The results of the 2017 Judith Wright Poetry Prize were announced yesterday, and I was happy to discover that my poem ‘Hot Clouds’ was highly commended.
Established in 2007, this prize brings attention to emerging poets, who have published no more than one collection of poems.
Congratulations to the winner Evelyn Araluen, and to all the shortlisted poets. There were 1000 entries, apparently, which means the competition was fierce!
You can read the first, second and third prize winning poems in the March edition of Overland.
And you can read ‘Hot Clouds’ as soon as I publish my first collection (which should only take another forty or so years…)
During the last two weeks of 2017 I performed at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum as part of the exhibition This is a Voice.
I was one of a number of people who provided a live ‘voicing’ for the exhibition, which in my case meant thirty minutes of spoken word poetry. Visitors were free to wander in and out during the voicing, as you would an artwork in a gallery.
I’ve performed at spoken word events around Sydney, but never for thirty entire minutes; it was an epic feat! I had to memorise a lot of material, and I had to learn how to ‘read’ an audience within a live setting. I ended up changing my set every time I did a voicing, to keep it feeling fresh and spontaneous.
The best part of the experience was getting past those initial nervous jitters and settling into the performance peacefully and joyfully. When you have thirty minutes to fill, you can’t just race through everything in a bid to ‘get it over with’. You have to pace yourself, take deep breaths, and allow the silences in between the lines and stanzas to ‘speak’ for themselves. I believe that poetry is really just an intricate frame around silence, and for the first time in my life I became comfortable with simply standing before an audience, with stillness and presence.
I am incredibly grateful to the Program Producer David Greenhalgh; thank you for putting Australian poetry in a museum!
Here is a photo of me in action: