Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Poetry by Mark O'Flynn


You’ve been watching the dead sugar gum

watching it patiently until you decide to cut it down

then you’re all action.

You traipse through the moonscape about its base

place your hand where the beautiful wood

is oiled and burnished by the necks of cows

choosing a spot for the first bite of the axe.

Eventually the tree collapses into hoof prints

and a brief eruption of twigs then silence.

Birds soon orbit their confusion. Cows stare.

It takes all morning to chop it up into manageable

lengths, leaving behind the branches filled with ants.

They’re not all you’re leaving.

Firewood warms you twice, they say,

three times really, after you barrow

it back across the paddock to the dark verandah

where winter finally moves in the shadows

of what you are preparing to abandon.

- Mark O'Flynn 2011


Months past the battered blood

growing slowly from the nail

once crushed beneath the physical logic

of a hammer’s sarcasm,

now lifting, the dusty cuticle peels,

a pistachio shell of flaking blood,

xylem beneath, as the mutant nail

corrupts and rises, a smudge of cracked paint.

Long beyond the memory of iron

all trace gone of the original misdemeanour,

the curse, the shaking fist;

the sucked phalange.

- Mark O'Flynn 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Vale Bob Gould

News came today of the untimely demise of one of the true legends of Sydney bibliophilia and out-and-out ratbaggery, Bob Gould.

According to the story in one of Bob’s most detested rags, The Sydney Morning Herald (Broadsheet of the Year!), Bob was doing his usual Sunday morning grumble sorting through books at his legendary fire-trap at the top end of King street, Newtown, when he somehow fell and hit his head. He slipped out of our reach before the ambulance could arrive from a couple of blocks away. He was 74.

I remember Bob as a gruff but affable enough chap who would answer any enquiry with an impatient wave of the hand in the general direction of the hectares of books all around him. Not as pretty, perhaps, as Bernard Black, but hatched in the same jar of ether, Bob was a committed left-wing activist to the end, railing against the direction the Australian Labor Party had taken (by which I assume he meant NONE), and just about anything to do with John Howard, including his tilt at the vice-presidency of the International Cricket Council.

Bob’s bookstore, Gould’s Books (the only surviving child of 12), was as idiosyncratic and unyielding as its proprietor, only surrendering its treasures to the truly persistent. But both loom large in my Newtown (read elastic adolescent) psyche, and although a legend passes I know Sydney well enough to sit here perched in my icy mountain aerie shivering but secure in the knowledge that some equally frustrating and inspiring individual will pick up the mantle, if not quite the business model itself.

Rest easy, Bob, wherever you find yourself.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Invitation to This Floating World

You are warmly invited to the book launch of This Floating World by Libby Hart

Saturday 18 June 2011 from 3.00pm

Collected Works Bookshop

Nicholas Building

1st Floor, 37 Swanston Street


Kris Hemensley will launch the book and there will be wonderful music from Sean Kenan and Graeme Newell.

If you are unable to travel to Melbourne for the launch but you are interested in ordering a copy of This Floating World please see to order online or see attached order form to order the old-fashioned way.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Poetry by Phillip Ellis

"A Is for a Shyness"

A is for a shyness that does not speak,
except in prosy rhythms, metaphor,
knowing well the poet cannot contain
the poem, nor the cage the flying sparrow.

E is for every vowel that escapes my mouth;
how can I speak without them, without you?
I is for industry's yearning to turn
solid white paper to sound and writing.

O is for the sun that is my polestar,
that I will follow assiduously
for as long as I can, knowing full well
that I will one day die, and leave you here.

U is for umpteen rhymes that lie frozen,
wrapped in virgin straw for my notes to you.


"The Edge of Space"

I return to these thoughts
alike a dog picking
the more edible of
portions from a man's vomit:

this universe is more
than eyes can catalogue, count
out with tweezers, even
computers, like the grains of
sand in a man's closed fist,

for who can count emptiness
around us, or even
grasp at the slipperiness
of a boundary we
do not even know is hard

or fast, or diffusive
and thick--do we slow or stop
at the very edge of
this universe?--can we say
or even guess at this

matter?--will there be matter
or space?--such questions, such
that I cannot answer, here
in four quintains, and two
quatrains: it is with this, then,

I return to these thoughts
alike a dog picking
the more edible of
portions from a man's vomit.


