Tag Archives: Rob Morris

Artistic & Culinary Fire: The Back Room Lights Up This Sunday

If you are feeling in need of a little warmth, The Back Room is the place to be this Sunday. There is a stunning line up of artists ready to set your synapses sparking and a menu that will make any belly warm. Jason Peppler and the crew at Confit Bistro (4/9 Dogget St Fortitude Valley) sure know how to celebrate the languid glory of a Sunday afternoon / evening!

Doors for the event open at 3pm and as always, entry is free. And remember, if you have a poem that is burning a hole in your chest, dying to be read, be sure to arrive nice and early to register for the Open Mic. All poets welcome!

This month, you can take in the voices of three Brisbane word dynamos.

First up there is Fern Thompsett, who grew up with a view of the ocean, an overactive imagination and not enough sports skills to keep her out of the library.  A compulsive scribbler from an early age, it wasn’t until she found the Brisbane poetry scene much later on that she put her words into wavelengths.  Since then, she has been a feature poet at events including Words or Whatever, SpeedPoets, Avid Reader’s Poetry Month, Confit Bistro’s Back Room and Spoken, as well as having created and hosted 4ZzZ’s spoken word show, Waxing Lyrical.  She now daylights as an anthropologist and moonlights as a musician, but dreams of working as a Notional Park Ranger, catching words and releasing them back into the wild.


Then there is Rob Morris, one of Brisbane’s truly ‘hip’ voices. His words are rhythmic and his performances are hypnotic and real. His last collection, So Much Weather was published by Small Change Press in 2007 and a limited edition art book featuring a selection of poems  from this book was also published. Rob is one half of the publishing team that produces the legendary Small Packages and they are currently looking for poetry submissions for their landmark 12th issue.


And finally, there is Israel Mukasa. Israel is a poet with a deep sense of spirituality. He is a regular reader at Brisbane’s longest running poetry event, SpeedPoets and is also an accomplished photographer. His work explores the intricacies of the human spirit through a multicultural lens. Israel released his first collection of poems The Dreamer’s Disease in 2011 and is set to launch his debut poetry CD this Sunday at The Back Room.


You can also experience an exhibition of photography by Therese Morgan. Therese owns and operates the freelance photography business A Little Room To Bloom, specialising in Art Portraits as well as Wedding and Special Occasion (baby dedication, engagement, birthday, art-glamour) photography. A Little Room To Bloom also offers poetry and story writing, and other mixes of the arts. Therese Morgan is particularly interested in collaborations between art forms such as dance and poetry, photography and music, story telling through exhibitions and any combination of these, with a view to public performance, when opportunity arises.


Frankie V will also be there to steam up the stage with her own daring brand of burlesque. A Canadian idiom residing in Brisbane, Frankie is a burlesque dancer, model, butoh performer, physical theatre collaborator, writer, director, dramaturge, and day-dreamer, with over 17 years of experience in art and performance. She is the MC for the monthly burlesque, spoken-word poetry, and performance event FRESH, held at Brisbane City Library. She is passionate about seeking out and cultivating Brisbane’s incredible, yet largely hidden, creative community.


And let’s not forget the beautiful noise of The Lucky Ones, featuring Sheish Money, Giselle Sheehy & Leanne Davie. Their blues-fulled romps rocked the first Back Room event this year, so it is with great anticipation that we welcome them back to close what is a stunning line-up.


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Pinsky, Poetry & Questions of Division

In my recent trawling of the interwebs, I came across this post, which (initially) explores the question of whether poetry divides people. When faced with this question, I couldn’t help casting my mind back to last night at Confit Bistro and answering with an emphatic ‘no’, as the crowd that gathered was buzzing… brought together by the art of poetry. It was a night where the crowd felt united by the force of the words (and riffs) that resonated throughout the room. In no way, was poetry dividing this room.

And after reading the post in its entirety, I also felt that Pinsky had united the authors thoughts (and the 300 strong crowd of students) about the unique power of poetry. I agree wholeheartedly with Pinsky’s view that poetry ‘operates on the human scale’ and is ultimately ‘a physical thing – the human body the instrument which plays the notes provided.’

