Saturday, May 31, 2008

Although ... Miroslav Holub

Although a poem arises when there's nothing else to be done, although a poem is a last attempt at order when one can't stand the disorder any longer,
although poets are most needed when freedom, vitamin C, communications, laws, and hypertension therapy are also most needed,
although to be an artist is to fail and art is fidelity to failure, as Samuel Beckett says,
a poem is not one of the last but of the first things of man.

~ ~ ~
Certainly a poem is only a game.
Certainly a poem exists only at the moment of origin and at the moment of reading. And at best in the shadow-play of memory.
Certainly one can't enter the same poem twice.
Certainly a poet has the impression from the beginning that no purpose exists, as Henry Miller has said.
Certainly art becomes generally acceptable only when it declines into a mechanism and its order becomes a habit.
But in its aimlessness, in its desperate commitment to the word, in its primal order of birth and re-birth, a poem remains the most general guarantee that we can still do something, that we can still do something against emptiness, that we haven't given in but are giving ourselves to something.
The most general gurantee that we are not composed only of facts, of facts which, as Ernst Fischer says, are deeds withered into things.
Provided a poem, which is the poet's modest attempt to put off disintegration for a while, is not regarded as the philosopher's stone, bringing salvation and deliverance to stupefied mankind.
For art doesn't solve problems but only wears them out.
For art is fidelity to failure.
For a poem is when nothing else remains.
Although ...

(formatting shot to pieces by blogger but you get the gist of it)

Miroslav Holub 'Although' (book title as well as poem title) Cape Editions 1970

Friday, May 30, 2008

'Lines In The Sand' on sale now

After obtaining the anthology Lines In The Sand, I realised just how many contributors I left out yesterday. Mea culpa, I should have waited.

Last evening, Grant Stone - Murdoch University librarian, radio show presenter, sometime ABC guest/expert, founder of the Laughter Club, and other activities - launched this well-orchestrated collection of prose and poems by Western Australians. Yes, generations are represented, but the major impact of the collection to me was the maturing of many 'new writers' of yesterday into confident voices with things to say - personal, universal, about history, society and literature itself.

I am moved to see Lesley Dougan writing about her sister Dorothy Hewett, and to read Brian Dibble's piece on Elizabeth Jolley. Well-known names like John Kinsella (who also wrote the foreward)is there alongside Megan McKinlay and Debbie Hills. Hal Colebatch and Shane Macauley are in the mix with BJ Thomason and Nandi Chinna... I just can't name them all, but the general feeling at the Centre for the Book at the State Library last evening was of an extended family, and that feeling is truly in this book as you read it. These people are expressing their lives from the many corners of this community.

People who help this literary community in other ways as well are here as writers, their first love: Amanda Curtin, editor; Roland Leach, teacher and publisher; Frances Macaulay Forde, controller of the Poet's Corner and photographer of poets in public; Trisha Kotai-Ewers, centreplate of the FAWWA; Dennis Haskell, editor and UWA professor - these people put in the hours to help other writers achieve and publish.

Some say, Writing is a lonely business, and it often is, but last evening and in Lines In The Sand anthology, writing has brought an extended family together.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Today, celebrate FAWWA's 70 Years with 'Lines In The Sand'

You are Invited!

At 6:30pm TODAY
the Fellowship of Australian Writers WA anthology
'Lines In The Sand'
will be launched at
the Centre for the Book,
Alexander Library.

This gem includes a healthy cross-section of contemporary Western Australian writers, including Fay Zwicky, Robert Drewe, Glen Phillips, Sarah French, Rachel Petridis, Cecily Scutt, Murray Jennings, Lesley Thomas, Andrew Burke, Kevin Gillam, Georgia Richter, Roland Leach, Anna-Maria Weldon, Cyndie Innes, Lucy Dougan, Steven Dedman, and many others. (I've only seen the contents list once and I'm listing by memory, so forgive me if I've left your favourite author out.)

My suggestion: Buy one at the launch and get all the authors you can find to sign it. It will be worth a bob or two in years to come. In the meantime, you can read it >g<

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ezra Pound's birthplace

A poet's place

At Ezra Pound's former house, now part of The Sun Valley Center for the Arts, a small plaque near the door is all that identifies it as Pound's birthplace. A bookcase containing a life mask of Pound and assorted books are the only items inside that hint at Pound's connection. Pound was likely born in an upstairs bedroom (only the first floor of the house is open to visitors).

The house, simply called The Center, is open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Admission is free. Writers' workshops, exhibits, concerts and classes are offered.

