Tag Archives: Brisbane New Voices

The first Brisbane New Voices V poet is…

the magnificent, Simon Kindt!

Simon Kindt

About as suburban as you can get, Simon grew up on the southside of Brisbane, began a career as a teacher in 2003 and has been writing poetry since 2012.

In 2013, Simon has flung himself into the Brisbane spoken word scene and is currently working on developing a performance poetry crew of ruffian teenagers at a major metropolitan high school. Watch out for them.

Simon has performed at the Brisbane Emerging Arts Festival (2013), was selected as a SpeedPoets call back poet (2013) and once won some strawberry jam at Jamjar Slam.

*****

Here’s a taste of what’s to come…

Flinders 3

From the mesa the town below
was just another map of itself,
peeled back skin pinned by eucalypts
and leaning fence posts,
the river dry a spine dissected,
edges fraying into ghosts of Elysian Fields.

From the east the thunderheads rolled in
heavy and crackling,
magnesium flares sparking,
lighting up the sky’s belly and
drums, drums and drums.

We were golden jokes,
strange shapes in stranger places,
mermaids high and dry.

You, proof of a lower case god,
a driftwood cathedral bell tower rung,
singing for the slick and honey wet.
Me, opening my copper throat with flints,
to drink the sky from red and flashing gills.

We sat, sails flapping and jaws reaching as
the sky broke open overhead,
the storm clouds, waves following each other in,
throats popping and gushing,
the rain, molasses thick and wine dark,
falling over itself to get to us
before we drowned in air.

*****

I hope there are many poets reading this, and sharpening their poems for submission to Brisbane New Voices V. I’m ready to read!

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Brisbane New Voices V: Submissions Open

The Brisbane New Voices series is something I am incredibly proud of. So far I have had the privilege of working with Jonathan Hadwen, Fiona Privitera, Chris Lynch, John Koenig, Carmen Leigh-Keates, Vanessa Page, Trudie Murrell and Vuong Pham; a stellar line up indeed!

Next year will see the series celebrating it’s 5th anniversary, so to keep things fresh and interesting, a special edition featuring five Brisbane poets will be published and launched in the first half of 2014. Planning for Brisbane New Voices V is underway and two poets have already been selected for publication. I will be announcing the first of these two poets later this week, so be sure to keep an eye on the site. That leaves three places in the final publication, so it is with great excitement that I am, for the first time ever, accepting submissions for Brisbane New Voices.

Here are the Submission Guidelines:

bnvweb

Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Entrants must reside in the city of Brisbane.
  2. Entrants must not have previously published (including self-published) a collection of poems sixteen (16) or more pages in length.

Submission Guidelines:

  1. Submissions marked ‘Brisbane New Voices V’ should be posted to Graham Nunn, 86 Hawkwood St. Mt. Gravatt East, Brisbane QLD 4122.
  2. Submissions should include between 15 A4 pages and 20 A4 pages of poetry. Each new poem must start a new page. If the poet is submitting haiku or other short poems (no more than 10 lines), please place no more than three haiku  / two short poems per page.
  3. All submissions should include a cover letter that includes the following information – Name, email, postal address, phone number, short biography (no more than 80 words) and a brief introduction to your poems. The cover page is not included in the total pages of poetry submitted.
  4. Poems should be typed in an easily readable 12 point font (e.g. Times New Roman) with 1.5 line spacing.
  5. All poems submitted must be the entrant’s original work. Submissions will not be returned.
  6. The author’s name, email address and postal address must appear on every page of the submission.
  7. Prior publication of individual poems in literary journals and newspapers is encouraged. An acknowledgements page should be included with the manuscript, listing all the poems previously published and where they have first appeared.  This includes on-line publication and any broadcast performance (radio or television). The acknowledgements page is not included in the total pages of poetry submitted.
  8. Poets may submit only one entry to ‘Brisbane New Voices V’.
  9. Three submissions will be accepted for publication in ‘Brisbane New Voices V’. If selected, the poet will be required to engage in an editorial process to prepare no more than ten pages of poetry for the final publication.
  10. Deadline for submissions is Friday September 27, 2013. Submissions received after this date, but postmarked on or before September 27, 2013 will be accepted.
  11. The editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. The editor reserves the right not to select any of the submissions received. A decision will be made by October 31, 2013.
  12. All poets will be advised of the result via email 24 hours prior to the results being published on http://www.anotherlostshark.com in November, 2013.
  13. ‘Brisbane New Voices V’ will be published in early 2014 and launched in the first half of the year.
  14. There is no submission fee to ‘Brisbane New Voices V’.

