About the Emerging Older Poets’ Mentorship
An initiative of the Queensland Poetry Festival, the Emerging Older Poets’ Mentorship is designed to address a lack of opportunities in the 55+ age bracket. So many wonderful writers come to their craft later in life, and create wonderfully rich and meaningful work as a result. 2018 is the inaugural iteration of the mentorship and, due to an overwhelmingly positive response, the Queensland Poetry Festival is eager to continue this program in future years.
The successful recipient receives: editorial feedback and advice from award-winning poet Philip Neilsen, publication in Overland, and the opportunity to read at the Emerging Voices Salon of the Queensland Poetry Festival, taking place 24 August 2018.
Introducing the inaugural recipient: Shey Marque
The Queensland Poetry Festival and Overland are pleased to introduce readers to the work of the mentorship’s inaugural recipient, Shey Marque.
Shey is an emerging poet from Perth. A former medical scientist, she left her career in 2005 and completed a MA in writing in 2011. Her poetry has appeared in journals including Award Winning Australian Writing, Cordite, Meanjin, Westerly and Southerly. Aporiac, a chapbook, was published in 2016 with Finishing Line Press (USA). Her first full collection, Keeper of the Ritual, was shortlisted for the 2017 Noel Rowe Poetry Award for an unpublished manuscript, and recently accepted for publication by UWA Publishing forthcoming in 2019.
Judges Philip Neilsen and Rosanna Licari write: ‘Shey’s entry displayed impressive potential and writing ability, in terms of language, imagery, structure, voice, imagination and sophistication of thought and insight.’
Below are some of the works Shey has been developing during the mentorship, some of which will be presented at today’s Emerging Voices Salon.
Someone’s lost sock
I’ve heard it said this is just an illusion—
the way a certain object (once noticed)
seems to reappear at a frequency too uncanny
Soon you expect to see it everywhere
like you’d seek comfort or affirmation—
how an odd sock and its name
could hold some other meaning.
When he photographed it on the road,
that grey sports weave, I thought
its shape resembled a capital letter—
a beginning for loss, and love
he hid it, and he hid it
and it would keep turning up—
stuffed in a pocket of my jeans,
or an empty butter tub in the fridge, at the bottom
of my backpack after walking alone for days
and when I phoned late one night, he cut short
on the word chaussette, as if
it were caught in his throat,
as if it were something small
In the theatre of time-on-sky
The afternoon sun leaves rufous rags fallstreaks folding and unfolding deft like wanderers riding on the ship’s sail there’s a woman giving an impromptu jig mouth held just so the lips still seem to open and close the remains of voice just a letting of air if I lean on the rigging a beat has me dancing in the way of a dockside gypsy she does a sideways step in red shoes not built for climbing thumb and fingers taught to click thread beads not touch the ropes that lift the mainsail cinnabar moth to the mast beckoning from up there her tin bangle falling to the deck I reach forward to pick it up straight-kneed extending a leg behind to the waves’ applause her embroidered skirt gathers up the wind a couple of seabirds wheeling in the eddy my curiosity flung open tiny bells tintinning then in the random way of buskers she disappears into rescinding light the birds fall to rest inspect the contents of their nest for bread
Close to Flying
Like stepping from the land into another gravity,
shifts in dexterity happen in the water. You keep
a tight hold on the rope to his halter, loop it, think
of the man who watched his horse swim away
in a straight line out to sea, nose up, no turning
ground, no way to bend him around. Yet still
you float over his back when the sandy floor falls
away and he’s swimming. Both of you weightless,
it’s skin to skin, breath to breath. Slide in, crouch
at his shoulder, feel the muscles work, his chest
expand beneath your bare feet, his breath quicken.
In clear water, diagonal pairs of legs in unison,
each hoof a paddle, the timing mechanical, hocks
and knees higher than a ground trot, head carriage
elevated and extended; it’s underwater dressage.
Coming out of the sea, his whole body shakes, you
cling in stitches, nerves arcing with vibration, the fast
pull of the earth. In water there is never any falling.
Read more about the Queensland Poetry Festival, runnning until 26 August.
Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.
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