Tag Archives: QLD Poetry Festival: spoken in one strange word

2011 Arts QLD Val Vallis & Thomas Shapcott Awards now open

It’s that time of year when QLD Poetry Festival teams up with Arts QLD to present the 2011 Arts Queensland Poetry Awards.  Full details below:

The Arts Qld Val Vallis Award for Unpublished Poetry is named in honour of distinguished Queensland poet Val Vallis and is open to all Australian poets. Entrants may submit more than one poem/suite of poems, but each entry must be accompanied by a separate Entry Form and a separate Entry Fee of $20.

Entries close 5pm Thursday 7 July 2011.

1st Prize: $1,000 plus 1 week fully paid at Varuna Writers House
2nd Prize: $500
3rd Prize: $250

The Arts QLD Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize is named in honour of distinguished Queensland Poet, Thomas Shapcott. Now in its 9th year, this prestigious prize for an unpublished poetry manuscript comes with total prize money of $3,000 plus a publishing contract with UQP.

Entries close 5pm Tuesday 5 July 2011.
Entry Fee: $20 per entry

The winners will be announced at the opening night of the Queensland Poetry Festival at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, on 26 August 2011.

Visit Queensland Poetry Festival to download guidelines and entry forms.

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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 talks to Rave & Scene Magazine about QLD Poetry Festival 2010

QLD Poetry Festival 2010 is just one sleep away…

Here’s a couple of interviews that were published this week in the local street press. The first one is courtesy of the delightful Zenobia Frost in Rave Magazine:

INFORMER ARTS: Queensland Poetry Festival – Graham Nunn Interview – Tuesday, 24 August 2010 

ZENOBIA FROST speaks with Brisbane poet GRAHAM NUNN about the annual weekend when Queensland’s poets come out of their dens to play.

Many have suggested collective nouns for poets: a stanza, a paranoia, an elevensies, a lateness – or my favourite, a solace of poets. We scribblers might joke about our hibernation habits, but you’re actually more likely to find Brisbane poets up bright and early on Saturday mornings or out late at night to write, edit, perform and chat with writerly kin. And never are poets more active in their native habitat than at the Judith Wright Centre at the end of August each year. The Queensland Poetry Festival has a long-standing reputation for proving that poetry is neither dead nor unfashionable in Australia. Over a pot of white tea, I spoke with Graham Nunn, a celebrated Brisbane poet who recently released his fifth collection.

Nunn served as the festival’s Artistic Director for several years, and nowadays remains involved with the programming committee; he is a man with his finger on the pulse of Australian writing, so he was the obvious choice to ask: if we see one session at this year’s festival, what should it be? “Opening night,” says Nunn. “There’s a vibrant cross-section of writers coming from across the states, and so many cracker international acts.” Emily XYZ, a festival favourite in 2006 and this year’s poet-in-residence, will light up the stage with performance partner Myers Bartlett, while Nunn believes another distinctive voice in American poetry, August Kleinzahler, will live up to Allan Ginsberg’s description of him as a genius. And rumour has it last year’s poet-in-residence, the gorgeous Hinemoana Baker (NZ) will drop in on opening night on her way to America – definitely a special treat.

The festival is fortunate to have also received a shipment of three fantastic Canadian poets: Jon Paul Fiorentino, author of hilarious collection Asthmatica; multi-award winner Ken Babstock; and sound artist a.rawlings. Nunn is particularly fond of the Canadian voice, and is continually impressed by Canada’s enthusiasm for getting her artists out into the wider world. “We said, ‘Hey, Canada, we want these three poets; can you fly them out here?’ and of course they did,” Nunn says, beaming. “It just seems like Canada doesn’t know how to say no when you ask for things.”

The festival’s second big event is A Million Bright Things, a marathon session at which every poet on the program takes the stage to perform one poem. “This will be a huge highlight,” says Nunn. “It was the surprise hit of 2009. When you think about it, you’re putting 40-odd people on the stage to read one or two poems – that sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen. But it was just brilliant. It went for nearly three hours, and felt like it went like that. It was just a buzz.” So, with this in mind, perhaps it is time for a new collective noun: a hive of poets.

