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:
Well the good folk at Cottonmouth sure do! So if you want to check out some of the fine readings they have been putting on, you are in luck… you know longer have to be in Perth to check out the live extravaganza that is Cottonmouth as they have been good enough to film many of the performances and post them on their website. Here’s a reading by QLD Poetry Festival favourite, Kevin Gillam to give you a taste of what is on offer.
You can view all 70 readings at the Cottonmouth Video page.
Well, leg 3 of the 2009 Another Lost Shark tour was a huge success. I had never been to WA but know for sure that I will return many times. I met so many incredible people, and have made connections that I know will be lasting, and the place itself had a huge impact on me… Perth’s green space – Kings Park, Riverside Drive – is some of the best I have ever witnessed. Thanks to Holly & Mick for looking after me and showing me around.
So here’s what I got up to…
After touching down at midnight on Thursday, it was only a few hours until I was up and moving… and from then on, I remained in perpetual motion.
Friday started with a day long haiku workshop – from joy to grief in one breath. The group that gathered (including respected haiku poet, Maureen Sexton), were an inspirational bunch and were completely open to the haiku journey… We talked about the history of haiku, some definitions (if there can even be such a thing), the fragment and phrase theory, wabi and sabi, guidelines for writing and revising work, eight techniques for writing and asked the question – are the syllables important? We also went on a ginko around the Perth cultural precinct and then came back and workshopped many of the haiku composed.
Here’s two of mine…
daisies keep their petals
sharing a sandwich
around the homeless man
Haiku were shared and the conversation was vigorous. The perfect way to begin the weekend.
It was then off to the official opening, where I had the great pleasure of being introduced by Kevin Gillam. After reading two poems – Brisbane Love Poems & All the Way Home, I introduced local dynamo, Scott-Patrick Mitchell who was the recent winner of the 2009 PressPress chapbook competition. He read from his winning chapbook – songs for the ordinary mass, which I recommend you all check out. Scott-Patrick’s work contains a healthy dose of rage. The words bristle on the page, at all times urgent. songs for the ordinary mass resists the oppressive rules of conventional discourse and examines ways in which language has long been used, quite often subtly, to oppress and exclude:
club does not strip
those men of
anything, as the
(from the poem, catch)
So with the festival launched, we headed over to Sunyata Buddhist Centre, for the first reading of the festival. I have to pause here to add that this venue, is the most inviting space I have ever read poetry in. The energy in the room, so welcoming, so inclusive. A truly, unique room.
The first reading, MC’d by Sue Clennell featured the lyrically elegant Annamaria Weldon (check out her book, The Roof Milkers, it is superb!), two times Tom Collins Poetry Prize winner Peter Bibby, the spontaneous narratives of Amber Fresh (you must also check out her book, Between You And Me) and this Lost Shark. The open section was also buzzing. It was so good to be immersed in the words of local poets.
I went home that night, head swimming, anticipating Day 2.
Saturday featured a number of panel discussions the first Poetry and the Environment and the afternoon panel – Cultural Diversity, which I was honoured to be a part of alongside Peter Bibby, founding editor of Magabala Books, the immensely talented Afeif Ismail Abdelrazig, and Glen Phillips. I talked about my experiences in Ubud in 2004 running haiku workshops and performing with a gamelan band as well as my regular trips to Blackall (Western QLD) and the lasting impact the land has had on me and my work. Listening to Afeif talk about his experience as a refugee living in Australia and the time he spent as a political prisoner was both humbling and deeply insightful. Truly people, you have to read this man’s work. I also got to read at the mighty Perth Poetry Club, run by Janet Jackson and a small but devoted team. Janet has enough energy to power a small village. Check out some of her work here.
Saturday night, we returned to Sunyata for a multi-cultural poetry reading MC’d by the delightful Vivienne Glance. This was the highlight of the whole festival… words can’t begin to capture the intense emotion in the room, the coming together of cultures, poets, humanity. Performers included Nick Di Lello, Istenad Haddad, Tam Thai, Lily Chan, Afeif Ismail Abdelrazig and the WAZA ensemble (playing traditional music from Sudan). Maureen Sexton and I were also invited to read haiku, so we joined forces and combined our reading, which confirmed my belief, that if you put two poems side by side (or in the air together), they will be drawn into dialogue. I then closed the reading with a selection of haibun from Measuring the Depth and my long poem Beyond, from the Black Stump Blues series.
This night, is etched in my DNA.
And then it was Sunday. The panel on publication saw some really interesting discussions emerge, with topics ranging from self-publishing to traditional publishing to digital publishing to performance to journals and onward. The second panel for the afternoon, Poetry Into the Future chaired by the incomparable Jeremy Balius was another highlight for me. I shared the panel with Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Amber Fresh and Amanda Joy. The energy between us, electric. A real sense of coming together. We each shared our stories and Jeremy shot questions at us to keep it all flowing. And again, the topics covered were diverse. We talked about success, we talked about influences, we talked about innovation and most importantly… we read poems!
Then, it was trip to Fremantle… seriously, if you have never been there, do yourself a favour. I got the opportunity to have a wander through the streets and the one second hand bookstore I stumbled across was incredible. The fish & chips on the water was pretty damn good as well.
And before I knew it, I was at Fringe Gallery, for the closing night readings. This is another space I am forever thankful for being invited into. There was open mic, there were features from Annamaria Weldon, Peter Bibby, Amber Fresh and I was thrilled to be able to hear Amanda Joy read from her recent chapbook (and even more thrilled to have received the last copy), Not Enough To Fold (Verve Bath Press). I have long enjoyed Amanda’s work and after hearing it, I have an even greater appreciation. I closed the night with a set of predominantly new poems… and they felt good. The room was smiling back at me and the weekend of memories flooded back. Chief organiser of WA Spring Poetry Festival Peter Jeffery’s words of thank you are still resonating. So again, thank you Peter for the incredible opportunity.
