Poem: Eggshell garden

November 10, 2022

Half an egg, hidden in a drawer,
a tiny half-skull among the socks.
She gathers dirt, careful not to leave
a tell-tale trail, fills her tiny cup,
waits until dandelions are blown
into wishes, wraps a seed in tissue.
She puts her garden on the windowsill,
a promise behind the curtains,
which are printed with pink roses
and stringy effusions of lavender.
Sprouting towards the light,
a tiny green finger pokes into being,
and the eventual flower is more
dandekitten than anything fierce. 
It purrs in her mind, her flower
wattle-like yellow, punctuating
her bedroom with a freedom of glee.

PS Cottier

Somewhere there’s a photo of me as a child holding a plant which is growing inside an eggshell. That memory inspired this poem.

Tuesday’s Child is Full

October 20, 2022

This is the front cover of my latest book, a collection of poems first published on this very blog. I am particularly delighted with that cover, which relates to one poem inside the book about the Australian White Ibis, or tip turkey.

I have been writing this blog for thirteen years, frequently posting new poems, usually on Tuesdays, hence the book’s name. Thank you to all readers who have followed/commented/read the blog.

The book can be ordered here, from In Case of Emergency Press, which is the best name ever! It is priced at $20 (AUD). Re-reading thirteen years of this blog and selecting the poems was an interesting process, only occasionally bringing on a cringe. Dealing with Howard Firkin, the publisher, was a pleasure.

I will shortly be arranging a launch here in Canberra. Details to follow.

New book: V8

September 13, 2022

This is a hand and the cover of my/our new book, called V8, written with most excellent poet Sandra Renew. It’s about cars, utes, motorbikes, bikes, public transport and even the occasional spaceship (well one or two, anyway). Journeys to Russia, through Melbourne, and into the Hindu Kush feature in its pages. It is quite a large poetry book at over 130 pages, and can be ordered here. Ginninderra Press is the publisher, and I really like the cover (and the contents). Thank you to Stephen Matthews.

The process of writing a book with another poet was surprisingly smooth. Sandra and I had noticed that we both write poems about vehicles, so it was an easy step to the idea of having a book on the subject. We will be arranging a launch.

This is the first of two books I will be having published in the next month or so.

Poem: No genie, no wish

September 2, 2022

No genie, no wish

I thought it was a safe dwelling,
this huge shell, bright blue,
blooming on sand.
Not petty house for me, no
scrummaging for dangerous weeks.
My belly needs support,
is un-calcified, tending to slump.
I need other species to form
places for me to hide, to live,
and from where I scavenge,
daily, for minute bites of food.
Imagine my joy, at this mansion,
the cavity through which I pushed
an eager few centimetres of crab.
And now I find myself trapped,
unable to live in this blue world.
When I die, I send out a cry,
not in words but scent,
telling other hermits that a shell
has become vacant, and so,
how many others will meet inside
this treacherous, plastic tomb?
A million such containers
cover the beaches’ sheets of sand,
a kaleidoscope of pain.
Fake promises of security,
washing up with very wave.
I am a message, trapped inside
a blue bottle of disaster,
an artificial gift of doom.

PS Cottier

Hermit crabs are dying inside plastic and glass waste washed up on Australia’s remote islands: https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/12/05/what-happens-when-hermit-crabs-confuse-plastic-trash-shells-an-avalanche-death/

Poetry submissions are open at The Canberra Times from today until 8th August. Read the information below before submitting. Unfortunately, due to difficulties with payment, submissions can only be accepted from poets in Australia.

Canberra Times Submission Guidelines July 2022

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

poetrycanbt@gmail.com

POETRY SUBMISSION: Do not submit until there is a call-out. The dates will vary depending on the number of accepted poems awaiting publication. The Poetry Editor Penelope Cottier will be making selections.  If you are not sure if there is a current call-out, please send her a query rather than sending poems.

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

       • Please send up to 3 UNpublished (includes blogs, social media etc.) poems of up to 24 lines.  Shorter poems are much preferred.

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

       • Attach all poems in one Word file — 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 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.

       • 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.

•    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. Space limitations may also mean that slight layout changes must be made. 

•    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 after publication.

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. 

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.

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