Monday, February 29, 2016

Today's poem - February 29th

burke: The Crash on 29th #
One day more - the sun
rose early as usual
and the dog demanded
her breakfast and a fresh bowl
of water. Nothing unusual
until my wife screamed
from the back study! I ran -
now that's unusual - and found
her dazed and bleeding at the door
with a small  mountain
of books behind her.
The shelves had collapsed and all
the heavy weight of the Poetry Canon
had fallen on her hand and arm!
Oh, I did not think that poetry
could undo so many - holding
my wife, I sneaked a peak:
all was okay, no blood
on any pages. Phew.

Friday, February 26, 2016

2016 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize NOW OPEN

Entries are now open for the 2016 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize. The 2016 Jolley Prize is worth a total of $12,500, with a first prize of $7,000 and supplementary prizes of $2,000 and $1,000. The judges will also commend three additional stories, the authors of which will each receive $850.
The 2016 Jolley Prize will be judged by ABR Deputy Editor Amy Baillieu, and authors Maxine Beneba Clarke and David Whish-Wilson. Click here for more information about the judges.

Entries must be a single-authored short story of between 2000 and 5000 words, written in English. Stories must not have been previously published or be on offer to other prizes or publications for the duration of the Jolley Prize.

Entries close at midnight 11 April 2016.

Entry costs AU$15 for current ABR subscribers or AU$20 for non-subscribers. Entrants who are not current ABR subscribers can choose to subscribe when submitting their story for the special combined rates listed below:
Online entry + ABR Online subscription - $50.00
Online entry + Print subscription (Australia) - $95.00
Online entry + Print subscription (NZ and Asia) - $140.00
Online entry + Print subscription (Rest of World) - $155.00
ABR will publish the three shortlisted stories in the 2016 August Fiction Issue and announce the overall winner at a special event during the 2016 Melbourne Writers Festival later that month.
We will also still be accepting hard-copy entries
pdfClick here to download a PDF of the entry form.

Honours by Leunig

Thursday, February 25, 2016


The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award 2017 NOW OPEN

Do you dream of being a published writer? Enter Australia’s most prestigious award for an unpublished manuscript.
Vogel Web Asset2017The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award is one of Australia's richest and the most prestigious award for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of thirty-five. Offering publication by Allen & Unwin, with an advance against royalties plus prize money totalling $20,000, The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award has launched the careers of some of Australia's most successful writers, including Tim Winton, Kate Grenville, Gillian Mears, Brian Castro, Mandy Sayer and Andrew McGahan.
The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award-winning authors have gone on to win or be shortlisted for other major awards, such as the Miles Franklin Award, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Booker Prize.
Entries for the 2017 The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award are now open.

The 2016 winner of The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award will be announced on Tuesday 26 April 2016.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Call for Submissions: Disabilities issue


by Southerly
For its second number in 2016, Southerly will be producing an issue, co-edited by David Brooks and Andy Jackson, on Writing and Disability, and we are seeking contributions in all our usual fields – poetry, short fiction, essay, review, memoir, etc. Both physical and psychological disability will be considered - visible and invisible - and disability will be interpreted widely within these areas. The co-editors do not wish to limit contributions in any way. They do note, however, that the area of writing and disability is significantly under-theorised, especially in the Australian context, and hope that this publication might make some contribution in this area.
Deadline: June 30th 2016
Submit: Via our submissions portal here

Monday, February 22, 2016

RIP Umberto Eco


I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.

Umberto Eco
5 January 1932 – 19 February 2016

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Some Roads Travelled (poem)

burke: Some Roads Travelled #
Miles and Coltrane playing in Stockholm
enlivens a wet Christchurch afternoon
and I come to the realization I knew
what Trane was going to play next.
It was at this point that I knew
two days of prowling the city
had taught me the pattern of streets,
the beat of our feet connecting
to the sight of the eyes and
the frontal lobes. All this
connectivity part of writing -
but as Ezra Pound told WS Merwin,
Read seeds, not twigs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Christ Church after the Quake #

