Thursday, February 28, 2013

Port Phillip Gilgamesh Readings Next Monday

Events: Monday Salon

Ali Alizadeh
Ali Alizadeh
When: Monday the 4th of March, 2013; 7:30pm
Where: Evening Star, corner of Cecil and York Streets,

South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Cost: Free Entry

Port Phillip Gilgamesh Readings invites you to their Salon on Monday.
Ali Alizadeh will be reading from his upcoming novel transactions,
and Matt Hetherington will be discussing “Haiku.”
The MC for the evening is Steve Smart.

Drinks and tapas are available at fair prices, and there is
an open mic section.

This information is courtesy of John Leonard Press.

Nature Writing Prize Shortlist Announced!


The Nature Conservancy Australia is delighted
to announce the shortlist for the second
biennial Australia Nature Writing Prize.
The inaugural Australia Nature Writing Prize was awarded in 2011
to Annamaria Weldon for her piece 'Threshold Country'.
The winner of this $5,000 biennial prize will be announced on
Wednesday 13th March in Melbourne.
Short listed for this year's award are:
  • Liam Davison
  • Lindsay Simpson
  • Margaret Barbalet
  • Stephen Wright
  • Tamsin Kerr
The competition's judges Geordie Williamson—literary critic
with The Australian—and Dr Janine Burke, distinguished biographer,
art historian and author of The Nest, found the standard of entries
so extraordinarily high that determining the short list was
a significant challenge.
Congratulations to our shortlisted applicants and to everyone who
submitted an essay. Stay tuned for the winner next month!
Click here to learn more about the prize and our work in Australia.


(or, a revelation under the Writers Tent)

Later I saw it limping in the grass,
but still strenuously struggling on
while first-time authors questioned
earnestly the great poet, celebrated
still, despite mane of silver and Johnny
Walker hue. He swept up microphone
from the platform’s trestle table, announced:
My gift also is my awful burden. Sooner
would I squeeze drops of blood from my
fair forehead than write, to order, some
subtle ode to sunsets! Look upon me
and look upon my slim but mighty
volumes and despair! Just then I saw
your beetle suddenly fly into the air,
circle once above nodding heads and
perch on that noble lorikeet brow.

                                                Glen Phillips

New Poetry Magazine

Uneven Floor is a poetry magazine in blog form. It plans to publish five or six poems by a featured poet roughly once a month and two or three individual poems each week. Its mission is to get more readers for new poems and poets from Western Australia and beyond. Read poems and more information at
The first featured poet is Neil J Pattinson, with four regular poems (as Neil interprets 'regular'), two haar-cooo and one front-of-the-envelope graphic. You know you want to. While you're there, check out poems from WA poets Allan Padgett, Kia Groom, Maureen Sexton and Terry Farrell, and UK poet Anthony Costello.


Uneven Floor does not accept unsolicited submissions. Instead readers are invited to nominate poets whose work they'd like to see in Uneven Floor.

Spread the word

Please spread the word! Forward this message. If you have a website or blog, link Uneven Floor and let us know so we can return the favour. Share, like, tweet and recommend Uneven Floor and the poems in it, and leave comments on the poems. This helps make the magazine more visible online.
The founding editor is Perth-based poet and writer Jackson. Enquiries:

Why the name?To make the tables wobble, and force you to watch what you're doing, as you should.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Poet Simon Armitage to trade words for food on 260-mile walk this summer

BY Parul Guliani

Poet Simon Armitage is planning to walk the 260-mile path along England’s coast this summer, bartering his words for hospitality. He will offer readings in local pubs, schools and village halls in return for food and shelter.
Armitage was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2012 and has won numerous other awards including the Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry.

"The whole idea is that of the barter. All I've got to offer is my work, and the reading of it," he said to the Guardian. "Will that be enough for people to say I can stay at their home, or that they'll give me some sandwiches? I'm looking for anyone who can tolerate me . . .”
Armitage, who walked the Pennine Way in 2010, will depart from Minehead, a coastal town in Somerset, on Aug. 29 and plans to arrive in Land’s End, Apeninsula of southwest England on the coast of Cornwall, on Sept. 17.
According to the Guardian, Armitage's Pennine walk inspired the book “Walking Home,” and he is planning to write a follow-up, "Walking Away," about his journey through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
"The first book turned out to be about people and their stories, and that's what I'm hoping to find this time," he said.
Armitage hopes locals will join him on his walk, though he acknowledges the importance of “Wordsworthian moments of tranquility.”
Armitage isn't the first to come up with such a conceit. Other famous walking books include Robert Macfarlane’s "The Old Ways" and Rory Stewart’s "The Places in Between."
"Armitage’s account is so observant, so funny and so intensely likeable you leave it wishing he’d picked a longer route," the Telegraph wrote of "Walking Home."
Let's see if he's able to accomplish the same feat for a second time.


