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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