Tag Archives: QLD Poetry Festival

When I Have The Body Of A Man: Collaborate with Sachiko Murakami

qpf_2013_web

QLD Poetry Festival 2013, is just days away, and one of the many exciting guests about to land in our fine city, is Sachiko Murakami (Canada). Sachiko is well known for her collaborative online projects - Rebuild and Henko - so we are thrilled that she has cooked up a new online project especially for QPF.

When I Have The Body Of A Man (WHITBOAM) is a collaborative poem that you are invited to help write. It’s an exquisite corpse with a twist: it steals the form and first line of Elizabeth Bachinsky’s “When I have the Body of a Man”, from The Hottest Summer in Recorded History, (Nightwood Editions, 2013). Let’s call this a formal hijacking of Elizabeth’s poem.

In WIHTBOAM, you are invited to contribute a line to a poem, that is prepended by a “When” clause (i.e. ‘When I have the body of a man’). Your line then becomes the leading “When” clause of the next contributor’s line. After adding a line, you may view the whole poem. Or, if you really are too shy to contribute, you may sneakily view the poem here.

The collaborative poem WIHTBOAM, created for the 2013 Queensland Poetry Festival, opens on Friday, August 23 at 12 AM Brisbane time and closes on Sunday, August 24 at 11:59 PM. People can play around before then, but the poem OFFICIALLY opens on Friday – all lines added before then will be deleted.

So, no matter where you are in the world, be sure to be part of When I Have The Body Of A Man. Projects like this strengthen our global poetry community.

[WIHTBOAM was created for the 2013 Queensland Poetry Festival by Sachiko Murakami under the tutelage of Bill Kennedy.]

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WHITBOAM will also form part of the Poetry Unbound workshop with Sachiko Murakami, Friday 23 August, 10.30am. There are a few precious places left in this workshop, so check out the details below!

Sachiko

Poetry Unbound with Sachiko Murakami

Poetry is a living artform – one that adapts, adjusts, can be renovated, extrapolated. Canadian poet Sachiko Murakami has been doing just that with her online collaborative sites Project Rebuild and Henko. Join Sachiko for a three-hour demonstrative workshop that explores in greater depth the various forms of poetry unbound – collaborative poetry, constructed poetry, found poetry, interactive poetry. Explore further at powellstreethenko.ca and www.projectrebuild.ca.
When: Friday 23 August, 10.30am
Where: Room 1.A, State Library of Queensland
Cost: $40
Booking: limited spaces so BOOK ONLINE NOW to secure your place!

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An Accident That Thinks: Lee-Anne Davie interviews Nathan Shepherdson

Nathan Shepherdson has won the Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize twice (2004, 2006), the 2005 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Award, 2006 Newcastle Poetry Prize and 2006 Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award. His first book, Sweeping the Light Back into the Mirror (UQP 2006), won the Mary Gilmore Award in 2008. In 2008 also he released what marian drew never told me about light (Small Change Press) and in 2009 Apples with Human Skin was published by University of Queensland Press. In 2012 Nathan collaborated with print-maker Julie Barret to produce the limited edition, concertina fold book, clouds in another’s blood (light-trap press) and in 2013 he will release his fifth collection, The Day The Artists Stood Still (volume one).

Nathan will be launching The Day The Artists Stood Still (vol. 1) @ QPF 2013 in the session, Dancing in Abstract (Saturday 24 August, 4pm. Shopfront Space).

Shepherdson

I was introduced to you, Nathan, in 2010 following the success of your third work, Apples With Human Skin, and I am amongst many who are in awe of the talent you have for giving words their own breath. The use of space and suspension around your words just adds to the physical and philosophical dimension of your poetry. Where have you drawn your creative inspiration?