Join a hive of honeyed voices at the QUEENSLAND POETRY FESTIVAL, Judith Wright Centre, Friday Aug 27 – Sunday 29. Tickets for opening night, Rupture The Silence, can be bought at www.judithwrightcentre.com. The rest of the festival is free; find the full program at www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com

And this interview comes courtesy of Myjanne Jensen at Scene Magazine:

Festival In Preview

The annual Queensland Poetry Festival is the pinnacle event of the year for all poetry lovers, not only from Queensland but from around Australia and abroad.
Now with the festival rolling into its 14th year, QPF’s Program Committee Co-ordinator Graham Nunn says this year’s celebrations are set to be bigger and better than ever.

Unbeknownst to most, the Queensland Poetry Festival grew out of the old Brisbane Fringe Festival (which originally stemmed from a little space held by the river at South Bank). Now with The Judith Wright Centre as its permanent home, QPF has grown to become the largest poetry festival of its kind in Australia. It has led the way for Australian poetry, establishing and displaying the multitude of talent Australia boasts.

“Australia has so many great poets who write in so many different styles and that’s what’s great about poetry – there’s not any one genre,” explains Nunn. “The ability of poetry to really encapsulate moments, place, time; it’s like oral history.”

As QPF Program Committee Co-ordinator, Graham has been writing seriously for the last ten years, originally starting out as a musician writing lyrics for different bands he was playing in. A turning point in his life meant the budding poet was forced to choose between pursuing the life of a musician or falling back onto his other love, teaching. Deciding the latter would most likely be the job to pay the bills, Nunn went on to teach in the country and it was during this period that he discovered his love for writing went far beyond song lyrics. “There was no music scene in the place where I was teaching and because I’d always written lyrics, my songs just turned into me writing poetry,” he explains.

Returning to Brisbane in the late 1990s, Nunn found himself facilitating every possible opportunity to jump up and have his words heard by the public. “In 2000 I just haunted every place that had a microphone turned on and I’d get up and perform some of the pieces I’d written,” he says.

“It’s not only the feedback from the audience, it’s great feedback for yourself about how the words sound because things can sound really different to you in your own head than they do when you’re actually standing up in front of people.”

In 2001 Nunn was invited to co-run the Queensland Poetry Festival and in 2004 was thrown in the deep end, taking over as the festival’s director. Despite a bit of a rocky start, it was an experience he says is still one of the highlights of his time working with the event and something he will carry with him forever.

“Oh my god, to be honest, the first year I got involved I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. Luckily we got through it though and I look back on it now and think it was an amazing festival,” he tells.

“Katie Noonan at the time had a band called Elixir and I asked her if she would be interested in turning a poet’s poems into songs and putting it to music. Katie came back and said she’d really love to do it with the work of Thomas Shapcott, who is a bit of a Queensland icon in poetry. When they performed that night it, for me, is still one of the most outstanding things I’ve ever been involved with because Thomas was on stage, looking at them (Elixir) and going, ‘Geez, that’s my poem’ and they (Elixir) were looking at him when he was reading the poem going, ‘Oh my god, that’s the poem’ – it was amazing.”

This year’s festival, running over three days, will draw poetic voices from local, national and international artists, with more than 50 poets packed into 25 spoken word sessions.

In her second time performing, acclaimed US spoken word artist and 2010 Arts Queensland Poet-in-Residence, Emily XYZ, will headline the opening night celebrations, ‘Rupture The Silence’, alongside fellow American and one of Nunn’s personal favourites, August Kleinzahler.

“The opening night is always a cracker of a night and this year is going to be no different,” says Nunn.

“I know I’m immensely looking forward to seeing August Kleinzahler because he has been a hero of mine for many years. For me he’s one of the great American voices.”

So whether or not you’re into poetry, make sure to check out and support the best of what Australian poetry has to offer at the 2010 Queensland Poetry Festival.

