October update

I’ve noticed that I haven’t posted an update since the Queensland Poetry Festival – not because there hasn’t been much happening of late – but more that there just hasn’t been time to sit down and write a blog post! I’ve been steadily chipping away at my writing, mostly refining half a dozen new pieces I’ve been working on.

Over the last couple of months I’ve received my contributor copies of both Dazzled – the University of Canberra Vice Chancellor’s Award for Poetry for which my poem ‘Signs of Life’ was shortlisted, and also the contributor anthology released for the ACU Literature Prize, in which my poem Pristella Maxillaris was shortlisted. It was a great honour to see my work in the mix for these awards, and it has provided me with some comfort that I’m writing well and also some motivation to continue working on things.

I’ve also had poems accepted for the forthcoming Page Seventeen issue and the new Grapple Annual – and I’m very much looking forward to receiving and reading through those.

Work continues on polishing up my new manuscript which has been pretty well at a final state for a little while and which I’ve cast out a couple of times now, hoping for it to find a home. No home yet, so I’ll continue to cast the net – I’m sure when it finds its home it will be worth the wait. I really like this collection of poems as I think it shows the development that’s occurred in my writing of the past couple of years and more than half of the poems in it have been published in various places now, so something must be right with it! Patience….!That being said, if any of my poet friends reading this post hear of new opportunities to submit, it would be great to hear from you.

I’ve popped up at a few gigs around the place recently, including Speedpoets and its new offshoot Poet’s Corner at Maroochydore, this Saturday gone. It’s always really great to be able to perform in front of new audiences. I also did a short set at the Wooloowin State School centenary celebrations during September.

There are a few interesting events to come over the next few months…including the Speedpoets Open Mic finals. I was call back poet earlier in the year and will be joining the other selected call back poets to battle it out for the title in November. It should be a great event! There are some real quality poets in the field.

Then in February John Koenig and myself will be sending China Bull out on the road again and performing it live at Poets Corner in Maroochydore. This will be its third full outing, and I can’t wait – I just really love this collaboration and audiences seem to love it too.

Hope to catch up with a few people at next month’s speedpoets – don’t forget to pop along if you’re in Brisbane and support local artists! Thanks for reading :)


QPF 2014 – Sunday musings

Day two of the festival got off to an incredibly cool start when I caught Rachael Briggs and Zenobia Frost in Celestial Monsters. It’s difficult to describe exactly what we saw – but in a nutshell it was clever, witty, funny, surprising and so so entertaining. One of the performances of the festival for me! It was also great to pick up a copy of Zen’s new book Salt and Bone which has been published by Walleah Press – a small independent press once more supporting Queensland poets and giving new voices a chance to shine!

I was back on MC duties immediately following, in Fall to Float, featuring Kathryn Lomer, Jessica L Wilkinson and Cyril Wong. I really enjoyed this session – Kathryn read some new pieces, including a long and beautiful piece inspired by the cliffs outside MONA in Hobart, Jessica read from her forthcoming book Debut for Percy Grainger and it was wonderful to see the poems as they appear in print as she performed, as the way she sets out her work is such an incredible feature. Cyril Wong was amazing. His poems were really beautiful and spoke about simple things, simple experiences. I love that!

Other performances I caught were the end of Lionel Fogarty’s set in the shopfront, and Fly in Formation – featuring Ian Gibbins, Pascalle Burton and Nathan Shepherdson and Christian Bok. This experimental-style is definitely not my style of poetry, because I find it hard to make a connection, but I was open to the experience at QPF. Pascalle and Nathan’s piece was mesmerising and interesting though.

I was excited to see Warsan Shire perform one more time, in the last session I caught at the festival – The Diamond Constellations. It also featured our own Chloe Callistemon performing more of her bird poems from A Bird’s Guide to Flight, and Amanda Stewart, who is also known for her experimental style and energetic performances. Once again Warsan was able to fill my mind with images, stories and words that I carried away, and I can’t think of a better way to finish what was another incredible Queensland Poetry Festival!

Roll on 2015…


QPF 2014 – Friday and Saturday musings

What a fantastic weekend of poetry at the Queensland Poetry Festival! It’s such a highlight of the year and there’s always such a buzz when so many creatives get together for the ride that is QPF. This year I was volunteering, MCing two sessions in the shopfront space and also working in the bookshop. It was great to give back to a festival that has been very good to me in the past!

On Friday night, it was a packed shopfront space as the Arts Queensland awards were announced – with Chloe Wilson taking the Val Vallis home and Krissy Kneen winning the Shapcott prize. A big congratulations to Jonathan Hadwen for his shortlisting for the Shapcott also – such a wonderful talent, such beautiful words.

Needlepoints of Light followed, and while I was unable to stay for the whole evening, due to a sick bub at home, I felt privileged to catch Sarah Holland-Batt (whose Aria is still a big favourite of mine) and Warsan Shire, who quite literally blew everyone’s socks off with her powerful work. Warsan is the 2014 Poet in Residence, and young poet Laureate from London. Please do check her out online if you weren’t at QPF. Lines from her work are still sizzling around in my brain!

On Saturday, I was there for one of the most exciting sessions in the shopfront, featuring Michelle Cahill, Max Ryan and Janaka Malwatta, who performed with an amazing 14 year old tabla player. The mood was fantastic in the room, and the time all too short – and I never grow tied of hearing Max Ryan recite his poem ‘The Hexham Flood’. It is just ONE of those poems. Michelle Cahill’s performance was intricate and beautiful also – a really wonderful grouping of poets.

It was then on to MC duties for me in Sparrows and Quiet Lovers, featuring Kathryn Lomer, Kent MacCarter and Ross Clark. Kathryn and Kent read from their new books, Night Writing and Sputnik’s Cousin respectively. Ross treated us to a bit of a ‘best of’ session, which was great as he has so much great work to share after 41 years of writing!

A highlight of the day (albeit brief given I was rostered in the shop at the same time) was the launch of David Stavanger’s Shapcott-winning manuscript ‘The Special’. From all accounts it was a special launch (pardon the pun), with a packed house in the theatre and the book flying out of the bookstore. I’m really looking forward to reading it, when time allows me! David has been a great supportive force in the Brisbane scene and to myself so it was great to be there in support of his book launch.

Sadly I couldn’t stay for the evening festivities or the late afternoon sessions, which was a pity as the Saturday Night Special was named after a line in one of my poems. Here’s a photo of me outside the Judith Wright Centre with my words. For those who have a copy of Confessional Box, it appears in the poem ‘it took all of my blood to tell you’.

QPF 2014

QPF 2014


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

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