Sunday, April 30, 2006

The earliest photo of me

Here I am at a backyard dinner with my family - including my grandparents over from Melbourne - That's me, trying to see through the back of a chair. And that's my mother standing up at the end of the table. Presumably my father was behind the camera.

More of the Burke family and others at

Thanks to my son Miles for putting it all together.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Poem by Jill Jones

Here's a poem from my friend, Jill Jones, who blogs from Sydney at Ruby Street

Walk to the falls

A different smell, the wood
but this is all breath words
and root, closer darker solitude.
Water spreads falling beads
down my skin, chased sun.
Sky is high and fleet again
covered, sudden, gone
all this space atom sung.
Not bound by fog plumes
I’d slip or bend too close.
High above cloud drums
a portion of universe.

Reflect green wet stone.
Or my thought lose its worm.

'Bookworm' Beijing

Checkout Bookworm, Beijing,

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sebastian Barker - Crossing the Tees

London Magazine editor Sebastian reads from his new Smokestack collection The Erotics of God. It is a series of visionary meditations on the theology of desire, the lineaments of the sublime and the beautiful, the mortal and the divine. Sebastian Barker stands in the tradition which includes Patrick Kavanagh, William Blake and The Song of Songs.

‘A brilliant and original voice.’ (Harold Pinter)
‘A genuine and delicate poet.’ (John Heath-Stubbs)

Here's what they said about me:

... and Andrew Burke -

Australian poet and playwright Andrew Burke calls in on his UK reading tour to read from his recent books Knock On Wood, Whispering Gallery and Pushing At Silence. Succinct and quirky tales of small-town life in Western Australia.

Sam’s Place, 144 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough.
7.30pm. Tickets £2.

Supported by Middlesbrough Council.


I don't know about 'small town life' - Perth is up to about 1.3 million souls nowadays - but that's an attractive image and just might attract people :-) And I do have a few 'small town poems' - about Toodyay, Kununurra, Albany, Denmark ...

A pic stolen from my son's blog

Photo by Miles Burke : Driving at Night

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

News! Drop in if you are nearby

Live Poetry in Middlesbrough

A new season of regular poetry-readings featuring writers and publishers from Teesside, the North East and well beyond.

24 May
Sebastian Barker
and Andrew Burke

Sam’s Place, 144 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough.
7.30pm. Tickets £2.

Supported by Middlesbrough Council.

Post-narratology for Fathers

Friday, April 21, 2006

First Step (a descending poem)

‘Forty two and he died! Forty two!’
I’m telling a drunk
first day in detox
about my father

but I’m talking
about me, feeling
sorry for myself again

He says, ‘Me too,
me too.’

'beat' poem before dawn

sitting at my desk
an hour before dawn
I surf in
a sea of papers
typed and scribbled on
the cat sleeps behind me
in case I move
maybe to somewhere more
interesting like
the fridge

meditation book
lit theory texts
Dexter Gordon poster
framed photo of
Dylan and Muhammad Ali
- the poet and the dancer –
awake most of the night
I sit here unconcentrating
mind empty
as a busker’s bowl

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Australian/NZ Writers Email List 'Poneme'

Poneme is a list of Australian, New Zealand and other nationality writers who swap ideas, information and play collaborative games at times ... You would be very welcome to join in:

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Gillespie's Double Ton!

'Dizzy' Gillespie as


scores a double ton

and it strikes me (again)

how language is

bound to place and time.

I walk out

in the cool of evening

to hear birds

sledging each other

at Silly-Mid-Lake

Third Bird and Square Beak.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Go, Dizzy!

'Dizzy' Gillespie - Australia's bowler who has returned from out in the cold - scored a remarkable ton today in the Second Test against Bangladesh. He went in last evening as 'night watchman' and scored with his usual care throughout today to end up with 104 runs.

But it wasn't all plain sailing: along the way there was a mix up with captain Ricky 'Punter' Ponting being run-out in his 50s. Dizzy was at the other end, not watching what his partner was doing.