In the simplest sense poetry is a form of thinking. Things occur and the decision is whether to write it down. Even unwritten it’s still poetry. The choice pertains to its physical form. It’s a big question, and not easy to elaborate. It’s a bit of a mantra, but essentially it’s a reductive art, so the elaboration is part irony, part head scratch. For better or worse my brain seems to operate in a visual way. So as the images form as words the words also become another set of images. So your allusion to space and suspension is very important to me. Mostly reading is a silent act, but the physicality is internal. One breath invites the next – and reading what you’re writing or what others have written can transform you into a machine for language. I want to be used as fuel for this process. For all the minimal aspects of its language, poetry makes the highest demands on the space within the page. This space allows the thoughts to approach the words, almost as objects – a few words can jell together as a static object holding a magnetic field. You take your bearing then turn the page. So in some ways the smaller poems demand more space. One face instead of the crowd. In Apples I was fortunate that my editor Felicity Plunkett backed this idea of one poem per page. It was questioned by UQP, but I convinced them of the physical punctuation of turning the page. Obviously this is not always possible, and I was very grateful to UQP for the latitude I was given. As to the philosophical dimension, I guess there’s something going on, but it’s difficult to say what. Perhaps it’s a quest for perfect self-contradiction. The consistency rests in being at odds with yourself. Where possible remove the ego and then try and re-trap it by direct confrontation, sleep or even sabotage. With any art what is attempted won’t necessarily be what is achieved. Things can come about via different gradients of failure. I accept failure as part of the process. After all you need to be defeated to complete a work. I know when a work is finished, but sometimes it’s just as much relief as satisfaction. So when you look at the words on a page, it’s like a photograph of the wreckage. Does that mean the editor is a mortician? Octavio Paz said something like “we are an accident that thinks”. I can’t do better than that really. To be there you can’t be here. Thinking is somewhere else.

Currently, on the QPF website, is a conversation with Rachael Briggs, winner of the 2011 Val Vallis Award followed by the 2012 Thomas Shapcott prize, and her feelings of winning back to back prestigious prizes.  How did you feel Nathan having also won both literary prizes back to back in 2005 and 2006, but in the reverse order of Shapcott followed by the Vallis?  How has your success in these poetry competitions influenced your poetry to date?

I was very lucky for a few years there. The ball (or full stop) started rolling in 2004 when I was fortunate to win the Ulrick Prize. (One of the judges was Tom Shapcott in that year). My work had never appeared in journals. I’d probably sent out two things in 20 years. I’d never given a reading. My mother died in 2003, so I guess that jolted me into taking work out of folders and doing something with it. I think that was a subconscious yardstick. The manuscript awarded the Shapcott Prize was Sweeping the Light, which consisted of 72 elegiac poems about my mother.  Of course without the vehicle that is the prize, those poems may still be in a folder. For a poet who had no idea how any of it worked, I ended up with a book in the pipeline, and with Bronwyn Lea as my editor at UQP. I was naïve, but that experience was invaluable. Bronwyn was very generous with time and ideas given my lack of pedigree. She is very astute, and unsurprisingly has a delicate editorial eye. The book was all the better because of her involvement. As a result of that period I got to know Tom Shapcott personally. Without doubt he is one of our finest poets.  You learn a lot in a short period through the contact and presence of someone like Tom. His knowledge not just of poetry, but of music, art and life is vast. You just hope to soak a bit of it up.

The history of the Shapcott and Vallis awards is probably known by many, but is worth repeating. Matt Foley was a minister in the Goss Government. He is steeped in the poetic tradition. He came up with the idea for the two awards. The consequences in what words have seen the light of day has been palpable. The fact that the Shapcott prize is a manuscript prize cannot be underestimated. It gifts the poet a full survey of a body of work with a leading publisher. Is there a better opportunity for unpublished work in Australian Poetry? In all modesty, I’m very pleased to be on the shelf with such a quality group of poets pre and post my own success.

With the Vallis Prize I guess it was a kind of reverse order to what might be expected. Perhaps (as in Rachael’s case) you would think an individual piece might pick up a prize before a manuscript. But naturally I have no cause for complaint. The piece awarded the Vallis prize was very different in content and context to the Shapcott material. That work ended up in my second UQP book so there’s a circular relationship of sorts there. I never met Val Vallis, but he lived to a great age of 92. He went blind in his later years. Again I feel fortunate – because Paul Sherman made a point of reading the winning work to him each year while Val was still alive. My poems in that sequence are perhaps a bit baffling, but for their part they were given due consideration and credit as part of a ritual designed by Paul. Paul very kindly related this process to me in a letter, with a congratulatory notation from Val. I’m very pleased to have this, something that provides connection however small. Poetry is the perfect vehicle for tenuous connections, that’s where the capacity in its imagination resides.

So you can see how anecdotally none of the above could exist without those awards. However the writing was about the writing. With or without the awards those poems would still exist. The awards allow the passage of the internal to the external.

You never cease to be evolutionary with your poetic projects, having produced four collections with a fifth on the way, and enjoy collaborating with spoken word artists and artists of other mediums.  Can you tell the readers about your concertina fold book, clouds in another’s blood, and how the complement of collaborating with other artists has worked for you?

