Tasmanian Poetry Festival 2021

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Now in its 37th year, the Tasmanian Poetry Festival 2021 is to be held over two weeks from March 19th – March 28th. Due to Covid-19 uncertainties, the guest poets are all based in Tasmania. We look forward to hosting a fabulous Festival with variety and a love of poetry inspiring all.

RACHEL BERGER

Rachel Berger

Rachel Berger is one of Australia’s most highly regarded, adept, and adaptive comedic talents working variously as a comedian, broadcaster, novelist, columnist, agitator and television entertainer. She is a woman of remarkably diversified talents. In addition to playing the Xylophone and carving avocado pips into small Buddhas, she’s recently stopped feeling guilty. There are no cows too sacred for this Berger.

DAVID MASON, FORMER POET LAUREATE OF COLORADO

David Mason

David Mason, grew up in Bellingham, Washington, and has lived in many parts of the world, including Greece and Colorado, where he served as poet laureate for four years. He and his trusty Subaru visited 60 out of 64 counties in the state, bringing poetry to audiences in and out of jails, schools, and other kinds of confinement. 

His books of poems began with The Buried Houses, The Country I Remember and Arrivals, David Mason’s many books include Ludlow: A Verse Novel, The Sound: New and Selected Poems, Davey McGravy: Tales to be Read Aloud to Children and Adult Children, Voices, Places: Essays, and Sea Salt: Poems of a Decade.

David’s verse novel, Ludlow, was named best poetry book of the year by the Contemporary Poetry Review and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. It was also featured on the PBS News Hour. He has written a memoir and three collections of essays. His poetry, prose and translations have appeared in such periodicals as The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Nation, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry, and The Hudson Review. Anthologies include Best American Poetry and others. He has also written libretti for operas that have been performed around the country.

A former Poet Laureate of Colorado, David Mason now resides in Tasmania.

JOY ELIZABETH

When she’s not wandering the country in Matilda, her motorhome, Joy Elizabeth lives and writes in a retro round house in the north of Tasmania. She’s been part of the poetry community in Tasmania for over 36 years and was a guest poet at the inaugural Tasmanian Poetry Festival (1985).  Passionate about promoting poetry and performance, Joy is co-organiser of the Tasmanian Heats and Final of the Australian Poetry Slam.

Winner of  the 2004 Scarlet Stiletto Awards, Dorothy Porter Award, for the Best Crime Story in Verse, Joy’s poetry has been published in a number of collections and journals, including Vashti’s Voice, Famous Reporter and Westerly, The Loom of Time (1985) Peddling Poetry (2015) and three self-published collections. She is currently working on a collection of poems about the life of her mother, Eileen Capocchi, a well loved activist in the Victorian feminist movement.

Joy’s newest collection, Fragile Friday, will be launched at this year’s Poetry Festival, on Friday 26th. And Joy will also be reading her work during the Saturday Sessions, on Saturday 27th March.

Joy Elizabeth

TIM SLADE

Tim Slade’s debut collection of poems, The Walnut Tree, is being published in early 2021 by Bright South.

Tim’s poems have received praise in the Margaret Reid International Poetry Prize, the Janice Bostock Haiku Award and the Henry Lawson Festival Award. His poems have been published widely, including in The Weekend AustralianCordite Poetry Review, The Koori Times and Australian Poetry Anthology.

Born in 1976, Tim was raised in Risdon Cove, Hobart, in the working class suburb of Lutana. In 2009 Tim moved to the tiny town of Pioneer, near the Blue Tier, in Tasmania’s north-east. In the years 2013 – 2021, Tim has contributed twenty-five articles for Tasmanian Times (online). He has documented the long journey to secure safe drinking water at Pioneer, following a recurring risk from heavy metals. Tim has volunteered as an advocate for the community, and he has worked for all Tasmanians to reform the policies and practices affecting drinking water in the state.

From his tin-miner’s cottage at Pioneer over the past decade, Tim wrote the poems for The Walnut Tree.

Tim Slade

BRIELLE QUIGLEY

Brielle found her love for poetry at age twelve and, a decade later, the passion remains alive and well. After debuting at Launceston’s Slamduggery in 2017, she has quickly become a familiar face in the Northern Tasmanian poetry scene, performing at events such as Party in the Paddock and featuring as a supporting act for Canadian slam champion Brandon Wint. She most recently competed as a finalist in the 2018 Australian National Poetry Slam and continues to explore the relationship between the personal and the political through her poetic works.

Brielle Quigley

KIM NOLAN

Kim has written poetry for twenty years and had a successful career as a corporate writer and communications consultant. She is an experienced public speaker with a Graduate Diploma in Professional Communication.

