Friday, December 30, 2005

More Frantastic fun with Fran Sbrocchi

One of a series of computer paintings by poet and teacher, Fran Sbrocchi (who also makes fine muffins!).

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Snap - 28/12/2005

in her last days
my mother manipulated us
blackmailing us with
in all its flavours

'o, I know what you're up to'
she'd say, seeing conspiracy everywhere
and call me by my brother's name
and accuse me of his faults
'you can't hide from me'
she'd say, and we'd resent it

but now years down the track,
sober drunks praise her in
the public bar of their recovery,
and I glow in her reflected serenity
and phone to tell my brother
what a good woman she was,
our mother of the manipulative ways -
he laughs and asks
for a contribution to her last pharmacy bill
and mimics her voice -
'you can't hide from me'

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

More Toilet Door News

Toilet Door Poems will commission 6 emerging poets and 6 visual designers, to create 6 posters for display on the backs toilet doors during April 2006, in domestic Qantas terminals, and Greater Union cinemas, in Sydney and nationally.
The project will also commission 1 poet to write a mini-essay about an aspect of poetry in the public space, to be published online at and presented publicity, at the project's launch.

The poems will be displayed for the duration of APRIL 2006, in these spaces, thanks to the support from ‘The Letter Corporation, The City of Sydney and The John Butler Foundation's 'social activisim through the arts' fund.

Our design partners, DesignWorks Enterprise IG, will co-ordinate the selection of artists and art design, introducing a strong collaborative element between the poet and the artist.

Selected poets will be recorded reading their poems for a red room radio, broadcast via the national community radio satellite.

The poems will replace advertising with poetry and art by emerging Australian poets and artists in spaces that are both very public, and uniquely private.

Each illustrated poem will explore and interpret a theme of social, political, cultural and creative relevance to each poet and designer, offering a balance between creative excellence and a social aware art for the public, humorous and serious at once.

SUBMISSIONS open on DECEMBER 1 2005 and close JANUARY 23 2006

Conditions of entry for poets
Poems can’t have been previously published.
Poets selected for the project will be emerging poets, that means no more than one book (chap books excluded) of poetry previously published.
Poems remain the exclusive copyright of red room company until project completion and future publication must acknowledge previous publication in this project.
Poems submitted must include poet contact details
Poets must be Australian residents
Poems can be sent via email or hard copy to The Red Room Company PO box 1389 Darlinghurst, NSW 1300
Poems must reach us by the 23rd January 2006

Conditions of entry for artists
Artists selected for the project will be emerging artists, that means not as famous as John Olsen.

Art works remain the exclusive copyright of red room company until project completion and future publication must acknowledge previous publication in this project.

Works submitted must include poet contact details
Artists must be Australian residents
An example of previous art work must fit into an A4 envelope (CDs, photographs, photocopies accepted) to

The Red Room Company PO box 1389 Darlinghurst, NSW 1300
Artworks must reach us by the 13th January 2006
Artists will be contacted separately, details here soon.

Selection committee
Poem and art selection committee will include an emerging and established poet. Also involved in the selection process will be a representative from the John Butler Foundation and The City of Sydney

Please don't submit poems built on toilet humour unless they are outstanding
The selected poems will aim to explore issues of social, political, cultural and creative relevance to broad audience.

Further detailsPlease contact

Toilet Door Poetry Opportunity :-)

Dear Poets and writers and visual artists,
Submissions are now open for the 2006 Toilet Door poetry project.
Six emerging poets and artists are wanted to create illustrated
poem posters for exhibition on the back of toilet doors in Qantas
domestic terminals, greater union and village cinemas, nationally
in April 2006.

Please see attached PDF for details [try the link below].

