Another year, another enjoyable weekend drinking words at the Queensland Poetry Festival.
Each year I’m amazed that more Brisbane lovers of words don’t attend this free, friendly, and well-organised festival. More festivals should scrap panels and stick with readings, as QPF does. Perhaps it’s just at poetry festivals, where you get to hear a range of complete works from a wide variety of writers, but I usually find readings more satisfying than the half-hearted chats of a lot of panels.
It was impossible to get to every session, but highlights for me this year at QPF included the readings by Val Vallis Award-winner Rachael Briggs and Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize-winner Nick Powell, last year’s Thomas Shapcott-winner Vladislav Nekliaev, Jacob Polley, Sawako Nakayasu, Jaya Savige, Aidan Coleman, Kevin Gillam, Michelle Dicinoski, and the fantastic Million Bright Things session on Saturday night, where every poet on the program read one poem. It was also great to meet a bunch of poets and hear them read their work. I felt like I was among my people.
A big thanks to the QPF organisers for inviting me to read at the festival, and to everyone who came along to the Zen Method of Bingo session on Sunday. Thanks also to all the poets who contributed books to the raffle, which I was stunned to win–that’s one huge pile of poetry to keep me going over the next 12 months.
For more of a sense of QPF 2011, Graham Nunn has a great summary over at Another Lost Shark. And for those not on social media, here’s the interview I did on 612 ABC last week, which was edited to make me sound slightly more coherent than I actually am at 9am. Fortunately I had recently been given the helpful advice that journalists asking artists questions on air don’t want you to actually answer questions like “So, what is poetry?” or “How has poetry changed?”. They just want you to talk about your latest project and sound suitably artistic. I’ve got some work to do before my reading voice is anywhere near as soothing as Jacob Polley’s, but at least I have a much clearer idea of what I’ll say next time I’m asked those questions…