Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today's informal John Daniel chat at Peter Jeffery's house

Today was mid-week of the 2011 WA Spring Poetry Festival ... and part of the action was a gentle afternoon getting to know and listen to John Daniel, visiting UK poet.

Among other things discussed (Prynne, LANGUAGE poetry, the social fabric of London) John spoke of that English modernist poet, Barry MacSweeney. His allusion to "Pearl" set me thinking (not always an easy thing to do), so when I had a minute I went looking through that wonderful window called Google. Here's a little of what I found - I post it here mainly for those other people that were present - Ron Okeley, Chris Arnold, Janet Jackson, Ken Hudson, Neil Pattinsen, Gary de Piazzi, Sue Clennel, Jennifer Compton, Peter J himself, Anne Dyson and others I know by face but not by name (sorry).



MacSweeney’s ‘Pearl’ (“I am Pearl, queen of the dale”) confirms his credentials as a belated Romantic, mining the resources of the language to their full potential and mixing medieval anachronisms like the three-stressed alliterative line with post-modern pop-culture slang in jarring, dazzling poetry:

I leak truth like a wound, sore not seen to.
Call me a scab if you wish, I’m still plain Pearl.
Wild Knitting was named after me, I know you did, Bar.
Every day—I wake at four - tongue fever grasps me
and I am possessed: though
my screen is blank and charmless to the human core
I have an unbending desire to marry consonants and vowels
and mate them together
in what you call phrases and sentences
which can become—imagine it—books!

MacSweeney’s poetry in ‘Pearl’ is powerful, almost effortless in its ability to match its historical sweep with his characteristic honesty in pointing out the wrongs of the contemporary world—closer, perhaps, to Piers Plowman than Pearl. At the same time he manages to sustain an ironic, self-deprecating distance, recognising that words and worlds can never fully correspond, that nature poetry is never the poetry of nature:

. . . an engine revved before
daybreak, as the world, the permanent wound
I would never know in sentence construction, fled
away from my heather-crashing feet, splash happy
kneefalls among the tumblestones,
whip-winged plovers shattering the dew.


Here's what MacSweeney had to say about Pearl:

'Pearl was a mute girl who lived at the top of the lonnen (or loaning) who was also spellbindingly beautiful and the first girl I saw naked, swimming in the East Allen. She could not speak and was treated locally like an idiot. ... And I taught her to read and write, high on the law. She was fierce and majestic like the landscape - ...' (from Don't Ask Me What I mean: Poets in their own Words', Picador Poetry 2003) (I found it in a second hand bookshop once - a nice little collection of poets' introductions to their own collections)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011 WA Spring Poetry Festival swings into Top Gear

Wednesday 31 August – Poets Aloud – Murray St Mall 12.30 to 2.30 pm
- Cultural Connections – Yirra Yaakin Theatre 7 to 10 pm

Thursday 1 September - Poets Aloud - Murray St Mall 12.30 to 2.30 pm
- Cottonmouth – The Bird 7.30 to 11pm

Friday 2 September - Poets Aloud - Murray St Mall 12.30 to 2.30 pm
- Poetry in Schools (various venues)

- Festival Kick Up and Song Lyric Contest winners – City Farm 7 to 10 pm

- Bush Poets Muster – The Auditorium 7.30 to 10.30 pm

Saturday 3 September - Centre Stage – Wetlands Stage 12 to 2 pm
- Impromptu Guerilla Poetry - pub crawl and cafe blasts follows on after Perth Poetry Club 4.30 to 6.30 till whenever

- Neil Murray @ XWray Cafe – Xwray Cafe 8 pm

Sunday 4 September - Poetry in the Sacred – Saint Andrew’s Church 2 to 4 pm
- Monet Gallery readings – Monet Art Gallery 2 to 4 pm

- Festival Poetry Slam – PICA Bar 8 to10 pm

For more details, visit

New Penquins

Check out 26 new Penguins at

2011 WA Spring Poetry Festival at VOICEBOX

Pics: Michelle Cahill, poet; Ken Hudson and Neil Pattinsen, poets; Liana Christensen, compere

Last night I dragged my flesh'n'bones down to Clancy's Fish Bar in Freo for VOICEBOX - a special 2011 WA Spring Poetry Festival reading by Michelle Cahill, John Daniels, Jennifer Compton and Geoff Lemon. There was alsoT.Zachary Cotler a young USA poet-in-residence at Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre (locally known as simply KSP).

What a lively lovely venue that is! We had quite a crowd - they were there for the poetry and the bar, no doubt. Among the crowd was a list that would make a great reading of its own: Josephine Clark, Marcus John, Janet Jackson, Elio, Annamaria Weldon, Peter Jeffery, Kenneth Hudson, Neil Pattinson, Anna, Chris Arnold, Gary de Piazzi, Zan Ross, Coral Carter, Julie Watts, Helen Hagemann, Richard A., Rachael Petrides ... If I've missed anyone out, my apologies.

Here's a bit about Zachary ...

Zachary Cotler

T. Zachary Cotler is the author of House with a Dark Sky Roof (Salt, 2011). His poems and fiction appear widely in magazines in the US and UK. In 2006, he was awarded the Amy Clampitt Fellowship. He’s a founding editor of The Winter Anthology, an international, online collection of 21st century literature,

Monday, August 29, 2011

Australian National Jazz Writing Competition

I'm really flat-out in the Poetry world at present, so here I just present how to get all the facts - what to win, how to enter, etc. Good luck!

