Friday, December 22, 2006

Seasons Greetings

In keeping with the Christmas spirit, Shane Warne, history's greatest leg-spinner, has given the Test batsmen of the world an early present by announcing his retirement from the game at the end of the Sydney Test Match. To those of you from non-cricketing nations (my condolences), Warney is a kind of antipodean Babe Ruth whose ability to outfox batsmen has enthralled millions of us for the past 14 years. His departure, though premature in my opinion, will at least bring back some equilibrium to a game utterly dominated by the Australians for more than a decade. God bless you, Warney, and thank you, but may no team gain such ascendancy over the Noble Game again.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Stinging Fly

Some of you may be wondering what I've been doing since my last posting. Well, amongst other things I have been savouring the delights of Irish literary magazine The Stinging Fly. Although it won't interest those who only read things they are in, this admittedly Celto-centric little mag is my find of the year. After a previous issue devoted solely to the fine art of the short story, the current issue returns to the bubbly mix of poetry and prose from many of the leading lights of Irish letters. Special mention needs to be made here of Kevin Barry's story Last Days of the Buffalo, one of the finest pieces of short writing I have read in years. The editors appear to be a lively crew obviously in love with the job who are always hunting around for international contributors (yes, that means you dear reader). Click on the post heading to see how you can get hold of a copy. Subscriptions are ludicrously cheap. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Giramondo Press

Late last year Giramondo published three collections of essays by distinguished Australian authors - Gerald Murnane's Invisible Yet Enduring Lilacs, Beverley Farmer's The Bone House and Louis Nowra's Chihuahuas, Women and Me. Together with John Hughes' award-winning The Idea of Home: Autobiographical Essays, published the previous year, these four collections form an impressive series.

For this Christmas, they are offering all four titles at a price of $75, including postage. That's a big slice. Or, if that's too big a bite at once, any two titles for $40, or three titles for $60, including postage. That's Nana's sponge plus the sherry!

Either email your order through the links on the post heading (ie click the big words north), or follow whatever nineteenth century prompts they chose to still display.

For information about other Giramondo titles, please click the big words, also. Or not.

We believe you until we doubt you.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

New Poetry by Jane Williams

Political poem

this is not a political poem I don't write political poetry
about banda aceh and inappropriate tsunami
aid like boxes of breast implants wigs fur coats
or the fight for east timorese independence the subsequent
donation of buses too wide for the narrow roads of dili
too expensive to run for longer than a joy ride left to rot
this is not a political poem I don't write political poetry
about one size fits all campaign speeches
promises self fulfilling as a five o'clock shadow
suits climbing the ladder corporate or social it doesn't matter
to people wearing next to nothing trying to divine water from rock
this is not a political poem I don't write political poetry
about the price of petrol or a family holiday to alpha centauri
ski slope cheek bones bee sting lips
the colour of poverty the weight of guilt by omission
my enemy's enemy is my friend and what's mine is yours
but don't worry
this is not a political poem I don't write political poetry

- Jane Williams 2006

Jane Williams' most recent collection of poems is 'The Last Tourist' (Five
Islands Press 2006). She lives in Hobart,Tasmania.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

New Poetry by Elizabeth Webb


The intricate, filigree traceries left by a wave on wet sand
The round, curled, sweet shape of a shell
Filled with the sea's whispers and quiet roaring.
The crisp, new smell of an unopened book
With pages unthumbed and not yet
Softened by the wandering eye.

The satistfying, strong push
Of feet against pedals
And the whirring, zooming,
Flashing world, free-wheeling
And swooping down the beckoning path.

The tang of salt against skin
And cool green water buoying up
Bodies, closing a shimmering
Canopy over dripping heads for a moment
Before they burst back through
To the crash of spray and blue sky.

The brush of long grass against bare feet
And the solid, sweating, rippling, rolling body
Of horse beneath me
A ride along a road overgrown
With wild plants and creeping weeds
In gathering dusk and a pale moon overhead.

Clear voices ringing out old songs
To welcome in the Christ child
The press of hot bare legs together
In faded shorts
The golden smell of flowering silky-oak
A threat of dry, fragrant smoke
And the chortling noisy-friar bird
Black bald head bobbing
In the windy tree-tops.

The comfortable, square shape
Of a wombat trundling along
An early morning walk, unafraid.
A prickling of echidna spines
Potruding from its shallow hiding place
A confusion of mad black choughs
Bustling and pecking and chirring
And chatting softly
As they pick through the fallen leaves.
The high mournful call of currawongs
Circling and landing on a waiting branch
The hard blue of the sky, the sifted dusty soil.

The whistling flash of a wood-duck's wing
A flotilla of black swans with wax-red beaks
Honking like lost souls as they drift into the shore.
The warm wet startle of a dog's lick, the delicate dry
Touch of a bird's feet
As it sidesteps along an arm.

The glimpse of a smile, an uplifted eyebrow
The lowering of lashes, avoiding eyes, outstretched fingers
The fine skin behind an ear
And the secret whiteness of a soft exposed belly
The drying splash of tears, flowing growing lines
Of good talk and full silences
A bubbling spring of laughter
And the lilt of a known voice.

All these things I gather in a box of dreams
And leave it open, quietly
At your waiting feet

- Elizabeth Webb 2006

Elizabeth is an undergraduate student at ANU in Canberra.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Black Inc.

Black Inc. November Events

The Best Australian Essays 2006 edited by Drusilla Modjeska
The Best Australian Stories 2006 edited by Robert Drewe

The Best Australian Essays 2006 contains life and travel stories, explorations of art and politics, that will illuminate and divert. Not only does each essay stand alone as one of the best of 2006, new editor, Drusilla Modjeska has created a collection that maps ‘…something of the rhythm of our concerns and thinking at this moment in time’.

In Best Australian Stories 2006, one of Australia’s most acclaimed authors, Robert Drewe, edits this best-selling series for the first time. Drewe has put together a sparkling, often surprising, collection. This is the perfect book for catching up with the best short work that our fiction writers have to offer.

Celebrate the release of The Best Australian Essays 2006 and The Best Australian Stories 2006 with the editors and contributors to both collections.

Venue: Gleebooks, 9 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe
Date: Thursday 16 November 2006
Time: 6:30pm for 7pm
Cost: $9/$6 conc. gleeclub welcome.
Bookings: Through Gleebooks- please call Ph: 02 9660 2333 or visit

For further information on Black Inc. please visit

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New Poetry by Coral Hull

Unified Field Theory

You are my unified field

where a billion flowers

shine like the stars

and turn into butterflies.

I observed your formation,

like an angel, through monitors,

gravity defied by wings

and past theories deconstructed

into a trillion summers.

You are my unified field,

of collapsing wave functions

in years measured by light.

We enter the reality

of each other in particles.

You are my constant evolution.

Your fundamental existance

falling through my senses

into more and more abstractions

until fields lift into flowers.

Systems are only created

to house our dreams.

We are conscious participants

observing our place in a story

with awe and reverence.

The dawn is a point of creation,

in an ocean of potential

where the beginning is a song

where a butterfly wing

becomes a flower petal,

where an atom or a molecule

is the potentiality

of a shared existance

from a single point of love.

- Coral Hull 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006

New Poetry by Libby Hart


Tolstoy walked out into the snow.
Chekhov may or may not have had champagne.
Sylvia Plath neatly folded a dishcloth in the oven for her head.
Tchaikovsky tried drowning himself, only to stand hip deep
in the Moskva River.
Shelley was more successful, heading straight into a storm with a copy
of Keats in his pocket.
Miklós Radnóti buried his poems in his pocket before someone buried him.
Virginia Woolf had faith in the rock that held her down in The Ouse.

