Monthly Archives: July 2010

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.

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SpeedPoets team up with Page Seventeen

The first Sunday of the month is sacred in these waters… nothing (or let’s say next to nothing) comes between this Lost Shark and SpeedPoets. But the first Sunday in August is even a little more special than usual, as SpeedPoets, Brisbane’s longest running poety/spoken word event is teaming up with one of this country’s finest literary journals, Page Seventeen to offer one local writer the chance to have their work published in issue #8 as well as win a pretty cool little book package including back issues of Page Seventeen and a range of other quality journals and poetry collections.

What are we looking for? Poems that dance on page and stage. Poems that create their own music, that beat their own drum. Poems that beg to be heard again and again and again and… well you get the picture.

The rules of entry are simple:

1.  Sign on for the Page Seventeen/SpeedPoets Open Mic Competition will commence at 2pm

2. Each poet will be given 3mins to perform/read their poem (without musical accompaniment). Each poem read must be the original work of the poet.

3. Each poet must place a typed/neatly handwritten copy of their poem in the judges box at the conclusion of their reading.

4. Judges will consider the poem in its oral and written form.

5. The winning poem will be published in issue #8 of Page Seventeen and the poet will receive a book/CD pack.

(NB. Judges decisions on the day will be final and no further corresspondence will be entered into)

There will also be free zines, the monthly raffle and much, much more…

So for your monthly poetry hit, get along to InSpire Gallery Bar, 71 Vulture St West End this Sunday, August 1 from 2pm. I wouldn’t be anywhere else!

SpeedPoets, Sunday August 1, 2:00pm – 5:00pm
InSpire Gallery Bar
- 71 Vulture St. West End

Entry is a gold coin donation

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Throw your words in the river…

The good people over at Pool have put the call out to poets far and wide to submit poems about rivers. This is what they are looking for:

Rivers call to people’s souls. Managing rivers is a fine art, but essential to the survival of everything we know. So when the heart land rivers of a nation are sick, how does that affect us all?  Tell us your memories of rivers loved and lost, loved and regained, your river dreams.

Contributions can be in any style, audio, text, or video/images.

Final entries need to be sent in by cob September 15, 2010. If you post soon you will get feedback on early drafts from producers and other contributors. Remember you can repost new drafts as often as you wish, so long as final drafts are in by the due date.

I know this Lost Shark is going to throw a few words into the river… and here’s a glimpse of one of my favourite rivers, the mighty Brunswick River in Northern NSW. Believe me… it’s close to heaven!

photograph by Cindy Keong

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A Landing Place for Poems

Last night at the second of Emily XYZ’s workshops, we looked at our place on the cultural continuum, spoke about the artists/art/objects/places etc.. that have influenced us and then read a poem that demonstrated how we have taken those influences and shaped them into our own, original voice.

I read chapter 4 of Desolation Angels, a piece of writing that sings after countless reads; that still has the power to mesmerise, to light up my senses. Desolation Angels found me at a strange time of life, struggling with my own persoanl loneliness, so I was there on the Lookout with Jack, trying to find the truth in this world, just as he was. I then read the poem, January 29, 2009 (for John Martyn) to show how Kerouac’s spiritual connection with the land and ability to illuminate the ‘everydayness’ of living has greatly influenced my own work.

Emily talked often throughout the night about the importance of finding your tribe; to know that you are not alone and that there is a precedent for what you are trying to do. She also spoke about how poems come to us and that sometimes we are vessels, a landing place for poems.

This reminded me of the quote by Muriel Rukeyser:

“You only need be a scarecrow for poems to land on.”

and lead to this great article ‘The Poet is a Scarecrow’ by Melissa Broder. What struck me most about this article was Broder’s exploration of Barbara Guest’s theory that the poem is an active force exercising human imagination; is an entity capable of feelings. In Guest’s world, ‘a poem seeks out a certain type of artist; an artist who possesses the qualities of subjectivity or openness.’

I totally recommend reading this article… it certainly spoke to me. These workshops are proving to be the highlight of my week.

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The Question of Culture – responses welcome!

Workshop #1 with Emily XYZ hit the mark, with each of the participants selecting a poem that they believed worked well to read to the group. The voices were diverse in style, content and experience which made for some really interesting discussion and Emily brought the group together superbly, creating an atmosphere for honest critique to be given and received.

As part of the group, it was a real pleasure to have three uninterrupted hours to just talk poetry, the purpose it fulfills and how our aesthetic choices can advance this purpose or hinder it. I am now looking forward to tomorrow night’s class where we discuss the question of culture. Some of the questions Emily has raised include:

Where do you fit in as an artist?
What historical precedents do you recognise in your own work?
Who do you most admire/relate to?
What influences, if any, can you see in your work?
What are you obsessed with, what are the recurring themes in your work?

Would love to hear your thoughts on any or all of these…

 

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all these sudden triangles

all these sudden triangles
Hokusai’s wave crashes
to the floor

at dusk
the river throws back
the heron’s stillness

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Another hole in the ‘Beat Fabric’

Beat Poet, Bohemian, Activist, Founding Fug and self-confessed ‘Worlds Oldest Rock Star’, Tuli Kupferberg passed away on July 12 aged 86, tearing another hole in the Beat Fabric… With the recent deaths of artists such as Peter Orlovsky and Lenore Kandel, members of the sprawling group, immortalised as ‘The Beats’ are getting thin on the ground.

Kupferberg himself was immortalised in Ginsberg’s groundbreaking poem, ‘Howl’ as the man who threw himself off the Brooklyn Bridge and was one of the driving forces behind incendiary underground act The Fugs, alongside Ed Sanders. His work as a poet/artist and with The Fugs was staunchly anti-war. Songs such as Kill For Peace & CIA Man and his legendary publication, 1001 Ways to Beat the Draft published by Grove Press are classic examples.

As a publisher he was also at the cutting edge, releasing 9 issues of Yeah  in the early 60’s and contributing to the periodical Birth, Swing.

His work remained vibrant until the very end, railing against the decay of literature (check out Tuli sticking it to the literary elite with his dozen little known anti-literary facts) and recording his daily Perverbs (check out two of Tuli’s Perverbs – They Who Go Down To The Sea & He Who Fights and Runs Away).

Artists like Tuli are once in a lifetime…

So to send you on your Friday night, here’s The Fugs ripping through I Couldn’t Get High. Float on Tuli, float on…

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