Thursday, January 31, 2008

Congrats Stephen

And while we are dwelling on matters north of the line (which I have and so often will, dear readers), congratulations to Sydney poet Stephen Edgar for picking up the chalice in this month's issue of Chicago's Poetry magazine.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Texas Muse

More from our fiscally embarrassed cousins to the north - 32 Poems is a smart little A5 poetry mag out of Texas Tech University that publishes poems of 32 lines or less. Basically the tendency is toward the succint and tautly lyrical in a late Robert Frost, Roethke kind of way. Somehow Sandra Beasley gets away with a compelling 55-line poem entitled "The Wake", resplendent in that grand tradition of Americans abroad

The girls, they are finishing now, they are yawning,
and the gondolier mutters for his lunch.
As they pull away from the canal's slick edge

the water holds, for a breath, the shape of their passing.
He knows no plate could manage that wet cleave,
no pastel give more than the dimmest echo

of that blue lack.

The editor, Deborah Ager, runs a tight ship, and there is a consistent tone that runs through this issue that whispers of "writing class". But this is fabulous, inventive, vibrant poetry that has graduated well beyond any school. There are one or two try-hards, but at least they try. All in all well worth the few rusty pennies I spent on a subscription. 32 poems gets a big thumbs up from Justin Lowe. Just click on the post heading for more.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Thanks to one of those delicious accidents of the internet, I have come across my blog idol in the form of Maurice Oliver who runs Concelebratory Shoehorn Review out of Portland, Oregon. Each month Maurice invites poets and artists whose work has caught his eye to submit 6 poems, the best of which he posts on the first of each month in issues of quality unsurpassed in the blogsphere. I have no idea where the name comes from, but this blog is a revelation to me, an absolute treasure trove that I have been glowering over for a week now like a vagrant happening on a chest of gold. Click on the post heading and dig in!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Poetry by Ray Liversidge

Things to (and not to) do

A found poem from a notebook of Edna St Vincent Millay

For Jordie Albiston

Care for nothing except poetry.
Keep everything from mind but this.
Forget that you exist.

Even if suffering torment speak in voice
with no hint of pain. Keep corners
of mouth up. Cry as little as possible.

Disguise feelings when You-Know Who(m)
is in room. Have many lovers.
Remember things to do for Eugen.

Go out of doors every day. Putty
up holes where bees get into garage.
Put panes in several windows.

Exercise will-power in all things.
Have a drink, sometimes.
Never leave the syringe about.

Don’t become sloppy in anything,
in thinking, in dress,
in anything. Don’t fool yourself.

- Ray Liversidge 2008


He woke still lying on top of her, and knew by her breathing that she was asleep. Their lovemaking had been brief and – as she liked to say – sweet; then sleep had quickly overtaken them though neither of them were tired. She was on her back and bore his full weight in her groin as he had fallen at an angle so that his upper body lay lightly across her chest and his head rested sideways on the pillow above her shoulder. This meant that their faces were almost touching and that his view of her profile was from below the level of the lobe of her ear. Rapid eye movement and the occasional twitching of limbs suggested she was dreaming. Her hair had fallen so that the pinna of her ear was covered. In the moonlight the exposed portion of ear looked like the bottom half of a face. With every quiver of eye and limb her ear wriggled ever so slightly so that the auditory canal looked like a mouth attempting to speak. If – as she said – he had been distant of late he hadn’t noticed until now. He lifted his head from the pillow and whispered three words into her ear. She woke.

- Ray Liversidge 2008

Ray Liversidge arrived back in Melbourne in November 2007 after travelling to the UK and Ireland on a reading tour. His first book ‘Obeying the Call’ was published in 2003. His verse novel ‘The Barrier Range’, which draws on the expeditions of early Australian explorers Burke and Wills, and Charles Sturt, appeared in 2006. He is currently working on another manuscript on the work and lives of dead poets.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Poetry by Jane Williams

