Writ Review Issue 2

I’ve finally had a chance to read through the excellent collection of poems that make up the Writ Review. It is well worth checking out. My poem Fontanelle has made the cut which is fantastic.

There are some wonderful poems in the mix, and I especially loved Felicity Plunkett’s poem ‘Yellow’ and Rose Hartley’s ‘Metal Fume Fever’.

Here’s the link.


China Bull shortlisted for the Whitmore Prize and other news

China Bull co-author John Koenig and I are very pleased to share that we have been shortlisted for this year’s Whitmore Prize.

There are some wonderful poets on the shortlisted, so it feels great to be in such good company. China Bull is a special piece of work and close to my heart as it is based on the true story of my great grandmother Annie Caroline. Everywhere JK and I have performed the work it has been well received, so it is great that it’s able to connect with audiences just as strongly on the page.

You can read the full shortlist here. The winner will be announced any tick of the clock.

In other news, I received my copy of the latest Page Seventeen, in which my poem ‘Bellarine Machines’ appears and also my copy of the Grapple Annual, in which my Toowoomba flavoured poem ‘Hunting Season 4350′ appears. Always feels great to come home and find new poetry to read.

This week I also got along to a new open mic event on the north side, and the very cool Cardigan Bar at Sandgate. This month, the gig was hosted by Matt Hetherington and we were treated to two 15 minute sets of his work, along with a bit of open mic in between. It was great to catch up with some of the crew who got along – Melissa Jeffreys, Fiona Privitera, and Tony Mutton. Here’s hoping it becomes a regular event on the calendar. If you live Brisbane north side, I encourage you to come along and see what it’s all about.

And finally, today I take to the Speedpoets stage to battle it out with the other Call Back Poets for the year at the annual Speedpoets Open Mic Championships at the Lucky Duck, Highgate Hill from 2pm. I was lucky enough to be chosen as the Call-Back Poet for May and I’m planning on reading some pieces from the China Bull manuscript. More info is on the Speedpoets website.


Martha Richardson memorial poetry prize

I received some great news overnight, learning that my poem ‘Something old, something new’ had won the 2014 Martha Richardson Memorial Poetry Prize. The prize is coordinated by the Ballarat Writers organisation on a bi-annual basis, to honour the renowned Australian/American poet Martha Richardson.

This year’s prize was judged by Peter Bakowski. The poem will be available soon on the Ballarat Writers website, and when it is, I’ll post a link here.


A poem at stilts journal

A new poem, Balloon has been published at Stilts Journal, as part of their November Monthlies series. Many thanks to the editors! This is a poem that has been floating around for a bit so I’m very pleased that it has now found a home.


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

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