Voiceworks Magazine #92 — Thing is out now. It contains one of my favourite ever VW poems: “Matisse Blue Nude II” by Jake Dennis. And I have a poem in there too: “Graveyard Haibun”. I’ve been working on this one for some years now, and I’m delighted it has found a home. It was the very first Toowong Cemetery poem!

Here’s the Thing:

Inside Voiceworks #92 you’ll find stories about two little fishes, a father wrapped in wool and musings about flies. Poetry of silhouettes becoming blueprint, detectives contemplating marriage and graveyards (but like, good poetry about graveyards). Nonfiction exploring gender, mysterious red chillies and what it’s like to be a white guy who really wants to ‘get’ hip-hop. Visual art and comics that will melt your brain in a way you know you want it to.

It only costs 10 monies and you can buy it at Avid Reader (if you’re in Brisbane), order it online, or buy an e-copy for five bucks. Voiceworks supports young Australian writers and also the whole committee is smokin’ hot.

Today’s second piece of news is that my review of Paul Summers‘ latest collection, Unity, is up on the Queensland Poetry Festival Blog — just in time for his reading at Riverbend Books next week. These events are always something special, and I’m really sorry I can’t make this one — so make sure you get along for me.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing Summers perform, you’ll read these poems in his low, lyrical Northumbrian voice. His accent permeates the metre; form or not, each poem writes its own rules of rhythm. They chant, rather than sing. Thus Summers weaves a spell of the senses.

Riverbend Poetry Series II is at 6pm, 23 April 2013. Tickets cost $10.

QPF Roadshow Round-Up

The dust has settled in Central Queensland, and the good people of Bundy, Gladdy and Rocky have survived the onslaught of poets. The Queensland Poetry Festival was a blast last-last weekend (24–26 August, 2012) at The Judith Wright Centre, but we touring poets didn’t skip a beat. We arrived in Bundaberg on Monday, 27 August, to give the first of our regional workshops.

I had the pleasure of travelling nationally with the Arts Queensland Touring Poets Program in 2009, but this is the first regional outing for QPF. I joined performance poets Scott Sneddon (Darkwing Dubs) and Steve Smart (from Melbourne), and QPF’s lovely Talina McKenzie Continue reading

Poets on the Road

Delight! After Queensland Poetry Festival weekend in August, I’m joining Darkwing Dubs and Steve Smart on the QPF Regional Roadshow. We’re stopping in on Bundaberg, Mackay and Rockhampton to give performances and workshops. I can’t wait. We get to go by plane and train! I’m picturing Platform 9 & 3/4, pumpkin juice, and an owl… I’ve always wanted to travel by train — and it’s high time I saw more of Queensland. See you soon, northerners!

All the workshops are free, and you can book in by emailing Talina at

Here’s our itinerary:

Continue reading

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!

Countdown to QPF

Suddenly it is August. I’m not quite sure how that happened, but here we are.

Queensland Poetry Festival is this weekend (August 26–28). I’ve just spent two weeks on the couch entertaining the EKKA flu with six seasons of Red Dwarf and a little bit of The X Files. I’ll be emceeing opening night, Of Rhythm and Rapture, so I’m coaxing my voice back with pot after pot of lemon and ginger tea.

You mustn’t miss:

  • Of Rhythm and Rapture: Friday, 7.30 pm — Sandra Thibodeaux, Sawako Nakayasu, Jacob Polley
  • A Babble of Skywalkers: Saturday, 10.30 am — Jeremy Thompson, Red Room
  • Filled with Ink: Saturday, 1.30 pm — Ron Pretty, Jaya Savige, Jacob Polley
  • A Tattoo of Light: Saturday, 4 pm — Joanne Featherstone, Matt Hetherington, Zenobia Frost
  • All is Roar and Crash: Saturday, 4 pm — Kevin Gillam, Andy White, Marisa Allen
  • A Million Bright Things: Saturday, 8 pm — A short set from every poet on the program
  • That Profound Machine: Sunday, 5pm — QPF Filmmakers showcase
  • Onwards to Infinity: Sunday, 7pm — Closing night, with encore performances

In other QPF-related news, I will have a new chapbook available at the QPF: a handmade, limited-edition collaboration with poet Jeremy Thompson. Look out for it at the bookstore — it’s called Petrichor: Two Poets, and it sports gorgeous cover art by Bettina Walsh (The Voyage). Petrichor contains new work, including some co-written bits and pieces, and revisits a few old friends. Reward us for a whole weekend spent folding and stapling by grabbing one — there are only 20 in existence! And they have magic semicolons on the back!

In less-QPF-related news, Head over to the Australian Women’s Book Review to read my review of Pam Schlinder’s debut collection, A Sky You Could Fall Into. Then go and do yourself a favour by reading Pam’s book (Post Pressed, 2010).