Launch of QWERTY at Bodhi Tree Cafe - Photo Gallery

Coral Carter (, publisher); Jennifer Compton launching QWERTY; self reading poem; John Daniel (UK) and Geof Lemon (Melb.); Patricia Sully and Dean Meredith; Marcus John

QWERTY is available at

Sunday, August 28, 2011

2011 WA Spring Poets Breakfast under the Bodhi Tree

Today, Sunday, at the 2011 WA Spring Poetry Festival, was another blast.

Today it was wall-to wall poetry at the Bodhi Tree Cafe and Bookstore, Mount Hawthorn.

We started the day with a Poets Breakfast. It was chilly, but the sun was making a grand effort to warm the west up. However, the coffee was hot and good - so that's the main thing. And it was 'fair trade', too.

Gary de Piazzi herded us poets into some kind of assembly, then compered, parading us one by one in front of the mike: Michelle Cahill, John Daniel, John Mateer, Geof Lemon, Jennifer Compton who graciously launched my new title QWERTY, and myself who responded ... Followed by AnnaMaria Weldon, and Janet Jackson who accompanied her poems on acoustic guitar and rounded it all off with a song.

The charming Karen and Elizabeth from Bodhi Tree Cafe kept things ticking along with their helpful staff - healthy organic foods and fair trade coffee plus freshly squeezed juices of all kinds. The breakfast poems covered a great variety of subjects, including breakfast memories on various continents! The Bodhi is a great place for Sunday breakfast, with or without poets chirping in your ear.

About 11.30am, the poetry crowd thinned out and the lunch crowd came in. They sat and ate without benefit of poems or literary gossip until they too departed and a new batch of poets and poetry listeners filled the cafe for the afternoon session - 1.30pm READINGS BY SUNLINE POETS. Organiser, poet, actress and charming lady, Vivienne Glance began by organising the chairs and microphone. The first four were Shane McCauley, Jennifer C, myself and Vivienne herself. I read from my Sunline publication, Whispering Gallery, and finished with a poem from QWERTY, seeing as it was its birthday.

A break - and another cup of coffee

The second half featured Roland Leach, founder, owner and editor of Sunline, plus AnnaMaria Weldon, and the newest Sunline poet, Mags Webster. When their readings had finished, Vivienne and Roland declared a small anthology of local poets was on its way - featuring Flora Smith, Chris Konrad and Rose van Son (who was unfortunately absent). With Viv reading for Rose, these poets read - and the day bubbled to a close.

So, that was a full day of poems such as a Poetry Festival should present, and tonight those with more energy than I are off somewhere else enjoying more and more poetry. I'm puffed out - I talked too much, but it is difficult to remain silent when you have such a wealth of poets and friends in the one space at the one time.

Tomorrow night, the Festival gig for Voicebox at Clancy's Fish Bar in Freo is sure to be another blast. I'll see you there!

Opening Night photos

Gary de Piazzi and Kim Scott; Jennifer Compton and Andrew Burke; Meredith W. and Peter Jeffery; Liana Christensen and Jan Napier
. (Truly sorry for any name mistakes)

Photos by Coral Carter at the launch of WA Spring Poetry Festival.

WA's character stamped on Poetry Festival

Rushing off to the Poets Breakfast and the launch of QWERTY this morning - at and Bookstore, Mt Hawthorn. I'll be there all day, too, as I'm joining others for a poetry reading this afternoon featuring Sunline Press poets - Vivienne Glance, Kevin Gillam, Shane McCauley, Roland Leach, Jennifer, Annamaria Weldon and - the latest to join the clan - Mags Webster. Old books, New books will be on sale. (Future books will have to wait.)

Yesterday we had a riotous day at the Perth Poetry Club - NOT your traditional staid poetry reading but a romp through the styles of contemporary poetry with visiting poets Geoff Lemon, Jennifer Compton and John Daniel. Helen Child exploded proceedings with her dildo act as an escaped blow-up sex toy! A giant hoot. That set the mood for many light hearted poems and many irreverent tones of voice. I can't list all the poets - from first timers to old timers (Peter Jeffery read a poem from 40 years ago! strewth - it was in modern English too)- but the reading went from 2pm promptly to 4.20pm. A poem per poet - that's a wholew swag of poets! And even though they came from all corners of the earth, it was very West Aussie, if I may say so. Rambunctious humour might be a word for it, laced with a little sweetness.

Photos to follow ... please, Coral and anybody else.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A more charitable view of Poets Festival Opening

From Gary de Piazzi: (off Facebook)

Last night Friday - the launch of the WA Poetry Festival started slow but quickly swelled to a celebration of poetry. Kim Scott enthused and inspired us to greater writing and every poet excelled in their presentation of the spoken word. Proud to be a member of this poetry community.

Ed: And we're happy to have such an active do-everything Pres!

Opening Night of the 2011 Spring Poetry Festival

It was a cold coming we had of it, as hose who ventured to the Opening function of the Perth Poetry Festival ... er, the WA Spring Poetry Festival ... or ... would know all too well.

Tonight was a fine night but chilly. We gathered in the barn of Perth City Farm for a 6pm start. There was food and drink for a hundred - and poets from England, all around Australia and various corners of Western Australia. At most, thirty people braved the chilly conditions. Shame on you, absent Perth poets. Shame on you, Perth arts community.

And shame on the local arts department who contributed but a pittance toward this week's festival events.

