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2016, so far

It’s been more than 6 months since I last posted an update, but it hasn’t been an idle time. I’ve been working away at a big file of poems, many of them first formed and written during a trip to Tasmania last year. I love Tasmania. I’m half Tasmanian after all! But the beauty of the place is very conducive to writing. Most of the poems were written at New Norfolk west of Hobart where I stayed for a few days, and since then I’ve been working away steadily at them. The most recently completed of these pieces is ‘Back River’, which is in the current issue of Australian Poetry Journal.

This year, I have been focussed mostly on writing and submitting to journals, with about half a dozen picked up so far. The latest of these have been ‘Manus’ which appeared in Australian Poetry Journal 5.2, ‘Inheritance’ which appeared in Cordite: The End, ‘Instinct of Sharks’ which appeared in Cordite: No Theme, ‘Box Kite’ which appeared in Writ Review, and of course ‘Back River’.

The Tasmanian poems feel very special. Many of them are historically themed, and were written with my own genealogical frame – in that many of them evolved from pieces of information I’ve learned about through my own research. I’m pleased with how they are evolving and combining together into something strong and cohesive.

August in Brisbane is Queensland Poetry Festival time and it’s always a great event and a great opportunity to just immerse in words over the festival weekend. Looking forward to this, mostly because I haven’t been present for much of the year at spoken word/open mic events as I focus more on writing and submitting my work. That means I must be due to read something, somewhere, soon. See you at QPF!



China Bull launch today

It’s always an exciting time to officially launch a book into the world, and today I’m really excited about launching China Bull. This manuscript won the 2015 Work + Tumble prize, and was co-authored by friend and poet John Koenig. Already there has been a lot of interest in the story that we re-tell – the sometimes shocking, but essentially powerful love story about my Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather.

China Bull banner

The book has been printed in a very limited edition print run, and sold out of the Work + Tumble online shop in about a week. That means the only remaining copies will be on sale at today’s launch event. These are traditional chapbooks, printed using time-honoured letterpress methods and cutting edge digital techniques, and each of the covers has been hand stamped.

Limited copies of China Bull available on the day, plus copies of Confessional Box, and postcards featuring new poems.

Launch event details are as follows:

  • TODAY – 17 October 2015
  • Rendezvous Readers Tearoom, Williams Street, Dayboro
  • 2-3pm
  • Book will be launched by Trudie Murrell and Nikki Boyd MP, State member for Pine Rivers.

Hope to see you there!




 the sea offers up your name…the sea offers up your name

the sea offers up your name…the sea offers up your name

offers up your name, offers up your name, offers up your

name… your name, your name, your name, your name

the sea offers up your name…the sea offers up your name

the sea offers up your name…the sea offers up your name

your name, your name, your name, your name, your name

offers up your name, offers up your name, offers up your

name… your name, your name, your name, your name

the sea offers up your name…the sea offers up your name

the sea offers up your name…the sea offers up your name

offers you… offers you… offers you… offers you.. offers up

your name, your name, your name, your name, your name

your name, your name, your name, your name, your name

the sea offers up your name…the sea offers up your name

the sea, the sea, the sea, the sea, the sea, sea, sea, sea, sea


© Vanessa Page 2015


countdown to QPF begins

The USQ Bookcase last weekend was a terrific lead-up to this year’s Queensland Poetry Festival. I am so excited this year to be programmed to perform at QPF, so having the opportunity to test out 15 minutes of new material on an appreciative Toowoomba audience was great.

This year, I will be performing alongside two other giants of Australian poetry in David Brooks and Michael Farrell in our session ‘Better the devil you know’. I do hope you can come along to catch the performance, which will be held on Sunday 30th August in the Shopfront, 1:30-2:30pm. There are a whole heap of awesome things planned for this year’s festival, which runs from 28-30 August at the mighty Judith Wright Centre in the Valley, so I urge you to check out the program in its entirety at the QPF website.

From Ali Cobby Eckermann, MTC Cronin and Ivy Alvarez to Sarah Holland-Batt, Les Murray and even Clive Palmer MP – there is sure to be something for everyone. And if performance and experimental poetry is more your flavour, I think this year’s program will really ignite your senses.

More soon!


USQ Bookcase this saturday!

