Thursday, March 31, 2011

Writing Marathon this Saturday 1-5pm at Tom Collins House

Get your creative juices flowing at historic Tom Collins House as we flit and fly with words and ideas this Saturday from 1 to 5pm. Many fine poems and startling stories have been begun in these sessions. No great experience in writing is needed, so all comers are welcome. Simply bring paper and pen.

$22 for 4 hours, plus tea and biscuits. What more could you ask for?

Presented by myself for the Fellowship of Australian Writers, WA section.

FAWWA is located at Tom Collins House in the Allen Park Heritage Precinct near the corners of Wood Street and Kirkwood Road, Swanbourne. (map above)

Email: Telephone: +61 8 9384 4771

Thanks, Glen.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

from the pen of John Keats ...

“In Poetry I have a few Axioms,” wrote John Keats in 1818, in one of his famous letters.

“1st. I think Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by Singularity—it should strike the Reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a Remembrance—

2nd. Its touches of Beauty should never be half way thereby making the reader breathless instead of content: the rise, the progress, the setting of imagery should like the Sun come natural to him—shine over him and set soberly although in magnificence leaving him in the Luxury of twilight—but it is easier to think what Poetry should be than to write it—and this leads me on to another axiom. That if Poetry comes not as naturally as the Leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.”

Monday, March 28, 2011

$50,000 Poetry Prize in Montreal - for a single poem!

This great news from

The organizers of a new literary prize announced on Thursday they will award $50,000 to a single poem.

Full details at

Describing it as “the biggest poetry competition in history,” organizers of the Montreal Poetry Prize said the initiative “represents a major contribution to the global cultural scene.”

“The launch of such a large prize for poetry obviously marks an important moment for anyone interested in literature,” said Michael Harris, a poet and member of the prize’s editorial board, in a press release.

To be eligible for the prize, the poem must be written in an English dialect and be 40 lines or under. Andrew Motion, former poet laureate of the United Kingdom, will select the winner.

From the press release:

The $50,000 prize purse is a gift to the Montreal Prize from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. “We were lucky to find someone generous and forward thinking enough to kick-start this project with a catalyst donation. And we are currently seeking a sponsor or patron for future years,” explains Peter Abramowicz, one of the Montreal Prize’s three founders.

There’s a catch; if you want your work to be considered for the $50,000 prize, you have to pay an entree fee. Each entry will cost you between $10 and $20, depending on whether you live in a “developing nation” or a “developed nation” and whether you enter early or late. Apparently, “your participation helps to make the Montreal Prize a reality!” For real?

As well, the 50 finalists will be featured in an anthology published by Véhicule Press. But wait! If your poem isn’t good enough to make the top 50, don’t fret. The next 100 “best” poems will be published in another anthology, to be released in e-book form by Véhicule Press.

The deadline to submit an “early” entry is April 22. The final date to enter is July 8. The winner will be announced in December.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Fashions modeled by 'Rising Young Poets'

Young poets wearing new spring fashions - in Oprah! Sneer all you like, but Oprah's love of Poetry is nothing to sneeze at - the woman has amazing media power and maybe can raise the level of poetry awareness to a new and higher level. Her book club has proved to be more intelligent than expected, using the talents of critics like Francine Prose. Take a look - the Punk look was my favourite, although the one above is eye-catching (and probably arm of chair catching, etc).

More at

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 Reason-Brisbane Poetry Prize


The Reason-Brisbane Poetry Prize was established in 2004 as part of the Words in Winter Celebrations that are held, each August, in towns across Hepburn Shire in Central Victoria. In 2010, the competition, initially for Victorian residents only, was opened to all Australian residents.

The Prize has been generously sponsored by Joy Brisbane, a published poet and author who understands the difficulties poets face when trying to find outlets for their work. Joy’s aim is to encourage and nurture the talent of both new and established poets.

With a total prize pool of $2300 the Reason-Brisbane Poetry Prize continues to be one of the most lucrative poetry competitions in Australia. In 2011 the first prize will again be $1500, second prize is $500 and third prize is $300.

The judge for 2011 is Melbourne poet Petra White, whose first book of poetry, The Incoming Tide, was shortlisted in the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards. She was a 2008 Fellow of Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, and her second collection, The Simplified World, was published by John Leonard Press in 2010.

