Tag Archives: Steve Smart

Overload Poetry Festival in Review

Well the ALS 2009 Tour rolls on, and the 4th leg of the tour took me too the cooler climes of Melbourne town. The big difference on this leg of the tour was that guitar-slinging Rock Pig, Sheish Money was along for the ride. Now Sheish and I have played lots of local gigs, but outside of QLD and Northern NSW, the other states have so far missed out on the Nunn/Money experience. So I have to say… we were fairly excited!

Friday kicked off with the launch of Overload 2009 at the Fitzroy Town Hall, MC’d by poetic raconteur, Myron Lysenko. A truly beautiful venue and great space to mingle with the Melbourne poetry crowd. I was really impressed by the passion of the Mayor who delivered the best speech I have ever heard from a politician at such an event. You really got the sense that she was right behind the festival. After the speeches, The Heart Chamber featuring Matt Hetherington, Tom Joyce, Lia Hills, Marian Spires & Michelle Leber performed a set of love poems. Matt Hetherington’s poem , When I Am Not With Her There Where She Is, the absolute stand out and one of the best contemporary love poems I have read in the last decade.

So with the room feeling the love, Santo Cazzati hit the mic dressed in checked suit and matching hat with all the energy of a box of snakes, promising us to keep us safe from the Fitzroy Ghouls as he lead the poetry crawl, Takin’ it to the Streets. And we were off…

First Stop Dantes.

Sheish Money & Graham Nunn Blue Velvet2_gimpKicking  things off was Gabrielle Everall (WA), who I had seen perform last weekend in Perth. Gabrielle delivers her words in a darkly musical voice. Her poems brimming with equal parts beauty and menace. Her set was followed by fellow West Australian, Vivienne Glance and the man who is on a quest to become Australia’s first poet laureate, Ben Pobje. So with the first leg of the crawl setting the bar high, the crowd was whitled into action, and set off to Southpaw in pursuit of Santo Cazzati and the offerings of poems by Anthony O’Sullivan, Jenny Toune, Kimberley Mann & Sam Byfield. Sadly, Sheish and I had to miss Stop Two to rush back to The Nunnery, get our gear and head off to Blue Velvet to sound check for the the third and final stop for the night.

Third Stop Blue Velvet.

Sheish Money & Graham Nunn Blue Velvet1_gimp

With the sound check done and the crowd squeezing in to the lounge-room sized back room, we hit the stage to open proceedings. No intros, no talking, just the sparkle of Sheish’s big red Kasuga brightening my poems. This was the teaser for Saturday night’s set, so we played only three poems Nomads, Ocean Hearted & Seeing a girl off in a summer storm. The room feel into that deep silence, and for those few minutes, the world seemed to close its eyes. We looked at each and smiled, eager to play an extended set tomorrow night. We were then followed by the be-helmeted Alex Scott and Bribane’s surrealist wildcard, Ghostboy. A Ghostboy set is something to behold. The crowd is just as much a part of the show as the man/ghoul/poet himself. Tonight Ghostboy tied one woman to a chair and incited another pair of ladies to passionately kiss on the carpet. He was on, the crowd lapped it up and he lapped the cheeks of several men in the audience.

We had taken to the streets and the streets had embraced us.

Jenny Toune Bella Union_gimp

Saturday was the big one… tonight Sheish and I stretched our poetic riffs at the Bella Union Trades Hall, sharing the stage with tap-dancing poet Jenny Toune and the mighty Sean M. Whelan & the Interim Lovers. Jenny kicked things off with a show that blew away all my expectations. I have to admit, when I read tap-dancing poet, I wondered whether one of the art forms would suffer, but within minutes, she put all those concerns to rest. She had the moves and the words to make the stage light up. It was a great opening set and a real pleasure to have seen.

