shortlisting, longlisting and other things

Another overdue blog post!

But there’s been plenty happening – including a great weekend at Toowoomba for the inaugural USQ Bookcase event. I joined other USQ Alumni in sharing my words and thoughts on poetry – discussing poetry during a workshop panel session with John Koenig, and performing China Bull later in the afternoon on the main stage.

My thanks to the organisers of the event for putting on such a great show – and I’ll most definitely be back next year!

A few of my poems have been finding new homes recently. Bellarine Machines has been accepted for Issue 11 of Page Seventeen and I have a poem shortlisted in the 2013 ACU Literature Prize, and a poem also longlisted in the University of Canberra Vice Chancellor’s Poetry Prize. This is very exciting, given how prestigious these awards are. More news on these soon….stay tuned.

It’s poetry season in Brisbane and if you haven’t gotten your hot little hands on the QPF program yet – I urge you to go visit the website immediately!!! So much goodness packed into one weekend. I’ll be MCing a couple of sessions over the festival and look forward to seeing you there!


China Bull goes on the road

My China Bull collaboration with John Koenig is travelling to Toowoomba next weekend as part of the University of Southern Queensland’s Bookcase festival. It’s exciting to be involved, as a proud alumnus of USQ and it should be a great day that has something for everyone!

USQ Bookcase
Myself, JK and Ipswich slam poet CF Hughes will take to the stage to perform and fly the flag for all things poetry and we’ll also be participating in a poetry panel, facilitated by Laurie Johnson.

This is the first time I’ve been able to return to my hometown of Toowoomba to perform and am hopeful of seeing many old friends and faces on the day.

Here’s all the details:
Saturday 19 July
9:30am – 4pm
University of Southern Queensland Refectory
West Street, Toowoomba
Gold coin entry – children under 12 free.

In addition to poetry, there’ll be sessions on travel writing, novels, playwriting, eBooks, blogs, illustrations and more. There will also be stalls and opportunities to meet with presenters, and book in for workshops throughout the day, and of course plenty of books for sale, including my own, Confessional Box.

Performers and guests include:
Kylie Chan – bestselling author of the Dark Heavens, Journey to Wudang and Celestial Battle trilogies
Selina Kucks (aka Sketa) – children’s author
Lea Scott – Crime writing novelist
Laurie Johnson – Shakespearian historian
Lyne Marshall – Creative artist and author
Kim Wildman – Guidebook author

Check out the program and event times at the USQ website.


Regime 04

The good folks at Regime magazine have included one of my poems in the forthcoming issue, Regime 04. It’s a great publication that really supports Australian writers, and my piece will be appearing along with the work of 44 other very fine poets and 5 short story writers.

Regime 04 is now available for pre-order, and with $10 from every copy sold going back into a pool for constributors, every copy sold counts! So why not stock up on your reading material and support Australian poets and writers at the same tme? Everyone’s a winner!

To find out more visit Regime Books.


China Bull launched

It was a packed house at Riverbend on June 24 for the launch of the Queensland Poetry Festival program for 2014 and also the launch of my collaborative work with John Koenig, China Bull.

China Bull is a project very close to my heart, as it is a poetic re-telling of the true story of my great grandmother Annie Caroline. I had the idea for this piece almost two years ago and it has been wonderful to work and develop the concept into this fine end result. I recruited John Koenig along the way to provide the male voice for the conversation and it all works superbly as a performance piece. A big thanks to Sarah Gory for giving us a great launch opportunity.

Given it was its first public outing, I was relieved that there were no technical glitches, thanks to Sarah Gory and Helen Krsticevic for their technical support, expertise and equipment. We had many great comments from audience members afterwards and numerous requests to see the piece performed again, something that will be happening in two weeks time, when we hit the road and take China Bull to the USQ Bookcase festival in Toowoomba on July 19.

It was also a pleasure to perform alongside Lionel Fogarty, Zenobia Frost and the Bell Divers and it was a great night once again, expertly emceed by Matt Hetherington. Thanks to everyone who braved the chill in the air to sit on the deck at Riverbend and listen to the work of local artists. It means a lot!!