An Australian Love Poem - by anon

Of course I love ya darlin
You're a bloody top-notch bird
And when I say you're gorgeous
I mean every single word

So ya bum is on the big side
I don't mind a bit of flab
It means that when I'm ready
There's somethin there to grab

So your belly isn't flat no more
I tell ya, I don't care
So long as when I cuddle ya
I can get my arms round there

No sheila who is your age
Has nice round perky breasts
They just gave in to gravity
But I know ya did ya best

I'm tellin' ya the truth now
I never tell ya lies
I think it’s very sexy
That you've got dimples on ya thighs

I swear on me nanna's grave now
The moment that we met
I thought you was as good as
I was ever gonna get

No matter what u look like
I'll always love ya dear
Now shut up while the cricket’s on
And fetch another beer

Andre Breton - On the road to San Romano

 (1948) (translated)

Poetry is made in a bed like love. It's rumpled sheets are the dawn of things. Poetry is made in the woods. It has the space it needs.Not this one but the other one whose form is lent it by.The eye of the kite. The dew on a horsetail. The memory of a bottle frosted over on a silver tray. A tail rod of tourmaline on the sea. And the road of the mental adventure. That climbs abruptly. One halt and it's overgrown. That isn't to be shouted on the rooftops. It's improper to leave the door open. Or to summon witnesses. The shoals of fish the hedges of titmice. The rails at the entrance of the great station. The reflections of both riverbanks. The crevices in the bread. The bubbles in the stream. The days of the calendar. The Saint-John's wort. The act of love and the act of poetry. Are incompatible. With reading the paper out loud. The meaning of the sunbeam. The blue light between the hatchet blows. The bat's thread shaped like a a heart or a hoopnet. The beaver tails beating in time. The diligence of the flesh. The casting of candy from the old stairs. The avalanche. The room of marvels. No good Sirs it isn't the eighth Tribunal Chamber. Nor the vapours of the roomful some Sunday evening. The figures danced transparent above the pools.The outline of the wall of a woman's body at daggerthrow. The bright spirals of smoke. The curls of your hair. The curve of the Philippine sponge. The swaying of the coral snake. The ivy entrance in the ruins. It has all the time ahead . The embrace of poetry like that of the flesh. As long as it lasts. Shuts out any glimpse of the misery of the world


Thanks to Peter Cicariello for this.

Job Vacancy at Melbourne Writers Festival

We're Hiring!
Are you creative, energetic, and raring to be a key part of a busy festival team? MWF is looking for a Marketing Assistant. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in developing their marketing skills in a festival environment. Please visit for full details. Applications close on 15 March.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ian Wedde, NZ Poet Laureate, comes home ...

Dreams of being a "scoop journalist" inspired Ian Wedde to follow a writing career.
It "didn't work, of course", he says, although he did do a stint writing reviews for a London magazine.
Blenheim-born Wedde is the 2011-13 National Library New Zealand Poet Laureate.
Marlborough literary fans can hear some of his work on Friday when he gives a reading at the Millennium Art Gallery.
He will be joined by three other poets: Chris Fell, Dinah Hawken and John Newton. Wedde says a feature of his time as Poet Laureate has been to give others a chance to air their works in public.
Face-to-face contact with people who might read his own poems, novels and essays has been a personal highlight while poet laureate, too, he says on the phone from Auckland.
"It's actually been a challenge, to hop out of myself a bit, [because] writing can often be a very introverted, lone activity. And of course it always will be; you have to write the good sentence and you do it by yourself, not at a committee table."
Invitations to attend public events, visit schools and give readings like the one on Friday evening have freed him from his "lonely writing desk", he says.
There have also been scripts to submit and deadlines to meet, all common work for the man who has earned National Book Awards for both his fiction and poetry, has held writing fellowships at Otago, Victoria and Auckland universities; was the 2005 Katherine Mansfield Fellow in Menton, France, and was made an ONZM in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours for his writing.
One project as Poet Laureate was to compose a poem for the 140th commemoration of New Zealand's worst maritime disaster, the HMS Orpheus. It sank, killing 189 of the 250 people on board, on February 7, 1863, at Whatipu, after hitting the Manukau Harbour bar.
Organisers of a commemoration held this year asked Wedde to write a poem for the event. Going to Whatipu with his son Carlos and grandson Sebo for a "happy beach-day", Wedde thought about the shipwreck and decided to write a poem that offered a remembrance of the sailors who lost their lives, a hope for Sebo's safety; and also a homage to Gerard Manley Hopkins's poem The Wreck of the Deutschland (1876).
A verse in Wedde's poem, titled The Wreck of the Orpheus, reads:

