Monday, March 31, 2008

Les Murray at Andrew and Beate Taylor's house

Les Murray was visiting Perth last Friday to launch Indigo 2, a vibrant new literary magazine, edited by Donna Ward. On Saturday, Andrew and Beate Taylor had us over for lunch. The photos above show Jeanette Burke and Les Murray, Les Murray and Andrew Lansdown, myself and Donna, Beate and beautiful tart, Andrew Taylor and myself.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Friendly Street Poets Inc. Japanese Poetry Competition

Friendly Street Poets Inc are running a Japanese Poetry Contest. The haiku section is restricted to residents of South Australia, but the haibun and haiku sequence sections are open to all.

Closing date is May 6th 2008.

For further details and an entry form visit

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Alice Notley wins Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

The Nation has reported the annual prize for best poetry book in USA has gone to Alice Notley for her book Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems 1970-2005. The article finishes on this note:

[Alice Notley] is a moving speaker; her voice is the voice of the text as a breath of fresh air, awash with movement, the currents of keeping going. Connection of bits of data is not direct. But it is present, like the white stones of Hansel and Gretel gleaming in the forest dark. She's centered by a voice heard and overheard, an inner counsel she always follows, "don't think/you're a poet write a poem for chrissakes."

It is a fine article, available at

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tibetan Author under House Arrest in Beijing

Saturday, 22 March , 2008, 11:15

Beijing: Tibetan author Tsering Woeser and her Chinese husband and fellow author, Wang Lixiong, have been placed under house arrest in Beijing since the outbreak of anti-Chinese protests in Tibet.

"Whatever movements we plan to make, we must first ask for approval," Wang told the US-sponsored Radio Free Asia. "Only when it's approved by higher-ups can we make a move under surveillance."

He had previously been a focus for Chinese authorities, but now the focus has shifted to his wife, who declined to be interviewed for fear of repercussions.

Tsering Woeser, 40, has written 10 books, including two on China's Cultural Revolution. Most of her work has been banned inside China. Her blog was blocked by authorities last year after she published a photo of the Dalai Lama.

The couple regularly makes contributions to Radio Free Asia's Chinese programme.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Les Murray in conversation with Frank Sheehan

at the launch of

indigo journal volume 2

Friday 28 March at 7:30pm

Christchurch Chapel

Queenslea Dr, Claremont


Readings From Indigo

@ Walking on Water

Monday evening 7th April 7:30pm.

104b The Laneway, Perth City.

(Near the corner of Murray and Pier streets
laneway is almost opposite Miss Maud's)


indigo movie night

The Painted Veil—Sneak Preview!!

Sunday 20 April 6:15pm

Windsor Cinema Nedlands

Tickets $15

Ring Rosie 9335 3736 or email

To be sure of a seat send cheque/postal order by last post 16 April
made out to Out of the Asylum Writers’ Group.
Mark the envelope:
The Painted Veil,
PO Box 142,
Fremantle 6959.

Include SSAE so they can send your tickets.

More information at

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke - His future is now.

Photo: Arthur C. Clarke at age 84, reading in his home in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi/Reuters)

Arthur C. Clarke, author of science fiction novels such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, has died at age 90.

An assistant announced the author's death on Tuesday in Sri Lanka. The British-born Clarke had been living in Colombo for many years.

He was the author of more than 100 books but Hollywood adaptations of his books 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010 made him into a household name.

Along with Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlen and Frank Herbert, Clarke is regarded as one of science-fiction's most important figures.


Swept overboard, unconscious in the breakers,
strangled with seaweed, may you wake up in a gelid
surf, your teeth, already cracked into the shingle
now set rattling by the wind, while facedown,
helpless as a poison cur, on all fours, you puke
brine reeking of dead fish. May those you meet,
barbarians as ugly as their souls are hateful,
treat you to the moldy wooden bread of slaves.
And may you, with your split teeth sunk in that,
smile, then, the way you did when speaking as my friend.


This poem can be found in Dances for Flute and Thunder: From the Ancient Greek, translated by Brooks Haxton. Viking. Copyright 1999 by Brooks Haxton.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St Patrick's Day to all!