Clouds in another’s blood was written at the invitation of Angela Gardner. In the year I won the Vallis, Angela won the Shapcott; that’s how we met. So there’s another tangible between the two awards. Angela and her partner Kerry Kilner had formed light-trap press. Their idea was (and still is) to produce very high quality poetry publications in very limited numbers, built around the idea of putting the work a particular poet and artist together. She asked would I be interested? After a long deliberation of half a second I said yes. (Angela is also an artist, so has both streams flowing as a matter of course). There is a wonderful tradition between the two art forms. With any project of that sort I prefer to produce new work that at least attempts to cater to what is being proposed. However this is an inexact science, so you just hope that something lands in the right field. I see it as three-way collaboration. No such thing as a two cornered triangle. The artist Julie Barratt and typesetter Janine Nicklin did a wonderful job. It’s beautiful to hold in the hand; and its concertina format allows the 32 poems to roll around like a horizontal spinning wheel when you read it.

David Byrne said something to the effect of “there’s no point in collaborating if you end with what you would’ve done anyway”. I agree with this idea. You either have to stretch or contract your usual self to be at the service of what you’re doing within a shared context. A few years ago I wrote some micro pieces for Arryn Snowball which he absorbed into a series of paintings. Arryn pushed this to the point where the words are almost illegible. But they work. Whether you can read the words or not, they’re still there. It’s an open process. Subvert or illuminate. It goes the way it goes. Whether the result ends up as a diagram or deepest abstraction, the trick is to wear a blindfold and let intent be the driver.

In 2010/11 I produced a series of works for Alun Leach-Jones, six of which we chose for use as the basis for a suite of screen prints entitled The Philosophy of Objects (printed by Marnling Press in Sydney). I was amazed with what he came up with. The text and images are side by side on the same sheet of paper. Yet the images he produced were not illustrative at all. Alun went about it all in a very meticulous way, injecting his own responses into the words. A bit like slicing a psychological onion as fine as possible. The pungent translucence. We were both surprised with what the other came up with. Without Alun’s invitation neither poems nor images would exist. They become each other. Alun is a massive reader of poetry. It’s a primary tenet in his make-up as an artist. It goes beyond the thought. He believes in the inherent capacity for art and poetry to fit together. I agree with him totally.

While I’m more comfortable with the art/poetry collaboration, I’ve also done some work as writer and reader that involves music. Sometimes in a more casual way with people such as Leighton Craig, Sandra Selig, Eugene Carchesio and Ian Powne. Then at other times in a more structured way with Pascalle Burton and David Stavanger in the Outlandish Watch project (from QPF in 2011). I’m not quite as confident in this area, but really enjoy the process. If the opportunity ever arose it would great to work with a composer on a song cycle. In general collaboration is rewarding because it gives you the opportunity to break down the singular self.

You’re about to release a new collection, The Day The Artists Stood Still (vol. 1).   What has been your inspiration for this particular work and what are your plans for more volumes?

Again as good fortune would have it this book will be published courtesy of an invitation from Graham Nunn via his press Another Lost Shark. As a by-product of what I’ve been talking about above; I written a dozen or so sets based on different artists I know. (Some as friends, some as acquaintances). The poems are mostly short, what I call lingual drawings. They were produced between 2008 and 2013. In a way they’re discourse based; with many coming from an overflow of energy after writing the collaborative pieces for Alun.  My conversation is with the ideas within their work, rather than direct interpretation. Given that they’re written for each artist, I hope that something of their work is discernable, but as poems they also need to be able to stand by themselves. For reasons practical and aesthetic we decided to split the pieces over two volumes. The first to be published this year, with volume 2 coming out in 2014. There’s a wide range of artists, different ages, early to late career. The personal connections, or at least respect for the work of each artist evolves into a silent curatorship of words. Which is interesting for me, because I can’t imagine these artists would ever end up in the same exhibition with the way the contemporary art world operates under certain aesthetic, economic and intellectual camps. I was not trying to address that idea in writing these poems, but it’s an intriguing aside. They’re part dialogue, part homage, and maybe part collaboration – although ironically without consent from the other party. If readers have made it this far into the interview, they’ll no doubt realize I’m an art obsessive. There is no surprise really as my father Gordon is a highly regarded painter. He has been a very powerful influence on the shape of my creative thought. It’s a pleasure to know artists of a certain generation like Gordon, Alun Leach-Jones, Madonna Staunton and of course on the word front Tom Shapcott. Art itself may come from or be about the moment, but for the artist it’s a long haul process. These artists keep milking their minds and skills in order to continue living in their work. As people and as artists they’re wonderful examples. No matter what the fashion – a blank piece of paper will always be a blank piece of paper. Whether the line is written or drawn doesn’t matter.