 

Any questions about the guidelines should be emailed to geenunn(at)yahoo.com.au.

I am looking forward to the reading ahead and hope that many of you will get behind this and help to spread the word wide and far.

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Brisbane New Voices IV Now Available

The magic that was the launch of Brisbane New Voices IV on Tuesday night is still thrumming in my veins… for those of you who were not able to make it and want to secure yourself one of the few copies remaining, you can now do so via the Another Lost Shark Store. Just click on the cover below…

BNV IV Cover

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Brisbane New Voices IV: Mother by Vuong Pham

With one sleep remaining until Brisbane New Voices IV makes its way in to the world, I am excited to give you a ‘first taste’ from Vuong Pham’s micro-collection, Refugee Prayer. Vuong’s work is deeply spiritual and celebrates the strength of the human spirit. Mother is the opening poem from his collection, and it too, sets the tone for the remainder of the work. I think you will find the honesty and sense of hope that drives this poem will resonate with you long after reading…

Last tickets can be purchased for tomorrow night’s launch here.

BNV IV Refugee Prayer

Mother

I know now, as I did in my childhood wonder
that my mother dreamed of a paradise
one unbound by war and exodus.

On the living room carpet we sit
I pluck her grey hairs and ask:
‘Mother, what ever was your passion in life?’
She smiles—that eternal smile
a question suspended in mid-air.
Her neck tilts like a sunflower
too heavy to meet the sky.

Gardening is the reply I expect.
My mind’s eye turns to childhood, to shadows
stirring beneath star fruit trees
rows of cherry tomatoes growing over fences
a call to supper while sleeping
amongst lotus-dotted ponds.

‘Teaching was my passion,’ she says, ‘high school.’
I smile in agreement. And as I do
jigsaw-puzzle pieces of memory
lock together, my past made whole.
‘A literacy teacher,’ I exclaim,
she smiles, remembering with excitement
the moment I arrived home from school
with a certificate of improved literacy.

I continue to pluck her grey hairs
our conversation lingers on
as the soft daylight illuminates us.
I know now, as I did in my childhood wonder
about mother’s youth, before the bloodshed in Saigon.

I picture her driving a yellow scooter
on the road to school, the freedom
of her hair, a glimmering smile; spiriting past
street markets, the soothing aromas
of Pho and lychee tea; that familiar
crescendo of rickshaws, bicycles and scooters;
landscapes of water buffalo, ploughing
the flooded paddies from cloud to cloud; each one
picturesque from her classroom window; and all of which
was the city she will no longer call home.

More grey hairs fall, the past realigns itself and
I know now, as I did in my childhood wonder
that the teaching legacy passed down to me—
I knew the responsibilities of providing
for her children outweighed
university-degree teaching aspirations.
That in mind, I tell her:
‘Mother, this week I taught my students Wordsworth
saw thousands of daffodils and thought of you.’
She smiles and I’m taken back to a halcyon-time
in childhood that reminds how she stitched floral
pyjamas, tablecloths, bedsheets together
using a sewing machine for less than $5 an hour
to afford rice, pork, Asian vegetables
and help pay for my tuition
so I could learn to spell ‘persistent’ correctly—
praying that I might speak an unbroken English tongue
and never be confined
to the labours of factories.

I know now, as I did in my childhood wonder
what it must’ve been to mother, there
among the refugee boat’s thrum, the faces
of Saigon watching—eyeballs ribboned with flames
incandescent, a disorder of diaspora animate
in the missile storm.

The homeland was a mist, the cerulean
depths of sea stirred on the horizon like some agitated womb
boats wet as one long vowel, as the city crumbled
and my mother among them fled
with nothing but me, growing inside.

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Brisbane New Voices IV: Women and Cars by Trudie Murrell

With the launch of Brisbane New Voices IV only two days away (Tuesday April 23), the excitement is building like a storm. Once again, if you are anywhere near this fine city of Brisbane, I hope that you are able to join us on the Riverbend Books deck as we welcome this collection into the world. Tickets are selling fast, but there are still some available here.

As part of the ‘build up’, I want to share a ‘first taste’ from both poet’s collections. So let’s start with Trudie and the title poem from her debut micro-collection, Women and Cars. This poem kick starts the collection and its freewheeling energy resonates throughout the remainder of the poems. For me, it is one of those poems that once read/heard, is never forgotten.

