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.