Happy summer swims,

Johanna Featherstone
The Red Room Company

Monday, December 26, 2005

Snap on Christmas Day

i begin the festivities
by watering the lawn
and the two single trees
that stand two metres tall
and five metres apart
their leafy round heads
dripping like mops

a wattlebird flies in
and shakes her body
among the leaves
bathes with gusto
when in flies her would-be lover
so she flies to
the other green mop

both trees now alive
a bird each
and not a partridge
or a pear tree
in sight

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Snow School by Fran Sbrocchi

Snow School by Fran Sbrocchi. I suppose it helps to know that Fran grew up in Canada :-) With this painting she sent a note which read, in part, Kids in our time built a nice house and put a stove in it for winter school lunches. Beautiful. Thanks, Fran ... And happy jolly, merry holly to all!

Poems & Paintings

Pieter Brueghel, Hunters in the Snow (1565)

Here's a website you might enjoy -

Friday, December 16, 2005

Michael Knight painting

Michael Knight is my artist partner at 'The Painted Word' at the Atwell Gallery in January 2006. If you would like to work with words then art, it is a unique opportunity! See below for website address.

January is Summer School Time!

There is a good creative project going down at the Atwell Gallery - one section of which is 'The Painted Word' where a writer and an artist are teamed up for the week to inspire a class to create! Create what? Who knows! The fun is in finding out and creating it ... Go to now and check it out.

See you there! Would I tell you all this if I wasn't one of the writers? Not bloody likely! :-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Snake Pit in action :-)

Snake Pit 1950+

In my research for my academic work, I came a cross this photo which I think is great. In my family, we weren't allowed anywhere near the Snake Pit in Scarborough, but I have since learnt it was run by an off-duty cop who was helping out the youth of the area.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Famous Reporter 31 launched

Good news! The sparkling little literary journal from the apple isle Famous Reporter has just been released. This is Number 31, so congratulations to Ralph Wassman and others on the team for their diligent work. You can see parts of it at

A subscription would make a good Christmas gift to someone interested in contemporary Australian literature.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Courtesy E-Verse Radio

To Jane: The Keen Stars Were Twinkling
Percy Bysshe Shelley


The keen stars were twinkling,
And the fair moon was rising above them,
Dear Jane!
The guitar was tinkling,
But the notes were not sweet till you sung them


As the moon's soft splendor
O'er the faint cold starlight of heaven
Is thrown,
So your voice most tender
To the strings without soul has then given
Its own.


The stars will awaken,
Though the moon sleep a full hour later,
No leaf will be shaken
Whilst the dews of your melody scatter


Though the sound overpowers,
Sing again, with your dear voice revealing
A tone
Of some world far from ours,
Where music and moonlight and feeling
Are one.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Fay Zwicky Wins White Award

From the Melbourne Age :

"I lead a very reclusive life ... and suddenly this happens." Fay Zwicky

By Jane Sullivan
November 12, 2005

WHEN poet Fay Zwicky had a telephone call to tell her she'd won one of Australia's top literary prizes, she thought it was a hoax. "I was completely bowled over," she said. "I lead a very reclusive life and I never expect anything. I always think I'm drifting along and nobody knows I'm here, and it's great. And suddenly this happens."

The 72-year-old Perth writer, who was born and brought up in Melbourne and has been writing poetry and prose for half a century, has won the $25,000 Patrick White Award.

The annual prize is given to an Australian writer whose work, in the opinion of the award committee, has not received adequate recognition. The committee says Zwicky is "one of Australia's most original and accomplished poets".

Patrick White founded the award after he won the Nobel prize for literature in 1973. Zwicky remembers meeting him at an anti-nuclear symposium in Canberra in the 1980s, where she read one of her stories. "He was very elderly and infirm and I was totally in awe of the man. Shrunken and ill as he was, he took the trouble to come over and say something very nice about my story. I was so moved I burst into tears," she said.

"I know he had a reputation as a bit of a curmudgeon, but then so have I. He was a remarkable humanitarian. I have enormous respect for him and I'm terribly moved I should be part of the legacy."

Zwicky began writing poetry as an undergraduate at the University of Melbourne in the 1950s and has worked as a concert pianist and an academic. As a young musician, she always had a book behind the music stand so her mother could not see what she was reading.

Her poetry collections have won several awards. One of her most-admired poems, Kaddish, is an elegy for her father that also draws on her experience of growing up in Melbourne's Jewish community.