The Rocky Road to Dublin

In the merry month of May, From my home I started,
Left the girls of Tuam, Nearly broken hearted,
Saluted father dear, Kissed my darlin' mother,
Drank a pint of beer, My grief and tears to smother,
Then off to reap the corn, And leave where I was born,
I cut a stout blackthorn, To banish ghost and goblin,
In a brand new pair of brogues, I rattled o'er the bogs,
And frightened all the dogs,On the rocky road to Dublin.

One, two, three, four five,
Hunt the hare and turn her
Down the rocky road
And all the ways to Dublin,

In Mullingar that night, I rested limbs so weary,
Started by daylight, Next mornin' light and airy,
Took a drop of the pure, To keep my heart from sinkin',
That's an Irishman's cure, Whene'er he's on for drinking.
To see the lasses smile, Laughing all the while,
At my curious style, 'Twould set your heart a-bubblin'.
They ax'd if I was hired, The wages I required,
Till I was almost tired, Of the rocky road to Dublin.

In Dublin next arrived, I thought it such a pity,
To be so soon deprived, A view of that fine city.
Then I took a stroll, All among the quality,
My bundle it was stole, In a neat locality;
Something crossed my mind, Then I looked behind;
No bundle could I find, Upon my stick a wobblin'.
Enquirin' for the rogue, They said my Connacht brogue,
Wasn't much in vogue, On the rocky road to Dublin.

From there I got away, My spirits never failin'
Landed on the quay As the ship was sailin';
Captain at me roared, Said that no room had he,
When I jumped aboard, A cabin found for Paddy,
Down among the pigs I played some funny rigs,
Danced some hearty jigs, The water round me bubblin',
When off Holyhead, I wished myself was dead,
Or better far instead, On the rocky road to Dublin.

The boys of Liverpool, When we safely landed,
Called myself a fool; I could no longer stand it;
Blood began to boil, Temper I was losin',
Poor ould Erin's isle They began abusin',
"Hurrah my soul," sez I, My shillelagh I let fly;
Some Galway boys were by, Saw I was a hobble in,
Then with a loud hurray, They joined in the affray.
We quickly cleared the way, For the rocky road to Dublin.

Thank you to Max Richards for the lyrics and the site address.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Wife of Bath and Other Gems

The Telegraph newspaper, in United Kingdom, has a week-long series on classic English poets: Chaucer, Milton, Shelley and Rosetti. A worthy quartet indeed. If you would like to see what it says, go to

Quote of the Day (It ain't necessarily so ...)

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
- Paul Dirac

Thanks, Del.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Kenneth Rexroth, Michael McClure, Robert Duncan, Philip Whalen, Dave Haselwood and James Broughton, 1957 in Palo Alto - from

A Vision of the Bodhisattvas
(occasional drifts in formatting, for which I apologise but can't correct)

They pass before me one by one riding on animals
"What are you waiting for," they want to know

Z—, young as he is (& mad into the bargain) tells me
"Some day you'll drop everything & become a rishi, you know."

I know
The forest is there, I've lived in it
more certainly than this town? Irrelevant—

What am I waiting for?
A change in customs that will take 1000 years to come about?
Who's to make the change but me?

"Returning again and again," Amida says

Why's that dream so necessary? walking out of whatever house
Nothing but the clothes on my back, money or no
Down the road to the next place the highway leading to the
From which I absolutely must come back

What business have I to do that?
I know the world and I love it too much and it
Is not the one I'd find outside this door

Philip Whalen

Reprinted from Canoeing up Cabarga Creek: Buddhist Poems 1955-1986 (1996) by Philip Whalen, with permission of Parallax Press, Berkeley, California,

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Unusual Easter Time - the facts

Easter this year is: Sunday March 23, 2008

As you may know, Easter is always the 1st Sunday after
the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20).
This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar
that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is
why it moves around on our Roman calendar.

Based on the above, Easter can actually be one day
earlier (March 22) but that is pretty rare. This year
is the earliest Easter any of us will ever
see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly
of our population have ever seen it this early (95
years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or
will ever, see it a day earlier! Here are the facts:

The next time Easter will be this early (March 23)
will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last
time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or
older, you are the only ones that were around for

The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will
be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last
time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive
today has or will ever see it any earlier than this

Thanks, Del, for this information.

Yungang’s treasure

Since I lived in Linfen (cough, cough) I've kept up with news of that grotty city with a Google Alert. There is a better spin on the province at's%20Brush


Shanxi’s Yungang grottoes are renowned for some of the finest Buddhist carvings in China.