 

Sheish Money & Graham Nunn Bella Union1_gimp

Sheish and I were up next, and champing at the mic. From the moment we plugged in, it felt good. We opened with Gutter & Edge which is on the forthcoming CD and the sound, lights and crowd were all in sync. From there we kicked in to Save Me/Lessons, Sheish showing off his full-throated growl, with me stepping in and out to punctuate the verses. It was then in to the newer poems,  Sentinel and And What Voice Says. The dark guitar loop and lead flourishes giving And What Voice Says a whole new life. Sheish then pumped straight into the big open chords of Grounded before channeling Bootsy for a funky version of Oooo… We then reinterpreted old favourite In Devotion Sheish Money & Graham Nunn Bella Union3_gimpto Life’s Sordid Affairs and closed the set with Sheish tearing into the mic with his song Poetry and this Lost Shark, dropping in Point Danger between verses. It was a tight set, the interplay was good and we walked off stage, only to be called on for an encore. This is where the true brilliance of Sheish comes into play. I named a poem and he just knew the right chords… it was off the cuff, it was spontaneous and it was right. We walked off into bright lights of the Bella feeling good.

Sean Whelan & the Interim Lovers Bella Union_gimp

And to round off the night Sean M. Whelan & the Interim Lovers took to the stage unveiling a new set of poems, which reinterpret the Lewis Carrol classic, The Hunting of the Snark. Whelan is a gifted poet and performer. Tonight he swayed with the band’s subtle movements and writhed as they reached crescendo. The poems, never overshadowed by the band and the band… well, I was mesmerised. In fact I could have watched/listened to it all again. I look forward to seeing this project evolve.

Steve Smart Bella Union_gimp

And with MC Steve Smart, bringing the night to a close, we all stumbled off into glorious Lygon Steet for more wine, pizza and endless conversation.

During my time at Overload I also had the pleasure of seeing Eric Beach at The Dan; Santo Cazzati, Steve Smart & Carmen Main, Eddy Burger and Jo Truman & Warren Burt at Glitch Bar and launching Maurice McNamara’s debut collection, Half-Hour Country at Dantes (more about that soon).

There is something incredibly special that happens when poets come together… and this Lost Shark was once again, honoured to be a part of the poetry community. Sheish and I tip our hats to James Waller and crew for all their hard work. I hope you guys are still revelling in it.

To keep up to date with all the Overload events visit Overland and be sure to leave a comment.

NB: All photographs taken by Michael Reynolds… one of this world’s true gentlemen.

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Guided by Poets – Maxine Clarke & friends

Hasn’t been a Guided by Poets blog up for a while so here goes… this one is bristling with the white hot energy of Maxine Clarke, Santo Cazzati, Steve Smart and Melissa Petrakis. You can catch Santo in Brisbane at QPF 2009 (August 21-23) and he will also be stepping out onto the Overload stage alongside Steve Smart and Maxine Clarke, so if you can, get along and check these guys out live… you will not be sorry.

 

white bred bun
by Maxine Clarke

 

oooooh check out that lifeguard
he’s ripped
hand me a vegemite
sand stuck in my baby bonus
ooooooh my baby bonus bits

oi! mister / let’s breed
gold haired & knock-kneed
buttercup & coon cheese
bandaid on a scratched knee
judge me by a wet T
call me love

my god / i love this
sunburnt cunt –
calls me a slapper
nother shrimp on the bar—
be unaustralian

i come from the land down under
limp lettuce / tomato sauce
burnt sausage & onion on
a white bred bun
i come from the land down under
balangalow screams / do
you speak my language
well / f*ck off & go home

hey sheila
hitch hike your skirt up
like a north shore school girl
hey blackie
yes you / beat it
only kind we dig are rip curls

oooooh check out that lifeguard
he’s ripped
hand me a vegemite
sand stuck in my baby bonus
ooooooh my baby bonus bits

 

 

Maxine_Clarke

Maxine Clarke is a West Indian-Australian poet, writer and journalist (The Age, Crikey, the Koori Mail, the Big Issue etc). Her poetry, short plays and fiction, examining the experiences of African descendants in the ‘new world’, has been broadcast and published nationally. She has read her poetry at many venues around Australia , including at the Melbourne Writers Festival, the Arts Centre, the Victorian Council of Churches and Quang Minh Buddhist Temple . Maxine’s poetry chapbook Original Skin (2008) is published by Picaro Press. She is a blogger for Overland literary magazine, and writes a poetry blog at slamup.blogspot.com. Maxine’s first novel Black Lazarus was the chosen manuscript for the Overland Novel Search (2008). Maxine lives in Melbourne and loves cheese, chocolate and well, pretty much all milk product. She knows that is not cool, in these days of climate change PC, but unfortunately lacks both the willpower or will to change. She does recycle and compost though, does not drive a car. She also rarely showers, which she thinks more than makes up for the milk fetish thing.

