Total Eclipse of the Zen

Well! I’m about to go undercover (read: do a lot of poem-writing and grant-applying in bed) to prepare for upcoming festivals and new work. Salt and Bone is ready to launch (!) and I’m ready to zoom up and down the east coast (including a Lushie work retreat in Sydney). Here’s some of what’s coming up:

  • Queensland Poetry Festival: Celestial Monsters, 31 Aug @ 11am
    Judith Wright Centre shopfront space (FREE): Rachael Briggs and Zenobia Frost have been places humans shouldn’t tread. And they’ve returned with poems, song cycles and the lingering smell of graveyard dirt.
  • Queensland Poetry Festival: Into the Warmth, 31 Aug @ 1.45pm
    Judith Wright Centre performance space (FREE): Poetry can be sung from the rafters, and it can be an intimate act between strangers. Join us for this very special Sunday Poetry Yum Cha session – come in, find a seat, grab a snack, open your ears and your heart. Featuring Candy Royalle, Max Ryan, Cyril Wong, Zenobia Frost and Adam Hadley
  • Wunderkammer: The launch of Salt and Bone and Curio, 18 Sept @ 6pm
    Avid Reader (FREE): Kristin Hannaford and Zenobia Frost co-launch their new WALLEAH PRESS poetry collections. Join us for drinks and nibbles as we celebrate confluence, quolls and possums — and send Hannaford’s CURIO and Frost’s SALT AND BONE into the world. Bookings essential.
  • National Young Writers Festival: Newcastle, 2–5 Oct
    Program launched soon — watch this space. Basically lots of this:
    212dance
  • Salt and Bone: Melbourne launch, 7 Oct
    Salt and Bone launches in good company at Hares & Hyenas. Details TBC.
  • Sleep: Oct–Nov

 

Poems and Possums

July is here; we’re at the halfway mark of 2014 already.

I had a great time last week reading new poems at Ruckus! Slam and a few of 2014 Arts Queensland poet-in-residence Warsan Shire‘s poems at Riverbend Books. And today Scum Mag has published one of the poems I debuted that night: “Blood Spells“.

Lots of projects will come to fruition in the year’s second half: Rachael Briggs and I will trouble you with two-voiced monster-poems at Queensland Poetry Festival; my friend Kit Loke will launch the poetry blog we’ve been working away at together; and Walleah Press will launch my book Salt and Bone.

Here’s a sneaky preview some of Bettina Marson‘s cover art for Salt and Bone, partly to celebrate the half-year and partly because I can’t wait to share Bettina’s amazing work:

by Bettina Marson

by Bettina Marson

Stay tuned for launch deets — coming soon!

The Poetry Object: Concrete Poems / Virtual Workshops

Last week marked my first South Australian poetry gig, thanks to The Red Room Company: I took a Skype trip to Adelaide to visit the Year 8s of Wilderness School, who are taking part in Red Room Poetry Object.

The Poetry Object is an annual competition open to school students in Years 3–10. Last year, Red Room asked me to contribute my own talismanic poem to the project — and the object I chose was my local Civic Video. In Red Room’s words: “‘Civic Duty‘ is a restrained detailing of the slow death of video rental stores: a period business that may one day be remembered with nostalgia, like milk-bars and roller-discos.”

Vale Civic Video Rosalie

Our Skype workshops were brief, with 20 minutes per class, so I framed them as conversations. What did the students already know? What did they want to discover? The young women of Wilderness School, it turns out, are pretty clued up when it comes to the mechanics of poetry, so together we unpacked ‘Civic Duty’ — its rhythms and devices — and discussed how they might approach their own poems.

There were plenty of blank faces when I explained my grief at the recent loss of Civic Video Rosalie. It’s enough to make a gal feel old. But it was otherwise wonderful to engage with these students, whose planned poetic talismans range from shells to farmsteads. Their knowledge and enthusiasm about poetry — and their wit — might surprise the bean-counters currently stripping Australian arts and education funding.

Photo by Ann Rooney (Wilderness School)

The workshop was organised by Ann Rooney, an English teacher at Wilderness School, who wanted the girls to learn that reading and writing poetry are skills that can be learned. I’m with Ann on this. Poetry has a mysticism, sure — as Prof. Dumbledore put it: “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.” But viewing poetry as a craft gives writers control over their word-magic. To give students — especially young women — tools with which to hone their communication and art-making is to empower them.

For me, poetry is a process of fearless editing in the pursuit of what Sylvia Plath called “a closed fist” — poetry as a contained potential energy: a fistful of lightning. I hope I passed even a little of that idea on last Wednesday. And I look forward to reading their object-poems!

Only WA and NT to go before I’ve poeted in all states of Australia. Workin’ on it.

The Poetry Object is open to students in Years 3–10 in Australia and New Zealand. The Red Room Company has a wealth of poetry resources available online for teachers and students. Get in on it.

Voiceworks launch: Brisbane edition

 

A rare Brisbane Voiceworks shindig — in one week’s time! Helllls yeah! This is editor Kat Muscat‘s and designer Elwyn Murray‘s final issue — and my final spin on the editorial committee — so make sure you come along to raise a toast to the end of an era and the start of a glorious new one. Welcome VW’s new ed, Elizabeth Flux.

Features: VW Perspective contributors James Butler, Sophie Overett, Emily O’GradyKhalid Warsame and Zenobia Frost; John Marsden Prize-winner, Jeremy Poxon; and the launch of new FREE Brisbane femmo zine, WOOLF PACK.