And last night, the instruments were playing some fine notes… it was a pleasure to share the stage with Trudie Murrell, Rob Morris and Sheish Money. One of my personal highlights was getting to drum with Rob & Sheish as they belted out a version of the Tom Waits classic, Come On Up To The House.

While I wish I could share with you footage of last night, Tom’s original is a mighty fine way to setlle into the this warm Friday night…


Filed under discussions, poetry & publishing, who listens to the radio?

Poetry @ Confit Bistro

Confit Bistro has provided another much needed venue for poetry in Brisbane this year, serving up monthly helpings of fine food, wine and words. To round off an incredibly creative year, Confit are hosting one final event this Thursday November 25, featuring one of Brisbane’s finest emerging voices, Trudie Murrell, purveyors of poetic rock’n’roll, Graham Nunn & Sheish Money and Brisbane hipster, Rob Morris.

As an appetiser, here’s a poem from Trudie Murrell:


Close your eyes, 
travel by moonlight wrapped
in the smell of shepherd’s
Back, through piles of
newspaper, cardboard boxes,
decisions made with numbers,
points on a map.
Back to the quiet,
back to the sea.
Your grandmother
waits here
I cannot stay.
Your legs will ache hollow
with walking,
keep going.
Past the weeping
fig with the whispering bark,
its branches
cascading sympathy
to the steps.
of silver, sun
and wood leading 
up to the blue house.
Put your cool bare feet on the first,
the second, reach the tenth
step, feel the groove in the
middle smooth, warm.
Sit, lay your head in your
grandmother’s lap.  Feel the
moon, the two palm trees,
the mud flats all kissed by the
breeze that reaches your face.
Know that a woman sat here at dusk,
eating ice cream,
that this is where you came in,
that you are home. 
Open the small
bag of sighs I sent with you
and set them free.


Confit Bistro is located at 4/9 Doggett St. Fortitude Valley. Entry to the event is free and their tapas menu is not only super tasty, but very reasonably priced. Doors open at 6pm with the poetry & music firing up at 6:30pm.

So if you are looking for something to do this Thursday (November 25) come along and raise a glass (or two)…


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A Roomful of Love

Graham’s book came out in a roomful of love / the art of creating good vibes as fine a gift as uplifting a rainy night w/ poems

                                                                                        — emily xyz

These few words by Emily XYZ, so beautifully capture my experience of last night’s gig at Confit Bistro. The room was packed with family & friends and the words felt like they were singing inside of me.

Sheish opened proceedings with a set of songs that had the audience leaning in… his gift as a storyteller was front and centre throughout the set. He took us on a journey of his coming to Brisbane and the various abodes he has dwelled in; his playing (guitar and keys) as elegantly understated as I have ever seen it.

Next up Rob Morris opened his set of poems with a new piece that embodied one lost traveller and took the audience deep into the heart of the Valley. Rob continued to cast his spell throughout, finishing with one of my favourites, The Night Mike Furber Smiled Back At Me. The opening line:

They pulled down Christies the year cancer pulled down dad, remember?

still hits with a wild force every time I hear it.

And then there was a surprise appearance from James Griffin, who had phoned me earlier in the day to let me know he was in town and wanted to catch up. A real moment of synchronicity… James delivered a spoken version of Black Crow Road. It was dark and hypnotic…

On the crow road
I can hear the bottleneck slide
On the black crow road
Drifting down the darkening sky
Drifting down the sheltering sky

the perfect entry point for Sheish and I to take stage and deliver a swirling set of poems and songs.

And then, like the words and music, the conversation flowed… Night’s like this come all to infrequently in a lifetime. Night’s when the room is alight with love and poetry.


Filed under events & opportunities, poetry & publishing

Riverbend Poetry Series, April 27 – the launch of Small Packages 11

April 27 is fast closing in and I for one am looking forward to it, as that si the date issue 11 of QLD’s finest literary mag Small Packages hits the shelves of Riverbend Books as part of the second event in the 2010 Riverbend Poetry Series.

The night will feature readings from Melbourne’s Kent MacCarter and award winning QLD poets Tim Collins & Nathan Shepherdson as well as readings from Small Packages 11 by founding editors Rob Morris and Francis Boyle and a range of special guests.

