Monthly Archives: April 2009

Guided by Poets – WA #2

For this Guided by Poets thread we travel back to the west coast of Australia to check out five exciting, original voices. And here they are:

Amanda Joy – Scott-Patrick Mitchell – Gabrielle Everall – Amber Fresh – Simon Cox

 

 

Stuck Out

Deep night in Tokyo
Memories are smeared light
Sirens sparkle urgency
to pillow-covered ears

The girl            is gooseflesh
hidden by the scrim
                          of her smile

These places she doesn’t show
she sees            on her skin

Black dents and scars
she denies the pleasure  
                                      taken
in shadows       in the near silent
night                 the wet ground

Close still      all deadened day
the residual
smell of scotch on the yawning giant

The night presses     to show
her    how well pretty things look
their purity pressed     against
the contrast of a dark background

 
amanda-joy

Amanda Joy is a poet, writer, installation artist and sculptor living and gardening in Fremantle Western Australia. She is the keeper of a dog called Love and has a great fascination for portals and conduits. She blogs her poetry semi regularly at her website www.littleglasspen.com and www.myspace.com/amanda_joy1970 Her work is included in numerous journals online and every now and then she pops out a little limited edition illustrated chapbook for those who ask nicely. A more sizeable binding of her wordage is gestating.

 

 

Foundations Of Anatomy & Physiology

cheat notes for drown, the game

learning to swim can make 1ne sadly
short of breath, shouting help, help

sinks depth. deep is the river bed
. stoned on currents & babbling, waves

rip & break. a cross without a
bridge has no music to serenade

. shores line. tug, for water is
lonely. glug, for the bed wants

company. like a thug it drugs
heavy. saragossi into the mud

, a slow motion falling in
love. it bloats. you only have

1ne dry life so be sure your
wings don’t just fly.

 

spm

Scott-Patrick Mitchell is a poet & writer living in Perth. He works as a journalist for OUTinPerth, a lesbian and gay news and lifestyle community street press, for whom he writes fashion, arts, music and a regular graffiti column called Perth Street Art. His work has been published in such anthologies as neoteric, Interactive Geographies, naked eye, Poetry Creations, Lines of Wisdom , Red Leaves and Through the Clock’s Working, the world’s first anthology of remixed literature. He edits two zines – ‘COTTONMOUTH’ & the underground literary street art adventure that is MoTHER [has words...].

 

Indi rock god

You saunter through
Rilke’s narrow lyre
there’s nothing of you
to kiss
a rake —
I want to be part
of your progress

I am purdah
I am abject
closer to death

my blind girl body
is sacrificed in you
still rising up to you

my body becomes your name

to believe in you
is to be God’s lover —
the only legitimate passion —
moral passion
triggering moral panic
we must eat
the sweetmeats of Christ

your child body, wafer thin
swallowed with wine
leaves me swollen

Saint Teresa’s eyes
roll in orgasmic jouissance

I want to kiss
every part of your wasted face
the revolt of your christly flesh
that I thought
wasn’t good enough

like a pig in mud
I wallow in thoughts
about you
you’re a belly god
I’m rapacious

the slashing of my skin
is a breath of fresh air

to reach Godhead
tie me to the bedhead
beat me with your beatitudes

the catch 22
of a suffering that causes jouissance
and a jouissance that causes suffering —

deprivation is your scripture

I a desiring ascetic
you an object
that is handed to me
like a child
is given a toy

a daddy toy
a never ending sweet
I’m an all day sucker

Christ has been there
God started it all.

 

gabrielle-everall

Gabrielle Everall has published Dona Juanita and the love of boys with the assistance of The Department of Culture and The Arts in late 2007.  She has been previously published in The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry, Herding Kites, Cordite, The Sleeper’s Almanac, A Salt Reader etc and has work forthcoming in Going Down Swinging.  She has performed her poetry at The Big Day Out, Putting On An Act, NRLA, NYWF, Overload and The Emerging Writer’s Festival etc.  She also performs at Perth poetry readings Cottonmouth and Voicebox.

