Forever – is composed of Nows –

My QLA Queensland Writers Fellowship year is already a whirlwind.

I wrote more poems than ever before in 2017 — avoiding my exegesis is great motivation – and published 14 poems, in States of Poetry, Australian Poetry Journal 7.2StylusPressure Gauge Press, Red Room CompanyScumWoolf Pack and more.

This year I have a forthcoming commission for Moving Words (a QPF/QAGOMA/Commonwealth Games Festival collaboration), called Bathers, after a Robert Bunny painting in the Aus. Collection at Queensland Art Gallery. There’ll be an Auslan-interpreted live poetry walk through the gallery in April, where an excerpt from the poem has also been installed.

bunny_bathers-1

(I saw a lot more Bunnys on my trip to the Gallery of South Australia, and expect I might continue writing queer revisionist poems about them.)

I also have poems printed or forthcoming in Woolf Pack #10, Rabbit and Foam:e, with a poem recently shortlisted in the Judith Wright Overland Poetry Prize. Congratulations to Evelyn Araluen and Rae White on their much-deserved wins.

I’m particularly proud of a recent review I wrote (on the plane back from Adelaide) of Dickinson’s Room. This one’s up on Daily Review, but you’ll find my scrappier, on-the-fly Adelaide Fringe Reviews here. (I was meant to be on holiday.) Please go see it, if you’re in Adelaide — and please tour everywhere, Bad Neighbour Theatre.

Emily [Dickinson] is no madwoman in the attic; Bad Neighbour Theatre realise her as a complete and complex woman.  Just as Dickinson made her solitude rich and full, we experience how expansive she made her life in this tiny space.

I’ve joined the editorial team of a refurbished Stilts, with Ella Jeffreys and Emily O’Grady. The journal has a wonderful history, and we’re proud to bring it back to its Brisbane roots and refocus its attention firmly on Australian poetry. The first issue of Stilts is curated from commissioned poets (future issues will be open subs), and we have a truly fine crop of poems to share soon. All the action begins soon; keep an eye on the Stilts website or facebook page for updates.

Longstanding Brisbane femmo zine Woolf Pack will launch its 10th (!!) issue in March – keep an eye out for their next event. WP #10 (founders Rebecca Cheers and Talia Enright pictured below) features poems by Rebecca Jessen, Rae White and moi, plus heaps of gorgeous art and prose.

bectaliasticky

Somewhere in all this, I’m working on my manuscript and MPhil at QUT, and watching a lot of soothing renovation shows (and finding there’s not a dry eye in the Queer Eye house). Pray 4 me.

Dear Stilts

On Sunday night, a friend prodded me with a link. “Have you seen this? You have fanmail.” I thought it best to reply to Aimee Lindorff in kind.

Dear Aimee,

I’m glad you made it to Riverbend, despite the rain. My reasons are selfish: I really needed your letter this week.

When the page first loaded on my phone and I could see my name at the top, it was a strange thing indeed. What was I in for? My first thought was that I was, in the abstract sense, In Trouble. Perhaps it’s a full name thing. (I don’t have a string of middle names for a parent to invoke.)

At the time your letter arrived, I was making pizza with my boyfriend. We stopped to read and I absent-mindedly worried a hole in the wrong end of the packet of pizza bases. Maybe I shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. But it’s not every day someone I don’t know writes me a review-letter and publishes it in a literary journal (read: never), so blast it. I’ll make a big deal.

Earlier this week I sat down with my manuscript with the aim of making revisions before sending it to the next publisher. I may have had a tiny tantrum. Pages may have found their way, haphazardly, all over the room. There were plenty of factors at work leading to this little game of 72-poem pick-up, sure, but above all it was one of those moments where this whole art thing seemed pretty pointless.

I’m not saying that writing is really a lofty spiritual calling — it isn’t — but damn it was good, great, brilliant to hear that my poems had brought someone such pleasure. Even better, it was a privilege to read your eloquent reaction and your memories of Toowong and its cemetery. Every time I reread the address, it’s a warm, fuzzy shock.

I am going to print it out and stick it near my desk. Possibly also on the fridge. Thank you.

Zenobia

P.S. I am glad you liked my cat-lady dress.