When: 6pm for 6.30pm, Friday 28 March 2014
Where: Avid Reader, West End
Tickets: Bookings essential online or on (07) 3846 3422. $7.50 entry fee includes a free drink.
Share: Invite yo’ friends along via facebook

That Golden September

“I thought I had found my golden September in the middle of that purple June.”
— Glen Richards, Augie March

A little Stranger Music foreshadowing can’t hurt, right? It’s not quite a golden September yet, but it’s shaping up to be a good ‘un. Here’s some news:

At Queensland Poetry Festival, just last weekend, I learned I’d been shortlisted for the Thomas Shapcott Prize. This is super, super exciting! Congratulations to the worthy winner, David Stavanger; the runner-up, Jonathan Hadwen; and the other shortlisted entrants: Chloe Callistemon, Stuart Cooke and Nicola Scholes. It will be fantastic to have David feature (as Ghostboy) at the Ruby Fizz Salon in October. I also caught fantastic sets from Matt Hetherington and Betsy Turcot at QPF, before I had to dart back to work.

Brisbane Writers Festival, Sunday, 8 September, 12–1pm: Voiceworks Magazine punches the the Red Room’s lights out with wordsmithery and coolness, led by our editor, Kat Muscat. Features Gianina Carter, Daniel Dixon, Zenobia Frost, Tasha Llewellyn, and Sam George-Allen. Check out the event page here.

Voiceworks: Fighting Trousers

Lyre is a new e-journal from Brisbane, and I’m very glad to have had three poems included in the inaugural issue.

Cordite: Masque, edited by Ann Vickery, is out, and includes poems/words by Jordie Albiston, Paul Summers, Santo Cazzati, Kristin Hannaford, and me.

Rabbit #9, the open issue, launches on 11 September, 6.30pm, at Embiggen Books, 197–203 Little Lonsdale St in Melbourne. I wish I could be there! This is my first poem in Rabbit, and I’m very excited to be included alongside Ali Alizadeh and Jordie Albiston.

There’s a plethora of great stuff to catch at BWF this weekend — here’s a list of highlights to help you out. (She Stole My Every Rock and Roll is my pick, for Saturday.) Then there’s Brisbane Festival and the Spiegeltent and wayyy too much coolness. My favourite month! Goldenness ahoy!

x

First Thunder Spoke (then, other voices)

A curious thing: we moved into our new digs in January, and suddenly summer’s swinging around again (interrupting spring — how rude!), yet we still haven’t had a housewarming. The year has been pulled out from under our feet. Also it’s hard to leave this library:

Marlinspike Library

We all have to leave the books alone now and then — and there are a bunch of things coming up I’ll even put pants on for.

This weekend, the Queensland Poetry Festival stirs up the Judith Wright Centre, with three days’ worth of poetry and spoken word over two stages. I’m joining Rob Morris to give voice to Ynes Sanz‘s poems (along with Ynes herself) at First Thunder Spoke: 10.30am, Saturday 24 August.

Then, on Sunday, I’m playing a little trumpet at Lady Marlene‘s wonderful cabaret burlesque (Disney-themed, this time!) at The Loft:

Finally, I’m super excited to announce the return of the Ruby Fizz Society in October, hosted and supported by the wonderful Bird Gallery and Studios (who share space with Bean.) You can tell us you’re coming here, but I’ll tell you all about the Ruby Fizz Salon in another post soon. It’s gonna be so spiffy.

It’s all go at the moment — lots of work, writing and über-rehearsals for The Ragtag Band. But I’m finally recovering from whooping cough (whaaaaa — I don’t even!); my singing voice is coming back; I’ve had two poems accepted this week in two different Aussie journals; I just opened a brand new malty Assam blend; and there’s a friendly cat paw obscuring my keyboard.

See you on the flipside — or hopefully at some of these events!

Lucifer

Alchemy @ Brisbane Square Library 17.5.13

A lovely review from Tash D at Factory Diaries.

Factory Diaries

On the third Friday of every month the Brisbane Square Library is host to a myriad of music, poetry and performance. Alchemy is the name of this monthly event and it is MCd by the lovely Frankie Vandellous.

photo

Unfortunately, I was a tad tardy in arriving to this month’s event so I missed the wonderful musical stylings of Wayne Jennings of The Ragtag Band fame.

I did make it in time to catch the two beautiful dancers from Evoke Dance and Theatre Company performing along to the latin grooves of Tari Hujan, however. The dancers were graceful and strong pulling off fantastic lifts and spins with the greatest of ease. Their routine showed their diversity changing paces several times.

Then the audience was treated to the poetic genius that is Zenobia Frost. This performance featured her ukulele debut in a poem/song that illustrated the contrast between her…

View original post 244 more words

Alchemy and Chemistry

Alchemy has procured some collaborative-arts gold for its May show this Friday: Scrambled Legscircus duo Claire Ogden and Shane SmithTari Hujan, a five-piece band who transmute genres; and that poet who likes graveyards and cats and stuff, Zenobia Frost, occasionally accompanied by charismatic cellist, Wayne Jennings (the Ragtag Band).

 

Frankie Vandellous hosts this splendid, free monthly event. Come along and support Brisbane arts!

Alchemy: A Little May Magic
5.30pm, Friday, 17 May
Brisbane Square Library

Whispers: At Sea

Stories speak to us; they whisper, cajole, and, on occasion, shout out to be heard. Join British Fantasy Award winner, Angela Slatter (The Girl with No Hands, Sourdough & Other Stories, Midnight and Moonshine), alongside special guests novelist, Jessica White (Entitlement, A Curious Intimacy), poet Zenobia Frost, and short fiction writers, Samuel Maguire and James Butler, as they share their stories at sea.

When: Saturday 9 March 2013, 3pm
Where: State Library Cafe, SLQ