The Center is at 341 Second Ave. S. (at the corner of Pine Street and Second Avenue) in Hailey, Idaho. More information: Sun Valley Center for the Arts, or 208-726-9491.

full article at

Monday, May 26, 2008

FAWWA Anthology to be launched Thursday

Lines in the Sand will be launched on Thursday 29th May, at 6:30pm, in the Centre for the Book, State Library, Perth, by Grant Stone, Scholarly Resources Librarian, Murdoch University.

RSVP or order your copy from

Sunday, May 25, 2008

introducing Zimmy

Photos taken on our new Jack Rassell X's 6 week birthday. Off to the vet tomorrow to have her first shots.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Washington Post's Mensa Invitational

Here is the Washington Post's Mensa Invitational, which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

The winners are:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating.
The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

12. Karmageddon: It's when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes,
and it's a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you

14. Glibido: All talk and no action.

15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom
at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

The winners are:

1. coffee, n. the person upon whom one coughs.

2. flabbergasted, adj. appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. abdicate, v. to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. esplanade, v. to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. willy-nilly, adj. impotent.

6. negligent, adj. absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. lymph, v. to walk with a lisp.

8. gargoyle, n. olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. flatulence, n. emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. balderdash, n. a rapidly receding hairline.

11. testicle, n. a humorous question on an exam.

12. rectitude, n. the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. pokemon, n. a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. oyster, n. a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. the belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

You are Invited to John Mateer's Book Launch

Salt Publishing and Inbooks
invite you
to celebrate the publication of


Published by Salt

To be launched by
John Kinsella
Wednesday, 28th May, 2008
6.30pm at
Planet Books
636-638 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley

RSVP by Monday 26th May to

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What Is It Anyway? Poetry Daily asks ...

On Tuesday we (Poetry Daily continue our series of prose features with "What Is It Anyway," from Quote Poet Unquote: Contemporary Quotations on Poets and Poetry, edited by Dennis O'Driscoll, just out from Copper Canyon Press:

"Poetry: three mismatched shoes at the entrance of a dark alley."
Charles Simic

"Poetry is energy, it is an energy-storing and an energy-releasing device."
Miroslav Holub

"Poetry is the eroticization of thought—psychic vitality."
Cal Bedient

"A poem... is the attire of feeling: the literary form where words seem tailor-made for memory or desire."
Carol Ann Duffy

Please - contribute your own!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Everyday Sitting in Zen

"One's everyday life, in its entirety, should be thought of as a kind of sitting in Zen. Even during formal sitting, one may leave one's seat to attend to something. In my temple at least, such things are allowed. Indeed it's sometimes advisable to walk in Zen for one incense stick's burning, and sit in Zen for the other. A natural thing, after all. One can't sleep all day, so one rises. One can't talk all day, so one engages in zazen. There are no binding rules here."

Bankei (1622-93), quoted from his Sayings and Writings, compiled and edited by Dr D.T.Suzuki as one of the volumes of the Iwanami Library, only part of which is available in English. (Not from the book above which is there for illustrative purposes only - although it looks like a fine book.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

From Sydney Writers Festival site ...Liyarn Ngarn

Wednesday, May 21, 7:30-9:45pm
Sydney Theatre at Walsh Bay

Liyarn Ngarn (meaning ‘coming together of the spirit’ in the Yawuru language of the West Kimberley region) is a powerful and important documentary charting renowned British actor Pete Postlethwaite's personal journey with respected songman Archie Roach into Aboriginal Australia. Seen through the eyes of an outsider who is suddenly immersed in the mire of Australian race relations, the film documents a 30 year long mission of indigenous leader and Yawuru man, Patrick Dodson, to bring about a lasting and true reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. This is a culturally significant and moving account of suffering and searching for justice.

Following the screening, Pete Postlethwaite, Patrick Dodson and Archie Roach discuss the road to reconciliation.

Supported by The Horizon Foundation.

Now there's an item I'd like to be at. Check out more at

Laughter is the Best Medicine

At the risk of losing my 'serious' readership, I would like to share a joke which tickled my fancy this morning. Thank you to my cousin Mary for sending me this.

Solving the Problem

A guy goes to a psychiatrist. "Doc, I keep having these alternating recurring dreams. First I'm a teepee; then I'm a wigwam; then I'm a teepee; then I'm a wigwam. It's driving me crazy. What's wrong with me?"