Previous Winners
2010: 1st place Kevin Gillam; 2nd place Barry O’Donohue; 3rd place Andrew Slattery.
2009: 1st place Charles D’Anastasi; 2nd place Jillian Pattinson; 3rd place Paul Mitchell
2008: 1st place Pauline Rough; 2nd place LK Holt; 3rd place Charles D’Anastasi
2007: 1st place Anne Gleeson; 2nd place Mary-Jane Wyllie; 3rd place Barbara Orlowska-Westwood
2006: 1st place Lynn Sunderland; 2nd place Helen Cerne; 3rd place Mary Manning
2005: 1st place Pat Patt; 2nd place Cate Kennedy; 3rd place Frances Brook
2004: 1st place Ross Gillett; 2nd place Toby Sime; 3rd place Charles D’Anastasi

Contact us
The Organiser of the Reason-Brisbane Poetry Prize is writer and cartoonist, Sheila Hollingworth:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Aussie words

The following are results from an OZ-words Competition where entrants were asked to take an Australian word, alter it by one letter only, and supply a witty definition.

Clearly, you need to be an Aussie to understand.

Billabonk: to make passionate love beside a waterhole
Bludgie: a partner who doesn't work, but is kept as a pet
Dodgeridoo: a fake indigenous artefact
Fair drinkum: good-quality Aussie wine
Flatypus: a cat that has been run over by a vehicle
Mateshit: all your flat mate's belongings, lying strewn around the floor
Shagman: an unemployed male, roaming the bush in search of sexual activity
Yabble: the unintelligible language of Australian freshwater crustaceans
Bushwanker: a pretentious drongo, who reckons he's above average when it comes to handling himself in the scrub
Crackie-daks: 'hipster' tracksuit pants.

And for the Kiwi's amongst us:
Shornbag: a particularly attractive naked sheep.

Poetry Sales Figures (English)

"In 1999 the Arts Council of England commissioned a report into the state of poetry. Rhyme And Reason, which ran to more than 180 pages, made for uncomfortable if predictable reading. Few people admitted ever to buying a poetry book and those who did said it was more likely to be by a dead poet than a live one. Contemporary poetry accounted for 3% of sales of verse, 90% of which were claimed by one publisher (Faber) and 67% by one poet, Ted Hughes. Pam Ayres was named as the nation’s fifth favourite extant poet, beloved by women and the over 45s."

Read it all at

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Edwin Morgan 1920-2010 Poem from the TLS

Letter to a French Novelist

O satrap!
O Sparta!
Oars tap.
O, a strap?
A pastor?
Pa Astor?
Ps! Aorta.
Taro sap.
Art soap?
A rat sop
to paras.
O. A. S. trap.
So apart!
– Pat. Rosa.

Edwin Morgan (1964)
There's more at

You and a guest are warmly invited to join us on Thursday 24 March 2011 from 6pm to celebrate the opening of The Negativity Bin: a joint launch of works on paper by Ipswich artist Jodie Weller and local Woodend poet, B.R. Dionysius’s latest chapbook, The Negativity Bin.

The Negativity Bin will be launched by John Acutt, Head of English at Ipswich Grammar School and include a short poetry reading.
Books avaliable at http;//

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Poetry as a Metaphor for Life

"Wouldn't it be better to turn life into poetry rather than to make poetry from life? And cannot poetry have as its primary objective, rather than the creation of poems, the creation of poetic moments?"
- Octavio Paz

Mexican poet Octavio Paz asks a very important question here: why do people work hard to distinguish between life and poetry? Paz's works deal with a new kind of metaphysics, one focused not so much on human potential and life force, but on the life forces that flow in and out of the world. Paz shows that the aim of poetry should not be to perpetuate a static artform, but to create new life and vivacity.

Read more at Suite101: Poets on Poetry

BIOGRAPHY of JOE MORELLO July 17, 1928—March 12, 2011

Joe Morello was born on July 17, 1928, in Springfield, Mass. Having impaired vision since birth, he devoted himself to indoor activities. At the age of six, his family’s encouragement led him to study violin. Three years later, he was featured with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as soloist in the Mendelsohn Violin Concerto. At the age of twelve, he made a second solo appearance with the orchestra. But upon meeting and hearing his idol, the great Jascha Heifetz, Joe felt he could never achieve “that sound”. So, at the age of fifteen, Joe changed the course of his musical endeavors and began to study drums.

