Saturday, July 28, 2007

Last Night's Moon

Who says the camera never lies?

Birthday Barbecue 27 July

John at the barbecue, generously feeding us on my birthday. And a special friend dropped by - a boobook owl flew in for the occasion but turned his back on us when he saw we weren't vegetarians.

Birthday Barbecue

There seems to be a face in the fire. And that's our friend Mary Jane in the firelight.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Classic Australian pose

Revised poem from the other day:

on a stockyard fence
a black crow steps
gingerly toward
a chirping chittering
whose lifelong mate
skips and hops
in the waterfall
of a sprinkler set
to settle the dust.

a five year old
Ngallagunda boy
weilds a whip
shortened for him -
still he makes it crack
lightning and thunder
among the dust of
a hundred bulls.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gibb River Images

a five year old boy,
black as coal,
weilds a stockwhip
in the yard. It's
shortened for him-
still he makes it crack
lightning and thunder.

on the cyclone fence
a black crow steps
gingerly toward
a chirping chittering

whose lifelong mate
skips and hops
in the waterfall
of a plastic sprinkler
to settle the dust.

I'm a cityslicker in
an exotic world again,
breathing in
true bulldust,
watching out for
King Browns.

(photos from Internet - not mine!)

PICA this Friday Night

Come down to PICA this Friday night for a couple of
special events

PICA’s ongoing programs are primarily supported by an investment from the State of Western Australia through ArtsWA in association with Lotterywest, assistance from the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. PICA is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

Euro-Art-Fix 07
Join PICA’s Director Amy Barrett-Lennard and
Curator Hannah Mathews as they present a
slide show of their experiences at the Venice
Biennale, Basel Art Fair, Documenta and Münster
Sculpture Projects
. This will be a rare opportunity
to experience an insight into some of the most
prestigious international contemporary art events
in the world.

The PICA Bar is open from 5pm
with the talk starting at 6pm in the
Performance Space

Australian Poetry Slam
Following the talk, join us in the PICA Bar for the
first Perth heat of the Australian Poetry Slam!
With an eclectic line up of poets, MCs, musicians,
writers and more, the Slam is FREE to audiences.
With a couple more heats coming up, there is still
an opportunity to take part. The winner of the State
Final on Friday 19 October will be flown to Sydney
to represent WA in the National Final.

To register your interest, contact writingWA at or 9228 9908

PICA is now open to the public on Friday nights till 9pm.

With an exciting mix of events on offer, it makes a good start to your weekend!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Gibb River Rip Rap

Solidity of bark, leaf, or wall
riprap of things
- Gary Snyder

Out in the prickly yard
first day of this stay
at Gibb River Station
in the red dessert
of The Kimberley
I hunt rocks to
build a barbecue
lifting and wheeling
brown rocks
big and small
to a burnt circle
by the wire fence
interlopers on this landscape
Jeanette wearing her
Chinese ‘Tree of Life’ dress
our lives riprapped together
our histories
balanced precariously
like these ragged rocks
holes so evening breezes
can aerate
it is burning with birth

(Last line from Buddha's Fire Sermon
and every second line is indented, but I can't get Blogger to do that.)

Harriet Rubin says ...

... from New York Times, words of wisdom:

Poetry speaks to many C.E.O.’s. “I used to tell my senior staff to get me poets as managers,” says Sidney Harman, founder of Harman Industries… “Poets are our original systems thinkers,” he said. “They look at our most complex environments and they reduce the complexity to something they begin to understand.”

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mustering at Gibb River

First bulls into the yards. Any calves will be left behind whenthe trucks go off to port. No choppers or fancy motorbikes here ... It's all done on horseback. A very refreshing sight for a cityslicker like me.

Home at Gibb River

Who could ask for anything more ... sunshine and open spaces, plus a generous house with air conditioning andInternet access ... Well, I could pray for broadband, but it ain't gunna happen apparently. But, so far so good. More exciting pics to follow ...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Sign of the Times

A wall in Hangzhou. I have no idea what they were trying to say >g<

Happy Days to Mr & Mrs Dave Fewings

My son Charlie and his wife Becky are in England now for the wedding of Charlie's long term friend, Dave Fewings. The photos show the groom in top hat, with his mates, Jem Hanbury and Charlie. The other photo shows Marta (Jem's girlfriend), Charlie and Becky at the reception.

Very stylish! But apparently the weather has been awful. That's England for you ...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Poetica This Week

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Radio National

14 July 2007 (Saturday at 3.05 pm)(repeated 3.05 pm Thursday)
Venezuela's World Poetry Festival

Highlights from the Venezuela World Poetry Festival, recorded in Caracas.

Last year, Poetica recorded the opening night of Venezuela's World Poetry
Festival, held in the Teatro Teresa Carreño, in Caracas.

The Chávez government invited 28 poets from around the world. They came from as
far away as China, Nigeria, France, Japan, Germany, and all over North, Central
and South America to read in front of an audience of 2000 people.

This program features the work of Idris Tayeb, Ramón Palomares, Sam Hamill,
Laura Antillano, Jack Hirschman, Luis Rodríguez, Allison Hedge Coke, Jorge Cocom
Pech, Nicole Cage-Florentini, Nicolas Suescun, David Cortes Caban and Ali Al-

The translations are read by Michael Hill and Eugenia Fragos.