* * *

In the silence,
the car has already turned for Sebald
the cancer already taken Brodsky
the ocean already swallowed Hart Crane.

In suffering,
Rimbaud nurses his bad leg
Jane Austen reflects on her illness
Mary Wollstonecraft insists on bravery.

In the darkness,
Henry James writes invisible words over a bedspread
Keats undergoes his long final nights
Eugene O'Neill waits to die in a Boston hotel room.

In rapidity,
Pushkin falls from the bullet
Marlowe bleeds in Deptford
Hemingway places the gun to his head
while the Brontës drop away
like pearls from a broken necklace.

- Libby Hart 2006

Darwin's Walk

Nobody traipses anymore.
No one lingers over a spot
thinking for 20 years about origins or earthworms,
no one bothers to clock up over 20,000 circuits
contemplating the world.

Each grain of sand, a time capsule
mulled over now by gravel for tourists
who stay awhile
and walk the bended edges of Darwin's imaginings,
just past the kitchen garden and the meadow.

I think imagination needs to be curved.
It has to be full and rounded.
There's no point in narrowness,
it is thin-aired and has its limits.

Bending carries laterality
and room for improvement,
an endless cycle of preoccupation.
Circles are for dreamers

Straight lines, on the other hand
are for middle men
for men in suits,
for bitter wives.

Einstein's Theory of Relativity seems doomed for revision
but Darwin's theory still stands up, more or less
160 years after telling his wife to open
the bundle of papers in the event of his death,
binding its shame in ribbon.

Containing it like a toxic secret
until its guilty knowledge flowered from competition,
allowing polite women to utter the word ape
for the first time in relation to ourselves,
speaking in whispers so as not to upset the servants.

Hierarchies climb and crumble like radiation
each set of rules or animal
replaced by another, and another
like time and the notion of substance.

Walking each day
step after step,
one foot in front of the other.
Murmuring the world,
grasping it slowly.

- Libby Hart 2006


Maybe Samuel Beckett was right,
maybe the tears of the world exist
as a silent relay, circling the earth.

I impart.
My next door neighbour follows,
wearing her tears like jewellery.
They are large, misshapen pearls

And like the ancient Greeks
she'll collect them -
each and every one of them,
to bury them deep inside herself.

Each time is different:
small and barely noticeable
pooled at the lid -
blinking, blinking to remove

Or a heavy stream flowing
along the bridge of nose,
crossing the lips
circling, becoming a slick of salt.

And the relay expands into kilometres
through states and borders,
onto atolls and bridges
and dry land.

And again, there is someone
who will follow the line,
who is picked for the flood.
An inheritor, with an urgency for tears.

- Libby Hart 2006

The above poems will appear in Libby's first collection "Fresh News from the Arctic" to be launched in Brisbane on the 5th of November.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Muse has Sprung

5th Australian Poetry Festival: Between!

September 1-10, 2006

The Australian Poetry Festival (APF) is a significant biennial program of stimulating readings, panel sessions, discussion and debate, organised by the Poets Union to engage poets and the public in poetry and poetics. The program has grown from a largely Sydney-based event to a national program of parallel events.

The Poets Union committee, members and supporters present a diversity of programs in their own states and regional areas. While the national and regional programs are growing steadily, the Sydney base remains as strong as ever with major festival presentations, one-off readings, and a vibrant mix of local, regional and interstate guests.

APF is also a time of celebration for the Poets Union with the announcement of major awards, the release of new publications, the finals of Poetry Slam competitions and more.

APF was first held in 1998. In some years there is a festival theme, for example, Burning Lines in 2001 and Ngara/Listening in 2004. APF was held during National Poetry Week (NPW) in 2004 and this year is presented as a joint Poets Union and NPW initiative, cementing the relationship between these two major events on Australia's poetry calendar.


September 1-10, 2006
Third-time APF Director, Martin Langford, announced in March that the theme of this year's 5th APF is Between! 'The 5th Australian Poetry Festival: Between!, will explore interactions, responses and collaborations.

'5th APF: Between! will build on the successful collaborations component in '4th APF: Ngara, which generated some exhilarating and original cross-art works. We expect the Between! theme to result in a bigger range of interactions and collaborations - between poets, between poets and arts practitioners, between poets and other fields, between communities and between states.'

Confirmed guests in the major Sydney program include:
John Batts, Judith Beveridge, Margaret Bradstock, Bravo, Colleen Burke, Joanne Burns, Michelle Cahill, John Carey, Jess Cook, Jenni Doherty (Ireland), Stephen Edgar (Tasmania), Dan Eggs (Ireland), Brook Emery, Carolyn Gerrish, Alan Gould (Canberra), Phillip Hammial (Blue Mountains), JS Harry, Gordon Hewitt (Ireland), Rosemary Huisman, Jill Jones, Gorica Jovanovic, Tom Keily, Nora Krouk, Dang Lan, Martin Langford, Kery Leves, Yve Louis (Armidale), Kathryn Lomer (Hobart), David McCooey (Melbourne), Chelley Mclear (Ireland), Chris Mansell (Berry), Gabriella Mehedinteanu, Miles Merrill, Lizz Murphy (Binalong), David Musgrave, Norm Neill, Jenni Nixon, Esther Ottaway (Tasmania), Sheryl Persson, Claire Potter (Perth), Craig Powell, Brendan Ryan, Jaya Savige (Queensland), Michael Sharkey (Armidale), Jutta Sieverding, John Sheppard, Jutta Sieverding, Peter Skrzynecki, George Szirtes (England), Maureen Ten, Tom Thorpe, Helen Turovic, Louise Wakeling, Simon West (Melbourne), Les Wicks, Libby Wong, Fay Zwicky (Perth).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Loft at 105

Celebrated poet and ethnographer
Nathaniel Tarn
reads from his poetry

Prizewinning novelist
Steven Lang
reads from his fiction

The Performance Space, Room 105
UTS, Bon Marche Building 3
Cnr Harris & Broadway

this Thursday 24th August

Nathaniel Tarn is well known both as a poet and as a translator (most particularly of the work of Pablo Neruda), and as an innovative publisher. He was the founding editor of Cape Editions in London in the 1960s and of Cape Goliard Press. He has taught at the Universities of Chicago, London, SUNY Buffalo and the New Mexico Institute of Amerindian Arts. Till the mid-80s he was Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at Rutgers. He lives in New Mexico where he now writes, edits and researches full time. His main books are "The Beautiful Contradictions" (Random House); "A Nowhere for Vallejo" (Random House); "Lyrics for the Bride of God" (New Directions); "The House of Leaves" (Black Sparrow); "Atitlan/Alashka" (Brillig Works Press); "Seeing America First" (Coffee House Press); "Views from the Weaving Mountain: Selected Essays in Poetics & Anthropology" (University of New Mexico Press, 1991). "A Selected Poems 1950-2000" (Wesleyan University Press) came out in 2002. A new collection of poems, "Recollections of Being" (Salt Modern Poets) came out in London in 2004.

