Sunday, September 30, 2007

HOWL in the classroom

What an obscene picture! Thanks for sharing it, Tad Richards, aka The Old Mole.

I was visiting schools once, courtesy of the local Arts Dept, and I asked one class if they had ever read anything written by me. 'Yes, sir,' one boy politely stood up. 'We did your poem last week.'

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Roebuck Bay, Broome

I haven't been out and about with my camera yet, so I offer you this professional photo of a Broome scene just to whet (wet?) your appetite.

Wednesday's 'Snap': Ngallagunda Girl

It being Wednesday, I wrote a short 'snap' poem for PoetryEtc, a poetry list I'm on. So on my way to school that morning (taking the long way because of all the snake tracks heading into the bush near our shortcut) I saw a local girl of indeterminable age dancing on the road by herself, and watching to one side her shadow, checking to see she had the movements just right ... I wrote this as my 'snap' for this week.

Ngallagunda girl dances
seven years old
thin black body
silhouetted on
pindan dirt

Ngallagunda girl dances
songless and alone
head cocked left
watching her
undulating shadow
to get it right
to move like Mum

Ngallagunda girl dances
as little brother
plays muster
in the dirt where
king browns mated
under a full moon
their tracks
lyrical in the sun

Sharon's 'Snap'

The dogs bark
at intruders.
Which anyone is.

The goldfinch sings
on the other side
of the window.

I open the shutters,
close them. Is there
another side

to this wall?
I am uninhabited.
Come in.

See more of Sharon Brogan's work at her wonderfully creative site:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hyphen, RIP

From Reuters -

Thousands of hyphens perish as English marches on
Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:57 AM ET
By Simon Rabinovitch

LONDON (Reuters) - About 16,000 words have succumbed to pressures of the Internet age and lost their hyphens in a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

Bumble-bee is now bumblebee, ice-cream is ice cream and pot-belly is pot belly.

And if you've got a problem, don't be such a crybaby (formerly cry-baby).

The hyphen has been squeezed as informal ways of communicating, honed in text messages and emails, spread on Web sites and seep into newspapers and books.


But hyphens have not lost their place altogether. The Shorter OED editor commended their first-rate service rendered to English in the form of compound adjectives, much like the one in the middle of this sentence.

"There are places where a hyphen is necessary," Stevenson said. "Because you can certainly start to get real ambiguity."
Twenty-odd people came to the party, he said. Or was it twenty odd people?

Some of the 16,000 hyphenation changes in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, sixth edition:

Formerly hyphenated words split in two:

fig leaf
hobby horse
ice cream
pin money
pot belly
test tube
water bed

Formerly hyphenated words unified in one:


Thursday, September 20, 2007


"To go is to go farther." --Kenneth Koch

There are lots of sayings around these days due to emails and other Internet activity, but the above I like, particularly when applied to writing.

A short documentary on John Marsden and his new school was on TV the other evening, and I heard an extension of his old favourite 'call to arms'. He used to write 'Take risks!' when signing books for other writers and aspiring writers: now he has extended it, or maybe contracted it to: 'Take care, take risks.' Hmmmm .... I'm still thinking about the implications of this ... I like the bald statement best - Take Risks! It is a call to break out of the conservative, to extend, to try out new things ... In poetry, a poet of the past once said, All poetry is experimental poetry. I know just what he means - writing in our comfort zone doesn't lead to any 'new' poetry, and the old poetry already exists, so why say it again? (to quote Talking Heads).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

WA POETRY FESTIVAL 13th - 21st October 2007

Dorothy Porter will give a talk, reading + Q&A., Book Sales & signing
State Library Lecture Theatre
Sunday 14th October 1pm – 4pm
Ticketed Event: Full Price $15, member/concession/student $10
Book through website or email


Full Draft Program can be downloaded as a Word Document: FESTIVAL DRAFT PROGRAM (20 August 07)

