Sunday, July 31, 2011


I apologise to all for getting the address wrong! I'll post the message again with the CORRECT ADDRESS:

On sale now at

I am so happy to offer my novel to the international market through cybermedia for the bargain price of $4.99 - about the price of a mug of coffee.

Here's the blurb - which tells the skeleton story of the novel:

'Blue Rose' is a gritty and confronting novel set in Western Australia’s conservative late Fifties and early Sixties. It follows the turbulent life of Rose, a young teenage runaway with resilience, innate intelligence - and a good singing voice. She tangles with a Hungarian boxer, a psychopath, a bikie gang and a recovering drug-addict/folksinger in her struggle to find her true self, while law enforcement and child welfare authorities press ever more strongly to gain custody of her child.

This is a story which echoes the news stories of today, presenting a deeply emotional portrait of a young woman driven by a strong maternal instinct to provide for her daughter.

Now available through the publishers direct at
and Smashwords. It will very soon be available through

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wendy Cope in Hong Kong

From an interview with Wendy Cope in Hong Kong

So you do think reading is an important part of writing?

It's absolutely crucial. One thing that really annoys all poets is when they meet somebody who thinks they're going to write poems and says they're not interested in reading any. I mean, an old man came up to me once at a literary festival and gave me a copy of his book and said: “I don't read poems, I just write them.” And he gave me this book. And, of course, I could have bet a thousand pounds that it was going to be no good before I'd even opened it, and indeed, it was no good. Which is absolutely inevitable, because the guy's not really interested in poetry.

Do you remember the first poem you wrote?

The very first poem I wrote was when I was six, because I was told to write a poem at school and it was about my teddy bear. That's the very first poem I wrote.

Was it a good poem?It was terrible.

More at

Friday, July 29, 2011

"New grass was planted today.
Then the dinosaurs moved in."

CORRECTION! Refloating the Tanka

Some days ago I published a 'congratulations' to Rose van Son for winning the Freo Press Tanka competition -= then printed the poem incorrectly! Black mark, Andrew. Here is the correct version, complete with 5/7/5/7/7 syllables. Mea culpa.

all the candles lit
just a flicker now and then
the bowl tightly fits
what is left of you and me
murmurings behind closed doors

Rose van Son

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


On sale now at

I am so happy to offer my novel to the international market through cybermedia for the bargain price of $4.99 - about the price of a mug of coffee.

Here's the blurb - which tells the skeleton story of the novel:

'Blue Rose' is a gritty and confronting novel set in Western Australia’s conservative late Fifties and early Sixties. It follows the turbulent life of Rose, a young teenage runaway with resilience, innate intelligence - and a good singing voice. She tangles with a Hungarian boxer, a psychopath, a bikie gang and a recovering drug-addict/folksinger in her struggle to find her true self, while law enforcement and child welfare authorities press ever more strongly to gain custody of her child.

This is a story which echoes the news stories of today, presenting a deeply emotional portrait of a young woman driven by a strong maternal instinct to provide for her daughter.

Now available through the publishers direct at
and Smashwords. It will very soon be available through

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

21 Short-listed Winners! Victorian Prize for Literature

Discover 21 shortlisted titles across five categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Drama, Poetry and Young Adult. One title will be chosen among the five category winners to win the Victorian Prize for Literature.

Here is the site to go to:

At the site you click on one of the book titles or cover images below to learn more about the work and its author. Write a review of a title you’ve read (or a play you’ve seen), or read reviews of all 21 titles, to be published from next Monday, 1 August, written by 21 librarians from across Victoria.

Cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award (or recommend your own) before the category winners and the overall winner of the Victorian Prize for Literature are announced at the awards dinner on Tuesday, 6 September.

Discover 21 shortlisted titles across five categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Drama, Poetry and Young Adult. One title will be chosen among the five category winners to win the Victorian Prize for Literature.

Click on one of the book titles or cover images below to learn more about the work and its author. Write a review of a title you’ve read (or a play you’ve seen), or read reviews of all 21 titles, to be published from next Monday, 1 August, written by 21 librarians from across Victoria.

Cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award (or recommend your own) before the category winners and the overall winner of the Victorian Prize for Literature are announced at the awards dinner on Tuesday, 6 September.