Steven Lang's first novel, "An Accidental Terrorist", was released by UQP in October 2005, and awarded the UTS Award for New Writing at the 2006 New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards. It was long-listed for the Miles Franklin Award and shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize (for best first book). As a manuscript the novel won the 2004 Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Best Emerging Author. Lang's other work includes a play, "A Strong Brown God", "The Mary River Diary", which was performed at the Metro Arts Theatre in Brisbane in 1996, and several short stories, published in anthologies and literary magazines.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

New Poetry by Megan Boyd

the elephant sits

the family hesitates

there's a large dent in the sofa

it's the place where




the young child knows its there

no-one seems to notice

- Megan Boyd 2004

Megan works as a freelancer autocue gal in Adelaide's film/video market and is about to start teaching sandstone sculpture at the WEA. She has also done two bookcovers for UniSA publications, one of which won the 2005 Chancellor's Award. Megan lives outside Adelaide CBD with her young daughter.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Goose Step

Even for the London Sunday Times (which for mine is little more than a tabloid in tights with its legs spread), the report on German poet/novelist/activist Gunter Grass' confession to being a member of the SS in the dying days of WW2 struck this blogger as a little shrill in both tone and take. I have managed to leave the article in question on a peace bus somewhere, but if memory serves me the word "hypocrite" cropped up a number of times. As did the phrase "bleeding heart" once or twice.

I, too, am disappointed to witness an ageing public figure turn on a penny like this, but then once I had clambered out of the spiritual mire otherwise known as the 1980's (and my 20's), I realised I was also greatly disappointed by one of Grass's last great testaments, The Rat. It is a polemic in the worst sense. I flicked through it recently and felt a blush of shame and wry nostalgia, a bit like flicking through an old stack of Playboy magazines.

I agree with the (anonymous) Sunday Times journalist that the crime here is not the renowned author's membership of what was by 1944 a mere shadow of the SS that held all of Europe in thrall for 44 long months, but that Gunter Grass saw fit to become the conscience of post-war Germany without coming clean about his part in the war until he had reached an age (octogenarian) and time (the world has moved on from the suffocating paradigm that drove his writing) where it seemed the only "senisble" thing to do. Once again I sniff book sales and a cynical manipulation of the media by people whose closest brush with a book was their last drink driving charge.

If you live long enough you will be shown up for the joke we all are. That was the central message I took from much of German post-war literature, Tin Drum included. The world was born yesterday, just a little older than our dreams. It is we who are old, because it is we who measure time, who sort the good from the bad, the dead from the dying. Perhaps we are too ready to forget what it must have been like for those born in the time just before us, or perhaps we are tired of hearing about it while the petty criminals of our own time are left to run riot. Whatever the case may be, it is certainly still the case that the noble often die unnoticed while the craven die with an audience.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Where do we go from here?

it is a strange bird
this world

whose habit is
to fight itself

whose left wing
and right wing

tear themselves
bitterly apart

both on the side
of justice and violence

and whose great beak
gobbles the poor

- Michael Dransfield 1972

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Boys will be boys

It seems Louise Adler down at MUP has raised the bar a few inches higher (who woulda thunk it after her stroke of editorial genius with Mark Latham's diaries?!!). She must also be visiting the august pages of Bluepepper, heeding comments in my "Light on the Hill" post about her aversion to all things poetic.

In a flash of brilliance, dear old Louise has decided to publish poet John Kinsella's memoirs "Loose beginnings: a memoir of intoxications" (I would have worked on that title a little more, Louise), an excerpt of which I read in the Weekend Australian a few weeks back and thought both twee and ill-advised. I was particularly struck by Kinsella's veiled, preppy innuendos about Dorothy Hewett,particularly as she is no longer here to defend herself. So you took drugs and felt a little put on by a 60 year old woman. Haven't we all? That pretty much sums up my eighties in Darlinghurst and Newtown. Now it looks like Kinsella is finding himself at the sharp end of the stick, being forced to cancel an appearance at the Byron bay Writers' Festival due to some nasty emails from a few of the poets he dissed. Am I the only one who finds this all a bit sad? Apparently down the road from where I live Kinsella once had a punch-up with Anthony Lawrence. Now, I have met both poets. The former has the build of a scarecrow, the latter that of the hill behind it. I fancy "punch-up" actually means a few choice words and a sharp nudge in the foyer,although I could be wrong. The emails themselves are really quite poetic (far moreso, in fact, than most of Kinsella's output). One reads "It is a death-clicking beetle/Can you hear it at work inside the fast-tracking of your emails/inside the cold enamel of your smile?/keep your enemies close at hand/the shroud has no pockets". I wonder what the local constabulary made of that when dear John applied for his AVO against Anthony Lawrence (the author of this email) and the other "offended" party, Robert Adamson?

All in all, I sense these memoirs are another feather in Louise Adler's crooked cap and nothing more. A wiser man would perhaps have kept well clear, the agenda here being quite obviously to feed the fathomless craving for titillation for which the boomer generation is so renowned.

Call for Submissions

I haven't forgotten my threat to start posting excerpts from my verse novel, so poets and poetry lovers consider yourselves on notice. Just click on the "email me" tag in the top right hand corner and submit anything up to five poems, a 1000 word comment or review in the body of the email. NO ATTACHMENTS PLEASE. I have a very good turnover time, and that applies to most things I do. Probably why I haven't got a girlfriend...Anyway, be that as it may I see no reason for not submitting something. The worse you will get is silence, as I won't comment on subs unless I can see some way of working with the author to make them more suitable for posting under the Bluepepper. There are no payments and thus no guidelines.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

New Poetry by rob walker

a beginner’s guide to postmodernism

don’t say book poem or story

its all just text

don’t talk.

have a


you may still lecture

in the timehonored way

but call it a


in the end nothing matters anyway

everyone’s opinion is as good

as anyone else’s

the external world does not exist.

ignore it.

- rob walker 2006

rob walker is a South Australian poet who has poetry in a number of journals and websites in Australia and overseas. This poem will appear in his first full collection micromacro, to be launched Sept 30 in Adelaide.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Midnight Latitudes by Wayne Wolfson

Mars Syndicate is an evolving multimedia collaboration. Visual mediums include video and live performance art.

Auditory mediums include live instrumentation (from one to twenty musicians), and computer music (samplers and sequencers).

Wayne Wolfson is a California based author.

The album is a concept one. It figures around an anti-hero known only as “The Detective”. A lot of things are kept vague, non-linear story line with certain images and words which are constantly looping back and referencing other events taking place within the world of music and story found here. As an example, the very first track you hear someone running to a car in the rain, the radio is fiddled with, a brief melody is heard, then the first piece is about a man leaving a woman. There is a definite story, but did the man already leave the woman and was running to car in the start of the album or is he now on his way to do so. Another example of the constant looping back, the melody he hears on the radio is then hummed by man and woman as “their song” in next piece. Was it really their song, or did his mind just fill in that space with the brief snatch of song heard on radio. There is a definite story, although it is not traditional narrative taking the audience from points A to Z.

I think some of the best modern poets did the same thing. Cesare Pavese (1908-1950) would often have poems which bordered on being short stories, stories where there was a plot but things were left semi-open, semi-opaque. In France some of the creators of the Anti-Novel (Nathalie Sarraute, A l’Aine Robe Grille) were authors who painted pictures with words but left a certain elasticity to the where and when of what was going on with the characters and their world. This is something I think poetry is moving away from, an image standing for something and yet not being rigidly locked into place. I think too, for any work of art where you want people to be able to go back to it again and again, the lion’s share of the tension should not derive from finding out “what happens next”. Largely, we avoided that in the way the story is told.