QPF runs from August 27-29 at the Judith Wright Centre.

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See you on the weekend!

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QLD Poetry Festival Fever: interviews with Emily XYZ & Jeremy Balius

Well the street press are brimming with interviews with some of the artists who are just days away from turning Brisbane into the poetry capital of this country.

So for those people who can’t pick up a copy I have decided to repost them here. First up here is the interview with Jeremy Balius from this week’s Time Off Magazine:

A MAN OF HIS WORDS

The Queensland Poetry Festival takes over the Judith Wright Centre next week; HERE HELEN STRINGER talks to one of its performers, Perth poet Jeremy Balius.

The mention of spoken word poetry might conjure images of a smoky basement room filled with black-cloaked figures gently clicking their fingers in approval as a pale, malnourished, art school dropout woefully laments the demise of intellectualism in rhyming couplets and a dry monotone, but it’s a misconception that Perth-based poet and performer Jeremy Balius – soon to be in town for the Queensland Poetry Festival – is quick to dispel.
The reality, he explains, is a lot more engaging and evocative than the traditional “Beatnik berets and black turtlenecks” perception would suggest.
“Spoken word as a scene or an experience is a lot closer to what you would experience in theatre,” he says. “So the reasons for going to the theatre would outweigh the reasons for going to the cinema because the actual human emotion element is happening in front of you. That’s what’s going on with spoken word poetry. You’re experiencing it in real time; it’s happening in front of you. It’s a whole lot more engaging than the cliché back-room hokey perception.”
Originally from Los Angeles, Balius – who describes his own work as “more vehement and excitable than the usual” – came across spoken word through music: “the writing of it came from being heavily involved in music and being lyrically bent. The more and more you head down that path you end up coming to the end result which is poetry.”
His immersion in the world of poetry – aside from writing and performing he’s also ventured into indie publishing with Black Rider Press – has lead to his appearance at the Queensland Poetry Festival, an honour, he jokes that must be a “clerical error”. As he says, “it’s completely amazing that of the people coming from WA I’m coming up with Andrew Taylor and Andrew Burke, two stalwarts in WA. These guys are pinnacles in the poetry scene and that alone is a huge honour for me.”
While performance is obviously inherent to all spoken word, Balius is particularly diligent in delineating between printed and spoken poetry.
“I’m probably more militant on this issue than most people… It’s hard to separate myself from the performance aspect. When I read work that I’m going to perform bound within it is the delivery and the movement and the drama of it all and the personal engagement with the audience… It’s about being able to step up on stage and deliver and people just being so blown away that they’re actively responding; they’re so in the moment and not containing themselves.”
Indeed, he’s probably one of the few poets who can claim the dubious honour of having evoked a response so uncontained they’re forced off stage for fear of provoking a riot. Admittedly, the event in question occurred after a band Balius was performing spoken word with was mistakenly booked to play a Bhangra – a very specific type of Indian dance music – festival.
“It went sour so fast and people responded with such vehemence and youthful jubilee that quickly the pandemonium rose to where there’re guys starting to fight and there’s just complete chaos. We got cut after the second song.”
Thankfully, audience responses are usually more positive and rarely involve violent retaliation.
“My favourite response is not even a favourable one but I use it as my mantra. Someone came up to me and he said, ‘You should probably know that we don’t get people like you around here that often…I think I liked it but I don’t know if I should.’” It’s an apt mantra for a spoken word poet: I liked it, but I don’t know if I should.

WHAT: Queensland Poetry Festival
WHERE & WHEN: Judith Wright Centre Friday 27 August to Sunday 29

And here is a recent interview with Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence Emily XYZ from this week’s Rave Magazine:

New York performance poet EMILY XYZ tells ZENOBIA FROST about her residency at The Judith Wright Centre.