BNV IV Women and Cars

 

Women and Cars

For three generations the women
of my family have held
an abiding love for their cars.

No trading up or trading in
for this lot. They name their cars
Bathsheba, Aphrodite, Boadicea, Regina.

Call on them, count on them
trust and depend, festoon them
with tokens of adoration
because their cars are the opposite
of their men.

It’s not about speed
or even prestige —
I don’t think any of us
has owned a car with more
than four cylinders.

It’s about freedom.

A car can mean a quick get away
or at least a change of scene.
It doesn’t matter what
sort of a day you’ve had —

maybe your man
didn’t come home again
or got drunk or dropped dead
or fucked your friend on your favourite sheets —
Egyptian cotton, fantastic thread count
and now you’ve got to burn them.

It doesn’t matter, you still have Cleopatra
the 1973 2-door Celica
and if you have a car you’re free.

It’s a little room
a place where you can go
play loud music and watch things slide by
until you’re somewhere else.

Maybe there’s a touch of the
gypsy in us – we’ve  just traded the horse
for horsepower.

So the next time you see a clapped out shit box
beetling down the highway
woman behind the wheel singing like she means it
kids strapped in the back while the crayons and
board game pieces roll about the floor
forming alliances and rifts
with every undulation of the road

give the lady a wave.

She’s probably one of my mob and even though
she’s barely pushing 100 km/h, in her head she’s flying.
She’s going somewhere, anywhere
and believe me
she’s free.

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Brisbane New Voices IV: an interview with Trudie Murrell

Seven days to go until the launch of Brisbane New Voices IV (buy tickets here), so let’s catch up with the second featured poet, Trudie Murrell as she talks about life, future projects and Women and Cars.

BNV IV Women and CarsBrisbane New Voices IV featuring your micro-collection, Women and Cars is about to be launched at Riverbend Books. When did you first become serious about publishing your work?

I have been writing for performance since 1988 so I know the satisfaction of hearing a live audience respond to my work.  I’m sure it  was around the same time I began to fantasize about my work being published.  I use the word fantasise because it seemed, for a long time, to be something so unachievable and mysterious that I didn’t take any steps towards making it happen.  That kind of thing (publication) happened somewhere else, to other people.  I simply couldn’t conceive that a young regional writer’s work, my work,  could be published.  Who would be interested? I thought I’d have to finish a degree, move to a capital city adopt a strong political voice and write about controversial topics to be published.  Besides, I never felt that my work was polished enough, finished enough for publication.  This kind of limiting thinking stayed with me well into my thirties.  I gathered other reasons for why I could never be published along the way – I was older, I had children, I didn’t have enough time to devote myself to being a disciplined writer who sought out publication opportunities.  I still wrote, whenever I could, I was filling quite a few desk draws with my work, I still fantasised about being published one day, but I didn’t do anything about it.

In 2006 I moved to Brisbane and met you, Graham, at a Queensland Writers Centre poetry workshop you were conducting.  Afterwards, I remember you extended an invitation for us to submit to the SpeedPoets zine.  I decided to do something about it.  Two of my poems were accepted.  This seemed to blow all my theories about publication out of the water.  I was so rattled, I didn’t submit anything else for consideration anywhere until 2010. The Queensland Writer’s Centre continued to let me know about publishing opportunities and competitions through emails and their magazine.  Each poetry workshop or event I attended you, along with others from the Brisbane poetry community continued to ask ‘Where are you submitting?’ Not only that, people were providing me with information about how to go about submitting to publications.  The first time a poem of mine was published in an anthology I was terrified about having to work with an editor. I decided to be honest about my inexperience and asked for her advice and guidance.  Even when I held a copy of the book in my hand I didn’t feel like I was serious about being published – I’d just lucked out.

I guess I became serious about publishing my work when you asked me to be part of Brisbane New Voices IV.  Anyone involved in the Brisbane poetry community knows how supportive and encouraging you are towards fellow poets just as they know your drive, attention to detail and consistency as an independent publisher to produce quality publications. You set the bar high, so I  had to step up.

Women and Cars seems deeply personal. What are the events/happenings/aspects of your life that have made you the poet you are?

