Monthly Archives: June 2011

Vancouver Haiku #2

dawn sky
three times
the butterfly unfolds

*

left
by the garter snake
grass heads rattle

*

still at work
in the twilight
summer bees

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Vancouver Haiku #1

crisp sky
girls’ skirts swimming
up past their knees

*

long grass
the dog’s paws
wave at the sky

*

lost in a gust
of maple leaves
crow call

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Just before I go…

If you are anywhere near Brisbane next Wednesday night, The Back Room at Confit Bistro is keeping the QLD Poetry Festival love flowing with a showcase of artists from the 2011 program.

The night will feature Sheish Money, Jane Sheehy and Nick Powell premiering work from their new show, Shift; Jeremy Thompson, who’s poem, First City Christmas at Grandmas was shortlisted in the recent, 2010 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize; and readings from three members of the QPF Committee, Jonathan Hadwen, Lee-Anne Davie and Zenobia Frost. Each will read a selection of their own poems as well as a poem from one of the international/interstate artists on the QPF Program.

Confit Bistro is located at 4/9 Doggett St, Fortitude Valley and has a sensational tapas style menu and wine list. Entry is free!

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Travel Plans…

Tomorrow, this Lost Shark boards a plane for distant waters, namely Vancouver and San Francisco. So things will slow down here over the next month, but there will still be the occasional post, I mean, there will have to be a photo outside City Lights!!! It still all seems a little unreal this morning as I clean and contemplate what to pack, but here’s a few places that are on the must visit list:

Granville Island:

For food and arts this place is mind-blowingly good. I ate a red snapper soup last time I was there and have wanted it ever since.

Zulu Records:

One of the coolest record stores I have ever stepped inside.

MacLeod’s Books:

Last time I was there, I asked if there was a copy of Leonard Cohen’s Parasites of Heaven, and though there wasn’t, the gentleman behind the counter produced an album of photos of Cohen sitting outside the legendary Sylvia Hotel on English Bay. A moment I will always treasure.

Caffe Trieste:

These walls would have some stories to tell… legendary hang out for Beat authors, Lawrence Ferlinghetti (still a regular), Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Jack Hirschman (another current regular) & co.

Vesuvio:

Another legendary Beat hang out, located just across from City Lights in Jack Kerouac Alley.

City Lights:

It will be unbelievable to walk into this store… this place and the literature it has produced has been a major influence. Am sure I will visit more than once!

*******************

This is but a handful of places on the list… I look forward to bringing back many stories and of course, a few poems too!

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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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The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

For my 40th birthday, I was lucky enough to be given a gift voucher to spend at one of Brisbane’s independent book stores, Coaldrakes. I walked out with two books, David Byrne’s (Talking Heads), Bicycle Diaries and Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. I am certain that Bicycle Diaries will be an incredible read, in fact, I plan to take it overseas with me so that I can read his reflections on San Francisco while I am there, but it was Tova Bailey’s, Wild Snail that captivated me at first sight. I mean… that title, it had me right from the start. And as soon as I delved in, I was deep in her world, a world of mystery illness and a gentle forest snail.

Part memoir, part scientific study, part meditative journal on the connectedness of humans and the natural world, this is a book that I know I will carry with me forever. The writing is spell like in it’s ability to hold you. The language is spare and graceful, poetic in the way it is put together; each chapter opening with a quote or a poem about snails. Some of my favourite quotes come from the haiku masters, Buson & Issa, who wrote many poems about the humble snail.

In the last few days (particularly after a big weekend in the yard), I too, have penned a handful of snail haiku, as after reading this astonishing book, I have a new found respect for the snail.

cold night
a snail drags moonlight
up the wall

*

the clock ticks
its slow hours
snail watching

*

dawn light
following the snail’s wake

*

Here is a book trailer for The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating… this book just might change the way you see and hear the world.