 

 

Bitumen

one time i asked a boy to push me over in the carpark
where we were and

at that instant i thought it was an incredibly
romantic thing to ask a boy

just as that feeling of possible romance was fading he did
push me over

when  i say ‘push’ i mean
suddenly his whole body was rammed against mine and i
flew about a million centimetres into the air

well, across the air and through the air really, and then
onto the bitumen, with my whole body smacked and
crushed against itself and into the ground at the same
time

that boy would have done anything i asked
so i’m glad we didn’t have a gun

one time if you get someone to push you over you will
know exactly what i’m talking about

but only if they are exactly the right person

 

amber-fresh

Amber Fresh is a writer from Perth (via Albany and Paris). Her poems have been published in Westerly, Navigations, Cottonmouth Zine, MoTHER [has words...], The Ponies Zine, and Metior. This year she released her first book of poetry, “Between You and Me”, with funding from the Department of Culture and the Arts. She writes on a typewriter and makes music in a band called Rabbit Island.

 

 

The Same Place Twice

Nothing. Nothing but the storm held aloft by a kite string,
the mind an empty bucket in the rain, beds freshly poured
for the leaf litter, puddles open pores in the pavement.

Nothing but the sky gone cerebral with storm clouds,
the rain coming on like a migraine, synapses lit up with
the one thought, clouds epileptic with lightning. 

Nothing but the thought like water vapour over our heads,
the answer around which all questions hang rhetorical,
the perfume of the executioner sweet as summer rain,
the moment perfect in its passing.

Nothing but the boy pulling down
on his kite string, the sky pulling back up.

Nothing but the stars come unstuck in the storm
and the clouds gridlocked on the horizon,
the wiring live between my fingers
and the sound from inside the seizure. 

 

 

simoncox

Simon Cox was the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre Young-Writer-in-Residence in 2008, and has been published in Voiceworks and the Sleepers’ Almanac. With friends he organises Perth’s monthly spoken word showcase, ‘Cottonmouth’, and will help publish an anthology of Cottonmouth performers this June. In 2008 he self-published a chapbook of poems, Book Lung. http://www.cottonmouth.org.au/

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Two killer opportunities – Val Vallis & Thomas Shapcott Awards

Here’s a couple of competitions that might get the pen/keyboard working over time.

Arts Queensland Poetry Awards

 

Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize

Named in honour of a distinguished Queensland poet, the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize is committed to encouraging emerging Queensland poets. Now in its 7th year, this prestigious prize for an unpublished poetry manuscript comes with a total prize money of $3,000:

1st Prize: $3,000 plus a publishing contract with UQP

The winner will be announced at the opening night of the Queensland Poetry Festival on 21 August 2009 at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. Visit: www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com for more information on the ‘Competition’ page and to access entry forms.

 Judges: To be advised

Previous Winners: Felicity Plunkett, Sarah Holland-Batt, Angela Gardner, Nathan Shepherdson, Jaya Savige and Lidija Cvetkovic.

Deadline for receipt of applications: 5pm on Monday 13 July 2009.

 

 

Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award for Unpublished Poetry

Named in honour of a distinguished Queensland poet, the Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award for Unpublished Poetry is committed to encouraging emerging poets throughout Australia. Now in its 11th year, this prestigious prize for an unpublished poem (or suite of poems) of 100 lines or less comes with total prize money of $4,000:

1st Prize $3,000         2nd Prize $750         3rd Prize $250

The winner will be announced at the opening night of the Queensland Poetry Festival on 21 August 2009 at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. Visit: www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com for more information on the ‘Competition’ page and to download entry forms.

Judges: TBA

Previous Winners: Andrew Slattery, Nathan Shepherdson, Ynes Sanz, Sandra Hill , Jaya Savige, Judy Johnson, Anna Kerdijk Nicholson, Bronwyn Lea and Rebecca Edwards.

