary Festival in China was tremendously rewarding and satisfying. I performed my 45 minute piece ‘Meta’ four times, in three different cities. The audiences varied from diplomats and ex-pats to Chinese university students.

One of the strongest lessons I gained from this trip was the power of performance as a complete activity. While some of the attendees at my shows reacted to my words, others were strongly moved by my actions. This variety was reinforced by the fact English language ability varied through the audience. It was very gratifying to have the freedom to engage with people in different ways.

That said, it was the conversations I had which focussed on the words that were most satisfying. These conversations often led in unexpected directions, as others found things in my work I didn’t realise were there.

Is it that ‘sense of discovery’ that keeps you eager to hit the stage? And speaking of hitting the stage, what can audiences expect from you at QPF 2013?

It is the sense of discovery that keeps me writing. The more I write, the more I learn about myself. It is the thrill of connection that keeps me eager to perform, the feeling of shared experiences and common emotions.

These are the two constants I find in performance poetry – learning and sharing.

I will be doing two 15-minute performances for QPF. For one, I am planning a conventional set of poems. For the other, I will put together more of a themed performance, where the poems link together to offer a more complete narrative. I have a bit of a love and loss story arc I am working on that should be ready for the festival.

To finish up, what are you most looking forward to at QPF? Are there any sessions, or artists that have really peaked your interest?

To be vague and general: everything and everyone. Winning the Australian Poetry Slam has allowed me to attend several festivals this year and meeting other writers and performers has definitely been the highlight of every one of them.

More specifically, TT.0 is someone whose work I have followed for some time. I am looking forward to hearing the work of Canadians John Paul Fiorentino and Paul Vermeesch. I have recently started following them on Twitter (@stripmaller and @paulvermeesch) and their conversations have caught my attention.

I really want to meet Betsy Turcot, having seen a lot of her work online. Catching up with Kelly-lee Hickey, another Australian Poetry Slam winner, and seeing what she is doing now will be a highlight, as will seeing Scott Sandwich.

Bertie Blackman will be a standout. I get a thrill out of cross-genre/form collaboration and have had some good experiences hearing contrasting story telling in poetry and in song.

Finally, I am really looking forward to meeting you Graham, and catching up with friends on the QPF committee, Scotty Darkwing Dubs and Eleanor Jackson.

I can’t wait!

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Australian Poetry Slam-FinalsCJ Bowerbird is the 2013 Australian Poetry Slam Champion. He tells stories through verse and explores what it is to be human. CJ crafts poetry into paper planes of performance, taking audiences on flights through despair and salvation without ever losing his sense of humour.

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Tickets on sale for QLD Poetry Festival 2013

While QLD Poetry Festival prides itself on keeping the majority of the festival free and accessible to all comers, there are three hot tickets on sale right now.

sachiko-murakami

 

Poetry Unbound Workshop w/ Sachiko Murakami

Poetry is a living artform – one that adapts, adjusts, can be renovated, extrapolated. Canadian poet Sachiko Murakami has been doing just that with her online collaborative sites Project Rebuild and Henko. Join Sachiko for a three-hour demonstrative workshop that explores in greater depth the various forms of poetry unbound – collaborative poetry, constructed poetry, found poetry, interactive poetry.

When: August 23rd, 10:30am – 1:30pm
Where: QLD Writers centre, State Library of Queensland
Tickets: $40 available here

Anthony Lawrence

 

Thinking Poetry Workshop w/ Anthony Lawrence

Poetry is an engagement of the senses, triggering the imagination into seeing the world anew. Join widely published and acclaimed poet Anthony Lawrence for this masterclass designed to flex your poetic muscles. Over the course of three hours you will engage in close readings of great poems, explore a series of practical exercises designed to spark new thought processes, and have your first-draft collectively workshopped by the group. Come away with a finished poem and some new spells of the trade to refine your poetic eye.

When: August 23rd, 10:30am – 1:30pm
Where: Room 1A, State Library of Queensland
Tickets: $40 available here

Bertie Blackman

 

And the main event… Set Fire To The Air

Featuring:

Shane Rhodes, the 2013 Arts Queensland Poet in Residence. He is the author of five collections of poetry, including The Wireless Room, Holding Pattern, The Bindery, and most recently, Err. His poetry has numerous awards, and has been featured in national and international anthologies. Shane is the poetry editor for Arc, Canada’s only national poetry magazine.

Jacqueline Turner back for her third visit to QPF! She has published four books of poetry with ECW Press: The Ends of the Earth (2013), Seven into Even (2006), Careful (2003), and Into the Fold (2000). She reviews for the Georgia Straight and lectures at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She was the inaugural Arts Queensland Poet In Residence.

TT.O. born in Greece and raised in Fitzroy, Melbourne. A retired draughtsman, his latest book is BIG NUMBERS (new and selected poems). He is a founding member of Collective Effort Press and the Poets Union, and has represented Australia at various international festivals. By disposition and history TT.O. is an Anarchist, and is currently editor of the experimental magazine Unusual Work

and

Bertie Blackman whose latest album, Pope Innocent X, has been described as adventurous, thrilling, and undeniably unique. The long-awaited follow-up to 2009’s Secrets and Lies, Pope Innocent X is 11 tracks of visual, evocative storytelling. It’s a mix all Blackman’s own, as she forges into brand new musical territory yet again, with stunning results.

When: August 23, 2013 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Where: Theatre Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts  420 Brunswick Street  Fortitude Valley QLD 4006  Australia
Cost: from $15
Tickets available here

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Want to be part of QLD Poetry Festival 2013?

This year has flown by, but QPF 2012 is still a warm glow in my head and heart. So if you want to be involved in the finest poetry festival in this country, here’s what you have to do!

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Queensland Poetry Festival is currently inviting proposals from poets, spoken word artists, and performers interested in being part of the 17th annual festival, spoken in one strange word.

QPF looks forward to hearing from individuals and groups interested in performing at the three-day festival ‘spoken in one strange word‘. We are looking for submissions that embrace the wide possibilities of poetic expression – page poetry, readings, slam, spoken word, performance, music, ekphrastic poetry, collaborations, installations, cross-platform creations, and more.

While all projects must have a relationship to poetic language, we encourage submissions from artists wishing to explore the relationship between poetry and other art forms.

For submission guidelines and form download: QPF 2013 EOI Form

Expressions of Interest should be sent to: Queensland Poetry Festival, PO Box 3488, South Brisbane QLD 4101

Submission deadline: Tuesday 19 February, 2013

QPF 2013 runs from 23 – 25 August at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Festival Director, Sarah Gory: sarah.qldpoetry[at]gmail.com.

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