Thursday, March 31, 2005

Vale Robert Creeley 1926-2005

I have no details yet, but I am so saddened by the death of Robert Creeley, great contemporary American poet, who once visited Perth and shared with us his tremendous energy, wisdom and poetry.

My ex-wife cut his hair because he was going on to Singapore next (where they didn't allow hair over your collar), and she jokingly held a cutting up into the air and declared "I'm going to keep this locket next to my heart". Robert Creeley turned and yelled at her, "Don't say that ... I'm no different than anyone of you ... We're all poets here."

Today I will read his poems and remember him.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

This arresting snap is posted to advertise the great issue of Cordite magazine, now available at Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Sssshhh! the man says. 'Don't play what's there - play what's not there!' Miles Davis Posted by Hello

My son Charlie Burke, Sunsmart WACA Cricket Officer, in Indonesia teaching the local junior team how to catch a cricket ball. There's a right way and a wrong way! Posted by Hello

Monday, March 28, 2005


Is that right? I am doing it correctly, to my knowledge, but if I am not, please correct me gently. I scare easily. It is always my first time here and I hang one foot behind me for a fast escape. You intimidate me. May you always be there and I here. No hugs, no kisses, none of that, thank you. This sheet shall always separate us, and I for one am thankful for that. The confrontation of meaning sifted through your histories is far too complex and intimidating for me. May the sheet be shield and sword alike. My foot itches. The night is black but comfortable, the trees low and the moon high. Let me speak to you now through this sheet, like the little black square in the confessional of my youth with the priest in silhouette behind it. His gentle droning voice was the voice of God, even if I recognised it. Sometimes it would have a French inflection, others a guttural German sound, and then the humble Hungarian. Like bees in the swarm of human speech, we would enter, mumble secretly, leave and kneel to say our Hail Marys and Our Fathers. My father tongue fought with my mother tongue like a snake's tongue in one mouth. I can't stop scratching my heel now. Song is in the stars and the street is cool with rain. My feet feel the earth through generations of business and politics, digging back into the naked world. I must go. May you always be there and I here.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Walking On Water April 2nd

The next WOW (Walking On Water) literary reading and original music night is on at the Brisbane Hotel from 7.30 on Monday April 2nd.

The guest readers are David Michie, novelist and PR writer, and emerging writer Kay Cairns, novelist and poet. The musician is Dave Hults - a contemporary folkie from way back in the Lip Service days (if anybody but myself and Murray Jennings remembers them!).

Here's a little biography of David Michie:

David Michie was born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and educated in South Africa.
He wrote his first novel at eighteen, a “Boys’ Own” adventure, which he is relieved to say, was never published.
He began a public relations career in Johannesburg and wrote another six novels, all of which were rejected by publishers.
He moved to London and worked as an analyst in public relations, while continuing to write novels.
But the breakthrough came with the publication of his non-fiction expose of spin doctors - ” The Invisible Persuaders – How Britain’s spin doctors manipulate the media”.
Then a corporate PR thriller, “Conflict of Interest” started his run of successful novels.
He lives with his Australian-born wife in Perth for most of the year.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Warm the valves & chill the tinnies ...

Radio National "Big Ideas" 5.00 pm Sundays.

with Peter Thompson Sunday 27 March 2005

Wisdom Interviews: Les Murray

A controversial figure, Les Murray enjoys a reputation as Australia's greatest living poet. He overcame both a life threatening illness and a severe bout of depression in the 1990s. He takes stock of his tumultuous and passionate life journey.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Famous Reporter site

A little self-promotion, mixed in with general information:

From this site you can access many past items and issues from the great Australian literary magazine, Famous Reporter - put together with love and patience by Ralph Wessman.

I must ask Ralph where the name came from ...

Monday, March 21, 2005

Does Adam Gilchrist have to pay for the new window out of his own pocket money? Posted by Hello

Friday, March 18, 2005

The 2005 Bruce Dawe Poetry Prize

Go to this site for all the information on how to enter the Bruce Dawe Poetry Prize for 2005:

Easter Reunion

the family reunion is like a
merry-go-round in the park

of regrets, bad choices,
fights and childish feuds

we are gathered here today
to pay our lingering respects

the dying parade for
the living to witness

young'uns now have
young'uns of their own

we own them all in
a whirligig of blood

dance of oxygen
in body and soul

smoke of a candle snuffed
lingering like incense

leaf shadow patterns
fall like memories of

the stations of the cross
anyone got a footy?

Monday, March 14, 2005

A lapse in taste ...