CJ Dennis Poetry Prize

Swallow, Claire Potter
The Taste of River Water, Cate Kennedy
This Floating World, Libby Hart

Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction

Five Bells, Gail Jones
When Colts Ran, Roger McDonald
The Roving Party, Rohan Wilson
Bright and Distant Shores, Dominic Smith
The Amateur Science of Love, Craig Sherborne
That Deadman Dance, Kim Scott

Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-Fiction

A Private Empire, Stephen Foster
Delusions of Gender, Cordelia Fine
My Blood’s Country, Fiona Capp
Into the Woods, Anna Krien
Good Living Street, Tim Bonyhady
An Eye for Eternity: The Life Of Manning Clark, Mark McKenna

Prize for Writing for Young Adults

The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher, Doug MacLeod
Graffiti Moon, Cath Crowley
The Three Loves of Persimmon, Cassandra Golds

Louis Esson Prize for Drama

Sappho…in 9 fragments, Jane Montgomery Griffiths
Do not go gentle…, Patricia Cornelius
Intimacy, Raimondo Cortese

Rose van Son wins Fremantle Press Tanka writing competition

There were a number of strong entries for the 2011 Fremantle Press Online Tanka Competition. The judges, Wendy Jenkins and Andrew Lansdown, settled on a shortlist of three tanka and, after some toing-and-froing, selected ‘Old Flame’ by Rose van Son as the winner:

all the candles lit
just a flicker now and then
the bowl tightly fits
what is left of you and me
murmurings behind closed doors

Rose van Son.

As Wendy commented in a recent post, ‘Old Flame' uses metaphor to evoke the passing of time and dying down of love’s first flame’. Both Wendy and Andrew felt that ‘Old Flame’ had a mysterious, open quality. It is an atmospheric poem, conveying both visual and emotional shiftings of light and shadow.

And congratulations to Freo Press for running such a competition.

Monday, July 25, 2011

'Nostalgia' by Jim Wilson

Here's a quiet thoughtful poem from a thoughtful man, Jim Wilson, since departed. It is another little gem from Frank's Home at


There is a trail in
and a way out

and then there is here:

Fireflies in the night pasture,
invisible horses old

and silent in their standing sleep
the lap of the river
upon the shore, a little

boat, a thump.

Jim Wilson

Frank Parker says:

Jim Wilson, 1942-2008. This poem has been a huge influence in my life since I first read it way back. The motion and simple imagery speak to a state of being restrained in order to open up to greater possibilities. Jim was such a poet.

You can also read Jim Wilson's one and only book, a chapbook, on my web site. RIPPING THE WIND,Jim/cover.html

Sunday, July 24, 2011

David Meltzer "When I Was a Poet"

Jerome Rothenberg has kindly let me quote an entire post from his wide-ranging and thoroughly interesting blog, Poems and Poetics at

David Meltzer, from When I Was a Poet City Lights Press (2011):

“French Broom”

Allow me these fragments
They are my poem
My poem is pieces
Here & there
Chips off the old blockhead
One wall cracks apart
Not from despair but rain
Plaster falling on the floor
Reminds me of a poem
I write whenever I get
Time to sit down.


Others balance by
Kneeling to pray
I allow them their poem
This is mine
A patchwork poem
Dream flesh sewn to
Flesh of wounds whose edges
Cut against the mouth
Don’t turn away.
My blood mixes with plaster
Sealing the poem together.


One letter, one word
One line at a time
Held in the page
When I sew pieces together
They remain fragments.

Typewriter strikes paper
Needle thru cloth
Allow it.
My grandmother was a seamstress
My grandfather a tailor
My father sat before his table
Sewing jokes into the air
Something like satori
To think of it
Splinters my brain.
No judgment
Let me be with my pieces
Spread upon my table


A puzzle no matter
How I move it
Never solves itself.


Time unbends me
My fragments make no difference
They are children
Laughing against knowledge
Shadows grow large in the field
My window watches
Sunset swallow song
Stars arise
Page after page of my book
Writes thru time
Lights sewn together
My poem is bits & splinters
Darkness allows me.


Into dawn
The door opens.
Quail in pairs
Wobble out for seed
Scattered like stars
In random swirls around the green
Grace of bamboo
Moving supple in the wind.


Question my poem
For words to describe it
The page is in pieces
Praises, sorrows, joys
Corny sincere
Spirals of aura dust
Fragments & whispers
Thumb book of holy hints
All are my poem
& they bend to a moment
Ready for distraction


White clouds
Blue sky
Yellow buds
French broom


[NOTE. My (Jerome's)own celebration of Meltzer’s life & work appears elsewhere in Poems and Poetics as the pre-face to David’s Copy, his 2008 volume of selected poems. In the present instance the work continues with a new book, When I Was a Poet, that brings together poems both new & old – “a primal book,” writes Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “[with which] Meltzer takes his place among the great poets of his generation.” It is also volume 60 in City Lights’ fabled Pocket Poets Series, to which I owe my own first publication & my ongoing gratitude for the work of others whom I first read in this format. The poem printed here gives a hint of Meltzer’s grace of mind & the life of poetry that underlies it; the book makes the case complete. (J.R.)]