Kims writing has been featured in Famous Reporter and the inaugural Tasmanian Culinary Challenge. She has read at open mic sessions of the Federation of Australian Writers (FAW, Tas), Republic Readings, Sawtooth 2019, the Tasmanian Poetry Festival and Tas Poets Performing where she won the Handicap Competition for emerging poets, Seasonal Poets.

Kim Nolan’s poetry is spirited, nuanced in its language, and ranges from gossamer-delicate to punchy in its impact. Strong and exciting in imagery and word play, her work articulates complex emotional experiences while skilfully creating space for readers’ personal resonances. Her poems are a joy to read, and their penetrating observations are food for meditation.

Esther Ottaway

Kim will be presenting her work at the Festival during the Saturday Sessions, on Saturday 27th March.

Kim Nolan

GEOFFREY MILLER

Geoffrey Miller grew up in and around the mining towns of Tasmania’s West Coast but has lived his adult life in the North-West of the State. The character and culture of these places reflect in both his collections to date:  Behind Closed Eyes, 2010, and now Memory Creases, 2020, both published by Ginninderra Press. A poetry book for children “Sandy is a yellow kitten” Illustrated by Sandra Gudze was published by Tien Wah Press in 2014.

A chronic stutterer for most of his life, he thought he wrote because it allowed him to express himself freely. Now, with almost total fluency in speaking he acknowledges he would have written poetry regardless because this is who he is.

Geoffrey has been a member of the Devonport Writers Workshop for over twenty years. He has contributed to numerous anthologies and is a regular reader at the very popular Forth Pub nights.

Geoffrey will be presenting his work at the Festival during the Saturday Sessions, on Saturday 27th March.

Geoffrey Miller

SUSAN AUSTIN

Susan is a poet and mental health occupational therapist as well as being an environmental and social activist. She grew up in Queensland and now lives in Hobart with her husband and two small children.

Her first poetry book Undertow was published by Walleah Press in 2012.  She has published poetry in various newspapers, journals and anthologies. She has won prizes in several FAW (Tas) poetry competitions, and was the judge of the 2012 WILPF Eve Masterman Peace Poetry Prize.  The poem Bookshop Capers appeared in Famous Reporter 43, and in Undertow.

Susan previously performed at the Festival in 2011. She has also been a featured reader in many events, including the Hobart Republic Readings and Tasmanian Living Writers’ Week.

She will be presenting her work at the Festival during the Saturday Sessions, on Saturday 27th March.

Susan Austin

JANE WILLIAMS

Jane Williams enjoys writing across genres but is best known for her poetry.

Jane moved from the mainland to Tasmania in 2002 and from Hobart to Launceston in 2020 so she is the new kid on the block. Be nice.

Since the early 1990s Jane’s poems have been widely published and anthologised. She has featured at many readings and festivals around Australia and overseas in countries including Ireland, the USA and the Czech Republic. In 2016 Jane held a three month residency in Slovakia where a sequence of poems for her sixth collection Parts of the Main were developed. Awards for her poetry include the Bruce Dawe Poetry Prize and the DJ O’Hearn Memorial Fellowship. She is the author of several books and co-edits the online arts journal Communion with her partner Ralph Wessman.

Jane Williams is an Australian poet with a global conscience, an eye for the exceptional in the everyday, an ear attuned to the aurally-alluring, and a heart for the oracular. Her poetry is the best kind: intimately, enticingly, melodiously human.

Alison Clifton, StylusLit

Jane will be launching her new collection, Points of Recognition, during the Saturday Sessions, on the 27th of March.

Jane Williams

REBECCA YOUNG

Rebecca describes herself as a 25 year old, stay at home mother of two young children. Always drawn to creativity, she has spent most of her life exploring different arts, such as drama, music, painting, drawing, creative writing and poetry. After having children she felt a need to focus on a creative outlet and rediscovered her love of the arts. This led her to poetry in 2019 and to her first slam event in Launceston. She placed 1st in the Deloraine heat of the 2019 Australian Poetry Slam, (APS) and then went on to place 3rd in the Tasmanian finals of the APS, which gave her the opportunity to travel to Sydney to the Australian finals of the APS.

In 2020 Rebecca placed 1st in the Launceston heat of the Australian Poetry Slam, and thus performed in the Tasmanian finals again. She was then invited to perform as a guest poet at Tas Poets “Speakeasy” @ Phoenix, Launceston.

At the beginning of 2021, Rebecca performed as a guest poet at “Story to Tell”, in Launceston. She says:

My introduction to poetry has meant finding a creative outlet for so many formerly unprocessed feelings, and being able to break the silence and stigma surrounding some of the issues I have faced in my life. Poetry for me has been not only a healthy way to process and verbalise trauma and mental health issues, it has also been about finding a wonderful and supportive community.

Rebecca Young

Rebecca will be presenting her work at the Festival during the Saturday Sessions, on Saturday 27th March.

Rebecca Young