Friday, January 31, 2014

Writing Poems is Good for You

The old question of whether writing poetry is effective therapy or not has been approached by Poetry with the following results. In my own experience, I found writing poetry to be a really supportive exercise when I was young and torn between my everyday world and the world I hungered for. It was a highly romantic notion and I didn't have the maturity to see life in its true light. And it wasn't all that constructive when I did! I didn't have the psychological/intellectual tools to handle it. Oh my gawd, I wrote some dreadful poems - pseudo spiritual in a paperback Eastern way (complete with sitar music and incense). One day I was Ginsburg, the next Gary Snyder - but some of it came out Rod McKuen. Awful. Thank the muses for breathing welcome fire on those pages.

But, back to the point: here are notes from Poetry

It’s commonly accepted that reading a poem can give us comfort or spark a new insight in a time of trouble. But what about writing a poem? We’ve often remarked on poetry’s curative qualities, usually speaking of its effects on a reader (see the list of past postings below)—but we’ve also think it’s worth paying attention to the healing that results from the act of writingpoetry. Poets, what do you think? Are you curing your own ills when you make a poem?

Produced by Healing Words Productions, this 2008 documentary follows “the journey of poetry therapist John Fox from room to room as he gently coaxes words from patients, many of whom have never written poetry before.... For some, poetry captures an essential truth about themselves—a memory from childhood or a moment of insight—and deepens their understanding of their lives and their illnesses. This understanding, the film shows, is the key to healing.

from Psychology Today:
Will a Poem a Day Keep the Doctor Away?” by Linda Wasmer Andrews

“On one hand, then, we have a long tradition of viewing poetry writing as a healthy mode of self-expression and a useful adjunct to mental health treatment. On the other hand, there’s a prevalent stereotype that poets are mad—and research suggests that this stereotype isn’t totally unfounded... poets—especially female poets—seem to be the most vulnerable to mental illness and suicide, a tendency that has been dubbed the Sylvia Plath Effect.... Over the past 25 years, more than 200 studies have investigated the mental and physical health benefits of expressive writing.”

from poetry therapist Perie Longo:
Poetry As Therapy

“The word therapy, after all, comes from the Greek word therapeia meaning to nurse or cure through dance, song, poem and drama, that is the expressive arts.... Though poetry as therapy is a relatively new development in the expressive arts, it is as old as the first chants sung around the tribal fires of primitive peoples. The chant/ song/poem is what heals the heart and soul.

David Gerard is The Haiku Guy; Issa is the master

the field's too much
for one man alone...
rustic fan

Issa - 1804

hitori de wa tebaru hatake ya shibu uchiwa

Literally, Issa ends simply with the image of the "rustic fan" (shibu uchiwa), but this noun implies the action of fanning. The hard-working farmer takes a break, attempting to cool his sweaty face with the fan. Shibu can mean "unrefined"; Kogo dai jiten (Shogakukan 1983) 792.

Get your daily Issa haiku from the Haiku Guy at

Pure Land Haiku: The Art of Priest Issa

Pure Land Haiku cover
No mere "child's poet," Issa is an aware and committed artist who celebrates, in a lifetime of haiku, the "Other Power" of Amida Buddha: a power that transforms the individual and universe or, more exactly, the individual/universe in their inseparableness. Pure Land Haiku: The Art of Priest Issa is the first book-length English-language treatment of this remarkable Japanese poet in relation to his joyful, "priestly" mission.

The first edition of this book, published by Buddhist Books International in 2004 (ISBN 0-914910-53-1), is out of print. The Revised Second Edition (ISBN 978-0-9859003-9-7) is available as an e-book for Kindle and Nook. Note that the book includes Japanese texts, which only the newer Kindles can display. Japanese texts on Nook will appear as question marks.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pete Seeger has gone. Long live folk music ...

“The key to the future of the world,” he said in 1994, 
“is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.”

A fine potted history is available HERE.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ha ha - the National Dept of Poetry!