The main man behind the preparations and MCing the event all evening was Gary de Piazzi, poet and generous spirit. He was a very active man throughout the evening! As he introduced poets and speakers, he ducked down to front of stage to take celebrity photos, then checked the produce table to make sure the books etc were set right for sale, and conversed with a sidekick, Chris Arnold or Mar Bucknell about sundry matters - such as who was gunna pick up guest poet Geoff Lemon from the airport. A small point, but worth pursuing. Jennifer Compton was already here ... er, there. And where was she staying? At Gary's home. He's a generous man. (And the arts dept are tight-fisted as ever.) She was comfortable and dressed in her best poet's gear, complete with black beret. Tres chic.

The guest to open the show was Kim Scott, West Australian novelist, double Miles Franklin Award winner and contemporary Australian literary figure. Kim was relaxed and informal. This is not to say he treated the event lightly: he simply felt somewhat at home with a small audience of people who were obviously as committed to The Word and its uses as he is. His 'keynote address' was about the richness of language when it was used as part of our experience of reality rather than just as a means of representing that experience. To illustrate and weave out his thesis, we heard the words of Nabokov, Dennis Haskell, TS Eliot and some Noongar words expressed for their beautiful and linguistically apt musical values. I can't do justice at all to Kim's address, but I must say he was a gentle and quietly persuasive speaker who had the audience in the palm of his hand from start to finish. Unfortunately he had to scamper shortly after he was finished to catch an early morning plane to - somewhere. Nowadays, the literary life of successful writers requires a vast amount of travelling, so much so that Kim's next novel will be almost entirely written on Qantas napkins. Or is it Jetstar now?

During the evening we heard works from John Mateer, Jennifer Compton, Geof Lemon, and English guest poet, John Daniel, plus local poets as divers as Anna who read her first poem in public, to Don Rignall who has been reading his poems for decades and teaching children the values of literature for the same length of time.

The lamingtons were fine, too.

The mood of the wide open City Farm barn was warm and friendly. And the close proximity to the railway tracks made for unusual background noises of trains switching lines and the first sound of metal engaging with metal to cause traction. The poets seemed a humble lot, no great egos strutting around like peacocks and peahens. Egalitarian, you might say, the mood in which poetry is most advantageously presented.

This weekend is rich in poetry events all around Perth. And it continues into the next week, with poems in the city malls, poets at schools, readings in bars and pubs and clubs from Freo to Joondalup, from Greenmount to Swanbourne. May you break out of your reveries and attend a function or two - I guarantee it will be worth it.

See where to go and what to hear, or workshops to be a part of, at

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Small poem from QWERTY

snap dragons
swaying in
a childhood garden

continue to
snap here
in my old mind


QWERTY:take my word for it, available now from

Saturday's Perth Poetry Club session features Guest Poets for the Spring Poetry Festival

Spring is in the air and it’s Poetry Festival time again, so come on down to the Moon Cafe, 323 William street, Northbridge, for the WA Poetry Festival MEGA-GIG with UK poet JOHN DANIEL and Melbourne poets GEOFF LEMON and JENNIFER COMPTON. Saturday 27 August from 2 to 4 pm – kick back and enjoy the entertainment, or participate in the open mic.

Professional sound, as always – all welcome.

John Daniel’s poetry has been published in the Faber Introduction series, Swallow’s 23 Modern British Poets, Missing the Boat, Etruscan Books, and a wide variety of contemporary British and American magazines. He has also self-published a number of volumes including Childsplay, Soddits (a collection of sonnets) and Pushing 100 which was a series of poems about pushing his aged mother around the London parks. He has won a number of prizes including the Camden Prize for Poetry, The Kent and Sussex prize, the Exeter prize for Poetry.

Geoff Lemon is co-editor of literary anthology Going Down Swinging, and former poetry editor of harvest and Voiceworks magazines. His poems and stories are published in the likes of Best Australian Stories, HEAT, Griffith Review, Blue Dog, and Island. A six-time slam winner, he has performed at shows and festivals across Australia and been broadcast numerous times on national radio.

Jennifer Compton is a poet and playwright who also writes prose. She has been awarded the 2010 Kathleen Grattan Prize for her book of poetry. She has read at the Genoa Poetry Festival, Sydney Writers Festival, Overload Poetry Festival, Sarajevo Poetry Days, and most recently at the Queensland Poetry Festival.

Coming up at Perth Poetry Club:

3 Sep: National Poetry Week with WA Poetry Festival guest RON OKELY and poems from WA Poets Inc committee members
24 Sep: 100,000 Poets for Change special event with PARKBEAR + TINEKE VAN DER EECKEN

Other forthcoming events in Perth Poetry:

Perth Poetry Festival
opens 26 August at City Farm, 6 pm. There will be pre-festival events in the week leading up to the festival, and then a week and more of all things poetic in various venues across the city – to see a draft programme, visit

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

QWERTY Book Launch! SUNLINE POETS reading! SUNDAY @ Bodhi Tree - All Welcome

This SUNDAY 9.30 to 11.30am, join us for the POETS' BREAKFAST at BODHI TREE CAFE AND BOOKSTORE, corner of Scarborough Beach Road and Oxford Street, Mount Hawthorn.

My new collection, QWERTY: take my word for it (Mulla Mulla Press), will be launched during the morning by guest poet, JENNIFER COMPTON.

QWERTY will be for sale at $15 - Bargain

If you're busy in the morning, the poetry continues in the afternoon 1.30 to 3pm with SUNLINE POETS READING, compered by poet VIVIENNE GLANCE, and featuring ROLAND LEACH (publisher), ANNAMARIA WELDON, SHANE McCAULEY, ANDREW BURKE and other Sunline poets.

