Friday, January 30, 2009


2009 Creative Writing Workshops
start 10am to Noon Wednesday 4 February
at Tom Collins House,
corner Kirkwood and Wood Streets, Swanbourne,
set in amongst the trees
and home of The Fellowship of Australian Writers.

$20 per session or 8 weeks for $120.
Unwaged and disabled, $15.

Conducted by Dr Andrew Burke, a Creative Writing teacher with a couple of decades experience in steering people towards creating texts in their own voice.

In a fun loving and open-hearted way, we approach writing stories, poems and life stories through notes, writing exercises, group discussion and examples. Subjects we have covered in the past include Characterization, Dialogue, Description, Editing your own Work (and others), Plot versus Unplot, the many styles and opportunities for poetry, writing competitions, how to send your work away, Concrete Images, the song in the words ...

"I am an experienced Creative Writing teacher with a couple of decades experience in steering people towards creating texts in their own voice."
Andrew Burke

(Photo shot at CW Workshop in Notre Dame Uni, Broome, last November - very similar scene)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

John Updike has died. Read more at the New York Times

I particulalry chose this photo because it shows him in a comfortable setting. Many other times he looks uncomfortable in air-conditioned libraries and offices. His formative years were spent in open spaces, so a part of him was more comfortable there, to my mind. I was a fan of his short stories, and, of course, read Couples and Witches of Eastwick, etc - but the short stories remain in my mind as almost faultless.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

snap: the internal cage

… just like a poet,
to grunt and grizzle.

What can you tell
about a person
from their unhappiness?


We all have a cage
inside the other cage,

or closed,
hanging in there.


Poems are triggered
between the pun-up at midnight
and the write-down at dawn -

it’s the ancient phrase
and the latest craze
that signs our days.

Quote of the Day

"You can't get rid of poverty by giving people money."

- P. J. O'Rourke

experimental work showcased - send yours ...

multifarious things going on at !check them and send something for consideration !

text in message window only ... no attachments ...

thanks ! send to ...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ibis on the drying lake

The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg

I wanted to see The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg but it tells me it's not available in my country or domain. Part of AG's life and times was spent in Australia, so we have a right - no? (& I thought the internet was universal ...) The trailer is available at the website spelt out above. Can you access the YouTube version in other countries? Free to air?

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Blueroom and Openmouth present the inaugural "Perth Poetry Slam".

See hear touch taste and smell it - BE ONE!!

The Perth Poetry Slam series is part of the "25 nights of Summer" program at the Blue Room - 53 James Street, Northbridge in the PerthCultural Centre.

Starting Wednesday 4th February 2009 from 8pm, the Perth Poetry Slam runs each Wednesday night until the 4th March. Up to 20 wordmongers willdazzle each other in a battle to the death.

To Register go to:

In the spirit of the Australian Poetry Slam: One poet, 2 minutes, no props, no backing. Just you and the mic in the spotlight - performing original spoken word, poetry, hip hop, monologues and stories - or whatever...

Five randomly chosen audience members will judge the performances to see who wins the final on the 4th March.

1. Wednesday 4 February 8pm
2. Wednesday 11 February 8pm
3. Wednesday 18 February 8pm
4. Wednesday 25 February 8pm
Final: Wednesday 4 March 8pm

Prizes etc to be announced soon.

To register, find out more or book tickets:
go to
or email:
or phone 0402 573 580

Hosted by WA performance poet Allan Boyd - aka the antipoet.

Registration is free. Audience tickets are $5. Limited capacity - please book.

Tune into RTRFM 92.1 Wednesday mornings during the series to hear 2 poets battle it out in an on air Slam Off!

Perth Poetry Slam Website:

THE BLUE ROOM website:

Hear here: Robert Creeley at PennSound

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tinfish - Looking for Submissions

Aloha! We at Tinfish are looking for work for our 19th issue of the magazine. Submissions of up to 6 poems are welcome from anyone in or beside the Pacific Ocean. Please send to 47-728 Hui Kelu Street #9, Kaneohe, HI 96744. Don't just send us your own work; also send another poet our way, as well. If you don't know what kind of work we publish, go to the website and check under "free stuff," or better yet, subscribe to the journal!

