Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Introducing Mez Breeze ...

Gabe Gudding pointed me toward Mez Breeze as another great Aussie writer since 1945. Well, multimedia etc is an area I didn't have represented, so I invite you to go to and check it out for yourselves.

Hie thee hither and enjoy ...

Issue eight of Otoliths ,
the southern summer 2008 issue, has just gone live.

It's a few days early, but it's straining at the leash & seams so it seemed a good idea to let it loose before it ate the house up.

The issue contains, in order of appearance, work by Michele Leggott, Geof Huth, Nicholas Manning, Laurie Price, Sandy McIntosh, Reed Altemus, Alicia Dangereyes, Bill Drennan, gustave morin, Paul Hardacre, Felino Soriano, Pradip Datta, Spencer Selby, Spencer Selby & Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, David-Baptiste Chirot, Kristine Ong Muslim, Joshua A Ware, Patrick Gulke, James Sanders, Jill Chan, J. D. Nelson, Eric Burke, Philip Byron Oakes, Louie Crew, Márton Koppány, Thomas Fink & Maya Fink, Richard Kostelanetz, Paul Siegell, Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino, Sheila E. Murphy & John M.Bennett, Luigino Solamito & John M. Bennett, John M. Bennett, Jeff Harrison,John Lowther, Alexander Jorgensen, Martin Edmond, Christopher Major, Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney, Caleb Puckett, Cecelia Chapman, Guy Beining, Vernon Frazer, Bobbi Lurie, harry k stammer, Andrew Topel, Thomas Fink & Andrew Riley Clark.

As usual, it's a marvellous mix of all sorts of things. Hie thee hither & enjoy.

Mark Young

frontispiece by Andrew Topel, Jim Leftwich & John M. Bennett

Monday, January 28, 2008

Recognition in the Australia Day Honours list

Fuck poets. They're the most self-centred, selfish arseholes on the
Rupert Mallin


Saturday, January 26, 2008

voicebox reading in February

Aminah, singer songwriter and poet
& Annamaria Weldon, FAWWA Masterclass poet
plus open mic

"La Tropicana Cafe"
177 High street Fremantle.

Thursday Feb 7th at 7.30 pm.

cost: $5.00/$3.00conc

Friday, January 25, 2008

Wonderful Town by Frederick Pollack


It’s 6:30, which means things
are getting serious. Not necessarily
a crisis – only a report, prospectus,
due diligence. And that sense,
however familiar and subdued,
of rededication: quick wash, second shave,
swipe of hand sanitizer. The slacks that appear,
turning into the aisle
between the cubicles the next room over,
are a woman’s. Is she loyal, will she stay?
… no, she’s gone,
down to a block of freezing rain
before her cab or subway. Four
in the window office
remain. A neocon
I knew once became almost tearful,
praising the connotations of the word
company. The eldest
(I think) has slung his jacket
over a chair. The possible
young hope, young blood, or someone’s
idiot nephew gestures –
a repeated downward pump or jab.
Striped shirt never moves. Green tie
shifts once, is still.
No laptops, stenograph, speakerphone, realtime
output, which means this
is serious? or that drinks
and dinner are delayed somewhere
for ideas? Their wall is bare
and white. In these blocks, no
“green” enterprises, NGOs, pro bono; so
one knows, more or less, who they are … Now the Old Man
looks out and down
at the rain puddling the twentieth-floor setback,
then at my hotel, at me,
whom at this distance (mystery is distance)
he can’t see.


The espresso machine like a Victorian monument
bronzed, the tables like Braque’s guéridons,
the display case for cannoli,
the notional chairs and between-table spaces,
the walls brown from the smoking ages,
the waiters’ trance, and this stretch of MacDougal
don’t change with the decades. But today
the place seems given to a private party,
quiet and unannounced. The kid
with his absurd beret and the one-volume
Schopenhauer he doesn’t so much read
as carry, the more or less fat
guys with their Marx and journals,
and a few older men
seem at least in one sense together –
they have eyes only for each other
(and for the long-haired girl in a pleated skirt
who doesn’t appear). Though no two glances meet.
One probes a pocket for the number
at which he must call his father
from a payphone; another for his cellphone, to call
his wife. The kid perhaps ponders;
the thirty-something and forty-something read;
another stops because the light’s too dim.
They take out notebooks and write,
or try to. Is that how they communicate?
They’d deny it …
(Outside, some sort of demonstration passes
without a break, and fades;
no one comes in. There’s no one to talk to, ever.)
If they did write each other,
what would they say? “You can’t write anything here.
If you do, you’ll reject it later
as sentimental.” Seeing which, the boy rises,
surreptitiously tucks in his too-tight
turtleneck, fills his bookbag,
and leaves, expression resolute and dreamy
because that’s expected of him.