The doctor replies: "It's very simple. You're two tents."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pages Cafe Poets Corner Reading TOMORROW

Poets Corner @ Pages Cafe on 2 pm, TOMORROW, Saturday 17th May 2008, with special guests Murry Jennings, Annamaria Weldon, Deanne Leber and Andrew Burke.

Open Mic will be at 4pm, as usual: readers welcome to register with Frances Macaulay Forde on the day.

Pages Cafe is on the ground floor of the State Library in Perth's cultural centre. Easy to get to by train; heaps of parking; walk there if you have to >g<

Please come.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Work Safe! An Aussie ballad

The sun was hot already - it was only 8 o'clock
The cocky took off in his Ute, to go and check his stock.
He drove around the paddocks checking wethers, ewes and lambs,
The float valves in the water troughs, the windmills on the dams.

He stopped and turned a windmill on to fill a water tank
And saw a ewe down in the dam, a few yards from the bank.
"Typical bloody sheep," he thought, "they've got no common sense,
"They won't go through a gateway but they'll jump a bloody fence."

The ewe was stuck down in the mud, he knew without a doubt
She'd stay there 'til she carked it if he didn't get her out.
But when he reached the water's edge, the startled ewe broke free
And in her haste to get away, began a swimming spree.

He reckoned once her fleece was wet, the weight would drag her down
If he didn't rescue her, the stupid sod would drown.
Her style was unimpressive, her survival chances slim
He saw no other option, he would have to take a swim.

He peeled his shirt and singlet off, his trousers, boots and socks
And as he couldn't stand wet clothes, he also shed his jocks.
He jumped into the water and away that cocky swam
He caught up with her, somewhere near the middle of the dam

The ewe was quite evasive, she kept giving him the slip
He tried to grab her sodden fleece but couldn't get a grip.
At last he got her to the bank and stopped to catch his breath
She showed him little gratitude for saving her from death.

She took off like a Bondi tram around the other side
He swore next time he caught that ewe he'd hang her bloody hide.
Then round and round the dam they ran, although he felt quite puffed
He still thought he could run her down, she must be nearly stuffed.

The local stock rep came along, to pay a call that day.
He knew this bloke was on his own, his wife had gone away
He didn't really think he'd get fresh scones for morning tea
But nor was he prepared for what he was about to see.

He rubbed his eyes in disbelief at what came into view
For running down the catchment came this frantic-looking ewe.
And on her heels in hot pursuit and wearing not a stitch
The farmer yelling wildly "Come back here, you lousy bitch!"

The stock rep didn't hang around, he took off in his car
The cocky's reputation has been damaged near and far
So bear in mind the Work Safe rule when next you check your flocks
Spot the hazard, assess the risk, and always wear your jocks!


Monday, May 12, 2008

Poet's Corner this Saturday

Poets Corner @ Pages Cafe on 2 pm, Saturday 17th May 2008, with special guests Murry Jennings, Annamaria Weldon, Deanne Leber and Andrew Burke.

Open Mic will be at 4pm, as usual: readers welcome to register with Frances Macaulay Forde on the day.

Pages Cafe is on the ground floor of the State Library in Perth's cultural centre. Easy to get to by train; heaps of parking; walk there if you have to >g<

Sunday, May 11, 2008

This photo of Robert Creeley's gravestone, off Ron Silliman's blog. In recent days, I've been playing Creeley reading his poems to Steve Swallow's music. It always saddens me to hear a voice of one once so alive who is now dead, but it is better I suppose than the silence of a gravestone.

Oh No

If you wander far enough
you will come to it
and when you get there
they will give you a place to sit

for yourself only, in a nice chair,
and all your friends will be there
with smiles on their faces
and they will likewise all have places.

Track One on So There, Robert Creeley (poet) and Steve Swallow (composer), with The Cikada Quartet, and Steve Kuhn on piano. Recorded August 25, 2001 at The Make Believe Ballroom, West Shokan, New York. Released by XtraWATT/12 (ECM Records GmbH). More at

You can hear pieces of tracks off this CD at

Saturday, May 10, 2008

New $5,000 poetry prize - the Blake Poetry Prize


The Blake Poetry Prize 2008

$5,000 prize for new national poetry competition on the theme of 'Bliss, blasphemy and belief'

The NSW Writers' Centre is delighted to announce that it is joining the Blake Society, Leichhardt Municipal Council and Wet Ink magazine in sponsoring a new national poetry prize to be known as the Blake Poetry Prize, which calls for entries on the theme of 'Bliss, blasphemy and belief'.

The Chairwoman of the NSW Writers¹ Centre, Máire Sheehan,said: 'The aim of the competition is to give Australian poets another opportunity to achieve national recognition and a financial reward for their efforts.'