To purchase your copy just click on the post header and follow the prompts.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

New Prose by Eric Kellenbach


My family

Popular convention, or fiction, asks us to judge a man by his wealth, the beautiful women and dangerous places he has frequented, his handsome features passing through morally tedious landscapes ... and by these measures we would have to discard Andal. He has no layers of angst to be displayed in myriad perversions before a sublime finale. He has not even been intentionally evil: an altogether too ordinary man though with some strange habits.
Andal has always lived his life thoroughly, paying attention to detail. Already as a young man—in times of stress and difficulty especially—he wrote lists: fearlessly delving, crude truths, magical calculations and final decisions. One of those lists compared what he knew of where he lived with what he knew of where he might go. The old country versus the new country. The list leaned towards the new, so he came here.
Then, long after, with some bitterness, I know he made another list: the same comparison of old versus new, and went back to his old country. To die. That was over ten years ago now, and for these ten years he has missed us more than he could bear—I’ve heard it in his voice. No doubt he would have been working this gnawing pain into new lists, but I don’t imagine new lists could have offered him much relief.
His list-thing developed, slowly but continually, from when he was a young man: the first lists were a tool to organise things for practical purposes. As time went on he began trying to find meaning and pattern in his thoughts as revealed in his lists, and this led to him trying to more clearly understand the progression of how things had become as they were. Then eureka: he realised that if he could understand this progression then he might be able to draw them forward and into the future. And if that worked then it is clear he might try applying what he’d learnt to others, especially within his family.
The lists became a way for him to connect his cumulative personal experience—and he could test ideas from other people, or the books and magazines he sometimes read, against them.
After ten or more years of continual attention the word “list” was no longer adequate for what his work entailed. He’d sit, usually at night after work, developing his project through years of loving labour; so that in the end his notebooks produced nothing less than prophecy—a new science of prophecy. It’s not just intuition or some kind of mysticism at work, it is science: it’s based on hard information. Then a dash of intuition is thrown in. Some day he will be recognised for what he is ... a new science has been born and nobody knows it yet.
Before he returned to his old country Andal had already watched his children move from home and into the world. By then he had the comfort of knowing our developing characters and general destiny were written plain for him. This must have served him well, but from the old country our material progress and even our physical appearance become more and more difficult for him to visualise. Two of us moved to live in inner city suburbs he hardly remembered the names of and wouldn’t be able to find without a map.
Four children and only two addresses ... but then we move around a lot, sharing households, changing suburbs, moving out of the city for a time, we keep moving. It doesn’t bother me but half the time I wouldn’t have more than two addresses myself. He’d sit in deep disquiet sometimes, thinking about his children dissolved into a fluid vast space; he said he’d seen Mum’s eyes, fleetingly, glimpsed amongst women’s wild-berry eyes juicy in the village; ‘it’s obvious I’ve come from this earth, and so has your mother’, he would say.
Only two addresses which he couldn’t even be sure were up-to-date and so many millions of people all busy—but Andal had a way of dealing with this consuming swirl of movement: first, make a list, and second, go straight there wherever “there” is according to the list.
I think Andal’s thinking and working through lists kept him linked to us: he was able to chart our growth as human beings—and he was able to touch our spirit. Andal, from what I’ve seen of his last years of life, has contained a quiet happiness and peace which becomes more lucid each day. If going away is what he felt he had to do to meet his needs ... well I’ve always kept my support for him even though some certain others have declared him to be completely crazy.

All these years past he has thought of us every day, Mum especially of course. He knows where she sits to eat her breakfast and dinner, where she does her grocery shopping, most of her friends ... But she wouldn’t go to live with him in the old country, and he couldn’t stay in the new with us. Mum once spoke his language well, she’d heard it from her parents as a child. I’ve heard her speaking myself when I was still very young, with Andal, and I learnt a few words too; but it was obvious it never became her own language, just collections of other ways of saying things.
Mum told me I brought some of those few words to school with me, not really knowing the difference, and that it caused problems. I’ve always wondered how our lives would have been if we’d been more “native” to this country. At the very least people get too curious and try to work out where you’re from by your accent or family name, even if they won’t say it to your face. And then they bring prejudice into the game. That’s just the way it is.
As the years went on eventually Mum didn’t speak his language, not much any more, and his grasp of our language slipped day by day. His letters to me have always been well-written though the language is a bit odd; but writing is different to speaking and unlike many other foreigners who learnt here the hard way, on their own time, his written words remained much stronger than the spoken.
First, years ago, it was the rare foreign word let slip in a preoccupied moment which revealed his mind switching back to its natural tongue. Then he wanted the food he knew from his mother’s table, or in mid sentence he would suddenly pause, empty of some banal word of the new world … and he’d seen them and was terrified: the fortunate ones nursed by resentful family, or flung into nursing homes where nobody spoke the language in awful isolation; others left babbling in the streets waiting for the meanest government institution. Or, to those that can escape capture and remain free comes the final fury-frothing cough which dribbles lung to stain soiled dark jackets and cold street pavements. He left. She stayed.
Sometimes, reflecting back into the distance of the new country, having returned to an old country which in many ways had changed so much that it was also now in a sense new as well; he once said that it all seemed to make his old life, this old life here in the new country which in some ways was his most real life … it all drifted into the unreal, none of it seemed to have much to do with him, it was all just vague and incomplete memory tumbling in a large swirling. The young people there are becoming more like us, he told me. I’m sure even the way people his own age speak and think, the fabric of community, all these have changed but he’d missed the progress and would now be forced to make uncomfortable jumps to catch up.
Deep within the tumble of thought our family would merge into the big swim, sometimes drifting sometimes thrashing, just out of his reach; and though he knows where we are, visibility would continually worsen as the distance of time allows.
There, where his choice of words is quaint and outdated in the changed old country, he’d gone to die.
Death, he thought, if he planned for it, would be easier and more meaningful. But how does one plan for death—with lists comparing the benefits and negative aspects? Probably not.
In fact my father planned meticulously for his death from the day of his return to the old country, and he knew it would all run smoothly. Although there were hiccups: the main one occurring when his cousin, the local funeral company’s head who had been entrusted with the process, became ill, then died. We’re talking about the same cousin that had helped carry my grandfather’s coffin, a grandfather who I never knew, years ago.
So Andal wrote out directions clearly, gave a copy to his neighbours in a sealed envelope, and sent one to Mum. Though for him all this was only superficial and worldly: he desired his walk to the desert to make as little disturbance as possible: footsteps on the soil, then in the sand, he said, soon becoming the merest indentations, and dissolving with the next winds and rain.

- From The Fanatic by Eric Kellenbach 2006

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Out to Lunch

We all love a set up and last weekend the Australian Newspaper pulled off an absolute doozy. For those who don't read the Murdoch press, last weekend the Review section of said paper published a story based on a stunt they pulled on fourteen of Australia's top book publishers. Some time ago they were sent chapter three of Patrick White's award winning novel Eye of the Storm. When I say "award winning", I don't mean just any award but the Nobel Prize for Literature, so even an addled dilettante like yours truly thinks he may have smelt a rat. No-one in the world writes like Patrick White. No-on else would really want to, would they? I love his endless samba with the English language, don't get me wrong, but like most Australians it's Voss we're thinking of when we talk about a Patrck White story. Alarm bells should have gone off, but of the fourteen publishers sent the (anonymous) third chapter, only two were smart (or unprofessional) enough not to reply, while the other twelve sent rejections ranging from pithy to downright condescending. One even suggested the author (did I mention he won the Nobel Prize for Literature?) buy a how-to on writing fiction. When said stewards of this parched island's literary culture were confronted with the rather brazen ruse, one reacted along the lines of I never liked White anyway. Another that we are supposing there are 400 Patrick Whites out there right now writing. How would he know?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Solitary End

I am deeply sorry to have to announce the untimely death of one of Australia's leading sculptors, Bronwyn Oliver. Along with leading lights such as Fiona Hall, Bronwyn changed the way we look at sculpture in this country. She was an intensenly private person, although my sources tell me she was utterly engaging compan on the rare occassions she could be coaxed out of her Haberfield studio. According to her currator, Roslyn Oxley, she had "her own language: beautiful, refined forms with intricate, sometimes aggressive, sometimes soft structures within the forms." She goes on to say:" The details sort of summed Bronwyn up."