You can order a poster at Grant Snider's shop.

2014 WAAPA International Art Song Festival


The inaugural WAAPA International Art Song Festival will be held from 13 - 20 July 2014 at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth, Western Australia.
The Festival aims to promote and enhance the training and performance of art song in Australia to the highest standards of excellence.

Festival Master Teacher

The Master Teacher for the inaugural WAAPA International Art Song Festival will be renowned accompanist and coach, Dr. Graham Johnson. One of the foremost accompanists of our day, Graham Johnson is internationally acclaimed for his performances and recordings of art song repertoire, as well as for his scholarship.
Dr. Johnson will host the Art Song Master Class Series, conducting daily master classes on the Lieder of Franz Schubert. He will also share his immense knowledge and experience of the art of song as special guest at a Q&A session for teachers and observers.

Associate Master Teacher

The Associate Master Teacher for the 2014 Festival will be international voice teacher, Deborah Birnbaum. Ms Birnbaum is an internationally established teacher and performer, with expertise in the area of breath management for singers. Ms Birnbaum will run the Vocal Arts Master Classes Series, as well as a workshop for teachers and coaches.
Go to for more information.

WB Yeats died 75 years ago today

This is The Lake Isle of Innisfree written 
in the poet's own hand... (Ms. 13585)

Thanks to Bob Adamson for pointing this one out.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Drinking Alone with the Moon - Li Bai

From a pot of wine among the flowers

I drank alone. There was no one with me –
Till, raising my cup, I asked the bright moon
To bring me my shadow and make us three.
Alas, the moon was unable to drink
And my shadow tagged me vacantly;
But still for a while I had these friends
To cheer me through the end of spring....
I sang. The moon encouraged me.
I danced. My shadow tumbled after.
As long as I knew, we were boon companions.
And then I was drunk, and we lost one another.
...Shall goodwill ever be secure?
I watch the long road of the River of Stars.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

from The Academy of American Poets

Get a Free National Poetry Month Poster
Celebrate National Poetry Month this coming April by displaying the official 2014 poster created by award-winning designer Chip Kidd. Sure to be a collector's item, the striking poster features an excerpt fromWalt Whitman's "Song of Myself."

Launched in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration in the world. 
Request a poster now to ensure delivery by April. 

Please allow 4-6 weeks for shipping. And kindly note that we cannot ship posters to recipients outside of the United States. (Boo!!!)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

ETZ in the mail ...

from pete spence
Full information when it arrives.

Robert Creeley's Library - a memoir by Penelope

Okay to read about the exhibition and symposium but too far for me for one to go - however, there is a wonderful memory about Robert Creeley and his love of books by Penelope Creeley at the website Sibila, headlined by the illustration above and available at

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The R E Ross Trust Playwrights' Script Development Awards 2014

The R E Ross Trust Playwrights' Script Development Awards foster Victoria's theatre industry by helping Victorian writers develop their scripts.

These prestigious awards provide writers with grants of between $3000 and $10,000 to enhance their scripts through workshops with a Victorian-based theatre company or group, director or dramaturg. 
Applications for the 2014 Awards open on Monday 3 February and close on Friday 21 March 2014. See below for guidelines and application form.
Information session
An information session for Awards applicants will be held on Tuesday 21 January 2014 from 6 to 7pm, at the State Library of Victoria (Conference Centre, Entry 3, La Trobe Street, Melbourne). Applicants are encouraged to attend this session (bookings are not required).

About The R E Ross Trust

The R E Ross Trust is a perpetual charitable trust established in Victoria in 1970 by the will of the late Roy Everard Ross. Since its inception, The R E Ross Trust has distributed over 90 million dollars in grants for charitable purposes in Victoria.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Allan Border Medal 2013 - Congratulations, Mitch

Mitchell Johnson swooped on the Allan Border Medal almost as dramatically as he laid waste to England this summer, surging to win Australian cricket's highest honour through a string of shattering performances during the home Ashes sweep that ended a previously traumatic 2013 on the most triumphant note possible.

