Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Friday 2 May 2008

you are invited to hear


read poems and talk
about his recent experiences
teaching and living in
China and The Kimberley

Building 17 Room 219

Mount Lawley campus

'That's what life is like' John Tranter

A quote from John Tranter during an interview with Cordite magazine http://www.cordite.org.au/:

I don't think writers should tell people what to believe or how to behave. So I let lots of fragmentary, sometimes contradictory opinions - as though they came from a large cast of different characters - into the poems. That's what life is like, after all. Just listen, next time you take a bus into town. Millions of different voices, each as important as your own solitary whining.

JOHN TRANTER http://johntranter.com/00/index.html is Editor of the exciting poetry-focused magazine, Jacket.http://jacketmagazine.com/00/home.shtml

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Exciting New Anthology of Aboriginal Literature

From the publishers, Allen & Unwin:

An authoritative survey of Australian Aboriginal writing over two centuries, across a wide range of fiction and non-fiction genres. Including some of the most distinctive writing produced in Australia, it offers rich insights into Aboriginal culture and experience.


A groundbreaking collection of work from some of the great Australian Aboriginal writers, the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature offers a rich panorama of over 200 years of Aboriginal culture, history and life.

From Bennelong's 1796 letter to contemporary creative writers, Anita Heiss and Peter Minter have selected work that represents the range and depth of Aboriginal writing in English. The anthology includes journalism, petitions and political letters from both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as major works that reflect the blossoming of Aboriginal poetry, prose and drama from the mid-twentieth century onwards. Literature has been used as a powerful political tool by Aboriginal people in a political system which renders them largely voiceless. These works chronicle the ongoing suffering of dispossession, but also the resilience of Aboriginal people across the country, and the hope and joy in their lives.

With some of the best, most distinctive writing produced in Australia, this anthology is invaluable for anyone interested in Aboriginal writing and culture.

This volume is extremely significant from an Indigenous cultural perspective, containing many works that afford the reader a treasured insight into the Indigenous cultural world of Australia. - From the foreword by Mick Dodson

The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature is published as part of the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature project.

Prank at the Melbourne Olympic Torch Relay

Route of the 1956 Olympic torch relay, from Cairns to Melbourne. In 1956 runners bore the Olympic flame across Australia, on a path from Cairns to Melbourne, where the summer games were to be held. But before the flame even got as far as Sydney, it had to endure a series of setbacks. Torrential rains soaked it. Burning heat almost overwhelmed the runners. The flame even went out a few times. Then in Sydney itself it encountered a situation unique in Olympic history.

Cross-country champion Harry Dillon was scheduled to bear the flame into Sydney, where he would present it to the mayor, Pat Hills. After making a short speech, Hills would pass the flame along to another runner, Bert Button.

Thirty-thousand people lined the streets of Sydney waiting for Dillon to arrive. Reporters stood ready with their cameras to record the historic occasion. Finally the runner appeared, bearing the flame aloft, and everyone began cheering. As the crowd pressed forward a police escort surrounded the runner in order to keep order.

With this escort around him, the runner made his way through the streets all the way to the Sydney Town Hall. He bounded up the steps and handed the torch to the waiting mayor who graciously accepted it and turned to begin his prepared speech.

Then someone whispered in the mayor’s ear, “That’s not the torch.” Suddenly the mayor realized what he was holding. Held proudly in his hand was not the majestic Olympic flame. Instead he was gripping a wooden chair leg topped by a plum pudding can inside of which a pair of kerosene-soaked underwear was burning with a greasy flame. The mayor looked around for the runner, but the man had already disappeared, melting away into the surrounding crowd.

The Pranksters
The identity of the rogue runner was only publicly revealed years later. It was Barry Larkin, a veterinary science student at Sydney University’s St. Johns College. He had dreamed up the prank in collusion with eight otherstudents.

Their intention was to poke fun at the torch relay because they felt it was being treated with too much reverence considering the tradition’s dubious past. It traced its origins back to the 1936 Berlin games organized by the Nazis.

Originally, Larkin was not supposed to have been the bearer of the flaming underwear. One of the other students had dressed up in white shorts and a white top, like a runner, but he panicked at the last minute and dropped the torch. Larkin, wearing a tie, picked it up and started running.