Today she lives with "the usual old-age things: your mind might be leaping about, but the body ain't following", but she is still writing poetry. Next year, Giramondo Press will publish a new collection, Picnic. "It will probably be my last book but I'm very pleased, I've been working quite hard. My poems are getting a bit engrossed by the political state of things at the moment … leaning towards a study of despotism, the waste of life and the need for survival."

Last year, Western Australia declared her a Living Treasure — "a most repulsive term".

She finds poetry today "a mixed bag" and is not keen on some performance poetry with "people practically masturbating on stage. I'm afraid I'm old-fashioned Melbourne: don't show everything, keep it in. I was brought up in a puritanical style and I'm not sorry about that."


A call from the Editor of West Australian literary magazine, Word-Thirst, for submissions:

Hi everyone,

I am now calling for submissions for 'Thirst', a biannually published
literary magazine of 52 pages comprising poetry, short stories, reviews,
essays, articles (especially on writing or writers). This is privatly
published by Benmax Box, distribution approx 200, in support of
established and emerging writers. Submissions to

BJ Thomason

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Publicity blurb from Black Inc books

The Best Australian Poems 2005
Edited by Les Murray

Following on from the enormous success of the 2004 Best Poems anthology, editor Les Murray promises an even better collection for 2005. Taking only the best of our established poets, as well as discovering a few hidden gems by previously unpublished writers, The Best Australian Poems 2005 is the ultimate showcase of Australian poetry.

$24.95 - ISBN 186 395 1024 - Black Inc. - October 2005

Trade orders through Macmillan.

Galatea by Dali

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Watching Paint Dry

Watching Paint Dry

15 November 2005 / from State Of The Arts magazine
In 2000 a headline on the front page of The West Australian declared that Perth was “dull and deserted…boring and functional.” Understandably, some locals took offence. For others, it confirmed something they’d long suspected about the most isolated city in the country. But is Perth really the third most liveable city in the world, or is it simply the backside of the planet? This is the question posed in Welcome to Dullsville!, the final show in Perth Theatre Company’s 2005 Season.
PTC Artistic Director, Alan Becher has invited 15 of the city’s finest playwrights to spill the beans on their hometown. Among those Becher invited are Reg Cribb (Last Cab to Darwin, The Return, Ruby’s Last Dollar), Jenny Davis (Dear Heart), Robert Jeffreys (Cox Four, The Messenger), Ingle Knight (The Getaway Bus, Shadow Of The Eagle), Elizabeth Spencer (Tango), Hellie Turner (Bench) and Ian Wilding (Torrez, Below).

Each playwright takes a different view of the city, dealing with the lifestyle, issues of isolation, celebration, lack of sophistication and parochialism.

According to these writers Perth in the sort of town where a couple might go into therapy over conflicting AFL loyalties. Perth residents, it seems, are also likely to be aroused by the Bell Tower on Barrack Street Jetty and go ‘swinging’ in the Western Suburbs.

A tongue-in-cheek celebration of Perth living, Welcome to Dullsville! appeals to anyone who’s ever felt the pangs of cultural cringe. Moreover, it’s for any one willing to laugh at themselves and their hometown.

Also showing alongside the series of short plays are photographs by local photographer Jon Green who’s managed to capture the city in all its splendour.

- Alex McDonald

More Information:
Welcome to Dullsville!
19 November – 10 December
Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), James St, Northbridge
Tickets: $25/$32
Bookings: 08 9484 1133


Friday, November 11, 2005

I am pleased to announce I have a poem in this coming collection, published by Black Inc. When you see it in a bookstore, please buy it. Australian poetry and poets need your support. Besides, it'll be very good! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Celebrating significant connections between Ireland & Australia