Joe’s first drum teacher, Joe Sefcik, was a pit drummer for all the shows in the Springfield area. He was an excellent teacher and gave Joe much encouragement. Joe began sitting in with any group that would allow it. When he was not sitting in, he and his friends, including Teddy Cohen, Chuck Andrus, Hal Sera, Phil Woods and Sal Salvador, would get together and jam in any place they could find. Joe would play any job he was called for. As a result, his musical experiences ranged from rudimental military playing to weddings and social occasions. Eventually, Mr. Sefcik decided it was time for Joe to move on. He recommended a teacher in Boston, the great George Lawrence Stone.

Mr. Stone did many things for Joe. He gave Joe most of the tools for developing technique. He taught Joe to read. But most important of all, he made Joe realize his future was in jazz, not “legitimate” percussion, as Joe had hoped. Through his studies with Mr. Stone, Joe became known as the best drummer in Springfield, and rudimental champion of New England.

Joe’s playing activity increased, and he soon found himself on the road with several groups. First, there was Hank Garland and the Grand Old Opry, and then Whitey Bernard. After much consideration, Joe left Whitey Bernard to go to New York City.

A difficult year followed, but with Joe’s determination and the help of friends like Sal Salvador, Joe began to be noticed. Soon he found himself playing with an impressive cast of musicians that included Gil Melle, Johnny Smith, Tal Farlow, Jimmy Raney, Stan Kenton and Marian McPartland. After leaving Marian McPartland’s trio, he turned down offers from the Benny Goodman band and the Tommy Dorsey band. The offer he chose to accept was a two-month temporary tour with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, which ended up lasting twelve-and-a half years. It was during the period that Joe’s technique received its finishing touches from Billy Gladstone of Radio City Music Hall.

From 1968, when the Dave Brubeck Quartet disbanded, Joe spread his talents over a variety of areas. He maintained a very active private teaching practice. Through his association with DW Drums, Joe made great educational contributions to drumming, as well as the entire field of jazz, by way of his clinics, lectures and guest solo appearances. In his later years, Joe frequently performed with his own group in the New York metropolitan area.

Joe appeared on over 120 albums and CDs, of which 60 were with the Dave Brubeck Quartet. He won the Downbeat magazine award for best drummer for five years in a row, the Playboy award seven years in a row, and is the only drummer to win every music poll for five years in a row, including Japan, England, Europe, Australia and South America. He is mentioned in Who’s Who in the East, twelfth edition, and the Blue Book, which is a listing of persons in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States who have achieved distinction in the arts, sciences, business or the professions. Revered by fans and musicians alike, Joe was considered to be one of the finest, and probably one of the most celebrated, drummers in the history of jazz.

Joe's impact on the world of music, and on all the lives of those he touched will live forever.

Visit Joe Morello's Home site for more at

PS: When I was a teenager, I learnt drums and taught myself Morello's solo on Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Their enormously successful album Time Out was a huge influence on my early music taste.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Celebrate St Pat's day with MANTECA

from Graham Wood at The Ellington:

THURSDAY 8.00pm Manteca - It's St Patrick's day and we are celebrating with cold Guiness and traditional Irish Jazz Fusion music - The encore performance of the legendary jazz fusion band, Manteca, lead by Uwe Stengel and featuring St Patrick Reale on guitar.

The Ellington Jazz Club. 191 Beaufort Street, Perth. Book now at

Monday, March 14, 2011

Suite101: Poets on Poetry - TS Eliot

The Contemporaneity of the Past

"The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence; the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within it the whole of the literature of his own country has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order. This historical sense, which is a sense of the timeless as well as of the temporal and of the timeless and of the temporal together, is what makes a writer traditional. And it is at the same time what makes a writer most acutely conscious of his place in time, of his contemporaneity." - T.S. Eliot in “Tradition and the Individual Talent.”

This excerpt from Eliot's famous essay expresses the belief that good writing engages all of the writing that comes before it, and that good writers understand the lineage of literary ideas and movements. Through knowledge of the past, a writer does a better job of expressing ideas of the present.

Read more at Suite101: Poets on Poetry

Issa Haiku

tagging along
for the meal...
the cat's girlfriend

-Issa, 1818

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Alan Boyd's REVIEW - meet me at gethsemane - by Paul Harrison

Hey, I'm privileged.

Having heard Paul Harrison read his dark, witty and iconic poetry at slams, poetry-gigs, backyards, loungerooms and car-parks around Perth over the last few years (as well as over the phone, in txt messages and backseats of cars) - it's almost impossible not to hear his rich voice, the thick Irish cadence - as I consume this collection of his poetry.