For those who remember the launch of Small Packages 10 at Riverbend Books this is definitely not an event to be missed. After 11 years at the helm, Rob Morris and Francis Boyle still seem to channel the electricity one feels when launching a debut issue… and their energy is not only infectious in person, it flows throughout the pages of every issue and from what I have seen of issue 11, it has that same electric-vibe.

Here’s a sneak preview of  a poem (and image) from issue 11 by Rob Morris.


                                                           The Returning

                                                           He said that he returned
                                                                           to that shining morning
                                                                           he was only three.
                                                            He ripped along Gregory Terrace
                                                            the crowd lifting him
                                                            like a boisterous breeze.
                                                            He was a Telegraph Tike
                                                                            The Castrol Kid
                                                            and he showed Brisbane wonder.
                                                            He said that it returned to him;
                                                                             his father, the people,
                                                                                             the intensity,
                                                                             till he recalibrated
                                                                                             Up and …
                                                                             over the century

In 1927, three and a half year old Kevin Kronk rode his bike down Gregory Terrace to the cheers of Brisbane people. His Castrol shirt was sent from England just for him.


Riverbend Poetry Series:

Queensland Poetry Festival, QLD Writers Centre & Riverbend Books are proud to present the second event in the Riverbend Poetry Series for 2010. Join us on the Riverbend deck as we showcase another exciting mix of local and interstate poets. The April event features the award-winning words of Nathan Shepherdson (Apples With Human Skin), Tim Collins reading from his latest, hard-hitting collection, The Crooked Floor, the launch of QLD’s favourite poetry journal, Small Packages and interstate guest Kent MacCarter (In The Hungry Middle Of Here).

Date: Tuesday 27 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/EventDetails.aspx?ID=2242

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

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Desert(ed) Island Poems #9 – Rob Morris

Rob Morris is an original Brisbane hipster; his vernacular owning all the rush of the street. Rob has built his raft and is sailing to that mystical island just north of nowhere… and he has packed his poems. Yes indeed, he has packed his poems. Take a look at what will get him through the journey.




FIVE BELLS by Kenneth Slessor

Slessor declared: “I think poetry is written mostly for pleasure, by which I mean the pleasure of pain, horror, anguish and awe as well as the pleasure of beauty, music and the act of living.”

As a war correspondent (see ‘Beach Burial’) and a journalist, this Sydney-dwelling multi-tasker has taken the death of Joe Lynch and elevated it into parable, dreamscape and nautical myth.  ‘Five Bells’ is at once, truly beautiful and mysterious in its use of language, and a piece of art that exists beyond the tawdry strictures of time and location.  It is a masterpiece from a poet who cannot be easily defined or even discussed.  Genius at work!

Read the poem here: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/five-bells/ 




He proved how cruel he could be with “Like a Rolling Stone”.  This is not a cynical blast at Edie Sedgewick; this is a far more profound brush at words directed, I think, at many women he has loved.

The alliteration and imagery generally take the senses into someone elses sad life.  The use of repetition (How could they ever have persuaded you?) is effective to the point where one feels like taking up arms in defence of the song’s much abused subject.  Hymn-like.  Listen in darkness.

Read the poem here: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/b/bob+dylan/sadeyed+lady+of+the+lowlands_20021188.html 



LYSISTRATA by Aristophanes

As new as tomorrow’s bread, I’d take the edition using Norman Lindsay’s illustrations.  If one is stuck on as island, a bit of classical bawdiness and “nod-nod” humour would not go astray.  Sexy and funny enough to keep the mozzies off:

1st market-lounger:  What’s this?
You’re sitting down; Shall I singe you with my torch?
That’s vulgar!  Oh I couldn’t do it … yet
If it would gratify the audience.
I’ll mortify myself.

2nd market-lounger:  And I will too.
We’ll both be crude and vulgar, yes we will.

(Count me in!)

Read more about Lysistrata here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysistrata 



HORSES by Patti Smith

“do you know how to pony
like Boney Maroney?
Do you know how to twist?
Well, it goes like this.
Horses, horses …”

The reincarnation of Whitman, Rimbaud, Parker, and a dozen lesser known “individualists”, Patti Smith means POETRY AS LIFE.