This year we will publish books by Paul Naylor and Kaia Sand, as well as our annual mag. So please keep your ear close to our URL:

I have started a Tinfishish blog, too:
so please check there on occasion.

Susan M. Schultz
Tinfish editor

Go to the Tinfish website for more information

Monday, January 19, 2009

As We Swelter, Linfen Freezes

People walk on a road covered by the ice surge. On the morning of January 18, a rare ice surge took place near a scenic waterfall spot on the Yellow River in the Jixian County, Linfen City, in north China's Shanxi Province. The sudden ice surge raised the riverbed by four meters along a run of more than 800 meters. Nearby roads and public infrastructures were submerged by the ice. Dozens of houses and shops have been flooded and damaged. The local authorities have established a rescue headquarters to evacuate trapped villagers and tourists. The ice surge has not caused any casualties so far and the full extent of the damage is being assessed. [People's Daily photo]

Poetry: "... how lucky we are to love such a wild untamable thing."

Ada Limon's 5 Ways To Practise Poetry can be found at

1) Write everyday. It's easier than it sounds. Make time everyday to write SOMETHING. Even if it's one line scribbled into a napkin on the subway or the bus, or a whole precious early hour in the morning. This practice lets the mind know that everyday we must be observant, that we are paying attention, always.

2) Learn poems you love. Read whatever poems you can get your handson. Not just the classics, but those poets who are writing today. Pick up journals, magazines, and anthologies; search for the poems that break you open. Read those poems over and over again until you have them memorized in your mouth. Don't worry about mimicking them, just accept them as your teachers and hold them close. Become an expert on the poems you adore.

3) Cultivate silence. Silence is essential in order to hear your own voice. Especially nowadays when we often have the television on, the radio on, or music playing all day long, it is essential to find some silence to listen to your own voice. Your own voice is the only thing your poetry needs.

4) Embrace revision. Revision might be the hardest thing that writers have to do, aside from battling our own internal demons, because it means admitting that we are wrong. Sometimes we are so wrong that we need to start all over again, and it's embarrassing. Sometimes we only need to change a comma, but listen, every poem needs revision and every poet needs to learn humility.

5) Practice gratitude. Cherish those friends and colleagues who care enough to read and comment on your work. If you truly pursue writing, you will come to realize how enormously important these people are to your writing life and therefore to your making of a "real" life. Make sure you read their work with the same care and closeness they offer you. And buy them coffee and cakes when they return a manuscript with pencil marks on every page. It is a true act of kindness that should be greeted with great gratitude. And be thankful that you want to write at all, what a powerful art to devote a life to, how lucky we are to love such a wild untamable thing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Here Comes Me - an interview

The following interview uses the questions set out by Here Comes Everybody, which Lance Phillips started in June 2004 & kept up through January 2007, over 130 interviews in all. See them all at

I just trotted these answers out tonight for fun. They would probably change if I did it again tomorrow.

1. What is the first poem you ever loved? Why?

‘Said Hanrahan’ by P.J. Hartigan ("John O’Brien")
Because it spoke wittily, and kindly, about human weakness, and showed the cyclical balance of nature. And because it was as easy to remember as song lyrics.

2. What is something / someone non-“literary” you read which may surprise your peers / colleagues? Why do you read it / them?

The sports pages in the daily newspapers and on the internet – especially during the cricket season.

3. How important is philosophy to your writing? Why?

My daily philosophy of life comes through loud and clear in my writing, but I am not an adherent of any one school of philosophy.

4. Who are some of your favorite non-Australian writers? Why?

Michael Ondaatje for his imaginative, organic style, built of rich language and human insights.

Charles Bernstein for his wit and wordplay.

Sheila Murphy for her creative energy and the constant surprises in her writing.

Samuel Beckett for his unflinching eye on his fellow humans, his timing and brilliant use of English, constantly renewing the power of words by their placement and associative stance.

Bob Dylan for his vulnerability and humanity, his wit and style while reinvigorating colloquial language, and his durability.

5. Do you read a lot of poetry? If so, how important is it to your writing?

Yes, I read poetry everyday, often poetry I’ve read before but through a different set of lens - the New York School or Olson, but then I’ll read a bit of Chaucer or an old ballad, just to hear the song in words again.

6. What is something which your peers / colleagues may assume you’ve read but haven’t? Why haven’t you?

Hmmm, have to think about that one.

7. How would you explain what a poem is to a seven year old?

I would give the child examples from their own experience – if I knew it – and then go through images of the five senses with the child, hopefully keeping them all on one subject, like an orange or a kitten or some such - and together we would create a poem.

8. Do you believe in a Role for the Poet? If so, how does it differ from the Role of the Citizen?


9. Word associations (the first word which comes to mind; be honest):

Lemon : tree
Chiseled : face
I : thou
Of : when
Form : content

10. What is the relationship between the text and the body in your writing?

I believe words are fished out of the brain in the body, and the pace and imagery of the language I use is created by the pulse and library of my body, from where it has stored all the accumulated sensory data of my experience. Therefore, how I apprehend and comprehend the universe through my senses happens on a continual millisecond by millisecond basis and influences not only past experience but the outpourings of my present. This includes reading, viewing and hearing creative works by other artists – and tasting too, perhaps. So, the body, my body, is of paramount importance and the primary source of my writing. (So I should look after it better …)

by John O'Brien

"We’ll all be rooned," said Hanrahan
In accents most forlorn
Outside the church ere Mass began
One frosty Sunday morn.

The congregation stood about,
Coat-collars to the ears,
And talked of stock and crops and drought
As it had done for years.

"It’s lookin’ crook," said Daniel Croke;
"Bedad, it’s cruke, me lad
For never since the banks went broke
Has seasons been so bad."

"It’s dry, all right," said young O’Neil,
With which astute remark
He squatted down upon his heel
And chewed a piece of bark.

And so around the chorus ran
"It’s keepin’ dry, no doubt."
"We’ll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
"Before the year is out.

"The crops are done; ye’ll have your work
To save one bag of grain;
From here way out to Back-O’-Bourke
They’re singin’ out for rain.

"They’re singin’ out for rain," he said,
"And all the tanks are dry."
The congregation scratched its head,
And gazed around the sky.

"There won’t be grass, in any case,
Enough to feed an ass;
There’s not a blade on Casey’s place
As I came down to Mass."

"If rain don’t come this month," said Dan,
And cleared his throat to speak –
"We’ll all be rooned," said Hanrahan, "
If rain don’t come this week."

A heavy silence seemed to steal
On all at this remark;
And each man squatted on his heel,
And chewed a piece of bark.

"We want an inch of rain, we do,"
O’Neil observed at last;
But Croke "maintained" we wanted two
To put the danger past.

"If we don’t get three inches, man,
Or four to break this drought,
We’ll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
"Before the year is out."

In God’s good time down came the rain;
And all the afternoon
On iron roof and window-pane
It drummed a homely tune.

And through the night it pattered still,
And lightsome, gladsome elves
On dripping spout and window-sill
Kept talking to themselves.

It pelted, pelted all day long,
A-singing at its work,
Till every heart took up the song
Way out to Back-O’-Bourke.

And every creek a banker ran,
And dams filled overtop;
"We’ll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
"If this rain doesn’t stop."

And stop it did, in God’s good time:
And spring came in to fold
A mantle o’er the hills sublime
Of green and pink and gold.

And days went by on dancing feet,
With harvest-hopes immense,
And laughing eyes beheld the wheat
Nid-nodding o’er the fence.

