Saturday, June 25, 2005

blast from the past

The verse website has recently published the final issue of Salt magazine in five parts. This includes some work of mine, including one poem of mine I'd lost track of (this 'issue' has been a long time coming). There's lots of other interesting stuff in the other parts, including a selection of metrical poetry put together by Annie Finch.

Monday, June 20, 2005

and just a bit south of here

From next Saturday 25 June until 4 September, photographer Annette Willis's latest exhibition, Wallworx will be showing in the Mercury Gallery of the Wollongong City Gallery.

The photographs in Wallworx explore Australian stencil graffiti as a contemporary form of political, cultural and artistic expression.

The exhibition is being opened by our good friend, poet and editor, Peter Minter.

brown & jones (no smiff)

Jill Jones & Pam Brown
will be appearing this month at
The Elbow Room
7 for 7-30pm
Thurs 30th June
$5 entry (includes wine/coffee)

Berkelouw Books
70 Norton St Leichhardt
Ph: 02 9560 3200
Pam Brown’s poetry has been published in many journals both in Australia and internationally. She has published 15 books of poetry and prose (at last count). She has also written reviews, essays, film scripts and performance texts. Her poetry has taken her to a variety of exciting locations. In 1991 she used Australian poetry in assisting English teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam. In 1993 she was a guest at the Festival Franco-Anglais de Po├ęsie in Paris and at the inaugural International Literature Festival in Berlin in August 2001. In 2003 she was a guest at the Australian Studies Centre at the University of Barcelona, as well as spending six months of that year living in Trastevere, Rome, in the B.R. Whiting Studio. She has edited four poetry chapbooks in the Rare Object Series for Vagabond Press and was the poetry editor for the Australian literary quarterly Overland magazine for five years. She is also a contributing editor to the US-based annual of poetry and poetics Fulcrum and the international online journal How2. In 2004 she became the Associate Editor of the online magazine Jacket.

Jill Jones is a poet and writer who lives in Sydney, Australia. Her work has been widely published in most of the leading literary periodicals in Australia as well as in a number of print and online magazines in New Zealand, Canada, the USA, Britain, Italy and India. She has also worked as a journalist and film reviewer. In1993 she won the Mary Gilmore Award for her first book of poetry, The Mask and the Jagged Star (Hazard Press). Her third book, The Book of Possibilities (Hale & Iremonger), was published in 1997. It was shortlisted for the National Book Council 'Banjo' Awards, The Age Poetry Book of the Year award, and the Adelaide Festival Awards. Her fourth book, Screens, Jets, Heaven: New and Selected Poems, was published by Salt Publishing 2002 and won the 2003 Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize. A chapbook, Struggle and Radiance: Ten Commentaries, was published in Ireland by Wild Honey Press in 2004. Since then she has published two further chapbooks, Where the Sea Burns (Picaro Press 2004) and Fold Unfold (Vagabond. 2005). Her fifth full-length book, Broken/Open, was published by Salt Publishing in 2005 and launched at the recent Sydney Writers' Festival.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

i think i'm going back

We were away this weekend and, as part of our travels, visited a poet friend who had an interesting collection of old Australian poetry anthologies. One, in particular, was edited by Judith Wright and included an essay by her. I was so tired I didn't even have the energy to look through it but Annette read me some poems before I went to sleep, including poems by Nan McDonald (now, who ever hears of her work nowadays?) and Rosemary Dobson. Now, not all of the poems were that terrific but some of them were excellent, including the poems by McDonald and Dobson.

Which got me thinking about old anthologies. I have a few which were, essentially, school anthologies, plus stuff I bought too many years ago to admit to, and Annette also has some as she taught primary kids poetry years ago. I assume poetry as poetry isn't taught in schools any longer (it's all 'themes' and 'relevance' and 'constructs' and, generally, bastardised cultural studies. An issue of Dolly or Cleo anyone?) so I don't know if anthologies are produced for schools anymore. I had something in one at the beginning of the 1990s. But this isn't really my point.

I reached up this morning to browse through my collection and put my hand to one called Voices. edited by Geoffrey Summerfield and published by Penguin in 1968 (was I alive then, hmm, not sure). Mine is volume 3. And what a terrific book it was/is. It included black and white photographs and other illustrations and was handsomely produced with tough paper covers. I note that you can still get copies of the series through second-hand dealers and that it's still referred to in book lists and even in newspaper articles. I got so engrossed tonight that I missed my train (yes, still working late).

Now, I'm not an anthology person. I would rather have the full single author title or put together my own ideal anthology as I go. As Ron said recently, "A larger question – one that hangs over every anthology – has to do with who is included versus who is absent". But revisiting these old ones is eye-opening. Again, it's what's been left behind that's interesting. Some of it should be left behind but some signifies a loss, no doubt victims of fashion and lack of influence.