Festival Program Starts Saturday 13th October
Festival Launch in the State Library theatre 12.00-2.00pm - a program of readings
including our Patron Fay Zwicky.
Join us for two weekends at the State Library for Workshops, Panel discussions, book launches
plus Poet’s Corner Readings in the Pages’ Café – Saturday, 13th & 20th October @ 2pm
Weekends are from Sat 13-14th October 1pm to 5.00pm
& Sat 20th-21st October 10.00am to 5.00pm

Dorothy Porter will give a talk, reading + Q&A., Book Sales & signing
State Library Lecture Theatre
Sunday 14th October 1pm – 4pmTicketed Event: Full Price $15, member/concession/student $10
Book through website or email:

Four weekdays of city readings by Perth poets & Inter/national poets
Monday 15th Oct to Thursday 18th Oct: Midday to 2pm
Great Entertainment: Monday, Alvin Pang, plus THE BUSH POETS & YARNSPINNERS + many more!

Murray Street Mall, the public can wander amongst poems hanging on “real” live trees.
Monday 15th Oct to Thursday 18th Oct - Submit your poems NOW!

The GLASSHOUSE, The Brass Monkey Hotel, Northbridge
Gala Opening Saturday Night. Invited International/Interstate/local & regional poets
Including Alvin Pang, Glen Phillips, Barbara Temperton, Sarah French, Lily Chan + more!
Featuring Music & Poetry by MITEYKO plus Open Readings
13th October 7.30pm til late

BLUE TO THE BONE Northbridge
Monday 15th— Friday 19th October
Indigenous Poetry, story and rap + Open Readings
Headliner: Samuel Wagan Watson7.30pm til late

Four Weeknights filled with poetry readings/music, featuring WA’s best known poets, regional and inter/national poets. Line-up: Alvin Pang, Afeif Abdelrazig, Andrew Burke, Shane McCauley, Zan Ross, and many more!
OCTOBER 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th - Program includes a Multicultural Night, Emerging Night, Bush & Ballad with WA Bush Poets, and Friday 19th is the launch of The Word is Out Magazine #3

Saturday, 20th October – Performance Poetry featuring Samuel Wagan Watson, Ashley J. Higgs, the Antipoet, MiteyKo, Rapper-Lee Kennedy - plus alternative & experimental music. Night includes a one-minute-poem Festival Slam 7.30pm til late.+

Openface 07, Sunday 21st October7.30pm til 10.00pm
For more information please CONTACT WA POETS INC...

Festival Updates
Dorothy Porter
Program Draft
Guest Poets

Books as Sculpture

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A blast from the past ...

Here I am as my young self way back in the early Seventies,
from a poetry anthology Soundings published by Fremantle Arts Centre Press ... Found this day at a Save The Children Fund charity affair by my friend Jayne Surry, who scanned it and sent it out for the enjoyment of mutual friends.

Robert Frost Haiku Contest

From the Australian Haiky Society:

Robert Frost Haiku Contest

2008 English-Language Haiku Contest

Sponsor: The 14th Key West Robert Frost Poetry Festival (annual event)

Deadline: Postmark on or before March 24, 2008.

Prizes: 1st Place $100, 2nd Place $50, 3rd Place $25, and Honorable Mentions.

Judge: Editors from Modern Haiku Press.

Submissions: Previously unpublished, must contain a seasonal or nature image, 3-line format of up to 17 or fewer syllables. Two copies, typed or neatly written, with your name, address, phone and/or email on one copy only. For further information, visit

Entry fee: $10 for each 3 haiku. Make checks payable to “Robert Frost Poetry Festival.”