Aren’t you supposed to write what you know?  This is what I know, so of course it’s personal, but I come from a long line of story tellers – yarners and bullshit artists so not all of it is completely true, some of it is poetic license.  Women and Cars is my way of weaving a path back to where I began.  It’s a poetry map of how and where I was born,  recording how I got to who and where I am now. I miss North Queensland and these poems help me reconnect with it. It’s also a tool to help me remember I was not always a wife and mother.  It’s parts of my story but not the full story.  I listened to Peter Bakowski speak at Avid Reader last year.  He talked about telling his story in the particular, the importance of writing specifically, not universally, his desire to write authentically about his own experiences and observations so that it might resonate with others. Everything that has happened and continues to happen in my life makes me the poet I am. It’s a vulnerable way to write  and daunting, but it’s something I tried to achieve with these poems. I guess it has to be deeply personal to make the reader want to get into the car a take a ride with me.  I am surprised and pleased that the poem Women and Cars, in particular, continues to resonate with others.

Who are the poets that you return to; the one’s that continue to have a profound influence on you and your work?

I return often to poetry, all kinds of poetry, it has been a part of my life from the earliest time.  My mother loves poetry and would read it with me when I was a child.  I was reading predominantly Australian poets from the age of 11,  Judith Wright and Oodgeroo Noonuccal in particular.  Through my high school years I was reading Shakespeare, the Romantics, the Victorian poets, early twentieth century war poets and (of course, surreptitiously)  Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickenson, Ted Hughes and e.e.cummings. Bruce Dawe, Gwen Harwood, Dorothy Hewett and Rosemary Dobson became firm favourites in my late teens and the 20th century Australian female free verse poets have become my go to poets for inspiration.  A couple of months ago, I was reading Banjo Patterson’s The Man from Snowy River aloud to my 8 year old daughter when we were both overcome with tears at the description of the mountain pony’s decent.  I love any and all poetry that moves me but I love Australian poetry best.

What do you hope readers will take away from Women and Cars?

A few wry smiles and a small windswept hole in the heart that can only be filled with wanderlust and the dusty Queensland coast road.

And looking to the future… what’s next for Trudie Murrell?

I am trying to figure that out.  My husband has requested more poems that don’t involve women and cars.  More discipline in my practice is something I need to achieve.  I am interested in learning more about recording and sequencing and how to overlay that with performing poetry live.  Submitting more poems, starting a blog and finally collaborating with a good friend to bring a musical element to my work are on my to do list as well.  If I achieve any of these things this year I’ll be pleased.

*****

trudie-poetry-burlesqueRaised in the tropical North, Trudie Murrell has been writing since 1988.  She has spent most of her life in transit along the eastern seaboard of Queensland.  At the moment she lives in Brisbane with her husband and three small hitchhikers.  In the past few years she’s come to the realisation that everything she writes, really wants to be a poem. She’s decided not to fight it … Her poems have been published in The Green Fuse, Macmillan English 9 for the Australian Curriculum, Cordite and on Graham Nunn’s blog Another Lost Shark. She performs her work regularly at various spoken word events throughout Brisbane.

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Brisbane New Voices IV: an interview with Vuong Pham

Brisbane New Voices IV is ready to launch at Riverbend Books on Tuesday April 23 (Buy tickets here), so over the next fortnight, I will be posting interviews with Vuong Pham and Trudie Murrell as well as sample poems from their featured micro-collections – Refugee Prayer and Women and Cars.

So let’s kick things off with a recent interview I did with Vuong Pham.

BNV IV Refugee Prayer

Brisbane New Voices IV, featuring your micro-collection, Refugee Prayer is about to be launched at Riverbend Books. When did you first become serious about publishing your work?

That would be three years ago when I first attended a poetry workshop facilitated by you, Graham. Learning about unlocking my poetic voice and networking with other poets gave me the motivation to persist with my poetry in getting published, first in literary journals; then in literary competitions, which were the building blocks to eventually lead to my first book, Refugee Prayer.

Refugee Prayer seems deeply personal collection. What are the events/happenings/aspects of your life that have made you the poet you are?

I’d say my family has had a huge impact on the type of poet I have become today. My family were refugees that came to Australia with empty-pockets, so they worked hard to establish stability. That persistence and drive to work hard at what one is passionate about in life has been instilled in me from an early age. The practices with which I go about writing poetry you could say are born from reading a lot of poetry to stimulate ideas, and then once the ideas are dappled on the page, I usually go through an ongoing process of editing and re-editing until I’m satisfied. I’m very rigorous with how I want my poems to end up; I remember I spent 6 months just editing one piece until I was finally happy with it.