In a rock-pooled gut cutting the headland at low tide
Sebo finds broken, barnacled boat-timbers with rusted bolts,

splintered beams and bulkheads clustered with mussels,
and in the gale-battered cliff above, look! - a rock-faced giant
guarding the wreck, eyes and mouth wind-hollowed
for birds to nest in, a pastoral forehead . . . but there was no shelter
for Orpheus

Wedde says poems by William Carlos Williams taught him that "very small, ordinary things in the world in one's life can be as important as huge events, if not more so".
Poets need to look at the detail, be "affectionate towards the detail", he says.
The theme of Friday's reading, "Writing Home", was penned to reflect Blenheim as the first place Wedde called "home". It was the town where he was born and spent the first seven years of his life, but he is unsure of its influences. What happened next was more impressionable.
Wedde's parents had taken their young family to East Pakistan, later known as Bangladesh, and Wedde grew up learning that "home" was less about being connected to a place and more to do with the love and bonds formed between family members and close friends.

Family News - from Charlie in Hong Kong

Hong Kong targets top four finish at Twenty20 with sights on World Cup qualifier

Hong Kong aim to finish in the top four at the Asian Cricket Council Twenty20 Cup in Nepal next month to remain in contention for a berth at the 2015 World Cup qualifying competition later this year.

Jamie Atkinson will lead a 14-strong squad for the 10-team Asian qualifiers in Kathmandu from March 26 to April 3 where two teams will join Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates at the world qualifiers in Dubai in November.

"Presuming that UAE [who as hosts gain automatic entry] and Afghanistan [included because they are a one-day international side] top their group, our target will be to make it through to the semi-finals to qualify for Dubai," said Hong Kong coach Charlie Burke.

"We are in a separate preliminary round group to UAE and Afghanistan and as such an easier one. We need to finish in the top two of our group to ensure we will be in with a chance of qualifying for the World Cup."

Hong Kong are drawn with Nepal, Malaysia, Maldives and Singapore. Nepal are likely to provide the stiffest competition in the group stage.

All-rounder Munir Dar is the only big name missing from the squad after he made himself unavailable for selection. If successful, the squad will be strengthened by November with the availability of Mark Chapman and Haseeb Amjad.

"Mark is still undergoing rehabilitation from knee surgery and we didn't want to risk him for this tournament, while Haseeb only becomes eligible under the four-year rule this summer. They will both strengthen the side and it is important that we qualify for Dubai so that we can use them," Burke said.

Atkinson, who led the side last season, will have Waqas Barkat as his deputy.

The rest of the squad comprise Tanwir Afzal, Irfan Ahmed, Nadeem Ahmed, Babar Hayat, Mudassar Hussain, Aizaz Khan, Nizakat Khan, Courtney Kruger, Anshuman Rath, Karan Shah, Daljeet Singh and Manjinder Singh.

"Once again it will be a very young side, one which is capable of accomplishing the goal of making it through to the final qualifiers in Dubai," Burke said.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Prose Poems by Michael Hettich


Prose Poems by Michael Hettich


The Double Dream of Sleeping

One night, my wife and I dreamed the same dream: we had carried our mattress to the ocean, thrown it into the water and climbed on. We lay together in that bed as we drifted out into the deep water, in a night that was teeming with stars and silence. We slept deeply in the lulling motion of the waves, and we dreamed we were sitting in a cafe by a ski lift in the sun, drinking coffee and watching people slide down the mountain. The language we were speaking is not one we speak, but we understood each other perfectly well. By then our mattress had drifted out of sight, and fish had started circling — but we were still sleeping, dreaming that we’d decided to ride the ski lift to the top of the mountain, despite the fact that we had no skis, that our clothes were barely warm enough for the outdoor cafe.

Michael Hettich's two most recent books of poetry are LIKE HAPPINESS (Anhinga Press, 2010) and THE ANIMALS BEYOND US (New Rivers Press, 2011). His newest chapbook, THE MEASURED BREATHING, won the 2011 Swan Scythe Press Chapbook Contest. He lives in Miami with his wife, Colleen, and teaches at Miami Dade College.

Spread the word. Far and wide,

William Slaughter

An Electronic Journal of Poetry & Poetics
Never in and never out of print...

Quote Unquote

“There should be more sincerity and heart in human relations, more silence and simplicity in our interactions.”

- Anton Chekhov

Friday, February 22, 2013

$80,000 Photography Prizes - Head On Festival

Head On Foundation
New Head On Awards prizes announced ($80,000)
Get your entries in!

This year’s Head On Awards prize pool is bigger than ever, with
a total value of more than $80,0000.
And, for the first time, there are substantial cash prizes for first
prize winners.