Nathan, I’m really looking forward to your performance at this year’s Queensland Poetry Festival.  Can you give the readers a teaser of what we’re likely to expect from you?

QPF is always an event. I feel part of it. I’ve had some great experiences there – with reading my own work, launching my first book, and being able to listen to and discover the work of others. It does alternate between exhilaration and exhaustion, (which I know you understand better than I as a former director of QPF). It’s an important point on the calendar for our somewhat marginalized art form.  My focus will be on the launch of the day the artists stood still. Generally the poems are sparse. The language is concise, with elements bordering on the aphoristic. Hopefully the words and images float off the page. In reading poetry to an audience, it’s about trying to wake the moment. It would be good if a few people are standing around the bed when that happens. Even in our own language we’re in a constant state of translation. Here’s one poem from the sequence absent landscapes written for Peter Hudson. It taps in to what the book is about.

V.

if birds

ever learn to paint

painter’s hands

will be found in cupboards

Interview with Lee-Anne Davie first published on www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com

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Book Launch: The Day The Artists Stood Still

Another Lost Shark is excited to announce the launch of its latest release, the much anticipated first volume of The Day The Artists Stood Still by multi-award winning poet, Nathan Shepherdson.

TDTASS circle sml

Here’s a preview of what Felicity Plunkett (poetry editor, UQP) had to say about the book:

Here in Nathan Shepherdson’s dazzling gallery of the impossible, a single thought can rip the nails from the floorboards. The poet curates an assemblage of the exquisite and uncanny, imagining the harvested wings of angels alongside ribs sucked and discarded, and splashes from a poetics of painting.

The launch will be held as part of the QLD Poetry Festival session, Dancing in Abstract, alongside Felicity Plunkett and Jon Paul Fiorentino.

Date: Saturday August 24
Time: 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Venue: Shopfront, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

Copies will be available at the QPF Bookstore on the day and at anotherlostshark.bigcartel.com following the launch. We would of course, love to see you all there! This book will make your shelves much richer…

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Tickets on sale for QLD Poetry Festival 2013

While QLD Poetry Festival prides itself on keeping the majority of the festival free and accessible to all comers, there are three hot tickets on sale right now.

sachiko-murakami

 

Poetry Unbound Workshop w/ Sachiko Murakami

Poetry is a living artform – one that adapts, adjusts, can be renovated, extrapolated. Canadian poet Sachiko Murakami has been doing just that with her online collaborative sites Project Rebuild and Henko. Join Sachiko for a three-hour demonstrative workshop that explores in greater depth the various forms of poetry unbound – collaborative poetry, constructed poetry, found poetry, interactive poetry.

When: August 23rd, 10:30am – 1:30pm
Where: QLD Writers centre, State Library of Queensland
Tickets: $40 available here

Anthony Lawrence

 

Thinking Poetry Workshop w/ Anthony Lawrence

Poetry is an engagement of the senses, triggering the imagination into seeing the world anew. Join widely published and acclaimed poet Anthony Lawrence for this masterclass designed to flex your poetic muscles. Over the course of three hours you will engage in close readings of great poems, explore a series of practical exercises designed to spark new thought processes, and have your first-draft collectively workshopped by the group. Come away with a finished poem and some new spells of the trade to refine your poetic eye.

When: August 23rd, 10:30am – 1:30pm
Where: Room 1A, State Library of Queensland
Tickets: $40 available here

Bertie Blackman

 

And the main event… Set Fire To The Air

Featuring:

Shane Rhodes, the 2013 Arts Queensland Poet in Residence. He is the author of five collections of poetry, including The Wireless Room, Holding Pattern, The Bindery, and most recently, Err. His poetry has numerous awards, and has been featured in national and international anthologies. Shane is the poetry editor for Arc, Canada’s only national poetry magazine.

Jacqueline Turner back for her third visit to QPF! She has published four books of poetry with ECW Press: The Ends of the Earth (2013), Seven into Even (2006), Careful (2003), and Into the Fold (2000). She reviews for the Georgia Straight and lectures at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She was the inaugural Arts Queensland Poet In Residence.