Poems and Poetics is a wonderful blog and I highly recommend reading it frequently.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Will Amazon be allowed to swallow the Book Depository?

Not being overburdened with funds, I haven't been ordering many books in recent years - but I am appalled at this 'news' which I just read at the PN Review website :

[PN REVIEW]Friday, 15 Jul 2011

Amazon's merger with the Book Depository has been referred to the OFT. The Publishers Association and the Independent Publishers Guild for the first time join voices to oppose the merger, while calling for a wider investigation into competition between the online and the bricks and mortar bookselling market.

This report is from The Bookseller, 15 July 2011.

The merger was announced on 4 July. Almost immediately the OFT had asked for submissions from the public and other parties concerning "any competition or public interest issues". Its stance reflects the seriousness with which the PA and IPG members are treating the proposed merger.

In a statement, Richard Mollet, c.e.o. of the PA, said: "The Publishers Association will be making a joint submission with the IPG; the first time that our two organisations have collaborated in this way. This reflects the strength of feeling among publishing companies that the OFT should block this merger."

Going further, Mollet said more should be done to investigate the fairness of the market share internet-only retailers have in comparison to physical bookshops. He said: "Whatever the decision in this particular case, we feel it is high time that competition authorities took a closer interest in the developments of the book retail market—especially given that data from BML shows that internet-only retailers have 31% of the retail market by value, and growing."

The OFT does have the power to investigate markets that do not appear to be meeting the needs of consumers, with possible outcomes including taking competition or consumer enforcement action, encouraging businesses in the market to self-regulate, making recommendations to government to change regulations or public policy, making a market investigation reference to the Competition Commission and improving the quality and accessibility of information for consumers. The OFT could not comment on whether it would look into the bookselling market as a whole while it is still investigating the merger of Amazon and TBD.

Last week, the Booksellers Association announced it would formally oppose the merger, describing Amazon as already having a "de facto monopoly".


Australian Poetry has a nation-wide programme of placing poets in cafes (where you often find them, anyway!) where they write and talk with patrons and passers-by about poetry in general and perhaps their own poetry. I'm not sure how many projects are going at the moment, but here's a delightful report from Bronwyn Lovel at

I wrote a prose poem recently after having a coffee with another mature-age poet. It is appearing soon in a new chapbook from Mulla Mulla Press (details later). I can't format it like I want it here, but I think you'll get the feel:


Too much is spoken about illness and medical procedures, too much read into every twitch as sand gathers in the hourglass base.

We sit sipping coffee, mine black for its antioxidant properties, beside young mothers sitting at the next table, prams parked beside their chairs and their babies in their arms, babies wrapped against the autumn breeze in the café courtyard. They are fashionable women, attractive, wearing stylish black and grey, highlighting the white of their breasts as they bare them to feed their babies only weeks old. I am distracted from our talk of travel insurance and such hiccups of aging, distracted not as a young man might be by the beauty of these breasts but by the concept of our lifecycle. Sages are often depicted as old and white-haired with beards flowing down beyond their thorax. Perhaps I know why, perhaps it takes time to ponder things objectively, without the surge of blood, without the wind whistling through wild oats. There’s a lot of ‘perhaps’ in the thinking of an amateur philosopher. I stand and walk back into the café to order another coffee, just to break my thinking, just to get back on track.

Andrew Burke

Friday, July 22, 2011

RIP, Lucien Freud, dead at 88.

Few painters of modern times have received the honors and riches that came to Lucian Freud, the deeply talented and mysterious grandson of Sigmund Freud.

Often considered the greatest living master of the human form, Mr. Freud painted many hundreds of portraits that were seldom flattering but that revealed their subjects in searing, sometimes brutal honesty that might have made his grandfather proud.

But he wasn’t just the heir of the father of psychoanalysis. He managed to re-create and expand the tradition of classical portraiture in his paintings, which penetrated masks of pretense and seemed to pierce to the soul.

Mr. Freud, who died in London on Wednesday at 88, had found moderate success in Britain early in his career. He was a leading figure, along with Francis Bacon, in the London School of painters of the 1960s who concentrated on the human form.


“I like it,” he said in 2006, “if people say very contradictory things about my work: ‘It’s very ugly.’ ‘It’s very beautiful.’ ‘Do you get your models from an asylum?’ ”

available at

Prune Juice is a journal of contemporary senryu and kyoka, published exclusively online twice yearly. It is edited by Liam Wilkinson and Bruce Boynton.