Also, I’ve always loved English, History and The Arts as subjects throughout my education. I think a major reason why this was so, is because in these sort of subjects, critical and creative thinking is encouraged, as opposed to a subject like Maths, that ask for a more concrete answer. So I’ve stuck with it, and have harnessed my imagination in the form of poetry and the eventual book, Refugee Prayer, for everyone to take in. I remember after school, Mum used to always make us (sister, brother and myself) do English and Math drills, I excelled in English, but found myself labouring in Math.

I was raised in a Catholic family, and have learnt and appreciate the value of God in my life and my poetry. Simple things like praying before a meal to thank God, or even encouraging others in their lives of faith are things that I hold very dear to my heart. God calls me to a life of love, forgiveness and service to others. I am poet who writes to inspire and encourage others, it is my calling, and I have found a restored identity through Him.

Who are the poets that you return to; the one’s that continue to have a profound influence on you and your work?

The great poets, Basho and Wordsworth will always have a special place in my art. For readers who aren’t aware of these poets, they often captured peaceful and evocative moments in nature. Example:

summer grasses
all that remains
of soldier’s dreams

…in three short lines, Basho turned a famous battlefield into a reflection on human vanity.

For Wordsworth, the poem, “I wandered lonely as a cloud” will always fascinate me through its depiction of nature’s beauty. The joy, serenity and solitude Wordsworth captured in that poem fills me with inner peace. Example:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
that floats on high over vales and hills,
when all at once I saw a crowd,
a host of golden daffodils;
beside the lake, beneath the trees,
fluttering and dancing in the breeze…

The moment I read the first stanza I am teleported to that rich, peaceful moment in nature, “which is the bliss of solitude”.

It would be a fair comment to say that I’m a quiet, peaceful poet which reflects the poetry I get inspiration from; I wouldn’t find myself returning to poets that write with a theme of darkness and destruction, though I’m grateful to have experimented and experienced that kind of art to know what not to return to!

What do you hope readers will take away from Refugee Prayer?

I hope readers will come to know Christ through my writing. The book is a story of my family as refugees, the signposts of God’s grace is weaved throughout. If there’s anything you could compare “Refugee Prayer” with in terms of similarity, there’s books like “The Life Of Pi” by Yann Martel or even “The Happiest Refugee” by Anh Do. As I said before, I have found a new identity through Christ, and accept Him as my saviour. Back three years ago, I was living life through my own strength; darkness and angst was a predominant theme in my poetry/life. Ever since I’ve called upon God to enter into my life again, I have found new hope. My life and poetry has become much more abundant and fruitful as a growing Christian. I encourage others to take from the light, and produce art that will shine truth in all its glory.

And looking to the future… what’s next for Vuong Pham?

That’s a good question. It’s a busy time in my life at the moment with many projects in the process of development. I’ll be involved with and have had constructive discussions with project leader, “Mark My Words”, a Christian arts initiative. My involvement with this initiative will be a stepping-stone to a project I have on the running at the moment, called “Steeples”. The project, “Steeples” is aiming to be a publication for Christian writers and artists to submit their works to get published in the form of print and online. That will be functioning hopefully around the start of next year.

I have pretty much finished my second book, which will be a Christian themed book of poems, 10,000 words in length. I’ll be submitting the manuscript into the Young Australian Christian Writers Award 2013. It’s looking good, and I’m really happy with it.

I also have the interest of a respected U.K. haiku publisher, so a book of haiku is expected to be in the making soon as well.

In terms of my teaching career? I’m happy to keep doing Supply Work for now, as it gives me an opportunity to spend more time on the projects I’m working towards. But, once all of my projects are up and established, I would soon be on the lookout for a permanent job teaching English/History/The Arts.

*****

Vuong PhamVuong Pham was born in Brisbane to a hard working family of Vietnamese refugees. He is now a passionate schoolteacher of English and SOSE. His poetry has received awards in the Ipswich Poetry Feast Competition (2011, 2012); the Inspired by Tagore International Writing Competition (2012); and the Free XpresSion Haiku Competition (2012). Vuong identifies as a Christian and enjoys going to a Baptist Church, including Bible Studies groups throughout the week. Some of Vuong’s hobbies include reading and writing poetry, playing soccer and practising piano. Vuong is currently working on his second book, which will consist of haiku. He blogs at Verses of the Inner Self.

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