If you can't attend either event, QWERTY is available at

For more information of the WA SPRING POETRY FESTIVAL, go to

Monday, August 22, 2011

Poet John Mateer at Ethics Centre, Christ Church Grammar School, Claremont

23 August · 19:00 - 22:00

Senior Students' Common Room, Christ Church Grammar School, Claremont, WA

The Fellowship of Australian Writers of Western Australia

More info
After his talk, John will discuss his ideas with Tony Hughes d'Aeth.

Evening supported by the Westerly Centre, UWA & the Department for Culture and the Arts.

John Mateer was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has published five books of poems and a prose travelogue on Indonesia with Fremantle Press. He has given readings of his work at poetry festivals in Europe, Asia, Australia and South Africa. Selections of his poems have been translated into Japanese, Indonesian, Portuguese and German. Of his work The Japan Times has written: ‘Mateer’s manner and the complex resonances of his work reminded me a little of the prose of his compatriot, the Nobel-prize-winning novelist JM Coetzee. The poems are inquisitorial, ethically preoccupied and sometimes powerfully intense.’

For more of Mateer's activities at FAWWA, check out - Poet in residence - John Mateer Mon 15th through to Wed 31st August 2011 Tom Collins House

AUTHORSHIP, poem by Rabindronoth Tagore

You say that father write a lot of books, but what he write
I don't understand.
He was reading to you all the evening, but could you really
make out what he meant?
What nice stories, mother, you can tell us! Why can't father
write like that, I wonder?
Did he never hear from his own mother stories of giants and
fairies and princesses?
Has he forgotten them all?
Often when he gets late for his bath you have to and call him
an hundred times.
You wait and keep his dishes warm for him, but he goes on
writing and forgets.
Father always plays at making books.
If ever I go to play in father's room, you come and call me,
"What a naughty child!"
If I make the slightest noise you say, "Don't you see that
father's at his work?"
What's the fun of always writing and writing?
When I take up father's pen or pencil and write upon his book
just as he does,-a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,-why do you get cross with me
then, mother?
You never say a word when father writes.
When my father wastes such heaps of paper, mother, you don't
seem to mind at all.
But if I take only one sheet to make a boat with, you say,
"Child, how troublesome you are!"
What do you think of father's spoiling sheets and sheets of
paper with black marks all over both sides?

Friday, August 19, 2011

DONATE NOW! ABC East Africa Appeal

from the ABC site -

How You Can Help

The worst drought in 60 years is affecting people across the East and Horn of Africa. The combination of the drought and ongoing conflict has resulted in the UN declaring famine in parts of Somalia. This is an extraordinary crisis and Australians are responding.The ABC launched its ABC East Africa Appeal on Friday 12 August and has now raised $1 million. We thank our audience - viewers, listeners and users - for their very generous support. This financial support will directly deliver humanitarian assistance to the regions affected.

This humanitarian crisis is best described by a refugee camp aid worker who told Foreign Correspondent on its report from Kenya's Camp Dadaab:"I’ve not seen anything like what I’ve seen in the past two months and I’ve spoken to a lot of my colleagues. I don’t think anybody has experienced this before."

REGINA MUCHAI - Lead Manager, Dagahaley camp.

This program will be repeated on Saturday 20 August at 1pm on ABC 1 and is available on ABC iView.

Please continue to support this appeal.

What You Can Do

Or call on 1300 440 433

You can help save lives by donating to Australia for UNHCR or your preferred aid agency. All donations in response to this appeal will go directly towards UNHCR's emergency relief operations in East Africa, providing much-needed essentials like food, clean water, shelter, sanitation, survival kits and emergency feeding and nutrition programs.

90 cents in every dollar donated will go directly to the field to help people in need in East Africa.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ron Pretty has some good ideas about getting Oz Poetry delivered!

The great Queensland Poetry Festival has a lively website at which currently has an interview with RON PRETTY

Ron Pretty has published seven books of poetry, the most recent being Postcards from the Centre (July 2010) . He won the NSW Premier’s Special Prize for services to literature in 2001 and received an AM for services to Australian literature in 2002.

Catch Ron at QPF 2011 in:

Filled With Ink – Saturday 27 August / 1.30pm / Theatre Space

Among The Last Bright Leaves - Sunday 28 August / 5pm / Shopfront Space

Quote from the Interview:

John Wainwright: You have done a lot to develop the means by which poetry in Australia is created and poets are supported. What are the next developmental steps you would recommend?

RON PRETTY: I have to confess that I am still a great believer in the pleasure of holding a well-produced book in your hand, and having something to offer an audience when you do a reading. So, for me, the thing I would like to see writers centres, Australian Poetry, the Australia Council do is to develop a much better system of promotion, distribution and sales for poetry books than we have at present. I’ve made a number of suggestions about ways to do this over the years; I’m pleased to see that one of them – the poetry book bus – is being considered up by AP. There are a number of other ideas I’ve had over the years if you’ve got the space.

We have a generous server, please continue!

Well, here are the suggestions I’ve made to the Australia Council, to Australian Poetry, and to anybody else that would listen:

1. Poets as distribution agents. This is a proposal to appoint volunteer poets as distribution agents for independent publishers. At present, retailers take 40-45% and poetry distributors ask an additional 22% of RRP of a book of poetry, and do not distribute poetry very effectively. Under this proposal, a poet would nominate a district for which s/he was prepared to act as poetry distribution agent, and would receive 20% of RRP on all sales. They would sell, not just to book stores, but to schools, colleges, universities, writers’ centres, FAW branches and libraries. Publishers would supply them with books and publicity materials.

