Winding Down

It’s 3am again; there’s been a lot of sleeplessness during and post-festival. Queensland Poetry Festival filled my head with so much stuff it’s like there are ants crawling around under my skull: Sawako Nakayasu, Chloe Wilson, Kevin Gillam, Helen Avery, Jacob Polley, and (of course) Jeremy Thompson were highlights. So was the bookstore, though my wallet will disagree. I previewed some gravepoems on the Sunday, including what we’ve decided is a love letter to Govenor Sam Blackall; thank you to everyone who came along.

This year, QPF published a limited-edition anthology containing a poem by every poet on the program. There were 100 copies available on Friday…and five left on Sunday evening, so rather a successful little venture! Here’s my poem from the collection, in case you weren’t one of the lucky 95. (It’s 5/7 of a sonnet, and was published in Overland last year as part of a collaborative poetry mash-up.)

Before the Funeral

You find her in the kitchen and your lungs empty.
This is the room where they cornered the fox,
the fox that panicked through the hall in the storm,
that your brothers crushed into unsealed wood:
that stain there. The window is open.
Evergreens are all puffed up. Nothing grows
from the bones of the fox. Dishcloths are stiff
on the rail where she split her head; the blood
has frozen before it could stain. Your legs try
to turn you. The volta catches in your throat.

My first collaboration with Jeremy Thompson, Petrichor, also disappeared quickly from the bookstore. Thank you kind souls! There’s only one left of the print run — perhaps we will get crafty and put together a second edition in time for our trip to Victoria later this year. I’ll be appearing at Passionate Tongues, at Melbourne’s Brunswick Hotel, on September 26.

This post-festival winding down is only an illusion. Brisbane Festival launches this week, so if you are looking for me, I’ll be in the Spiegeltent all month, madly scrambling across tightropes, balancing deadlines. For now, the John Marsden Prize closes at 5pm, so my last task for tonight/this morning is to choose a poem. Me?! Make my mind up about something?! Bah!

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