Saturday, October 31, 2009

Writing is an Act of Faith - EB White

"There is no average reader, and to reach down toward this mythical creature is to deny that each of us is on the way up, is ascending.
"It is our belief that no writer can improve his work until he discards the dulcet notion that the reader is feeble-minded, for writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar. Ascent is at the heart of the matter."

EB White, "Calculating Machine"

After the Poetry Form Writing workshop at Tom Collins House ...

Today's workshop went well, even if it was lightly attended. We looked at sonnets from Shakespeare to Tranter, villanelles, pantoums, Dream Songs, syllabic verse, concrete (typewriter style) poetry, and wrote a healthy amount of the time. One clever lady wrote three very acceptable poems! With a little shining up they'll be blessed with printer's ink before you know it.

I continue to be amazed at how people can write in a group, complete strangers, and turn out such creative work. I'm a bit of a loner when it comes to writing. Is this a male trait, do you think?

today 1pm Poetry Form Workshop at Tom Collins House

For reasons beyond his control, Kevin Gillam can't run this workshop, as advertised. So, you have me. (So, no cello, but more bad jokes ...)

Saturday 31 October 1-5pm, I will be running a Poetry Form Workshop for the FAW(WA) at Tom Collins House. All welcome! We will be approaching the usual forms plus some exotics with examples and exercises.

$50 non-members, $40 members/unwaged/pensioners.

Tom Collins House
is in the Allen Park Heritage Precinct, among the trees cnr Kirkwood and Wood Streets, Swanbourne.

Friday, October 30, 2009

STOP PRESS: Poetry Form Workshop 1-5pm Tomorrow @ Tom Collins House

For reasons beyond his control, Kevin Gillam can't run this workshop, as advertised. So, you have me. (So, no cello, but more bad jokes ...)

Saturday 31 October 1-5pm
, I will be running a Poetry Form Workshop for the FAW(WA) at Tom Collins House. All welcome! We will be approaching the usual forms plus some exotics with examples and exercises.

$50 non-members, $40 members/unwaged/pensioners.

Tom Collins House
is in the Allen Park Heritage Precinct, among the trees cnr Kirkwood and Wood Streets, Swanbourne.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Perth Poetry Club presents ANDREW TAYLOR Saturday 31st October

Perth Poetry Club entertains you with spoken word every Saturday.

This Saturday at The Moon Cafe, 323 William Street, Northbridge (near the corner of Newcastle Street). 2-4pm. Open mike and featured guests:

31 Oct: the illustrious and entertaining Andrew Taylor

7 Nov: the insightful words of Lily Chan + Terry Farrell

14 Nov: the poetic pleasure of Amanda Joy (venue TBA)

More info at
Enquiries: or Janet 0406 624 578.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thanks for this, Penny

Daily Issa

As many of you know, I receive an Issa haiku daily, from the site listed below. Today's haiku is so wonderful, I'd like to share it with you:

but right next door

-Issa, 1824

'Larrikin Angel': a Biography of Veronica Brady by Kath Jordan

Admonisher of popes and politicians, feisty gladiator in many a social justice campaign, inspirational teacher and devout Catholic nun, Veronica Brady was an intriguing figure on the Australian scene in the latter part of the twentieth century. As well as covering her childhood, her decision to enter a religious order, her rise through the ranks of academia and her social activism, this authorised biography discusses Dr Brady’s term on the board of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, her preparation of the biography of Judith Wright and her travels in China, among many other facets of her very full life. The author has had access to private papers and has spoken to many of her subject’s acquaintances and former colleagues.

Some comments on Larrikin Angel:

A splendid tribute to an utterly splendid woman. Veronica Brady's personal combination of activism, spirituality and energetic intelligence is a model of how to be-in-the-world with both rigorous conscience and profound affirmation.
Gail Jones

Ah, Veronica Brady, my favourite Catholic, the one of whom Pope John Paul II used to ask every morning when he woke up, 'Is she dead yet?' A story worth the telling.
Phillip Adams

Veronica Brady's profound literary sensibility, as well as her vision, moral integrity and fearless truth-speaking, made her the perfect biographer of my mother, Judith Wright. Larrikin Angel gives a fine, vivid sense of Veronica’s own story and shows why she must be considered one of Australia's most precious assets.
Meredith McKinney

Veronica Brady's question ‘Do we worship Jesus or an institution?’ captures her value to the Church she served and to all of us. In an often smug and complacent society, we need Veronica Brady and her ilk to remind us to look beyond ourselves. I think Jesus would be OK with her.
Fred Chaney

Order by mail

To order Larrikin Angel by mail, please send a cheque / money order / bank draft for AUD32.95 plus AUD4.00 postage/packing for each copy to

Round House Press
PO Box 652
South Fremantle WA 6162

Please do not neglect to advise us of your address.

