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Introducing Shey Marque, QPF’s Emerging Older Poet

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.

HEADSHOT Shey Marque 1

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 Her first full collection, Keeper of the Ritual, was shortlisted for the 2017 Noel Rowe Poetry Award for an unpublished manuscript, and recently accepted for publication by UWA Publishing forthcoming in 2019.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.

 

Poem 1

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

for happenstance.

 

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

 

Poem 2

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

 

Poem 3

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.

Subscribe | Renew | Donate November 9–16 to support progressive literary culture for another year – and for the chance to win magnificent prizes!

Shey Marque 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.

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