A Comparative Analysis Of World Religious Philosophies

Taoism: Shit happens.
Confucianism: Confucious says: "Shit happens".
Calvinism: Shit happens because you don`t work hard enough.
Buddhism: If shit happens, it isn`t really shit.
Zen: What is the sound of shit happening?
Seventh Day Adventist: No shit on saturday.
Hedonism: There`s nothing like a good shit happening.
Hinduism: This shit happened before.
Mormon: This shit will happen again.
Islam: If this shit happens, it is the will of Allah.
Moonies: Only happy shit really happens.
Stoicism: This shit is good for me.
Protestantism: Let shit happen to someone else.
Catholicism: Shit happens because you deserve it.
Judaism: So why does this shit always happen to us?.
Hare Krishna: Shit happens Shit happens Shit happens Shithappens.
Jehova's Witness: Let us in, and we will tell you why shit happens.
Atheism: Shit happens for no apparent reason.
Agnosticism: Farts happen.
Zarastrianism: Shit happens half the time.
Christian Science: Shit is in your mind.
Wicca: Shit happens if you will it to happen.
Scientology: Feces occur.
Existentialism: Shit is, therefore it happens.
Rastafarism: LET`S SMOKE THIS SHIT!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Bits and Pieces

Two separate prose pieces, written in response to that poneme project I referred to earlier, Text 000:

Pain is the pleasure. It is the principle of the sting, the prince of lightness and the prince’s pal. Don’t horse with me, p … But then we could go on, and I do, it wasn’t the same back then, is it now. The stern look afore court, the skills of criticism mixed with the cut and thrust of large family life, remembering forms, glancing passes. Unformed in uniform, the daily parade before the prepubescent eyes of ignorant love, the hasty hands and jumping film stock, lolly kisses and burnt frames. When you’ve got nothing to say, sing it … ‘April love – it slips right through your fingers – so if she’s the one, don’t let her get away’ … It’s a bakelite prediction on the Craven A Top Ten, sister in matador pants, brother in black priest outfit – training for their future, slewed by the past. ‘I’m seeing the real you at last …’


I begin again. I take up the clay and start the wheel. My legs are tired from my last try, but now I lose myself again in her shadows. She is whole and she is rounded by my hands, the water running down my arms to drip off my elbows onto the floor, the clay wobbly but in place. It is all that isn’t there that shapes her. I take away the roots of the trees of the forests, I transplant the shade of an old tree in the sunshine. ‘She is good to me / There’s nothing she doesn’t see / She knows where I’d like to be / But it doesn’t matter’. I hold her to make her, I run my hands up and down, I rib her as I rub her, my body the body that builds her body of clay and water and shadow, I breath into the rhythmic rounds of the wheel, a thigh a breast a momentum of Mother Earth …

The quotes are from Pat Boone's 'April Love' (a song of my teenagehood), and two Dylan songs.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Seeking Transcendence: Edvard Munch's 'Summer night-Inger on Shore 1889' now on exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia
 Posted by Hello

Seeking Transcendence through Creative Writing

Here is a message on behalf of Jenny de Garis.

You are invited to join Jenny de Garis and other adventurers in the Art Gallery of WA to discover, share and find inspritation in various responses to a Perth International Festival Exhibition called 'Transcendence'.
You are further encouraged to extend your enjoyment by relating actively to the unusual artworks through creative writing.
The group will meet in the foyer of the Art Gallery at 10 am Saturday 2 April 2005. The session will finish at 1 pm. Stools will be provided, but please bring your own clipboard and writing gear.
There is a donation requested for World Vision of $10 to $25. If you're broke or unwaged, just come along.

Please book asap by emailing Jenny de Garis at

If you can't make it to this one, please contact Jenny and tell her you are interested in future workshops of a similar nature.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

2004 Tom Collins Poetry Prize

Yippee! My friend Kay Cairns has just won the Fellowship of Australian Writers (WA Inc) Tom Collins Poetry Prize for 2004 with her poem called Exit Wounds - a little favourite of mine ... She has graciously let me display it here:

Exit wounds

I found a used condom in your room today
among the cd cases, the schoolwork,
the socks, the jocks
that should have been in the laundry.

Soft in its rubbery limpidness
it made a statement so stark
it cut through sinewed cords
freeing you from me
and me
from you.

'Do you want to do something with that?'
I smiled, off-hand, matter-of-fact,
while already I mourned
an end
to childhood play
shared laughter
your tiny hand in mine.