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The Church Rock for Autism Awareness

The Church have long been an important part of the Australian music (and my own personal) landscape. For 30 years they have remained vital, creative and original, which is something to be celebrated in this fleeting digital age. One of the things that keeps this band vital is their social conscience, and tomorrow night, three key members of The Church – Steve Kilbey, Peter Koppes & Tim Powles play The Red Rattler in Marrickville to raise money for Autism Spectrum Australia. All money raised will go toward funding the education of young people with autism, a truly worthy cause. If you are not aware of autism, I can highly recommend reading Gabrielle Bryden’s ‘The Autism Files‘. These posts are from the heart, and highly informative.

So, if you are in or around Marrickville tomorrow night, get along and support a great Australian independent band and help make a difference in many young people’s lives. And for those of us who can’t be there, here’s a clip of The Church rocking out on KEXP Radio last year:

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QLD Program Launch Feature #3 – Janaka Malwatta

Word on the street is, tomorrow night’s QPF Program Launch at Riverbend Books is a sell out… that’s right, 100 tickets already in the hands of 100 lucky people. And I stress the word lucky here as the line up is nothing short of scintillating! Sheish Money & Jane Sheehy will add their distinct rock’n’roll flair to the night; Betsy Turcot & Eleanor Jackson will set your heart and mind racing with the rhythm of their words; Michelle Dicinoski will send sparks flying with the launch of her debut collection, Electricity for Beginners; and Janaka Malwatta will make his feature debut, reading from his debut collection, Kavi.

Janaka was born in the Sri Lankan hill capital of Kandy. He came to Brisbane via London, where he spent much of his life. He caught the poetry bug as a medical student in London, and first performed poetry in London at the Stoke Newington International Airport in 2009.  Janaka performs regularly at Speed Poets here in Brisbane and has published a collection of poems entitled Kavi. The poems in the collection are based principally in Sri Lanka. He moonlights as a GP in Brisbane when not performing poetry.

Here’s a recent poem:

Galle Face Green

Galle Face Green is green again,
as green as the day it was first made,
raised on a terrace at the ocean’s edge.
Stone benches so close to breaking waves,
you inhale ocean spray with every breath.
Pampered like a favoured child,
the lawn gleamed in the sun. A quarter mile
of displaced longing, a European promenade
built under Asian skies.

Galle Face Green is green again.
For twenty years closed off, there but out of reach,
a reminder of times before the city was besieged
by bombers in lorries and suicide vests,
and checkpoints stretched down Galle Road
like yellow dominoes, waiting to fall.
Soldiers in flak-jackets replaced promenaders,
barricades against the threat from the sea.
Untended, Galle Face became barren and brown,
green only in name and in memory.
The terrorists never came this way.
The fences have gone now.
Galle Face Green is green again.

The food stalls are back, but they’ve been corralled,
caged like animals in a purpose-built shack.
Twenty years ago, they roamed free on the grass.
We stood in the open, warm rotis grasped
in hungry hands. Children ran as families gathered at dusk,
to let sea air dispel the day’s city dust.
The in-crowd dropped in, on their way out
Blue Elephant dances, then on to Puloas
the food stalls at Galle Face drew everyone out.

The kites have returned, flapping, fluttering, flashes of colour,
competing with seabirds
in seabreeze dances;
it’s a game they always lose.
Pelicans are perched on top of lamp-posts,
surveying with equal disdain
passing tuk-tuks and the fathers of the nation,
preserved in bronze near Parliament steps,
ties and collars unfamiliar restraints
on over ambitious Asian necks.

Galle Face Green is green again.
Courting couples hide from prying eyes
and the fierce sun under giant umbrellas,
or climb down the steps the tsunami assailed.
The risque couples paddle fully-clothed
ankles and shins cautiously exposed
laughing waves chase them back up the beach.
Children splash in warm ocean waters, kites flutter overhead
tourists snap pelicans on lamp-posts perches
and Galle Face Green is green again.

