Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hear a ballad from BEYOND CITY LIMITS ...

Go to, scroll down to the CD named Power of Song, and look for Track 13, The Ballad of Many Crows. Click on the music notation at the end of the name. Voila! Australian folksinger Margaret Walters will sing it for you.

I have been reading this poem from my new book Beyond City Limits (ICLL @ ECU)around the traps, and told people of the sung version, so I thought I'd post the connection up here. I hope you enjoy it.

Beyond City Limits
is available at -

Swan News, Bassendean Shopping Centre, cnr Old Perth Road and West Road, Bassendean


St John Bookshop, Highgate Court, Queen Street (near cnr High Street)


Oxford Street Books, 119 Oxford Street, Leederville


Collected Works Bookshop, Nicholas Building, Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000


ECU Bookshop, 2 Bradford Street, Mt Lawley

Planet Books
, just off the corner of Beaufort & Walcott Sts., Mt Lawley (part of the Planet Video complex)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vivienne Glance's "The Softness of Water" launched today

Today saw the launch of Vivienne Glance's The Softness of Water, published by Roland Leach's Sunline Press. A very attractive book, indeed. (Cover image above.)

Some people at the launch - Peter and Julie Jeffery, Pauline Matthews, John Aitken, Annamaria Weldon, Afeif Ismael, Amanda Joy and Angelo, Sally Clarke, Amanda Curtin, Jo Clark(e), Jen de Ness and husband William I think it was, Dick Atherton... No doubt I have forgotten some, so forgive me, please.

The book was launched by Shane McCauley and Donna Ward. Shane's speech was more about the literary content of the book, while Donna spoke of Vivienne's contribution to the arts and their long friendship, including writing sessions and editing each other's work.

Today's spring weather was delightful and the courtyard at the Fremantle Arts Centre was just perfect for the occasion.

So, long live Roland's Sunline Press, and may The Softness of Water sell well.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Style Invitational Winners - It's good to have a larf!

The Washington Post's Style Invitational also 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. *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.

2. *Foreploy* (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of
getting laid.

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

4. *Giraffiti* (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

5. *Sarchasm* (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the
person who doesn't get it.

6. *Inoculatte* (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

7. *Hipatitis* (n): Terminal coolness.

8. *Osteopornosis* (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

9. *Karmageddon* (n): its like, when everybody is sending off all these
really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a
serious bummer.

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

11. *Glibido* (v): All talk and no action.

12. *Dopeler effect* (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when
they come at you rapidly.

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

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

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

And the pick of the literature:

16. *Ignoranus* (n): A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BEYOND CITY LIMITS Available at These Bookshops

Forty one (41) poems for just $15. Bargain!

Swan News, Bassendean Shopping Centre, cnr Old Perth Road and West Road, Bassendean

St John Bookshop, Highgate Court, Queen Street (near cnr High Street)

Oxford Street Books, 119 Oxford Street, Leederville

ECU Bookshop, 2 Bradford Street, Mt Lawley

Planet Books
, just off the corner of Beaufort & Walcott Sts., Mt Lawley (part of the Planet Video complex)

A Basho hokku from 1692 ...

cats making love-
when it's over, misty
moonlight in the bedroom


Monday, September 21, 2009

A terrible joke, the pain of which is lessened if I share it with you ...

Old Poets bar, one poet talking to another.
"Why do Cowboys write poetry?"
Second poet says,"I don't know. Why?"
"Because they’re inspired by the moos."

Thank you, Sam Taggart - I think.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Watch+Listen - Hammer Museum: Rachel Loden and Rae Armantrout

Watch+Listen - Hammer Museum

Shared via AddThis

A couple of my favourite contemporary writers reading. Ain't technology grand?!

Blurb from the site:

9/8/09 -- Rae Armantrout is a professor of writing in the literature department at UCSD and the author of ten books of poetry, including Versed, Next Life, which was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best poetry books of 2007, and Up to Speed, also selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best poetry books of the year. She has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fund for Poetry, and the California Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship. Rachel Loden is the author of Dick of the Dead, which came out in May, 2009. Her first book, Hotel Imperium, was selected as one of the ten best poetry books of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle, which called it ?quirky and beguiling.? Awards include two appearances in the Best American Poetry series, a Pushcart Prize, a Fellowship in Poetry from the California Arts Council, and a grant from the Fund for Poetry. (Run Time: 1 hour, 23 min.)

Dennis Haskell spells out his literary goals


His appointment strengthens WA's representation on the seven-member literature board: Perth-born Gail Jones and Fay Zwicky, who went from Melbourne to Perth to work at UWA many years ago, are also on it.