Coincidentally, Mark Young at pelican dreaming also has referred to Milk and Honey and offers a pic of the cover I was talking about.

By the way, Mark is really going off, ie. really doing some great stuff, at the mo'. Do check out the pelican.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

train to snow show to the recycling bin

Annette came back from Melbourne with a wee giftie. The new book by Michele Leggott, Milk and Honey (Auckland Uni Press). She wouldn't have known I've got two other of Michele's books and that I was a-thinking of getting this one as soon as I could. She just thought it would be 'my thing' and she and Kris at Collected Works conspired on what would be 'my thing' - that I didn't already have, so far as they could guess.

And here it is, now in my hand, ready for reading real soon. With a picture from Slava's Snow Show on the front. Can you believe that? I saw the Snow Show years ago.

A was home late. And me again but late by train from St Leonards with much pfaffing between lines.

So we're doing the rubbish and it's recycling week. We're rounding up the big box of paper and glass and I'm thinking, as I seem to do these days, it's a bit like my writing. Cast-offs, remnants and a lot of recycling. As though each poem is the thing I leave along the way, cast off and go on further into language/s. Recycling is a good thing. So is casting-off. I never managed it in knitting (I never managed knitting full-stop and it's been downhill ever since) but I can do it in poetry.

visual and ad break

And, in passing, you might like to see the mega pic of me on the Salt website.

They're updating their author/book pages and I threw this very new pic at Chris just a couple of days ago to try it for size (literally). Annette took it at my book launch the other week. Sort of noir and moody(ish). (I wish!)

While you're there you can check out the book, Broken/Open, which needs various new homes with poetry loving folks round the world. (End of commercial.)

browsing the books of the North

Have just been perusing Charles Bernstein's notable books list. Not one Australian and only one New Zealander. Why doesn't that surprise me? (Take that any way you wish.)

But the list is worth a browse, for sure. I have a couple of the books, whilst many of the others you're highly unlikely to ever see in an Australian bookshop, apart from Collected Works in Melbourne. Next time I'm in Melbourne (late July it looks like) I will make my usual visit to Kris and Retta. Otherwise, it's the online trawl for US and UK small publishers who accept electronic payment. Don't talk to me about bank cheques, it's too ugly and expensive an idea to contemplate.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Working late again - the taxi guys are making a mint out of me and the company getting its ounces of flesh - but not thinking so much of shadows but the lie of night, its radio talk, the song dreaming its dreams, the way that knows itself by the feel of road and, yes, shadow. Travelling in taxis can be a dreaming space, a lot of turning, the route like lines of poetry, rhythms with their own riffs, variations each time, and each drivers' different soundtrack.

and where were we - yes, shadow...

I've been writing shorter poems for a while. Here's a little one on the current theme.

after the weight
of eleven dreams
the dog shadow

Monday, June 06, 2005


I've been working late (yet again) and thinking about shadows. Also, Annette (who is in Melbourne consorting with artists, street artists and studio artists - imagine that for a moment) read me something intriguing about shadows.

There is the visual take on this: dark and light, the mingling and emerging of one and the other, the moving edges. There is also the sound. There's a little edge in the midst of the word but the consonant 'd' is tempered by its surroundings, the 'a' and 'ow' and the sibiliance. To me, it is a low pitched word.

Shadow is the artist's friend, especially artists working with film.

It is also about time, which is what a poem is working with.

Me and my shadow, but forget the avenue. We're putzing around the slightly cool old house tonight. So, on our ownsome if not our lonesome.

I am a bit dark at the moment but people, kindly, have been trying to talk me through it. It's of no particular moment in the great scheme of things, so no need to go into the reasons, more my own disappointment with myself. And that what I wanted was something I also wanted for some other people as well. Lah lah, way it goes.

Hence, thinking about poems and time and shadows - movement and seeing/not quite seeing.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Don't wanna be a factoid!

I need a new window.


A frustrating time. My ISP has had an outage (what a stupid word) and it's still preventing me from getting access to my mail. No apologies from them, I got a rather pouty little chap on the help line, I have to lump it, apparently.

My provider is ihug (or iinet as it is now - it used to be much better when it was ihug). So, they're not a very friendly crew and I can't get any email.

Anyone know a better Australian provider at a reasonable price? The thought of changing is a bit daunting (email address, web site, etc) but the thought has been with me a while. Or perhaps they all have crap service and crap attitude? Is 'sorry' that hard? In Australia, of course it is. Exit screen left, muttering darkly.