The official flame-bearer had been delayed outside of Sydney, so the crowd assumed Larkin was the real thing. Soon a police escort joined him. Larkin later recalled in an interview what the experience felt like: “The noise was quite staggering. There were flashes of photography. I felt very strange because I knew I was carrying a fake torch. The only thing I could think about was what do I do when I got there. I was helped by Pat Hills. I just turned around and walked back down the steps, through the crowd and onto a tram and back to college.”

The mayor took the prank in good humor, but the crowd, once it realized what had happened, began to grow unruly. When the real runner arrived a few minutes later, the crowd was milling around excitedly in the street, as if stirred up by the mischief. In the crush of people, women began screaming for the safety of their children. Hills called out for calm. A police convoy had to clear a path for the flame-bearer to get through.

When the torch was passed to the next runner, Bert Button, an army truck had to clear a path to allow him to continue with the relay.

Back at his college, Larkin was given a hero’s reception. When he walked into the hall for breakfast the next morning, his fellow students gave him a standing ovation. Even the rector of the college walked up to him and said, “Well done, son.”

The fake torch was taken to a Town Hall reception, and ended up in the possession of John Lawler, a man who had been travelling with the relay in a car. He stored it for years beneath his bed, until eventually it got thrown out while tidying.

(Thanks to Brian for this item. Don't know where he got it from, sorry.)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Olympic Walls of China

With the Olympics looming, China is pushing architecture to its limits for a giant coming-out party.

See for yourself with this series of photographs generously offered by National Geographic:

Thanks to Mary Lyden for drawing my attention to this site.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Praise as good as Cash for Brain

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Paying people a compliment appears to activate the same reward center in the brain as paying them cash, Japanese researchers said on Wednesday.

They said the study offers scientific support for the long-held assumption that people get a psychological boost from having a good reputation.

"We found that these seemingly different kinds of rewards -- a good reputation versus money -- are biologically coded by the same neural structure, the striatum," said Dr. Norihiro Sadato of the Japanese National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Okazaki, Japan.


So, praise someone today! It'll do them the world of good ...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Melbourne Dawn

Photo by my cousin Mary Lyden. May the sun shine on you too. (That's my 2020 contribution ...)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Snap: Wednesday Workshop at Tom Collins House

daylight rushes in
pushes me out of bed

i listen to Van the Man
as i drive through traffic
lumpy at the intersections

to park on crushed leaves
by the old writer's cottage

what Furphy found barely a home
we maintain as monument
only an ocean in the backyard
and no chickens pecking
in the shade of melon hill

'what's wrong with this picture?
I'm living in a different time ...
Baby, don't you understand,
I left all that jive behind ...'

here i am telling all i know
just pay at the door
some poets worth their salt
retain a duty to be poor

Write for HarperCollins - but for nothing ...

This is the deal, and I'm not too sure I support the idea. I leave it up to you - Here's their pitch on their website http://www.harpercollins.com/Members/FirstLook/index.aspx

Join the HarperCollins First Look program to preview books in literary fiction, general fiction, suspense, biography, cookbooks, and other genres, for readers who make a difference – like you!

Each month, Advance Reading Editions (AREs) of great books by fabulous authors are offered that you will have the opportunity to review. Reviewers are selected at random, but you must register to be eligible. In joining the program you may select your favorite genres and we will let you know when a book in your preferred category is offered.

Monday, April 14, 2008

COTTONMOUTH Correspondence

I am passing this on for the organisers:

Cottonmouth is a new spoken word narrative art project coming out of Perth, Western Australia. In an attempt to break out from the isolation of this far flung city, Cottonmouth has adopted a very unique format - it is part performance night, part publicaiton, part podcast. This means that Cottonmouth has, at its heart, a national perspective. Therefore, it is looking for national content for its zine, COTTTONMOUTH. This zine is now open for submissions. There are a few simple guidelines:

- submit two poems of no more than 60 lines each.

- submit four smaller poems if they are no more than 15 lines each.

- submit ficition or non fiction of no more than 1200 words max.

- submit up to four illustrations in black and white, 300dpi and suitable for publication.

- ALL WORK must be accompanied with a 50 word bio. please remember to include weblinks in your bios if you wish to draw readers attention to your work online.

- each piece submitted must be in a separate attachment.

- bio can appear in body of email but must also appear as separate attachment also.

- rtfs, word documents and jpegs are preferred form of attachment.

