Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Poet Kit Kelen and Gang visiting from Macau

Photo: yesterday at UWA with Iris, Professor Kit Kelen, and Jo.
We were enjoying a translation workshop, serenaded
by the resident peacock and peahen strutting the stage 
at the New Fortune Theatre.

The following poems all by Kit Kelen.

everyone has their orders to follow 

one of the guards is in charge of the lock
another keeps the key
one sharpens the instruments of torture
one measures up for the simple box
and one will spade the earth in

none of these men has a name
and in the morning
each of them shaves
with a similar razor
and until
his face is gone

work of the everyday

every day of my life
I’ve built
block upon block
I added to meaning
I added things up
seemed as if
from nothing once
but that was never the way
all that I needed must have been there
I’ve puzzled it out of the ruins
yes – the materials were there
where I stood
were with me from day 1
it was just a matter of
opening my eyes

now I’ve four walls
and the roof’s almost done
where once I had
a sky 

he decides to start a religion

I have perfected the art of falling up
it’s taken me till now
and of course there’s still some proof
left to the pudding
the kind of thing angels applaud

and so it is with no little suspense
I step up on the window sill
I won’t tell you how many floors up
I hold out a finger
to test the wind
and so I lead the way

damage control

those who
make weapons
buy weapons
sell weapons
those who
tell us
we must have weapons –
these people should have weapons
tested on them


Christopher (KitKelen (客遠文) is a well known Australian scholar, poet and artist whose literary works have been widely published and broadcast since the mid seventies. The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature describesKelen’s work as ‘typically innovative and intellectually sharp’. Kelen holds degrees in literature and linguistics from the University of Sydney and two doctorates from the University of Western Sydney – a PhD in the area of poetics and an EdD in Critical Pedagogy of Creative Writing.
In 1988 Kelen was winner of two major poetry prizes conducted for the Australian Bicentennial. His poem ‘Views from Pinchgut’ won the ABC’s competition for a poem of eighty lines or less. Kelen’s first volume of poetry 
The Naming of the Harbour and the Trees won an Anne Elder Award in 1992. In 1996 Kelen was Writer-in-Residence for the Australia Council at the B.R.Whiting Library in Rome. In 1999 he won the Blundstone National Essay Contest, conducted byIsland journal. He also won second prize in the Gwen Harwood Poetry Award that year. 

Kelen’s fourth book of poems 
Republics – dealing with the ethics of identity in millennial Australia – was published by Five Islands Press in Australia in 2000. A fifth volume New Territories – a pilgrimage through Hong Kong, structured after Danté’s Divine Comedy – was published with the aid of the Hong Kong Arts Development Board in 2003. In 2004 Kelen’s chapbook Wyoming Suite – a North American sojurn – was released by VAC Publishing in Chicago. In 2005Kelen’s long poem ‘Macao’ was shortlisted for the prestigious Newcastle Poetry Prize and a re-edited version of Tai Mo Shan appeared in Southerly.  2006 saw the publication by ASM in Macao of a book of Macao stories and poems titled A Map of the Seasons, and a short sci-fi historical novel, A Wager with the Gods. In 2007, Kelen edited a feature entitled ‘Poetry of Response’ which appears in Jacket magazine. 2007 saw the publication by Cinnamon Press in the UK of a volume of Macao poems titled Dredging the Delta. A bilingual English/Chinese volume Ke Yuan Wen Kan Aomen (Kit Kelen’s Macao) also appeared that year. And in 2007 Kelen was winner of Westerly’s Patricia Hackett Prize.

In 2008 VAC published Kelen’s eighth volume, 
After Meng Jiao: Responses to the Tang Poet. The most recent of Kelen’s ten volumes of poetry are God preserve me from those who want what’s best for me, published in 2009 by Picaro Press, (N.S.W, Australia) and In Conversation with the River (VAC 2010)In 2009 Kelen was shortlisted for the PressPress Poetry Chapbook Award and his volume of poems the whole forest dancing was published by PressPress in 2010 in English, Chinese, Portuguese and Italian editions. In 2010, Kelen’s poem ‘time with the sky’ (inspired by a 2009 Bundanon residency) placed second in the Newcastle Poetry Prize. 