In September 2006 all the tracks will be winding back to the historic township of Gundagai as it comes alive to the sound of jigs and reels and the rhythmic beat of step and set dancing when it hosts its inaugural festival of Irish and Australian Music and the Related Arts. Under the banner “The Turning Wave” the festival will celebrate significant connections between Ireland and Australia, and the rich cultural heritage of both traditions.
The title, “The Turning Wave” is taken from a poem by Colleen Z Burke (Clare ancestry) and, an anthology of the same name compiled and edited by Colleen and Vincent Woods (Galway playwright & poet), and is used with the kind permission of the authors. This anthology is a collection of the poetry (and song) of Irish Australia, reflecting the strong Irish influence on Australian life. The Turning Wave Festival in Gundagai will also celebrate Irish Australia through music, song, dance, spoken word, literature and theatre.
The Irish influence is entwined in the fabric of Gundagai from its early settlement days and is linked intrinsically to its place as a lighthouse in an emerging Australian national identity. One significant impact of Irish immigration was the arrival in Gundagai in March 1850 of 41 Irish famine orphan girls. 194 orphans in all had earlier arrived in Sydney on the ‘Thomas Arbuthnot’ having left the famine impoverished south-west of Ireland in 1849 for new lives in NSW. Of these, 102 girls aged between 14 and 21 set off ‘up country’ with the Surgeon-Superintendent, Charles Strutt who had cared for them on the voyage out. They were headed for Yass and Gundagai where they gained employment in the district. Many were soon married and became founding families whose names are still evident in the region today. The majestic Gundagai Court House built in 1859 is also where one of Gundagai’s more infamous characters, the Irish bushranger Andrew George Scott alias Captain Moonlight was committed for trial. He was born in Co. Down. In fact, when he was captured and brought into Gundagai the town enjoyed a half-day holiday. He is also buried in the North Gundagai cemetery after his remains were exhumed from Rookwood and re-buried 115 years after his execution. Woven into the rich tapestry of Gundagai history are also the Australian icons that many of us are familiar with, the Dog on the Tucker Box, a symbol of loyalty and devotion, and the battlers, Dad, Dave, Mum and Mabel, the Snake Gully characters immortalised by Steele Rudd. And then there’s that song, “The Road to Gundagai”.
Festival director Pam Merrigan who has recently been in Ireland with the ‘Sydney Harbour Band’ performing traditional Australian music at a number of festivals including the prestigious Willie Clancy Summer School, and promoting the idea of the festival in Ireland said there was a tremendous interest in it there and also in the Irish contribution to an Australian cultural identity. We are already negotiating to bring musicians from Ireland to the festival. In addition to the music focus there will be a big input of related arts activities and also a World Celtic Fringe.
Expressions of interest from performers and presenters open from Nov 21st 2005. For Application Forms and further information you can email the Festival Director, Pam Merrigan. Opportunities exist for concert performance, themed concerts, street performers, workshops and master classes, children’s presenters, dance, literature, poetry, storytelling, and theatre presentations.
Applications close 31st March 2006 and successful applicants will be notified by 31st May 2006.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Blog to blog - Call for Poems

Dr Coral Hull writes:

Justin Lowe (Australian poet living in The Blue Mountains, NSW) wants a few poems to look at for his new poetry blog.

If you know any poets who might be interested in contributing, feel free to pass the address onto them

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Go-Go's Jigsaw

Young wife at the corner
of years and Robe Street -
go-go dancer free of her cage
who once worked with ...
she'd be lucky to be twenty
and the mini-skirt shows
her gams off well.
Daylight. Workers at work,
schoolkids at school. So
who's this guy in a Merc
who leans out his window
to ask, What time you start,
love? She is caught on
the backfoot of reverie
and blurts out, Nine, nine o'clock.
Okay love, he says, I'll be back.
She stops and stares at his car as it
drives off, image suddenly
interruped by Luna Park eyes
and snarling mouth, a woman yelling,
Get off my corner, bitch! Ya hear?
This is my patch, not yours!
Fuck off, bitch, n' dun come back.
Go-Go squeaks out, What?
The ugly face leans in until the wind
blows her hair against the young wife's face,
Fuck off, ya mole. This is MY corner.
And takes off, walking like
her pants are on fire. Go-Go
stands and breathes deeply,
milk and bread anchors to
normality. She coughs a small cough
and walks on, head down,
to number 47, a flat in the back
where her husband will be stirring
on the mattress on the floor,
waking from nightshift at
the Police Academy where he cleans
black boot polish stains off
shiny wax linoleum floors.
It is like the wrong pieces fell
into her jigsaw - their own place
at last, and now this.