Actually, we don’t discuss
the obvious: arthritis drawing
cries from him whenever he canes
himself up, and slightly hobbling
my own step when I cross the room
to fetch some book he has pointed to.
Or loneliness, or politics – the bullies
that roam the body and the world will have
their way, and meanwhile jabber;
we ignore them, though they strain and shape
all speech. He has grown very white
since our last meeting, fifteen years
and hundreds of emails ago, I very gray.
The relics of his lover, who had disliked me
on sight, lie small and quaint
amid the clutter, and a ghost informs
the collages – ties, real ties imposed on penciled –
he’s doing. He gives me one.
Reads new poems, vers-de-société
of hell and the low slopes of purgatory.
Paws what I bought
at the Strand: Stead’s work since his stroke, Matthias
sounding old, old. “Always the tourist,” he smiles.
“You’re scoping out the terminal wards.”
– “I want to see how much they transcend
the personal, and if not, why they can’t.” –
“Perhaps because there’s nothing else,” he says,
provoking. – And one or two
young free-associaters, who have no story
but the stupid one the world imposes,
“but at least aren’t chuckleheads”:
thus I defend them, and bore him.
He rarely leaves the apartment;
is interested when I describe
the cardboard, low-grade porn and verathaned
ads at the New Museum
on the rapidly gentrifying Bowery. “’Unmonumental’ –
that’s what they call the show. The wall-text
talks about art ‘responsive to an age
of broken icons.’ It struck me
there’s a contradiction in that.”
– “The longer I live, or last,” he says,
“the more I address one question
to whatever I see and read:
would anything be lost if this didn’t exist?
If the answer is no, burn it.”
We have been drinking all this time:
one glass each, slowly. Now he offers
another, but I have to go.
Once more I praise his recent work.
“I was glad to meet you again,” he says.
“You seem to be more yourself than I remember.”
I tell him teaching helped. And poetry.
“Not an afterthought,” he smiles. Stands, painfully;
we embrace as if we’ll meet again.
Afternoon sun
pours down the airshaft to his window.


They queue, for rock clubs, movies,
all-you-can-eat restaurants, even
the tchotchke shops, to buy Liberty
in snow-globes, foam, or pre-aged bronze.
The lines intersect the crowds,
so dense and slowed they feel
as in dreams that the illusion of movement
will fail any moment.
Their coats absorb the smudged and trodden
colors, poor relations of those above.
To the east, the shows are letting out –
the fishnet dancers in Cook County jail,
a lion cub becoming king,
a sexless lover with a mask – their music,
in the minds of the new crowds exiting,
merging at the corner with the noise.
The new Stoppard may or may not
have taught that rock-and-roll is freedom;
that one can relax into freedom
if one abandons murderous ideals.
A couple next to us, with strict ideas
of entertainment, squirmed at allusions
to unfamiliar dates and names,
to history, and left at intermission.
There are cabs, but they rage,
like other cars, for movement;
we’ll take the E or 6 or walk
crosstown to our hotel –
the cold rejuvenating us,
sustaining another hour
the feeling that friends, drinks, dinner,
window-shopping, the theater can go on.
Call it joy, whose center is above
this corner, all its plasma screens
broadcasting fragments of it: cars, breasts,
the sea, disembodied dancing
handbags, market shares, wise commentators,
an ecstatic Riemannian geometry
of colors, colors, colors one yearns
to rise and merge and splinter into,
all motion effortless and theirs, reflected
in the faces now surrounding us, blasé
or brooding, avid for the possible.

Frederick Pollack was born in Chicago. He is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press. Other poems and essays have appeared in Fulcrum, Hudson Review, Representations, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), Gladhat, Malleable Jangle, Famous Reporter and elsewhere. He is adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Heath Ledger RIP

There will be a million questions, there will be a million theories, there will be a million baseless accusations, but he will remain dead, a victim of the celebrity machine.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm Not There poster

I took this great retro style poster from Pam Brown's blog at

Brilliant movie. Go see it if you haven't.

Photos from Launch of Tracy Ryan's book Saturday

Tracy Ryan signing her book, and Andrew Taylor, (standing)who launched the book, talking to Glen Phillips, (sitting)who supplied the photos.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

50 Best British Writers since 1945 - and 50 Best Australian Writers since 1945

Hey, I am amazed at the rankings of this list! Maybe it is not meant to be in order, but they have numbered them - with Philip Larkin at Number One! And Ted Hughes at ... We'll all have a different scale, won't we. Take a look - anyone missing?