Peddling poetry

the woman in the gift shop explains she sells more tangible accessible
craft toffee you can get your teeth into huggable sweaters G rated
calendars tea spoons and tea towels coasters but no ashtrays not
these days she takes the book turns it this way and that as if it is
an abstract painting unsure which way is the right way up she has
a look that could be saying something about poems that don’t even
rhyme being a waste of God given space not to mention time
wouldn’t buy poetry m’self she admits when pressed wouldn’t read it
though I s’pose this proposed a little cautiously some might
she doesn’t go on to suggest the cardinal sin that others yet again
may even write it and I wish she’d ask me what it does so I can tell her
the right poem can take your breath away return it sevenfold inflating
parts of your brain you never knew you had it can shake your faith or
just as likely restore it knock the chip from your shoulder bring a dogma
to heel trigger cries of joy that leave your enemies wondering what it is
they’re missing out on wrench from you a howling that sends your lover
running to hide all the knives it can leave you silent so silent you begin
to hear things you never heard before the sound of your mother wanting
you just you just the way you are the sound an angel makes when falling
the sound love makes when it isn’t being asked to qualify itself the sound
of the desire for war spontaneously combusting the right poem can
make you believe and forsaking all others for the rest of your days
follow wherever it may lead

- Jane Williams 2008

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

New Poetry by Maurice Oliver

Categorical Imperatives

Try to imagine a small room where the only
furniture is a TV. The TV has a hundred
channels and two sets of memories. The room
suffers from amnesia and has a leaky ceiling.
There’s a bowl of fruit on the TV and the room’s
floor once was the life of an oak tree. Neither
the TV nor the room has ever had a headache
or felt contempt for a total stranger. But, the TV
does wear glasses and the room is terrified of
the dark. The TV wonders what it would be like
to have a dent in the bridge of its nose and the
room longs to know what a clock sounds like
when it ticks. Personally, I try not to wonder
about much of anything other than how robust
this exercise in the use of your imagination
has been. I’ve provided a space below where
you can leave comments. While you scribble
yours, I’ll go stand at the window and watch
the Pepsi truck pull up to the asylum so a bottle
opener can fill the vending machine.

- Maurice Oliver 2008

Progress, Disguised As A Centipedes

And when the dust finally settles, here’s what’s left:

-A row of concrete dividers on a receding hairline.

-Every wood-framed church in the Bible Belt.

-Trains that are only used to scare away ghosts.

-A building that was originally scheduled for demolition.

-Thickly spread peanut butter wedged between two silos.

-A coat rack made from barrels of Agent Orange.

-One lamppost that longs to be a lighthouse.

-A pair of spectacles that desperately need polishing.

- Maurice Oliver 2008

Maurice Oliver first discovered his desire to write poetry while on an eight month trip around the world in '95. It took another eight years to gather the courage he needed to share them with anyone other than close friends. After what seemed like tons of rejections one poem was published. To date, his work has appeared in numerous literary reviews, journals and magazines in seven different countries. His latest chapbook is titled "One Remedy Is Travel" and was published last year at Origami Condom. A year ago he created his own literary ezine which can be found online at:

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Poetry by Wayne H.W. Wolfson

Dead Moon

My woman lies sideways and hangs her arms around my neck as if drowning.

Later, with a growing sense of unease, I would get up. In the dark, in this strange place I would bump the coffee table; upsetting a pyramid of dominos which could not even muster up the enthusiasm to fall all the way to the floor.

I stare out the window. A drink would be nice. A drink is not worth the fight in the morning.

I swear I saw her make a scratch mark, whisky tide chart, on the label.

The moon is dead, in sleep.

I stare at her, I scratch the label, carving our initials, then go back to sleep.

- Wayne H.W Wolfson 2008

Odd Land

Last night I felt a hundred years old. No, no secrets, barely enough strength to whisper in your ear. I sit by the window, cigar in hand. The smoke, it carries the notes of Prez’s horn out into the night. A fragile thing of beauty pulled apart by the sky.

No. The seagulls on the rocks below mark the time since you have been gone with a spiteful lament.

His mouth says what I want it to, a triangular pink gash from which emerge ugly things, my truth.

One of us he mocks. One of us he drives away.

All these years, sometimes in the place between waking and slumber I still see you, in your summer dress, standing below on the rocks.

- Wayne H.W Wolfson 2008

Wayne is a California based author. More information on his works and CD Midnight Latitudes can be found at his site Terrible Beauty