Prizes include highly sought after Fujifilm cameras, Lowepro
camera bags, Adobe Creative Cloud and Nik
Complete Collection Software.

As well as the major prizes, every finalist in the Head On
Portrait Prize and the inaugural Head Off Landscape Prize
will receive a $500 Nik Software package, winner of
numerous awards. All finalists in the Photobook Awards
will receive a prize from Momento.

Further details about the Prizes

Due to demand, we’ve extended the competition deadline
to 17 March so make sure you get your entries in.

Head On is all about excellence in photography, regardless
of the celebrity of the photographer or their subject. We are
looking for fantastic submissions from everyone. If you know
someone who’s taken a great image or created a stunning
photobook, please share this email with them and encourage
them to enter!

Submit your entries

Images © Nick Moir, Rene Vogelzang, Derek Salwell, Sam Harris, David
Manley, Chris Budgeon, Johnathan May, Louise Whelan, Tracey Nearmy

Submitting Advice - Read and Take heed.

Advice on submitting your work, dealing with rejection, and fighting the urge to respond
from The New Yorker, Tin House, and Ploughshares.

This was pinched from

There's one there from the Review Review which is entitled Yes, Your Submission Phobia is Holding You Back ... Ha, very good. Hits right at home here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Chamber Pot #1 - Woodend Reading


Sari Smith, Lyndon Walker, audience, Jennifer Compton, Nathan Curnow, Myron Lysenko, Emily Manger, Ross Donlon, Emily and Bronwen Manger (drawing the raffle), Andrew Burke -

What a great afternoon of poetry, chat, coffee and cake! May The Chamber Pot echo down the years.

Take the trip to Chamber Pot #2 details to be announced soon.

At The Chamber Art & Coffee House, 90 High Street, Woodend, Victoria.

Last days! Enter the Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction

In celebration of women’s voices, Lip is launching the Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction.

Home page

This is a themed fiction competition, open to all ages and genders. Rachel Funari, the namesake of the competition, was the founding editor of Lip. Tragically, Rachel went missing in 2011, while on holiday in Tasmania. We are launching the prize in her honour, because she was determined to better the lives and opportunities for young women.

As Lip is a feminist magazine, the theme of our competition is ‘Herstory’, a play on the word ‘history’ and with a focus on women’s stories. And ANYONE CAN ENTER!
All entries must be:
  1. original pieces of writing.
  2. previously unpublished, unperformed, and not entered into any other competition.
  3. up to 2000 words.

We’re looking for creative, insightful fiction that addresses the theme in any kind of way. Our competition will be judged by Lip chief editors and a panel of esteemed judges:
Clementine Ford (feminist speaker, writer and radio broadcaster)
Karen Pickering (host of Cherchez La Femme and organiser of SlutWalk Melbourne)
Kat Muscat (Editor of Voiceworks)
Sophie Cunningham (writer, editor and Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council)
Zoe Dattner (Creative Director of Sleepers Publishing and General Manager of SPUNC)

We will reveal prizes within the next month, but for now we can promise you they include libraries of Australian contemporary literature, opportunities to work with members of the publishing community and monetary rewards!

Entries are now open, and they close midnight on Thursday 28th February. The winners will be announced at an event in April. Winning entries will be published in a special print edition of our magazine and online at our website.

This prize is proudly supported by Express Media, Writers Victoria, Sleepers Publishing, Spinifex Press and Scribe Publications.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2013 International Montreal Poetry Prize

The Details (2013)

The pages below explain various details of the 2013 Montreal Prize, including the judging process, how to enter, fees, entry requirements, and rules.

For information on the future of the Montreal Prize, please see the top of our FAQs page.

How to Enter
Judging Process
2013 Editorial Board
Entry Requirements

from Black Inc., a new best seller!

Pub date: February 2013
RRP: $9.99
ISBN: 9781863955928
Imprint: Black Inc.
Format: PB
Size: 180 x 110mm
Extent: 96pp


The Wit and Wisdom of Bob Katter

Edited by Black Inc.
You've seen him wearing Top Gun sunnies, bringing a billy to boil, leaning on a bunch of bananas and addressing the 'Don't Meddle with Marriage' rally.

But what's going on under that hat?

In these pages we lift the brim and uncover the words of a true-blue Aussie who shoots from the hip.
Bob Katter doesn't hold back when it comes to himself: 'There is a rage in my soul, a hatred in my soul.'

Far-north Queensland: 'It is a magic land and we could support … a population of 80 million people in the Gulf Country alone.'

Women: 'He said that I considered women second-class citizens. If they were staying at home and not working then I would not consider them second-class; I would consider them first-class citizens.'

Environmental activists: '… not a race of people that I like in any way, shape or form.'