Apart from poetry, Kelen publishes in a range of theoretical areas including writing pedagogy, ethics, rhetoric, cultural and literary studies and various intersections of these. In 2010 Kelen coordinated a poetry translation retreat at Bundanon in NSW, part of an ongoing project translating Australian poets into Chinese. A first volume in that series, 
Fires Rumoured about the City – Fourteen Australian Poets was published in 2009Kelen has also been co-editor of two important Macao poetry anthologies – I Roll the Dice – Contemporary Macao Poetry (2008) and Portuguese Poets of Macao (2009), both bilingual editions published by ASM. In 2009 Kelen published two theoretical volumes concerning poetry; with Rodopi in Amsterdam: Poetry, Consciousness and Community; and with ASM in Macao: a first book length English-language study of Macao poetry: City of Poets. 

With regard to his own visual arts practice, in December of 2006 Kelen had an ink and water colour exhibition at Creative Macau (Macau Cultural Centre) titled: 
Bridges and Boats. The catalogue for this exhibition was CCI’s 2007 calendar. In 2008-9 Kelen’s exhibition palimps-ink was held at the Macao’s Albergue Gallery. Kelen’s most recent solo exhibition, held at the Fantasia Galleries, was to the single man’s hut, a homage to the Australian painter, Arthur Boyd. 

Kelen is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Macau, where he has taught Literature and Creative Writing since 2000. During this time he has mentored many local writers, seeing through to publication numerous first novels and volumes of stories and poetry. Kelen is the editor of the on-line journal Poetry Macao and poetry editor for the monthly lifestyle/current affairs journal Macao Closer.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

After Language: Letters to Jack Spicer, by Stephen Vincent

My friends never cease to amaze me. Poet Stephen Vincent has written letters to Jack Spicer, put them together into a manuscript entitled After Language: Letters to Jack Spicer and Blaze VOX Books has published them. 
Here's one now, then where to buy the book.

Dear Jack,

Now that I grow older and literally sheaves of poetry have passed before my eyes—let alone hundreds of public and private readings by poets filling my ears with their works—I am struck by the question of what survives. That is, what makes one poem endure—one that we come back to again and again over a lifetime—and others disappear like old-fashioned printed data, the shredded pieces that used to fall like snow from windows in the financial district on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve?

What makes a poem bang and resonate for years? And when it no longer resonates, why is it still possible to go hit it again and the thing keeps resonating? Or, to change metaphor, what makes a certain poem like perpetual butter in a churn, the cow’s milk turned to rich gold, those cubits on our platter.

         Row, row, row your boat
         Gently down the stream.
         Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
         Life is but a dream.

We learn that one early as children, singing it over and over again, even though the boat is leaky, there is nothing gentle about the stream, and "merrily" happens most often only when we sing. Yet the song survives in perpetua! Some things endure, I suspect, because they are the opposite of what we know to be true. The verity is in the music, the way it rises and mocks the lie. Simple as that.

Yet, what is it about a real poem, one that does not mock, but endures whatever beauty or trash we throw at it? I have walked around Language for more than 40 years. It is as disturbing as ever. Perhaps the sculpture—a David Smith—in the park is the metaphor. The way one keeps returning and walking around it. One day a wheelbarrow, another day the spare, crude metal letters attached at odd angles to an edge of the barrow—particularly the ampersand—another day the thin dark wheel and its luminescent spokes: the sequence and absence of sequence.  Particulars compel an eye to mix the angle of light, with whatever combination of objects, into what stands—at this moment or that moment—to be true.

Anyway, Jack, that is the way I have been reading you. A ring around the poem. It does not fall down. A ring around the poem. The dance the eye makes. The ear. Sometimes you are obnoxious and terrible. Sometimes hopelessly bittersweet. A self-loathing you do go. Other times the transparency, the poem with an utter overwhelming clarity. The “you” is way gone. Plato’s figures illumined without a shadow on the wall.  No wonder you got more than your fingers burnt. Those messages.

The test of a true poet is to correspond.

The test of a true poem? You got me, Jack.

The test is how not to die for it. Believe me.


The ecstatic is not built on an echo
   The corrugated skin of the heart
Dappled thoroughly in red, a small vowel
    Released, a flooded gorge:
Throw those rocks to the wind
    What you shout is about nothing—
When your mother—eyes closed—
Fingers the triangle across the Ouija board
Numbers like Michael Jordan’s baskets
(swish, swish) fall into place: A 3
And a 2 and a 3.  The Coach
Is a Cherokee Werewolf, Tiger Woods
Is a caterpillar: transformation falls apart
At the line of scrimmage. What we tackle
Between vowels is the incision
The stone carnage: the way I melt
    Trembling—my tail wing in flames:
My head buried and born before you.