Now, how about an Aussie list?

50 Best Australian Writers since 1945 ...
(in no particular order)

Helen Garner,
Peter Carey,
Tim Winton,
Patrick White,
Gwen Harwood,
Vincent Buckley,
David Williamson,
AD Hope,
David Malouf,
John Tranter,
Les Murray,
Robert Adamson,
Kevin Hart,
Peter Cowan,
Shirley Hazzard,
Janette Turner-Hospital,
Frank Moorhouse,
Hal Porter,
Randolph Stowe,
Andrew Taylor,
Dorothy Hewett,
Thom Shapcott,
John Forbes,
Judith Wright,
Thomas Kenneally,
Glenda Adams,
Elizabeth Jolley,
Kim Scott,
Kenneth Slessor,
Thea Astley,
Bruce Dawe,
Morris Gleitzman,
John Marsden,
Clive James,
Kate Grenville,
Ern Malley,
Bruce Beaver,
Peter Porter,
John Kinsella,
Geoff Page,
Jack Davis,
John Blight,
Geraldine Brooks,
Paul Jennings,
Brenda Walker,
Gail Jones,
Dorothy Porter

Ah, I don't know how many there now. Feel free to add, subtract, and disagree. Thanks to my wife Jeanette for contributing to this list as well.

Friday, January 18, 2008

'Books of 2007' from

Top Picks - Poetry Picks: The Best Books of 2007 from your Poetry Guide

Selected by Poetry Guide Bob Holman.... This was Alice Notley's Year -- we just called it 2007, but two of her books entered the world this year. And two big books on two big but generally overlooked Heroes of the Beats, Helen Adam and Philip Whalen, made a deliciously illogical sense in this, the Year of the Continuing Break-down of US Democracy.

1) Grave of Light: New & Selected Poems 1970-2005, by Alice Notley
(Wesleyan University Press, 2006) Not only did two of Alice Notley's books come into the world this year -- it's also the year that the Academy of American Poetry saw fit to award the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize to an expat poet in Paris who figured out how to do it (write the poems to change gravity) as an "experimental third generation New York School poet." No doubt Grave of Light is the best intro to the incredible range of Notley, from the breezy, Berriganish early work to the genuinely bizarre form and astonishing political/folk epic content of The Descent of Alette to the dense mysterious prose-po combo found in the recent Disobedience and Alma. It's like sailing a mirror, a gloss on the moss.

2) In the Pines, by Alice Notley
(Penguin Group USA, 2007) Grave of Light is the best place for readers new to Notley to begin... But for me, it's the amazing trip of In the Pines that squeals the wheel. Notley has never steered away from the hard parts, but never before has she dared the Reader to join her in seeing just how much pain one can endure, how much beauty one can stand. There is no one else in literature whose voice moves so deeply inside you, and moves things so deeply inside you, as you read. Book of the Year, poet of the age, Alice Notley.

3) A Helen Adam Reader, edited by Kristin Prevallet
(National Poetry Foundation, 2007) Adam (1910 - 1993), a tiny Scottish figure, the Den Mother of the Beats, wrote primarily in a jangly, Scots ballad style, often contemporized: "Goodbye transcendent Tompkins Square / I haven't long to stay. / A double jolt of heroin and I'll be on my way..." And always with a veneer of myth, generally Egyptian. But Prevallet is not content with these generalities, and uncovers in Adam not only the odd woman out of the Beat movement, but an extraordinary outsider artist, a cohort of Duncan's, a precursor of performance poetry, a genuine eccentric, and a poet to be reckoned with. This book is an incredible achievement.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Posthumous NBCC Award Nomination for Politkovskaya

from Lizok's Bookshelf at

I was surprised – very pleasantly! – to learn that the National Book Critics Circle nominated A Russian Diary,( ) written by journalist Anna Politkovskaya and translated by Arch Tait, for its autobiography award.

Tait’s Web site contains pages about Politkovskaya books that he translated: Russian Diary and Putin’s Russia. The Putin’s Russia page includes links to tributes to Politkovskaya, who was murdered on October 7, 2006, in her Moscow apartment building.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ralph Wessman at Famous Reporter talks with Jane Williams

"For me honouring writing and the compulsion to do it means believing in writing as valuable and valued work - to believe what I do is of use ... And often this is a tall order. Writing, we know, is a solitary process, there are often conflicting loyalties at play and 'art as work' isn’t a comfortable concept in a producer/consumer driven society. It’s not as easy to acknowledge the process of writing as work the way it is say the process of building of a house. You can watch somebody at work building their house day in day out and appreciate the process on the same level you might appreciate the finished house. Watching somebody writing or
rather in the process of writing would inevitably entail periods of witnessing the writer ‘away with the faeries’ staring at the blank
sheet/screen/wall or apparently nothing at all! "

Read more at ...