Monday, April 17, 2006

USA Top Ten Poets

“The Top Ten Poets,” a listing based on hits at the Academy of American Poets. The ten are, in this order:

1. Langston Hughes

2. Emily Dickinson

3. Robert Frost

4. Walt Whitman

5. E.E. Cummings

6. Sylvia Plath

7. Maya Angelou

8. Dylan Thomas

9. Shel Silverstein

10. William Carlos Williams

Ha! I wonder what the equivalent Top Ten Australian Poets would be :-) Would the Auslit site compile such a list? It's not very Aussie, is it, measuring things like that. & poetry ain't footy, is it - no 'ladder' fluctuating during the season. But, if you'd like to post your Top Ten Ozpoets, I'll try to make enuff sense of it to publish a Top Ten in a coupla weeks or a week's time.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Meanjin Novella Competition

I don't know why I'm telling you this coz I want to win it, but Meanjin (literary quarterly out of Uni of Melbourne) is staging a Novella Competition. Very short to my mind - more like a short story competition - but you can read all the rules and get the entry form at

At The Flash and At The Baci

Ken Bolton's New Book

a deeply serious—& flip, & gauche, & witty & almost self-cancelling—consciousness at work. – Lyn McCredden

At the Flash & At the Baci is a super-sized collection of Ken Bolton’s work drawn, for the most part, from the mid 1990s to the present. The poems are remarkable in their ability to take in and hold ‘in conference’ many strands of thought and layerings of experience and to ground them in the immediate and everyday context of the poem’s own making.

These poems were mostly conceived, written and worked on at the establishments which lend the collection its name, The Flash and The Baci, two coffee shops in Adelaide’s Hindley Street.

The poems are various and consider, for example, a list of things to be done as the poet drives in to town, a meditation in his lunch-break on the relation of the eye to the brain, on the number of flies being swatted at any one time around the world… Other poems consist of contemplations: on life in Rome today, on Patti Smith and John Coltrane, on friends, work, art & time passing, & on politics — and the simple movement of people in the street. These are poems resolutely of the city and today, of Australia and its precarious position vis a vis the West and Asia and in relation to its own past.

Ken Bolton’s work has been accused, on the one side, of ‘breaking all the rules’ and found, on the other, to be intelligent and amusing: one of the most distinctive voices in Australian poetry—the first Australian poet to dismantle the conventional Modernist lyric mode without giving up the lyrical impulse – John Forbes, The Age
About the author
From Sydney, Ken Bolton has lived in Adelaide since 1982 and is associated there with the Experimental Art Foundation. He writes poetry and art criticism and is publisher of Little Esther books. His major collections prior to At The Flash are a Selected Poems from Penguin, and Untimely Meditations, Wakefield Press.

‘At the Flash & At the Baci’
Ken Bolton

ISBN 1862547386
Wakefield Press
rrp $24.95 NZ$34.95

Friday, April 14, 2006


swollen with child
she holds hard the sapling
held hard by its roots

Rottnest Writers' Getaway

Jenny de Garis - poet and workshop convenor - sent me an email with lotsa information re: a Rottnest writers' getaway. I went to the last one some five years ago, and enjoyed myself immensely. Wrote a couple of usable poems too! Brian de Garis works hard in the kitchen and dishes up a storm. Great atmosphere, great place, hopefully - great works!

Here's Jenny:

WRITING AT ROTTNEST is on again, after a 5-year break.

The Sergeants' Mess is booked
from early afternoon Thursday, 28 September till Sunday morning, 1st October
(we may be able to arrange to stay till the afternoon).

This is the weekend the school holidays begin. It's also the Queen's Birthday long weekend. Unfortunately there was no group accommodation left for the full weekend, so I've booked a day before, which at least means we'll have half the weekend still free for other activities/commitments. It's usually just warm enough for the odd dip then - the Mess being very close to the beach.
I don't yet have a detailed costing, but it looks like working out around $268 per person. This will include shared accommodation, catering by Brian, workshop sessions - led or prompted mainly by me and writers' own current interests, some photocopied material, but won't include ferry fare or bike hire if you want it. The fare is approx $60 return depending on where from and who with, and you can take your own bike with you for $9.
More details further down the line . . .