2. The poetry book bus. A bus would be leased/bought and fitted out as a travelling book store (It is possible that there might be a travelling library bus sitting unused in some council yard). The bus would tour the country, selling poetry as it went. It could be met at various regional centres by poets to give readings/workshops as it went. Its novelty value would ensure good coverage in local medias.

3. Poetry retail stores would be opened in regional cities. They would double as coffee shops and performance spaces. Publishers (including self-publishers) would hire a space in the store for a set fee (according to the number of titles they had for sale), and would get full RRP for all books sold. The store would have a website and a catalogue of the books in store – the cost of that would be included in the fee. Books would be displayed cover out, rather than spine out.

4. Poetry spinners in book stores. Major book stores would be paid a rental fee to put a poetry spinner in a prominent position at the front of the store, displaying current poetry titles from a range of poetry publishers. If the books thus displayed sell well enough, the store might eventually be prepared to waive the rental fee.

I also feel that there is still a deal of parochialism in Australian poetry: we know and are interested in the poets from our home town, but find it difficult to get too interested in poets from elsewhere. This is a gross over-generalisation, of course, and events like the QPF, and the coming of Australian Poetry do a lot to break it down, but we need more interstate tours by poets so that we all become more familiar with each other’s work.

The funniest moments in classical music... Via Limelight

Limelight magazine is Australia's ABC Classical Radio's magazine - and the latest issue has a special online comedy section: Ten of the Funniest Musical Skits. There's John Cleese (above), Rowan Atkinson, Dudley Moore, Monty Python, Jerry Lewis and Victor Borge ... plus others.

As they say: Yes, classical music can be funny. Ten thigh-slappingly good piss-takes of the noblest artform.

Have a laugh at,the-funniest-moments-in-classical-music.aspx/0

100 Thousand Poets for Change - international event

Poets Worldwide Unite for the Truly Historic "100 Thousand Poets for Change" Event

Poets in 350 cities representing 80 countries are currently organizing the largest poetry reading in history with over 400 individual events scheduled to take place simultaneously on September 24th to promote environmental, social, and political change.

Poets, writers, artists, and humanitarians will create, perform, educate and demonstrate, in their individual communities, and decide their own specific area of focus for change within the overall framework of peace and sustainability, which founder Michael Rothenberg stated, “…is a major concern worldwide and the guiding principle for this global event.”

Bob Holman and Margery Snyder, in a recent article on said, “the beauty of the concept of 100 Thousand Poets for Change is that it is completely decentralized and completely inclusive.”

The events range from a poetry and peace gathering in strife-torn Jalalabad, Afghanistan, to poets in Nogales, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona reading poems to each other across the border fence. There are 13 events in Mexico City alone, 24 events planned in India and 7 in Nigeria. Poetry demonstrations are also being organized in political hotspots such as Cairo, Egypt and Madison, Wisconsin. Along the Platte River near Omaha, Nebraska poets will be demonstrating against TransCanada’s planned Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

More examples of events can be easily accessed on the home page of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change website at

All those involved are hoping, through their actions and events, to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability.

Each city organizer and their community has an individual Event Location blog page on the main website for posting written material, poetry, artwork, photos, and video to document this global mega-event across national borders.

Immediately following September 24th all documentation on the website will be preserved by Stanford University in California, which has recognized 100 Thousand Poets for Change as an historical event, the largest poetry reading in history. They will archive the complete contents of the website,, as part of their digital archiving program LOCKSS.

Founder Michael Rothenberg is a widely known poet, songwriter, editor of the online literary magazine and an environmental activist based in Northern California.

For information contact:
Michael Rothenberg, Founder
100 Thousand Poets for Change
P.O. Box 870
Guerneville, CA 95446
Phone: 305-753-4569

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sunline Press Poets Reading Sunday 28th

You are invited to the 2011 Sunline Press Poets Muster at The Bodhi Tree Bookstore and Cafe.

Featuring Andrew Burke, Vivienne Glance, Jennifer Kornberger, Roland Leach, Shane McCauley and Annamaria Weldon reading new and published poems, and introducing the latest Sunline Press Poet, Mags Webster reading from her new collection The Weather of Tongues.

MC: Vivienne Glance

Plus an announcement of an upcoming Sunline Press anthology… but more of that on the day.

Collections by the poets will be on sale at the reading.

This event is part of the 2011 WA Spring Poetry Festival.

Sunday August 28th

The Bodhi Tree Café and Bookstore
416-418 Oxford Street
Mt Hawthorn 6016
Telephone: 9444 9884

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Poet shot on the Opium bed in Coleridge's study, Greta Hall.

Photo: Max Wallis by Annabel Williams

Ever since Wordsworth launched English Romanticism with the publication of Lyrical Ballads, the wilds of the Lake District have been synonymous with poets baring their souls. But this weekend an assortment of male poets were persuaded to bare a little more for a charity calendar shot amongst the "vales and hills".

Dreamed up by Wild Women Press co-founder and poet Victoria Bennett after her two-year-old son was diagnosed with type one diabetes, the calendar saw a male poet paired with a female photographer for each month of the year (plus one extra month "for all the things you never have time to do"). The duo were then asked to interpret a poem donated for the calendar by a female poet, from Wendy Cope to Penelope Shuttle, Moniza Alvi and Pascale Petite.

