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.”