Tag Archives: QPF 2011

Looking Back at QPF 2011

One week on and I still have that QPF buzz… There have been pics and videos of the festival popping up like field mushrooms, so if like me, you are wanting to keep the festival buzz well fed, here’s a few morsels for to savour:

Sheish Money & I performing at the closing night show, Onwards to Infinity

Festival photographer extraordinairre, Elleni Toumpas has quite a few pics up on her site. Well worth the visit!

This video poem, I Statements, a collaboration between Melbourne lads, Alex Scott & Randall $tephens, took out the 2011 QPF Filmmakers Challenge.

Ashley Capes recently posted this clip of his final reading at QPF, a selection of haiku from his delightful, Orion Tips The Saucepan.

And Fiona Bell’s round up on Dada Doesn’t Catch Flies has some great pics and links to explore.

If anyone else out there has posted pics, reviews or video footage, I would love to see/read/listen to them.

Off now to keep the poetry buzz going at SpeedPoets’ Annual Open Mic Championships!

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re:reading the dictionary: Talking with Tim Sinclair

The Countdown to QLD Poetry Festival has hit single digits… that’s right, just 5 days to go! So, make sure you have done the following things:

1. Bought your ticket to Of Rhythm and Rapture, QPF’s opening night extravaganza featuring Sandra Thibodeaux, Sawako Nakayasu, the 2011 Arts QLD P0et-in-Residence, Jacob Polley and acclaimed singer-songwriter-poet, Kate Fagan.

2. Caught up on your sleep (you are going to need it).

3. Got a copy of the program and started planning your festival experience.

4. Read this interview with Tim Sinclair!

I believe you have recently completed work on a new collection of poetry, re:reading the dictionary. I remember many days lying on the lounge room floor, flicking through the flimsy pages of my parents extremely large Websters and marvelling at the sheer volume of words that danced inside it, so the idea of a collection devoted to some of the words that may be facing extinction in the common vernacular excites me greatly. How did you go about writing, researching and putting together the collection?

I like how you say ‘research’ like it was something I consciously entered into! Makes me sound so studious and purposeful. The reality, of course, is a lot closer to what you describe. The lounge room floor approach – a lifelong serendipitous rummage in that ever-entertaining book, the dictionary. The Dictionary, with a capital D; The Book. The archetype, the blueprint, the begetter of all that’s begat, because, as has been pointed out before, between its covers it contains every single book ever written, and every single book that’s yet to be written. All you need to do is figure out the order to arrange those words in. Guess that’s what poets and authors and anyone who works with words are constantly striving to do. Just trying to find the right order.



a book printed at an early date, especially before 1501

Breakfast used to be hand illuminated. Newspapers were bard shaped, speech bubbles had punctuation, and everyone spoke in copperplate. Our tea poured with the sound of a waterfall, brass knobs were mandatory, everything was cranked by hand, and the dancing, when it happened, happened in the streets. We bathed in ink and rolled on vellum sheets, our retinas scanned with a seer’s crystal ball. It all came to pass in the days foretold, before the ones and zeroes scuttled into our lives. Behold.


You have also been hard at work on your second verse novel. I recently read an interview with 2011 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence, Jacob Polley where he said:

Poetry seems to be the art of suspending a decision, of creating something that doesn’t quite commit to making complete sense, but rather rings or resonates with the truth of complex, lived experience and feeling. In a novel, you write something that, in the very writing, demands that decisions be made about characters and events, about plot.

 So I wanted to ask you, is it a completely different headspace you need to occupy when working on your verse novel?

The simple answer is yes. The longer answer, of course, is yes and no. This one I actually plotted out quite thoroughly beforehand, so I had a very definite structure I was working towards. The beauty of that, of course, and this relates to what Jacob Polley is saying above, is that in some ways, I had made all those decisions beforehand. So when it came to the actual writing, I was freed up to discover all the bits I hadn’t thought of, all the happenstance that occurs when you pull away from control and find out what it is you don’t know you don’t know.

It’s kind of like the best travel plans, I guess. It’s nice to know what city you’ll be staying in tomorrow night, but to have just that amount of structure gives you this glorious freedom to wander the streets randomly all day before you walk into your hotel in the evening.

You also recorded an album, Brothers of the Head back in 2004 which is an absolute trip! As a fellow poet/drummer, I wanted to ask whether you had any plans to head back into the studio and continue your sonic exploration?

No immediate plans, unfortunately. Most of my sonic exploration these days is language-based. Or tapping on the desk and driving people crazy… It’s definitely something I’m going to get back to one day though. I love what music lets you do; what it does to you. It’s so immediate, so visceral. So outside of rational thought.