"We were looking at things we could do to raise money and awareness of type one diabetes. I run Wild Women Press and my focus has always been trying to promote and give a platform to women's writing. Late one night I came up with the idea of a poetry calendar – I wanted to explore the idea of the male muse, as opposed to the female muse," said Bennett. "I decided I didn't want it to be just poets getting their off, which, let's face it, is a niche market. So I started to approach women poets, from the very well known to the just coming up, and they've all contributed poems [for interpretation]."

The male poets range from early 20s to late 60s, and include Eric Gregory and Newdigate award winner Antony Dunn, Alan Buckley, Graham Eccles, Alexander Hutchison and Max Wallis, while the photographers are both established and less so, from Annabel Williams to Tamara Peel.

The calendar shoot took place in the Lake District this weekend, with Greta Hall, home to Southey and Coleridge, one of the locations.

"We shot on the ledge where Coleridge used to write, on the opium bed in his study, by Southey's desk," said Bennett. "We figured Coleridge would have approved. Once upon a time Wordsworth, Byron and others used to gather there. Now we have a different group."

Ed: Now, turn your minds to Aussie poets: Les Murray, Robert Adamson, John Tranter, Andrew Taylor and Andrew Lansdown, John Kinsella, Anthony Lawrence, Bruce Dawe? Maybe you'd like younger ones ... I'm out of touch, but perhaps Nathan Curnow, Kevin Gillam, Graham Nunn? Photographers? Send me a list - or applications! burkeandre(at)

Monday, August 15, 2011


We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.
A red wing rose in the darkness.

And suddenly a hare ran across the road.
One of us pointed to it with his hand.

That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive,
Not the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.

O my love, where are they, where are they going
The flash of a hand, streak of a movement, rustle of pebbles.
I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder.

Czeslaw Milosz

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Book Launch: QWERTY @ Perth Poetry Festival

9.30am to 11.30am Poets Breakfast at BODHI TREE Book Cafe, corner of Scarborough Beach Road and Oxford Streets, Mount Hawthorn. Sunday 28th August 2011

To be launched by Festival guest, Australian poet JENNIFER COMPTON.

The book launch is only a minor part of the action!

Other guests of the Festival will also be taking part: John Mateer, Geoff Lemon, Michelle Cahill, Ruth Sancho-Huerga, Janet Jackson and John Daniel

QWERTY is available right now at

Full programme of WA POETRY FESTIVAL is available at

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Whitebait, those tiniest sliver
of silver words, swim into
my mind from dark nights
when Mother would feed
the surprise guest brought home
by Father with one too many
drinks in him. Many times
they would mumble apologies
while mother speared a tin
of King Sound whitebait
and started toast cooking.
Father brought home men
who had caught his ear
at the yacht club or the
Naval & Military Club:
an American film actor,
a CSIRO scientist, a touring
Italian pianist, a war hero
with tin legs. Mother would
heat whitebait slowly in
a cream sauce, and when
the toast popped-up (we had
a modern kitchen), she would
say, Sit down, sit down,
and all the whitebaits’ eyes
would look-up at
my father and his guest
swaying like sailors
just come ashore.

New Release: 'QWERTY' by Andrew Burke

Mulla Mulla Press is proud to announce the release of ANDREW BURKE's latest slim volume, QWERTY: take my word for it

This book is now available directly from the publisher at and will soon be avaiable in all good independent bookstores.

With vibrant cover art by ROSS BENNETT and 21 poems within, QWERTY is a collection of many tones and colours.

Here's what LUCY DOUGAN, poet and academic, says about the collection:

Andrew Burke is our Puck, our trickster, and aren’t we so very lucky for that. In the one move he would hoodwink us and in the next sum up the play (or life) so deftly and so sincerely that we are left breathless. Qwerty bears all the very stylish marks of later-life writing. Here nothing is forced, everything is earned and for that reason it feels right. This mercurial voice is funny, sad, absurd and wise by turns –open to loss and open to joy in equal measure. If I had to take a journey through a dark wood I would absolutely pack this book.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Perth Poetry Club presents: BARBARA TEMPERTON this Saturday

On Saturday 13 August, Perth Poetry Club presents award-winning WA poet BARBARA TEMPERTON for your delectation and diversion.

At the Moon Cafe, 323 William Street, Northbridge, from 2 to 4 pm.

Open mic and professional sound, as always. All welcome

The quest to find the rhyme and reason behind Sydney

Erin O'Dwyer
August 10, 2011

A CURIOUS assortment of people come out of the woodwork when you place an ad for a city poet.

"A 75-year-old who had written a few poems and a grandmother from Cairns who said her grandson was good at poetry," says Professor John Dale, the head of creative practices at UTS.

"It's really hit a nerve with younger people, too. What we really want is someone who can take poetry outside of the university. We don't want someone to sit in a room and write six poems. We want someone to engage with the city and make people think about what the city is like."

More than 70 applications were lodged after UTS sent out the call for the inaugural Sydney city poet. The idea had been percolating with Professor Dale since last year. He had recently returned from London, where he had seen snippets of poetry plastered around the Underground, when the arts faculty dean, Professor Theo van Leeuwen, mentioned his sister was the city poet of Antwerp.

"I looked up her details and found that a lot of her poetry wasn't text-based but image-based," Professor Dale says. "And I thought that it would be good to have visual images and text around the city of Sydney, other than for things to eat or drink or buy. The billboard outside my window is for Vodafone. There is hardly any text that is inspiring around the city."

Poet laureates date back to the 16th century. Wordsworth and Tennyson were poet laureates. The British poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has breathed new life into the post, writing in honour of David Beckham's Achilles tendon and the banking crisis. Americans Charles Simic and Robert Frost were poet laureates in a country where almost every state, and many towns and cities too, has a resident poet. Dublin, Birmingham, Oxford, Calgary and Toronto have city poets.