To acquire the book nd further information, go to
Stephen Vincent lives in San Francisco where he is a poet, writer and visual artist. Some of his previous books include: Piece by Piece (Okike + Redberry Publications, 1967); White Lights & Whale Hearts (The Crossing Press, 1971); The Ballad of Artie Bremer (Momo's Press, 1974); Walking (Junction Press, 1993); Sleeping With Sappho (faux ebook, 2004);Triggers (Shearsman ebook, 2005); Walking Theory (Junction Press, 2007); The First 100 Days of Obama (Steven Wolf Fine Arts, 2009). Vincent’s haptic drawings and unique accordion fold books have been featured in gallery exhibits at Braunsein-Quay (2009) and Steven Wolf Fine Arts (2009), San Francisco, and Jack Hanley Gallery (2011), New York City. In 2012, the Logan Gallery, Legion Museum of Art (San Francisco Fine Arts Museums) is planning a one-person exhibit of the drawings and books. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Poets! Enter now to win $1000

The Tom Collins Poetry Prize 2011

The Tom Collins Poetry Prize is an annual competition inaugurated by FAWWA in 1975 in memory of Australian author Joseph Furphy (1843 - 1912) who wrote as Tom Collins. 

Terms and Conditions of Entry

Opening Date: September 1st 2011 
Closing Date: December 15th 2011 (Entries must be postmarked by this date to be accepted.)
Winners Announced: late February 2012.
Number of Lines: Maximum 60 lines per poem.
Prizes: First $1000, Second $400, 4 x Highly Commended $150, 4 x Commended (certificate only)
Entry Fee: $10 for one poem, $15 for two, $20 for three (maximum of three poems per author).  Payable by Cheque or Money Order (payable to FAWWA) or by Visa or MasterCard

1.       All work must be previously unpublished. Work broadcast, or performed, are classified as published.
2.       The Fellowship of Australian Writers (WA) reserves the right to publish the winning, second place and highly commended entries in its publications. Results will be published in FAWWA publications.
3.       Non-award-winning manuscripts are destroyed after the competition and will not be returned. Ensure you keep a copy.
4.       A pen name must be used and CHANGED for each poem. The real name of the author must not appear on the manuscript.
5.       Each poem must have a cover page with only the following information; Competition, Title of Poem, Pen Name.
6.       A COMPLETED entry form must be enclosed. Ensure all sections are filled out and the entry form is signed. Entry fee of $10 per poem should be paid by cheque or money order made payable to FAWWA, or by Visa or MasterCard. Credit card payments. Sending of cash is at competitor’s own risk.
7.       The judge’s decision is final. Competitors must not communicate with the judge before or during the competition. All unsuccessful entries will be shredded after the competition
8.       If a list of prize-winners is required, please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your entry or provide your email address on the entry form.
9.       Send entries to: Competition Secretary, Entry for TCPP, PO Box 6180 Swanbourne WA 6910

Note: It is the competitor’s responsibility to ensure entries comply with all the terms and conditions of entry. If any entry is excluded due to non-compliance of these terms and conditions, the competitor will not be notified nor will the entry fee be refunded.

For any queries visit http://www.fawwa.org.au - email admin@fawwa.org.au or phone 08 9384 4771
Or you may send a self-address stamped envelope to FAWWA, PO Box 6180, Swanbourne WA 6910

Tom Collins House in Swanbourne, Western Australia, once the residence of Joseph Furphy is now the headquarters of the Fellowship of Australian Writers WA branch, Western Australia's state-wide network for writers since 1938.

Robert Herrick poem for today

Grace For a Child
by Robert Herrick

Here, a little child I stand,
Heaving up my either hand:
Cold as paddocks though they be,
Here I lift them up to Thee,
For a benison to fall
On our meat, and on us all. Amen

Sweet little poem takes me back to childhood. So many poems I have enjoyed over the past year or so when I've been on their mailing list at https://mail.google.com/mail/?tab=wm#inbox/133db65202516ba6
And it's at the poet's best price - FREE. Sign up today!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jill Jones 'What Are My' poem and 'Dark Bright Doors'

Australian poet, Jill Jones, has long been a friend of mine (I'm proud to say). We met on an internet literary list and connected through poetry events across Australia.

In recent times I have become even more transfixed by her poetry because of the playfulness of much of her process, playfulness which often leads to enriched art. It is a truism that all art begins in play but it also needs that underground, that rich vein, to hoist it out of the everyday. 'Making the extraordinary out of the ordinary' has become a cliche, but there is an element in Jill's poetry that does just that. She'll catch a train and you'll end up thinking of many another journey. She'll hear a song, apply it to a place in her memory, an event, and your matching set of memories will come to life. I'm a fan.

