I tried really hard to make a good pun on “March Hare”, but I failed. I’m so sorry.
It’s been a quiet start to the year. I moved house, fell in love with the neighbour’s cat (Sable, pictured), and have spent a lot of time re-scaping my fish tank.
I received happy news yesterday: Salt and Bone has been commended in the FAW Anne Elder Awards. So chuffed! I look forward to reading the winner’s work. (Last year it was Vanessa Page’s excellent Confessional Box.)
I’ve had the great pleasure of spending time with Bronwyn Lea, my Australian ArtStart mentor for the year. Bronwyn is so sharp, and so lovely; it’s wonderful to have her brain turned towards my poems.
It’s high time I booked tickets for my European adventure. A week or so ago, I put two and two together and realised that the Roxane Gay giving a nonfic/personal-essay course at the Black Forest Writing Seminars, where I’ll be studying poetry, was the one and only Bad Feminist Roxane Gay. I rushed to sign up! What followed was basically credit-card kink; my wallet’s sore from the exercise, but both my wallet and I are prettty satisfied. I can’t wait to learn everything I can from Roxane.
I was so, so sad to hear of Terry Pratchett’s final meeting with Death yesterday, and will be blogging my goodbyes this week after it’s sunk in better.
In 2009, SweetWater Press published my first chapbook, The Voyage. Bettina Marson (who designed the cover of Salt and Bone, too) illustrated the booklet, and we launched it at Metro Arts on my 20th birthday. The Voyage is out of print now, so I thought it might be fun to have a digital copy — or, at least, highlights — online. I’ll roll 10 poems out on tumblr, with a table of contents here.
Poems reprinted with gratitude to Ross Clark and SweetWater Press. By way of a writing exercise to get me into the new year, I’ve given these ones a gentle edit. (I’ve excluded poems that found their way into Salt and Bone or were too, er, of-their-time.) I hope you enjoy The Voyage as a digital chapbook.
From the Ferry, Looking Out
Stalking the Moon/Skyfishing
Glass to Sea Junk: A Sacrifice
How Do You Do, Tuatara?
18 Warrengate Road
Over the last year, I’ve been privileged to work with linguist Kit Loke on her collection of poems exploring her experiences with chronic neuropathic pain, spasm, disability, and illness. To kick off 2015, I’m very pleased and proud to help Kit launch her poetry blog, The Invisible Puppeteer. This project was made possible by Access Arts and arts-worker/performance-maker Nathan Sibthorpe.
What I love about Kit’s poetry is the way it engages the reader’s empathy and sense of hope. Ultimately, her work chronicles her decade-long journey to mentally triumph over the chronic pain and illness she experiences.
I hope you’ll visit, follow and share The Invisible Puppeteer.
It’s been a big week — and 2015 has its claws around the door.
I’m thrilled to announce (I’ve been bursting with the embargoed news) that I’ve received an ArtStart grant!
Australia Council’s ArtStart grants can be used to kickstart creative careers. After the launch of Salt and Bone, I’ve wondered where to go next with poetry. ArtStart will help me spend a year learning under awesome mentors: Bronwyn Lea in Brisbane, Warsan Shire in London and Adrianne Kalfopoulou at the Black Forest Writing Seminars in Freiburg.
Holding off on planning till after this crazy Christmas, but I’m excited to share this explosion of exclamation marks with you: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just dragged my suitcase in the door after a whirlwind week in Newcastle (at National Young Writers’ Festival) and Melbourne (for the Melb. launch of Salt and Bone at Hares and Hyenas). I met so many fantastic writers and readers at NYWF, thoroughly enjoyed lording it as a judge at the Epic Word Nerd Battledome (pictured, with Jane Howard and Adolfo Aranjuez), and relished reading Foreign Soil on the beach.
Hearty congratulations, also, to Scum Mag on the launch of their first print zine. It comes with TEMPORARY TATTOOS. What’s cooler than that? Zero things. The zine fair was a highlight, as was getting up on stage at the launch orgy in a nightie to perform Blood Spells with the Scum gals. (Photo below by Alan Weedon.)
I’m so grateful to ReVerse Butcher and the team at Hares and Hyenas for hosting the Melbourne launch of Salt and Bone. Thank you to everyone who came along. Here are the lovely Broede Carmody’s words on the book (and thanks, Broede, for the launch snap):
“Zen describes herself as an expat of the Voiceworks editorial committee, for which she read and edited poems for a number of years before she turned 25 and we realised she was not just too old but also too disgustingly talented to be involved in the magazine any more.
“But seeing as we’re here for the launch of a poetry collection and not a memoir I should probably talk a little about Zen’s work itself and not just her pretty face.
“I think it’s appropriate that this book is called Salt and Bone because not only does the powerful imagery in Zen’s poetry leave a taste in your mouth but it also affects you physically. Poems like ‘Aftershocks’ deal with sexual assault but importantly use the language of survival. Similarly, other poems celebrate women, sex, polyamory and the queer identity. A lot of poetry out there—particularly the kinds we are introduced to in high school or that are available in book stores—are by old, white men and Zen’s poetry really strikes a chord with me because it’s different. It’s so important that queer Australians see themselves reflected back on the page.
“So with that I would like to say fuck you to the patriarchy, and consider this book launched.”
Less than one week to go until WUNDERKAMMER: the co-launch of Curio and Salt and Bone. Kristin and I are doubly excited! And so relieved that Avid is taking care of everything.
If you’d like to come, please RSVP via Avid Reader (for free!). This ensures we have enough free wine and nibbles for everyone to get sufficiently jolly.
If you can’t make the Brisbane launch but would still like a copy of either book (or both!), here’s how:
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:
- Salt and Bone: Melbourne launch, 7 Oct
Salt and Bone launches in good company at Hares & Hyenas. Details TBC.
- Sleep: Oct–Nov
It’s here! It’s real! It’s got a spine and an ISBN!
Salt and Bone (Walleah Press) will be available for sneaky pre-sales at Queensland Poetry Festival, with a Brisbane launch in mid-September. Then, if I’m lucky, a little touring!
Melbourne-based artist Bettina Marson designed the beautiful front and back covers (and tolerated me emailing her about 340 million photos of curlews being weirdos). I think this cover is about as Brisbane as it gets:
Here are some very nice things that Cordite Poetry Review‘s Kent MacCarter said about Salt and Bone:
“Frost’s are fearless poems, engaging with and confronting the intricacies of our sex-then-life-then-death eddy. Treacle, black pepper and clove, the weight of Atlas: these are poems Bertolt Brecht would delay his first morning coffee or crossword to consume … Their alchemic moods forge a contemporary age of bronze, one that, somehow, already sports your fingerprint embossed into its folds. Salt and Bone is her own Epic Theatre.”
If you’re super-duper keen, you can preorder the collection from Walleah.
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
Stay tuned for launch deets — coming soon!