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!

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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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