The Literature Board's primary role is to grant funds directly to writers as well as to organisations such as publishers, literary magazines and writers centres, which make up the infrastructure of the literary world.

Haskell describes three aspects of the task of fostering literature: "The creation of literature, getting it published and marketing it, which includes writers festivals and encouragements to readers."

The board's five members are now Haskell, Jones, Zwicky, John Romeril and Margo Lanagan. Last month, according to an Australia Council spokesperson, the federal Arts Minister received recommendations for filling two vacancies, one of which opened when Nicholas Jose recently left to take up the chair of Australian studies at Harvard.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stockhausen's Kontakte with the Ensemble Offpsring

Last night I attended the 9th Totally Huge New Music Festival for the Western Australian premier performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Kontakte by members of Ensemble Offspring.
The program began with some forgettable works by Pimmon (Paul Gough) and other members of Ensemble Offspring, but the actual Stockhausen piece was fan-bloody-tastic. The pre-recorded electronic work was piped into the room in four corners, while Bernadette Balkus on piano and percussion pieces and Claire Edwardes on everything percussive (and some strange uses of those at that!)played live - and energetically too! They'll never get fat and unfit, I can tell you.

Old fashioned music man that I am, I enjoyed the cohesiveness of it and the connectivity of disparate sounds from a multitude of instruments, building a musical narrative framework - in direct contrast to Stockhausen's stated intention. Maybe his theory came to life in pieces after this. The programme notes, by Damien Ricketson (co-artistic director of Ensemble Offspring), say 'Kontakte is also noted as an example of Stockhausen's "moment form": a concept of structuring time that largely negates a narrative reading of music. Moment form focuses on the present moment and rejects music as a sequence of linear cause and effect relationships.'

In what time I have in the next couple of days, I will listen to other Stockhausen works (on CD) with this in mind.

Thanks to Tos Mahoney and Tura New Music for organising this festival - in a strange place for a New Music Fest - the WA Museum!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Beth Gelert; or, the Grave of the Greyhound

(William Robert Spencer 1769-1834)

The spearmen heard the bugle sound,
And cheerly smiled the morn;
And many a brach, and many a hound,
Obeyed Llewelyn's horn.

And still he blew a louder blast,
And gave a lustier cheer:
'Come, Gelert come, wer't never last
Llewelyn's horn to hear.

'Oh where does faithful Gelert roam,
The flower of all his race;
So true, so brave, a lamb at home,
A lion in the chase?'

'Twas only at Llewelyn's board
The faithful Gelert fed;
He watched, he served, he cheered his lord,
And sentinelled his bed.

In sooth he was a peerless hound,
The gift of royal John;
But now no Gelert could be found,
And all the chase rode on.

And now, as o'er the rocks and dells
The gallant chidings rise,
All Snowdon's craggy chaos yells
The many-mingled cries.

That day Llewelyn little loved
The chase of hart and hare;
And scant and small the booty proved,
For Gelert was not there.

Unpleased Llewelyn homeward hied,
When near the portal seat
His truant Gelert he espied,
Bounding his lord to greet.

But when he gained his castle door
Aghast the chieftain stood;
The hound all o'er was smeared with gore,
His lips, his fangs, ran blood.

Llewelyn gazed with fierce surprise;
Unused such looks to meet,
His favourite checked his joyful guise,
And crouched, and licked his feet.

Onward in haste Llewelyn passed,
And on went Gelert too;
And still, where'er his eyes he cast,
Fresh blood-gouts shocked his view.

O'erturned his infants bed he found,
With blood-stained covert rent;
And all around the walls and ground
With recent blood besprent.

He called his child--no voice replied--
He searched with terror wild;
Blood, blood he found on every side,
But nowhere found his child.

'Hell hound! my child's by thee devoured,'
The frantic father cried;
And to the hilt his vengeful sword
He plunged in Gelert's side.

His suppliant looks, as prone he fell,
No pity could impart;
But still his Gelert's dying yell
Passed heavy o'er his heart.

Aroused by Gelert's dying yell,
Some slumberer wakened nigh:
What words the parent's joy could tell
To hear his infant's cry!

Concealed beneath a tumbled heap
His hurried search had missed,
All glowing from his rosy sleep,
The cherub boy he kissed.

Nor scathe had he, nor harm, nor dread,
But, the same couch beneath,
Lay a gaunt wolf, all torn and dead,
Tremendous still in death.