Jenny de Garis
Website (not up to date again)
Phone 9310 3896 Mobile 0400 200 491 Balingup 9764 1498 (let it ring)

Quote Unquote

"What do I know of man's destiny? I could
tell you more about radishes."
--Samuel Beckett

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The shoes of the fisherman

The shoes of the fisherman
Are parked side-by-side
By a post on the shore.

Nobody about. Not a boat
Or shag, duck or pelican.
Only a dead fish washed up.

The parking lot is empty.
A new notice declares,
WARNING: Algal Bloom

And I stand there like
I’m reading a movie poster.
A wind ruffles the waves –

The water needs aerating.
Rain is forecast for this evening.
Nothing will revive the fish.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Minimalist concrete poetry by Carlos Luis

Words, shapes, typewriter poems, rewritten signs ... Ah, but what comes before the letter? Shapes. Shapes that later come together to form the letter. Carlos Luis makes concrete poems out of shapes that are positive/negative images of parts of letters. At least, that's how I would put it. Come and see for yourself at

Gilchrist to the rescue!

Adam Gilchrist, swashbuckling batsman on any other day, settled down to the job at hand yesterday and saved Australia from having to follow on in their Test against Bangladesh. Gilly's 144 not only saved face for Australia but made the match an interesting event ... Bangladesh has to score the runs - but then Australia has to catch them up on a turning wicket. Cric-info had this to say about the future of the match:

'This match is far from over, however. This pitch will deteriorate and a target of 350 will test any side, not least one that was dismantled by a 35-year old spinner in his first appearance against them. Australia may have enjoyed their best day of this enthralling Test match, but Bangladesh still have plenty to say.'

Gabriel Gudding says happy birthday to Christopher Smart

'Who Reads Poetry?' a USA survey

Monday, April 10, 2006

Marcus Beilby's painting Happy Hour at the National

It is of course ironic
and we wouldn’t want it any other way
in our Western literature
that the blokes
and I use the word to place them and us
at the National Hotel
in Marcus Beilby’s super-realist painting
‘Happy Hour at the National’
should be so down cast
if not to say despondent
what with the evening sun outside
and their friends and family adrift
somewhere in other lives

There’s one bloke
in the foreground if you can call it that
who is sitting on a seat leaning forward
with his head propped in one hand
and his beer presumably in the other
with his blue and white banded thick jumper on
and jeans
and thongs on his feet

His elbow is resting on one knee
while the hand of that arm holds up his face
or should I say stops it falling further
because he is facing down
but no doubt not seeing
the red patterned carpet
that has itself seen better days

Four men at the bar stand or sit on bar stools
chatting about who-knows-what to each other
two sets of pairs
all wearing jeans of various shades of blue
and I believe
although it is difficult to see in one case
all wearing some kind of shoes
sensible if it is cold enough
to wear jumpers and such to
warm the upper torso

But such is my habit
that I keep going back to the despondent man
slumped in his chair
head held from falling further
in one cupped hand

All his worries I’ve no doubt had
all his woes I’ve no doubt suffered

But to sit in a bar
ironically at the Happy Hour
in a dark brown plastic chair
is too depressing
it’ll do him little to no good

I want to get into that painting
and tell him, Buck up –
Here, the next one’s on me.

(Another poem writ for NaPoWriMo)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

A Poem A Day - The Sunday Times poem

A slapdash poem for NaPoWriMo, squeezed into a busy morning ...

In the early morning dark
I stumble out of bed from a nightmare
where words devolved
and wouldn’t stay on the tablets
where they were embossed.
I stumble into the kitchen
stark naked
and the octogenarian neighbour
pipes up from the courtyard, Good morning, Andrew.
He is delivering The Sunday Times
at 5.55am for my wife –
the crossword page, specifically.
They talk clues and letters and meanings
throughout each day, two crossword birds
on the same bough. I ponder my thesis –
monologic or dialogic?
Bakhtin barks at Baxter, the dog next door,
as he chases our cat into the garden.
Sunday morning –
perhaps I should go back to religion
just for the rest.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

What Is Poetry?