About Round House Press

Round House Press
is a boutique publishing house located in Fremantle, Western Australia.

The press offers inexpensive editorial, design and production services to organisations and individuals to assist them with publishing projects. Contact Allan Watson to discuss your proposal.

Postal Address:
Round House Press
PO Box 652
South Fremantle WA 6162


+61 (0)8 9430 4964

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just released: 'Birds in Mind' by Andrew Lansdown

from Wombat Books' website at

Author Andrew Lansdown is renowned for his award winning poetry. In this brand new collection of over 200 pages there are poems told through various forms, but all with a focus on nature.

On the back, Les Murray says: "Lansdown spices the world with pinches of finches."

There are many haiku and tanka within these pages, and the same accurate eye and ear is brought to bear in other forms on much minutiae of the natural world.

Here's a little poem, as many of them are, as a taster:

Street Artist

Using pompom brushes
and a pointillist technique,

a wattle tree has dabbed
a park bench with yellow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sheila Murphy's 'Reverse Haibun' now available


Paper, wrinkled relic, all the power to hold as if absorption shapes the actual

Versatility may not equal woods. Plain speech, once collateral in form. Now tension’s practiced-seeming. In small concentration of attunement fostering an energy induction. Irises, mint, cottonwood. Enough to say the litany reverts to actuality from senses five through seven. Made something to resemble wholeness if perceived as accidental wilderness. Overcome with being filtered through a sentence.


Just one example from over 200 pages of Sheila Mutrphy's wonderful and exciting new collection through Chalk Editions at

NYT article about Jung ...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

OOTA Spilt Ink Poetry Competition 2009

I have just finished judging the OOTA (Out Of The Asylum - Fremantle Arts Centre writing group) Spilt Ink Poetry Competition - and I was truly surprised at the consistent high quality of the entries. I have judged many writing competitions over the past three decades, and am used to having an easy time sorting the wheat from the chaff - only the finalists cause real decision making in most competitions. Not this time: I was asked for ten finalists, and my second run through cut it down to 21!! To reduce it further was a test of my evaluating skills. After some hours of soul searching, I reduced it twelve. Then I concentrated on the relationship of form to content - what the poem said and how it said it. Now I have my ten. The top three are still jumping around, but I'm comfortable that I have made an informed judgement. Now, to find out who they are at the celebration (some two weeks away at least).

It has been a very satisfying experience, so thank you, Jo, Annie and others on the OOTA team, for entrusting me with this job. And the winners are ... to be announced on the night.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

NSW Win Champions Trophy in style!

New South Wales 159 for 9 (Lee 48, Rampaul 3-20) beat Trinidad & Tobago 118 (Clark 3-21, Lee 2-10) by 41 runs

Brett Lee hoists David Warner in celebration, New South Wales v Trinidad & Tobago, Champions League Twenty20 final, Hyderabad, October 23, 2009
The big match needed a big performance from a big player and Brett Lee provided it © Global Cricket Ventures-BCCI

Brett Lee starred with a stunning all-round performance as New South Wales beat Trinidad & Tobago to win the inaugural Champions League Twenty20, and with it a jackpot of US$ 2.5 million, in Hyderabad. The 41-run margin of victory, however, didn't mean it was a one-sided contest: T&T dominated initially, reducing NSW to 83 for 6, before Lee's fighting innings lifted his side to a competitive total. He then returned for a fiery spell with the new ball, jolting T&T's chase with two early wickets.


My next novel awaits in the wings at NaNoWriMo

I've just signed up for writing 50 000 words in November at

Yes, a first draft of a novel in one month. A hell of a lot of people sign up, but I wonder how many people complete it. I wonder if I'll complete it. I've been flashing at false starts for weeks now, so this may get a bulk of words down which I can then shape into something useful. Literary fiction, general fiction, YAL, pulp fiction - who cares. I plan to board my Inner Critic somewhere else for November. Even here, I am editing as I write. So, 50 000 in one month should cure me of that.