Deadline for receipt of applications: 5pm on Monday 6 July 2009.

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Beyond

seduced
by kite hawk
that spirals
on hot thermal winds
loneliness
like that
of the spirit of sky
inspires a hopeless
heart-broken
longing

 
wind at dusk
resents the song
of insects
and falling leaves
remind me
of the great distance
between
us

 
I want to fill my hands
with moonlight
and bring it back
to you

 
here is seclusion
and stillness
with nothing
to break the spell

 
let me soar
a white cockatoo
on strong wings
to fill a cup
from the dark heavens
and banish
this sorrow

 
awake to pillow and bed
gone are the clouds
that stifle me

 
purify myself
with cold bore-water
shower
walk out to
eastern side
of the lodge
to read
with tranquil mind
leave book closed
content
to daydream

 
three children
in uniform
run down road
in red storm of dust
only their laughter
remains

 
take a right
and walk
to vacant lot
sit beneath
gidyea tree
read poetry
to birds

 
moment of pure delight
kingfisher holds my gaze
with dazzling black-eye
and sees
straight through me

 
still a stranger
to myself
even now
in the middle
of life

 
tourists
content to discover
the next tree
the next river
the next mountain
this one
that one
one after
the other
so that everything
becomes
the same

 
forgotten joy
returns
as full moon
appears
in steel blue sky
and lonely
crow’s voice
swallows
last light
of day

 
local pulls over
offers me a ride
I smile
tell them
I’m trying to walk the city
out of my mind

 
kick at stone
embedded
in red bone earth
send dust
and pebbles
skittering
in wild patterns
that for a moment
rearrange the history
of this land

 
this breath
taken in
and exhaled
dim halo
of stars
about it

 
moonlight slants in
at the foot
of my bed
on either side
an empty mattress
this hermit’s heart
is restless
no more

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Brisbane Poetry Gig Guide – April 26

Well, I am home, fresh from a great gig today in Brisbane Square Library with Ghostboy, Skye Staniford, DarkWing Dubs and the mighty Sheish Money. Thanks to all who came along.

Here’s what’s happening around town over the next few weeks. Hope to see you somewhere soon…

 

Tuesday April 28
 
Riverbend Books – Poetry On the Deck 
 
Queensland Poetry Festival, QLD Writers Centre & Riverbend Books are proud to present the second Poetry on the Deck event for 2009. Join us on the Riverbend deck and enjoy the rural sounds of Longreach poet, Helen Avery (Seduced by Sky) alongside established local voices Rosanna Licari and Philip Neilsen (Without an Alibi) and emerging poet, Sophia Nugent-Siegal (Oracle).
 
Date: Tuesday 28 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=2199 
 
 
 
 
Saturday May 2
 
Bruce Dawe launches A Good Harvest (Post Pressed, 2009) by celebrated Queensland poet, Maureen Freer. The launch will feature readings of Maureen’s poetry by Ross Clark. Drinks and nibbles will also be served.
 
Where: In the Red Chamber, Parliament House
When: Saturday May 2, 2-4 pm.
All welcome. Free.

Maureen Freer is one of  this state’s best-known and loved poets. Indeed, as Bruce Dawe has said, ‘She is one of our most immediately accessible poets, and one who has established a firm reputation over many years’. She has received a number of awards including the Premier’s Poetry Prize 1987 and the Order of Australia for services to Australian literature, 1984. She was Chair/Convenor of the Brisbane Writers Festival from the early Warana days for fourteen years, and also chaired the 1982 Commonwealth Writers Week.

Maureen was the first person to organise a poetry reading in the Red Chamber — featuring Tom Shapcott, Bruce Dawe, David Rowbotham, John Blight and Rodney Hall. It’s appropriate, then, that what is probably her final collection of verse is launched there also.
 