"There is a presumption that poets sit in their rooms, are old-fashioned and wear jackets with patched elbows. But among younger people poetry is coming back. It's more performance-based, with rhymes that stick in the memory. There are a lot of young poets really enthusiastic about being taken seriously."

Dale wants the poet to interpret the city in an iconic way, in the same way as Kenneth Slessor's Five Bells.

"It's really up to us to show what a city poet can do and what a poet is," he says. "It's about language, about the vernacular and about words."

The city poet, sponsored by Arts NSW, will write six poems, give workshops and readings, and mentor other poets. The winner will be announced this month.

Read more:

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

'Show of Colours: Poems of the Yilgarn' by Glen Phillips

Launched by Patrick West on 3 August 2011 at ECU bookshop, Mt. Lawley - where it is now for sale at $18.


One sign that a writer is operating at the height of his powers is the willingness to take on the most serious and difficult of life’s themes.

This is what Glen Phillips’ latest collection of poetry does. Two themes stand out especially: place as travel and what we might call ‘secular religion’.

The first theme reflects the poet’s ambition to return to the landscape of his youth, the Yilgarn, not in the sense of an attempt to recover lost innocence but so as to launch an investigation into how innocence and experience are always in orbit around each other.

This is not so much ‘travel poetry’ then, though it references many places both real and specific, as ‘travelling poetry’. Place itself becomes the rich site of travel and wandering. These are poems of an endless return to place as a way of re-discovering the endlessness of place… of life, of dreams, of writing itself.

Something like the Victorian writer Gerald Murnane who, in prose, draws threads of memory and innocence/experience through his native landscape of south-western Victoria, Glen draws words out of a landscape that, he suggests and we feel, was somehow his even before the time of his birth. The end of the poem ‘Station 1—Southern Cross’, its poetic philosophy, captures this beautifully:

Nearly twenty years of trains would pass
that station night and day until
my summer birth in white heat.
Strange station prelude for my own
journeying, this singular mission out of night.

Fourteen Stations to Southern Cross, the second section of Glen’s book and to me the heart of the collection, is a re-writing of the 14 Stations of the Cross, Christ’s final hours or Passion.

But the poet’s passion is not Christ’s. This book is a remarkable example of religious poetry but it is the religion of place, of intensely numinous landscapes, that is expressed in its pages, not conventional religion. One could call it a search for belief within the unique inland landscapes of Australia. Glen’s theme here, I think, is ‘secular religion’.

‘Station 14—Southern Cross’ completes, perhaps, the leap from the strange world of ourselves before we appear in the world to the world to come. As children listen for trains so

We still do listen in this country for the next coming,
in this place of skulls, of desert she-oaks,
of spheres and melancholy
with their tones and tunes

The ‘holy’ here subsists within language (‘melancholy’) and equally within landscape. And isn’t the perfect matching of word to place in itself a holy or religious rite?

Glen transforms the flesh of place into the spirit of words. But he makes the word ‘station’—the key word, I suggest, of his collection—bear this immensely serious burden of significance most lightly. Life sings off the pages of this book.

Intensely local and at the same time international (even inter-galactic with its undertones of metaphysical traditions and artifice) this collection marries the Western Australian landscape to those of Italy and China. No place exists in isolation. Perhaps every place contains within it the seeds of every ‘elsewhere’? Glen’s poetry makes us think on such things.

Searingly secular and deeply religious, both very serious and very funny (witness ‘Station 9—Pingelly’ or the juvenile pas de deux of cars and trains of ‘Station 7—Beverley’), wordy and imagistic, vernacular while also conversing with the voices of other poets (Shakespeare, Ezra Pound and others)…. Overall this is a landmark collection of poetry. Glen’s achievement here, and in the body of his work over a lifetime (more to come too, I’m sure!) makes it increasingly difficult to think of the wild places of Western Australia without feeling his words in your heart.

It’s my very great honour to launch this book and I congratulate all involved with its splendid production, especially, after Glen, editor John Charles Ryan.


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.

Glen Phillips
'Show of Colours: Poems of the Yilgarn' is available from the ECU bookshop at Mt Lawley for $18.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Call for submissions: Aesthetica Creative Works Competition

The 2011 Aesthetica Creative Works Competition is now open for entries! Aesthetica Magazine is inviting all artists, photographers, writers and poets to submit their work into the Creative Works Competition, Now in its fourth year, the competition is dedicated to celebrating and championing creative talent across the disciplines and welcomes entries from poets and writers working in short fiction.

The Competition has three categories, Artwork & Photography, Poetry and Fiction.

Winners and finalists are published in the Aesthetica Creative Works Annual.

Winners of each category receive £500 prize money (apx. 776 AUD) plus other prizes.

to the Creative Works Competition is £10 (apx. 15 AUD).

The entry fee allows the submission of 2 images, 2 poems or 2 short stories.

The deadline for submissions is the 31 August 2011.

More guidelines on how to submit can be found online at

Saturday, August 06, 2011


‘… you’ve scoped me like landscape and I await
the brushstrokes of your breath, the weather of tongues …’

‘Strange Vernacular’, The Weather of Tongues

Land, language, distance, the music of love, its darkness and its mystery – all these themes are woven into a new poetry collection called The Weather of Tongues, by Mags Webster.

The Weather of Tongues is published by Sunline Press, and is available at Planet Books and other independent bookstores in the metropolitan area.