***************

If you want to try and barter your way in tomorrow night, the details are below. Hope to see you there tomorrow night!

Date: Wednesday 22 June
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/2508/Riverbend+Poetry+Series

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Lost Shark Radio #2 – Long Live Clarence Clemons

My heart broke a little today when I learned that the great Clarence ‘Big Man’ Clemons had passed away on June 18. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band gave me my first live music experience way back in 1985 when they toured the country for the first time on the back of the mammoth, Born in the USA album. I have vivid memories of Clarence and Bruce standing side by side, leaning in that little bit, stoking the fire inside each other. His playing on songs like Thunder Road & Born to Run will remain timeless, but it is the solo on Jungleland that makes my skin tighten and the hairs on my neck dance.

Here he is blowing that legendary sax, live in Hyde Park in 2009:

With the loss of Danny Federici in 2008 and now Clarence, the E-Street Band will be forever changed… so it is only fitting to leave the last word to Bruce:

Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.

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Winter Full Moon Ginko – poems and photos

It was a spectacularly clear night on Friday as ten of us gathered at Valori Espresso Lounge & Gallery for our moon viewing ginko along Scarborough Beach. The moon was right on time (6:30pm), revealing its red glow before rising majestically. Here is a selection of poems and photos from the night.

                                                                still night
                                                                a plover calls
                                                                the rising moon

                                                                Graham Nunn

                                                                               *

                                                                moon viewing
                                                                a mullet bubbles
                                                                to the surface

                                                                Graham Nunn

                                                                                *

                                                                stars fade
                                                                tonight the moon
                                                                commands centre stage

                                                                Maree Dirou

                                                                                 *

                                                                cold night
                                                                an uptight couple
                                                                glare at the moon

                                                                Jenny Wright

                                                                                 *

                                                                fishing boats
                                                                blink on the horizion
                                                                harvest moon

                                                                Jenny Wright

                                                                                 *

                                                                full moon
                                                                who is here to howl at you?
                                                                the traffic roars

                                                                Maree Dirou

                                                                                                                        

                                                                 winter moon
                                                                 draws the tide
                                                                 like a stick figure

                                                                  Kristin Johnson

                                                                                *

                                                                  wind on the water
                                                                  a thousand little footprints
                                                                  melt into night

                                                                  Kristin Johnson

                                                                                *

                                                                  ebb tide silence
                                                                  a passage beacon flashes
                                                                  to a red lantern moon

                                                                  Sue Mair

                                                                                 *

                                                                  together
                                                                  on our different shores
                                                                  moonrise melts the distance

                                                                  Sue Mair

                                                                                 *

                                                                  waves break
                                                                  coldness
                                                                  laps my feet

                                                                  Therese Morgan

                                                                                 *

                                                                  stars fade
                                                                  a hot ember moon
                                                                  brands the ocean

                                                                  John Allen

                                                                                  *

                                                                  cold night
                                                                  the rising moon
                                                                  pours words through my mind

                                                                  John Allen

                                                                  street lamp
                                                                  just the trunk
                                                                  of a pine tree

                                                                  Andrew Phillips

                                                                                *

                                                                  fishermen cast
                                                                  into a winter moon
                                                                  wizzzz

                                                                  Andrew Phillips

                                                                                 *

                                                                  clear path -
                                                                  is it yours
                                                                  winter moon?

                                                                  Erina

                                                                                  *

                                                                  following
                                                                  or leading?
                                                                  winter moon

                                                                  Erina

                                                                                   *

                                                                  moonrise
                                                                  my mouth
                                                                  drops open

                                                                  Cindy Keong

                                                                                   *

                                                                  new moon
                                                                  on the path
                                                                  old lovers move closer

                                                                  Cindy Keong

                                                                                  *

                                                                  full moon
                                                                  shivering
                                                                  in the shallow water

                                                                  Therese Morgan

                                                                                   *

                                                               photographs by Cindy Keong

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