The Queensland Poetry Festival will return to the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts from 24 to 27 August. This year’s festival focuses on diversity and inclusive action through the theme of ‘Distant Voices.’ The four day event will celebrate the vibrant poetry scene with events featuring spoken word, film, discussions and comedy.

Highlights include the QPF2017 Literary Cabaret featuring poetic luminaries Mark Doty (USA), Maxine Beneba Clarke, Omar Musa and more; an afternoon with cartoonist & poet Michael Leunig; Travelling Light Leonard Cohen tribute show with a stellar line-up of local poets and musicians; spoken word superstar Luka Lesson in concert; a late night Queer Literary Salon; Writing Through Fences, and Viral Verse, featuring some of the online stars of poetry including Hera Lindsay Bird (NZ) and Patricia Lockwood (US).

The festival will feature two Arts Queensland Poets in Residence: Joy Harjo and Courtney Sina Meredith. Indigenous Poet in residence Ali Cobby Eckermann will be in residence from 17 to 27 August.

Harjo is an established poet of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation who is often cited as playing a formidable role in the second wave of the Native American Renaissance of the late 20th century. Harjo’s eight books of poetry include well-known titles like How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems and She Had Some Horses. Recently, Harjo was awarded the prestigious Ruth Lilley Prize, bestowed on a living American poet for outstanding lifetime accomplishments.

Meredith is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and musician. Her play Rushing Dolls (2010) won a number of awards before being published, and she launched her first book of poetry, Brown Girls in Bright Red Lipstick (Beatnik), at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, and her debut book of short stories, Tail of the Taniwha in 2016.

One of Australia’s foremost poets, Eckermann’s first collection Little Bit Long Time was written in the desert and launched her literary career in 2009. Her works have been published in various languages, and she has travelled widely to showcase Aboriginal poetry overseas. In 2017, Eckermann received a Windham-Campbell Award from Yale University. Eckermann addresses the emotional and challenging topics of Australia’s Stolen Generations, broken familial bonds and racism.

See socials from the Queensland Poetry Festival launch here.