Here's an example I enjoyed:

single again
counting my blessings
in the 'five or less' queue

Helen Buckingham

Submission website at

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Ken Speckle & Son point out to me that the English Plurals verse of a couple of days ago is "actually not anon. but from Richard Lederer's "Foxen In The Henhice" (in "Crazy English", Pocket Poems, 1990).

EDINBURGH NEWS: Made-to-order poems and rotating cast of the UK’s best performance poets

The Poetry Takeaway is the world’s first purpose-built mobile poetry emporium. Housed in a real fast food trailer (bought off eBay), it’s staffed by a rotating cast of the UK’s best performance poets and specialises in the production of free, made-to-order poems, delivered and performed to the discerning customer. The List asked head chef Tim Clare to cook up an Edinburgh poem …

Each Year

Each year, this city eats people;
I have seen Simon Callow hypnotised
By the slow, cud-chew spin
Of his own dirty smalls in a laundrette,
Giant Toblerone clutched to his chest
Like the key to some ancient pyramid.

Each year, idiots recite nonsense
to empty rooms;
Penises are tugged from trousers like balloon animals
And shoehorned into increasingly desperate shows:
Macbeth Gets His Cock Out
The King and I and Some Penises
Junior Masterchef of the Penis

Each year, a plague descends upon this city,
Like ten thousand indefatigable zombie double-glazing salesmen
Handing out business cards,
Opening and unopening the muddy roses of their hands,
Gurgling through ruined throats:
‘Comedy, 3pm. Four stars.’

Each year, a strange, communal brainfever takes hold;
I visit my orthodontist about the filling in my back right molar
But instead he performs a show called
Dentistry of the Penis.
I do not say ahh.
My newsagent refuses to sell me a pack of AA batteries
Until I watch him do a comedy PowerPoint presentation.

Even my local chip shop has succumbed to the popularity of burlesque –
Terry glum-faced behind the counter
In a studded leather thong
His nipple tassels hissing in the deep fat fryer
Each time he leans forward for a battered black pudding.

The Poetry Takeaway, Bristo Square, 4–28 Aug, noon–8pm, free.

Tim Clare has his own show, How to Be a Leader, Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 6–28 Aug (not 15), 8.55pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £6.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Li'l poems from today's walk

dry stick
comes alive
after rain

drop drips off
little green leaf


in this
neck of the woods
storm water meets
risen river

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Perth Poetry Calendar JULY . AUGUST

Perth Poetry Club’s guest poet for Saturday 23 July is multi-award-winning poet and novelist MARCELLA POLAIN. Please join us at the Moon Cafe, 323 William Street, Northbridge between 2 and 4 pm to hear her read her wonderful words.

Plus professional sound and open mic. All welcome.

Marcella Polain has published three poetry collections and a novel. She has won the Anne Elder Poetry Prize and twice won the Patricia Hackett Prize. Her work has been short-listed for The WA Premier's Poetry Award, The Judith Wright poetry Prize and a Commonwealth Writer's Prize for First Book. Her poetry has been published nationally and in the USA, and her novel is currently being translated for release in Romania. She is currently recipient of an Australis Council grant to write a second novel. She is a Senior Lecturer in Writing at Edith Cowan University.

Coming up at Perth Poetry Club:

30 July: Vivienne Glance + Frances Limb

6 Aug Lauren Brunswich + Anna Dunnill
13 Aug TBA
20 Aug Dean Meredith + Amanda Joy
27 Aug FESTIVAL MEGA GIG: Jennifer Compton, Geoff Lemon (TBC), John Daniel, Jane Spiro
3 Sep NPW: Ruth Sancho Huerga + Charmaine Papertalk-Green (TBC)

Other forthcoming events in Perth Poetry:

31 July: Fringe Gallery, 94 Bawdan Street, Willagee, 7.30 pm, featuring Danny Gunzberg and Amber Fresh

1 August: Voicebox, Clancy’s Fish Pub, Fremantle

4 August: Cottonmouth, 459 Bar Rosemount Hotel, 459 Fitzgerald St, North Perth

Monday, July 18, 2011

An Ode of English Plurals:

We begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England.
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend.
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and
get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive on a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
in which your house can burn up as it burns down,
in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and
in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop

ANONYMOUS (thanks, Meg)

A positive Publishing Story for First-time Novelists ...

Ah, the long and winding road - to publishing. ABC News has a positive story - at

Many people dream of writing a book but very few ever put pen to paper and make it to the bookshop shelf.

Jacqui Wright is one of the few.

The bright and bubbly working mother of two from a community near Broome in the Kimberley is this year's winner of the TAG Hungerford award which recognises outstanding works of fiction by unpublished West Australian authors.