"Of Songs and Sonnets"

Wandering mind--
let my mind speak to you
about the passing moon,
or of satellites around another star,

If night told rhymes,
these would be mine,
or weren't they mine
to start with?


- Phillip Ellis 2011

The Flayed Man:
A Harvest: Poetry: coming soon


Wet Ink for Hungry Minds:
The Cruellest Month:

Friday, May 06, 2011

Red Room at the Writers' Festival

You are cordially invited to join the inaugural meeting of the Clubs and Societies project at the Sydney Writers Festival.

The Inaugural Meeting of The Clubs & Societies Project

Sydney Writers Festival

4:00pm - 5:30pm Saturday, 21 May 2011

Pier 2/3 Club Stage, Pier 2/3 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay

To secure your club seat, RSVP 02 9319 5090 or email

This is a free event

The Red Room Company Club cordially invites you to attend the first club meeting of our major project for 2011, Clubs & Societies. Poets from across the country will be joining a range of clubs and societies to find out what goes on behind the locked doors of Australia’s clubrooms. The poets learn the cryptic lingos of fanatics and aficionados, and become the poet laureates of these secret societies and cultural clubs. At the Sydney Writers’ Festival, five of these poets will initiate you into their new worlds. After this event, you’ll never look at the rest of society the same way again.

Poets in Attendance

Since Kit Brookman trained as an actor, he's used to being around stars, so we've paired him with the Astronomical Society of NSW. Kit will be packing up his telescope and heading up to their Dark Sky Site, trading commas for comets and ellipses for eclipses.

Nick Keys will be converted into ones and zeroes for his collaboration with Dorkbot Sydney, a group of digital artists, hackers and nerds who do strange things with electricity. He'll be travelling through cables for his appearance on the day.

Candy Royalle on the other hand, will be there in full body and spirit. Candy writes and performs a no-holds-barred, full body-contact kind of poetry, so she's the perfect choice for the rough-and-tumble women of Roller Derby.

Jonathan Hill, a South Coast writer and passionate advocate of social justice and Aboriginal rights, is working with men from Club 2540 in the Oolong House drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Nowra.

While back in the heart of Sydney, Pip Smith will be sharing stories and verse with the visitors of the Wayside Chapel.

Club President Johanna Featherstone will be calling the meeting to order.

The Red Room Company publishes new poetry by Australian writers, in unusual ways.

Copyright © 2011 Red Room Company, All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

5 Poetry Journal

The accomplished poet, Libby Hart, has just launched a great new on-line journal, Five Poetry. I have taken the liberty of posting her editorial for Issue One below. Or click on the post heading to see for yourself.


Five (English). A cúig (Irish). Fimm (Icelandic). Cinco (Spanish). Fyve (Scots). Five is the third prime number. Five is the number of appendages on the majority of starfish. Category 5 hurricanes are the most destructive on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. The five basic tastes are sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. The book of Psalms is arranged into five books. Muslims pray to Allah five times a day. The term “five by five” is used in radio communication and indicates perfect signal strength and clarity. The traditional Japanese calendar has a five-day weekly cycle. “Give me five” is a common phrase used preceding a High Five. Ancient Greek philosophers believed the universe to be made up of five classical elements, these being water, earth, air, fire and ether. And five is also the number of poets showcased in this first issue of Five Poetry Journal, a journal that aims to publish up to twenty five poets (in five issues) this year.

The overall look of Five Poetry Journal is plain and unassuming – everything that the poetry is not. The reason for this is because I wanted the words to speak for themselves and to allow a reader to enjoy such poems without distraction. I am absolutely thrilled to include the following five poets in this first issue of Five Poetry Journal. Although style and vision are diverse among this small but impressive group, there is an underlining element that subtly unites and speaks of the human condition, whether it be in high winds, discussing matters of the heart or through wry observation.

John Sibley Williams tackles life sideways most beautifully. Pippa Little writes of legacy, of the personal and sensual. Mary Branley covers the waterfront of grief for an ill friend and reflects on the familial and the landscape in which she resides. Eamon Ó Cléirigh’s raw poems hold a fire of faith and anticipation. His poem, ‘I Am’ echoes Amergin. And lastly, Ian C Smith and his ‘black heart’ wryly comments on memory, mortality and misanthropy.

Welcome to Five Poetry Journal, I hope you enjoy reading the first issue.

Libby Hart