This new competition was made possible by the generosity of Leichhardt Municipal Council, which has a strong commitment to supporting the arts, and especially writing through the NSW Writers' Centre.

"This grant of $5,000 continues our longstanding commitment to the NSW Writers' Centre and the development of arts through the written and spoken word," Mayor of Leichhardt Council Cr Alice Murphy said.

The NSW Writers' Centre is pleased to develop this partnership with the Blake Society which awards the annual Blake Prize for Religious Art. Blake Chairman, the Reverend Rod Pattenden, said: 'This exciting new initiative links visual art and literature, and offers new possibilities for poets to explore the nature of spirituality in the twenty-first century.'

Australia's newest literary magazine Wet Ink will join the partnership by providing the judges for the competition and publishing the winner and commended entries in Wet Ink, which is distributed nationally and internationally. Co-managing Editor of Wet Ink, Dominique Wilson, said: 'We are very excited to be part of this important new prize. Wet Ink is dedicated to promoting new writers, and this prize enables us to further support emerging poets through recognising their talents and exposing their work to a broad audience, both within Australia and overseas.'

Download an entry form and conditions at the NSW Writers Centre link above.

Entries close Friday 27 June 2008
Entry fee: $15

Friday, May 09, 2008

Autumn in Perth

Poets Corner @ Pages Cafe 17 May

Note from Frances: If you haven't experienced Poets Corner @ Pages Cafe yet our next event takes place on 17th May 2007 with special guests Andrew Burke, Murry Jennings and Annamaria Weldon.

Open Mic will be at 4pm, as usual: readers welcome to register with me, Frances Macaulay Forde on the day.

Note from Andrew: It starts at 2pm, and Pages Cafe is on the ground floor of the State Library in Perth's cultural centre. Easy to get to by train; heaps of parking; walk there if you have to >g<

Monday, May 05, 2008

Gary Snyder wins Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

CHICAGO, April 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- Poet Gary Snyder is the winner of the 2008 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Established in 1986 and presented annually by the Poetry Foundation, the award is one of the most prestigious given to American poets, and at $100,000 it is one of the nation's largest literary awards. Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine and chair of the selection committee, made the announcement today. The prize will be presented at an evening ceremony at the Arts Club of Chicago on Thursday, May 29.

In announcing the award, Wiman said: "Gary Snyder is in essence a contemporary devotional poet, though he is not devoted to any one god or way of being so much as to Being itself. His poetry is a testament to the sacredness of the natural world and our relation to it, and a prophecy of what we stand to lose if we forget that relation."

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Help the Homeless - with every click on this site, will donate $1 to Mission Australia.

There are countless people out there who don't have a roof over their head, including families with little kids shivering through our winter nights. So, click away.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Intra View

We keep waiting for something to go wrong
with the seasons. I don't think writers
should tell people what to believe
or how to behave.
But something has already
gone wrong with the genres. So I let lots
of fragmentary, sometimes contradictory opinions
- as though they came from a large cast
of different characters - into the poems.
They have all bled into one another. That's
what life is like, after all. Decorum is
no longer observed. Just listen, next time
you take a bus into town. Millions
of different voices, each as important
as your own solitary whining. Isolation
and decline, fatal flaws
and falls, the throes of heroes.

(This text compiled by interweaving a paragraph from The Information by Martin Amis with the paragraph from an interview with John Tranter which I published on Tuesday. All literature is a game, of some seriousness or not.)

Creatrix - WA Poets Inc poetry online e-journal

Creatrix is the new name for our poetry online e-journal, previously known as Fresh Works, which is resuming after a short recess.

Creatrix will be published online in March, June, September and December each year.

To be considered for the June 2008 edition, your poems are to be received by Friday 23rd May 2008. All submissions to be sent by email.

We accept poetry up to 60 lines, or shorter poems preferred, open theme (no more than three poems per poet per issue). There is no guarantee your poem/s will be chosen.

At this stage, publication is for WA Poets Inc member poets only (NB FREE membership). Currently we cannot pay contributors, but your poetry will be showcased. We will accept prize winning or previously published work, with acknowledgements. Send poems as attachments either in .rtf or word .doc files.

Copyright of material in the e-journal remains with the individual contributors and cannot be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission from the authors.

The editing team for Creatrix will be Peter Jeffery, Andrew Burke and Maureen Sexton. The next edition will be edited by Maureen Sexton.

Email to The Editor with the words "online submission" in the subject line. The email address is: