QPF Program launch at Government House

Paul Sherman Award

This is the speech I never had the opportunity to recite at the Queensland Poetry Festival program launch at Government House on Tuesday the 12th July.

“Your Excellency, the Governor General of Queensland, Mrs. de Jersey, QPF Co-Directors, QPF Chair and board members, fellow poets and invited guests.

Firstly, my congratulations to the Queensland Poetry Festival for inaugurating an award that honours the life and works of Mr. Paul Sherman; poet, playwright, actor, English teacher, mentor and friend to many teenagers and adults alike, throughout his significant writing, performing and teaching career.

Secondly, I am honoured that people in the general community voted for me in this award, however my greatest reward is that the Queensland Poetry Festival, an event that began 20 years ago this year, has continued to flourish and become in my view, the most significant poetry event in Australia. That is truly the major prize.

So, it is with much pleasure that I surrender my win and give the award to where it is truly deserved. Matt and I are old poetry and political warriors who have the satisfaction of seeing institutions like the Judith Wright Centre for Performing Arts and the Queensland Poetry Festival achieve their artistic purpose which we mapped out in the 1990s and early 2000s.

This award should, I believe, go to someone who has built on this foundation, and is currently putting in the hard yards to develop poetry in Queensland, making it a stronger art form through her role as a slam poetry event organiser, published poet, dynamic performer and community arts advocate.

Therefore, I would like to invite Angela Pieta to the podium to receive the inaugural 2016 Paul Sherman Community Poetry Award for her continuing development of poetry as an art form in Queensland and for her fighting spirit in advocating for the arts sector in this new millennium.”




2016 Paul Sherman Community Poetry Award


The late Paul Sherman who has been honoured by the Queensland Poetry Festival with an award named after him.


2016 marks the 20th year of the Queensland Poetry Festival and the festival has created an award to celebrate this huge achievement. Paul Sherman was an English teacher, poet, playwright, performer, actor and mentor who lived and breathed literature and poetry as much as anyone could have in one life. Paul was an inspiring classroom teacher and his students benefited from his passion for, and deep knowledge of literature. In addition, he was able to bring to bear on his classroom work with students the special perspectives of being both an accomplished and experienced actor and a published poet and playwright. Students who had Paul Sherman as an English teacher were very fortunate indeed. He was awarded the Peter Botsman Award in 2010 for his outstanding contribution to English teaching.

While I’ve been nominated for the inaugural 2016 Paul Sherman Community Poetry Award along with Matt Foley, the former Queensland Minister for The Arts and local poet Angela Pieta, there are a host of other people who will also be nominated in the future for their contribution to the development of poetry in Queensland over the years.

These include; Robert Hughes and Eluned Lloyd, who managed the Queensland Poetry Association in the 1990s, an organisation that gave a base to poetry at the Metro Arts Centre, and valuable support to new poets through publication and readings in Brisbane; Francis Boyle, who is probably the most dedicated poetry committee member the world has ever seen; Rob Morris, poet, editor and publisher of Small Packages; Ross Clark, who as an English teacher, poet, and workshop facilitator, has since the 1980s mentored more poets than probably anyone else in the state; the late Dr John Knight, who as an educator, poet, academic, and publisher gave many Queensland poets their first taste of publication either through the journal Social Alternatives or his press Post Pressed;  Dr Philip Neilsen and Helen Horton, who edited the journal Imago (1989-2001), which encouraged a new generation of Queensland poets; Uncle Herb Wharton, who led the way for Indigenous writers to have their stories told; Bronwyn Lea, who as a poet, arts administrator, editor, UQP publisher, academic, critic and reviewer, continues to represent Queensland on a national scale as the new poetry editor of Meanjin; Brentley Frazer and Adam Pettet, who have for the past 20 years contributed to the advancement of Queensland poetry as arts administrators, poets, influential editors (Retort and now Bareknuckle Poets) publishers, poetry reading coordinators (think QPF, speedpoets), academics and are the front men of the poetry avant-garde in this state; Sam Wagan Watson, probably the most significant Indigenous poet writing in Australia today; and lastly Graham Nunn, who for all of his controversial status as a poet, still contributed significantly as a teacher, director, event coordinator, publisher, editor and mentor to poets in Queensland.

Rhyme, Rhythm & Reason at Studio 188, Ipswich

Brett 188

Reading at the inaugural Rhyme, Rhythm & Reason in 2014 at Studio 188.


Christian Sargent has invited me back to read tomorrow night (5th July) at Solidarity Kulture Club’s Rhyme, Rhythm & Reason, a fantastic music and poetry event that has been running since 2014 and is supported by the Ipswich City Council. I’ll be reading from ‘Mysteries of the Unknown’ a work in progress that debunks or agrees with famous mysteries of the unexplained from Atlantis to Bigfoot. Get your Jack Palance Believe It Or Not spook on, or as Dr Venkman in the original Ghostbusters says, “Back off, I’m a scientist.”

This is a free event presenting feature poet & first-ever SKC spoken word guest, BRETT DIONYSIUS, flanked by Ipswich City Big Band luminary, singer-songwriter CHRIS THOMAS


…..B. R. Dionysius was founding Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival. He has published over 500 poems in literary journals, anthologies, newspapers and online. His eighth poetry collection, Weranga was released in 2013. He teaches English at Ipswich Grammar School and lives in Chapel Hill, Brisbane.



….Chris Thomas and Chris Andrews have developed a musical rapport through their work together with the Ipswich City Big Band and Tiger Street. Their partnership as a dynamic musical duo was born and continues to develop almost exclusively in front of live audiences with impromptu performances and onstage song creation.


This is a FREE, ALL AGES event and BYO Food and Drinks ~ ALCOHOL PERMITTED

Gold coin donation appreciated. 7-9pm.

The Battle of the Somme

Today marks the centenary of the start of the Somme offensive in France in World War 1 on 1st July 1916. The Australians attacked on 23rd July. In seven weeks of intense fighting the three Australian divisions involved in the battle suffered 23,000 casualties and of these 6,800 men were killed in action. Five Victoria Crosses were awarded during this offensive.

Private John Leak – 23 July 1916, Pozieres, France

Lieutenant Arthur Seaforth Blackburn – 23 July 1916, Pozieres, France

*Private Thomas Cooke – 24-25 July 1916, Pozieres, France

*Sergeant Claud Charles Castleton – 28 July 1916, Pozieres, France

Private Martin O’Meara – 9-12 August 1916, Pozieres, France

 * denotes posthumously awarded.