Her novel is called 'The Telling' and is set in the North-West region.

It's about a girl who is missing and the story is told through the eyes of a garbage truck driver named Maggot and an academic who has come to the region to do research in an Aboriginal community.

Jacqui talks about the characters with such affection that it's clear it was a big and consuming part of her life.

"They become your friends; my characters aren't necessarily based on one particular person, you start to take little bits and pieces from people in real life and you create this person so they do become a very real friend or a very real part of your world," she said.

If anything, Jacqui hopes her novel shows readers that there is more than one side to a story and encourages them to look further and deeper.

Read on at the website address above.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Paradise Lost, Book IV, Lines 639–652 by John Milton

Eve speaks to Adam

With thee conversing I forget all time;
All seasons, and their change, all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds: pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful Evening mild; then silent Night
With this her solemn bird and this fair moon,
And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train:
But neither breath of Morn when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land, nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers;
Nor grateful Evening mild; nor silent Night
With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon,
Or glittering star-light without thee is sweet.

Friday, July 15, 2011


from Glen Phillips' forthcoming collection, 'A Show of Colours'

If you were to join me here
in my country, breathing
quietly aromatic oils
of eucalypt and salt bush
on the old bush tracks, goldfields treks,
the old sandalwood trails
the old songlines
of my stolen country!

If you were here
by me in my country
sighting along my arm
letting the yellow-gold
and old green enter
your eyesockets, pass through
the shadowy aisles
to merge with your own country!

If you were here
I would show the way
I have taken through
sixty summers and winters,
of footsteps in the litter
of bark strippings, the shed leaf debris
in the powdery red dust.
And footsteps wet, on glittering
granite domes in a freezing wind.

If you were here
I would show you those ways
through wheatfields, saltlakes
and salmon gums to my country.


See below for Invitation to launch on 31st @ ECU Bookshop

Fringe Gallery Poetry and Performance night

The Fringe is on again, Sunday evening 31st July. Poetry and music with guest poets Danny Gunzberg and Amber Fresh. See you there, open mic and all.

7:30pm Sunday 31 July at at
Fringe Gallery
96 Bawdan Street

Book Launch: Glen Phillips at ECU Bookshop

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sydney-siders have music opportunities at the Con

The Music Conservatorium Open Academy of the Sydney University offers short courses for everyone - from beginners through to proficient players.

from the website

The Conservatorium Open Academy’s flagship community education program provides adults and life-long learners with entertaining, challenging and inspiring ways into the world of music and the Sydney Conservatorium’s vibrant culture.

The program offers many short courses designed to give adults the skills and knowledge to pursue their musical interests, curiosity or to find a creative outlet for their talents in a collaborative group learning environment. Courses include music theory, composition, improvisation, instrumental and vocal performance.

There are four terms during the year. The first three terms run for 8 weeks each, usually 2 hours per week. The Spring term is 5 weeks long, concentrating on performance skills for workshop concerts in late November. Courses cater for beginners right through to experienced musicians.

All courses are held in the state-of-the-art facilities of the prestigious Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Macquarie St. Students enjoy unique bonuses when joining one of the Academy’s courses:

* membership of the Conservatorium’s extensive music library for the term.
* many free or discounted tickets to Conservatorium concerts.

Short Courses for Adults
Anthea Parker/ Ariane Wicks
P: +61 2 9351 1208

Rotorua celebrates NZ National Poetry Day

Rotorua District Council (RDC) is working with the Travelling Tuataras, poet Brian Potiki and Rotorua Mad Poets Society to bring poetry to local people on National Poetry Day 2011.

The group will be distributing postcards of local poems at the Rotorua Night Market on Thursday 21 July as part of the national celebration. Local poet, playwright, scriptwriter, songwriter and performer Brian Potiki will also recite poems at the event.

RDC community arts officer Kiri Jarden says poetry day is a great opportunity to generate community interest in a literary form that probably doesn't receive the attention it deserves.

"Outside of formal book awards we don't often get a chance to celebrate the written word in a public way. We don't have that engagement - particularly with poetry.

"Many of us as kids had a reasonable amount of poetry exposure from international writers; however we've got lots of national and local poets worthy of celebrating. We want to support local poets, and poetry as an art form that can express cultures, creativity and stories, as well as share a laugh and basically share a moment."

Rotorua Mad Poets is launching the book Te Reo Pohawa - The Spirit of Rotorua in Verse at the Rotorua District Library at 5pm on Friday 22 July. The book was inspired by the late Don Stafford who suggested the group collect poems about Rotorua.

The Library is also running a limerick competition leading up to National Poetry Day. People can enter their limericks on the Rotorua District Library Facebook page, or by taking them to the library where all limericks will be on display.