 

 

Ballet Class
by Santo Cazzati

 

Santo Cazzati

Santo Cazzati is a spoken word artist. The son of Italian immigrants to Australia, he emerged from past lives as a classical concert pianist and avant garde jazz musician to teach at an elite Melbourne private school which must remain anonymous in order to protect those concerned. He performs in a range of styles, from fast rhythmical delivery to slow atmospheric meditation, often with a strong world music influence and critical ironic distance.

 

 

Poems and Open Doors
by Steve Smart

The sign said open
but the door was locked
a sure sign that things had
already turned to burning hell

A brick through the window –
situation desperate
note of apology, rushed but half sincere
the things you’ll do when you really need a pen

no such thing as a victimless crime
minding your own business not always an option
I was trying to prevent a crime
or I was in a hurry . . .

I was thinking about something someone once said
that captured a moment in my life
I wanted to get it on paper before I forgot
it seemed of great importance at the time

Moments are lost so easily
all the things I never wrote down

there’s a certain sense of desperation to it all
I accept I may have been hasty
a poet without a pen is just a brain on legs
I never claimed to be rational

the sign said open
I was confused
the rock was handy
it was Autumn

Without structure an open door is just air
the sign said open
the rock was thrown through air
yet there was structure
the crime was committed
the pen found
the poem written as confession
the poet sentenced to hang

Pause to argue semantics:

If I reduced the poem to a sentence
would you reduce the sentence of the poet?

The verdict revised, the poem thus reduced to

In Autumn I had a thought

 

Steve Smart

Steve Smart is a Melbourne based poet who occasionally delves into acting, script writing, dodgy video making (www.youtube.com/olbollocks), tupperware parties and various collaborative activities with musicians and other artists. His self-deprecating style has won the hearts of people all over Australia who claim to dislike poetry. He sometimes feels trapped and frightened by the life he has chosen but doesn’t really know how to express these feelings except by writing poetry, which is what got him wherever he is in the first place so it’s  . . . he wants to say ironic but has a feeling it isn’t quite that. Hell, maybe it is irony after all. Let’s say Steve loves being a poet and leave it at that.

 

 

Witchcraft
by Melissa Petrakis

I’ve heard it called witchcraft
when your eyes are dazed
and your autonomy of will
               is non-existent
when your breath is caught
at the hint of a scent like
               theirs
and actual sight of them
               renders you mute
               and impotent
until their permission to touch
               touch them
ignites
and delivers
arterial action
once again.

Someone’s put a spell on you.

You can’t work
You can’t sleep
You can’t
               talk
without sounding like static
on the radio
ill tuned in
an AM station
and the band way down
at the far end of the dial
You can’t leave this city
               you can’t
get away
whatever you do you know
they’ll haunt you.

The spell is strong.

To your room at night
in full flight
               overhead
an adrenalin surge
a heat rod to your spine
a cold shower
it delivers
and it lingers
and it feeds
and it needs
and it gives you
               no peace
not that you’d want any
not that you remember
even recall what it was like to be
               tranquil.

And there’s no escape.

There’s no avoidance
               no
abdication or disinclination
no intermission
there is no sense
that denial would help
It’s a full steam
               straight ahead
rollercoaster ride
It’s a train wreck
It’s not polite or kind
or generous or political
               or fair
and never rational
It’s the pits
and they’re so hot.

Someone’s put a spell on you.

 

(from the collection, The Naked Muse: Domain Press, 2001)

 

melissa petrakis

Melissa Petrakis is a writer of poetry, plays, short stories, academic reviews and clinical work in the field of mental health research. She has recently completed her PhD with the University of Melbourne, School of Social Work on an innovative model of client-centred assertive counselling, community linkage and monitoring in suicide prevention for emergency department care and follow-up. A short story reflecting on generational differences and motherhood was published in the antipodean anthology about mothers and daughters Mothers from the Edge. Over the last 10 years her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies in Australia, including Meanjin and overland, and the USA, including kotapress and The Muse Apprentice Guild. Her 3 published collections are The Naked Muse (2001), Attic Dweller (2002) and The Earth of Us (2005). Over the last 2 years she and her husband Tristan have become proud parents to Isabel and Lucas.

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