Won't you join me?

Friday, October 23, 2009

TS Eliot Prize 2009 shortlist

The shortlist

The Sun-fish
by Eiléan Ní Chuilleánain

Continental Shelf
by Fred D'Aguiar

by Jane Draycott

The Water Table
by Philip Gross

Through the Square Window by Sinéad Morrissey

One Secret Thing
by Sharon Olds

Weeds & Wild Flowers by Alice Oswald

A Scattering by Christopher Reid

The Burning of the Books and Other Poems by George Szirtes

West End Final by Hugo Williams

ABC National Radio's gems for this week

24/10/2009 15:00
29/10/2009 15:00
Sunbathing in the Rain: Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis reads and speaks about her work
Gwyneth Lewis, one of Wales’s most distinguished poets, reads a selection of her poetry including some new, unpublished works.


Monday to Friday 10.45
26/10/2009 - 6/11/2009
Written and read by Don Walker
In prose beautifully informed by his long career as one of Australia's best song writers, Don Walker creates a series of snapshots, ranging from his early life in rural Australia to his time as a member of the hugely popular band Cold Chisel. Learning music as a young boy in the bush, the band's early days in Adelaide, wild times on the road, and living on the edge in Kings Cross are all evoked in a pared-back but captivating manner.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fringe Gallery Poetry and Performance Night Sunday October 25th, 7pm till 10pm.

Guests: Vivienne Glance; Jean Kent & Julie Watts

Vivienne Glance (pictured, reading from her book, The Softness of Water)(pic by Meredi Ortega)
Vivienne’s poetry and short stories have appeared in journals (incl. mascara, Colloquy, TEXT, indigo, Blue Dog), anthologies (incl. Poetry without Borders, The Weighing of the Heart, Open Boat Barbed Wire Sky) and other publications; she’s won places and commendations in competitions (C J Dennis Literary Award, Spilt Ink, Southern Cross Literary Award, Bauhinia Literary Award). A selection of her work features with 4 other poets in the new anthology ‘Amber Contains the Sun’, published in march this year through the DCA A Few New Words programme. Her first collection ‘The Softness of Water’ is published by Sunline Press.

Jean Kent
Jean comes from Lake Macquarie, in NSW, she has published three books of poetry: Verandahs ( Anne Elder Prize; Dame Mary Gilmore Award; short listed for the 1991 NSW State Literary Award), Practising Breathing and The Satin Bowerbird ( 1998 Michael Wright Prize). Her most recently completed manuscript, Travelling with the Wrong Phrase Books, was highly commended for the Arts ACT Alec Bolton Prize 2008. Jean is in Perth as the Established Artist in Residence at the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writer’s Centre.

Julie Watts

Julie is a member of OOTA and has two poems published in Weighing of the Heart, an OOTA anthology. Julie is a member of the OOTA Friday morning poetry series run by Shane McCauley and has recently become a committee member of OOTA.

When: Doors open at 7pm for chat, drinks, open mike sign up.
Readings start at 7.30 and the night is over by 10pm
Where: The Fringe Gallery Willagee, 94 Bawdan Street Willagee(opposite Webber Reserve)
Cost: $5.00 entry. Refreshments can be purchased on the night.

For further information contact:
Terry on 0412 911562 or email to

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monk Lives!

I'm off to buy this one: THELONIOUS MONK

The Life and Times of an American Original

By Robin D. G. Kelley

Illustrated. 588 pp. Free Press. $30 [in USA]

Read excerpts from this new biography of a jazz giant at

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dive into The Merri Creek

Take a look at Kris Hemensley's The Merri Creek blog at ... Well, I think the blog is called Poetry and Ideas, but you'll get the gist of it when you go there. Enjoy. (The Collected Works bookshop is the best poetry bookshop in Australia, probably in the Southern Hemisphere. Next time you're in Melbourne do yourself a favour and shop there.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Readings Grand Success @ Cultural Centre Markets