Library marketing & promotions officer Sue Heke says writing poetry can be very therapeutic and another way of using one's love of words to inspire others.

RDC also encourages local people to support poetry group 3 Blokes at McLeod's Booksellers at 6pm on Friday 22 July.

ED: I publish this news because I believe Australia and NZ are such close neighbours, we should enjoy more literary cross-overs on a regular basis. I know it is getting better, but more sharing helps to link our nations together. Andrew - on the west coast of Australia

Monday, July 11, 2011

If we were paid to write poems, how would they change?

I wrote a poem during the past week. After I had written a few drafts of it, I sent it to a couple of friends who I had mentioned it to. I can't show you the poem because I intend to publish it - and some editors count exposure on Hi Spirits as 'publishing', and they want unpublished works. But I can share the last line at least because it is pertinent to the conversation which follows:

If our work paid it would be
differently made.

Now, the following reply was to a revised version of the poem I had shared a day before:

Hi Andrew


Thanks for the poem. I like the revised version very much - the last few lines of the original just didn't seem quite right sitting on the end of the poem. Really love the way you write - thanks for sending it through. It is currently up on my wall at work.


PS - I wonder how 'differently made' your poems would be if you were paid to write them....??

To this I replied:

Yes, me too. I think they would be like ad copy - aware of the client and only secondly aimed at the result As it is, it is like 'gift commerce' - freely given with simply an eye (ear) for sharing. What the poet is sharing varies with every poem and every poet: Pam Ayres has a different set of chops than Charles Bukovski, John Tranter different than Les Murray, Seamus Heaney to Ron Silliman. When I was richer than I am today, money paid for the publication of my poems went straight into the purchase of new poetry books, thereby assisting the R & D of further works. A couple of days ago I sold two books at a workshop, rang my wife and told her to stop cooking, and bought fish'n'chips for tea! Now that's putting poetry earnings to good use

Cheers -


A short while later this reply popped into my email box:

Hmmm - I have always struggled with the image of you dancing to someone else's tune as an advertising person. You always seem so much your own person. But yes, much like people painting on commission, the work of art tends to be tailored to the person paying the commission so of course you are right. But then, is writing poetry that you hope to have published also influenced by what you think publishers might want or the public might buy.....? All very interesting.

Either way, I like the sound of using the money from your poetry books to buy other poetry books or fish'n'chips - both very good investments I say! Hope you enjoyed and Jeanette enjoyed them. And I still like your poem!



MY reply -

Thanks for yr reply - I am so much my own person, I was often in conflict in advertising. Often clients hire you to be original, but then complain your ideas aren't like their opposition's advertising: they often wanted 'me too' advertising which is never creative. Money was always polluting our ideas - the Big Idea was often too expensive to produce, although often small budgets made the creative team more creative.

When I write poems, I write 'em for myself first and foremost. I tap my feet to my own beat, I dream as free as a kite without strings in friendly breezes. My writing habits click into gear and I write within a tradition even when I'm trying to buck it. I never think of editors or publishing houses until after I have shaped something I am proud of - then I want to share it. (Occasionally I am asked to write for an occasion and then I write verse, often funny, but not momentous!)

And I'm glad you still like the poem


Atlas Poetica announces '25 Tanka Prose'

Atlas Poetica : A Journal of Poetry of Place in Contemporary Tanka is pleased to announce ’25 Tanka Prose’ edited and with an introduction by Bob Lucky. The sixth installment in the Special Features hosted at Atlas Poetica, the website for Atlas Poetica : A Journal of Poetry of Place in Contemporary Tanka. ’25 Tanka Prose’ is a substantial collection of prosimetrum, the art of combining poetry and prose. Editor Bob Lucky is a well-known and highly regarded tanka poet who brings his unique view to the form.

Tanka prose originated more than a thousand years ago in Japan as poets combined tanka with prose in the form of tales, diaries, essays, and more. Tanka, with its emphasis on ‘dreaming room’ invites the reader to expand the poem with their own associations, so it is not surprising that poets themselves welcome tanka prose as a way to expand their own associations and share them with the reader.

The selections in ’25 Tanka Prose’ present an international spectrum of experiences from Tibet to the United States to New Zealand to India and many other places, thus melding Atlas Poetica’s emphasis on poetry of place with the diversity of tanka prose. New voices appear alongside well-known names—a hallmark of Atlas Poetica’s approach—and present a wide variety of formats and subject matters. Terry Ingram tells us about being a child shill for the dubious doings of a Baptish minister while Amelia Fielden remembers life in Morocco during an attempted coup. History looms large: World War II, Machiavelli’s Florence, and the monastery of El Escorial where Phillip II of Spain directed the Counter-Reformation. Many of the pieces feature journeys: to hike a glacier, to visit a village in Thailand, to pilgrimage the Dalai Lama’s Tibet, but most of all, into the depths of the human experience.