(First draft, written as a snap poem for Poetryetc this day, partially built on memory.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

MPU Poetry Competition Entry Forms

Kindly reader John Parkes at ECU has supplied this address for the Melbourne Poets Union's Poetry Competition:

Monday, October 10, 2005

MPU Competition

Melbourne Poets Union


1st Prize $AUD1000

2nd Prize $AUD 300

3rd Prize $AUD 200

Martin Downey Urban Realist Award $AUD 50

Judge: Diane Fahey


° shall be unpublished (including e-zines)

° shall not have won another competition as at 28th October 2005

° may be on any theme, maximum 50 lines, must be typed

° shall not bear the poet’s name

° must be received by 28th October 2005

° must be accompanied by cheque/money order made out to Melbourne Poets Union Inc. $6 per poem or $15 for 3 poems (no cash please)

It says ‘Please send entries to …’ so I presume you can get Entry Forms from:

MPU Inc International Poetry Competition

PO Box 266

Flinders Lane 8009



Creative Writing Classes - Now Enrolling

I have been teaching Creative Writing evening classes for 16 years now at TAFE Subiaco, which is housed in Perth Modern School. The next series starts on Wednesday 26th October 2006. Classes run 7pm to 9pm and are very relaxed and social. Ads for these courses went in the West Australian last Saturday, so you can enrol now by phoning West Coast College of TAFE in Joondalup 1300 134 881.

An enigmatic portrait of Louis Zukovsky. Photo � Elsa Dorfman Posted by Picasa

Zukovsky commentary

For the fans of Louis Zukovsky, and for those who are curious about his work, there is a new site: Very useful. It is still developing, so worth keeping on your 'favourites' list.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Sophie Shits and We Sit on the Green Settee

Our guru crosses her eyes
when she shits, puffs up red
and cries. We run to help.
She has written, All things must pass.
We tie the plastic bag up
and throw it in the bin
to sit at her side and wait.
Another pronouncement is imminent.
She looks off into eternity
and we follow her gaze,
knowing the mantra, It is as it is.
Our guru cries out to
Suffering Humanity.
The head priest folds over
at the staples and her sidekick
spins between washing and cooking
while the recorder priest
ponders the definition of 'All',
looking for boundaries. Guru says,
No boundaries exist. All things
are One. Ah, we nod, three priests
in a row on a green settee, Ah.
Our guru sees our homage,
crosses her eyes and shits again.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ricky Ponting sends Flintoff over the boundary in the first of three ODIs between the ICCXI and Australia. Australia won ... Friday they meet again. Posted by Picasa

Poem for Space?

This is one of the poems they are voting on at the British Poetry Society to send into space ... Read about it at

Night Feed
Eavan Boland

This is dawn
Believe me
This is your season, little daughter.
The moment daisies open,
the hour mercurial rainwater
Makes a mirror for sparrows.
It's time we drowned our sorrows.

I tiptoe in.
I lift you up
In your rosy, zipped sleeper.
Yes, this is the hour
For the early bird and me
When finder is keeper.

I crook the bottle.
How you suckle!
This is the best I can be,
To this nursery
Where you hold on,
Dear life.

A silt of milk.
The last suck
And now your eyes are open,
Birth-coloured and offended.
Earth wakes.
You go back to sleep.
The feed is ended.

Worms turn.
Stars go in.
Even the moon is losing face.
Poplars stilt for dawn
And we begin
The long fall from grace.
I tuck you in.

Creative Writing Classes

I have been lucky enough to be teaching Creative Writing evening classes for 16 years now at TAFE Subiaco, which is housed in Perth Modern School. The next series starts on Wednesday 26th October 2006. Classes run 7pm to 9pm and are very relaxed and social. Ads for all these courses go in the West Australian this Saturday, so full details how to enrol are there, but if you phone West Coast College of TAFE in Joondalup 1300 134 881 you can enrol any time until then.