And, oh, the smiles on every face,
As happy lad and lass
Through grass knee-deep on Casey’s place
Went riding down to Mass.

While round the church in clothes genteel
Discoursed the men of mark,
And each man squatted on his heel,
And chewed his piece of bark.

"There’ll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
There will, without a doubt;
We’ll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
"Before the year is out."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A way in for the way out

there's some new texts on peter ganick's literary blog:

click on the link to have a look and read.

send Peter Ganick some words/text.

send all mail to <>

they could be online within a few days.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


With Duncan Thompson

A free one day seminar presented by the Australian Writers' Guild in association with the International Film School Sydney Writing ...

Topics covered include: the drama of being human, dramatic legibility of character, subjectivity, the cinematic brilliance of the central passive character, writing moments, the phenomenological structure of character subjectivities, thematic expression through dramatic engineering, writing great cinematic endings, creating compelling character and audience journeys, writing inspired dialogue, creating the brilliant scene.

When: 9.30am to 4.30pm Sunday 18 January 2009
Where: Theatrette, Building A School Of Isolated and Distance Education(SIDE)
164 ­ 194 Oxford St Leederville
SIDE is opposite the Luna Cinemas.

Cost: FREE Limited places, bookings essential

Bookings: Your email booking should be addressed to Alan Payne, AWG WA Manager, and sent to [Ed: Copy and paste into the 'send' area of your email provider if this link doesn't work] In the subject heading of the email, please write [Surname] Writing Cinematically.
Please provide a phone contact number.

Closing Date: 5.00pm Thursday 15 January Early booking recommended.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Poems on view ...

I have a couple of poems up at When you have a mo, have a look.

In a day or two, Peter Ganick (editor) is also going to publish an experimental short story of mine, entitled Two Dead Matches. So, feel free to return on Monday >g<

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Belief & Technique for Modern Prose -- List of Essentials by Jack Kerouac

Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy

--Submissive to everything, open, listening
--Try never get drunk outside yr own house
--Be in love with yr life
--Something that you feel will find its own form
--Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
--Blow as deep as you want to blow
--Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
--The unspeakable vision of the individual
--No time for poetry but exactly what is
--Visionary tics shivering in the chest
--In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
--Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
--Like Proust, be an old teahead of time
--Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
--The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
--Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
--Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
--Accept loss forever
--Believe in the holy contour of life
--Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
--Dont [sic] think of words when you stop but to see picture better
--Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
--No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
--Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
--Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
--In Praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
--Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
--You're a Genius all the time
--Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

Yours - Jack

thanks to for the above.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

East Asia Pacific team wins in Australia

While the Aussies and the Proteas battle it out on the last day of the Third Test, it is a rest day for the Australian Country Cricket Championships in South Australia. My interest there is my youngest son, Charlie, works for the ICC and coaches a team called the East Asia Pacific Team, combining members from Papua New Guinea, Japan and other nations in the area. I wouldn't mention it only they won yesterday! Here's a mini-report from head office:

The EAP team are currently competing in the Australian Country Cricket Championships in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. After being thumped in Round 1, the boys rallied to knock off South Australia thanks largely to a 4 wicket haul from Raymond Haoda Jnr and a thrilling century from Kila Pala, including 10 sixes!!!


I only wish I had a photograph of Kila Pala and his mighty sixes to share with you. Charlie assures me they were classic shots and not huge swings - simply grace, timing and power.

Monday, January 05, 2009


at Tom Collins House

Today you won’t see one
but back in the Sixties
the historic house I lived in had
a timber and wire clothesline,
propped up in mid string
by the long branch of a gum tree
which forked at the top and held up
each sagging line. Urban Aboriginals,
out of work and down on their lunch,
walked door to door selling these props,
cut down on bush walks out of town.
With over six metres of sheets and nappies
flapping in an easterly off the desert, strong wires
hung loose between two crucifixes
with movable arms. On the night of a full moon
a small feathered woman would arrive
and sit on top of the post near
the gnarled and knotted mulberry tree,
her wisdom silent in her,
two deep eyes focused on me
as I wrote by moonlight,
sitting on the back steps,
pad resting on sunburnt knees.