TT.O. born in Greece and raised in Fitzroy, Melbourne. A retired draughtsman, his latest book is BIG NUMBERS (new and selected poems). He is a founding member of Collective Effort Press and the Poets Union, and has represented Australia at various international festivals. By disposition and history TT.O. is an Anarchist, and is currently editor of the experimental magazine Unusual Work

and

Bertie Blackman whose latest album, Pope Innocent X, has been described as adventurous, thrilling, and undeniably unique. The long-awaited follow-up to 2009’s Secrets and Lies, Pope Innocent X is 11 tracks of visual, evocative storytelling. It’s a mix all Blackman’s own, as she forges into brand new musical territory yet again, with stunning results.

When: August 23, 2013 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Where: Theatre Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts  420 Brunswick Street  Fortitude Valley QLD 4006  Australia
Cost: from $15
Tickets available here

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Spoken In One Strange Word 2013

qpf 2013 see me at badge-1

On Tuesday night at Riverbend Books, I had the great pleasure of MC’ing the official launch of the 2013 QLD Poetry Festival: spoken in one strange word program. The night kicked off with Rob Morris and Sheish Money who by mid set had everyone smiling and stomping their feet; Rob weaving tales of Ram Chandra, Old Sailors and countless other characters into Sheish’s floating piano notes. And from there, every artist that stood up to the mic – Pascalle Burton, Nathan Shepherdson, Rhyll Tonge & Fern Thompsett and Sue Ray – added  another layer of joy.

It was a showcase of what makes QLD Poetry Festival the most exciting poetry event in this country… a celebration of the strange words poets make.

And now, the 2013 program is available online, and it is quite possibly, the most exciting program I have seen in my 10 year involvement. Artists that have my blood racing are Sachiko Murakami (Canada), Tao Lin (USA), Jacqueline Turner (Canada), Π O (Australia), Aidan Coleman (Australia), Bertie Blackman… and this is just the names on the tip of my tongue. To check out the full program, visit the QPF Website. Spend some time with it… there is so much to get excited about!

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Support A Poet

qpf

Queensland Poetry Festival believes in bringing the poetic arts onto the cultural main stage and this year they are celebrating 17 years as Australia’s finest poetry festival. From August 23 – 25 QPF will light up the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts with poetry, spoken in one strange word. Local poets take the stage alongside performers from across the seas in an entire weekend of free poetry, performance, and collaborations exclusive to QPF audiences.

But they couldn’t do all of this without you. The support of the poetry community enables QPF to support the creative and professional development of Queensland and Australian poets, it helps keep the festival free and accessible for everyone, and it allows QPF to continue to deliver exciting, innovative, and world-class poetry to Queensland, Australia, and the world.

Along with the warm fuzzy that comes from supporting a poet and a wonderful grass roots organisation, all donations are tax-deductible. And all Support-a-Poet donors will be acknowledged on the QPF website.

QPF is pleased to be working with Creative Partnerships Australia to enable our supporters to make tax-deductible donations, and as the end of the financial year approaches it is a great time to show your support. Choose from one of the options below, or donate to the amount of your choosing. Donations of any size will make an enormous contribution and all donations over $2 are tax deductible.

So here’s how you can support a poet:

$25      Support poetry publishing and help produce a limited edition QPF Anthology
$75      Support an aspiring poet by giving them a place in a masterclass
$130    Support an emerging poet by supporting their feature performance
$240    Support the development of a new poetic artwork
$350    Support regional poets by taking QPF on the road

Donations can be made here… I’m off to make mine now!

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On Joy and Sorrow

QLD Poetry Festival’s ‘Artistic Director’, Sarah Gory, recently invited a number of Australian poets to respond to a handful of questions that explore the wild landscapes of Joy and Sorrow. This interview series, named for Kahlil Gibran’s famous poem in which he artfully says that joy and sorrow are two sides of the same coin, was inspired by the ‘on beauty‘ series that Lemon Hound are currently running.

On Joy and Sorrow

In inviting us to participate, Sarah has encouraged us to open up about how we as poets interact with the emotions we are often accused of ‘evoking’. Living with and responding to these questions was a genuinely moving experience, so I hope there is something in these responses to carry with you… So here I am, talking ‘On Joy and Sorrow.’

And while you are reading, I recommend exploring the responses of Betsy Turcot and Matt Hetherington; there is much to revel in.

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