The information age: 'I have long since given up reading journals and newspapers and watching the television, because the flow of information is so erroneous and misleading.'

Gay rights: 'If homosexuality is a fashion statement, it is a very dangerous fashion statement …'

The live cattle trade industry: 'They're people that love their animals, sort of.'

And that's just a taste of Kattertonia

Buy the eBook
Amazon Kindle
Google Play
Apple iBookstore

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ah, McGonagall, you've done it again!

Scottish poet William McGonagall
Scottish poet William McGonagall has been dubbed the world's worst by critics who accuse him of using inappropriate rhythms. Photograph: Mary Evans Library/Alamy
One of the unpublished works of a music hall performer from Dundee who gained infamy as the world's worst poet is expected to fetch thousands of pounds at auction.

Edinburgh-born William Topaz McGonagall, a 19th-century weaver and actor who wrote about 200 poems, is widely regarded as the worst poet in English literature.

Although he delighted and appalled audiences, who sometimes threw rotten fish at him, his books remain in print and he is still widely quoted long after his more talented contemporaries have been forgotten.

He composed Lines, In Praise of The Royal Marriage on 6th June 1893 to celebrate the union of George Albert, Duke of York, the future King George V, and Princess Victoria Mary of Teck.

The handwritten, previously unpublished manuscript belongs to Roy Davids, a collector who is selling his entire hoard of poetry. It is expected to fetch £3,000 at Bonham's in London in May.

Critics have accused McGonagall, best known for penning The Tay Bridge Disaster, of being deaf to poetic metaphor and employing inappropriate rhythms that resulted in unintentionally amusing poetry.

In Praise of the Royal Marriage

God bless, the lovely, and sweet Princess May, Also, the Duke of York, so handsome and gay.
Long life, and happiness to them, in married life.
May they always, be prosperous and free from strife.
May their hearts, always be full of glee. And, be kind, to each other, and ne'er disagree.
And, may the demon, discontent, never mar their happiness.
And, my God, be their comforter, in time of distress...
And, if they have children, may they grow grace.
And, be an honour, to the royal race. Of the empress of India, and Great Britain's Queen. Who is faithful to her subjects, and ever has been.


If you have a poetry MS read on!

book 7

John Knight Memorial Poetry Manuscript Prize 2013

Fence Post Press, in association with Erudite Scribe Writing Editing and Publishing are pleased to announce the inaugural John Knight Memorial Poetry Manuscript Prize, to be launched by Duncan Richardson, Jeffrey Harpeng and Andrew Leggatt.
The prize is for an unpublished poetry manuscript of 40 pages by an Australian (citizen or permanent resident) author.
Duncan, Jeffrey and Andrew will be judging and editing the entries.
Entries open from 1st March to May 17th.
The winner to be announced on 21st June.
The entry fee is $20.00. Entry guidelines can be viewed at the following URL: which will have a Paypal tab for entry fees inserted by 1st March.
The winning entry will be published as a book with Fence Post Press in August. The author will receive 25 copies and a royalty contract for all sales other than those from author stock. The hard copy of the book will be placed with online distributors and made available print-on-demand.

Brahms, Schubert, Part - Coming to a venue near you 2013!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Short Poem - Andrew


Modern man is wire.


Post-modern man is wireless.

Natalie Gillespie & Friends at Ellingtons 22/2/2013

The Ellington - 22nd Feb

Hello friends
Sitting here patiently in the studio while the acoustic guitar parts are recorded over and over!!!! is a good opportunity for me to remind all Perth peeps that Dave Brewer, Ric Eastman, Roy Martinez and myself will be playing The Ellington this coming Friday 22nd 8pm. We love this venue. There's always a wonderful connection between the band and audience. We're also road testing some new tunes YIPPEE!!! About bloody time!

Tables are sold out but still standing/dancing room available.

Tones of love from the bowels of Shanghai Twang

Nat x

How do you drive a Holden to Write a blog?

As Southerly's Guest Blogger, KATE HOLDEN has a very interesting post up right now. Here's how it starts -

Kate Holden

I just heard Richard Ford tell Margaret Throsby on ABC-FM that, in writing, what writers do is make themselves smarter than they really are. He likened the creative process to a crucible, one which was hot and focused, and which made him seem smarter than he is. And this fits in perfectly with what I was thinking last night: that writing is very much about vanity, and embarrassment.
It’s always astonishing to me how little we talk, in essays, interviews, in teaching students, about the psychology and emotions of writing. Those things are what brim in us every time we sit to write. Fear, often. Glee. Pride. Astonishment and assurance. Fear again; stronger: terror. And often at the heart of all these and the other fugitive things we feel are the questions: how dare I think I can do this? And, why would I think I can’t?