Published by Coral Carter's gutsy - and very new - little Western Australian publishing venture: Mulla Mulla Press, meet me at gethsemane is a collection of over 30 poems, some previously appearing in various zines and online publications.

It's difficult at times to remember that this is Harrison's first book. The poems spill down the page with inherent readability. His economical, reflective phrasing, the deliberate poetic intention, the bold lack of pretension is honest. Brutal. Powerful.

These poems are complex nuggets of simple language - all presented in lower-case text, no punctuation - just clever use of white-space and enjambment to carry an image, an emotion, a reflection.

Each poem stands alone, in solid skeletal punch, yet somehow marries the next, and the next and the next one - perhaps conjoined in the bitter taste that permeates the book's 68 pages.

There is gutteral sadness here - and drinking - lots of drunken pain. There is violence, sex and truth - all told in ordinary prose. As in love one another: and her
sometime in the early hours
had our usual
psycho-sexual brawl
and so
before any more windows or lamps
got broken
i jumped in the car
and fucked of for more
rear-ending some prick
stopped on green...

Short sharp bony bursts of well-crafted punch. Harrison shares hard tales of mental asylum inhabitants, too-many cigarettes smoked, raw emotions spat, drugs and regret and self-reflexive anger.

The way he writes is the way he speaks. This is not avant garde, process-driven, experimental wankery - Paul's well-written narrative carries each piece, allowing us to fully realise each moment shared.

This is the poetry of isolation and despair. This collection finds little hope in the human condition, and certainly no love for the malicious capitalist culture we share. Peppered throughout though, there is a wicked, dark humour and a gift for subtle description. And whilst the darkness flows within these pages, there is fragility and even a hidden beauty amongst this work.

Get it.

It's ten bucks from Mulla Mulla Press:

ALLAN Anti-poet BOYD

Tuesday, March 08, 2011



Competition Rules:
Number of words: Maximum 600 per story
Closing Date: 20 May 2011
Prizes: First $200; Second $100; Third $50
Certificates; Highly Commended four; Commended four
Entry Fee: $5 per story; Three stories for $12; Five stories for $20

Theme: Open

1. All entries should be in English using one side A4 paper, typed, double spaced in size 12 font.

2. All entries must be accompanied by a signed entry form (photocopies accepted). Do not attach the entry form to your work.

3. Entries must be unpublished and not have won a cash prize or recognition in any
other competition.

4. Copyright remains with the author. Entries will not be returned and will be destroyed after the announcement of the results.

5. Peter Cowan Writers Centre reserves the right to publish without payment the Winning, Second place, Third place, Highly Commended and Commended entries in its E-Magazine.

6. Multiple entries are allowed, in which case one cheque or money order is acceptable to cover all entries. Cheques or money orders should be made payable to ‘Peter Cowan Writers Centre Inc.’ Do not send coins, stamps or cash in the mail.

7. The author’s real name must not appear on the manuscript. A pen name MUST be used – a different one for each entry. A plain sheet of paper with the following details should be securely attached to each of your submissions:


8. All entries must be post marked by the due date. Late entries will not be considered. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Details of the presentation will be published on the Peter Cowan Writers Centre’s website and at the July Monthly Meeting. If you wish to receive a results slip and judge’s report, please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

9. Send entries to:
The Receiving Officer
Peter Cowan 600 Short Story Competition
Peter Cowan Writers Centre Inc.
PO Box 239
Joondalup WA 6919

Separate entry form to accompany each entry (forms may be photocopied)
PRIZES: Winner $200, Second $100, Third $50
Certificates: Highly Commended (four), Commended (four)
(please print)



_________________________________ Post Code: _______

Phone: ________________________Mobile No: _______________________

Email address:

Number of Words:_____________________

Title of work:_______________________Pen Name__________________________

Amount paid:_____________Method of Payment____________________________

Declaration: I certify that the work I have entered in this award is my own, is unpublished, will not be offered for publication before the 3rd of July and has not won recognition in any competition. By entering this award I agree to my work being published without payment on the Peter Cowan Writers Centre E-Magazine if I finish among the first eleven entries. I understand that copyright will at all times stay with me, the author of the work. I have read the conditions of entry into this award and agree to abide by them.