Personally, I’m looking forward to a festival weekend. And losing the cough means getting back to the theatre: Animal Farm (QPAC) this week and The Hamlet Apocalypse (La Boite) next week. Fortunately Cabaret kept me happy — and thoroughly earwormed — in between episodes of Red Dwarf, curries, and lager milkshakes.

September: Festival Month…

…after last festival month!

Brisbane has been fairly wild for the last couple of months. We’ve had festivals crawling out of our ears, blowing out our noses, oozing out of our eye sockets, and generally affecting us bodily. But in pleasant ways.

Queensland Poetry Festival

QPF was particularly splendid this year. My picks:

  • Andy Jackson and Rachael Guy performing a poetry-puppetry collaboration that moved us all to tears (and caused Andy’s books to sell out in about two seconds);
  • Superduo Emily XYZ (poet-in-residence) and Myers Bartlett performing sound poems for two voices (if they don’t get it, if they don’t get it, it’s all right, it’s all right…);
  • Ross Donlon, who runs the monthly Castlemaine Poetry Cup and writes warm, often subtly hilarious poems;
  • Luke Beesley, maker of edible images, from Melbourne;
  • Pam Schlinder’s launch of her long-awaited debut collection, A Sky You Could Fall Into; and
  • Madrigal Maladies first full-length performance (okay, that ones’ a blatant self-plug…). Poet Nerissa Rowan and I teamed up to experiment with two-voice spoken word madness–reintrepting the lyrics of well-known songs (about illness!). We sang in public and it was terrifying and rad!

Brisbane Festival

And then we’ve had Brisbane Writers Festival, and Brisbane Festival (with its glorious fireworks–and all of us gathering on the hills in the old suburbs to watch the city burn), and Valley Fiesta is coming up this weekend. But for Brissie Fest picks:

  • Cantina are turning the gorgeous Spiegeltent into a den of sin and vice–can’t wait to see it tonight.
  • Deep Blue Orchestra will cram their roving & dancing orchestral adventures into the Spiegeltent on the 13th and 14th.
  • Wunderkammer, Circa’s newest production, will tumble into QUT Festival Theatre next week.

Non-Festival Stuff

Unless we call it the Festival of Zen. I was fortunate to be included in Overland Magazine as part of the 200th issue’s 200-line collaborative poem. And I gained infamy in QWeekend Magazine a couple of weeks ago, along with Graham Nunn and John Tranter and co.–thank you to everyone who has sent photocopies, actual copies, or mentioned it. I felt like Harry Potter for about a day. It was bizarre.

So yes, not quite the Festival of Zen this month, but it’s busy enough to look like it from inside my mindtank. As a final note, I’ve been procrastinating by playing point-and-click hidden object games, and I’m presently in love with Mishap: An Accidental Haunting. If anyone has any favourites, please recommend them.

You know, it’d be cool to get involved in writing for games, because I’ve played a lot of mediocre games in the last few weeks that could have been wild with a dedicated creative writer or an editor on team. What we need is a poetry text adventure. How awesome would that be? Maybe I could pitch that to The Edge or something; they’re groovy folks.

*wishes for more time and funding*


A generally cheerful and typically hopeful Zen signing out.

~ Zenobia

Aboard the Poetry Tour Bus

Hurrah! I’m very excited to have been chosen to join Robert Morris and Kristin Hannaford on a week-long poetry tour at the end of September. The Queensland Writers Centre and Queensland Poetry Festival are sending us to Sydney, Melbourne and Launceston. Can’t wait!

I’ve never really seen much of Australia before—I’ve certainly never been to Tasmania—so I’m looking forward to exploring. I’m sure that Rob and I will find quality vintage-hunting time along the way. More news to come as tickets (and gigs) are booked.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to book your tickets for the QPF opening night event, A Tangle of Possibilities, featuring AF Harrold (UK), Elizabeth Bachinsky (Canada), Neil Murray & the 2009 Arts Queensland Poet-in-Residence Hinemoana Baker (the festival begins with a lady with fine taste in hats? Perfect!). And I’ll be MCing!

It’s all happening this coming weekend, Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd of August, and it’ll be a blast. Tickets are now on sale from Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts or by calling the box office on: (07) 3872 9000.

Full/Phone/Door: $20
Concession: $15
Groups of 5 or more: $15

Riverbend Poetry Readings

Riverbend Poetry Series – Tuesday 23 June

(On May 23rd, Graham Nunn posted a poem from each feature poet at Another Lost Shark.)