Poetry is a kind of distilled insinuation. It’s a way of expanding and talking around an idea or a question. Sometimes, more actually gets said through such a technique than a full frontal assault.

Yusif Komunyakaa

Knopf poetry - Podcasts & a poem-a-day

It being USA's Poetry Month, Knopf publishing (part of Random House) has been sending enlisted people a poem-a-day from their authors and books. Here's the info to enjoy it retrospectively from April 1 on -

If you missed poetry and podcasts we've already mailed, please visit

Joan Didion reading Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of my favourites so far.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Today's featured poem at Poetry Daily

"To the Mocking-Bird"
by Richard Henry Wilde (1789-1847)

Winged mimic of the woods! Thou motley fool,
Who shall thy gay buffoonery describe?
Thine ever-ready notes of ridicule
Pursue thy fellows still with jest and gibe;
Wit, sophist, songster, Yorick of thy tribe,
Thou sportive satirist of Nature's school,
To thee the palm of scoffing we ascribe,
And mocker, and mad abbot of misrule!
For such thou art by day; but all night long
Thou pour'st a soft, sweet, solemn, pensive strain,
As if thou didst, in this thy moonlight song,
Like to the melancholy Jaques complain,
Musing on falsehood, violence, and wrong,
And sighing for thy motley coat again!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Allan Kaprow, RIP

One of my theatre favourites has died. So, another sad day on the planet. Life is all a happening, hey, Allan.

Today Allan Kaprow, Master of the Happening, the radical artist whose
work transformed the nature of art making forever, died peacefully in
his home in Encinitas, California. Beginning as a painter, his work
from the late fifties and early sixties, his spectacular and
theatrical environments and performance pieces, overran the capacities
of galleries and museums, as his increasingly austere psychological
and spiritual pieces from the seventies on managed to elude all but
the eager audiences who increasingly became participants and
collaborators in the work. He leaves behind his wife Coryl and son
Bram, and Anton, Amy and Marisa, his children with his former wife
Vaughan Rachel.

'snap' poem today / may change later

up early
to catch autumn

cat fed and quieted
oats in my bowl
coffee steaming
in my cup

I knock
a dictionary over
and it spills
on the factory floor

the hollow ring of its claims
echoes back

I press the button
to start
the assembly line:
the monolingual beast
mutters and purrs
testing its moods
in the morning light

foreman, designer, planner,
I sit at the keyboard to begin
the line kicks in and I mumble

days begin like this
before the world awakes
before deliveries
and telephone calls
before interruptions
before the diary is opened

I mumble and think
and sing a few songs
the factory echoes
with possibilities

autumn is in
the song of a currowong
and lifts off the river
like a mist

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A little late but ...

90 YEARS OF ARCHY: It was 90 years ago on March 29, 1916, that an "insignifcant and journalistic insect" named Archy first spoke to the world from Don Marquis' typewriter at the old New York Evening Sun. And he's still with us, griping and philosphizing and poking fun at the human world he inhabits. Just a few days ago (March 27), L.A. Times columnist Al Martinez reprised Archy and Mehitabel for a column on the folly of men and war. It's great stuff.

go to

I am a serious poet (promise!) but I have always been a firm fan of Archy & Mehitabel ... In fact, my first car was named Mehitabel Morris the Tenth ...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

One Less - call for submissions

One Less Magazine
[art on the range]

Call For Submissions: # 3 Film (Extended Deadline)

If you are a reader of One Less, we would be pleased to read your work for One Less: Art on the Range: #3 Film.

We're inviting you to make a film (on paper). This means all processes
and techniques of filmmaking and film viewing are welcome. The screen
is blank, now project.

Here is our ideal scenario. You send us your: black & white
film/video/dvd stills (found or original), excerpts from film scripts, project
ideas, an interview with a filmmaker, storyboards, set designs, scenes
that you block out (diagrams, maps, list) reviews, dialogue, criticism
essays manifestos, documentaries, experimental shorts, avant-garde
explorations, poems, short stories, etc. Work from existing films and
genres or invent your own. Write, shoot, process, splice, and project.