Why Bronwyn chose to take her own life at the age of 47 will no doubt be the subject of much speculation in the weeks ahead. All Bluepepper has to say on the matter is that it is another special life cut short, a resource we should all be taking much greater care with.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sad Passing

Lisa Marie Bellear from the Noonuccal people of Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island), Queensland.

For those of you who were fortunate to be friends or colleagues with Lisa Marie Bellear, I am very sorry to pass on the news that she died suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep last night at home in Melbourne.

She was 44 years old and all her friends and family are totally shocked as Miss Lisa was such a larger than life, happy-go-lucky character, absolutely dedicated to her people. Lisa never lost sight of her belief that all people should be treated equally and she was such a supporter of others. She worked as a writer, student activist, Indigenous fighter, poet and artist, and was a very kind and loving friend. We will miss her very much.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, July 14 at 1pm at the Aborigines Advancement League, 2 Watt Street Thornbury.

- Angela Costi

Vale the great of heart.

A Sunburnt Country - Calls for Poetry

Fancy the idea of seeing your poetry translated into Bangla (or Begali)? Well, if so read the post below.

Help Needed on an "Anthology of Australian Poetry" in Bangla

Every year since 1975, an International Book Fair is held in Kolkata, India for two weeks in January-February. And every year the theme of the fair is a different country. In 2006, the theme was Spain. In 2007, the theme will be Australia.

"Patralekha" is a publisher in Kolkata of offbeat and experimental literature in Bangla (or, Bengali) language. It also publishes a monthly Bangla poetry magazine called "Kabi Sammelan", the name literally means "a gathering of poets".

For next year's Book fair, Patralekha will be publishing an anthology of Australian Poetry translated in Bangla. We are in charge of selecting, translating and editing for the collection. And, we need your help.

We would like this collection to feel the pulse of poetry in Australia. We want it to include the beautiful and the ugly, the best and the brightest, the sacred and the profane. We want to reflect what is written at this moment in far corners of Australia as much as we can.

And, that's where we need your help.

Please help us make a representative and intelligent selection of poets and poetry. Please send us poems, magazine, books, book reviews, articles that would help us make the right selections, not just the well-known and the popular ones. Our email addresses are given below.

Any other assistance that you might be able to provide in this project, will be highly appreciated. We are in a time crunch because the material for the book has to be finalized by October 2006.


Ankur Saha, California, USA. (

Subrata Augustine Gomes, NSW, Australia. (

Shoumyo Dasgupta, California, USA. (

Friday, July 07, 2006

Poetry by Barbara Salamon

Vegie Magic On Crown Road

Mum's vegetable garden

was ordered, green and lush.

Sundry shapes fed us and

the lot worked on rotation principles.

New plantings began at middle fence

and rows right angled

a dead centre footpath.

Our garden party atmosphere

Was full of bubbles and balloons

As twice through twenty feet of baby carrots

We cracked and crunched

Munched and chewed.

Quiet dusk arrived with mum

who gazed out on a whirly show

of feathered fronds from carrot tops

sprawling greener brighter layers

of new seasoned light.

- Barbara Peta Salamon 2006

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Poetry by Barbara De Franceschi


I walk through bracken

restless winds take my weeping

I am tinder for billy tea

the grass that feeds merino sheep

how then does thick moss on fallen stone

bring a prickling to my skin

a row of bushes divide my brain

into thorny hedgerows

and every spring

I remember fifty shades of green

time has denied my suffering

roots melt in dirt-veined clay

mountain ranges with granite lips

forbid an utterance

that might transport to heather and sprig

my signature is written

in red desert sand

mine shafts sunken in blistering heat

still … the bitter taste of Guinness

builds a cairn in my throat

- Barbara De Franceschi 2006

Falling into the Vertical

the fan thinks it’s a cat

somewhere a dog barks

a cylinder sound

travelling on hollow heat

lines wriggle before my eyes

unable to decide on shape

some disappear into dark humidity

others explode

so many things pass in & out

love snags on a feeling

yesterday’s freedom

reluctant to let go … & always

I am falling


towards a window overhung

with pink bougainvillea

a barbed curtain

thorns in a vertical line

to keep the night


- Barbara De Franceschi 2006

Barbara De Franceschi from Broken Hill NSW is a prolific writer of poetry, her works have been published Australia wide and internationally. Barbara is an adventuress writer and is continuously trying to find new ways and forms to present her work. Barbara’s first collection Lavender Blood was published in 2004 and the manuscript for a second collection is well under way, she is a member of the performance group ‘The Silver Tongued Ferals’ and performs at caravan parks, arts festivals, ‘Poets in the Pub’ etc. and has also read her poetry live to air on ABC Radio.

Publications include: Centoria, From the Well, Barrier Daily Truth, The Bunyip, Poetrix, Yellow Moon, Saltlick Quarterly, Famous Reporter, Four W Sixteen, also on line USA via Eclectica and Culture Star Reader, her poetry and an article re ‘What hinges people to poetry in outback Australia’ has appeared on line in Niederngasse, Switzerland.

Poetry by Maggie Ball

Dicky Knees

“You see the folly of trying to contain writers within passports” Salman Rushdie (Imaginary Homelands, 1991, 67)

when in the course of human events
the homeland you once dug deep into your chubby fingernails
more self-evidently true
than life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness
dissipates into a half remembered dream
you can’t return to

you hold out a hand and find
one door open, another closed

in the land of my birth
king and country
already so long dissolved
by olive branch rejection, open rebellion,
dangerous and ill designing men
that it was already quaint
something more gently connected
with bluebells, good rock, and Shakespeare
than any governance

anyway it wasn’t my war
I was already the diaspora class
three generations removed
eastern european
not by accent or language, or even religion
all subsumed into a modernity
so encompassing it wiped out all tradition
except the tilt of my head
and a few wild hand gestures

going “home” to old Blighty
wasn’t a return to anything
migration, rejection, realignment

but what is commonwealth if not postcolonial
complex, multidirectional
slippery as an author
self-defining, autonomous, comforting
under a welcoming umbrella
I wrecked my knees in childbirth
setting roots into a new soil
anchoring myself deep into the human condition

there’s just that little point of allegiance
with these dicky knees

Bio: Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader Her short stories, editorials, poetry, reviews and articles have appeared in a wide number of printed anthologies and journals, and have won many awards. Her non-fiction book, The Art of Assessment was published by Mountain Mist Productions in 2002, and her poetry chapbook Quark Soup is due for publication by Picaro Press late in 2006.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Anyone is free to leave a comment, as long as it's constructive. However, using the comment link to simply post your submissions is not quite in the spirit of things. I think my submission guidelines are pretty straightforward. So please, run your poems by me first and I'll publish them under the bluepepper.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Lemon Shark

In Luke Beesley’s impressive debut, there seems to be an awful lot of two things – rain and cinema. Fitting, perhaps, for a native of Brisbane, to be a little pre-occupied with tropical lows. And the cinematic references (mostly in the form of dedications) strike me as fitting too, considering the vivid, rollicking intellect of this poet. I think I would like Luke Beesley were we to ever meet in person. His is a wry take on life, a little obtuse at times, but that’s OK. The times demand that of we poets to an extent, and anyway Luke Beesley is, as I say, a native of Brisbane where an entire movement is shaping up around a gun with a very crooked barrel.