Jane Williams' website is at

Monday, January 14, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

You have to laugh ...

Peter Nicholson at The Australian has just put together a short compile of the best snippets from Kevin07 for last year. Follow this link:

A great many laughs for free!

Monday, January 07, 2008

'Scar Revision' by Tracy Ryan launch

TRACY RYAN invites you to the launch of her new book of
poems, Scar Revision (Fremantle Press)

on Saturday 19 January
at 2pm
in Pages Cafe at the Alexander Library
Perth Cultural Centre

Further details at the Poets' Corner website

Friday, January 04, 2008

I'm Not There

Today my wife and I went to the 10.30am session of I'm Not There at the Luna cinema in Leederville. Yep, 10.30am. Back when I was first hearing Bob Dylan I probably wouldn't have been up at that hour, but that's beyond the point.

This is one great film. Okay, I'm a Dylan fan and blind to a lot of his blemishes: maybe I would like it whatever it was. But I am also a fussy film goer and to get me to like a mainstream USAmerican movie is difficult. This film is brilliant. It is creative, it makes exceptional use of its medium, it surprises at every turn, even when you know most of the story before the film begins, and the acting is part of the high quality of the film. Cate Blanchett is a knock-out. You start out thinking, There's Cate as Bob, but quickly you think, you KNOW, that it is Bob Dylan. Amazing. I even had the presence of mind late in the film to pause in my belief and try to see Cate Blanchett in Dylan - but by then she was Dylan. Eerie. (What would he feel when he saw her as himself?)

I knew there were six actors playing different parts of Dylan before I arrived at the cinema and bought my choc-bomb. I knew it and thought these aspects of his character would be portrayed in chronological sequence. Wrong: they are shuffled skillfully and rhythmically, so that previous aspects of the film build on adjacent scenes by association(s). The wonderful example of an older Dylan character getting back in touch with his earlier more creative self through literally jumping back on the train worked extremely well, and I don't think it would have made such a connection if the young negro Woody Guthrie character had been way up the beginning of the film only.

The way the music is used is interesting, too. Sometimes, Dylan sings and the actor mimes; sometimes the actor sings, including the very young negro boy; other times the music is mixed into the background and builds up until the vocal buds forth; and, a couple of times, other pop music of the period is played as relevant TV news footage or some such is shown. I haven't investigated the soundtrack yet, so I'll tell you later what's on that.

There is one thing that seriously bothers me: if you didn't know enough about Dylan before you saw the movie, you'd be lost. Confused. You would be rattled by tarantulas walking across the screen and a motorbike crossing the screen and crashing, and the album covers and other recognisable photography aspects/visual data wouldn't carry the weight they do with recognition by the viewer.

Okay, I'm a one-eyed Dylan fan - but this also means I would be sorely disappointed if this biopic had been less than it is. This film is as creative, as surprising and entertaining, as an extended Dylan song - say, like Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands. Which reminds me - there are no obvious 'hits' in this movie. One song used I know was released as a single and never on a single album (maybe on compilations). Another was a re-orchestration of a Basement Tapes track. Interesting choices - needless to say, I loved 'em all (not so much the Christian track, but that's my bias showing through.)

If you have the chance, go and see I'm Not There. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Don't follow the signs

from -,,2233577,00.html

Art? Life? Perplexed which road to take? Then, take both!

Possibilities ...

I'm not an expert on Copyright, so I will only post a taste of this poem by Robert Creeley, posted ('by permission') on the Poetry Daily website -


For Susan Rothenberg

What do you wear?
How does it feel
to wear clothes?
What shows
what you were or where?

This accident, accidental, person,
feeling out, feelings out—
outside the box one's in—
skin's resonances, reticent romances,
the blotch of recognition, blush?

It's a place one's going,
going out to, could reach
out just so far to be at the edge
of it all, there, no longer inside,
waiting, expectant, a confused thing.

Ah, it's a delightful poem to read and I urge you to find it and read it at (Go to the archives and input Creeley.)

Here is the final verse:

Nothing's apart from all and seeing is
the obvious beginning of an act
can only bring one closer to the art
of being closer. So feeling all there is,
one's hands and heart grow full.

Robert Creeley
The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1975-2005
University of California Press