Sound engineer - Simon Rose
Production - Mike Ladd

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My books, my friends

Coming back from a long time away in a land largely devoid of the latest English book titles to buy, I landed in Perth eager to catch up on books published in the last year or so by friends especially. I've been hopping like a frog on speed from book to book over the last couple of days, so I can't really give you an in depth review of each, but at least I will list them:

Dennis Haskell's 'all the time in the world' is published by SALT, as is Tom Shapcott's The City of Empty Rooms. When I was in China, I received an invitation to the welcome party for Fay Zwicky's New Poems, entitled Picnic, published by Giramondo Poets (Giramondo Publishing Company). My novelist friend Brenda Walker also had a title out, which I received no publicity about and only found while daydreaming along the shelves - The Wing of Night (Penguin), a novel about the ramifications of Gallipolli on two soldiers' wives.

So, I may be quiet for some days, reading friends' books in the gentle sunshine of mid-winter in Western Australia. Ah, it is true luxury.

Monday, July 09, 2007

WOW Reading July 2007

Mr Chen played erhu, with a selection of well-known Chinese themes and a spirited rendition of 'Click Go the Shears'. The other photo is part of the audience of WOW, on first Monday of July. The readings, plus music, is on every first Monday of the month, up the laneway opposigte Miss Maud's in Murray Street. The doorway is on the left and someone is invariably there to greet you. Time, 7.30 pm.

Lazing in Oz

Photos: Sophie in her stroller, ready to roll in Hangzhou; family gathering at the Full Moon Thai restaurant; grand-daughter Leia & daughter-in-law Becky

My apologies to anyone who has tuned into this blog recently only to find me 'asleep at the wheel'. I have returned to Australia, travelled via Hangzhou and Hong Kong, to land in Perth almost two weeks ago now. First thing I did was fall desperately ill with food poisoning, and then spent days catching up with family and friends, before picking my wife Jeanette up from the airport a couple of days ago. She is down for the holidays from her Gibb River school (Wanalirri Catholic School). We are now camping at a friend's house, and this evening move next door to housesit until 18 July when we both return to Gibb River.

The impact of returning to blue skies, clean air, a gigantic variety of flowers, sane yet fast traffic, and English language (with multi-cultural accents) is enormous. In Linfen, I was truly suffering sensory deprivation on a serious scale. The saddest thing about leaving Linfen was leaving my young Chinese friends - ones who I will probably never meet again in this lifetime. Sadder than sad. I have not cried at many separations in my life but their sweetness and sincerity simply tripped me up emotionally.

And then at Hangzhou airport to be greeted by little Sophie waving through a glass panel and kissing the glass was very moving. Tania, Jeff, Sophie and I had a couple of fun days in that beautiful city. The air was clean and the humidity was high but relieved often by gentle showers. The great tourist attraction West Lake was surrounded by amazing gardens - and good coffee stops >g< I once again started my caffeine addiction as we walked from garden to garden.

When I did leave there and spend the inevitable hours in Hong Kong airport, I was pleased to get on my laptop and email friends and family with the airports wonderful wireless connection.

When I flew Qantas to Perth, I had an amiable companion next to me: Said from Malaysia who now lives in Perth and works in the IT field. We talked for half the journey, slept and watched the usual crap for the rest of the time. My luggage, including an outsize scroll box, was spread over various overhead lockers, so much so that when we landed I had to wait for most of the passengers to diembark before collecting my goods, balancing arms full of items and struggling to the luggage reclamation area. The Customs officers didn't take my word for it and examined my scrolls carefully for dangerous wood products. All was cleared and through I went to be greeted by all three of my children and my two Aussie grandkids! So, I became emotional again, before walking out into brilliant blue skies and clean West Australian air. Beautiful!

But something along the track didn't agree with me and I had a severe gastro bout for 36 hours or so. It started halfway through that morning, which meant our family welcome home dinner had to be cancelled and delayed until Saturday evening, a double celebration with my young son Charlie's 28th birthday.

I also enjoyed a WOW (Walking On Water) reading on the first Monday night in July. Murray Jennings and Jane Cornes had helped me organise a Chinese musician - Mr Chen on erhu - and Michelle Druart was the other invited reader. The weather was foul - stormy winds, pelting rain, etc. Yet a couple of dozen friends and poetry-addicts braved the elements to hear us read: Kay Cairns, Jenny and Brian de Garis, Glen Phillips, Trisha Kotai-Ewers, Dennis Haskell, Janet Jackson ... and others. I apologise if I have left your name off the list! Let it be known that I didn't go overtime and kept my intros to manageable length >g< China has bred a new humility in me.

Enough rambling. Except to say I have bought a handfull of books - mainly poetry. You have no idea how I missed bookshops! Since my return, I have been in the Lane Bookshop, the new Planet Bookshop in Mt Lawley, and the Co-op Bookshop at UWA, plus their secondhand bookshop. I believe there is a Borders bookshop in town now, and down in Freo the New Edition bookshop has changed hands and address. So much to see and do ...

The biggest news on my return was the re-branding of FACP as Fremantle Press. Goodonya, Ray Coffey and Clive Newman. You've been away from the asylum for some years now ... The new image also heralds a wider marketing aim for the press - more as a General Publisher than a Literary Publisher. We will see how that shows itself in coming months, but all Australian writers and readers would only wish Freo Press well. It has been a tasteful and vibrant press for many decades in this fast growing town, so we all wish them well for the future.

I will address the new books I have bought tomorrow.