They came in their thousands (Week 12: 23-29 September)

Or maybe just a couple of handfuls. The poetry reading made for an enjoyable afternoon at The Bean Barn out of the wind and rain. As usual on AFL grand final day, the streets were deserted and I got a park right out the front of the cafe. A rock star park, some would say.

I arrived at the same time as Nathan Curnow, co-reader and poetry demigod, and the handfuls followed not long after. In the throng were community radio legends Dave and Myles, great supporters of the arts scene in Ballarat. Where would we be without them and Voice FM?

Great to hear Nathan’s new words, so beautifully bound by Walleah Press: a cover that feels like fine wax. Naturally I got him to sign my new copy. I read some of my anthologised poems, and a couple of new ones finished during the residency. All in all a relaxing and inspiring afternoon. It isn’t often one gets to sit around and talk about poetry.

The winner of the Residency Prize was Beatrice, otherwise known as BJ, who had taken out the week 2 quiz back in July. She had correctly (and quickly) re-assembled my childhood favourite by C.J. Dennis, ‘The Triantiwontigongolope‘. She won a small mountain of poetry anthologies, including the latest Australian Poetry journal, a magnetic poetry kit (for the fridge – where else?), a bag of special Bean Barn coffee and a spoken word CD featuring Victorian Emilie Zoey Baker among others.

Big thanks to the others who came to the reading – a small but appreciative crowd always beats none.

Congratulations also to the week 12 community poets (you know who you are)! They did it again, taking my lead to create this week’s communal poem. Albeit a little shorter than the previous three, a farewell ditty emerged, and my hat comes off to the four who added lines to it.

Farewell my friends, the end is nigh –¬†one week and I am gone
To seek adventure near and far, from breakfast I am torn.
I pack my bags with sense of fun and style to which I was born,
to an adventure with no end, I pedal so fast with legs shorn.
Long into the sunrise I ride with lovely memories adorned.

My sincere thanks go to The Bean Barn for letting me litter up their place every week since July. Have loved the hot choccies as part of the weekly routine – there are none better in Ballarat. As for those iced chocolates – let it be known that Tanya is the Iced Chocolate Queen. Also, thanks to Australian Poetry for giving my the residency – much valued TIME to write (or at least think about) poetry.

So is this the end? Of the residency, yes. Of the blog?

I started it to document my residency; to mark the time as a cafe poet. Do I unplug, now that it is over?


Poetry reading this Saturday

This is it. The final fling of my poetry residency. The last hoorah. My last day as Poet in Residence (note capital letters) at The Bean Barn is Saturday 29 September 2012 and to celebrate, I invite you to come along for a poetry reading from 3pm to 5pm.

It won’t be just any reading. Joining me will be poetry royalty, Nathan Curnow, who will treat us to some poems from his latest book, Radar, which is now available from Readings. He might even sign your new copy!

Oh and before you ask: yes, I know that’s the day of the footy grand final. This will be the best non-footy entertainment you’ll find in Ballarat that day. And I’m proud of that fact.

Poetry reading

Poetry reading in Ballarat 29 September

Poetry competition closing soon

If you don’t submit a poem into this competition, then you must have rocks in your head. Closing on 15 October, the Martha Richardson Memorial Poetry prize is a thumping $1,000 for up to 40 lines of original, unpublished poetry. You are a click away from downloading the full guidelines and entry form.

The judge is award-winning Victorian poet, Nathan Curnow, so send your finest.

Submit your poetry now to the Martha Richardson poetry competition

$1,000AUD for 40 lines

I don’t know about you but the prospect of being given $1,000 for just 40 lines of poetry makes my mind race. It races off to trawl my mental archives of poem titles and line counts, past those already published to those freshly minted (are they ready, are they really ready?). You know the ones – they still zing with newness and flash possibility. Then there’s always one last revision before releasing it on its way.

But back to this $1,000. If I told you there’s a poetry competition open right now that is offering a first prize of $1,000, would you race off and count your lines? You ought to.

The competition is the Martha Richardson Memorial Poetry Prize, administered by my good friends, Ballarat Writers Inc (we are in cahoots, I’ll admit). I happen to know how many entries have come in so far, and let me just say your chance of scoring the prize is high… for now at least. You have until 15 October 2012 to get online and submit, submit, submit!

Nathan Curnow is judging the competition this year, so your poem/s will be in the presence of greatness. But there can be only one winner. May it be you (or me, definitely preferable).

Download the entry guidelines and entry form here.


An Oscar Wilde quote:

‘I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.’