 
 
Sunday May 3
 
SpeedPoets is back for Round 3 of 2009! Be there as Brisbane’s longest running spoken word/poetry event takes over The Alibi Room (720 Brunswick St. New Farm) on Sunday May 3 from 2:00pm – 5:00pm. The May event features the delicate beauty of Ichabod’s Crane: http://www.myspace.com/ichabodscranemusic. This Brisbane ensemble conjures the sounds of horses being ridden on sand and snake tails speeding beneath gumboots… music to be shipwrecked to! And to celebrate the pending launch of her debut collection ‘Voyage’, Zenobia Frost will perform a short feature set with a special appearance from Madrigal Maladies, her collaboration with Nerissa Rowan and if that’s not enough for you, winner of The Dream Ain’t Broken Chapbook Competition, Nicola Scholes will also perform a short feature set, showcasing poems from her forthcoming collection. As always there will also be live sounds from the SpeedPoets poetic riff generator Sheish Money, giveaways, free zines and two rounds of Open Mic. Entry is a gold coin… This is a gig not to be missed!
 
SpeedPoets, Sunday May 3 @ The Alibi Room, 720 Brunswick St. New Farm. 2:00pm – 5:00pm.
 
 
then get along to…
 
 
The launch of The Voyage, a poetry chapbook concerning the adventures of Zenobia Frost with illuminations by Bettina Walsh.
 
Time: 7:00pm
!Metro Arts Basement
109 Edward Street, Brisbane
Featuring [~support act James Sherlock~]
$5 entry / free drinks and nibblies
http://zenobiafrost.wordpress.com/
 
Presented by SweetWater Press
 
 
 
Saturday May 16
 
Words or Whatever – Performance poetry @ Blackstar Cafe 44 Thomas St West End from 6:30pm.

Featured acts this month include – Dissent of Didymus, Darkwing Dubs, Luke Townson + Special guests including some non english speaking poets.

As well as these awesome acts, we wil have our regular features including ‘Words of Honour’ (tribute pieces to great wordsmiths) &  ‘Words-worth’ – Live Poetry Auction.

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Guided by (Cafe) Poets – Josephine Rowe, Amelia Walker & Lara Taylor

Poets and cafes have always been a happy match and currently there are a number of poets undertaking residencies in cafes Australia wide, thanks to an initiative of the Australian Poetry Centre. And there are some exciting projects happening as a result.

Over the next few months I will be featuring many of the ‘Cafe Poets’ in the Guided by Poets section of the blog. So it is with great pleasure I present the first three poets in this series: Josephine Rowe (Melbourne), Amelia Walker (Adelaide) and Lara Taylor (Sydney).

 

 

Train to South Australia

On a train to South Australia    my face turned to the window    thistles by the rail-line    the land mostly flat and gold    black in the places where there was once water    white cows and battalions of gums as windbreaks    the dusty blue-white sky spread like an old eggshell bedsheet   the moon still out though it’s nearing midday    and I feel I might  be out there somewhere    not draped here my skin sticking to the cracked leather lounge    a warm glass of beer on the kidney-shaped table in front of me    I call my own name very softly    but it’s you that I see    shielding your eyes half-heartedly from the dust    the dead grass sweeping away and cracking beneath your unpolished shoes    for hundreds of ks you’ve kept up    stepping easily over tangled wire fences    ruined farming equipment    yes it’s you that I see    and I want to call out    I want to knock against the double-paned glass    beat my hands against it and shout    Hey    till the glossy crows are startled away and you look up    your pale round face sleepy-smiling    you’re looking up and gently    and I want to strike the window glass and yell out    Hey    but all you hear is wheels and whistles    scotch-thistles puffing Father Christmases across the rail line    all you hear is the dry cracking of the grass    the flit and drone of insects    though I’ve pressed my mouth right close to the frame and screamed for all I’m worth    all that comes out is a sigh    and it sounds like dry grass cracking    it sounds like the sleeve of your jacket    brushing the fabric of your trouser-thigh    as you marry your stride to the landscape    leave me wanting for you    with this dust in my chest and no breath    just my name    traced in fog    on the glass.