Read the rest HERE Enjoy.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Poem written in my wife's absence

for Jeanette


The price of being alone.

The littlest saucepan is getting

a work over. I cook with it,

wash it, and use it for

the next meal. Then the one

after. I’ll burn its handles down

to an image of you. My surgeon

practises with the spaghetti scoop,

sauce like laughter from his smile.

He turns a few pages of skin

and the cauliflower curls up in disgust.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

This Saturday, 2pm - THE CHAMBER POT : Don't be late.

The Chamber Pot #1
Public Event by Myron Lysenko
2pm - 4pm

Woodend's Premier Spoken Word Event
featuring poets from Victoria and New South Wales:

ROSS DONLON (Castlemaine)
EMILY MANGER (Melbourne)
Compere: Myron Lysenko (Woodend)

Plus Open Stage.
If you wish to read on the open stage
please arrive by 1.45 pm to book a 5 minute spot.

Coffee and cake available

90 High Street, Woodend, Victoria 3442

Enquiries: Myron 0430 298 345

Here's a little poem by me, first appeared at The Wonder Book of Poetry -

Ants and Us
Andrew Burke

Today again
in this new town
a million or two tiny ants
keep formation going about
their business following
their instincts and i liken
them again to us as
i have since i was knee-high
to a grasshopper we too
follow our instincts to eat
to reproduce to follow
our leaders with our two feet
handicapped as we are
by human intelligence
beclouding our instincts with
unsettling clouds of thought.

Larf from old New Yorker

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

PSA's 2013 Frost Medal goes to ...

Announcing the 2013 Frost Medalist, Robert Bly

The Poetry Society of America is honored to announce that Robert Bly is the 2013 recipient of the organization's highest award, the Frost Medal, presented annually for "distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry." Previous winners of this award include Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Lucille Clifton, Charles Simic, and Marilyn Nelson who was the 2012 recipient.
Read more, including a new poem, HERE

Canine Capers ...

Ploughshares: How to get out of the Slush pile

It seems clear that what you all want to know is, “How do I get published in Ploughshares?” So, lets start at the beginning. Literally.

If you want to get out of the slush pile, one of the worst things you can do is write a lackluster first paragraph. Don’t make the mistake of thinking: the really fine writing starts on page three of my story, and I’m sure they’ll appreciate it when they get there. By page three, I’m frustrated. If you want out of the slush pile, you must prove it from the first paragraph, from the first line.

keep reading HERE

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Worried about Dementia? Dance it off!

The Value of Signs: Saussure’s rebuttal

from The Hot Word -
Ferdinand de Saussure, semiology, synchrony, diachrony

We’ve reached the final installment of our series on Ferdinand de Saussure and the scintillating study of semiology. In our last post we left our friend Saussure in a rather unflattering light, when we explored the first scientific evidence against his hypothesis: that the relationship between the sign (a word) and the signified (the concept a word represents) might not be as arbitrary as Saussure posited.
Saussure believed that there was no natural dogness in the word “dog” or treeness in the word “tree,” and that the words could be any string of letters as long as every speaker of a given language agrees upon and accepts that they have the same meaning. This theory went widely unopposed for the latter half of the twentieth century, but in 2001 neuroscientists Vilayanur S. Ramachandran and Edward Hubbard developed a study that uncovered a cognitive link between physical shapes and the sounds speakers associate with them.

In their “Bouba/Kiki Experiment,” test subjects were shown two shapes: one spiky and one with rounded edges. They were then asked which shape was “Kiki” and which was “Bouba.” 95-98% of participants named the spiky shape “Kiki” and the rounded shape “Bouba.”

So wait a minute. If there is some organic connection between a concept and the word for it than Saussure was wrong, our language isn’t arbitrary!

Hold your horses, skeptics. Saussure’s got something to say—

In A Course on General Linguistics (a piece transcribed from Saussure’s lectures by his former students that formed the backbone of semiology and linguistic structuralism), the linguist introduces the idea of signification versus value.

Signification is essentially the work of the sign, the unit that combines concept and sound-image (word). But the key feature of a single signification like “B-I-R-D” representing creature with wings is that the sign is self-contained and means “creature with wings” independently of other signs. The introduction of the term value creates a necessary paradox within linguistic theory because the mental conjuring of signs and their subsequent use in speech and writing is deeply dependent on their place in the greater system of language. Let’s unpack that a bit. What is a bird? A creature with wings. But a “bird” is not an “insect” despite the fact that many insects have wings. So for us to gain a fuller understanding of “bird” we must also understand the meaning of “insect” so that we know what a bird is not.

According to Saussure, values can also be exchanged for new concepts the way monetary values are exchanged. There was a time in the early- to mid-twentieth century when “bird” was a slang term for “women.”