Invaluable Fact of the Week:

Fact of the day: There are a reported 60 million bloggers, writing everything from personal diaries to influential political rhetoric. The research firm The Duffusion Group recently predicted there will also be 60 million podcasters in the US by 2010.

Crikey, I feel so common!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Part of the audience at Walking On Water at the Brisbane Hotel on 4th October. The reading happens there on the first Monday of each month (except January) from 7.30 pm. Posted by Picasa

Bob Rummery performing a song by Cross-cut Wilson, at Walking On Water 4th October Posted by Picasa

Juliet Mirellier, fantasy writer, reading at Walking On Water 4th October Posted by Picasa

Ray Penny, reading a short story at Walking On Water at the Brisbane Hotel, 4th October. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 03, 2005

Kookaburra at peace. Posted by Picasa

a wealth of wondrous works

Go to

A huge array of avant garde (for want of a better word) works, with recently added active archives of experimental film. Great!

Friday, September 30, 2005

A link to more about Ikkyu

Wild Ways: Zen Poems of Ikkyu

Lady Mori's Gifted Touch

My hand is no match for that of Mori.
She is the unrivalled master of love play:
When my jade stalk wilts, she can make it sprout!
How we enjoy our intimate little circle.

by Ikkyu, translated by John Stevens.

The Dharma Master of Love

My life has been devoted to love play;
I've no regrets about being tangled in red thread from head to foot,
Nor am I ashamed to have spent my days as a Crazy Cloud -
But I sure don't like this long, long bitter autumn of no good sex!

by Ikkyu, translated by John Stevens.

from Wild Ways: Zen Poems of Ikkyu (Shambhala Centaur Editions, 1995)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Fran Sbrocchi painted this wonderful little scene on her magic computer painting system. More can be found at
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Robb Scott's pencil drawing entitled The Mirage at Posted by Picasa

Robb Scott's Drawing

There's a wonderful site all about pencils and pencil drawings at ... Thanks to Jill Jones for this info.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Cordite News

Please see below for details of how to submit to Cordite.


2005 marks the 62nd anniversary of the death of The Great Dromedary of Australian poetry, Ern Malley. To commemorate this momentous occasion Cordite would like to invite Malley's progeny to submit poems for The Children of Ern Malley edition. Dedicated to celebrating "No-Man's Language", the Malley edition will feature poems published under noms de Malley (for instance Vivian Malley, Aloysius Malley or plain old Bert Malley). It is worth remembering that Cordite has a preference for poetry that tries to split the infinite. Beyond is anything.

Please click on the link above to be rushed to their site where further submission details await you.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

New and On View: Mudlark No. 29 (2005)

Field Trip to My Mother
and Other Exotic Locations

by Dawn Tefft

Dawn Tefft holds an M.A. in English, recently taught composition and literature courses at Columbia College and Roosevelt University in Chicago, and has just begun working on a Creative Writing at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the fall of 2005. She was a finalist in Winnow Press's Open Book Award in Poetry in 2004 and previously won the Academy of American Poets Prize at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She has poems published in The Cream City Review, Melic Review, Lullwater Review, Rhino, Disquieting Muses Quarterly, Karamu, kaleidowhirl, Redivider, LitRag, Niederngasse, and Mudlark.

Spread the word. Far and wide,

William Slaughter

An Electronic Journal of Poetry & Poetics
Never in and never out of print...

Monday, September 12, 2005

A Poem by James McIntyre

E-Verse Radio published this wonderful snippet:

A reader writes in on a link from last Friday:

"I have a prized little volume called Very Bad Poetry, edited by Kathryn Petras and Ross Petras (Vintage Books, 1997) that contains some hilarious and varied examples of doggerel, including several works by J. Gordon Coogler, king of 'while-you-wait' poetry, ('How Strange Are Dreams!'; 'God Correctly Understood') and Canadian cheese-ophile (in more than one sense) James McIntyre. Here is his 'Ode on the Mammoth Cheese', based
on an actual four ton chunk of cheese displayed in Toronto circa 1855, according to the editors:"

Ode on the Mammoth Cheese
Weighing over 7,000 pounds

We have seen thee, queen of cheese,
Lying quietly at your ease,
Gently framed by evening breeze,
Thy fair form no flies dare seize.