(from the book Asynchrony)

 

josephine-rowe

 

Josephine Rowe:

Over the past twelve months I’ve been working on my second collection of short fiction, so I haven’t written much in the way of poetry. I saw the Café Poet Program as a perfect opportunity to switch back into a poetic headspace and rekindle my love of the line break. I’ve just confirmed my residency at Victorian Railway Workshops Art & Antiques – it’s a mixed business run out of an old light-rail station in Albert Park, so I’m essentially writing amongst all of this beautiful old railway paraphernalia. It would be an amazing place to have a reading.

I’d have to say I’m fairly nostalgic for a twenty-four year old. Perhaps nostalgic isn’t exactly the right word in this case, as we’re talking about an era that I didn’t belong to, but I do have a strong interest in pretty much anything from the Victorian era to post WWII. That interest has often been reflected in my subject matter. I used to write a lot about wartime Melbourne in particular; the brown-outs and the ration books and the white feathers all fascinated me.

It will be interesting to see how working from VRW influences my writing. My own apartment is like some kind of 1920s slum-deco time warp, where television is non-existent and my laptop is a complete anachronism. But there are more distractions there, and the coffee isn’t quite as good.

 

 

City, Lover, Self
  
Goodbye Poem for Adelaide, December 2004

I am listening to you breathe,
to the rhythm of your being,
the rush of engines through your dark streets,
your veins, your arteries,
those whispered capillaries of suburbia
perfusing backyards, bedrooms
-the soft tissue organs of your strange scarred body,
city, lover, self.
My feet are intimate with your paths,
every shop glass shines with the ghost of some moment:
things that have been, or could have been,
people I knew, and never really knew,
people I have been, people I could have been…
This comfortable haunting gets loud at times
in your arms it is too easy to rest
eyes shut, warmed by familiarity…
city, lover, self.
I am leaving. Not forever,
for a while.
While I am gone, you will continue
rising and falling with each quiet breath,
your hidden heart will beat, not miss me,
you will dance, will sleep with strangers,
will grow and die and grow and die and die and grow
and so will I.
Tonight, though, we sleep safely one last time,
city, lover, self.

(from the book ‘Just Your Everyday Apocalypse’)

 

amelia-walker

 

Amelia Walker

Amelia began writing poetry and performing at venues around Adelaide when she was sixteen. Since then she has performed at festivals around Australia and overseas for the 2008 World Poetry Festival. Her second collection of poetry, ‘Just Your Everyday Apocalypse’, was recently launched by ABC Radio’s Mike Ladd and is available for purchase from www.freewebs.com/ameliawalker or by emailing mealzislost@yahoo.com
As a Cafe Poet at Higher Ground in Adelaide, Amelia is spending her writing time working on poems for her Honours thesis artefact. She is studying Creative Writing at UniSA. She also recently organised a full-costume wrestling-themed poetry debate and monster open mike to celebrate Love Poetry Hate Racism 2009 & to launch the Love Poetry Hate Racism global poetry anthology. Free copies of the anthology can be downloaded from http://www.datafilehost.com/download-a8a864f6.html Future plans involve more gigs and workshops.