My first visit to Perth… well, the people and place are now in my blood. Back on the east coast… it doesn’t seem so far away.
Guided by Poets is a new way of showcasing poets on Another Lost Shark. It takes the McSweeney’s concept of Poets Picking Poets. A poetry thread will begin in each state of Australia, so for this thread, I headed west and asked Kevin Gillam to send me a poem. Kevin then had the job of inviting the next poet and so on, until a thread of five poems was created. The result… an eclectic offering of words.
and sea breathes louder,
out in creeds of spume, gulls in
squabble for full stops.
you wish you were up there, all
warm updrafted and
weightless. oceans – who draws the
dotted lines? found a
bottle once, flung off Cape Town,
read the message but
scrawl of weed said more. does sand
tire of this rush then
suck? ‘flottle’ – best word for it,
while tonight, moon brushed orange,
In no mood for rhyme
Kevin Gillam: is a West Australian writer with work published in numerous Australian and overseas journals. He has had two books of poems published, both by SunLine Press, “Other Gravities” in 2003 and “Permitted to Fall” in 2007. He works as a secondary school music teacher and freelance ‘cellist and conductor.
In 2000 he was Emerging-Writer-in-Residence at Tom Collins’ House,and was granted the same position at the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre in 2002.
She told her news
scans tests appointment times
sub-text unsaid almost inaudible.
A mundane act
a phone call ended
the self thrown suddenly sideways.
I knew bile-fear
black stench of frostbite
heard a white howling of wind
peered through goaded snow
saw the wolf
casual in the chaos.
Flora Smith is a former language teacher who wrote short stories before she turned to writing poetry five years ago. She is widely published in magazines and journals throughout Australia, such as Westerly, Stylus Poetry Journal, indigo and Famous Reporter. She is an active member of writers’ groups in WA and takes part in regular Perth readings.
After gaining entry to a FAW(WA) Masterclass mentorship program in 2007, she has just published an anthology with 4 other group members. The book, titled ‘Amber Contains the Sun’, will be launched at the Perth Writers’ Festival early in 2009 and other celebratory readings are scheduled to take place in the Perth metro area and country centres throughout the year.
I will find a place to wait.
A niche in the shore-held sea-crags.
I will watch the lighthouse and the coming
and going ships, the world-cruisers,
the private and public yachts,
the racers, fishers, fighters,
pirates and smugglers,
the ships of dull metal and
boats with bright paint,
with sail-quilts, mast-needles, nets,
radar, radio, GPS,
pitching and reeling and rocking and
blustering with a Babel of balloons and
sparkling miniature winebirds and
tinny electronic bells and
genetic gladiators and none
of them will detect me
in my grey waitplace. I will watch them all
until that ship comes, the ship
with the black and red sails that are made of pure skin
with the decks of ebony and carbon steel
with the tall sailors whose robes bear
witness, who reserve
their grey-and-silver wings, worship
their titanium anchor on its hawser spun
from their once-long hair. They will cast
their continental-shelf-gripper gently, with careful
hallelujahs, place their sleek ship
in the tossing flapping sea and in the sea of vessels
and sing and sing, rumgutted, steelsilked,
calling, responding, calling the land,
And I in my hermit-hole will have built
my coracle, small
and sturdy, its
making a ritual. Built
my boat and carved my oars
and practised to strengthen my arms
and heart. I will hear
the singing and launch,
row my raw face through the buoys
and dinghies and liners, row and row, back burning,
arms screaming, row and row, and throw my line,
climb cold railings, fall,
among coiled ropes and mysterious much-used tools
and salt rain will needle me,
giant wings will beat on me,
torn tongues will lash and lacerate and feed on me,
as I lie on that wet deck bleeding in ecstasy.
Since 1986 Janet Jackson has sculpted in English, seeking poems that work whether declaimed loudly or whispered in the mind.
Janet featured at the inaugural Missing Link Festival, the 2006, 2007 and 2008 WA Spring Poetry Festivals and 2007 and 2008 Melbourne Overload Poetry Festivals.
Her poems have been published in many print and online magazines and anthologies, and she has self-published three chapbooks and her own website, Proximity (www.proximitypoetry.com).
Her first collection, ‘Coracle’, will be published in March 2009.
Maggot, an Ode
born of blowfly
her gift to carrion
and infected wounds
you work blindly
clearing the decks—
barbecue and dead rat
roadside and battlefield
a teeming carnevale
such denial of flesh,
catholicity of taste
we could aspire to.
Come the morning
you’ll have flown:
Dick Alderson was born in Perth and has been writing poetry since 1994. Several of his poems have been published in journals and periodicals including Westerly, Indigo and Blue Dog, and he reads his work at venues in Fremantle and Perth.
lift their petticoats
to reveal green ovoid
pregnancies that swell
and are born
like the testicles
of some bright orange god
in late spring
summer flirting with us
we pluck the god of his gifts
and they roll into baskets
padding memories of thunder
then with the thin sharp knife
we slice and slice and slice
and see stars
citrus scent feathers our nose
juice stickies our blade
the stars float
in a galaxy
add a flame
a comet of sugar
and I am the goddess now
stirring stars and sugar
to heavenly translucence
and watch sunset settle
over the pot
until it darkens
to a rusty dusk
promising zest! in the morning
Josephine Clarke came to writing through the short story. An active member of Out of the Asylum (OOTA) Writers’ Group, she has recently ventured into poetry. She has been published in indigo,Thirst and Blue Giraffe.