I'm looking for verification of the type of wood used to make those clothes props, post WWII, and sold in the Perth area.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Freddie Hubbard dies at 70

Hard bop trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, who first hit the New York scene when he was just 20, died of a massive heartache. Full report at

Saturday, January 03, 2009

11 Things for a Poet to Do by Linh Dinh

First one: Hoard your time, since you’ll need it to be alone to think and to write.

Now read the rest at

(Drawn to my attention from for which I give thanks)

Friday, January 02, 2009

Walking to the River (edited)

The river. Dogs swim in it, fish piss in it. It washes its dead up on the banks. The banks ignore it. The river is our destination through flaking trees and salty flowers, across riverside roads and sign-posted paths with people celebrating the invention of the wheel. Out of the river a bird sticks its black arse, a Rabelaisian greeting, and I half expect a cartoon balloon to belch into the air, saying, 'Fuck off, will ya, I'm trying to fish here!' I look down and at my dog's front paws there lies a complete river bream. It seems healthy, not a mark on it, so I look around, thinking it might be some mass death by industrial pollution. No: just one stark fish, its scales silver in the sunlight. My dog has one sniff and into the river for a swim. I call her back but there is no stopping her and I trust her instincts to judge fresh water from foul. Reeds grow green and straight, the cormorant appears again, with its knowing look. The river seems healthy enough. Here again, today, two pelicans do their strange ritual: while one swims up river, close to our bank, the other swims down river by the far bank, the bank with the restaurant nesting on its jetty. Like pedestrians walking both sides of a suburban road in different directions. My dog comes to shore and does her shake dance. 'Go, girl, go!' I say to her, half laughing, then wet dog and I turn for home, leaving the dead bream for birds to peck, the cormorant to his fishing, and perverse pelicans to come to their conclusion.

(Thanks to Sarah French for editing suggestions.)

Get writing!

from : 'Our prompt is simple - a poem about laundry, wash, clotheslines or anything connected to that whole simple experience.'

This site is a good thought starter for poems if you haven't a thought in your head but you want to write. Maybe it is a rare moment when you have time to write - our busy lives are like that, aren't they. The current prompt is inspired by a Jane Kenyon poem called WASH


All day the blanket snapped and swelled
on the line, roused by a hot spring wind....
From there it witnessed the first sparrow,
early flies lifting their sticky feet,
and a green haze on the south-sloping hills.
Clouds rose over the mountain... At dusk
I took the blanket in, and we slept,
restless, under its fragrant weight.

Jane Kenyon from Otherwise

- and even undomesticated I can relate to that! You get to offer up your poem for publication too if you have it finished before January 10. Get writing!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Who said this? A riddle with an answer

"Cricket, the whole thing, playing, watching, being part of the Gaieties, has been a central feature of my life."

Go to to find out more.

Five Poems by Sarah Gridley

New and On View: Mudlark Poster No. 78 (2009)

Honey Ants | Is He Decently Put Back Together?
Return of the Native to the Widespread Hour
Ovation | The Orator's Maximal Likelihood

Sarah Gridley's poems have appeared in Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, The Beloit Poetry Journal, jubilat, Drunken Boat, Meridian, Journal 1913, VOLT, Barrow Street, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, and Tusculum Review. Weather Eye Open, her first collection of poems, was published by the University of California Press (Berkeley 2005). A new collection, Green Is the Orator, is forthcoming from California in 2010. She received an MFA from the University of Montana in 2000, where she was a Richard Hugo Scholar and won the 1999 Merriam Frontier Award. Currently she is a Lecturer in poetry at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Spread the word. Far and wide,

William Slaughter

An Electronic Journal of Poetry & Poetics
Never in and never out of print...

New Year's Day haiku

river’s edge
roots hold the tall she-oak
steady at high tide