- please include postal address if you wish to receive a copy of the zine and you're unable to attend COTTONMOUTH, which occurs on the second thursday of every month at the rosemount hotel's bar 459 on the corner of fitzgerald and angove streets in north perth.

- please email all work to info@cottonmouth.org.au and remember that this is a monthly publication, so work may appear in one or two issues depending.

Thank you for your time. For more information please visit www.cottonmouth.org.au and check out readings from previous nights, videos of performers and the unique body of work that is our Pegline Project.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Short lists announced for $50,000 Griffin Poetry Prizes

The Canadian Press
Published Saturday April 12th, 2008

TORONTO - Simon Fraser University professor emeritus Robin Blaser, considered to be one of North America's most outstanding poets of the postwar period, is in the running for the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Now in its eighth year, the prize awards $50,000 to the best book of Canadian poetry and $50,000 to the best book of international poetry published in English the preceding year.

Blaser made the Canadian short list, announced this week in Toronto, for The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser (University of California Press).

Montreal writer Robert Majzels and Calgary-born poet Erin Moure made the list for their English translation of Notebook of Roses and Civilization (Coach House Books). The book is by Montreal poet and novelist Nicole Brossard.

Rounding out the Canadian short list is Toronto author David McFadden for Why Are You So Sad? Selected Poems of David W. McFadden (Insomniac Press/4 a.m. Books).

Four books are on the international shortlist: Notes From the Air: Selected Later Poems from John Ashbery (HarperCollins Publishers/Ecco); Elaine Equi's Ripple Effect: New and Selected Poems (Coffee House Press); The Complete Poetry: A Bilingual Edition, by Clayton Eshleman, translated from the Spanish, written by Cesar Vallejo (University of California Press); and Selected Poems 1969-2005 from David Harsent (Faber and Faber).

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

2008 Pulitzer Prize 'Special Citation': Bob Dylan

Go to http://www.pulitzer.org/year/2008/special-citation/bio/ if you want all the information, but, personally, I just went to the CD player and let him loose for a while. 'If dogs run free, then why don't we?'

Monday, April 07, 2008

Interesting review of John Kinsella's book of poems, Shades of the Sublime And Beautiful (Picador). Is it his latest? I don't know.

Go to http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/poetry/0,,2271115,00.html

From the Washington Post's Poet's Choice column

photo © Star Black

In "Proofs and Theories", [Louise Gluck's] book of essays on poetry, she explains, "I do not think that more information always makes a richer poem. I am attracted to ellipsis, to the unsaid, to suggestion. ... "

Me too.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Quote for Someday

Tradition and progress are the two great enemies of the human race.
- Paul Valery

Thanks to David Bircumchaw for this one.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Measure for Measure - How-to-Write-a-Song Blog

The New York Times has created a blog with successfull contemporary songwriters passing on hints about how to write songs. Now, that's a great idea. Us humble wordsmiths out here in hicksville would love to have some idea how to write a chartbuster, right! So here's your chance to hear the tricks that work straight from the probably-often-hoarse mouth: http://measureformeasure.blogs.nytimes.com/?ex=1222574400&en=d07a298be1751724&ei=5087?excamp=NYT-E-I-NYT-E-AT-0402-L10&WT.mc_ev=click&WT.mc_id=+NYT-E-I-NYT-E-AT-0402-L10

Two notable contributors ...

Rosanne Cash is a Grammy award-winning artist who has released 14 albums, most recently "Black Cadillac" (2006), and 11 No. 1 singles. She is also the author of a short-story collection, "Bodies of Water" and a children's book, "Penelope Jane: A Fairy's Tale." Her essays and fiction have appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and other publications. She is currently working on a new recording and a book of non-fiction to be published by Viking this year. Ms. Cash's collaborator here is Joe Henry, whose 10th album, "Civilians," was released last year. Her Web site is http://www.rosannecash.com.

Suzanne Vega, (photo above) a singer and songwriter whose success in the 1980s helped establish the acoustic folk-pop movement, has released eight albums, including the platinum-selling "Solitude Standing" (1987) with the hit single, "Luka," and the 2007 recording, "Beauty and Crime" on Blue Note Records. She is also the author of a book of poetry and was a host of the public radio series "American Mavericks." Her Web site is http://www.suzannevega.com.