Kay Cairns

A googlism poem - for fun!

when in doubt looks ahead hosted by keenspace
when in doubt stumbles into an asset at hand
when in doubt flows over because he holds that liquid
when in doubt asks permission from the creator
when in doubt waits for a song that seems to be made for jumping at concerts
when in doubt is unlit by recommend
when in doubt fits and consults your doctor
when in doubt breeds time to consult
when in doubt is wrapt in the plant operator
when in doubt wants to make a call
when in doubt gets pieces like this from a reliable source
when in doubt follows the directions and application instructions on the product itself
when in doubt is followed by a kite
when in doubt drifts about in
when in doubt finds just crap
when in doubt sings your favourite song
when in doubt is wrought by a puppet
when in doubt is phoned by *silence*
when in doubt runs dumb or wise?
when in doubt promises international duplication
when in doubt dissolves all files
when in doubt is shaven clean
when in doubt counts better than dashing into ruin
when in doubt says: play something in the key of f
when in doubt fiddles away the embarrassment of being lost
when in doubt takes a sample and puts it in a clear glass jar
when in doubt is more prudent
when in doubt looks at the correct thing to do
when in doubt is never ringed by regret
when in doubt chatters with post proofs for feedback
when in doubt revives easily
when in doubt is vibrato in the open bar
when in doubt displays the rule of equality
when in doubt is hooded in the park
when in doubt hears nothing

Sunday, March 06, 2005

On Becoming a Novelist

– John Gardner On Becoming a Novelist:

If you have taken the time to learn to write beautiful, rock-firm sentences, if you have mastered evocation of the vivid and continuous dream, if you are generous enough in your personal character to treat imaginary characters and readers fairly, if you have held on to your childhood virtues and have not settled for literary standards much lower than those of the fiction you admire, then the novel you write will eventually be, after the necessary labor of repeated revision, a novel to be proud of, one that almost certainly someone, sooner or later, will be glad to publish.

The Quality of Strangeness

To quote John Gardner out of his book On Becoming A Novelist (Harper & Rowe, 1983):

As for the quality of strangeness, it is hard to know what can be said. There can be no great art, according to the poet Coleridge, without a certain strangeness. Most readers will recognise at once that he's right. There come moments in every great novel when we are startled by some development that is at once perfectly fitting and completely unexpected - (...) Strangeness is the one quality in fiction which cannot be faked.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I couldn't have said it better my Self

How well I would write if I were not here! If between the white page and the writing of words and stories that take shape and disappear without anyone's ever writing them there were not interposed that uncomfortable partition which is my person!

Italo Calvino, If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Time for a Commercial Break

Well, I don't do as many gigs as I once did as a poet around Perth, but two are coming up in the forthcoming week, so I thought I should beat the drum a little.

Friday 4 March on 6EBA-FM, from 4 pm to 5 pm, I am being interviewed by Sharon she said, but her card says Dorothy Psaila-Savona ... Tune into see which is correct! I'll be reading some poems and maybe an extract from my novel.

Monday 7 March 7.30 pm at the 'New' Brisbane Hotel, cnr Beaufort and Brisbane Streets, Northbridge. I will be performing at 'Walking On Water', a spoken word evening which has now been going for some years. Other performers include Bronwyn Thomasen, novelist and editor, and Andy Copeman, musician, songwriter and wit. There will also be loads of room for Open Mike readers ... and Geraldine Mellet will be compereing.

Enough self-promotion, except to say, if you should be looking for a copy of Whispering Gallery (Sunline Press, 2001), then I saw two copies at Oxford Street Books today. (In Oxford Street, Leederville, if you hadn't guessed :-)

Hamilton Stone Review 5 Now Online

Hamilton Stone Review, Issue 5, Winter 2005, Now Online!

Featuring fiction by Sybil Kollar, Sue Mellins, and Lance Olsen,and poetry by Deborah Poe, Alan Brilliant, Susan Donnelly, Paul Murphy, Catherine Daly, Tad Richards, Todd Swift, mIEKALaND, Roy Frisvold, Rochelle Ratner, Hugh Steinberg, WilliamSylvester, Tim Martin, Sybil Kollar, Andrew Lundwall, BertKimmelman, James Cervantes, Skip Fox, Sheila E. Murphy,and C├ęsar Vallejo (in translations by Rebecca Seiferle).

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Renga poets

The poets in the Red Poppies renga published in foam:e 2 at are (in the order of appearance):

Andrew Burke, Jen Crawford, Louise Waller, Lawrence Upton, Kristin Hannaford, Jennifer Compton, Heather Matthew, Jill Jones, Alison Croggon

Thanks to them all for their wit, wisdom and imagination.

New 'foam:e' launched

A new issue of the 'foam:e' ezine has been published at with work from poets -

David Bircumshaw
Pam Brown
Jill Chan
Jen Crawford
AnnMarie Eldon
Claire Gaskin
Jeff Harrison
Jill Jones
Mark Kanak
Christopher Kelen
Corinne Lee
Cassie Lewis
Lizz Murphy
Sheila E Murphy
Alaric Sumner
Louise Waller
Mark Young
Renga (various authors)

The renga 'Red Poppies' suffered a near-death experience just after its completion, so we are lucky to be able to publish it at all. Take it from me, it's a good read ... even better than its former self, which readers of this blog may well remember. But I was the renga-master so I'm biased :-) Check it out - I'd like to hear your reactions to it individually and as a form.