On his first visit back to Beaudesert since before the global pandemic, award-winning poet Nicholas Powell has spoken of the influence this place has had on his work.
Nick, whose proud parents are locals John and Robin Powell, launched his new book of contemporary poetry, Trap Landscape, in Brisbane and was travelling to book events in Sydney and Melbourne before returning home to his wife and two children in Finland.
He caught up with the Beaudesert Bulletin in between, in the backyard of his mum and dad’s home in Beaudesert suburbia.
Nick, who was born in Armidale in 1979, moved to Beaudesert in his final year of primary school and went to Beaudesert High in the 90s.
He returned to Armidale for uni, was a social worker with young homeless people in Brisbane in his 20s and was a book seller in Melbourne before meeting his wife, who is Finnish, in 2007 and moving to Finland.
His first full-length poetry book, Water Mirrors, won Queensland’s prestigious Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize in 2011.
Nick has returned to Beaudesert to see family over the years since he moved abroad and spoke with the warm but surreal reflections of a poetic expatriate.
“I think a lot about place names and there is a kind of topography that happens in this book, which is actually a lot about Beaudesert, Canungra, even Browns Plains, but they become more like moods,” he said.
“It’s not realistic depictions of these places, but I suppose living overseas and, in a way, detached from living here means those places, in the book, become like a dreamscape.”
Nick fondly described the character of Beaudesert.
“When you talk to people and when you get out into the streets it’s still Beaudesert. There’s a congeniality, people take an interest in one another, I think. There is an element of care in Beaudesert which you don’t find everywhere.”