Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dope Doco 2004, Tasmania

This is a file I thought I had lost years ago. It is a sound documentary* that explores marijuana consumption of a small and lovely group of people in Hobart in 2004.
Here is the hyperlink to the sound documentary**

**link to podcast

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review of Physick by Pete Hay

Review of Physick by Pete Hay

The poem ‘Sound to the World’ blazes with an intensity that runs throughout Pete Hay’s new collection of poetry, Physick.  

“I will keep a jurnal this is the ferst day.
It will parse the time I hope.
The man Devlin down the Turnip Feldes he gose down the town
he give me paper and this stubb of pencil."

The poem embodies the voice of Gentle Annie, inspired by Gentle Annie Falls at the Waterworks in Hobart. ‘She’ – or the poet -  writes, in a robust vernacular of her time from above the town ship she has fled, in her ‘jurnal’. This poem was first published in the elusive Picton Grange Review, which prints only three copies and are allowed with the reader for only 48 hours each, brainchild of the increasingly recognised Tasmanian writer Ben Walter. I nearly wept passing this one on, to lose that poem from sight – but here it is, still both dark and luminescent and in the company of a whole book of poems that demand to be both whispered and roared.

At the recent Hobart launch of Physick, author Pete Hay wondered why a small publisher in Nottingham, a recently declared UNESCO City of Literature, would publish his book as surely no one in the UK would understand a word, possibly no one from the mainland either, he ventured – and maybe only some Tasmanians. It’s true that the book is rich with throaty convict and contemporary Tasmanian vernacular, and it’s true that many of the poems capture the heart and soul of the many strata’d lives of Tasmanians past and present, and the tortured ambrosia of the island, and it is true that some of the language used, particularly in the first (of three) sections of the book is foreign to the modern ear, but this book transcends any parochialism that the subject matter may cover.  
The first section of the book, Physique is concerned with poems that tell stories of people and place. They begin with a title, and a place, including the captivating ‘Death Song for Matthew Brady; Murrary Street, Hobart 1826’ inspired by an elusive reference that the author found to a death song sung, as Brady was hung for his bush ranging crimes. ‘Fair Old Clip’ Roberts Point Ferry Terminal, Bruny Island 2008, is another. The latter, through the story of a young woman’s horrible realization of the malevolence and ignorance of her boyfriend, captures a narrative not restricted to Tasmania, one of  racism and abuse, and one of decaying relationships. It also names up our forest wars and, from where I sit in literate, middle class safety, reminds me of the educational and literacy crevasses in our community.

Physis is the second part of the book, and it includes some ekphratic poems, inspired by paintings. A highlight of this section, ‘Reading PattiAnn Rogers at Recherche Bay’ crystallises a night on a boat and is indicative of the poise and humour that is shot through the book, bought to the surface in this poem, by mozzies on the boat, “Insect pulp punctuates the bulkhead”. This humour also manifests in pun-full titles such as Goethe By Sea and The Old Mind and the Sea.

Physick is a book of poetry that sears and coaxes and it could have been written by no one apart from the scholar, poet and elder that is Pete Hay. No one else takes the temperature of this island like him and no one else uses Tasmania as such an effective prism through which to consider human nature. Physick is a book of transcendent poetry which helps us understand not only place but the vagaries and passions of the human condition. It should be prescribed reading for all of us.

Here is a recording of Pete reading 'Sound to the World' at the launch.

Physick is published by Shoestring Press, Nottingham

A version of this review was first published in Tas Weekends, 10 September, 2017.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

September Paige Turner Column

Burma, or Myanmar beckons me for the month of September, I’m off to visit poets and punks and to trek some trails in Shan country, but you’re spoilt for literary choices if you find yourself on the fair isle of Tasmania this month:

The legendary Tasmanian Poetry Festival is back, in and around Launceston from late September. This year’s highlights include a masterclass with Anne Kellas (more details below), a lecture by Chris Wallace-Crabbe, readings by Island poetry editor, Sarah Holland-Batt, Dan Disney, Young Dawkins, Luke Wren-Reid, Jill Jones, Emilie Zoey Baker, Tanya Evanson and Stephanie Conn, the Launceston Poetry Cup, open mic readings in Launceston and Deloraine AND sandwiches.  (Image: Johnathan Bowden).