 

 

How to Save the Planet

There’s a mist that is rolling through the thunder
There’s a morning view just waiting to be found
There’s an ocean that is full of bloody currents!
And there is Stillness in a Deep and Wordless sound

There’s a Caterpillar climbing up a strong and silken Thread
And a waterbird just goes his merry way
And there’s a web complete with Droplets that have come into the Light
And there is me and there is you and we are Learning how to play

And I see beyond the Rotten on this Still and Seamless morn
And I listen to the footsteps of mankind
And it feels a little tricky, but we’re all in the same ditty
As we open up our eyes to this, we open up our minds

There’s a hole beyond the Cobweb, I can see it
I can hear it in the sound of morning dew …
And the Busy-ness is leaving as the Wordless takes its Place
And I find a moments Peace which I am sharing Now with You

Cafe Poet Program ‘09
An initiative of the Australian Poetry Centre and supported by the Mortdale Grind Cafe, Sydney, NSW

 

lara-taylor

 

Lara Taylor:

Lara won her first poetry comp at age 9 with a poem entitled ‘My Horrible Brother’. Her style hasn’t changed much since then; she enjoys a simple childlike use of words to explore complex human themes. In 2006 she won The Literary Prize for a performance at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta for her poem ‘I am looking at the Masses’, an exploration into human pain and the search for meaning. Recent titles include ‘The Flippy Floppy Bunny Rabbit’, ‘The Very Sad Poem’, a comical piece about her desire to have a more elegant vocabulary and ‘From Hiam to Lebanon and Back’.

The Mortdale Grind is a stylish busy cafe in Mortdale, Sydney. Decorated by various awards, saleable artwork and comical cartoons, it serves coffee to a wide variety of individuals from the local area. The ‘Poem of the Week’ is our first project and plans are to create a booklet entitled ‘The Coffee Shop Collection’ later during the residency.

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Ghostboy & F(r)iends – come join us!

This Sunday, April 26, Brisbane’s surrealist spoken word ringmaster Ghostboy will gather a few of his f(r)iends together for a stripped down afternoon of poetry and performance at Brisbane Square Library. It’s all happening in the Sound and Vision Lounge on Level One from 12:00pm – 2:15pm as part of the monthly Acoustics on Sunday gigs.

 

darkwing-dubs1

 

First up in the three prong poetic arsenal is local rhyme-spittin’ genre bender DarkWing Dubs. DarkWing got the room stomping at the last SpeedPoets with his unique blend of sci-fi spoken word & hip hop.

 

ghostboy-with-golden-virtues

 

Next up is an up close and personal set from Ghostboy and his muse, the delightful Skye Staniford. Ghostboy’s shows have been known to move people in ways they never knew possible.

Here’s a clip of Ghostboy doing his thing at The Globe Theatre in Brisbane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7QGczPoJhI

 

graham-nunn-sheish-money1

 

And to round things off, Sheish Money & I will be performing tracks from our forthcoming album ‘The Stillest Hour’. You can listen to a track from the new album here: http://www.pool.org.au/audio/graham_nunn/in_devotion_to_lifes_sordid_affairs

This is bound to be an afternoon of words to excite more than your ears.

Love to see you there…

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(Near) Perfect Books of Poetry

The good folks over at Lilliput Review have been compiling a list of perfect or near perfect books of poetry and it has now reached the 200 mark.

You can check out the list here: http://lilliputreview.googlepages.com/nearperfectbooksofpoems

Many of the books on the list are books that have had a huge influence on me: Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Collected Greed Parts 1 – 13 by Diane Wakoski, 100 Poems from the Chinese tr. by Kenneth Rexroth and Poet in New York by Federico Garcia Lorca to name a few.

There are many books on the list I have never read (aaahhh to have the time to read everything I want) and there are of course many titles that I feel should be listed. After all, it wouldn’t be a list if you didn’t want to add to it!

So here are 5 suggestions from me…

On Love and Barley by Basho tr. by Lucien Stryk

The Best of Henri by Adrian Henri

The Clean Dark by Robert Adamson

Radiant Silhouette by John Yau; and

The Three Way Tavern by Ko Un

 

Each of these collections has had a profound impact on me and I could go on and list more, but I would love to hear which books of poetry you feel deserve to be on the list. So, please add your list of titles in the comments section and feel free to tell us why.