So I asked my wife,
If it was yr turn today
to write a poem, what
would you write about?
And she replied, thought
fully: It would have to be
something about the Phoenix
rising out of the ashes ...
You see, we're in
Christ Church, New Zealand,
wrecked by a major quake
5 years ago, with a reminder
quake just two days ago.
The old Melbourne tram
that took us for a city tour
kept on its tracks, and
the driver hit us with
On yr left ... and On yr right ...
until our necks were sore.
Our eyes were sore too, with
so much supressed sadness
as the cathedral yawned out
from its gaping holes, and
various government buildings
like the art gallery and museum
were partly reconstructed - but
in  five years they're still
dithering over many sites,
the powers-that-be are turning
out to be not so powerful.
In one side of town, merchants
have made a new shopping
and eatery city called ReSTART -
a vividly colourful community
of buildings and open cabins
made out of shipping containers
come to land to help
the shook-up citizens
of beautiful old Christ Church.
Necessity again is the Mother
of this injured town.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Rhythm of Life - poem

Oh, it's the ghost of futures past!
My wife is watching
Midsomer Murders - and missed
an essential part of the plot
at the beginning. Our host dialled
time back and played it
forwards. Oh our manipulation
of time and narrative becomes -
or became? - unsettling
as sun sinks on Middlemarch.

And why watch TV
when sundown bathes
the green fields with
heightened contrast, yellow
more yellow on the stubble
as a lone bay horse grazes.
He's an old horse, perhaps
retired from the past circus
of pulling a wagon, with
the annual amateur start at
the Wingatui Races.


Today was the start
of the Cavalcade, so
we took three Clydesdales
out on a warm-up circuit
around Middlemarch. Clip clod,
clip clop, the rhythm of
twelve hooves, well shod,
steel on bitumen, rhythms
worthy of a track on
Time Out by Brubeck.
Memory mixes today
with yesterday to
create the future. We'd
be wind-up toys without
our many chambered brains.


Friday, February 12, 2016


The Inaugural Australian Short Story Festival
WA is set to welcome a new festival to the arts calendar, with the announcement that the inaugural Australian Short Story Festival will take place in Perth from October 21–23. The weekend-long festival will be the first in Australia to focus exclusively on the short story form.
Emerging, established and respected practitioners of the short story form will participate in the festival and there will be a mix of local and national talent. The program will involve a variety of events including: masterclasses, talks, readings, storytelling, discussions and free family outdoor events.
Details will be released in the coming months. For updates, follow the Festival's Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Middlemarch Stone House (poem)

Struggling through waist high
reeds by a small creek
on wild paddocks in
Middlemarch outside of
Dunedin in New Zealand

to tramp our way
to a derelict deserted house
built with irregular sized stones
stone on top of stone to
weather the storms
and as shelter from sunshine.

Oh generations of sheep
have sheltered here,
their pellet-size poo
melting and binding together
to create a soft flooring
and a rich aroma. Hessian
hangs tattered on what's left
of walls, so history sends
its own vibes down the years,
sheep bleating in the fields.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Waitangi Day, Wellington, NZ

Waitangi Day - NZ - celebrating the country's treaty with the British in 1840.Today they were celebrating less with the Australian cricket team winning an ODI in Wellington. You win some, you lose some. We saw the first rat-eaten pages of the original in the Government Archives, air conditioned and under glass. It's a public holiday here for Waitangi Day yet volunteers ran the archives in their own time. All peoples represented here among the archivists.

Here tonight in fair weather we had a barbecue with our host's friends. We struck such a rich vein of dialogue with a poetry-writing psychologist and his poetry-loving wife ... so we read and shared poems and favourite poets quoting poems and stories for hours. Oh isn't it wonderful the way people are placed in our path as we stumble along!

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Situations Vacant: ABR Internship

ABR Jan-Feb issue cover smaller for online

Australian Book Review seeks a highly motivated Editorial Intern to fill our seventh paid editorial internship (worth $45,000 p.a.). This is a full-time position over fifteen months (until the end of June 2017) – a rare opportunity in the industry. An editing/publishing degree/diploma or equivalent publishing experience is essential. We seek applications from those with professional editorial skills, energy and initiative. Applicants must be confident and adaptable in using digital technologies and programs. The Intern will participate in all activities of the magazine, with a particular emphasis on ABR Online. Some experience in publishing or retail is advantageous.

Applications close Monday, 29 February. The Intern will start work in March 2016.

Visit our website for more information and a detailed position description

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

poem #33 (i think)

“everything has a meaning, or nothing has” Roland Barthes


As I was spreading sand beneath the tree, I noticed a small nail hammered at an angle into the fork. It was a flowering jacaranda and I worried for its growth, so between my fingers and my toes I felt a twinge, like a nail went in, hammered by a young boy practicing his carpentry skills. My mind played with this image as I swung the next spade full of sand, no longer humming a tune.


And now a soft paw of my dog walks on a crossing snail - so another snail about 5 centimetres away went into his shell. It seems everything has its effect on something else.