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Poetry's in motion for a man of devotion - Steve at the Qld Poetry Festival Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 September 2007

Steve talks to the Sunday-Mail about poetry and its connection to rock music.


SE Event

HD Poetry's in motion for a man of devotion

BY Sally Browne

WC 451 words

PD 2 September 2007

SN Sunday Mail, The


ED U - Event

PG 14

LA English

CY Copyright 2007 News Ltd. All Rights Reserved


Church singer has found a new calling, writes Sally Browne

STEVE Kilbey, lead singer with Australian rock icons The Church, remembers the day he wrote his first poem. He was 16, at school in Canberra.



"Some people who ran the school magazine said, `Hey Kilbey, you could write poetry, couldn't you?' And I said, `Oh, I think I could'. I went home and I sat down and I picked up this piece of paper and the first thing I wrote was, `Despite impossibility, infinity has been reached', and that was my first line."

Now he writes prolifically, keeping a blog which he updates daily with a new poem.

He has also had several poetic works published, one of which is Fruit Machine: Essays on Rock, which he will read at the Queensland Poetry Festival this weekend.

Kilbey (pictured) says there is a "huge" connection between rock 'n' roll and poetry.

"The spirit of rock 'n' roll is the same spirit as poetry. The intent is the same, to ravish your mind. And just to absolutely bombard you with horrific stuff and fantastic stuff so you walk out with your mind blown."

On Friday at 11am, Kilbey will be joined by Jamie Hutchings of Bluebottle Kiss for an exclusive presentation on the art of songwriting. He'll also be joining top performers including Jacqueline Turner, Matt Rader, Julie Beveridge, The Stress of Leisure and Graham Nunn at a Leonard Cohen tribute on Saturday night.

The Queensland Poetry Festival has come a long way since its days in a boatshed at inner-Brisbane's West End. Now it is held over three days at the Judith Wright Centre in Fortitude Valley, with a line-up of national and international guests.

It is the largest poetry festival in Australia. Last year's guest performer, emily xyz from New York, said it was one of the best poetry festivals she had attended.

One of this year's stars is award-winning Canadian poet Shane Koyczan, 31, a former clerk who makes his living from poetry.

"I've written on just about everything I've experienced," he says. "Two themes that seem to keep coming up are love and sex. One time a girl told me, `Fat people don't know anything about sex or sexiness', so I've always come back to it with an `Oh really?' attitude."

Koyczan says rock 'n' roll can never be as cool as poetry: "There's just too much showing off."

For more details see www.queenslandpoetryfestival .com. Bookings: Judith Wright Centre or 3872 9000.

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