Read on

Sunday, January 19, 2014

‘Hotel Oneira’ poems on dislocation, transition | Concord Monitor

‘Hotel Oneira’ poems on dislocation, transition | Concord Monitor

The Hotel Oneira is August Kleinzahler’s first full-length collection of new poetry sinceThe Strange Hours Travelers Keep in 2003. In between came a couple of very entertaining prose works and a retrospective collection called Sleeping It Off in Rapid City. The titles of these books gesture toward what have become Kleinzahler’s characteristic themes: dislocation, movement, transition, exile. “My ideal reader is a taxi driver in Karachi,” he said upon receiving the Griffin International Poetry Prize in 2004.

Read on by clicking the web address above.

Friday, January 17, 2014


YOU are invited
to the magazine launch of
**** No.15 ****
bring a friend, make a night of it
!!! MEALS available!!!
87 – 89 Moor St. Fitzroy (indoors)
!!!Its an amazing space!!!
Wednesday 11th December 2013
— 7pm — ENTRY: $10 + FREE COPY of magazine 
Martin Freidel, Mim Whiting,
Sean O’Callaghan, Jeltje, Grant Caldwell, Sjaak de Jong, Paul South,
Alan Musgrove, Sandy Caldow,
and TT.O.
small magazines
-- the life blood of a great literature—
Brand Logo
Silk Road Chang'an

Exploring the Soul of Chinese Culture
through Folk Music

For one performance only!

Shaanxi Folk Cultural Troupe brings the Chinese music in Concert for one spellbinding performance as part of the official program for the City of Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival 2014.
The concert will perform a selection of Chinese ethnic masterpieces including Qing dynasty’s Style and Legend, Silk Road, and Shaanxi local music and Urgel ethnic music.
Established in 2012, Shaanxi Folk Cultural Troupe is acclaimed to be the most devoted folk music troupe in China. It is composed of many ensembles and talented musicians in the region. The director of the troupe is Mr Zhao Xiuping who is a Chair of China Musicians Association and president of Xi’an Conservatory. Mr. Pu Dong Sheng, the honourable president of Chinese Orchestras Society, is article adviser of them
The troupe has successful toured many countries like Austria, Germany, French, Italy and Japan and has been widely applauded for its remarkable performance.
Venue: Sydney City Recital Hall Angle Place
Date: Saturday, 8 February 2014
Time: 7.30pm

 from $38*

Bookings: or call 1300 797 118

Info: or call 02 9186 1588

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Creative Australia Fellowships

The Australia Council's Creative Australia Fellowships provide financial support for outstanding artists across all artforms to undertake a program of creative or professional development. 

Fellowships will be awarded to enable and further the creative or professional development of outstanding artists by supporting a 2-year program of creative work or professional development which focuses on interdisciplinary and innovative approaches. 

Grants are available for Early Career Artists (one full-length work published or performed) - details here - and for Established Artists (five or more full-length works) - details here

Applications close 31 January

T S Eliot Prize 2013

Carcanet Press: Sinéad Morrissey Awarded the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry

We are delighted that Sinéad Morrissey, Belfast's first Poet Laureate, has been awarded the T S Eliot Prize 2013 for her fifth collection, Parallax. The £15,000 prize was awarded on Monday 13th January at a ceremony in London.

Poet Ian Duhig, chair of the final judging panel, said: “In a year of brilliantly themed collections, the judges were unanimous in choosing Sinéad Morrissey’s Parallax as the winner.”
Like · 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

from the desk of: Jackson

Poetry Kitchen

Tactful feedback, writing experiments, yummy snacks. In Fremantle, with experienced poet & editor Jackson. Tuesdays 10-12 or 1-3, fortnightly (next session 28 January). 