Look forward to hearing from you…

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Artist Profile: Nicola Scholes

Finding new voices is a joyous thing and it is something that Small Change Press are passionate about. Their recent ‘The Dream Aint Broken Chapbook Competition’ unearthed more than 30 new manuscripts, one of which belonged to Nicola Scholes. Her winning manuscript, ‘Dear Rose’ is brimming with vivid landscapes of love, lust and vulnerability. Her poems showcase a voice that cuts through the niceties in favour of a frank transmission of experience.

To celebrate the upcoming launch of her debut collection, Nicola will feature at SpeedPoets on Sunday May 3, premiering some of the poems from ‘Dear Rose’.

Here is one of the poems from her winning manuscript.

 

Like a Giant

Morning barely contained I leave
without breakfast, take the bus to UQ.
Once transported, lap the lake, drink
the mellow green tea, lick the skinny milk
moss shrouding water.  I could like a giant
wet finger & thumb, place them gently
at either end, lift the skirt, cast it away, fling it
on branches, a dripping hammock;
climb the hill, see them tread for Siamese
fighting fish, queue for sushi selling socialist
alternative Marx the big read, speckling the
great court, arched back gorillas reading
under trunks.  I could listen to Ginsberg,
forgive his misogyny, walk under the poem
of the great arches, take that lift, open that
door, step into my purpose.

 

Nicola Scholes live at QPF 2008 - photo by Elleni Toumpas

Nicola Scholes live at QPF 2008 - photo by Elleni Toumpas

 

About Nicola:

Nicola Scholes was born in Cheshire, England, in 1975, and came to Australia in 1986.  She has been writing poems ever since she was a young girl.  Lately, her poems have appeared in places including, The Broadkill Review (USA), Hecate, Poems in Perspex: Max Harris Poetry Award 2007, SpeedPoets, and Stylus Poetry Journal.  Nicola performed at Queensland Poetry Festival in 2008, and in 2007, won the open mic competition at Queensland Poetry Festival event “Love Poetry Hate Racism.”  Nicola is currently researching a PhD on representations of the maternal in Allen Ginsberg’s poetry at the University of Queensland.

 

Be there as Brisbane’s longest running spoken word/poetry event takes over The Alibi Room (720 Brunswick St. New Farm) on Sunday May 3 from 2:00pm – 5:00pm. The May event features Nicola Scholes, the delicate beauty of Ichabod’s Crane and a pre-launch reading from  Zenobia Frost. As always there will be live sounds from the SpeedPoets poetic riff generator Sheish Money, giveaways, free zines and two rounds of Open Mic. Entry is a gold coin… This is a gig not to be missed!
 
SpeedPoets, Sunday May 3 @ The Alibi Room, 720 Brunswick St. New Farm. 2:00pm – 5:00pm.

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Where do the Words Come From #8 – Sophia Nugent-Siegal

Sophia Nugent-Siegal is an exciting new voice, who released her debut collection ‘Oracle’ at the ripe old age of 16. She is one of the featured poets at the upcoming Riverbend Books: Poetry on the Deck event on Tuesday April 28, so let’s take a look at where Sophia finds her words.

 

sophia-nugent-siegal

 

Influences:

My biggest influences have been the dead—the great poets of the English language, particularly Shakespeare, the Metaphysicals and Modernist authors such as T.S. Elliot, and the characters that populate my historical calling (who wouldn’t be inspired to verse by the Muses of the Hellenes or the Holy Spirit of the Middle Ages).

 

The writing process:

My writing process mostly takes place in my head before pen has got within a mile of paper, so that when I finally do start writing, the poetry tends to come fairly easily and needing little revision. This process means that I write rarely but when I do I can be very productive – writing, for example, about thirty poems in four days and then not writing again for up to a year.

 

Voice:

My voice is somewhat impersonal, even when there is an “I” who can be seen to roughly correlate with me. I often take on dramatic masks such as mythological or fictional characters or write without any definition of self whatsoever. In another way, of course, my voice is startlingly personal, as I possess a distinctive style that represents my own unique interests and ideas, if not personality.