All gaily dressed soon you'll go
To the great Provincial show,
To be admired by many a beau
In the city of Toronto.

Cows numerous as a swarm of bees,
Or as the leaves upon the trees,
It did require to make thee please,
And stand unrivaled, queen of cheese.

May you not receive a scar as
We have heard that Mr. Harris
Intends to send you off as far as
The great world's show at Paris.

Of the youth beware of these,
For some of them might rudely squeeze
And bite your cheek, then songs or glees
We could not sing, oh! queen of cheese.

We'rt thou suspended from balloon,
You'd cast a shade even at noon,
Folks would think it was the moon
About to fall and crush them soon.

Quote he ...

"A room without books is like a body without a soul." - G. K.Chesterton

Friday, September 09, 2005

William McGonagall

Meet William Topaz McGonagall, the worst poet in the world:

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Poem by Jill Jones

Jill Jones, Sydney-based Australian poet, was the featured poet at Poneme (a poetry list) in the past week, so I asked her if I could publish one of her poems here. It starts with a brief introduction by herself. It simply struck a fine chord with me, so I hope you appreciate it too.


The following poem was written for an exhibition of Australian surrealist paintings that showed at the S.H Ervin Gallery in Sydney. I can’t say I’m a huge Nolan fan but I wrote in response to three of his paintings, this one being my favourite poem. I tried to emulate, impossibly, a kind of ‘exquisite corpse’ procedure. Impossible to do alone obviously because you know what is before and behind you but, let’s say, I tried to push the Q&A format a bit.

Dream horses

Where are your eyes?
Nothing has prepared us for this.

What is earth?
There’s a pain that remembers bone and horn.

Is the sky above?
Only figures in a landscape.

How fast is the wind?
Even the broken floats in dreamland’s waters.

Do you remember when?
You will know when you see us.

Will you take us with you?
Born into the boundless plain.

How long have you been here?
Our names were once Surefoot and Swift.

Do you think we will be happy?
Dream horses do not need your eyes.

after Clay Horses by Sidney Nolan

(This poem first published in Agenda, Vol 41, 2005)

Thanks, Jill.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

fascicle volume 1 - Brilliant!

Here's the site of a brilliant new publication on the Net -

I'll be lost in there for days.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it ...

"One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes."

- Annie Dillard

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

from E-Verse Radio

"About 30 years ago, Jimmy Launce, formerly a disc jockey at WJR radio in Detroit, collected more than 300 of 'I could have been ...' puns from listeners. Some of them follow."

I could have been a big wheel, but I never spoke up.
I could have been a cardiologist, but my heart just wasn't in it.
I could have been a brewer, but I didn't have the head for it.
I could have been a Buddy, but I couldn't Hacket.
I could have been a candle maker, but I didn't know wick end was up.
I could have been a geometry teacher, but I hung around in the wrong circles.
I could have been a bridge builder, but I had fallen arches.
I could have been an elevator operator, but I kept getting the shaft.
I could have been a fairy tale author, but I was too Grimm.
I could have been a Director of the Hallelujah Chorus, but I couldn't Handel it.
I could have been a psychiatrist, but I was a freud.
I could have been a thief, but I couldn't take it.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The audience at the Philosopher's Cafe Poetry Reading, Saturday 13 August 2005. Spot the poet! Posted by Picasa

The Philospher's Cafe Poetry Reading

The first part of September's Poetry Month in Perth happened in August - of course. It was a Poetry Reading held at the Alexander Library's cafe, renamed for the event The Philospher's Cafe. It included Andrew Taylor, Glen Phillips, Kate Smith, Zan Ross, Lucy Dougan, Anne Morgan, Liana Christensen , Danny Gunzburg and myself. Photos are available at

Next reading there on Saturday 10th September 2005. The first one was so enjoyable, I would urge you to attend the next.

