It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
of what is found there.
– William Carlos Williams, Asphodel, that greeny flower
Poetry is one of those delicious and difficult art forms, which nevertheless suffers a terrible image problem, in that sometimes even poets can’t say nice things about it. Now, I’ve seen my fair share of terrible poetry readings, listening to far too many people sharing far too many thoughts. Sometimes, I’ve even been one of those poets.
And though some continue to ask “what is poetry?” and then to wonder if this ill-defined practice will ever be “cool”, poetry itself (and my love of it) continues to survive unashamed of its daggy jumper. There is something about language that is so intrinsic to our collective experience – the “doing” and the “being” of a human in the world – that while poetry probably needs to appoint a new marketing manager, I am not concerned about its reported demise. In fact, I am delighted to share that I have recently joined the Board of the Queensland Poetry Festival, precisely because I feel poetry is #simplemindssaysitbetter.
And, if the recently launched program of the festival is anything to go by, the concept of language/poetry as a virus feels exciting and powerful. Poetry is small, replicable and infectious, and if the body of language that poetry “poisons” is the linguistic cadaver that birthed managerial waffle, political weasel words and the euphemisms that killed the right to seek asylum, then I am proud to be a carrier.
For those of you considering being in the Brisbane area between August 28-30, I cannot recommend the program to you enough – not just because I believe that you will like it, but because I think you also might not. This is not a festival of white bread. This is fairy bread sprinkles. And the odd chance of a baker’s errant hair. Be prepared.
I’ve been very proud of my involvement in this festival in the past, so I feel excited to see a festival that asks some curly questions, commits to few answers, rocks the odd boat and then tickles a funny bone. As such, it’s with a continued sense of excitement and joy that I warmly encourage you to consider getting a little getting a little Queensland up ya.
I will be talking about this more in the coming months, but suffice to say: check out the artists here.