Soi Modern Poets, an offshoot of Paul Hardacre’s Papertiger franchise, have done a sterling job with this book. It looks smart, and has been meticulously edited, no small thing in these days of the “publisher’s lunch”. It is one of three titles on offer in this first series, and I only chose it above the other two because I am already pretty familiar with the work of Brett Dionysius and Billy Jones, whereas I have until now only glimpsed compelling snatches of Luke Beesley’s work in journals and anthologies and was keen for more. This collection has certainly not disappointed.

The word English is wet. It has rained recently and it works
like a smashed grape; not wine but the lamp-light quality
of its flesh under sunlight. England is the seed.

(From “The Cliffs”)

I can open this book at pretty much any page and such treasures will come tumbling out. There are a few, such as “Milk Teeth” that passed me by somewhat, but often on first reading a poem can seem intended for someone else, an audience of one, and the poem in question possesses enough originality to carry it further, if perhaps read separately from the rest of the collection. This comment should in itself serve as testament to the strength of this debut by a young and promising poet. Visit the Papertiger Media website to snavel your copy and get a smart canvas bag thrown in! Just click on the post header.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Poetic Education


Free Stuff for Northern Territory School Students

It's part of promoting the idea of Free Culture and education in Arts, Ethics and Literature in remote areas like the NT. Students write in and request the book/CD of their choice and I mail it out to them is what happens. :)
So far there is myself, The Cube and James Blundell looks like coming on board as well with his latest CD.

I am asking writers, musicians and bands if they might spare a few copies (say 5-10 or more) of their book, CD or single for this project? Postal Address: The Thylazine Foundation GPO Box 1480 Darwin NT 0801. Thanks!

The Thylazine Foundation Pty Ltd:

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Winners and Losers

As I continue to explore the incredible world of digital technology and the opportunities it opens up to small publishers like myself, it has occured to me that maybe Bluepepper should put out its own little quarterly hardcopy. I envisage its conents adhering to nominated themes and remaining quite separate from the contents of the blog. Let's say here and now the theme for the first (hypothetical) issue is "Winners and Losers" and take it from there. Same submission rules apply as for the blog. Check the guidelines on the top right under the bluepepper.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Call for Submissions

I seem to have to beg for poetry these days. I'm still waiting to hear from Pixi. Just click on the "email me" tag in the top right hand corner and submit anything up to five poems, a 1000 word comment or review in the body of the email. NO ATTACHMENTS PLEASE. I have a very good turnover time, and that applies to most things I do. Probably why I haven't got a girlfriend...Anyway, be that as it may I see no reason for not submitting something. The worse you will get is silence, as I won't comment on subs unless I can see some way of working with the author to make them more suitable for posting under the Bluepepper. There are no payments and thus no guidelines.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Calling cards

Peter Alexander at UNSW is in the midst of editing the correspondence of the "Bard from Bunyah", Les Murray and is looking for postcards, letters, old restaurant menus,anything to put in the book. I have already offered up my own little souveneir, but I'm sure many of you out there have far more significant contributions to make to this fine project. If so, feel free to contact Peter at

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Two Poems by Nikhil Rajoo

Rhea's Court

Hours in the garden
Dandelion, lilacs
the sheaves of daffodils
the fallacy of seasons
easter harvest
My little girl eclipsing
the sun
with her arms full of yellow
her crimson bedroom
the heart's shivered core

- Nikhil Rajoo 2006

Aztec Legend

inching out
along the base of a sheer rock face
with Lake Superior crashing at my back
and on the pink rock
appearing beneath my fingers
the hunger-drunk spirit drawings in
faded red ochre
of two thousand year old medicine men
pictures of fish - canoes - snakes - animals- people
- and horned Misshepezhieu
who only moments before had lashed his tail
and brought the rain

- Nikhil Rajoo 2006

Nikhil lives and works in Vancouver and has been published in the South Ocean Review, Attic Magazine and the Taj Mahal Review to name but a few. "Rhea's Court" is a dedication to the poet's god daughter.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Urban Myth

John Tranter Urban Myths: 210 Poems: New and Selected

University of Queensland Press, 2006. 322 pages. ISBN-0-7022-3557-1.

To be launched in Sydney by Pam Brown at Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road,
Glebe NSW 2037, on Friday May 19, 2006. Time: 6 for 6.30pm. Cost: Free and
open to all. To reserve a place (or BUY the book!), visit Gleebooks.

Urban Myths: 210 Poems brings the best work to date from a poet considered one of the most original of his generation in Australia, together with a generous selection of new work. Smart, wry and very stylish, John Tranter's poems investigate the vagaries of perception and the ability of language to converge life, imagination and art so that we arrive, unexpectedly, at the deepest human mysteries.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Glass Poems

After many delays and fluffing about by editors, I have finally released the definitive collection of my poetry for the 21st century (so far). I decided to run it under my own imprint (ie Bluepepper) so that at least I knew the job would get done and done properly. The results are extremely gratifying, and the blurb by poet MTC Cronin a little humbling for yours truly. I am in the process of stocking it with the following book retailers:

Better Read than Dead (Newtown, NSW)
Gleebooks (Glebe, NSW)
Bookoccino (Avalon, NSW)
Ariel Booksellers (Darlinghurst, NSW)
Collected Works (Melbourne, VIC)

However, ask your nearest boutiquie bookseller for a copy and I'm sure they'll be able to track one down. It should be listed soon at Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as on the Google Booksearch database. Failing that, contact me at and I'll see what I can do. At 135pp you really do get your money's worth.

To purchase on line, simply click the "BUY NOW" button in the right column under the bluepepper logo.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Poetry by Les Wicks


is the loudmouth in the waves singing Summertime.
It's actors, politicians
pensioners & the kids - minus all trappings -
no status beyond "animal with soul".

It is the dominance of birds
politely ignored by undercover dogs.

Someone known - just out of hospital -
totters back to the sea
like a great old turtle.
Cedars of lebanese legs copse around BBQs, 5 o'clock shadow.
A bum's washing dries on the memorial quartz beside
buffed girls laughing like lawn sprinklers.

Over the years it's become a community of friends,
the accretion of small tragedy that attends every understood life.
It's my wife, on a salt encrusted
wafer of towel, spiced
by utter quiet. The sun disinfects.

I write the words,
then a photographer captures me:
grey, round and affixed as the fence posts.
We don't own ourselves
but each one,
we all have separate Brontes.

The sand takes the shape of our need.

- Les Wicks 2006


Once I sang
I cool blueline
drenched in wonder.

But gave it away to the fingers, they
touched the bleak edge
of an unmoneyed future
& I saw it
like some untethered boat
react with a fingertip nudge
just float away
to the open sea of a stranger's way.
That was so simple.
What else?
Fingers wash
they fight, fuck up & fix.
We wait
as their batons rule the beat.