Weirdly though, and as you’d know well, there’s nothing more mathematical and structured and precise than drumming – literally cutting time up into eighth notes and sixteenth notes – but within that extreme structure is the possibility for such fluidity. It’s something you can’t think about too much, because to the conscious mind it’s a paradox. But it makes perfect sense to the non-conscious mind. To that part that all of us connect to instantly when we sink into a good groove.

You have been part of the QLD Poetry Festival family before in 2008. What is it about the festival that makes it stand out from the pack and what are you most looking forward to about your return visit?

I love this Festival for its diversity, its delight, its inclusiveness, its surprises. I’m looking forward to all of that, and then some!


Catch Tim at QPF 2011:

Saturday August 27

Alphabet as Architecture, 1:30pm Shopfront Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. Entry is Free.

Sunday August 28

Onwards to Infinity, 7:00pm Theatre Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. Entry is Free.

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On the Runway: a chat with Aidan Coleman

It’s now only eleven days until QLD Poetry Festival takes over the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, so let’s keep the interviews coming. This time I chat with award winning South Australian poet, Aidan Coleman.

Your first book, Avenues and Runways was shortlisted in the 2006 NSW Literary Awards. What are your memories of working on that collection?

Lots of drafting … I started working on these poems in second year at university when I was reading a lot of Australian poetry. Most of the poems that survived were written in my early years of teaching.

I remember the rush which came from writing a good poem a nd how poetry amplified the world around me.

An earlier form of the book got rejected a few years before it was published and I’m glad it did because there were a fair few poems I would now disown.


Is there another collection in the pipeline? 

I have a new book coming out on Brandl & Schlesinger next year called Asymmetry. I had a srtoke about four years ago and the first two-thirds of the book are about that. The stroke was pretty severe and I thought at first that I lost the ability to create metaphor. For about a year and half afterwards , the topic of the stroke was raw and upsetting for me to revisit but the writing and naming ended up a key part of the healing. The lyrics that complete the book ‘Poems for Leana’ were predominately written between a year and two years after the stroke when I was in need of a happier subject.


One of the things that is striking about your work, is the clarity in which you capture each image. A favourite image of mine is from your poem, Rainworks:

Along the stave of the fence’s wire
hang the rain’s broken notes.

What is the process you go through in distilling the words down to their bare essence?

I always believe in the power of the image and sometimes more words close off the potential meanings, the possibilities. I tend to discard the images that lack clarity and whittle poems down to bare bones. Many of my favourite poems are very short.


Are you more excited at the start or the finish of the poem?

I tend to build poems around a line and many of them end up not working so while the whole process is a joy, I never quite know I have a poem until I’ve finished. But on finishing a first draft, I tend to do a lot of tinkering.


What are the themes permeating your new work? (can you also include a poem here for me to post)

I’m still writing about the stroke because the book is not closed yet. Other than that, anything that has happened or is happening in my life is material for poetry.


6 weeks ultrasound

Through lunar weather
we saw your light

in the distance.


and still to come.



Across three fences
the lights and noise of a party at anchor;
a paddock dusty
with stars; our lit-up talk

The distance is years from there
to where
your sleeping breath
is at my neck,
your indelible kiss on my mind.


What are you most looking forward to about coming to QLD Poetry Festival?

My parents were too stingy to take me to Dream World as a kid so I’ve never been to Queensland. There are quite a few poets on the program whose work I enjoy that I haven’t seen perform before. Mostly I’m looking forward to poetry and good conversation; the weather as well.


Catch Aidan at QLD Poetry Festival 2011:

Saturday 27 August:

Image Back to the Word, 2:45pm, Theatre Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, with Sawako Nakayasu (Japan) & Cindy Keong (Free Entry)

Sunday 28 August:

Among the Last Bright Leaves, 5:00pm, Shopfront Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, with Ron Pretty (NSW) & Nicola Scholes (Free Entry)


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A Matter of Disturbance: Talking with Sandra Thibodeaux

A vocal mob are about to descend on our fine city, as the 2011 QLD Poetry Festival is literally just around the corner. I have been bouncing questions back and forth between some of this year’s featured artists, starting with Australian Poetry’s inaugural Poet-in-Residence, Sandra Thibodeaux.

Earlier this year you won the role of Australian Poetry’s inaugural Poet-in-Residence. What have been the highlights of the role so far?

I loved my two trips to Tennant Creek. There are some great (mostly Indigenous female) writers there who always make me remember the important things – the strength of words, the beauty of female solidarity when all the nonsense is stripped away. I sometimes go to Tennant in tatters and leave feeling whole.

I have enjoyed getting to meet so many poets across Australia, both virtually and in real life. I’ve had some great laughs with people like Coral Carter, Amelia Walker, Matt Hetherington, Derek Motion, Nathan Curnow and your good self, Graham!