The same concept of differentiation applies to the written/spoken value of a sign, because its clear communication is dependent on that sign not being confused with any other sign. If a mispronunciation allows “bird” to slip into “heard,” then the sentence will become incomprehensible. Similarly in written language each letter of a word must distinguish itself from every other letter of the alphabet for the word to be readable.

Alright, signification = self-contained; value = interdependent. We get it. So what does any of this have to do with Kiki and Bouba?

Saussure would point out the fact that Kiki and Bouba have an extremely limited value and that value is reliant on the directly oppositional nature of both shapes (i.e., there are only two, and their forms conflict). What if the value was increased and there were 50 shapes and participants were asked to choose from a bank of 50 names? Would they choose the same or similar names for the shapes in question? What if value were removed entirely and only one shape was pictured and participants were asked to make up a name for it? Would they draw a plosive “K” for the spiky shape out of thin air?

It’s difficult to say. Attempting to remove value might be an impossible dream. We have been trained by our culture and our language to make certain associations, and when we look at a page with a shape on it, we bring a lifetime of cultural conditioning with us.

These would be Saussure’s doubts through the lens of A Course on General Linguistics, and they’re not without merit. But even in the face of so much linguistic skepticism this data is still groundbreaking. It doesn’t have to threaten the arbitrary origins of established words, but it can help us direct the development of new words in more intuitive directions.

And if you can believe it, Saussure makes room for shifts of this kind in his theory. He thought that there were two ways to study language, forming a sort of axis of thought: synchrony, a snapshot of a language frozen in time, and diachrony, the study of language in flux. The “Bouba/Kiki Experiment” is nothing if not a diachronic moment for language.

Ferdinand de Saussure was a rebel. He came out of a nineteenth-century scientific tradition that sought to study language taxonomically the way a botanist might catalogue plants or an ornithologist, flies. But Saussure saw that language was an enormous picture, and that there was no attempting to describe or quantify one aspect of it without also conceptualizing the vastness of the whole. Knowing that to understand the whole would be impossible, he looked to language’s origin in the mind with the non-verbal “concept,” and then applied this idea to the individual unit of the “sign,” a constant within all languages.

Throughout out his entire life, Saussure’s conception of language grew and grew as elements of universality entered into his system of signs. Why should it not grow beyond his death?


SOFTBLOW contemporary poetry magazine

from the current Editorial of SOFTBLOW:

Founded by Singapore-based poet Cyril Wong, SOFTBLOW has been a home for contemporary poetry from all over the world since Sep. 2004. From Nov. 2009, we have had a new selection and editorial team comprising of Eric Low, Gwee Li Sui and Jason Wee. We also have a page on Facebook for announcements about future updates.

T.S. Eliot once stated that "it must be the small and obscure papers and reviews, those which are hardly read by anyone but their own contributors, that will keep critical thought alive and encourage authors of individual talent." More than just another literary site featuring excellent work by such talents, SOFTBLOW also hopes to better focus the eye back on the poem. This journal does not pretend to exist for a general reading audience. It is for unswerving lovers of poetry who also appreciate how far poetry has come over time.

SOFTBLOW is ad free. We do not get paid for doing this. Poets will not be remunerated for having their works featured here. This journal is updated at the start of every month. All poets featured in the past are placed in our

Prose that defies categorising falls under poetry in our book and is more than welcome here at SOFTBLOW. To submit, simply paste 4-6 works with a short biography in the body of an email and send it to
editor @ Copyrights revert to the authors upon publication. All work published is with their expressed consent.

The images for this site are courtesy of Sarah Quek, who is currently furthering her studies in art and does illustrations on the side.

Monday, February 11, 2013

2013 Grammy Awards - Jazz Section

Chick Corea

Best Improvised Jazz Solo

Chick Corea / Gary Burton, soloists on 'Hot House'
Track from: Hot House (Concord Jazz)

Best Jazz Vocal Album

Radio Music Society
Esperanza Spalding (Heads Up International)

Best Jazz Instrumental Album

Unity Band
Pat Metheny Unity Band (Nonesuch)

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You)
Arturo Sandoval (Concord Jazz)

Best Latin Jazz Album

The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band (Clare Fischer Productions/Clavo Records)

Best Pop Instrumental Album

Chris Botti (Columbia)

Best Instrumental Composition

'Mozart Goes Dancing' Chick Corea, composer
Track from: Hot House (Concord Jazz)

Best Instrumental Arrangement

'How About You' Gil Evans, arranger
Track from: Centennial - Newly Discovered Works Of Gil Evans (ArtistShare)

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)

'City of Roses' Thara Memory / Esperanza Spalding, arrangers
Track from: Radio Music Society (Heads Up International)

Best R&B Album

Black Radio
Robert Glasper Experiment (Blue Note)

During the Grammy Awards ceremony, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Kenny Garrett payed tribute to the late Dave Brubeck, with a rendition of brubeck's 'Take Five'.
See the complete list of 2013 Grammy winners here.