This Saturday I’ll be returning to my home town Toowoomba to take part in the USQ Bookcase for a second year. This is a great little festival that showcases some of the University’s alumni as well as the best local writers from the region. I’ll be joined on the main stage from 3:30-4pm by Brett Dionysius and I’m really looking forward to performing with Brett again.

We’ll both have books for sale on the day, so if you are in the Toowoomba region, it would be great to see you there. Check out the program, as there are all manner of workshops and events and performances taking place over the weekend.

It’s great to be involved and give back to my home town and contribute to the cultural life of the region. It’s also a great lead up event to the Queensland Poetry Festival, happening next month. More on this event soon!


China Bull to be published by work & tumble

This week, China Bull was selected as the winner of the 2015 Work & Tumble Chapbook Competition. The prospect of seeing this story in print and in a beautiful, tactile format is really exciting. This work is special, and I am very grateful to my friend and fellow poet John Koenig who has co-authored this book with me.

Work & Tumble describe themselves as an Australian publisher of high quality, limited edition poetry chapbooks – using time honoured letterpress methods and cutting edge digital techniques. You can read more about their ideology and services by visiting their website.

One thing is certain, these chapbooks will be objects of beauty and I can’t wait to start working with the Work & Tumble team to bring our vision to life. Stay tuned for more information, including details about where and when the book with be launched, and how to get your hands on a copy.

Many thanks to Amy Hilhorst who judged the competition, selecting China Bull from a strong field of 58 manuscripts. This is what Amy had to say about China Bull:

Judge Amy Hilhorst highlighted its ‘strong narrative’, ‘powerful poetic imagery’ and ‘awesome concluding lines’ with each section. She went on to state ‘it is so measured, professional, original, and well-paced.’

Thanks also to the many people who came to listen to China Bull, performed live last year at Riverbend Books in Brisbane, at the USQ Bookcase Festival in Toowoomba and earlier this year at Poet’s Corner at Maroochydore. The great response we received at these gigs encouraged me to keep sending China Bull out for consideration.


Recent poems and poetry news

Part of China Bull has found a home and I couldn’t be happier! The Annie Caroline section of the work will be appearing in an upcoming edition of Rabbit as part of a double volume called ‘Biography’. The two parts should be available by the end of June and I can’t wait to read all of the works.

My poem ‘Petrichor’ has also been accepted for publication in Southerly’s upcoming Elemental issue. This is the first time my work has found its way into these wo respected journals, and its wonderful to keep opening up my poetry to new audiences by finding homes in many and varied journals and publications. I also recently received my copy of Cuttlefish – a very handsome new journal out of WA and edited by Roland Leach. My poem ‘Papier Mache’ can be found in its pages, along with some beautiful illustrations and artwork.

It’s getting cooler in Brisbane (well marginally) and as always, at this time of year the poetry events continue to inspire in the lead up to the amazing Queensland Poetry Festival. Earlier this year I was so thrilled to meet Judith Rodriguez and hear her perform a set of her work at Speedpoets. I have a copy of Judith’s 1982 release ‘Witch Heart’ and have found myself going back to it a number of times since. I also picked up a copy of Judith’s latest work, which retells the true story of Minnie Thwaites. As a lover of history and non fiction poetry, it really struck a chord.
Vanessa Page and Judith Rodriguez

It was also great to join Matt Hetherington for the launch of his new haiku collection ‘For Instance’. At a chilly evening at Pallet in West End, we gathered to enjoy the simplicity and power of Matt’s new collection. Launched by Nathan Shepherdson (as Pascalle Burton) and featuring a set from David Stavanger – it was a great way to spend a couple of hours.
For Instance

Last Friday evening, I joined with a small group at Archives Fine Books to read the poems of Judith Wright, as part of her 100th birthday celebrations. Archives has a wonderful reading space and you could definitely feel the spirit of Judith alive in the room as those gathered read their favourite pieces. I read a poem called ‘Sanctuary’ and it’s one of those poems that is beautiful and works under your skin and can truly spellbind.

Looking forward, I’m currently preparing a set of my work for the University of Southern Queensland Bookcase – a two-day literary festival in Toowoomba. I was excited to be invited back and this year I’ll be performing on the 18th July from 3:30-4pm on the performance stage. As we get closer, I’ll share more details, but the program is already available to view on the USQ website.

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