A beautiful spring day in Perth, with a maximum temperature of 37 Celsius, but plenty of shade, saw the inaugural Cultural Centre Markets Poetry Readings. What a lively bunch our WA Poets Inc members are! Chariperson and MC for the afternoon, Peter Jeffery (pictured) rolled up with a microphone and speaker, and poets arrived, bearing books for sale and big smiles. The dark angst ridden poets of bygone eras seem to have faded into the night or the dank corners of cellar bars. Here the sun shone in all its glory, and the words rose to greet the occasion. High-nesting cultural birds provided a chick chorus as Coral Carter got the reading off to a spirited start. I followed, and took the audience on a trip about Western Australia finally landing in China. From my quiet pensive tones to Janet Jackson's performance recital of colourful poems which she projected over PICA and down city streets. The poets followed each other, playing tag, introducing themselves as they went: Sue Clennell (reading from her book The Ink Drinkers), Sally Clark (reading from Poets@KSP, a small anthology hot of the press), Amanda Joy (reading from two USA magazines she has recently appeared in), Rose Van Loon (from Poets@KSP), Brendan Fenton, Jan Napier and his nibs Peter Jeffery.

The weather was great for us, in our shadey place, enjoying each poet's performance, but it seems to have discouraged shoppers. I have seen those markets crowded four times larger than today's meagre crowd, but the readings have begun, and we thank the Maidens of the Markets who encouraged such a reading and supplied the power for our humble amp. (Billy Thorpe wouldn't have used it as fold-back >g<)Further outings of a similar kind will be advertised here as dates and performer lists come to hand.

All photos by Amanda Joy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Annual 20% Off Sale Planet Books SALE

For three days starting tomorrow morning, everything at Planet Books is 20% off. Now you can buy 'BEYOND CITY LIMITS' for just $12 (if my maths is right). Buy one for yourself and one for a friend!

This sale is only for this Friday, Saturday & Sunday, so get organised and buy your Christmas gifts early at 20% Off.

Obviously no reservations, no discounts on top of other discounts, no discounts on special order items, etc etc …

See you there!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WA Poets at Perth Cultural Centre Markets Sat 17 October

12 to 2 pm

Perth Cultural Centre Markets (between the State Library, the Art Gallery and the Museum).

Come along and enjoy performances from:

Janet Jackson

Andrew Burke

Afeif Ismail

Coral Carter

Amanda Joy

Sue Clennell

Jan Napier

Sally Clarke

Peter Jeffery

Derek Fento

Zines, chapbooks and books will be for sale! (including my latest book, Beyond City Limits)

Then you are inited to the Perth Poetry Club for more poetry at the Court Hotel, 2 to 4pm.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

'Beyond City Limits' available at these outlets: just $15

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)

Word of the Day for Tuesday, October 13, 2009

triskaidekaphobia \tris-ky-dek-uh-FOH-bee-uh\, noun:

Fear or a phobia concerning the number 13.

Thirteen people, pledged to eliminate triskaidekaphobia, fear of the number 13, today tried to reassure American sufferers by renting a 13 ft plot of land in Brooklyn for 13 cents . . . a month.
-- Daily Telegraph, January 14, 1967

Past disasters linked to the number 13 hardly help triskaidekaphobics overcome their affliction. The most famous is the Apollo 13 mission, launched on April 11, 1970 (the sum of 4, 11 and 70 equals 85 - which when added together comes to 13), from Pad 39 (three times 13) at 13:13 local time, and struck by an explosion on April 13.
-- "It's just bad luck that the 13th is so often a Friday", Electronic Telegraph, September 8, 1996

Despite NASA's seemingly ingrained case of triskaidekaphobia, which forced managers to impose the bizarre, '13-free' numbering system on its flights, the crew of perhaps the most important Shuttle mission to date clearly were unsure if STS-41C was supposed to be unlucky or not.
-- Ben Evans, Space Shuttle Challenger: Ten Journeys into the Unknown

Triskaidekaphobia is from Greek treiskaideka, triskaideka, thirteen (treis, three + kai, and + deka, ten) + phobos, fear.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

WA Poets at Perth Cultural Centre Markets Sat 17 October

Poets will be making some noise at the Perth Cultural Centre Markets!

Poetry in the streets!

Saturday 17th October

12 to 2 pm

Perth Cultural Centre Markets
(between the State Library, the Art Gallery and the Museum).

