2019 Kurilpa Poetry Cup
It was a Brilling Day, and there were certainly at least a handful of borogroves out there on the Wabe, but as to whether they were gimbling or gyring, it was impossible to say at that distance.
Meanwhile the Poets were gathering in their numbers inside the Old Croquet Club at sacred Musgrave Park for the running of the fabulous Kurilpa Poetry Cup.
This was the Seventh occasion that the Cup has been run & won and thirteen talented Poets lined up at the track this year to compete for the honour of winning this fabulous
Literary Artefact, long reputed to possess Mystical Powers.
We were fortunate to have as Feature Poet and esteemed Poetic Judge this year, non-other than our very own local City Councillor, noted Political Maverick & Poetic Firebrand,
Mr Jonothan SRI.
It was also an emotional occasion for the regular crew, as this was to be our last monthly event held at the old Croquet Club, where we have had so many memorable Events over recent years. But all things change, and current President Cam has already taken steps to find us a new home, and so we shake off the nostalgia like a dog that’s just come bounding out of the Sea, and look forward to the Future with bright &eager eyes.
Straight up out of the gates was former Kurilpa President, the Reverend Hellfire. This was the first time the Rev has been able to participate in the Cup himself due to ‘conflict of interest’ issues in previous years, but now out of Office, he was keen to take this opportunity to demonstrate his poetic prowess, with a wandering shaggy dog story covering Magic, Flying Saucers and SCUD missiles, (amongst other things) that took him through to the Second Round.
Following the Rev was another firm favourite with the Water Rats, non-other than Fiona Privitera herself, on this occasion accompanied by her onboard passenger. (editors note; said Passenger has since arrived. Mother & Child are doing well) Fi was the Kurilpa Poetry Cup winner herself a couple of years back and her poetry has the ability to be both clinical and emotional and though invariably delivered quietly, it always packs a kick. Her selection for this occasion won her a well deserved place in the Final round.
Next up was Paul Dobbyn with a humorous conversational/observational poem with Beetlesque overtones that landed him in Christchurch with a cracked skull.
Gentleman Poet, Mr Michael Vaughan then took the stage to deliver in a quiet but confident tones a perfectly phrased Love poem in the sonnet form, framed, as is his wont, with appropriate quotations.
Though this was apparently the first time Hayley P. aka “Pixxigutzz” has ever read in public, she took to the stage and delivered her angst-laden but feisty verse with a verve & confidence that took her on to the finals. PG indeed!
Next up, that Dynamo of Dyslexia, the ever popular SAVANU, demonstrating the gentle art of using “found objects” from your environment (eg signs, menus, etc) to construct poems. If that sounds confusing, believe me, it all adds up..to $39.60 on this occasion, apparently. SAV knows.
Next up was TREEBEARD, who had travelled all the way from Arnhem Land to be with us, a rapping Daedalus from the Desert seamlessly delivering a Tripping Tap-dancing rap at impressive length. Perhaps he learned the circular breathing technique for playing didgereedoo while up in the Territory? Whatever, his powerful performance took him to the next round.
Our Visual Arts Director, Shane K then stepped forth to demonstrate his skills in a different Medium from his usual oeuvre, delivering us a charming piece of whimsy concerning a Cats Dream, that won the Judges heart and took Shane thru to the finals.
Also demonstrating unsuspected talents was David, Cello Player extraordinary and known musical associate of of the lovely JEM SPARKLES, explaining (on general principles) why,
“I will not become a member.”
Joining us all the way from Murwillumbah was Damien Becker,
a member of local outfit there, the Poetry Out Loud Crew, I believe. Damien gave us a thoughtful & moving meditation on Art, the Environment, and what we will leave for our Grandchildren, that drew sustained applause from the audience and earned him a place in the Final Round.
Local Legend, the “Loaded Dog” was up next, delivering an appropriately Lawson-esque Diss on the chicanery of Modern Day Politicians. A Poet with bite!
Twas good to see Nigel Q return to the Kurilpa Poets stage again.
He told us an archetypal tale,
entertaining us with the antics of our local Cops & Robbers.