Please send either (by postal mail or electronic files):

3-5 Pages of Poetry;
5-10 Pages of Prose;
1-5 Pages of Artwork (Imageable size: 5" x 7")

(Please be aware that we can only print images in black and white.
Please send JPEG or TIFF files at 300 dpi for photographic/filmic works and 600 dpi for line drawings.)

Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope (with adequate postage) if you would like to have your work to be returned.

Do not send us originals.

We will read work in May and reply in early June at the latest.

New Tech Terrain for One Less Issue # 3

Our upcoming project is expanding into digital media. We're going to host a virtual film screening of contributors' work. Beginning with Issue #3: Film, we will produce a vodcast (video podcast) in conjunction with the print magazine. The show will be 30 minutes and will be available for free downloads. If you are interested or if you know someone who may want to take part in this new venture, please pass the word along.

What we're looking for: film/video shorts that are 10 minutes or less saved to disk. The film/video may include: the processes of filmmaking, the medium of film itself, translations of film to video, or simply put, film about film. Same deadline here as Issue #3, April 30th.

Send your submission and cover letter to:

One Less Magazine
c/o Nikki Widner
6 Village Hill Road
Williamsburg, MA 01096

Or by email:

Deadline (Issue Three: Film): April 30th, 2006

brought to you by:

the editors @
One Less Magazine

Nikki Widner & David Gardner, Editors
One Less
6 Village Hill Road
Williamsburg, MA 01096
Check out our New Blog:

Jackie McLean RIP

March 31, 2006
Jazz Saxophonist Jackie McLean Dies at 73
Filed at 11:11 p.m. ET

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Jazz saxophonist Jackie McLean, a performer
and teacher who played with legendary musicians including Miles
and Sonny Rollins, died Friday. He was 73.

McLean, a contemporary of some of the 20th century's most famed jazz
musicians, died at his Hartford home after a long illness, family
members told The Hartford Courant.

McLean was founder and artistic director of the Jackie McLean
Institute of Jazz at the University of Hartford's Hartt School.

He and his wife, actress Dollie McLean, also founded the Artists
Collective, a community center and fine arts school primarily for
troubled youth in inner city Hartford.

University President Walter Harrison said that despite his many
musical accomplishments, McLean was a modest man whose connections
with his students lasted for decades after they left his classroom.

''He fully understood the way that jazz as an art should be passed
down to students,'' Harrison said. ''He saw his role as bringing
jazz from the 1950s and '60s and handing it down to artists of

McLean, a native of Harlem in New York City, grew up in a musical
family, his father playing guitar in Tiny Bradshaw's band. McLean
took up the soprano saxophone as a teen and quickly switched to the
alto saxophone, inspired by his godfather's performances in a church
choir, he told WBGO-FM in Newark, N.J., in an interview in 2004.

McLean went on to play with his friend Rollins under the tutelage of
pianist Bud Powell, and was 19 when he first recorded with Miles

He drew wide attention with his 1959 debut on Blue Note
Records, ''Jackie's Bag,'' one of dozens of albums he recorded in
the hard-bop and free jazz styles.

He also played with Charles Mingus and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers,
experiences that he credited with helping him find his own style as
he tried to emulate the famed Charlie ''Bird'' Parker.

''I never really sounded like Bird, but that was my mission,''
McLean said in the radio interview. ''I didn't care if people said
that I copied him; I loved Bird's playing so much. But Mingus was
the one that really pushed me away from the idea and forced me into
thinking about having an individual sound and concept.''

After Blue Note terminated his recording contract in 1968, McLean
began teaching at the University of Hartford. McLean taught jazz,
African-American music, and African-American history and culture. He
received an American Jazz Masters fellowship from the National
Endowment for the Arts in 2001, and toured the world as an educator
and performer.

McLean, a heroin addict during his early career, also lectured on
drug addiction research.