A true shaman, a humble fan of other older Bohemian word dervishes, she demands total involvement.  “Horses” is everything Patti is:  poetic, unpredictable, Rock’n’Roll, brash,  transcendent and irrascible.  Sexy as well.  There’s plenty to choose from in the back catalogue but ‘Horses’ shows Patti Smith as warrior for the brumby word, and artist working sublimely.

Read the lyrics here: http://www.oceanstar.com/patti/lyrics/land.htm 




This is Rimbaud’s ‘Kubla Khan’ but comes from a darker level of the TREE OF LIFE.  “A SEASON IN HELL” is good but I would not want to be stuck with it.

 “I saw the sun with mystic horrors darken
      And shimmer through a violet haze;
      With a shimmer of shutters the waves fell
      Like actors in ancient, forgotten plays!”

Rimbaud is very modern, urbane, and truly disturbing.  His life has almost overshadowed his work but this and a dozen other poems place Rimbaud as a virile, invigorating, descriptive writer.  An electifying poet.

Read the poem here: http://www.mag4.net/Rimbaud/poesies/Boat.html 



MESSALINA by Dulcie Deamer

Once the most widely read English speaking female novelist, DD is funny, self deprecating and so very, very “different”.  She wrote:

“I am as naked as life’s naked flame!
No-one ever spoke of law or coward shame
In that spring-fevered world from which I came
I fear no death.  Let swift sleep end the game.”

With a Dorothy Parker-ish wit and a romantic streak as wide as Darlinghurst Road, she personifies the Bohemian poet of the twenties.  She was even crowned Queen of Bohemia at the 1924 Artists’ Ball.  A bit of a “square” in some ways, DD believed in “the triumph of the soul over the body”.  In her Arcadia she served Diana.  She deserves a more devoted legacy for she wrote finely.  As she said:

“So I stand – the hopeless goal
of the finite worlds desire.”

She aimed high!




Tasmanian poet Karen Knight wrote a collection of poems about America’s 19th century “enfant terrible” Walt Whitman (“Under the One Granite Roof”), and it is not difficult to comprehend why he remains such a charismatic poet.

“Laws of thyself complete, thine own track
firmly holding.”

Whitman makes you believe in a greater force, as alive in his poetic sculpting of engines and enormous America in a growth spurt as Otis in the compassion and empathy he showed in his life.  The Civil War made him a poet; “Leaves” spread his name around and got the folks arguing about his ‘poetry’.  Whitman doesn’t even sound like anyone else – then or now, despite copyists – and of course, it’s hard to think of Ginsberg or Pinske etc. without regarding the singular form and generosity of his style.

Read the poem here: http://www.daypoems.net/poems/2131.html 


MY HEART LEAPS UP by Wordsworth

With that line: “The Child is father to the Man” (Note the capitals) and concluding with the statement that we are “Bound each to each by natural piety”, this brief paen to the redemptive power of ‘spirit’ and life’s natural course makes my heart leap up (not everywhere).  Timeless and and wise.

Read the poem here: http://www.umiacs.umd.edu/~ridge/local/mhlu.html 




“We worked in a spirit of community and collaboration that seemed to spring from the text,” spoke Jones.  The text she was referring to is Lee Gantelon’s book “The Words”, a modern rendering of the words of Christ.

“It hurts to be here
It hurts to be here
It hurts to be here”

she repeats, and you wonder if this existential cry is at once a personal statement or only an interpretation of Jesus’ anguish at what he knows is coming.  She repeats words like a ‘shaker’ who doesn’t quite trust her instincts.  ‘The Sermon’ mixes words, prayerful exhortations.  Hers is a voice that has withstood all the secular pains.

“They think God hears them louder
if they say it over and over.”

She repeats too!  She’s looking for God, and meaning, and redemption, and answers.

“I wonder why there is so much suffering.”

Me too, me too!

Read the lyrics here: http://www.rickieleejones.com/expolyrics.htm 




“I was much too far out all my life
and not waving but drowning.”

Stevie Smith is supposed to have loved the act of reading poetry to an audience.  She was feisty, opinionated and a bit of a handful.  Now, Stevie wasn’t interested in Jesus, and she was quite a changling, a “free spirit” of the sixties.  Her live readings MADE her!  In another poem called “Poor Soul, Poor Girl” she wrote:

“I cannot imagine anything nicer
than to be struck by lightning and killed
suddenly crossing a
As if somebody cared:
Nobody cares whether I am alive or dead”.