As its title suggests, The Weather of Tongues invokes the metaphorical realm of words and language, and investigates the power of poetry to create mood and feeling, its own kind of 'weather system'. Some of these poems might make you feel the warmth of sunlight, or the humid breath of a tropical storm; others may leave you feeling a bit windswept, or chilled. We think we cannot touch the weather, but weather, like words, has a way of touching us.

Mags was born and raised in England, moving to Western Australia in 2003, where she worked in the performing arts industry and the not-for-profit sector before moving into freelance work and returning to university. Her poems and short stories have won prizes in competitions in Australia and the UK, and her poems have been published in a range of anthologies and journals including The Weighing of the Heart (Sunline Press), indigo, dotdotdash and Kurungabaa. She lives in the Perth Hills, and has been a member of OOTA since 2003.

About The Weather of Tongues:

‘Webster writes in an elegant and seamless voice, sewing wish to wonder, here to hope. Her poems work the parameters of the universal - "the stars have given up their game", nature - "I understand the magpie's enquiring eye", and deep thought - "armfuls of her absence". This is a beautifully crafted volume of work.’ Kevin Gillam

The Weather of Tongues is mature and brilliant, a languid and dangerous collection of poems. It’s a book marked by a deep intelligence, a stirring sensuality and a deftness of poetic touch across a wide array of forms…These poems traffic a rich vernacular contraband of heart and place: longing, exile, love, sex, shorelines, grief, fear, hope and the medicine of the enormous present moment … [This] is a book of linguistic fire.’ Mark Tredinnick

For more information, contact Mags Webster on webstermv(at)arach(dot)net(dot)au

Laughter is the Best Medicine

"I have kleptomania. But when it gets bad, I take something for it."
Ken Dodd

"I’m a hunt saboteur. I go out the night before and shoot the fox."
Tim Vine

"I need cheering up. I lent my friend $8,000 for plastic surgery. Now I don’t know what he looks like.
Emo Philips

"My girlfriend had a phantom pregnancy. Now we have a little baby ghost."
Jimmy Carr

"A man loses his dog, so he puts an ad in the paper. And the ad says, “Here, boy!”
Spike Milligan

"I’m addicted to placebos. I’d give them up, but it wouldn’t make any difference."
Jay Leno

"I saw six men kicking and punching the mother-in-law. My neighbour said, “Aren’t you going to help?” I said, “No, six should be enough.”
Les Dawson

"They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. They’re not laughing now."
Bob Monkhouse

"It's easy to distract fat people. It's a piece of cake."
Chris Addison

"These are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others."
Groucho Marx

Friday, August 05, 2011

Ian Wedde New NZ Poet Laureate

Ian Wedde makes his living from words but he admitted he was almost lost for them when he found out he was going to be New Zealand's new poet laureate.

In a ceremony in Parliament yesterday, Wedde was awarded the two-year tenure, taking over the role from Bluff poet Cilla McQueen.

He will receive $80,000 of public funding during his two years. He is expected to produce a publication of the work written during the period and to publicly advocate for and present poetry.

Wedde said he hoped to work with the National Library, which administers the position, on work dealing with memories – relating to his own childhood in Blenheim as well more general memories.

The $80,000 pay cheque meant he would be able to focus more on his writing.

"Without this I would have had to pick up freelance jobs."

McQueen said being named poet laureate had been "a fantastic boost", and added that, as a young writer, Wedde had been an influence on her. "It's a chain reaction, really."

Previous poets laureate have included Bill Manhire, Hone Tuwhare, Elizabeth Smither, Brian Turner, Jenny Bornholdt and Michele Leggott.


A poet, novelist and critic. Born in 1946. His work as an art critic in particular led him to curate several key exhibitions and work as the head of art and visual culture at Te Papa from 1994 until 2004.

His poems appear in numerous journals and anthologies, and in 14 poetry collections. He has written five novels and two books of essays. He co-edited the 1985 Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse with Harvey McQueen.

He was awarded an Arts Foundation Laureate Award in 2006. He is now New Zealand's Poet Laureate.

Photo facts: ROSS GIBLIN/ The Dominion Post
Caption: Ian Wedde holds his tokotoko, a Maori ceremonial carved walking stick given to the poet laureate that symbolises authority and status.

Lifted, with thanks, from

ABC Jazz brings you a FREE Concert

Ted Vining Trio with Alan Lee on vibes. FREE to hear at

Thursday, August 04, 2011

TENDER BUTTONS by Gertrude Stein - FREE facsimile edition

from Jacket2:
In the summer of 1912, while vacationing in Spain, Gertrude Stein began to write short prose poems on discrete objects and little events (shopping, eating, talking) that comprised ordinary daily living. Generating poems from such mundane experience was not on its own anything too radical, but Stein paired such ordinary objects and experiences with an extraordinary new grammar.

Full article at

Read it as it was first published in 1914:

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Monday, August 01, 2011


Find your poetic voice in the library

When: August 1st to September 9th

What: Each day, a poem and a writing exercise from our Poems to Share box set will be featured in each City of Sydney library branch. Library-goers are encouraged to respond to the exercise, and submit a poem to the Poetry Mailbox in the library, or via email. The best poems will be featured on the Stacks website, as well as having the opportunity to be published in the Sun-Herald.

Who: Participating libraries are: Ultimo, Customs House, Surry Hills, Waterloo, Glebe, Kings Cross, Newtown, Paddington and Haymarket
All Library-goers and poetry lovers are welcome to submit their poems.

For more information, contact
or give us a call on (02) 9319 5090.