Wrapping up the First Round was FLO, a young chap with a French accent, who accompanied himself on the keyboards to croon to us an atmospheric Cabaret style poem. Wow! It was great, and a fitting way to cap off the Opening Round.
So then it was break time and whilst the Poets chatted and ate and made merry, up on stage Jem SPARKLES shimmered and shone, stomping & moaning and growling and purring her up-beat selection of Original tunes and Seventies favourites. When she kicked into “Ring of Fire” the Rev could hold back no longer and falling to his knees at Jem’s feet, sang an impassioned accompaniment to the second verse.
Young David on Cello soared industriously away, ably supporting Jem’s pyro-technics with a magnificent humm & thrumm. The two muso’s wove a rich full sonic tapestry to enfold us in.
Fittingly for this, our final gig at the Croquet Club, Jem ended her last set with a Stirling rendition of Jimmy Morrison & the Doors doom laden classic, “The End” and left the stage to rapturous applause.
Next up it was time for our esteemed, elected local representative
Kurilpa Cup Judge, Mr Jonothan Sri to stretch his poetic legs.
He clearly enjoyed the opportunity to get back to his poetic roots,
and delivered a powerhouse set, passionate and visionary.
Jono knows his material by Heart, for it comes from the Heart, and he delivers in a style both precise & well articulated and somehow at the same time, conversational. No doubt about it, as a Performance Poet he is up there with the best.
Whilst outside the Plovers screeched in accompaniment
inside Jono declaimed “Change is coming to Brisbane”,
railing with the fervour of an old Testament Prophet
and the audience responded with their own fervour.
For the final round Jono selected 6 poets to deliver a second poem;
Treebeard, Shane K., Damien Becker, The Reverend Hellfire, Fi and Ms Pixxiegutzz.
All six deserved their place in the second Round, and as Jono admitted, there were a couple more who could easily have been selected. Yes, the poetic quality was high that day, the content was eclectic and varied, and overall I didn’t hear a single dud poem.
Reverend Hellfire led off with his own Epic of Environmental Angst, laden with prophetic foreboding. Damien Becker delved into the deeply personal to discover the archetypal. Shane K had Death itself nibbling at his buttocks, Treebeards’ reflected ruminations proved to be conclusively inconclusive, and MZ PixxieGutz confirmed her reputation as the articulate voice of Teen Angst, while Fi’s gentle tale spoke to us of the quiet joys of Domestic Bliss, Love and Food. Especially the Food.
And so it was Judgement Hour. Various Public Service Announcements of Interest filled the brief interlude, as our worthy Judge tallied his notes, flipped coins, and prepared his Alibis. Meanwhile Visual Arts Director Shane K was subjected to questioning over his Art, which was featuring on the Virtual Gallery for the occasion.
I didn’t envy Jono his task. Judging Poetry performances is fraught with peril at the best of times. How much weight should be given to the Delivery?..to the Content?..to the Skill shown in the construction, to the “Punch” of the Poem itself, the immediate visceral Hit of Recognition when a poem is saying it & laying it down True?
Starting with the Judges’ Traditional Opening Remarks on the Difficulty of their Task, Jono when on to thoughtfully and generously review the Work presented that day. But in the end, as they say, there can only be One Winner (well, actually one year we had Two winners, and ever since then we’ve kept a spare Cup to one side..just in case) and in this particular instance, it was our Journeyman Poet from across the Tweed, Mr Damien Becker who won the day with his alchemically constructed poetry that amalgamated the Personal with the Political
and distilled it into the Philosophical.
Showing that the Judges instincts weren’t entirely amiss,
it was then revealed that Damien was also this years winner of the People’s Choice Award! This is the first time that a competing Poet has collected both Prizes simultaneously, so Damien can truly claim to have won both Critical and Popular acclaim.
(One of Damien’s prize winning poems will be appearing shortly on this site.)
All in all it was indeed a fabulous occasion, and a fitting goodbye to the old Croquet Club which has provided us with such a fine home for so long. Thanks to all the Poets, all the Listeners and everyone who contributed to make it such a memorable occasion.
just the usual assortment of ratbags & nogoodnoks
Words- Unckle Rat
Pictures; Shane K (mostly)