Here’s a few images from the evening (courtesy of the QPF team):

Me and JK performing China Bull

Me and JK performing China Bull

Crowd Riverbend
Zen Frost reads Warsan Shire

Zen Frost reads Warsan Shire

Matt Hetherington performs MC duties

Matt Hetherington performs MC duties


China Bull debuts at Riverbend Tues 24 June

Last week John Koenig and I did some promo for our upcoming collaboration at Riverbend, and this week it has appeared in Brisbane’s local rags – the Quest papers. There’s a bit more about the idea behind China Bull, how it has come about and how I came to be working with JK on this project. My research into the life of Annie Caroline is ongoing and has been quite fascinating and I can’t wait to bring her story to life through this poetic conversation.

China Bull promo

If you haven’t got your tickets yet, head to the Riverbend website. It will be a great night, with the launch of the Queensland Poetry Festival program and some fantastic performances from Lionel Fogarty, Rebecca Jessen, the Bell Divers and Zen Frost reading from Warsan Shire’s work.

More info here!


Call back poet for May

At the May Speedpoets, and the final at the Hideaway, I was thrilled to be named as the Call-back Poet for the month. The Call-back Poet is selected from the open mic field by the feature artists for the day, on this occasion Betsy Turcot and Kevin Smith. I read ‘Fossils’, a poem from Confessional Box, that has been often admired, but which I don’t seem to read all that often. So I thought I’d give it an airing and it would seem that it struck a chord, which was wonderful.

Each Call-back Poet then competes in November for the title of Call-back Poet of the year. At this event, each poet performs a ‘mini set’ of their work. So, as a long-term Speedpoet open mic-er it was an honour to be chosen!

And on the subject of Speedpoets, we are preparing to welcome the event in a new home in June. The Lucky Duck Bar and Café at Highgate Hill will be our new digs. Looking forward to being part of this exciting new chapter in Speedpoets history. I’ve heard a whisper that Speedpoets will be looking to return to its grassroots, with more open mic rounds and more opportunities for poets to get their words heard! Thanks to those hard working souls behind the scenes, who have kept this event running. I encourage everyone in the Brisbane region to get behind Speedpoets, support local artists and come along to the re-launch of this event. And if you are a poet, bring along your work to share – it is a friendly and supportive environment and it is always wonderful to hear new voices at the mic.

More information at http://speedpoets.com


You’d brought home a string of coloured lights
and crafted a beautiful mess

a complex frippery
hanging like an imago garland
in the exhausted landscape we’d created

our CD collections had been making love for months
behind a smokescreen of conversation
and the endless scraping of deck chairs

now, only screeching rosellas create the static

our signals have been switched off
and we wait at ten paces, armed with
our own scorched earth policies

wondering, who will keep the strange ceramic bull
on the mantle when it all becomes final?


China Bull

I’m so excited to be announcing the first performance of China Bull, a collaborative project I’ve been working on over the last six months with John ‘JK’ Koenig. We’ve been invited to be part of the Riverbend Poetry Series III on June 24 at Riverbend Books at Bulimba, where China Bull will make its debut.

John Koenig and Vanessa Page

John Koenig and Vanessa Page

Here’s the blurb:

China Bull is a poetic conversation which re-tells the true story of Annie Caroline Dixon. A love story set against the harsh landscapes of outback Queensland, the characters are imagined through the words of Page and Koenig, whose contrasting voices are set to a simmering outback soundtrack.

This is an exciting project and the story was begging to be told! I discovered it during my family history research and it was so gripping, and brave and scandalous that I couldn’t leave it alone. Each sequence of poems responds to a snippet from the Brisbane Courier newspaper article of the time that covered the story.

With JK’s booming outback voice, the poetic conversation works incredibly well – and during our first rehearsal of the piece, the atmosphere of the reading was amplified by the background accompaniment of some really moody outback sounds.

If you are about on June 24 – come down for a look, and a listen. There are some other great features performing, including Lionel Fogarty, Rebecca Jessen and the Bell Divers. And of course, Riverbend III is always the launch event for the Queensland Poetry Festival programme.

More info:

Date: Tuesday 24th June, 2014
Time: 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Where: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St Bulimba
Cost: $10 (drinks will be available for purchase on the evening)

Tickets available directly through Riverbend Books via their website or on 07 3899 8555. This event regularly sells out, so get in early to avoid disappointment.


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