Atlas Poetica is an international tanka journal that publishes all forms of tanka literature: tanka, kyoka, and gogyoshi, along with prose, sequences and sets, shaped poetry, and non-fiction. The Atlas Poetica Special Features section highlights different aspects of the literature. 2010 focussed on tanka traditions from around the world, while 2011 will focus on different aspects of the literature. Upcoming Special Features will present 'From Lime Trees to Eucalypts : A Botany of Tanka,' edited by Angela Leuck and ’25 Tanka Poets from Great Britain and the United Kingdom,’ edited by Jon Baldwin.

Designed by Alex von Vaupel, Technical Director for Atlas Poetica, the website hosts information about the journal, submission guidelines, ordering information and sample issues. Previous Special Features are archived free online.

M. Kei, publisher and editor
P O Box 516,
Perryville, MD, 21903, USA.
Email: Keibooks (at)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Poets and authors in their swimsuits!

Go see your favourite poets and writers in their swimming togs at The group photo is Peter Orlovsky, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs (in suit)and the glamorous lady is Sylvia Plath. Not an Australian among them! If you have any photos of Judith Wright, Vincent Buckley, AD Hope or any other literary figures from Oz lit history, or current writers like Tranter or Fay Zwicky or David Williamson or ... Tim Winton shouldn't be so hard to find ... please send 'em in: burkeandre(at)gmail(dot)com

Friday, July 08, 2011

Garner, Walker, MacKellar, Beveridge on NARRATIVE AND HEALING

About the Symposium
Commenting on the therapeutic dimensions of autobiographical writing, Marilyn Chandler notes: ‘All crises in some way or another involve a struggle with language, and to be healed we need to seem to find a way to tell our stories’. The recent proliferation of illness narratives and memoirs on bereavement attest to the truth of Chandler’s observation. Yet, illness sometimes has the power to silence voice. Bereavement can often render the experience of loss unspeakable. How then do the seriously ill, or the bereaved, find a way to tell their stories? What kind of stories do they tell? How does the act of telling stories shape experience? And how should we listen to those stories? How do we engage ethically with them? And what constitutes healing?

These are just some of the questions to be addressed at a one-day Symposium in which Australian writers and medical practitioners come together to explore the rich, complex relationship between narrative and healing. Writers Helen Garner, Brenda Walker, Maggie MacKellar and Judith Beveridge and specialist clinicians working in palliative care and bereavement counselling discuss, from a range of perspectives, how storytelling, particularly in times of crisis, enacts healing.

Time: 8.45am for 9.00am - 5.00pm
Date: Saturday 3 September 2011
Venue: Foyer, New Law Building, University of Sydney
Cost: $60.00

The cost of registration is $60.00. All meals and drinks provided.

To register download, print and complete the Registration Payment Form, and return to:

Bernadette Brennan
Department of English
John Woolley Building, A20
University of Sydney
NSW 2006

Confirmed speakers include writers: Helen Garner, (Joe Cinque's Consolation, The Spare Room), Maggie Mackellar (When It Rains: a Memoir), Brenda Walker (Reading by Moonlight: How Books Saved a Life), and Judith Beveridge.

Some poetry submission tips from Wendy Jenkins and Georgia Richter

(Notes from Fremantle Press)

Are you considering submitting poetry to Fremantle Press?

A good place to begin is by visiting our submissions guidelines page on the Fremantle Press website:

Here we call for poetry submissions to be accompanied by a covering letter including a brief description of the work and an author bio with publication history and awards. If performance is an important element of the work, the letter should also list recent performances and readings.

Manuscripts should be a minimum of 60 pages of poems (one poem to a page). Spacing is best at 1.5 with a font size of around 10–12 pt, and with generous margins: go for whatever is comfortable to the eye.

Fremantle Press publishes two or three volumes of poetry a year. Every other year, we will publish a themed composite volume which will be our main vehicle for introducing new poets – 2010 for example was New Poets; 2012 will be Performance Poets. Calls for submissions to these volumes are broadcast widely through writing networks.

The remaining spaces on the list are hotly contested. There are always more poets than places. We must consider how best to support established poets while providing space for new voices coming through.