It's them who work the guns,
take us down from trees
to their shitty little thatch
on a beige savannah plain.

under the thumbcommute between fingerfoods
& a hand signed repossession order.
Our minds sit locked
in boxes made of muscle.

- Les Wicks 2006

LES WICKS' 7th book is "Stories of the Feet" (Five Islands, 2004).

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Late and the Great

I received this brief message this morning via the ever-reliable Coral Hull.

There is to be a program about my brother, John Anderson, broadcast on the Poetica Program (Radio National) Saturday 22 April at 3.05 pm. Mike Ladd has sent me a draft copy of the CD and I think it is a very good, although a slightly shorter version will go to air.

Roly Phillips

John Anderson is a tragically under-read poet in this country. In fact, if it weren't for the efforts of poets such as Emma Lew and Coral Hull, his mss would probably still be gathering dust somewhere. I will see if I can arrange with Roly Phillips or John's publisher to post some of his work, as I believe his untimely death a few years back robbed us of a truly great talent.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Calling all Poets (sad refrain)

Perhaps I've only got myself to blame, but I'm still waiting for the flood gates to open. Am I really that scary? Ashlee, sorry, I mean Pixi, you were asking how to submit. Well, just click on the "email me" tag in the top right hand corner and submit anything up to five poems, a 1000 word comment or review in the body of the email. NO ATTACHMENTS PLEASE. I have a very good turnover time, and that applies to most things I do. Probably why I haven't got a girlfriend...Anyway, be that as it may I see no reason for not submitting something. The worse you will get is silence, as I won't comment on subs unless I can see some way of working with the author to make them more suitable for posting under the Bluepepper. There are no payments and thus no guidelines. I would like to see more snipes at me, too, as that's really what a blog like this should be all about. After all, if it gets too much I can just shut it down and join a monastery. I felt Pixi was holding back a little in her comments a few weeks back. Thoughts, though, not invective.


Woke up bright and early this morning to frost on the ground and an email from Justin Lowe. That's right, there's a poet out there somewhere with my name, and it's not me! To cap it all off, he sent me a poem all about Quantum physics. I will spend the day trying to decide whether this fellow traveler is a help or a hindrance because I am like that. A little obsessive. Then I will probably decide there is absolutely nothing I can do about it other than warn the two or three out there who care that not all the words you read are mine.

Monday, April 03, 2006

TV Eyes

Johanna Featherstone has been quite the toast of Sydney literati this week, with at least three mentions in the mainstream press for her audacious and imaginative poetry projects. First was The Toilet Doors Project, about which Johanna informs me there was much tittering behind hands from a certain once proud daily, and secondly her venture into TV land with the launch of The Wordshed Wednesday nights on UHF-31 TV Sydney. It's not often you see a community tv show reviewed in the august pages of the Sydney Morning Herald Guide, but that's what I came across this morning. And guess what? NO TITTERING. Maybe because the first episode doesn't include any poets. Anyway, Johanna, congratulations and appreciations from all of us here in poetry land. Would the world were full of Johanna Featherstones. I know I'd be a much happier poet for one.

For those not in the catchment area of Johanna Featherstone, her Toilet Doors Project is displaying poetry and art on the backs of toilet doors in cinemas and airport lounges all over our vast island just west of New Zealand. I am informed by Johanna it took all her formidable reserves of self-belief to sit through hours with a bunch of CEO's picking over the merits of each piece of verse, but then who amongst us can boast of having sat in the boardroom talking poetry with the captains of industry? The woman relates such bizarre experiences with all the wide-eyed self-deprecation of a true poet, a quality I'm sure will translate perfectly to television. Remember, TV Sydney UHF-31. And no, as far as I know I don't appear in any of the episodes.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

New Poetry by Donna Williams

When Art Speaks

And art is simply what it is, it speaks directly to the soul.

And yes, it cuts through, with great clarity and simplicity,

And what is left is sadness, realism,

And a void one now must fill,

With all the precious moments that we have in the ticking of the clock.

There is no time for self punishment, for wars, for heirachy or overcomplication.

We 'are' and this is what we have to share,

Our beingness, diverse, quirky, equal,

However anyone else sees it.

- Donna Williams 2006

Donna Williams was born in Australia in 1963 and grew up in the inner city with more labels than a jam jar. Like many people born in the 1960’s and before, she was not diagnosed with Autism until adulthood. As well as being an artist, sculptor, composer and screenwriter, she is also an internationally best-selling author with 9 published books in the field of Autism including four text books and well known public speaker. Her first of four autobiographical works, Nobody Nowhere, sold over half a million copies worldwide. Her first book is currently under option by a Hollywood film company. After 13 years living in the UK she now lives back in Australia with her husband Chris.

New Poetry by Terry McArthur

The Sitting Room

The past is a house of artefacts

I dig them out of rooms so vast

That rivers flow between their walls

Arranging these relics like deckchairs to my seasons

I am alone and naked

Playing an old guitar

Singing lines from songs I cannot recall

But for the flutter of wings upon distant rooftops

I sit and write of life

This passing dream

This track of blood and bones

- Terry McArthur 2006

Who Among You

I hear paper thin breathing

The rasp of my grandfather’s ghost singing

A low and painful scrap of song

See me curled upon this bed

My life become a waiting room

All this hurry to arrive all this hurry to depart

Everyone of us will be


Everyone of us will be


Perhaps this afternoon

Perhaps tomorrow

Perhaps next year

In the fractured shadows of an unseen dawn

By the handsome hand of an unforgiving god

Who can know the moment

Who among you can foretell an old man’s death

Who among you can hear the thin scrapings of my old man’s breath

Harsh against the pillow

- Terry McArthur 2006

Terry McArthur is a Sydney based poet and songwriter. His poems have appeared in The New England Review, Thylazine, Stylus, The Tin Wash Dish ( ABC Books ) , and Holes In The Evening ( Fat Possum Press). He has published Upland, a selection of poems, with Arthur Chaffey and Wayne Von Nida ( University of New England Press) and The Exile ( Fat Possum Press). Walking Skin, his indy book of poems and lyrics will be published this May.

Terry’s songs have been recorded by John Farnham, James Blundell, Faze Action, and Felicity Urquart. In 2002 Terry formed the cube with his long term musical collaborator Phil Rigger as a way of “pushing the boundaries of spoken word”. The cube have released two singles and one album Permanent Scars which has been released in Australia, France and Germany – and is available at .

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Best Foot Forward

The first seven Poetry and Culture columns written for Three Quarks Daily are now available through the Links section (click on post heading). Topics include irony in contemporary poetry, Federico Fellini and the television series Six Feet Under. Future subjects will cover Wagner, Larkin and Ern Malley.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

In the Line of Fire


Cordite Poetry Review seeks submissions of poetry for its 24th issue, on the theme of COMMON WEALTH.

Please note the following:

1. Send email submissions only to with "Common Wealth" in the subject line;
2. Please send up to five poems;
3. Include a biography;

Read our submission guidelines for further details:


Our guest poetry editor for this issue is Claire Gaskin.

Thanks to the funding of the Australia Council for the Arts, we are able to offer the following rates of payment for Australian contributors:

POEMS: $60
AUDIO: $30

Cordite #24 will appear online in July 2006.