Send entries to: Robert Frost Haiku Contest, Heritage House, 410 Caroline Street, Key West, FL 33040 USA

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ampersand Listing - by Peter Ciccariello

Bishop Saunders says Mass

Even though this is a Catholic school we don't get to enjoy Mass very often. After all, we are a long way from anywhere! But the Bishop of Broome, Christopher Saunders, is a lively man who deeply loves The Kimberley area and its peoples, so last Monday when he was delivering one vehicle and driving the other back from a community even further out than this Gibb River Station, he stopped by, swapped his bush-bashing gear for vestments, and said Mass. The age group attending ranged from a baby to octogenarian Maudie who is the elder of the tribe hereabouts. Significant others in the congregation included my wife Jeanette, the local community nurse Mary-Jane, headmaster Tim Clear and all our students.
Just as this State's annual Leeuwin concert has many interruptions from bird calls in the trees, so Mass had unscheduled responses from crows, bee-eaters, honeyeaters and willy-wagtails. The most delightful setting for any mass I have ever attended!
After Mass, the Bishop handed out Rosary Beads with a special touch - they were blessed by Pope Benedict.

Joe Zawinul RIP

Viennese jazz keyboard master and composer, Joe Zawinul, died on Tuesday. He is probably best remembered for his role in putting the fusion band Weather Report together after he and Wayne Shorter had left the Miles Davis group. One of my favourite pieces of modern jazz was a Zawinul composition, Mercy Mercy Mercy - a track which Herbie Hancock once said was a 'very black track' ...

WANALIRRI FROGGI - for my grandkids

froggy froggy
you look so funny
swimming in our dunny!

won't you leave now?
I have a full tummy -
go home to Mummy!

green as a leaf
with long yellow feet
and eyes so big and sweet

froggy froggy
you look so funny
swimming in our dunny!

why don't you swim
to home sweet home?
you're green as a gnome!

I'll take you to the well:
that will suit you swell
(besides, there's no smell!).

froggy froggy
you look funny funny funny
swimming in our dunny!

Monday, September 10, 2007

See the 'Lighght'

Robert Frost once said, Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom. This little poem is delightful. See the history of it at

Here's the start:

You Call That Poetry?!

How seven letters managed to freak out an entire nation.

by Ian Daly

On a cool autumn evening in 1965, a 22-year-old poet named Aram Saroyan typed seven letters that would amount to one of the most controversial poems in history. Not that he knew it at the time. It was growing late, and a waiting friend (Saroyan can’t remember his name) was getting antsy. He wanted to leave Saroyan’s little apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and head downtown to Le Metro Café where Lou Reed and The Fugs and Andy Warhol liked to hang out when they were still freaks, not superstars. But Saroyan held him off. Dead center on the sheet of paper curled in his Royal manual typewriter, he clacked out this single misspelled word:


Then they split. More than four decades after they shut the door, people are still talking about this word.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Announcing the availability of Euripides' Hippolytos: a performance version, a new English version of the play by Euripides,especially adapted for the modern stage by Jon Corelis. The translation is housed on the Italian cultural web site Fieralingue, and the complete text may be accessed as a .pdf file by the following URL:

On the resulting page, click on the Euripides' Hippolytos link for the .pdf. Jon Corelis will be glad to communicate with anyone interested in theproduction of this work by any professional, semi-profession, amateur,or academic theater group. Queries should be sent to him at the email address below. More information about him may be found on the website listed below, which also contains a link to the Hippolytos .pdf.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Angel of the North can be Anybody's

The angel of the north is in my backpocket fluffed up with Chinese cake in the shape of The Forbidden City …

Postcards of desire turn up at the corners of fading memory digitalised for ease here in the desert

where I pick insects off the arms of infertile clocks and rats run from air conditioners on reverse

Today’s pocket has faded into a holding pattern where bulls tramp and dogs camp it up until Good Friday when a killer is shared

and the community hits the piss to wash the week down although watches and calendars were never replaced when Time ran out

The angel of the north farts and hiccups and laughs as he apologises, Oh, I am so sorry! In gathering shadows Japanese smile into Nikons

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Poetry before 1800

Many thousands of poems by over a thousand poets at The English Poetry Database. It just goes to prove that most great themes of poetry go down through the ages.
Take the rest of the day off and read ...