haiku

July 15, 2021

Grey pigeons
my father's colour
flown away

PS Cottier
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Rather cold Russian pigeons in that beautiful photograph, to accompany a quiet haiku about loss.

They say

July 2, 2021

that riding a unicorn is not unlike herding clouds
that garden gnomes wake each night and eat snails
that pistachio! is said by elves to each other after they sneeze
that Pinocchio actually liked being a puppet more than a real boy
that mirrors store each image and watch a kaleidoscope each night
that marshmallow tastes exactly like drowning in freshly laid snow
that the stomach inside the earth is always churning and burping
that empty wine bottles stored in cellars refill every twelve years
that walls are built by the fearfully dull [both giants and States]
that mushrooms glow green when the moon goes superpink
that hearsay could equally be called listentalk

PS Cottier

Sometimes it’s good to write something just for fun. I think I’d like to meet the ‘they’ who say the things in this poem. The illustration is by Hugh Thomson, via the ever wonderful Old Book Illustrations.

I am very happy to be starting as Poetry Editor at The Canberra Times. Submissions are open now UNTIL 30th June. Please read the guidelines below before submitting, and send only to the email given. Any poems or queries sent through to another email will not be read. At the moment, I am unsure if overseas people can be paid, so poems from people in Australia only at this stage please. I am very much feeling my way into things, but have already received some wonderful poems.

Canberra Times Submission Guidelines June 2021

ALL CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING THE CANBERRA TIMES/PANORAMA POETRY SUBMISSIONS SHOULD BE SENT TO THE CANBERRA TIMES POETRY EMAIL ADDRESS:

poetrycanbt [AT] gmail.com

POETRY SUBMISSION PERIODS: Usually MAR 15-31, JUN 15-30, SEPT 13-30, DEC 15-31 (These are subject to change, and submission may become half-yearly.)  Do not submit until there is a call-out. The Poetry Editor Penelope Cottier will be making selections.

·       • Poems suitable for a general audience in most styles and on most subject matters are welcome.

·       • Please send up to 3 UNpublished (includes blogs etc) poems of up to 24 lines, to 

     • The 24 line maximum includes quotes/notes/references (but not title and stanza breaks). 

·       • Attach all poems in one Word file — please include your name in the document title. (You are welcome to also attach a PDF if you are concerned that formatting might slip in the Word doc. But do not send only a PDF. Pasting into an email, if you have to, is fine too.)

·       • Please submit poems during designated submission periods only

     • Poems should not be on offer to other print or online publications

·       • You will be notified by email either way, 6-8 weeks after close of submissions. (Some will be notified much sooner.)

·       • If selected, your poem should generally be published — in the Panorama arts section — during the following several months. 

      • Poets selected for publication are asked not to submit during the next submission period.

NB While everything possible is done to reduce the risk of a selected poem not appearing The Canberra Times cannot guarantee publication. Poets who submit poems should understand there is a chance their poem may not appear, even if selected. 

Hints

•      Send your stand-out poem(s).  Don’t feel you have to send in three!

•      Send a variety.

•      Be strategic — remember that poems are selected months in advance of publication.

•    Please note that sometimes poems are published in a smaller font due to space limitations — if  you have an issue with this you might prefer to submit shorter poems.

•    For the same reason it is better not to send poems with very long lines or elaborate formatting. 

Bio

A biographical note is not necessary but is of interest — just one or two sentences will do. 


PLEASE KEEP READING:

The Canberra Times publishes one poem per week in its Saturday Panorama arts section, pending space availability. Payment is $60 per poem.

The aims are to ensure a diversity of voices, and to publish poems on a wide variety of subjects.

Poets selected for publication are asked to skip the next submission window. 

Please note The Canberra Times receives hundreds of poems and has space for just a fraction of those. Many quality submissions have to be declined each time.

Submission periods are now quarterly (subject to change). Submission calls will be promoted to the list of poets who have previously submitted or enquired, and through social media and poetry networks — thank you for passing the word on.

If you can access The Canberra Times where you live, please buy it every Saturday.   Or you can subscribe to the on-line paper, to support fellow poets and a major newspaper that still publishes poetry.

Penelope (PS) Cottier

The Canberra Times Poetry Editor

Finalist

May 21, 2021

Very nice to have two of my poems as finalists in the Australasian Horror Writers Association Shadows Awards, both from my book Monstrous. And doesn’t finalist sound better than shortlisted! The results will be announced in June.

For the full list of finalists in all the categories, please go here.

Reviewing

May 17, 2021

I have recently had my fortieth review published at The Canberra Times. The book was a challenging and at times disturbing analysis of psychosomatic illnesses, entitled The Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories of Mystery Illness by Suzanne O’Sullivan. You can read the review here.

Writing so many reviews has given me a lot of time to reflect on the process. I see a review as a kind of bridge between the book and reader. The reader can cross over the bridge, and then make the decision as to whether they will jump off the other side, to buy or borrow the book.

Questions such as whether the book is a good example of its genre, and how it fits into an author’s previous publications can be addressed. New authors’ strengths can be celebrated, and what they add to a genre examined. There’s no point reviewing a thriller and complaining about it being action driven, or a horror novel for trading in darkness, for example; that would be a misuse of space.

I will of course point out what I see as faults in a strong book, but if there’s a book I really can’t stand, I won’t review it. People want to be referred to books worth the reading, and have an indication as to why, rather than observe the reviewer’s vocabulary of negative words being taken out for a walk (or flaunt). I don’t want to dwell on something that I find annoying or repellent, either.

The wide variety of books available has taken me to places I wouldn’t necessarily have gone without having the ability to read for review (which entails free books, and being paid something for the effort). Would I have sought out a book about psychosomatic illness before I began reviewing regularly? Possibly not. So a reviewer puts herself over a kind of bridge each time she picks up a new type of book, sometimes checking out surprising views on the way to the book’s end, before going back and asking the reader to accompany her.

I think I’ve flogged the bridge metaphor to death, and must now blow it up in a River Kwai type action. I try and avoid that sort of exhausting overuse of metaphor in reviews. Honestly.