You could call Emily XYZ a punk poet – a brilliant spoken word renegade who’s been making words sound good for 30 years. Brisbane wasn’t even on her radar before 2006, when an invitation from the board of the Queensland Poetry Festival came “completely out of the blue.” The poetry community liked her so much that four years later we asked her back, this time as Queensland Writers’ Centre poet-in-residence – a coveted three-month stay in an apartment above the Judith Wright Centre to write and to engage with local poets and audiences.

But XYZ didn’t start out life wanting to be a poet. “I was in a punk band in my 20s,” she tells me, “but the band broke up. I wanted to continue writing lyrics – but I realised that in order to do that, for the lyrics to stand on their own, they were going to have to be really compelling.”

XYZ studied poetry in college (dropping in and out of a few degrees before dropping out for good), but found more inspiration in the music of Patti Smith and David Bowie than on the page. “Somebody lent me Ziggy Stardust when I was 17,” she muses, “and it just made sense to me – the whole idea of a concept album, something with direction.” So it was that words came to be “secondary to music” in Emily XYZ’s work. Rather than detracting from its poeticness (I hereby deem that a word), XYZ’s influences and aims culminated in a powerful, rhythmic style, further honed once she joined forces with performance partner Myers Bartlett.

I was very much a beginner when it came to poetry in 2006, and until then I’d found more solace in print than on stage. Seeing XYZ and Bartlett perform was just damn cool, and certainly made me reconsider the way I thought about the sound and rhythm of my work, even on the page – but their 2006 visit spanned a mere weekend. This time we have 90 days to learn from Emily XYZ. Weekly workshops at Queensland Writers Centre have been such a success that XYZ hopes to extend the series well into September. Her performances around Brisbane have taken her from Avid Reader to SpeedPoets to alongside Ghostboy & The Golden Virtues at Swallow & Exit.

“People actually care about the writing scene here,” says XYZ, putting Queensland’s dwindling arts funding situation in perspective. “In the US, there’s the Lincoln Centre and the Getty Museum, but that’s about it for funding. No arts organisation the size of Queensland Poetry Festival would be able to import talent!”

Since 2005, QWC and QPF have been making sure international poetry makes a zing in the lives of local poets through the residency program, and each writer has left a unique legacy. One of Emily XYZ’s major writing projects is an unusual venture – a Twitter poem called 90 Days in Brisbane. Dip into it for a daily taste of her vibrant work: that ride home after workshop is sweet / focus over, story bridge is like a carousel & judy glows at other end friendly blue in the dark.

Book a workshop through the Queensland Writers Centre: www.qwc.asn.au, or come and see EMILY XYZ at the Queensland Poetry Festival, August 27 to 29: www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com

And finally here is a link to another interview with Jeremy Balius in Scene Magazine.

The excitement is building…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rupture the Silence

QLD Poetry Festival is only a few short weeks away and tickets for the opening night show, ‘Rupture the Silence’ are selling quickly. 

Rupture the Silence will feature readings and performances from Andrew Taylor (WA), Jon Paul Fiorentino (Canada), August Kleinzahler (USA) and Emily XYZ (USA). This event will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of what is shaping up to be one of the finest festivals in QPF’s 14 year history, so don’t hesitate… book your tickets early to avoid disappointment!

Date: Friday August 27
Time: 7:30pm – 10:30pm
Venue: Performance Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts
Tickets:

Full (Web/Phone/Door) $25 / Concession (Web/Phone/Door) $18
Groups of 5 or more (Web/Phone/Door) $18 / Concession (Web/ Phone/Door) $15
School Groups – Students $15 / Teachers $25 (one free teacher with every 10 students)

Booking: Phone 3872 9000 or online at http://www.jwcoca.qld.gov.au/02_cal/details.asp?ID=855

 And here’s a taste of what you can expect when QLD Poetry Festival 2010: spoken in one strange word kicks off and the silence is well and truly ruptured!

 

 

And while you are at it, why not head on over to the QLD Poetry Festival website and check out the expansive list of artist interviews. Just click on the 2010 Festival tab for interviews with Jon Paul Fiorentino (Canada), Kelly Lee Hickey, Andrew Taylor, Jean Kent, Les Wicks, Martin Langford, Ross Donlon and many others.