Signed___________________________ this _________

day of ____________ 2011

For office use only

Date received___________Amount received ________Method of payment____________

No entries________

If paid by cash receipt no:_______________________

Monday, March 07, 2011

Su Shi's poem, Dogen's commentary

The sound of the stream – Buddha’s long broad tongue,
The form of the mountains – his pure body.
Ten thousand verses through the night,
In the morning, how will I explain them to others?

by Su Shi

Dōgen’s commentary:

On the night that Su Shi was enlightened, he had just heard his master’s teaching about insentient beings preaching the Dharma. His teacher’s words did not instantly awaken him, but when the sound of the stream hit him, it was as if the rolling waves passed through the air and enlightened Su Shi. Was it the sound of the stream or his master’s words that flowed into his ears? I would suppose that his master’s teaching on insentient beings quietly echoed with the sound of the stream at night...

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Wittgenstein Quote

I sit astride life like a bad rider on a horse. I only owe it to the horse's good nature that I am not thrown off at this very moment.

- Ludwig Wittgenstein

Friday, March 04, 2011

Noongar author, Kim Scott, wins Commonwealth Writers' Prize

from the Sydney Morning Herald ...

AS THE first Aboriginal author to win the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for best book in south-east Asia and the Pacific, Kim Scott would be entitled to feel some extra pride.

''No,'' he says. ''It bothers me a bit because it says what a history of disadvantage we've had when indigenous Australians have always been storytellers. It's really sad. What happened to our shared culture?''

Scott's winning third novel, That Deadman Dance, is about the harmonious relations between his Noongar people of south-western Australia and the early settlers.


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Tony Curtis, Irish Poet, this Saturday at The Perth Poetry Club

On Saturday 5th March, Perth Poetry Club presents, for your delectation and enjoyment - all the way from Ireland – the award-winning and highly entertaining poet TONY CURTIS. Tony will perform at The Moon, 323 William Street, Northbridge from 2 to 4 pm, in two sets. There will be open mic. as always.

TONY CURTIS was born in Dublin in 1955. He studied literature at Essex University and Trinity College Dublin. An award winning poet, Curtis has published six warmly received collections. The most recent ‘The Well in the Rain: New & Selected Poems’ (Arc, 2006). In 2003 he was awarded the Varuna House Exchange Fellowship to Australia. Curtis has been awarded the Irish National Poetry Prize. In 2008 ‘Days Like These’ (with Paula Meehan & Theo Dorgan) was published by Brooding Heron Press. A new collection ‘Folk’ has just been published by Arc. Curtis’s new book of poems for children ‘An Elephant Called Rex’ may be ready in time for his visit to Australia. He is a member of Aosdána, the Irish Academy of the Arts.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Happy Birthday, Richard Wilbur - 90 Today

Richard Wilbur is one of USA's elder statesmen of poetry. Read this article from The Wall Street Journal online at

"One of the jobs of poetry is to make the unbearable bearable, not by falsehood but by clear, precise confrontation," he has said. Mr. Wilbur has met that challenge by holding himself to the strict, outmoded view that what can't be described well maybe isn't worth writing down.

Contemporary Poetry Writing Workshops at Tom Collins House March-April 2010

When? 10am-12 noon Wednesdays for 7 weeks starting TOMORROW 2 March 2010.
Where? Tom Collins House, Swanbourne.

This course is for beginning poets and those with some experience. Explore contemporary poetry writing in a friendly group setting with experienced poet Janet Jackson as your guide.

With a series of writing activities, exercises and experiments we will release our poetic voices, finding inspiration in our surroundings, in other texts and art, and in randomness. We will discover and invent new connections and ideas. We will learn about form, content, voice, address and imagery. We will explore the music of words, how poets make them sing, sigh and cry.

We will also learn about editing and improving our poems to make them more beautiful, more satisfying and perhaps more publishable.

Participants will receive a booklet with example poems, information about techniques and activities, further reading and resources.

Course aims:

1. Participants will explore poetry writing through a progression of writing activities and techniques and by reading and hearing poetry from various periods and genres.
2. Participants will have opportunities to write in ways they may not have previously tried.
3. Participants will come away with drafts and ideas for new poems.
4. Participants will learn ways to improve their drafts by editing.
5. Participants will discover some of the resources available to poets locally, nationally and internationally.

Presented by Janet for the Fellowship of Australian Writers WA (FAWWA).

Cost per session: $33 for FAWWA members; $44 for non-members

Sign up with FAWWA at