It’s been satisfying to see people’s ideas spark in the workshops I’ve facilitated. I’ve seen some barriers collapse and some new writing journeys commence in the different classes.

Winning the comedy debate in Katherine – That Books are Better Than Bucking – made me gloat for a few weeks. I’m fiercely competitive in a debate.

My Friendly Street gig in Adelaide was memorable – I’ve never met such hardy folk! Their readings are like one-day cricket matches.

I’d still have to call my recent Darwin gig with Sietta my favourite, though. I really love that band, the crowd was pumped, the open mic was top-notch – a great night.

Your touring schedule has been quite hectic and there is no sign of it slowing down. How has this manifested itself in your creative output?

Luckily, I’ve grouped commitments together so that I travel for a month or so and then stay home for the same amount of time. This has been a good balance. In the home months, I’ve knocked out a play (almost finished now) about a politician who breaks his restraining order two weeks before an election. Also, in the home months, I’ve followed up with workshop participants and written new poems, many of which have been uploaded to the blog.

And, of course, being on the road has been inspiring – I wrote a few poems in Tennant and in Adelaide, and feel some inspiration coming upon me now for Brisbane!

Life on the road will soon land you in QLD, where, as part of QLD Poetry Festival 2011, you will be facilitating a workshop titled, ‘Disturbing the Poem’. Give us the lowdown on some of the techniques of disturbance you will be asking poets to consider.

I tailor-make these classes according to the participants’ needs – they email me their poems ahead of the class. However, in general, I find that we normally work around issues of voice, position, character, structure, metaphor, concrete details, titles and last lines. We do this through exercises, models and reflections. They are active classes, and the participants walk away with a few new poems. Rob Walker, in the Adelaide class, said: ‘I especially appreciated the huge amount of time and thought that you obviously put into our poems in preparation for the workshop. I was blown away that you’d actually gone to the Botanic Gardens to research my obscure trees.’ So, yeah – give me your trees, and I’ll help you bend them towards new sky.

You have been a part of the QLD Poetry Festival family before in 2005. What are your memories of the festival and what are you most looking forward to this year?

I like how you’ve used the word ‘family’! Well, that’s how it felt. I remember Graham and Julie holding hands in the audience once the lights went down. Cute! I was room-mates with Amelia Walker in 2005, and we’ve continued to be friends. I met Yvette Holt for the first time, and we went on to work together on several occasions. I was mesmerised by Hinemoana Baker and knocked out by Ian McBryde – I love his dry wit. I was also struck by the talent and integrity of Kevin Gillam, and we invited him to Darwin last year. And I must say … Graham Nunn’s MCing was superb – I much prefer the snapshot style of introductions you do. They’re so much better than full biographies.

Is there a poem you have recently written that has you more excited than usual?

The ones that have excited me the most are too long for this forum, I feel, but I don’t mind this one:


Camp dog draws an arc around your fire.
With a flick of your careless head, you allow
her into the warmth when you have a need
of her bristling fur beneath your fingers.
She approaches on careful paws, never asking too much.
Is this why you give her even less?
Her ribs are numbered. When you’re done,
you toss the bones into the ashes,
nudge her away with cracked boots
and leave the number of a disconnected phone.


Catch Sandra at the following QPF 2011 events:

Disturbing the Poem w/ Sandra Thibodeaux
FRIDAY 26 August
10:00am – 1pm

Join Australian Poetry Poet-in-Residence, Sandra Thibodeaux, as she takes you through the art of poetic disturbance. Sandra will be encouraging participants to ‘disturb’ their poems, shifting perspective, place, chronology and voice; playing with economy, resonance, metaphor, structure, colour, and the senses. Such disturbances may unearth new levels to the poetry or may lead to the creation of new works. This active workshop is designed for poets o f various levels. Though not essential, participants will get more out of the workshop if they email drafts of poems a week beforehand.

Where: Queensland Writers Centre, Level 2, State Library of Queensland, Cultural Centre, Stanley Place, South Brisbane

Cost: $20

To book please contact the Queensland Poetry Festival on 07 3842 9950 or by email at qldpoetry@gmail.com. Places are strictly limited, so get in early.

FRIDAY 26 August:
Of Rhythm and Rapture

Join us for the opening night extravaganza of 2011 Queensland Poetry Festival, Of Rhythm and Rapture.

Lighting up the stage will be poets Sandra Thibodeaux (NT), Sawako Nakayasu (Japan), Jacob Polley (UK), and singer-songwriter Kate Fagan (NSW).

Acclaimed singer-songwriter and poet Kate Fagan will feature with a very special one-hour feature set showcasing her musical and lyrical talents. This is also the first time Australian audiences will have the opportunity to experience the 2011 Arts Queensland Poet in Residence Jacob Polley’s ‘transcendental’ style, and the textured, eccentric work of Sawako Nakayasu.

