Zenobia Frost States of PoetryZenobia Frost is a writer from Brisbane, Australia. Her work has appeared in Overland, Cordite, Arc (Canada), Scum, Woolf Pack, and the Hunter Anthology of Contemporary Feminist Poetry. In 2015, an ArtStart grant allowed her to study poetry in Germany at the Black Forest Writing Seminars and through digital workshops with Warsan Shire. Her first collection, Salt and Bone, was published by Walleah Press in 2014, and was shortlisted for the Thomas Shapcott Prize and Anne Elder Awards. In 2017, she was shortlisted for the inaugural Red Room Poetry Fellowship. Zenobia is a Master’s candidate at QUT, researching the poetics of transient domestic spaces in Queensland. 

Poems

'before / now'

'Taming the Shrew'

'St Marys, Tas.'

'Distractions at Rental Inspections'

'Pliny the Younger to Tacitus'

Recording

Zenobia Frost reads her poems 'Before Now', 'Distractions at Rental Inspections', and 'Taming the Shrew'

Further Reading and Links

Zenobia Frost's website

 

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Circa September, 2015
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

I first admired your arms, brown and unrefined like mine, the scars and veins unhidden. Straight
back. Strong neck. An inanimate object that would never be caught slouching. I pay
acknowledgement: you were always professional and executed your charge efficiently...
in the end.

But what say you of right or wrong? Guilty or not guilty? That you know that I know that hardwood
is a memory-medium. The acoustic resonance of a final whimper and breath may haunt your joints,
limbs, and possibly persuade a vibration of inconsequential requiem...
in the end.

In the servitude and the conditioning, the extreme prejudice, the fact that no one except the killer
and the victim know the truth ... Does a confessional simmer into your timbers on the last moments
of your charge’s rapture? If the crimes fit the punishment, you only respond one way anyway and
know not reverse, even for the slightest mitre of compassion. And is any of it relevant in the final
seating arrangements of judges and assassins and lambs...leaving one to ask this of
a decommissioned electric chair ... in the end.

‘If he has a conscience he will suffer for his mistake. That will be punishment-as well as the prison.’
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment.

Samuel Wagan Watson

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For my late mentor,
(Kumantjayi) Uncle Martin Harrison

Be sharply accustomed to the anatomy of your writing; inside and out...Where you have
slivered the bones of your storyline, mark the points of ruin and resurrection ... Count the
gouges ... Here is where you lunged ... Careful! ... There was a finely delivered sentence;
precise and without mess ... Note any self-inflicted scaring ... Always be succinct; never run
verse through a sloppy gauntlet of conception ... Flag the spots of incursion with wonder
and sculpture charisma from your extraction...

(And without pausing he would assume you have interpreted everything he has
mused...)

You know what Gertrude Stein would have said about that, don’t you? Yes, of course you
do...

You were my teacher, my Captain, you were forensic, all in one breath...

Samuel Wagan Watson

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                                                             (1)

Try to remain in bed for a few days without picking up a single
word ... Avoid that on-again/off-again/suddenly appearing without warning
again partner in your life who sends you passive-aggressive dispatches
and threats ... Do not respond to their needs until you can provide
constructive editorial advice, i.e., ‘Your grammar is improving in your last
suicide note...’ Only work with editors who reject you with phrases like:
‘It’s not you ... it’s me.’

 

                                                            (2)

A broken writer is a broken writer is a broken writer is a broken writer is a broken writer is a
broken writer is a broken writer is a broken writer is a broken writer is a broken writer is a
broken writer is a broken writer is a broken writer is a broken writer is a broken writer is a
broken writer is a broken writer is a broken writer is a broken writer is a broken writer is a
broken writer is a broken writer is a broken writer ... is a poet...

 

(3)

Remain as unhappy and as inanimate as a jigsaw puzzle, completed but
missing that one vital piece ... Apply for a Writers Residency in North
Korea before applications close on the Day After (No
pressure...)...Always be good to your ink quills but be content without a
pen in your grasp; a spider without a fly.

Samuel Wagan Watson

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for Aunty Suzie Wilson

We’d often give Dad a lift to work along this bent stretch of the river.
Maiwar curved here like a boomerang hook. Ghosts that tasted heavy
of pork bones hung in the dawn; most of Murrarie had been invaded by
K.R. Darling Downs. You would almost hear the unified groan at 5 am,
when all the workers formed a single-file; it was our own home-bred
Metropolis of slaughter yards and runs of silver pipe lines ... like some
communist propaganda film out of Kampuchia ... The refinery provided
an eternal blue flame to honour the troops; Borthwicks carved up
countless bovine for the mess-tents of Vietnam’s theatres ...

I still had no comprehension for English; but, one day a bloke called
Robert Adamson would show me how to punctuate fish ... Riverbend
Books eventually sprouted in Oxford St., selling some pages of my
poetry ... bending the fiction of my 1970s pulp-reality ...

And that teacher
I will never forget,
cursing me
with her crooked encouragement..
‘Sammy...Watson...you’re just...a stupid...little...daydreamer!’

Samuel Wagan Watson

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Where Logan Rd and Creek intersect there used to be an old
gas station that looked beat even when it was new. You could
feed a fuel-pump shiny 20-cent pieces at any hour of the day
when petroleum was 17-cents a litre. The solid steel rods of the
tram lines were stapled into the Earth, under Kagaar Mabul;
home of the sleeping echidna mountain, watching over us all.
No one needed to own a phone but phone booths were
essential for kissing your steady-one; JC 4 MM TRUE LUV 4
EVA scratched into the concrete floor. There was a time no
child would ponder going missing and our folks had little idea
where we were anyway, until dinner was ready. And you never
wasted coin going into Kentucky Fried Chicken until a special
occasion, when we all could afford to dream like Kerouac...

Samuel Wagan Watson

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We dream, we heal, we are reborn.
Intellect is a hot thing in the hands.
Without life, one cannot breathe.
You and I are travellers of this galaxy
airing our differences with space.
Only a traveller can unpack this suitcase.
Some say there is no season for camping.
Look up at the stars, there is no reason.
A hunch is angel talk.
Love remains explored.
To navigate the story is never
to become one with another.
We can no longer afford to live without bondage.
You and I are dreamers of the dreamscape.
If the sun stays awake the moon will be unresolved.
Each generation’s job
is to have faith in what their parents divorced.
Nothing is impossible.

(This myth never ends.)

David Stavanger

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I Lied

David Stavanger

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The Counsellor and Reflection by David Stavanger

David Stavanger

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            bipolar record lows
            insecurities exchanged
new rashes trending daily
each doctor a new violence
            a meteor gets closer to your face
            it misses and hits your face anyway
it’s hard to match choice of dog
to the make of car you’re called to chase
            lightness of spirit in heavy hands
            carry a briefcase full of uppers
this latest crash has people talking
reports of a rise in self-flagellation
            if you could talk to the board
            you would tell them not to sell right now
the best groomed of us
can sweet talk our way out of any pill
            the graph seems to indicate
            that the voices we hear are our own
companies are becoming more sensitive
to the profit margins of lost sleep
            free-floating liquid options
            publically traded, nil by mouth
the highest point in the building
is the time to open up to pigeons
            but the shares get us nowhere
            write that down on a pink note pad
another script without a lead
(don’t buy into things you can’t see)
            look around

you notice they have put up a fence
on one side of the Story Bridge
perhaps when we think of jumping
                                                                                  we plan on flying

David Stavanger

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