MIDSOMER MUDDY - proem by Murray Jennings

We swiped each other’s side mirrors off and scored the bodywork.
Nobody’s fault, blind corner, hedgerows, mud and snow. We both slowed
slipped, slid, stopped, got out and had a laugh on the ridge in the centre of the road.
Jesus, this is middle earth, he said. You from round here?
No. I told him. Australia.
No kidding! Long way from home.
And you?
Middle America, man. Well, North Minnesota.
Oh I said. Pretty cold, eh? Dylan left a girl way up there.
Yeah? Dylan Thomas? I didn’t know...I’ve just driven up from Wales...
No no! Never mind.
Okay. Wanna swap mirrors for fun? Mine’s fucked. Hertz’ll love it!
Right. Might as well. Don’t know about Avis.
Hey Aussie, you go first. My side’s muddier than yours.
We shook hands and I drove three miles to a lay-by,
climbed a stile into a field and sang softly to a black-faced ewe
who just stared at her image in the American’s mirror.
If you’re ever up on that mountain over there,
remember me to a girl so fair...
See? I said. You’re beautiful. I propped it on a fence post
so she could keep admiring herself after I’d gone.
Baaa- bye! I called as I drove away but she didn’t look up.
Who said sheep were stupid?

- Murray Jennings

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Listen Up! Woodend's Premier Spoken Word Event

The Chamber Pot #1
Public Event by Myron Lysenko
2pm - 4pm


Woodend's Premier Spoken Word Event
featuring poets from Victoria and New South Wales:

ROSS DONLON (Castlemaine)
EMILY MANGER (Melbourne)
Compere: Myron Lysenko (Woodend)

Plus Open Stage.
If you wish to read on the open stage
please arrive by 1.45 pm to book a 5 minute spot.

Coffee and cake available
90 High Street, Woodend, Victoria 3442

Enquiries: Myron 0430 298 345

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Launch: RABBIT #7 and Submit for #8

You are warmly invited to the launch of
RABBIT: a journal for non-fiction poetry
Issue #7: The SOUND issue
Featuring readings by Ania Walwicz, Autumn Royal, Patrick Jones, Tim Grey, Anna Fern and Susan Hawthorne


Tuesday 26th February, 6pm
Embiggen Books
197-203 Little Lonsdale St
Melbourne CBD (opp. Wheeler Centre)
Rabbit Issue #7 includes:
< Readings and performances on an exclusive CD by poets including Amanda Stewart, Rob Walker, Autumn Royal, Patrick Jones,π.o., Anna Fern and more.
< New poems in print by Mark O'Flynn, Bronwyn Lovell, Liam Ferney, Tim Grey and more
< Interviews with Chris Mann and Ania Walwicz
< An essay on Lew Welch's poetry by Andrew J. Carruthers
< Reviews of Jennifer Maiden, Michael Farrell and Little Esther chapbooks
< Artworks by Ania Walwicz


Call for submissions ISSUE #8: The Phantasmatic Issue

Issue 8 of Rabbit (Autumn, 2013) will be guest edited by Duncan Hose.
THE PHANTASMATIC ISSUE: Can we say we live with our selves and others spectrally? What are we communing with? Are the dead more alive than ourselves? Are we the dream of language? Where and how do we experience our experiences? This is a call for poems of the phantasmatic; poems about the phantasm, the actually virtual, the virtually actual, spectres and spectrality, the liminal world, public and private, that makes up the really real.
Send between 3 and 5 poems to: rabbit, along with full contact details, 50-word bio, and a response to the following question: who is your favourite dead poet?
Deadline: April 7, 2013

Jeanette reports two feet of snow falling in Beijing ...

'Descended From Thieves' launch report

"Awesome night last night at Coral Carter's Kalgoorlie launch of her first poetry book, Descended From Thieves!
Well done, Coral! About 30 people attended and enjoyed the first public readings from members of the Goldfields Writers Group as well as Coral's beautifully written poems.
Check out Mulla Mulla Press's facebook page [or HERE ]for more info about the book, which sells for only $20.
Be prepared to be shocked, and to laugh and cry, sometimes all in the same poem!"



mainly pathetic
with brief periods of hyperventilation in the morning
the risk of a severe panic attack

probable piss weak by late afternoon
moderate self criticism increasing to hatred in the early evening
followed by flagellation throughout the rest of the week

the weekend forecast mostly maudlin with patches of self pity
extended forecast grim