Ah, what was then Llewelyn's pain!
For now the truth was clear;
His gallant hound the wolf had slain,
To save Llewelyn's heir.

Vain, vain was all Llewelyn's woe:
'Best of thy kind, adieu!
The frantic blow, which laid thee low,
This heart shall ever rue.'

And now a gallant tomb they raise,
With costly sculpture decked;
And marbles storied with his praise
Poor Gelert's bones protect.

There never could the spearman pass,
Or forester, unmoved;
There, oft the tear-besprinkled grass
Llewelyn's sorrow proved.

And there he hung his horn and spear,
And there, as evening fell,
In fancy's ear he oft would hear
Poor Gelert's dying yell.

And till great Snowdon's rocks grow old,
And cease the storm to brave,
The consecrated spot shall hold
The name of 'Gelert's grave'.

Note that the accent is on the first syllable of Gelert and Beddgelert is pronounced Beth Gelert as in the title of Spencer's poem.

Monday, September 14, 2009

CJ Dennis Prize for Poetry: Winner & Shortlist 2009

Judges: Claire Gaskin (convenor), Justin Clemens and Lisa Gorton
Judges’ comments

It was great to see such a large number of entries from Australian presses, reflecting the range and strength of our national poetry scene, the irrepressibility of poetry. We were excited by several new poets, such as Andrew Slattery with Canyon, and also by some striking collections from established poets, such as Anthony Lawrence's Bark and Pam Brown's True Thoughts. This award is for a substantial body of new work: the books on the shortlist distinguished themselves by their craft and commitment, and because they held together as collections.


The winner of the CJ Dennis Prize for Poetry is:

* The Golden Bird
Robert Adamson (Black Inc)


The Golden Bird - WINNER

Robert Adamson
(Black Inc)

The new work in this collection shows remarkable craftsmanship. From the very beginning of the sequence, one knows one is in capable hands; Adamson never strikes a bum note. The poems are spare and fantastical, where strange birds fly from savage nature into the world of history and politics. Adamson creates a taut vernacular with an element of song, which pulses throughout the poems.

Fishing in the Devonian

Carol Jenkins
(Puncher and Wattman)

Fishing in the Devonian draws on astrophysics, palaeontology and suburban Australian life. Driving the idea of 'nature poetry' beyond its usual limits, Jenkins creates a stunning sequence of poems with an extraordinary power of defamiliarisation. From extinct species of fish to extinct species of fridge, Jenkins' wit and imagination is evident throughout.

The Other Way Out

Bronwyn Lea
(Giramondo Publishing)

Lea works and reworks traditional forms, bringing individuality and edginess, wit and longing to her verse. The poems are lucid yet surprising, consistent and seductive. The directness of Lea's voice balances intimacy with restrained technical experimentation. Wide-ranging in her allusions, Lea writes as well about love as about art, setting up dialogues between other writers, thinkers and her own life.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two New Chapbooks by Andrew Lansdown from Picaro Press

You might like to know that Picaro Press (Warners Bay, NSW) has just published two small collections of Andrew Lansdown's poetry:

1. Consolations: 48 tanka (28 pages)

2. Little Matters: a gathering of 89 haiku & senryu (24 pages)

These chapbooks are available from the publisher for $3.60 each, postage included.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I'll say it again ...

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933

from The Group


All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling Oscar Wilde No poems can please for long or live that are written by water drinkers Horace Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing Sylvia Plath A poet's work is to name the unnameable to point at frauds to take sides start arguments shape the world and stop it going to sleep Salman Rushdie Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world Percy Bysshe Shelley Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history Plato Poetry is as precise as geometry Gustave Flaubert Always be a poet even in prose Charles Baudelaire A poem is never finished only abandoned Paul Valery


Poetry is what gets lost in translation Robert Frost There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing John Cage Poetry the best words in the best order Samuel Taylor Coleridge Painting is silent poetry and poetry is painting that speaks Plutarch To see clearly is poetry prophecy and religion all in one John Ruskin There's no money in poetry but then there's no poetry in money either Robert Graves I talk to God but the sky is empty Sylvia Plath Forever is composed of nows Emily Dickinson A poet can survive everything but a misplint Oscar Wilde

Friday, September 11, 2009

LAUNCH: The Softness of Water by Vivienne Glance, published by Sunline Press

You are invited to celebrate the launch of

“The Softness of Water”

a collection of poems
by Vivienne Glance

Launched by Shane McCauley with Donna Ward

Sunday 27th September 2009

2.30pm - 4.30pm
The Inner Courtyard, Fremantle Arts Centre
1, Finnerty Street, Fremantle

Light refreshments
Music from WAZA Ensemble
and Jen de Ness & Bill Atkinson
Books available for sale $25

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sonnets from Carine Senior High School Students

Recently I visited Carine Senior High School for National Poetry Week where a couple of classes were looking at the Sonnet form. We looked at Sonnets from Shakespeare to Tranter, taking them on a whirlwind journey from the revolutionary forms created by the Bard through to John Tranter's hundred sonnets in his earlier collection, Crying In Early Infancy.