Successful manuscripts will be arresting in their language use, and the submitted volume will generally have a sense of unity or cohesion. Successful new or emerging poets who submit their work have often already taken the MS through an editorial process with a trusted mentor or editor or with writing peers. To this end, we encourage poets to be involved in a poetry community as much as possible: read and listen to the work of other poets, and, where possible, work with others (individuals, community writing groups) who themselves have experience of reading, writing and editing poetry. Gain as much publishing experience as possible via submissions to journals, or making your own zines or posting individual poems online. There are many ways to find an audience for poetry.

Wendy Jenkins, Manuscript Assessor & Poetry Editor,

Georgia Richter, Poetry Publisher

POEM by Li Po: In the Mountains on a Summer Day

Gently I stir a white feather fan,
With open shirt sitting in a green wood.
I take off my cap and hang it on a jutting stone;
A wind from the pine-trees trickles on my bare head.

Li Po (c. 750, trans. Arthur Waley, 1919)

ED: I publish this poem to ward off our chilly winds.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

$400 for your poem? Read on!

Peter Cowan Writers Centre announces the 2011 Julie Lewis Biennial Literary Award for Poetry is now open.

The Award for Poetry is open to all ages, is for an open theme of 50 lines maximum, and closes on the 31st August.

First Prize is $400, Second Prize is $200, Third Prize is $100, there are four Highly Commended Certificates and four Commended Certificates. The entry forms and guidelines are available on

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


There are quotes from her quotes here that will delight most contemporary writers. Take time out to listen.

Naked Poet by Ezra Bix

The poet sits nude and alone in his garret

Sipping his pipe and then smoking his claret

Composing a poem sublime to the ear

Mellifluous verses that no one will hear.

Ezra Bix

Australian Poetry has a wonderful program going of Cafe Poets around Australia. Ezra Bix is situated at Cafe Zappa in Bank Street, South Melbourne. Read all about it (and more) here:

Monday, July 04, 2011

Poetic License: Prison group’s poems free the soul

An article in The Providence Journal at writes about poets teaming up with some prisoners to help all express their joys and woes.

QUOTE: Every other Saturday since 2008, a team of up to six poets visits the Medium Security section of the ACI to take part in a writing workshop with inmates. The inmates receive no good behavior points for attending, and the poets — among them Margie Flanders and Lisa Starr — receive no pay for making the trip. The result is that everyone is on an equal footing.

Here’s a group poem, written last November by members of Ocean State Poets and poets in the Medium Security prison in Cranston.

Why Do We Write?

Because poetry is a long black wool scarf

wrapped eight times around our necks.

Because poetry is the wind biting our jackets

by the frozen bay we fall into, and are then saved from

by mermaids who leave us shivering and thanking heaven.

When poetry comes to town, it carries

a small cab full of letters and rotten fruit, with worms

as strong and dirty as the sorrows of this year’s hell.

We wash our hands, pick up our heads, lean away

from the crushed rock of silence, and then write.

One poem closes our eyes like a setting sun strung

with rosary beads, cold and restless. Another poem

is blood flowing, holding a cleaver in its scarred hand.

The fist of one poem hits the side of the house

in another, stained glass shattering our souls.

We write because poetry rocks in a chair while shingles

fly across the lawn and overgrowth cuts itself down.

We write to send our imagination ahead of us, sweeping

words into a great story, forceful enough to uproot trees

lining the runway as our poems take off into backlit clouds.

So we open the doors together, let hinges creak, speak,

not to silence desire but to unleash it, to loosen the grip

of our lives on our souls. Filling our skins with listening,

we turn our poems into shared treasure, a sort of currency,

like big wallets full of joy, there for us to spend.

And yeah, that’s why we write,

but also because we can’t not.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Pop poems may pull the punters to pubs, but that's all ...

In The Australian on the web at there is a good article about poetry and its value. Here's a quote, but I hope you click on the link and read the article.

'Those who know what great poetry is covet its place in the culture. Pop poems may pull the punters to pubs, but that's all.

In the same week that Baker was awarded her slam title, arguably one of Australia's finest living poets, Christopher Wallace Crabbe, was awarded an Order of Australia. This was, so the citation noted, "For service to the arts as a leading poet, critic and educator."

What needs to be grasped is that not all poetry has the capacity to move us. Great poetry does. To this end, American poet Randall Jarrell was right when he said: "A good poet is someone who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times." '

PS: The link to TRUCK below is now fixed. Sorry for my mistake.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Proust hitches a lift on July's TRUCK

from Swann's Way

I gazed at her, at first with that gaze which is not merely a messenger from the eyes, but in whose window all the senses assemble and lean out, petrified and anxious, that gaze which would fain reach, touch, capture, bear off in triumph the body at which it is aimed, and the soul with the body; (...)

In July, Truck leaves the depot with Proust on board! What's up? you ask. For answers, join Skip Fox at