It will be a night to set the stage on fire!

Tickets start at $15 and are available now through the Judith Wright Centre on 07 3872 9000 or via their website. Don’t forget to join as at the JWC for the rest of the weekend of FREE poetry and spoken word.

When: Friday 26 August

Time: 7.30pm

Where: Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, 420 Brunswick St Fortitude Valley 4006

SATURDAY 27 August:

Shelter in the Flesh, 2:45pm, SHOPFRONT Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts (Free Entry)

SUNDAY 28 August:

Onward to Infinity, 7:00pm, THEATRE Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts (Free Entry)


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2011 QLD Poetry Festival Program is Launched!

It is with great excitement that I announce that the 2011 QLD Poetry Festival Program is launched and available for download from the QPF website. And with that announcement, I can also happily say, tickets for the opening night event, Of Rhythm and Rapture, on Friday August 26 (7:30pm – 10:30pm) are on sale now. 

Opening night is always special and this year’s event boasts an exciting line-up of international and interstate performers including 2011 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence, Jacob Polley (UK), Sawako Nakayasu (Japan), Australian Poetry’s 2011 Poet-in-Residence, Sandra Thibodeaux (NT) and singer/songwriter/poet, Kate Fagan (NSW).

Here’s a clip for Kate’s recent single, Clear Water:

Tickets are available now from the Judith Wright Centre Website, so don’t be left standing at the door… book your seats early!

The other ticket that has just gone on sale is for Sandra Thibodeaux’s workshop, Disturbing the Poem. In this workshop, Australian Poetry Poet-in-Residence, Sandra Thibodeaux, will take you through the art of poetic disturbance. Sandra will be encouraging participants to ‘disturb’ their poems, shifting perspective, place, chronology and voice; playing with economy, resonance, metaphor, structure, colour, and the senses. Such disturbances may unearth new levels to the poetry or may lead to the creation of new works. This active workshop is designed for poets of various levels. Though not essential, participants will get more out of the workshop if they email drafts of poems a week beforehand.

The workshop takes place at Queensland Writers Centre, (Level 2, State Library of Queensland, Cultural Centre, Stanley Place, South Brisbane) on Friday August 26 from 10am – 1pm and tickets are just $20.

To book contact the Queensland Poetry Festival on 07 3842 9950 or email qldpoetry@gmail.com. Places are strictly limited, so get in early.

It’s going to be a massive three days, so for those a little further afield, start thinking about travel arrangements now… with a line up featuring Jacob Polley (UK), Sawako Nakayasu (Japan), Aidan Coleman (SA), Kevin Gillam (WA), Amanda Joy (WA), Kate Fagan (NSW), Matt Hetherington (VIC), Johanna Featherstone (NSW), Louise Oxley (TAS), Jaya Savige and many others, it will be well worth the trip!

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QLD Poetry Festival announces the 2011 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence

The announcement of the Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence (PIR) is always an exciting one. The selected poet is given the opportunity to reside in our state for up to 3months (July – September) to write, engage with the local  and regional poetry community and perform at both QLD Poetry Festival and Brisbane Writers Festival. Past PIR’s include Jacqueline Turner (Canada), Paul Durcan (Ireland), Michael Hoffman (UK), Hinemoana Baker (NZ) and Emily XYZ (USA). Each poet has brought something unique to their residency, and many continue to have a lasting impact on the state of poetry in QLD.

So I was thrilled when I read the announcement that UK poet, Jacob Polley had been selected as the 2011 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence. I am a great admirer of Jacob’s work and am really looking forward to seeing what he brings to the residency.

Jacob has published two poetry collections, The Brink (2003) and Little Gods (2006), as well as a novel, Talk of the Town (2009). His work has won many awards and has been described as,

Measured, musical and understated. The kind of poetry that imbues the everyday, the tarnished and burnished, with the possibilities of the transcendent. 

Jacob has also collaborated with filmmaker Ian Fenton and has worked extensively with disadvantaged youth.

You can read and listen to a great selection of Jacob’s work at the Poetry Archive and I can also recommend watching the film (for which he wrote the screenplay), Flickerman and the Ivory-Skinned Woman. There is also a great selection of Jacob’s work at his own website www.jacobpolley.com and the QLD Poetry Festival website will be the best place to keep up to date with Jacob’s residency.

I am looking forward to July already.

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7 days to get your applications in for QPF 2011

So get cracking people!

QLD Poetry Festival is without doubt, the finest festival of its type in this country and is renowned worldwide, as one of the hottest events on the global poetry calendar.

So if you want to mix it up on this worldclass stage with some of this country’s and the world’s finest, head on over to the QLD Poetry Festival website, download an Expression of Interest form and set yourself to work.

Expressions of Interest must be received by Thursday February 24.

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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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