Their teacher, Helen McCormick, kindly sent me a couple of sonnets by two of the students, so - with their permission - I will share them with you now.

Sonnet #4,359

Shall I compare thee to a bowl of cereal?
Thou art more lovely - though contain less whole grains.
While a bowl of cereal is a tasty morning snack
and contains many nutrients essential to well being,
I believe you could far outpace one in a triathlon,
Or maintain a better golfing handicap.
Cereals wither by milk's souring course untrimmed,
But thy eternal dairy shall not rot!
I would also like to point out that such a bowl
Does not have the mental capacity to operate simple devices
Such as an umbrella, doorknob or wooden box,
Whereas you exceed at such activities.
So long as brunch can provide us with these nutrients,
So long lives my preference for you over Uncle Toby.


The Model of Modern Society
by Hannah Richards

Her hair is ruler straight with multi-hued tips,
eyelashes flick dark black while lines are drawn.
A tan visage, cherry-licking lips.
Glass reflects a sleek, short silk, slimly worn.

A diamond bag worth half the week's earnings
clutched at her side, the nails creamy French fakes.
The men sigh, brought back to common yearnings,
women cry, oh how that jealousy aches.

Replications stuck in people’s faces.
At new birth, will she be remembered?
Girls; dreaming of re-walking her paces.
Sly reporters; her story dismembered.

To be famous, to be rich, to be hot;
aspirations are founded on these, are they not?


Thank you also to Betty Bryant who organised the visit, and to Robin (spl?) Archer, teacher, and the great librarians I met who were nothing like the ones I see causing such havoc on ABC TV.

PS: I apologise to Kale who I had as Kate for about two days - sorry about that.

Thursday evening @ 6.30pm at PLANET BOOKS be there for the launch of ANDREW TAYLOR'S The Unhaunting

Monday, September 07, 2009

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Entries are now being accepted for the KSP Short Fiction Award 2009:

Writers of all ages are invited to submit their work.
Young writers (20 years and under) are encouraged to enter the
Mundaring National Young Writers Awards
where they may submit their work for FREE!

Cash prizes are awarded, and winners will be invited to read
at the Celebration of Katharine’s Birthday
KSP Writers’ Centre, 3 pm Sunday, December 6, 2009.

A fee of $7.00 per story applies for all Open Category entries with a limit of one story per person.

For further information, including Conditions of Entry,
please contact KSP on 9294 1872
or visit their website

Thursday, September 03, 2009

My visit to ECU Bunbury today (for National Poetry Week)

Dr Donna Mazza, author and academic, arranged for a poetry workshop and reading down at ECU Bunbury today. I enjoyed every minute of it - well, I'm like that with an audience, aren't I. The audience was mainly from the local campus, but a small number of people did come from Margaret River and Busselton, etc. I was flattered that people would drive out of their way to hear me.

My new book, Beyond City Limits, did sell well, so I was doubly pleased.

Pics: The small crowd are reading entries in the instant poetry competition, which Donna organised great prizes for. And the formal photo shows myself, the boss Robert Irvine, and the indefatigable Donna Mazza.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Today, 2-hour Poetry Workshop at ECU Bunbury Campus

If you are down Bunbury way Thursday 3 September, come to ECU's South West Campus, Building 5, for a two hour Poetry Workshop lead by yours truly, starting at 10am, then a poetry Reading & Slam, with prizes, after. It will be fun, I assure you, and it is all part of Australia's National Poetry Week.

Andrew Taylor interviewed by Peter Jeffery this Friday

Hear ANDREW TAYLOR on 6EBA (95.3 FM) around 4pm this Friday in an interview with Peter Jeffery. This Arts program is one of the few places in Perth media where poetry is often featured and promoted.

Andrew Taylor's new poetry collection, The Unhaunting, has just been released by SALT Books. It will be launched by Dennis Haskell at Planet Books, Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley, 6.30pm on Thursday 10th September.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


The title poem from Annamaria Weldon's collection The Roof Milkers (Sunline Press 2008) will be featured on ABC Radio National's Poetica this Saturday 5th September.