WHENEVER China’s coal-rich Shanxi province is in the news, it is usually for the wrong reasons.

Grim images of the darkened skies and soot-covered streets of Linfen, a coal-mining centre in the southern part of the province, have been featured repeatedly in various international media.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

INDIGO 2 Launch Invitation

Out of the Asylum Writers' Group
with Christchurch Grammar
Centre for Ethics


Frank Sheehan in conversation with Les Murray

Friday 28 March at 7:30pm
Christchurch Chapel
Queenslea Drive Claremont

RSVP Friday14 March
or call 9335 3736

The Lane Bookshop will be on hand to sell indigo for $25

Monday, March 10, 2008

Beatnik Questionnaire, copyright 1960, Gimmix Novelties, White Plains, N.Y. (Harry Ransom Center)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Free Penguins at Planet Books!

Your friendly bookseller offers you:

Penguin have given PLANET BOOKS a couple of boxes of Penguin 70s (small books by
authors including Dave Eggers, Will Self, Anthony Beevor, WG Sebald...)

They are giving one away with every purchase while stocks last!

636-638 Beaufort Street
phone 08 9328 7464

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Australian Archibald Prize for Portraiture goes to ...

Sydney artist Del Kathryn Barton has been announced as this year's Archibald Prize winner.

Barton's self-portrait You Are What Is Most Beautiful About Me also depicts her two children - Kell and Arella.

Friday, March 07, 2008

PEN Petition to Free Chinese Writers

PEN America
is trying to get China
to free nearly 40 writers
rounded up in advance of
this year’s Olympics

World-renowned writers from China and North America marked International Human Rights Day by launching We Are Ready for Freedom of Expression, a campaign that challenges the Chinese government to release all the writers and journalists it is holding in prisons before the August 8, 2008 opening of the Olympic Games. Noted Chinese authors Liu Xiaobo and Zheng Yi were among those joining international counterparts including Margaret Atwood, Francine Prose, and Salman Rushdie in issuing the challenge on behalf of PEN.

You can help:

Sign the petition to the Chinese government

Sign the petition to the U.S. Congress

Sign up to receive updates & breaking campaign news

Information on 38 currently imprisoned writers
(plus four others already released)
with actions you can take
to help each
are on the Penn American Center site!

If you're into Pantoums ...

go to

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Invitation to view Poneme's blog

I've been on the poetry list Poneme for some years, through its various manifestations, and now it has sprouted wings: yes, it has its own blog. Your welcome to view

A slightly different Hope and Sandals is on there now - latest edit prompted by Frederick Pollack , so thank you Fred. I do listen to other poets, you know >g<

Hope and Sandals (revised)

shuffling yours and hours
you come to a sudden cliff
hot autumn winds make nerves
jumpy and skin erupt

take the easy way out
and lie down or
walk to the letterbox
in hope and sandals

today's snail dries out
in the letterbox oven as
the driveway burns your feet
no news or cheques

no matter tonight
is the third episode of
that gangland series
just the ticket to

take your mind off

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

PoemTalk - Podcasts worth hearing

sponsored by
the Poetry Foundation | the Kelly Writers House | & PennSound

readings by the poets and close readings of the poems by critics and poets.
Featured already are William Carlos Williams, Adrienne Rich, George Oppen and Ginsberg chanting Blake

I hope you enjoy -

In Hope and Sandals

shuffling yours and hours
you come to a sudden cliff
hot autumn winds make nerves
jumpy and skin erupt

take the easy way out
and lie down or
walk to the letterbox
in hope and sandals

today's snail has dried out
and the letterbox yawns
as the driveway burns your feet
no news or cheques

no matter tonight
is the third episode of
that gangland series
just the ticket

pitched passed grief
days are marked off
as liquidity balances
book after book

Monday, March 03, 2008

Poems: Philip Whalen; Photos: Aram Saroyan

Beautiful series of photographs taken early in his life by poet Aram Saroyan, and then added to by poet Philip Whalen. A wonderful series full of wit and humanity.

Quote of the Day

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.

- George Orwell

Thanks, Del, for this one.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Quote of the Day

Everywhere I go I find that a poet has been there before me.
Sigmund Freud