The Book Spine Poetry Bug is catching at our place… here’s one from Julie:
And here’s another from our shelves:
The Book Spine Poetry Bug is catching at our place… here’s one from Julie:
And here’s another from our shelves:
The brand spanking, A Million Bright Things CD is literally bursting with stars… and here is another one of them, Tasmanian based poet, Jane Williams.
Jane Williams was born in England 1964. Her first poetry collection ‘Outside Temple Boundaries’ (Five Islands Press 1998) received the Anne Elder Award. In 2006 her second book ‘The Last Tourist’ (Five Islands Press) was published and she was awarded the D.J. O’Hearn Memorial Fellowship. Her most recent poetry collection is ‘Begging the Question’ (Ginninderra Press 2008). Her short story collection ‘Other Lives’ was published by Ginninderra Press in 2007. She lives in Tasmania. For more information visit: www.janewilliams.wordpress.com
Jane’s poem Attention to Detail is featured on A Million Bright Things.
Attention to Detail
you ask me if I am a lover of books and I say yes you ask me back
to your place to look at your collection and I’m hoping
this is a ploy but once inside I see by lover you mean keeper
the walls are lined with shiny spines in alphabetical order
of subject and author you stand at attention before them
and I don’t know if I’m supposed to salute or genuflect
I don’t do either I just concentrate on moving my eyes
back and forth as if this is a tennis match as if I am a tennis fan
suddenly you say go on then they won’t bite that’s what I’m afraid
of I think reaching with the tips of my fingers only sliding a slim
volume of poetry from its holding you tell me it’s the one
you must have read a hundred times but as I fan its pages
I smell only ink where I would hope to smell blood sweat and
tears the pages are crisp unmarked and clean as false identification
papers the book does not automatically fall open
at a well thumbed well loved favourite all poems here are equal
in perpetuity I think of my own collection mostly second hand
dog eared and as I’m an early morning reader occasionally faintly
vegemite smeared I think of my favourites held together
by a different kind of attention to detail I think of that time
I read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World how it lived
bruised and battered at the bottom of my school bag for months
reminding me what it was to choose to be human I imagine
for the first time us making love but I can’t get past this vision
of you reaching for the surgical gloves this vision of me
still waiting when it’s all over aching cold on a cold slab
I’m sure you know all the right moves but I don’t I’m still learning
A Million Bright Things will be launched at Riverbend Books on Tuesday June 22. Doors open at 6pm for a 6:30pm start. Tickets are $10 and include a glass of wine and sushi nibbles. To book tickets call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at www.riverbendbooks.com.au
Ashley Capes and Jane Williams have just posted their first collaborative poem over at the poetry slave. The poem was written in response to expressionist painter Marc Chagall’s work, Les Fiances de la Tour Eiffel. And as with all good collaborations, it has brought out the best in both poet’s work. There is an incredible energy that resides in the poem. Love, birth and becoming a parent are prominent themes.
Ashley opens the poem with the lines:
now I have taken all the bread and gathered it
inside my whale-like belly
for another time, or for when they dissect me
or if I have children
And later Jane responds:
through a red fog
a father sees his father
in the shape of
his own raised fist
Importantly, throughout the poem both voices maintain their own unique music, but when they come together, they sing in harmony.
Ashley is currently involved in a number of exciting projects, so checking out the links on this page will also yield good things – kipple, holland1947, issa’s snail and his own personal blog are all well worth the visit. And Jane’s blog also features many poems/stories from her recent collections The Last Tourist, Other Lives, Begging the Question and Outside Temple Boundaries. In short… there’s plenty to enjoy here!
QPF 2009 may have just been kissed goodbye, but the words of the 40+ artists who took to the stage continue to resonate in the heads and hearts of the thousands who attended. I am certain that these words will form the seed of many new poems, new friendships, new dialogues and to quote Ferlinghetti, ‘give voice to the tongueless streets’. This quote, alongside ‘wake up, the world is on fire’ (Ferlinghetti), and ‘spoken in one strange word’ (Judith Wright) were written in bold lettering across the windows of The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. These words breathed life into the shopfront space, which was a new (and may I add, very successful) venue for QPF 2009 and set the tone for an amazing weekend of words.
From the Official Opening where I had the privilege of reading the winning poem from this years Arts QLD Val Vallis Award for an Unpublished Poem – The Severant by Andrew Slattery, the festival simply hummed. I would love to share with you a couple of lines from the winning poem… words that will undoubtedly stay with me:
We have ammended the world.
As I walk home I unpick the seams from the footpaths.
Each muscle locomotes my frame.
I wear my suit and walk into the vista city;
through the old mine with its pile of coal like a dead whale;
past the doctor who repaired my chest;
past the tailor who sews spines
into standing men as they wait.
Throughout the festival, there are many other lines that etched themselves into the very fabric of my being… here are a few:
Cancer’s what gets us. Got Grandpa. Got Baba.
It turns you yellow in the end. So, I’ve been smoking
(from Celebration by Elizabeth Bachinsky)
You suicided all my poetry was written on your skin first
third line a tight rope tight knife
(from Chapter 5 by Paul Magee)
A scorched afternoon in the Alice
or the meltdown that lavas out of kiddies
when they cannot have a treat.
(from Station Street As A Dark Nickelodeon by Kent McCarter)
take with you plenty of water and one mustard seed of faith
(from Mount Wellington by Jane Williams)
Be still. I am the Bear from your dreams.
