Archive for October, 2011


More Ipswich Poetry Feast

All photos courtesy of the Ipswich City Council


2011 Ipswich Poetry Feast

On Friday night I attended the Ipswich Poetry Feast Awards evening…for the fourth consecutive year as a prize winner which was very exciting! This year three of my poems won prizes, ‘Chrysalid’ was Highly Commended in the Open Category, ‘Final’ won second prize in the Local category and ‘Limestone Park’ won the Ipswich category.

All the poems are now up at the following site:

How wonderful also to see such a strong showing from my fellow City of Ipswich poets Brett Dionysius and Vuong Pham who took home a share of the prizes. Please check out their poems – in particular Brett’s dense and brilliant sequence ‘Heartland’ and Vuong’s beautiful shape poem ‘Petrichor’.

And now, the poems…

Second Prize
by Vanessa Page
Rosewood, Qld

Coming over the seven mile bridge
the Bremer River was still kissing the road,
the contents of its belly hung like scarecrow
detritus, out on the fence posts to dry

You’d lain in state like a crumpled love note
for bleached hours after the waters receded
deep in a row of quiescent post-wars,
ants working round you like a bicycle chain

When I arrived there, you were softened
by the end of day’s orange-sherbet glow
your gaping nightgown flannel like a husk
and your hair as sudden as a final wing-beat

In the kitchen, birthright was already placing
its claim on your crystal set, cutting words
with bee-sting mouths and shaking out the
sum of you like an embroidered sampler

I pick up your hand like a beaten stone
and even now, broken and gone, you fix all this.

Judges Report:
2nd Place: Final by Vanessa Page

Final is a poem of aching loss. The opening images create a haunting atmosphere, which is skillfully maintained throughout the poem. As we reach the Seven Mile Bridge, the Bremer is ‘kissing the road, the contents of its belly hung like scarecrow detritus’. This image of a scarecrow’s spilled belly, prepares us for the image of the body that lies ‘like a crumpled love note’ inside its post-war home; ‘hair as sudden as a final wingbeat’; but nothing can prepare us for the ‘bee-sting mouths’ squabbling over crystal sets and other human possessions. It is an image that struck a chord with me on first reading and continues to startle. With grace, the poet delivers a final couplet that moves us on from these ‘cutting words’ of greed, taking the hand of their lost loved one in a healing gesture.

Open Age Winner

Limestone Park
by Vanessa Page
Rosewood, Qld

Night is pulling close, one lungful at a time
so cold and so clear, at the top of Limestone Park

a fist of glow worm streets show themselves to
June’s dead sherbet sky, and the gloaming answers

you can cut perfect words from this looking glass sheet
one hand cupping the world and another lost in stillness

as transitions are made on porches all over the city
and evening is an avalanche of opened doors and ears

up here, floodlights have turned the trees into spectators
over children scooping and tumbling like confetti flakes

all around, endings and beginnings are being marked
out in tail light parentheses and keyless exits

as darkness falls, thick and familiar
over a thousand tin-lidded anthologies

Highly Commended

by Vanessa Page
Rosewood, Qld

This day is made for breaking.

I lie awake in myopic fug. Outside
my window, the agapanthus heads
are inviting deconstruction.

There are only incidental details left.

I inhabit the shadows like silk-sheen,
resting my fingertips on your objects.

Your pieces have grown into monuments.

There’s no fix for this.
No interventional gestalt. I feed each
hour by hand to a paper tiger.

I do not recognise the shape a week makes.

This day is made for breaking.

When I imagine my return, it will be by
increment. A thing of weight, measured out.

I’ll pour a litre of milk down the sink,
slide a curtain open
and the sky will shatter.

Judges Report:
Highly Commended: Chrysalid by Vanessa Page

On a day ‘made for breaking’, agapanthus heads invite destruction, milk is poured down the sink and the sky shatters as curtains are slid open. There is a sharp edge to this poem; many of the images cutting with the clarity of a diamond.


Poetry and art collaborating…



Here’s the poem created for ‘The world can wait” exhibition in Toowoomba. This poem came about sitting on my front steps looking at the moon on a beautiful early winter night…


Tonight I’m watching the
pregnant moon slow-dance
with a purple caped sky, and

thinking about how Neil Young
could fold love and desire
in the same corner of the night

When you come to me, it’s late
winter is talking in glass vowels
and the world is a fixed element

Tonight, I’ll love you in fiction
with hands to realise your face, and
a mouth to press you with diamonds

and the moon will hang like a
beautiful and radiant witness
over these limbs and breathless words

© Vanessa Page 2011


The world can wait – exhibition

On Friday night I was pleased to be part of Maryanne Oliver’s brilliant ‘The World Can Wait’ exhibition at Made Creative Space in Toowoomba. Not only was my dear friend’s wonderful art on display for all in our home town of Toowoomba to see, but we collaborated on an installation of our own. My poem ‘Lovers’ was painted by Maryanne onto one of the gallery walls with the gorgeous piece ‘beauty in solitude’. Please check out more of Maryanne’s gorgeous Mairzi girls by following the link to the right.


Queensland Writers Week

AS part of this year’s Queensland Writers Week, six Queensland poets have been asked to discuss the importance and role of place in their work. I am one of the poets who has been given the opportunity to ponder this theme and my feature can now be found over at Another Lost Shark.
Happy QLD Writers Week!


Me reading at Beeble Poets


1st Beeble!

The first gathering of Beeble Poets on 9 October at the gorgeous Tirra Lirra in Ipswich was a wonderful success. Co-conspirator Brett Dionysius and I shared MC duties while we were treated to poems from a range of voices, including a few SpeedPoets regulars. The afternoon worked well around the lovely sounds of Miss Gertrude, with all the planets aligning for an enjoyable afternoon of aural pleasures and awesome coffee by the folks at Tirra Lirra.
We are planning to hold Beeble Poets every third Sunday of the month, so stay tuned for more information!


Beeble poets at Tirra Lirra

I’m excited to be involved with a new open mic event in Ipswich which kicks off this Sunday. At this stage there will be myself and Brett Dionysius reading, and the call has gone out for all interested poets to come on down and have a read of their work. More soon, but below are the details of the inaugural event:

Beeble Poets is a new, irregular, bi-monthly open mic gig at Tirra Lirra, Ipswich’s sassiest coffee emporium. Poets, wordsmiths, friends and all Ipswichians and non-Ipswichians alike are welcome to come and read a few poems in and around the vocal musings of Miss Gertrude. No entry fee, lots of good words dipped in coffee.

You know you want to…

Where: Tirra Lirra Cafe, Bell St Ipswich
When: Sunday October 9 from 2pm
Entry: Free

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October 2011