Saturday, August 29, 2009

Return from Down Under

Hey there. How ya goin'? I'm back from Brisbane and reeling from the beauty and the poetry of Queensland. What a beautiful place! What beautiful people! The Queensland Poetry Festival was a blast. I am particularly in love with the poetry I caught by Aussies Jessica Tong, Paul Magee and Jane Williams, all of whom gave wonderful readings at the festival. UK poet A.F Harrold had us all in stitches (I especially enjoyed his tribute to Leonard Cohen) and beloved Australian folksinger/poet Neil Murray kept everyone in thrall with his perfect voice and  lyrics; Arts Queensland's poet in Residence, New Zealander Hinemoana Baker, opened the festival with a set complete with bull-roarer and delay pedal (think Laurie Anderson meets Jane Siberry meets John Giorno); and Santo Cazzati blew everyone away with a perfect, ingenious, continuous, beautifully rhythmic, twenty minute set that included his own (invented) commercial breaks. Why oh WHY doesn't he have a website or a CD or a clip on youtube? I was also totally charmed by self-proclaimed tough guy Geoff Goodfellow, who also happens to be Australia's best-selling poet of all time (imagine an Aussie Bukowski, and you'll be on the right track). Goodfellow's poems about his battle with throat cancer were down-to-earth straightforward cautionary tales that can, and do, travel everywhere.

So, I came home with a stack of books that nearly broke my back with all the shlepping from plane to plane, but I'm thrilled to have seen and taken home a little bit of Queensland. I miss it already. And to the sweet boys at the Deli New Farm  in Brisbane who told me to go to Noosa after the festival, I went to Noosa. And Peregian. And Coolum. My first sub-tropical beaches, ever. So, there's a beach girl in me after all. Who knew? I loved every minute of lying on the sand and leaping in the sea. hee. Special HUGE thanks to the amazing Julie Beveridge and Graham Nunn who were the kind of warm, hospitable hosts every performer dreams of. They totally rocked the party