(from Nature Poem by AF Harrold)
And as the festival drew to a close on Sunday night, we celebrated another incredible session featuring the voices of the QPF Committee (Nerissa Rowan, Zenobia Frost, Debra Ralph, Alicia Bennett, John Koenig, Francis Boyle, Jodi DeVantier & this Lost Shark) alongside Jane Williams, Janet Jackson, Angela Costi, Paul Magee, Geoff Goodfellow, Neil Murray, Elizabeth Bachinsky, AF Harrold and Hinemoana Baker.
And importantly, we celebrated the many achievements of Festival Director, Julie Beverdige as she announced she would be standing down from the position. Julie has taken the festival to a new level during her two year tenure, building on the success of the first eleven years and putting in place the necessary structure to make QPF sustainable for many years to come.
Again, I had the absolute privilege of reading a poem before we all walked out into the Valley night. The poem is titled Fortune and as I said on the night… I am a fortunate man.
and when, after I’ve wasted a lifetime looking
picking over poets, browsing beaches, shopping malls
when, after I’ve up and quit, you suddenly
adopt me, smiling from the carpet of the Royal George
when you renounce your wilderness and move in
living in the back room as its sage, my other
the one who will teach me to desire
only what happens
when you come, inscribed by solitude
dog-eared, faded, packed with former lives
inside you like a matryoshka doll
when you gather
when you fold
when you find me as the moon
found Li Po in his drunken boat
when you speak to my heart of its heaviness
the soft facts of erosion
when you whisper in that
infinite tongue all that the world allows
all one could wish for
though it can’t be
we both know
QPF has yet again provided some life changing moments for me (and many others). Moments that will fuel me, until we do it all again in 2010.
This time around I shine the QPF Spotlight on Jane Williams and ask her where the words come from.
Leonard Cohen and Sylvia Plath were strong influences through my teens and into my twenties. Also Emily Dickinson and e.e cummings. Bruce Dawe has been an Australian poet I have returned to again and again over the years. At the moment the American poet Stephen Dunn keeps me company. I tend to fall in love with a particular poet’s work and carry it about with me like a secular bible or a how to manual until I’m sated. Then I turn to someone else …
The writing process
I’ve always been a note taker so carry pen and paper about most of the time, jot things down as they move me. An image, part of a conversation etc Initially stream of conscience stuff. The notes are filed away for development which happens sooner or later or not at all. My writing is largely mood driven so I’m not a very disciplined poet in that sense but fortunately I tend to be moved to write more often than not. I think my being moved to write is different from my being inspired to write, though both are equally valuable. I associate inspiration with reading the work of other poets – Look what they‘ve done! I wonder if I can do that! Being moved to write is a more direct, instinctual response to life. As for poems that ‘write themselves’ they’re the exception not the rule. These days most poems go through weeks and sometimes months of revisiting. As a result I have many many more notes then I do completed poems or even poems in progress. This may also have something to do with a challenged attention span.
Where the voice(s) comes from
Writing is among other things a compulsion for me so maybe the voice is also the impetus. I think it comes out of a longing, which is deeper some days than others.
I remember the first poem I wrote in my early teens about a homeless man dying in a city street. It would have been highly derivative and cliché ridden, in short a bad poem … but in terms of a theme, many of my poems still have a broad social commentary hallmark to them so I guess it’s fair to say I have a bent in that direction. My catholic upbringing and an interest in the human experiences of our spiritual leaders and those people we see as heroes have influenced a number of poems in my first two books. A high hope that we equal more than the sum of our physical parts seems to be an underlying theme. I love the language of poetry, its musicality, wordplay and all the specifics of crafting …but meaning making and intent are also important to me.
How have my feelings about poetry, the reading and writing of, changed since I first started writing?
One of the biggest changes has been learning that this writing business is a life’s work, so not to be too impatient or hard on myself. The difference between creativity and productivity. Also discovering the drafting process is a natural progression, and not the hand of suppression I think I feared it was when I was much younger. I like to think I’m more of an eclectic reader these days but I imagine I’ll always rotate my favourites.
The unwritten law of living
everything worth anything
it is the unwritten law
any favored piece
of crockery or glassware
how long did you think
it would last
of our body’s bones
are in our feet
mind your step the signs read
but feet soldier on oblivious
of all the rules worth breaking
do not fraternize …
no x-ray will show the number
of breaks a heart can outlive
such knowledge it is rumored
could kill us
Jane Williams is the author of three collections of poems and one of short stories. Awards for her poetry include the Anne Elder Award and the D.J. O’Hearn Memorial Fellowship. She lives in Hobart. www.janewilliams.wordpress.com
Catch Jane at QPF 2009:
Saturday August 22 – 1:30pm – 2:30pm
Phosphorescence at the Edge: feat. Jane Williams, Paul Magee and Rob Morris
Saturday August 22 – 8:00pm
A Million Bright Things: featuring a short set from every bright thing on the 2009 program plus a feature set from the awesome Neil Murray
Sunday August 23 – 12:15pm – 1:15pm
Venus Walked In: feat. Jane Williams, Zenobia Frost & Noella Janaczewska
Sunday August 23 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Just Kissed Goodbye: feat. Janet Jackson, Angela Costi, Jane Williams, Neil Murray, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Geoff Goodfellow, Paul Magee, AF Harrold, Hinemoana Baker and the QPF Committee
All sessions are held at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brunswick St. Fortitude Valley.
For full program details head to www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com