Happy listening/reading… see you at QPF 2010!

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Talking with the poets about QPF

QLD Poetry Festival 2010 is edging closer… and to help everyone get to know the artists better, the good folk at QPF have been conducting some exciting interviews.

The first two interviews posted on www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com are with Andrew Burke and Susan Hawthorne. They talk about their inspirations and influences, the importance of festivals, publishing and their own evolution as writers.

To find them just visit the site, run your cursor over the 2010 Festival button and click on Artist Interviews. Be sure to keep your eye on the site over the next few weeks as there are many more interviews to be posted!

Tickets for opening night are also now on sale… and believe me, you don’t want to miss this event aptly titled Rupture the Silence, featuring Andrew Taylor (WA), Jon Paul Fiorentino (Canada), August Kleinzahler (USA) & Emily XYZ w/ Myers Bartlett performing her dynamic works for two voices.

Details are:

Date: Friday August 27
Time: 7:30pm – 10:30pm
Venue: Performance Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts
Tickets:
Full (Web/Phone/Door) $25 / Concession (Web/Phone/Door) $18
Groups of 5 or more (Web/Phone/Door) $18 / Concession (Web/ Phone/Door) $15
School Groups – Students $15 / Teachers $25 (one free teacher with every 10 students)
Booking: Phone 3872 9000 or online at http://www.jwcoca.qld.gov.au/02_cal/details.asp?ID=855

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spoken in one strange word

Last night at Riverbend Books a crowd of 70+ gathered on the deck eager to get the first glimpse of the 2010 QLD Poetry Festival: spoken in one strange word program. And no one went home disappointed, with stunning feature sets from Suzanne Jones, Darkwing Dubs and Ynes Sanz, all of whom will be perfoming at QPF 2010.

The full program (including artist bios) is now available online at www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com and it is a program that I am very excited about!

QPF 2010 features six international artists – Emily XYZ (USA), Jon Paul Fiorentino (Canada), Angela Rawlings (Canada), Ken Babstock (Canada) and August Kleinzahler (USA) alongside more than 30 performers from all over Australia including Andrew Taylor (WA), Kelly-Lee Hickey (NT), Andy Jackson (VIC), Les Wicks (NSW) and Bruce Dawe (QLD) as well as a session paying tribute to one of Australia’s finest poets, Judith Wright and the much loved, A Million Bright Things, featuring every poet on the program.

And while I am speaking of A Million Bright Things, another highlight of last night’s event was the launch of the CD featuring 16 red hot performances from the A Million Bright Things session at QPF 2009. Readers included Adam Phillips, Zenobia Frost and Jeffery Harpeng as well as members of the QPF Committee performing a selection of poems. It was a buzz to hear these poems light up the winter night and to celebrate, I have 5 copies of the CD available for $12 incl. postage to send to the first five people who email me at geenunn(at)yahoo.com.au.

Here’s the track listing:

1. Jane Williams – Attention to Detail
2. Jayne Fenton Keane – A Jazz Poem for Miles Davis
3. Adam Phillips – Gem Cutter
4. Bremen Town Musician – Sailor (filmed live at A Million  Bright Things 2009)
5. Angela Costi – Grandmother Maroulla’s Liturgy
6. Geoff Goodfellow – Blue Sky Mornings
7. Maurice McNamara – Elizabeth’s Baby Cries
8. Brianna Carpenter – Jacqueline
9. Elizabeth Bachinsky – Tips On Performing From My Mother
10. AF Harrold – Beowulf
11. Rob Morris, Sheish Money & Graham Nunn – Vegemite
12. Barbara Temperton – Purl
13. Jeffrey Harpeng – Horse Tail
14. Zenobia Frost – Bathing with Neil Gaiman
15. Hinemoana Baker & Christine White – Talk You Up
16. Neil Murray – Anywhere Tonight

Am looking forward to sending the copies out to some very lucky listeners!!!

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