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Festival Blog: Poetry prescriptions

Knee deep in the post-Festival blues, I open the brown glass bottle I was given yesterday to read the poetry I was prescribed. You may have seen Story Factory over the weekend, busying around in their white lab coats, dishing out healing that can be consumed without even opening your mouth. Throughout the festival, short poems written by local writers (aged 17-20) were assigned to Festival participants and attendees, based on their specific ailments.

For those of you who missed out, don’t worry, I got us all a poetry prescription to share. Written by Bea and selected by Bilal, this prescription was for post-Festival blues...

a moth is a small and

mighty creature.

look at it’s transformation;

look at how it always finds

the light!

– Bea

While filling this communal prescription, I also got my own personal poetry dispensary from the fantastic team. What was my ailment? Well, as the Gossip Girl equivalent of the Festival; that’s one secret I’ll never tell. The poem was written by Atoc:

Pull your feet out of the mud. 

It was made for you to jump and dance in. 

Pull your feet out of the mud.

– Atoc

If you’re craving more poetry after events such as Admissions and Rhythm of The Word – Story Factory are a local organisation doing amazing things, and you may spot some of the SWF poetry doctors at the regular Bankstown Poetry Slam. Anthologies such as Fire Front (UQP) and Admissions (Upswell) are also solid additions to your reading stacks.

Speaking of books, I want to finish by saying a big thank you to all the lovely people who picked up my new book Dress Rehearsals at the festival. On Sunday afternoon, just before I boarded a flight, I learnt that my Festival book stack had been entirely devoured. Dress Rehearsals is a memoir made of poetry, and to know it’s finding a home on your bookshelves and bedside tables, or maybe thrown in the bottom of a messy tote bag, makes me beam. As I mentioned on a panel during the Festival, Dress Rehearsals is a stubborn and unapologetic book, it takes up space; with manicured hands, it enters a fist fight with a decade of shame.

Dress Rehearsals is a stubborn and unapologetic book, it takes up space; with manicured hands, it enters a fist fight with a decade of shame.
Madison Godfrey

Writing festivals can feel effortless. When they’re running smoothly, the mood is surreal. Everyone appears to float into Carriageworks as if there’s a hoverboard hidden under their plaid coats. Backstage, festival volunteers pour packets of lollies and remember everyone’s names. Shuttle drivers, such as Maria, give us authors local knowledge while making sure we arrive on time for our sound checks. Publicists stand-by at the signing desk. The festival staff handle obstacles faster than poets create new similes for sunrises ...

  • It soars like a basketball on fire.
  • It rises to a standing ovation, like the audience of a panel with Grace Tame, Sasha Kutabah Sarago and Hannah Diviney.
  • It ignites imagination, like a new novel by Alexis Wright.
  • It makes you pay attention, like a session with Stan Grant.

Yes, the post-Festival comedown is a challenge, but the real mission awaits me, as I now attempt to transport my book-bloated baggage back to Perth/Boorloo.

Thank you, take care, and be sure to read plenty of weird and unusual books this year.


Madison Godfrey

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