... so in my short sojourn as November Editor of TRUCK poetry magazine at http://halvard-johnson.blogspot.com/ I asked Jill for some poems. She obliged - I've posted three poems over there, all with a different tone and structure, so I'll put up one here to wet your appetite:

‘What Are My’

WHAT ARE MY clothes worth what
are my clothes if they fall or are
taken within a box that if taken
away to be burnt or buried sailed away
on rivers which disappear breezes on
borders and roads and grid brown borders
wilder when they fall and flake wilder
with my naked arms naked ears with
sounds burning sounds burying sounds
saved in particles and streams not saved
but scattered as tokens in roads but
not any more than more or if more not
less than other than this hope less
free scattering no return falling free

Sometimes you want to say even here
is elegance even as it falls apart in the
opulent choking time spinning air

Jill Jones

I've recently been travelling around a bit, and I've been reading Jill's latest book, Dark Bright Doors (Wakefiled Press, 2010), in coffee lounges, airports, on board planes, in buses driving through other landscapes, and strange bedrooms. It has been its own journey, enjoying the poems and searching down the process she went through to create the poems. So many layers to enjoy! The creation of poetry is at least a two-hander - the poet and the reader. When you read these poems, you too will become engaged in a richly various creative journey. 

Dark Bright Doors raises questions of the self, as well as the ecology of place and language. This is Jones at her most versatile and idiosyncratic, at times a little wild and dark. The poems are intimate, sharp, self-critical and very present.

What the critics have said about Dark Bright Doors:

"Jill Jones’s sparse lyrics, most barely filling a page, are warm, wondrous and sensual. From [the] opening image it is clear that these poems will be dark, sinuous, unsettling and enigmatic. The volume does not disappoint. It gleams. ... This is not transparent poetry. It is intelligent and elusive as well as allusive ... Portraying a dysfunctional and disquieting dystopia, Jones’s poetry is both symptomatic of and diagnostic of this fallen realm we inhabit: the Twenty-First Century. ... Yet here and there are glimpses of tranquillity ... revelling in colour, form, plane, angle and light. I cannot speak highly enough of Jill Jones’s work. She is quite simply one of the best poets writing in Australia today, and her poetry deserves a wide audience – indeed, it demands to be read." - Alison Clifton,M/C Review, May 2010

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Let me share with you - Poets Forum Reading: Free Audio Download

The first of a series of public events, this sold out Poets Forum Reading on October 18, 2007, provided the rare opportunity to hear some of the most acclaimed poets of our day, reading together on one stage. Featuring the Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets, the reading celebrated the range of outstanding poetry being written in America.
Stream the following tracks, or follow the instructions below to download CD bundle.

1. Introduction – Tree Swenson
2. The Old Man at the Wheel – Frank Bidart
3. Reunion 2005 – Rita Dove
4. First Things at the Last Minute – Robert Hass
5. The Future – Lyn Hejinian
6. Neverland – Galway Kinnell
7. Merrsey Dotes – Sharon Olds
8. Cloud Country – Carl Phillips
9. Poem in Disconnected Parts – Robert Pinsky
10. The Edges of Time – Kay Ryan
11. The Last Colony – Susan Stewart
12. Death by Wind – Gerald Stern
13. Father's Day – James Tate
14. The Hive – Ellen Bryant Voigt

from http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19812

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bloomin' Kids Garage Sale SUNDAY

Bargains galore! Fun and frolic beyond measure! 

Shop at your leisure and support the kids who need it.

Garage Sale at 17 Scroop Way Spearwood this Sunday 8-12noon J

Come along and let other people know about it!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


 Here is the Press Release I received today: 

The inaugural Advanced Poetry Workshops in 2011 was met with such success, that the Peter Cowan Writers' Centre will again offer this course in 2012. 

It will consist of ten monthly Advanced Poetry Workshops for selected participants. Each Workshop will be led by an experienced and widely published Western Australian poet (including Emeritus Professor Andrew Taylor and Professor Glen Phillips). Details of other poets will be provided with a program later. The workshops will be held on the Second Saturday afternoon of each month, beginning 11th February. If selected you will be invited to a lunch that day to meet and hear from the 2011 cohort, who will be launching their anthology.