Andrew Burke and Jeanette Nelson, Floreat Beach, walking at sunset, 20 August 2005 (Photo by Tania) Posted by Picasa

Footsteps on Floreat Beach. Tania takes the baby for a walk, 20 August 2005 Posted by Picasa

Sunset off the coast of Floreat Beach, Western Australia, 5.50 pm Saturday 20 August 2005. Photo by Jeanette Nelson. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 18, 2005

My son Charlie took this photo up in Indonesia recently when he was coaching their cricket team. Yes, Indonesia plays cricket! Well, some of them do ... What a thoughtful creature. He has Jimmy Edwards whiskers ... Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

she waits for me

she waits for me
as I do my washing
porridge on the stove

while she waits
she edits my furniture
for her tidy house

when we get together
we will have more

this time is so different
from the first marriage
the second the third

it is our 'last true love'
we say, gazing at each other
like herons at a river

I bring my porridge
to the table
and think in its steam

too much cinnamon
and not enough

Monday, August 15, 2005

Philip Whalen .... see below Posted by Picasa

Whalen project

People who have read this blog in the past would know that I'm a fan of Philip Whalen's poetry (and his attitude to life). Well, now Michael Rothenberg is working on a Collected Poems and is looking for those far-flung pearls from Whalen's pen ... Maybe you can help. Here's his note:

Dear Everyone,

I am working on the Complete Collected Poems of Philip Whalen and nearly done with the job. I would appreciate it if any of you, or your friends have poems by Philip Whalen from small magazines, mimeos, letters, that you think have never been published, please let me know by e-mail, and send me a photo copy at: Michael Rothenberg, 1914 Pierce St., Hollywood, FL 33020. I would appreciate any help you can give.

Best regards,


Michael Rothenberg
Big Bridge

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Interesting magazine and series of images at Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 01, 2005

New Advanced Writing Class

I am offering an Advanced Creative Writing class, partly as an extension for my TAFE students who have been through the basic course, and for anyone else who should like to tune-up their writing skills. It will be held on a Wednesday evening, from 7 to 9pm for
eight weeks - $120 a term. It starts on 17 August 2005.

I'll create a Unit Outline for it tomorrow and post it here then. It will cover contemporary prose techniques and will address some aspects of poetry. Please be aware it is not a business writing course or a journalism course.

It will be held in Mount Lawley, either at my home address if numbers are small, or a local hall otherwise. Details will be confirmed when numbers are known.

Close off date is 11 August 2005.

Please reply to

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Listen here ...

"Poetry is tribal not material....this is where you can remember the good
times along with the worst; where you are not allowed to forget the worst,
else you cannot be healed."--C. D. Wright

Thanks for the quote Ken Wolman

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Leia Burke sitting on her grand dad's knee, 26 July 2005 at Cafe Martino  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Kerouac opened a million coffee bars and sold a million Levis. . .[but] Kerouac and I are not real at all. The only real thing about a writer is what he's written, and not his life. We will all die and the stars will go out one after another. . . W.Burroughs

Let the beauty we love be what we do. - Rumi

Monday, July 18, 2005

Charles Bernstein - it is a still off a video, so the quality is not always 100%.  Posted by Picasa

The Cork SoundEye Festival 2005

Keith Tuma has put up 70 or so stills from a video taken at the Soundeye Festival Cork 05 at

Thanks to Randolph Healey for the info. You will put faces to many names, among them Fanny Howe, Charles Bernstein, Lee Harwood, Randolph and Alison Croggon.

Alison Croggon at the Cork Festival 2005 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Claude Simon

For me, the big chore is always the same: how to begin a sentence, how to continue it, how to complete it.


To begin with, our perception of the world is deformed, incomplete. Then our memory is selective. Finally, writing transforms.

Claude Simon

Friday, July 15, 2005

Dorothy Parker busy at her desk. A scathing wit and a sad life ... Posted by Picasa