Issue #25 (on a theme yet to be announced) will appear online in December 2006.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Bob Goes to America

Coincidence, synchronicity or fate? Just the evening this post-punk boy is caught listening to a bit of Bob Dylan, I receive an email touting a new book by one of Australia's finest poets, Robert Adamson. I mention Bob Dylan because it was their Bob who turned our Bob onto poetry while serving time at Long Bay on what sounds like a pretty spurious charge in the early 60's. The details (with much thanks to another fine Aussie poet, Michael Farrell - post punk to the very core!) follow:

Robert Adamson has a new book with Flood Editions:

To order the book 'The Goldfinches of Baghdad':

More about Adamson:

For those in the U.S., tour dates follow:

The Australian poet Robert Adamson will be visiting the U.S. this month and
next for the first time, giving readings in support of his new book from
Flood Editions, The Goldfinches of Baghdad. He has long been recognized as
one of Australia's major poets, from his early writing as a poet maudit in
Sydney through twenty books of verse and prose. In more recent work, he has
explored the landscape of the Hawkesbury River, sounding its waters and
wildlife for psychological resonances.

His appearances include:

March 16 (Thursday). 4:30 pm. Reading at Poetry Center at San Francisco

March 19 (Sunday). 2-5 pm. Talks/reading at the Lucid Art Foundation,

March 23 (Thursday). 7:30 pm. Reading at Naropa University, Boulder.
Lincoln Lecture Hall, 2130 Arapahoe Avenue.

March 27 (Monday). Reading at 7:30 pm. Notre Dame, Hospitality Room of
Reckers, South Dining Hall, followed by a reception.

March 30 (Thursday). 5:30 pm. Reading at University of Chicago, Rosenwald
405, 1101 E. 58th Street.

March 31 (Friday). 1:00 pm. Talk at University of Chicago, Rosenwald 405,
1101 E. 58th Street.

April 1 (Saturday). 1:00 pm. Reading at Chicago Poetry Project, downtown
public library, Chicago Author's Room.

April 2 (Sunday). 2:00 pm. Reading at Woodland Pattern Bookcenter,

April 6 (Thursday). 4:15 pm. Reading at "&Now" festival, Meyer Auditorium,
Lake Forest College.

April 11 (Tuesday). 4:30 pm. Reading at University of Georgia, Athens.

April 13 (Thursday). 7 pm. Reading at MIT in Boston, Rm 32-141, Stata
CEnter, 32 Vassar Street..

April 18 (Tuesday). Reading at David Rankin's Loft, New York City.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Margie goes Festive

Congrats to Margie Cronin for having her outstanding collection, More or Less Than, shortlisted in the Adelaide Festival Award for Innovation. This is a relatively new award open to "published books which depart from conventional use of genre by borrowing elements from a number of genres such as fiction, non-fiction, biography, autobiography, poetry or cultural criticism." Despite their best efforts, however, the judges have failed to meet their own criteria, Margie's being the only work that seems to come close to fitting the bill. The criteria is not, by the way, particularly innovative, as any Capote fan or avid reader of Victorian novels could tell you, but what the hey! Margie's collection is well overdue for some accolades, as is the seemingly unstoppable author herself, a writer who has copped her fair share of nasty broadsides from they whose sins are multitude and whose one great vice is to teach. And while we're on the subject of dusty old things, it's good to see the Adelaide Festival making every effort to seem like something more than a trade fair.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Via Reggio by Wayne HW Wolfson

One of the delights of running a blog like Bluepepper or a mag like HOMEBREW is encountering the depth of talent out there. A lot of publishers I know say the same, although their trysts are heavily chaperoned by some crone from A&R. I recently published a few pieces by a Californian poet Wayne H Wolfson, impressed by the beautiful lilt in his poetry. I have since managed to get hold of a copy of his first CD, a poem recorded in collaboration with Mars Syndicate, a cleverly textured piece that rewards repeated listenings. Wolfson is a brilliant interpreter of his own poetry, and all in all the production on this CD manages to resist the temptation to bury the text in bangs and whistles. This CD is merely a sampler, but if it is anything to go by, the larger project will be a must for poetry lovers the world over. Click on the post heading to visit the website.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I am not often late for such urgent appointents. I have no excuses, but none would suffice in the circumstances. The man in question had a big problem with his ears. He was rendered immobile by the weasel word, by the paucity of simple wisdom, empathy, by the big bang of mindless suffering. All were in his sights and we have all been rendered a little less evil because of him.

Perhaps, given long enough, we will make amends.

Big soul. Vale Steve Plunder. 1963-1996

Thursday, January 19, 2006

New Poetry by Karen Knight

Draw a Person in the Rain (P-I-R) Test

Who is this person?
Gene Kelly.

How old is he?
At the third stroke, he'll be 42.

What's his favourite thing to do?
To sing in the rain with a broken umbrella.

What's something he does not like?
The sun's electrodes on his head.

Who looks out for him?
The clouds.

Has anyone tried to hurt him?
Only you.

In the Carpark with the doctor's Rolls Royce

I'm delicately poised
on the hood of a Silver Ghost

My Charleston dress
strokes the sharp line
of the hood

the bird in my beading

my injured wings fold
back into my sides

I'm balancing
on this

I'm a spring loaded mascot.

For a Miracle

I'm waiting
for a bower-bird
to beak-roll
a rough stone

For dancing bees
to pollinate
the red
Tarantino flowers.

The eurythmic sun
to give its light
to the seasonal

For a baby lyre-bird
to mimic
mother tunes
for me.

For the Mormons
to take me
to their ballet
of Christ.

To rap-gargle
while trying
to swallow.

For my ill-fitting gown
to tango me
out of here.

- Karen Knight 2006



Karen Knight's poetry continues to be published in Australian anthologies, newspapers and literary journals, including Blue Dog, Island and The Best Australian Poems 2005 edited by Les Murray.

Her collections include Singing in the Grain (Walleah Press, 2001) My Mother Has Become (Picaro Press, 2003) and Under the One Granite Roof- poems for Walt Whitman (Pardalote Press, 2004).

Friday, January 13, 2006

Poetry by Jane Williams


some will say they have waited an eternity
get out the good silver polished daily
their hope chests spilling over with...
well...well with hope
the word chosen tempting them like never before
others will say it was the last thing they expected
from life
and rising to the occasion like born agains
be the first to admit they always left room
for an each way bet
others will take it in their stride
adapting like a sixth toe
not noticing anything different at all
until someone calls their name
in a mother tongue they never knew was theirs
and suddenly they are running then flying
all the way home
shedding skin after skin as they go

- Jane Williams 2006

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Poetry by Wayne HW Wolfson

Chinese New Year

Tonight I want to hear heartache.

I am out of synch, I know. It still may come though. Ah, say something nice. Just for tonight, let the music swell, let me see her.

It still may come.

I buy cigarettes. The sad eyed girl on the corner. When it is not busy she rests, chin in hand. Little melancholy hymns. Only I can appreciate them, but she keeps them all the same.

A series of percussive snaps. Paper mache dragons vomit fireworks onto the crowded street.


We got drunk and made fun of the singer. A jungle of whiskey heated limbs, we fall asleep forming our own constellation.

Saturday night, the valentine you mean to send, but time weighs it down in your hand.

- Wayne HW Wolfson 2006

Monday, January 09, 2006

Calling all Poets

Come on guys, where are you? The blog is receiving its fair share of visitors, but nary a submission since last year. If you don't start sending me something soon, I'll start posting large segments of my new verse novel. I'm not kidding.......