Participation in the Workshops is competitive and limited to twelve 'students', who will be expected to attend all ten three-hour sessions. Poets wishing to be considered for the Workshops must submit at least three, and no more than five, poems to the Peter Cowan Writers' Centre by the 15th December 2011, clearly marked ADVANCED POETRY WORKSHOPS. Submissions as an attachment by email only will be considered. All applicants will be notified whether they have been successful or not by the end of January 2012 at the latest. The fee for the course is $330 for members and $390 for non-members

A detailed program, plus a list of session leaders, will be released shortly.

Submissions should be emailed to cowan05@bigpond.com and a copy to a.taylor@ecu.edu.au

Kind Regards

Peter Cowan Writers Centre

Office hours Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10am-3pm
Phone/Fax: 9301 2282
Website: www.pcwc.org.au 


Might I add that I was a poet-tutor in the 2011 series, and the class was a vigorous and interactive one. What they all learnt from the lecturers would have multiplied at least three fold by the inspiration and knowledge gleamed from their classmates. But get in quickly. The competition was tight last year and I can only see it being more competitive for 2012.

- Andrew

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yabba-dabba-doo! PHIL HALL wins the Governor General Award in Canada

OTTAWA — Perth poet Phil Hall has won the 75th Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry, it was announced today in Toronto.

Joining Hall among the major winners were B.C. author Patrick deWitt in the fiction category for his much-acclaimed novel The Sisters Brothers, and, in the non-fiction category, Peterborough writer Charles Foran for his biography of Montreal author Mordecai Richler, Mordecai: The Life & Times.

Hall, who moved to Perth three years ago, won for his collection Killdeer, published by BookThug. The collection includes a tribute to the late Canadian poet and short story writer Bronwen Wallace and Hall’s memories of writer Margaret Laurence, whom he met after hitchhiking at age 19 to Lakefield, Ont., where she lived.

The judges said Killdeer “realizes a masterly modulation of the elegiac through poetic time. It releases the personal from the often binding axis of the egoistic into that kind of humility that only a profound love of language — and of living — can achieve.”

Hall, 58, was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Award in 2001.

Each GG prize winner receives $25,000.


“The 2011 GG-winning books reflect the diversity and depth of contemporary Canadian literature,” said Robert Sirman, Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts. “With the hundreds of other great books that have won Canada’s national literary award over the past 75 years, they represent pure gold for Canadian creative excellence.”

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Perth+poet+Phil+Hall+wins+literary+award/5713103/story.html#ixzz1dpu5EXfS

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fellowship of Australian Writers Events with Peter Bishop

Writer-in-residence at Mattie Furphy House

Peter Bishop, former Creative Director of Varuna, the Writers’ House



But which way is forwards?

It’s a question that plagues a writer throughout a writing project.

There’s an answer: If you keep creatively in touch with the fundamentals of your project –the constellation of things that made it all begin to happen– you’ll find you’re going forward.

Peter Bishop has thought about these things for 17 years as Creative Director of Varuna –The Writers’ House. He’s shortly to launch an independent program, The Writer Conversation, focused on working with writers through Writers’ Centres and creating  new opportunities for writers.

In his workshops during his residency, Peter invites you to rediscover the generative strength of the roots of your project. You may have been at it for years, or you may only just be getting serious. These workshops will be invaluable in strengthening the structure and understanding of your work on your project.

We’ll work with the individual words, phrases and images that take us into the heart of your beginnings. As preparation, think of a single word that keeps coming to you in connection with your project. And think about the place the writing comes from –the moment you knew this was the project.
The workshops will be held in two separate groups:
GROUP ONE will meet from 2 pm – 5.30 pm on Saturday 3 December and Saturday 10th December,
GROUP TWO will meet from 2 pm –5.30 pm on Sunday 4 December and Sunday 11 December.

Maximum number at each workshop: 8.
Cost:      $50 for two sessions, either group


Dates for these TBA but the times available will be:


Cost: $25 for one hour


On the Wednesday night, Peter Bishop will tell you about some of the opportunities that will be available for writers through The Writer Conversation. As Creative Director of Varuna, Peter travelled three times round Australia to create the Macquarie Group Foundation LongLines Program. To experience the work of writers in so many very different environments was a succession of revelations. The Writer Conversation builds on this program and the exciting sense of a writing community that is still growing from it.

Free event

ALL EVENTS will be held at Mattie Furphy House in the Bush Heritage Precinct next to Allen Park, Kirkwood Road, Swanbourne WA. If you wish to book for a workshop, an individual consultation, or
The Wednesday Night, please contact the Fellowship of Australian Writers Western Australia (FAWWA) by phone 9384 4771, by email at admin@fawwa.org.au

For all your writers’ news, events, and competitions go to www.fawwa.org.au