 

Themes:

History is probably my most consistently recurring theme—I have never written a poem that does not include time and the past as significant factors. It has also been mentioned to me that blood, red earth and birth make more than their fair share of appearances in my work.

 

Feelings/change:

I started writing poetry ten years ago, when I was seven years old, so obviously my feelings about an awful lot of things have changed since then. My poetry however seems to have undergone more of a process of evolution, and my analysis of it more an intellectual sharpening, than my feelings about the act and purpose of writing changed. I still aim for beauty and power, I still aim to fight against mortality, and I still write as much about a universe of the quick, haunted by their predecessors as much as I ever did.

 

The Flight into Egypt, Book of Hours (France, Paris, c.1440-c.1450)1

This refugee family treks into a strangely familiar Egypt
The baby wrapped up into a Canopic jar
His precious body and blood protected by golden swaddling bands

An angel follows with a small bag
And a heavenly sceptre
He walks a step behind the donkey

How tiresome for him who can run with the quick and the dead
Whose speed outpaces that of light
Who must be both a wave and a pulse
To walk a step behind this donkey who walks a step behind an old man
And carry a small bag
Joseph carries bigger, as does Mary’s donkey
So what does the celestial carry-bag contain?

Souls perhaps
Or merely hell
The future to the New Jerusalem
With a dead hand refilling with rivulets of flesh
And raising itself up
Or maybe the angel carries
The ultimate baggage
Sin and the fiery angel Death
The weeping Adam and Eve
Whose sweeping nakedness waits
For a double rebirth

Behind the family and their otherworldly servant
Lies what passes for the Nile
A rowing boat snails along it
A castle guards it
And a city lies poised upon its banks
Reflecting and refracting
Waiting for time to throw it downstream

This family is fleeing murder
This family is fleeing tyranny
This family is not going toward but away
Away from the red mouth of slaughter
And the more numerous red mouths of its work

So whether they carry sin or the apocalypse in their overnight bag
Behind them the farmer digs holes
Not looking or searching
Simply opening up

 

1 An illuminated manuscript from The Medieval Imagination, an exhibition at the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, in 2008

 

About Sophia:

Sophia Nugent-Siegal is a young poet whose interest in mythology, art and history is woven into work with a contemporary focus and edge. Sophia has won many national young writers’ awards (she is a 3-time national award winner in the Taronga Foundation Poetry Prize, and has also won the FAW Young Poet of the Year and Mavis Thorpe Clark awards). Her first book, Oracle, provides a fresh, sharp and contemporary insight into the continuing resonance of the Classical world. Recent projects include a collection based on illuminated manuscripts of medieval texts from an exhibition at the Melbourne State Library in 2008.

 

Queensland Poetry Festival, QLD Writers Centre & Riverbend Books are proud to present the second Poetry on the Deck event for 2009. Join Sophia Nugent-Siegal (Oracle) on the Riverbend deck alongside Longreach poet, Helen Avery (Seduced by Sky), Rosanna Licari and Philip Neilsen (Without an Alibi).
 
Date: Tuesday 28 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=2199

The first event for the year was a huge success, with tickets selling out quickly, so book early to avoid disappointment!

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Submit to the City Nights Project

Got a seedy city tale to tell? A story from the underbelly of midnight?Want to make something of it?

 

brisbane_city_night

 

Cities are places of intrigue and ABC Radio National and Radio National Online are looking for stories for their City Nights Project.  Whatever your medium, be it poetry, fiction, documentary, film, photography (or whatever), register as a member of Pool and upload your work for the chance to be featured on Radio National’s 360 program later in the year.

I just uploaded the track Brisbane Love Poems for the project so head along and check that out and then upload some of your own work. The website is:

www.pool.org.au/citynights

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