Come along and enjoy performances from:

Janet Jackson

Andrew Burke

Afeif Ismail

Coral Carter

Amanda Joy

Sue Clennell

Jan Napier

Sally Clarke

Peter Jeffery

Derek Fenton

Zines, chapbooks and books will be for sale! (including my latest book, Beyond City Limits)

Then you are inited to the Perth Poetry Club for more poetry at the Court Hotel, 2 to 4pm.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

1000 Verse Renga, the world's longest poem ever!

from Alan Summers -

I'm the Embassy of Japan's roving "Japan-UK 150" haiku & renga poet-in-residence at Bath Central Library's poet-in-residence for October (into November) starting with National Poetry Day this Thursday at 2pm.

Everyone is invited. For more information about the 1000 Verse Renga:

For library access incl. lifts, BSL, and computers:

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Draft Two: A CRYPTIC POEM (for Jeanette on her return


1. This man’s note
may produce surprise
I plan to let the sheets fall
the way they might
on the line, but
can’t help myself and straighten
them out. 7. Slide about
and move sideways
(5) Now they are
two wet but even rectangles clinging
in the sun. The fitted bottom sheet
won’t behave like that, so I
scallop it, four pegs holding
it up like a slain carcase. 11. Puts up
a secret entanglement
Pillowcases are amenable to my will
and hang meekly, pegged
within an inch of their binding.
That’s the washing done.
12. Smooth tongue? (6) Now
to walk the dog. Turn
the dishwasher on first. As I press
the ‘go’ button, a flash of
guilt runs through me, saying,
Lazy bastard. 17. A ship that carries
goods ashore
(3) But it is our way
now in this age, every home
has one. Furthermore, our dog has chewed
a bright green ice cream plastic bucket
into jigsaw pieces over my study floor.
I’ll clean that up when we get home.
19. The doctor may take one
for an idler
(5) Is today the day
I buy that literary edition of
The Australian? 21. Won’t they want
a penny for their thoughts?


1. Thrice curate perhaps—it’s
a way to earn a living
(12) Who do
wildflowers work for? Those sirens
dot the path with mouths open to
the sky, yearning for longevity.
My dog and I step carefully.
2. What one does when
agreeably tired
(3) When snap dragons
last in my doorway bloomed,
the pollen toecap of the gardener’s boot
heralded Hart-Smith between patrons.
5. She’s exact about one point (5)
a passion for the body in love or
dying, composing and decomposing.
10. Yet it means there’s only
a slim hope!
(3, 6) which speaks
volumes about the interconnectivity
of our multi-celled selves. 13. I am
a long time getting the likeness
whether you get my drift or not: one
cannot escape the canon, or, if so,
remain comprehensible. 20. Admit
changes now
(3) how in slippage we
create, one lip singing over another.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Magpie poem project

John Malone invited other people on facebook to contribute haiku or haiku-like links to a poem along the lines of 13 Ways to view a Blackbird, by Wallace Stevens. Here's the result:

The Mag-Pie Poetry Project: a collaborative celebration of all things 'magpie' by fellow facebookers in haiku or haiku-like verse. These poems were collected over a period of only two days and appear in roughly the order in which they were received (JM):

11 Ways of Looking at a Magpie

low-flying magpie
dips wings, changes direction;
watching child applauds.

deborah green

punch-drunk magpie: pounding his reflection

john malone

black and white;
surely brown and grey?
half there in yellow grass

abigail dunleavy

heat wave ---
a magpie looks up
at the closed tap

myron lysenko

sticky-beak --
a magpie flies away
with the cat's lunch

maya lyubenova

persistent begging
of baby magpie. Gaping
mouth worm-filled. Silence

trevor hampel

cracking dawn
black white flash of
magpie beak

susan hawthorne

evening worship
in the silence between chants
magpie carolling

lyn reeves

after the shouting
two magpies in the garden
keeping their distance

rob scott

The 'Pies are out of the finals.
He sits and scratches at
the Magpie on his chest
but it won't fly off.

andrew burke

spring morn; cycling
through smoggy traffic, skirting parks
with trees --- and magpies

amelia walker

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Quote: Saint Francis of Assisi

"He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is
a craftsman. He who works with his hands
and his head and his heart is an artist."
~St Francis of Assisi

I hitched this from Amanda Joy's facebook page. Thanks, Amanda, I think it is great.