Anne Kellas’ latest book of poetry, The White Room has received acclaim here and abroad and she will be delivering a masterclass called ‘Outside your comfort zone’ in Launceston on 24 September.
This masterclass is a prelude to the Tasmanian Poetry Festival and is designed to encourage practising poets to go to the uncomfortable edge of their creativity. Bring along a poem in progress, if possible, an early draft. Details on the Tasmanian Writers' Centre website.

This year’s Indigenous Literacy Day (ILD) takes place on September 7th 2016.  The Indigenous Literacy Foundation aims to spread awareness about the need to improve literacy levels and increase the opportunities for Indigenous children living in Australia. To coincide with ILD 2016, The Children’s Book Council of Australia, Tasmanian branch is working with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and The Tasmanian Writers Centre’ to run two days of events at Moonah Arts Centre titled Hidden Stories.
An evening event will take place on Wednesday 7th September with the theme of “Broadening the conversation”. This will be followed by a full afternoon of events on Sunday 11th September focusing on the theme “Celebrating the stories.” Some of the most respected Aboriginal writers and speakers from Tasmania and beyond have agreed to participate in an exciting program that will include storytelling, dance, song, discussion and film.
Full program and further details here.

Pete Hay is a poet and an elder, his new collection of poetry, Physick is available at Fullers and the Hobart Bookshop and I would encourage all of you, enamoured of poetry or not, to get your hands on it and roar some of these powerful poems out loud and to whisper some of them to yourselves too. 

Kick back at Kickstart with some spoken word performance, and acoustic song, delivered by poetry collective Furious Penguins. Feature performers include Anthony Francis and Tereska with open micslots available for those who'd like to strut their stuff; sign-ups on the night. Friday, 16 Sep, 7-9pm, $10 entry includes drinks and nibbles. Kickstart Arts, St Johns Ave, New Town. 

There’s a new erotic novel, based on fact, whose author has, unsurprisingly, chosen a pseudonym. Makes sense to me, we are a small community and I have seen all your heads on Tinder -The blurb says -  A compelling chronicle of one sexy summer in Tasmania, Seven Times Three is a true story of complex relationships, delicious secrets, and salacious self-discovery.
Kindle pre-orders are available now. Print and Kindle editions will be released on September 1st and available for purchase from here and from Haus Creative in Devonport. 
Stay tuned for more details about Haus Creative in Devonport, I am loving watching from afar this space develop….

Back down south, the Moonah Arts Centre is working with the Writers’ Centre to develop a Glenorchy version of the fabulous Twitch Young Writers in the City Project. Sites for the residencies are yet to be announced but expressions of interest are now being sought from young (16-25) Tasmanian writers who are seeking a paid opportunity to develop their craft. Keep an eye on the MAC and TWC websites for more details. This offers a unique opportunity to pursue inspiration in familiar and unfamiliar city spaces and the opportunity to write for 2 hours per day for at least 8 days between November and January 2016, with a grant of $500 per writer. On the 11 September  Young Writers in the City - Launceston will be presenting their work at the Junction Arts Festival soapbox event in Prince's Square at 1pm.

TheTamar Valley Writers’ Festival is holding their 2016 AGM on Wednesday 21st September at 7pm and the venue is Tamar Ridge Cellar Door facility, 1a Waldhorn Avenue, Rosevears. It is open to the public, however only paid-up members of FOGW will be eligible to vote. They would naturally welcome all new members, and encourage them to consider being more involved through nominating for a role on the committee.

Junction Festival is back between 7-11 of September in Launceston and will feature Bert Spinks with Poor Man’s Pot, a spoken word experience. Spinks, aka Storyteller Spinks (check out his delightful blog A Field Guide to Falling In Love in Tasmania) has hosted this show for over a year and, it cements the North of the state as Spoken Word Capital of Van Diemen’s Land.

If you have story, writing or word related news drop me a line -

This column was first published in Warp Mag, September 2016

Paige Turner November

  Edging towards the end of the year and towards summer, towards Christmas and all it allows us to manifest. Good luck and good sleeps to ...