Queensland Poetry Festival, QLD Writers Centre & Riverbend Books are proud to present the final Poetry on the Deck event for 2009. Join us on the Riverbend deck as we showcase five of the local artists performing at the 2009 QLD Poetry Festival. Performing as part of this QPF showcase are multi-skilled artist, Angel Kosch (Standing on the Road); winner of The Dream Ain’t Broken chapbook competition Nicola Scholes (Dear Rose); one of Australia’s finest exponents of the Japanese forms haibun and tanka, Jeffery Harpeng (Quarter Past Sometime); poetic adventurer and protector of apostrophes, Zenobia Frost (The Voyage); and experimental writer and musician, Marisa Allen (Fire in the Head).
Date: Tuesday 23 June
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start

Tickets: $10 available through Riverbend Books and include sushi and complimentary wine. To purchase tickets, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at

The first two events this year have been hugely successful, so book early to avoid disappointment!

About the Poets:

Angel Kosch is a Brisbane based multi-skilled artist , currently a core member of Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble – appearing most recently with them as an actor and singer in Food of Love – a Shakespeare Cabaret . In 2002 she self-published a book of poetry, photography and fragments called ‘Standing on the Road – from old bit of paper’ which was recognised in the Queensland Writers Centre magazine ; Following the release of her collection She was interviewed for a thesis on self-publishing, and she has recently started to compile another collection of short stories, poetry and photography. Angel is a singer/songwriter and has been writing and singing since she was about 6. In 2005, she co- wrote and produced  a combined ep Humidity with Gene Miller and Moses Jones. As a visual Artist/photographer, Angel has had a number of solo exhibitions, the most recent being ‘tell me your secrets’ in November 2007. Angel has a long history of community work and social and environmental activism, and this passion for life imbues her driving force of artistic chaos.

Nicola Scholes won the inaugural Small Change Press “Dream Ain’t Broken Chapbook Competition,” with her collection Dear Rose…, to be launched this year. She also won the inaugural Love Poetry Hate Racism open mic competition in 2007. Aside from winning inaugural things, Nicola has had her poems published in The Broadkill Review (USA), Colloquy, Cordite Poetry Review, The Courier-Mail, dotlit, Hecate, holland1945, The Mozzie, Nineteen-O-Splash (NZ), Poems in Perspex: Max Harris Poetry Award 2007, Ripples, Social Alternatives, SpeedPoets, and Stylus Poetry Journal. Her drawings and poems for children have appeared in Cherububble. Nicola has also been involved in Brisbane community theatre for more than ten years. She has performed in plays with Villanova Players, and St. Luke’s Theatre Society. She is currently studying a PhD on representations of the maternal in Allen Ginsberg’s poetry, at the University of Queensland.

Jeffrey Harpeng has recently had his third co-operative writing project, a tanka-prose sequence, published in  the Spring 2009 Modern English Tanka Earlier co-compositions were Four Tellings – A Haibun Sequence, with Beverley George (Aus), and Owen Bullock, and Joanna Preston ( New Zealand ), and Quartet – A String of Haibun, with Patricia Prime ( New Zealand ), Diana Webb ( UK ) and Jeffrey Woodward ( USA ). He is currently completing a second collection of haibun.

Zenobia Frost is a poetic adventurer, hat fetishist and protector of apostrophes whose debut collection, The Voyage, was recently launched by SweetWater Press. In her writing, Zenobia aims to highlight those common enchantments that are often overlooked. Thus, The Voyage is a whimsical journey on (generally) calm seas with a crew of curious creatures and a compass that points to whichever shore offers the best cup of tea. Zenobia’s poems have found homes in such Australian journals as Going Down Swinging, Small Packages, Stylus, Mascara and Voiceworks, and she has recently performed at the Queensland Poetry Festival, Contraverse and Under a Daylight Moon.

Marisa Allen is a songwriter, musician and performer. Better known as the front woman for the band Bremen Town Musician she had her first book of contemporary poetry ‘Fire in the Head’ published in 2007 through Outsider press, edited by David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger. She has been published in Cottonmouth (Western Australia), Tsunami Street Press (Queensland), performed regularly at Outsiders poetry nights, QPF 2007 and has been a feature artist on 4ZZZ radio show ‘The Siren’s Call’ that showcases local women writers, songwriters, poets and musicians. She also had a stint editing local folk stories in Reykjavik, Iceland for guided tourist walks around the city. It seems she can’t stop writing, and always has her pencil sharpened, just in case.

QPF in Frame Lines

Each member of the Queensland Poetry Festival committee has a short article and poem in Issue 5 of Frame Lines magazine. Zen’s poem is…



I am the cloaked detective.

I am the silent choir. I am the top

of the slush pile.

I am sleeping inside your pocket.

I am the gatherer of secrets

in my nest of old headlines.

I am Icarus, scaling the maze

before flight and I am Houdini,

with supple spine. I am a mathematician;

I can multiply. I am looking to master

mischief’s map, whatever

X might mark the spot of.