I can’t remember where I first saw Stuart’s poems but I do recall telling him how much one of his poems in particular had a profound effect on me for its muscularity and melancholy. It was a tapestry of colour and energy with a lush complexity that I found both exciting and moving. This was back in 2012 when I was about to publish my first collection and I sensed a kindred spirit emerging in the poetry scene with a keen appetite for getting his work known. Stuart’s poems appear in our best journals and it was only a matter of time before we would see his first collection. I’m thrilled that Stuart bagged the Thomas Shapcott Prize in 2015 and is about to launch this eagerly anticipated collection.
Glasshouses will be launched by Matt Hetherington at Queensland Poetry Festival on Saturday 27th August, 2.30-3.15pm in the Judith Wright Centre’s Shopfront, 420 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. This is a free event. Book signing afterwards.
Barnes will also be appearing at Queensland Poetry Festival event The Big Read on Friday 26th August, 3.30-4.30pm in the Judith Wright Centre’s Performance Space. This is a free event.
Full Queensland Poetry Festival 2016 program here: http://www.lostlanguagefound.com/
Sample poems from ‘Glasshouses’
The neoplasm, sleek, jet-black: Why tend
this sack of blood and bone pronounced too old
by Muscle Marys, periwigged? Pretend—
at 37, I’m out in the cold,
a subtle cub playing with the railings
of a broken rocker. The ascetics
may be on the money, flayers ailing
Who fancies the antiseptic
touch of a whopping bore? I crave what lies
among Bornean trees (poachers unclean)—
a barbarian who snarls into skies,
not Fitness First’s merciless eyes. O Mean
Girls, I crave not Tina, nor fey. Instead,
a Sun Bear to paw sweetness in my bed.
First published at Seizure
i.m. Mervyn Barnes
through blood &
bone the glasshouse’s
the front yard’s statue-
murder till blue
in the face
Bay of Fires’
a pine plantation’s
llas that Tasmanian
slurping at the
truck’s driver window
whitely over the almanac
First published at foam:e
after David Brooks
of Poetry, black
the sun into us,
seam-rip it asunder.
On the Fitzroy’s
bank at midday,
cracking seeds of eucalypts
that outrank Council, a hundred
Banksian black cockatoos,
a paroxysm of commas.
With their subtler
ions, the females infinitely
than the ludic-
rously coloured gatherers.
The gospel according to the locals:
‘Four black cockatoos
means four days of rain’
(burkesbackyard.com.au confirms it).
I am not a God-fearing man.
Should black cockatoos
that theirs are the colours of life?
and needlepointed into this
starry orange and yellow.
long-lived as man
neglectful beneath the same
white sun, its ROYGBIV illusion
destroyed by the tiniest prism.
First published at Australian Book Review
…and what they are saying about ‘Glasshouses’
From Sjón, award-winning Icelandic novelist, poet, playwright, and lyricist (Sjón has collaborated a number of times with Björk, one of my favourite artists).
‘Man moves in a world made of things, beings and events.
And things, beings and events move in the mind of man.
Living in this half-transparent state triggers poetic reactions,
strong and beautiful poems like the ones you’ll find in Stuart Barnes’ Glasshouses.’
From Jessica L Wilkinson, award-winning Australian poet and editor:
‘Glasshouses is the brilliant nest for Stuart Barnes’ meticulous bowerbird poetics; as readers we become the curious mate, charmed by his architectural wisdom. A vision trained on a vast expanse of literary and cultural phenomena permits the crafting of intelligent centos, transformations and interventions in modern living. These are political, compelling poems, assembled with heart; they will never harden to stone.’
And from the Judges of the 2015 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize:‘A beautiful and sophisticated collection of poems. Drawing on a number of complex techniques … the manuscript presents a deeply poetic sensibility at work.’
Stuart Barnes was born in Hobart, Tasmania in 1977. Australian poet and librettist Gwen Harwood befriended him in the late-1980s, at All Saints Church, South Hobart; there, she’d slip slim volumes of verse into his trouser pockets and insist he read and write poetry. In 1996 he moved to Melbourne, Victoria, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts (Literature) at Monash University. Since 2013 he has lived in Central Queensland and been poetry editor for Tincture Journal. In 2014 he was runner-up for the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and co-judged (with Penelope Layland) the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards: Poetry Book Category. In 2015 Barnes won the Thomas Shapcott Prize, resulting in the publication of his first book, Glasshouses (UQP, August 2016), and performed his work at Queensland Poetry Festival and Brisbane Writers Festival at the invitation of their directors.
Publications & Awards
His poems have won, been highly commended and shortlisted for CQ University’s Bauhinia Literary Awards and the Newcastle Poetry Prize, and have appeared or are forthcoming in the following anthologies, journals, magazines and newspapers: Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry (USA), Australian Book Review (States of Poetry Anthology, ed. Felicity Plunkett), Australian Poetry Anthology 2015 (eds Sarah Holland-Batt and Brook Emery), Blackmail Press (NZ), The Canberra Times, Cordite Poetry Review, fourW, Going Down Swinging, HIV Here & Now Project, Island Magazine, Mascara Literary Review, Meanjin, otoliths, Overland, Plumwood Mountain, Poetry Ireland Review (Ireland), Rabbit Poetry Journal, Seizure, Snorkel, Social Alternatives, Southerly, TEXT, The Fractured Self: Poetry of Chronic Illness and Pain (ed. Heather Taylor Johnson), The Lifted Brow, The Warwick Review (UK), The Weekend Australian, Transnational Literature, Westerly and Writ Poetry Review. His website is https://stuartabarnes.wordpress.com/; he tweets as @StuartABarnes.