Pay as you feel. Limited places, book now., 0406 624 578. More info:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

American Life in Poetry: Column 460 : BOTTLED WATER by Kim Dower

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My parents didn’t live long enough to be confronted with the notion of paying for a bottle of water. They’d be horrified. Pay for water? Who ever heard of such a thing? Well . . . Here’s a good poem by KIM DOWER, who lives in Los Angeles, about what we go through to quench our thirst today. 


Bottled Water 

I go to the corner liquor store
for a bottle of water, middle
of a hectic day, must get out
of the office, stop making decisions,
quit obsessing does my blue skirt clash
with my hot pink flats; should I get
my mother a caregiver or just put her
in a home, and I pull open the glass
refrigerator door, am confronted
by brands—Arrowhead, Glitter Geyser,
Deer Park, spring, summer, winter water,
and clearly the bosses of bottled water:
Real Water and Smart Water—how different
will they taste? If I drink Smart Water
will I raise my IQ but be less authentic?
If I choose Real Water will I no longer
deny the truth, but will I attract confused,
needy people who’ll take advantage
of my realness by dumping their problems
on me, and will I be too stupid to help them
sort through their murky dilemmas?
I take no chances, buy them both,
sparkling smart, purified real, drain both bottles,
look around to see is anyone watching?
I’m now brilliantly hydrated.


American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2012 by Kim Dower, whose most recent book of poems is Slice of Moon, Red Hen Press, 2013. Poem reprinted from Barrow Street, Winter 2012/13, by permission of Kim Dower and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2013 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Philosophy and Literature

Transnational Literature invites submissions for a Special Feature on Philosophy and Literature: Philosophy as Literature to be published in the November 2014 issue. Details at
The guest editor will be Kathryn Koromilas, Sydney-based philosopher and author, and the deadline for submissions is 30 June 2014.
Please spread the word to anyone you think may be interested.

FREE Online

Summer fiction issue from Overland Literary Journal - with short fiction edited by SJ Finn - this one is unlocked and available free online. 
Check it out and bookmark it for something different to read over your cup of coffee or before bed:

Australian Love Stories 2014

cate-kennedyedited by Cate Kennedy - out in October 2014.
Doyen of the short story, Cate Kennedy has agreed to edit this collection for Inkerman & Blunt. These stories will run the full gamut of love and loss told in a uniquely Australian voice. 
A companion volume to Australian Love Poems 2013, this book will also delight, scintillate and bring a tear.
If you write love stories check out the guidelines for submissions.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tailor-Made Traditions: The Poetics of US Experimental Verse

The essay collection from the conference on American experimental poetry held at the University of Toulouse-Mirail which includes papers by American, British and French writers, has been published as a special bi-lingual issue of Anglophonia/Caliban entitled "Tailor-Made Traditions: The Poetics of US Experimental Verse, from H.D. to Michael Heller."

More information is available at the website:

Thursday, January 09, 2014

The best medicine!

New York Times Best of 2013

Hello, Gorgeous!

As the annual film-industry gold rush heats up, turn to The Times’s Awards Season section for complete coverage — including nominees, winners, multimedia features and an interactive ballot — of the films and the people who make and star in them, from Hollywood blockbusters to foreign-language films and documentaries. And don’t miss theCarpetbagger blog, your daily red-carpet guide to the news and the nonsense of awards season, covering the Golden Globes, the Oscars and more.
▶ Read More

2013’s Best

Recap the year that was with The Times’s “Best of” lists — covering everything from moviestelevision,theater and music to artdesign and fashion (both men’s and women’s); fromrestaurants to restaurant dishes to theyear in food; from games to travel; and, of course, books of all sorts — education booksphoto bookschildren’s books, the best book covers, and favorites ofJanet MaslinMichiko Kakutani and Dwight Garner. Heck, there’s even a report on The Top 10 Top 10 Lists of 2013.
▶ Read More
Read on at 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.


The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.


A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.


I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.


Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.


O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?


I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.


When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.


At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.


He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.


The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.


It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

- Wallace Stevens