There is great sadness just beneath the words.  The pitiful irony that dresses itself in these poems of hers suggest a “greatness”.  Some people call it “doggerel”. I call it writing courageously, saying what one thinks.  “Drowning” is funny in a Pythonesque way and I could use that humour (more sophisticated and multi-dimensioned than it may immediately appear to be) on my island.  Stevie Smith is original.  One of her is enough and a great gift.

Read the poem here: http://www.artofeurope.com/smith/smi1.htm



And here’s a poem from Rob’s latest collection ‘So Much Weather’


The Paradox

“The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the source of all true science.” – Albert Einstein

Is it natural that they depart beautiful
from the brutal drag that is time’s Glasgow kiss
escape with an enigmatic bow
as some velvet curtain falls?
It is the Keatsian paradox,
the body slumps,
the swag comes undone
yet modest and oblivious
mind still struts and rocks on
though we dally wistful practice our worshipful prayers.
Time is a tough nut to crack.
It offers only memory’s consoling embrace on the stair.
Gleaners, we have to work at this stuff
or let our young shining ones go.
In the house of the artist
there are shape shifters
trying on old and new costumery
hopeful the wardrobe still fits
’til time gets impatient
with our lingering party and the darkening room taxes
our vision. We will dress ourselves upon light,
ask if we may
leave to
return tomorrow
and early.


Filed under Desert(ed) Island Poems

The Poetry Gig Guide: Brisbane

There is plenty of poetry happening in Brisbane over the next week… here’s a taste of what you can expect:


Sunday February 22

Ahimsa House proudly supports the local community-based poetry group in West End—The Kurilpa Poets. From Sunday 22nd February 2009 they will meet on the last Sunday of every month at a new venue – The Noam Chomsky Room at Zapata’s Bookshop, right next door to Ahimsa House, 26 Horan Street West End. Everyone is welcome. Murri and Koori poets please join in!
Next performance date is Sunday 22nd February 2009. Time: 02—04.30 PM. Our feature poet for February is the shocking, devilish, firebrand, poetic preacher—The Reverend Hellfire (alias Guy Free). Breaking his vow of silence, the Mad Monk of Modern Verse stalks in from out of the Wilderness of Dutton Park  to testify to the healing Power of Poetry. Speaking in tongues and teeth, the Reverend unveils his Apocalyptic Visions in screeds of fire, for your spiritual and aesthetic pleasure. You may be prodded, poked and outraged—but you won’t be bored. Doubters and mockers beware! The End could well be nigh… Attend an unforgettable, hell raising poetry performance event—if you dare!


Tuesday February 24

Poetry on the Deck
Queensland Poetry Festival, QLD Writers Centre & Riverbend Books are proud to present the first event in this years Riverbend Books Readings. Join us on the Riverbend deck and enjoy the sounds and imagery of award winning poets Anna Krien (2008 Val Vallis Award) and Felicity Plunkett (2008 Thomas Shapcott Award); global traveler Alan Jefferies and emerging Brisbane voice, Jessika Tong.

Date: Tuesday 24 February
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 www.riverbendbooks.com.au

Spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointment!


Saturday February 28

Poetry & Music Under A Daylight Moon

A new monthly venue for poetry and music. The February event features readings by Rob Morris and Zenobia Frost and music by Vandavan.

Entry is free but buskers rules apply!

3 to 5pm
Novel Lines Bookshop
153 LaTrobe Tce, Paddington


Sunday March 1

The mighty SpeedPoets returns from its summer break, hungry for your words. Be there when Brisbane’s longest running poetry event, rolls back into The Alibi Room, 720 Brunswick St, New Farm from 2pm, with poetry features from Jef Caruss and Mel Dixon. There will also be live sounds from Q-Song Awards nominees, Peter Green and the Midnight Prophets, whose blend of blues, jazz and European Gypsy is not to be missed. There will also be free zines, giveaways, the hottest Open Mic section in the city backed by our own poetic interpreter Sheish Money. Entry is a gold coin donation. See you there!

SpeedPoets: Sunday March 1, 2pm – 5pm @ The Alibi Room, 720 Brunswick St. New Farm.


Filed under events & opportunities