Tuesday poem: (haiku)

May 29, 2017

clogged bitumen
two wheeled surgeons
arteries open

PS Cottier

bike stars

That’s my new, very old, bike above. The frame dates from before WWII, I am told, which is quite amazing. Now this bike stays strictly on pavement and bike-path, which is quite possible where I live in Canberra, so it does not slip through cars like a knife at all.

But it looks grey and interesting leaning outside cafés, having had a short rattle. An important thing for a starry bicycle.

bike 2

Too busy Toosday

August 22, 2016

I apologise profusely for no original poem today. I am a tad busy at the moment.

Thursday 25th at 7.30, I am reading poetry at Manning Clark House, Tasmania Circle, Griffith. Many of the poems will have first been published on this very blog, or at Project 365 + 1. I will be reading for about 30 minutes, as will Hazel Hall, the other reader.  There is an entry fee of $10, I think, which covers wine, some small items of food and the wee literary stuff.

On 27th August (Saturday) I’ll be moderating a discussion on The Poetics of Politics, at the National Library of Australia (a big building by the lake). The immoderators/speakers are Lizz Murphy and Susan Hawthorne, and it happens at 12pm, just after a launch of novelist Kaaron Warren’s new book, The Grief Hole, at the very same library at 11am.

On the 31st August I’ll be going to the launch of Award Winning Australian Writing in Melbourne, and reading a poem, and then attending the announcement of the Australian Catholic University Poetry Competition results the next day. I am short-listed for that, but I don’t think I won a prize this year, for various reasons.  Still, they produce a really nice collection of poems short-listed in the competition.



Then I will hopefully get some writing done.  Plus I’ll soon be proofreading a new chapbook of poems.  More about that later.

Best launch ever?

July 22, 2016

The delayed launch of Suddenly Curving Space Time was held at Smiths late last night, and it was a memorable one.  Gerald Kearney was there, and performers included a band called Shoe or Shoo! (or possibly Choux? says the Francophile), a shakuhachi performance by Barbara, and of course poetry.  UPDATE:  I see from Bandcamp that the correct spelling is S.H.U.!  How’s a person supposed to guess that?


I didn’t get everyone’s full name, but here are some photos of performers, including Brian,  who has a really great voice.  And Gerald, one of the editors of the book (above and below) also gave a memorable performance.





me at launch suddenly

In honour of the weather that delayed the launch I read a few poems with a climate change and/or weather focus.  Despite a few people being unable to make the rescheduled launch (notably the co-editor Hal Judge, though Gerald read one of his poems),  it was an event that left me feeling inspired and intoxicated, in a good way.

Consider buying the book.

Loud man pissing round the reading
with irrelevant comments,
dribbling self, reflected in a deep pool
of his own stewed past, steaming.
He is a true Narcissus,
but not so drop-dead gorgeous;
fungus mated with dead cat.
He smells of yesterday and loss.
He shouts his irrelevance
with every tedious joke,
every punch line a squib,
tarnishing the grey sky.

P.S. Cottier


Not the subject of the poem

A nasty wee poem indeed, based on a couple of True Incidents.

On a couple of more positive notes, I’ll be reading a poem or two at Tuesday night’s launch of Suddenly Curving Space Time and meeting Gerald Keaney, one of the editors for the first time.  That’s at Smith’s Alternative (aka Smith’s non-Euclidean?), Alinga Street, Civic, at 5pm.  There is a bar.  I’m not sure if Hal Judge, the other editor, is in the country at the moment, but I will certainly find out.

UPDATE:  This launch has been postponed as Gerald is stuck in Brisbane due to ‘freak weather conditions’.  I think that means fog! I’ll give new details when I can.

FURTHER UPDATE: The rescheduled time of the Canberra Launch of the Suddenly Curving Space Time anthology of experimental poetry is 9.30pm – 11.30 pm on Thursday 21st July.

anthology covers

Secondly, the usually totally impeccable Kaaron Warren has inexplicably featured me as a guest blogger, chatting about how I refresh my wells.  That is what they call a metaphor, I believe.  Kaaron is seemingly aiming for a Guinness world record in having quite a few people write on this topic.  Seriously, there will be enough material for a Real Book based on these jottings, some of which are very informative and detailed. Some of the contributions One of the contributions is, however, a tad frivolous and involves violence towards naiads.

No poem today, but I thought I’d share information about some great poetry prizes.

Firstly, the Australian Catholic University has a competition on the theme ‘Loving Kindness’. When I first heard the theme, I was less than rapt, but the more I thought about it, the more a poem wriggled out from between the words, until it demanded to be penned in the seedy corral of a poem.  This contest is open to Australian citizens, permanent residents, and overseas students studying in Australia.  Here is the link. Closes early June. There is a nice, really well catered, ceremony held in Melbourne at which the (generous) prizes for this are awarded.  I was placed third last year and read my poem there.  A book of entries was produced too.  Entry is $20.  And, no, you don’t have to be Catholic, or of any other religion (although you can be!).

Secondly (and this one is open to all poets writing in English) there is the University of Canberra Vice Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize.  There is no theme for this one. Again, there are great prizes, including a tidy $15,000 for the first place getter. However, some may quite reasonably baulk at the entry fees for these prestigious competitions ($20).  There is a discounted rate for university students, and there is also a separate free competition for students in Year 11 and 12 at an ACT or NSW school.  There are also cash prizes for this one, and ‘winners will be invited to attend the IPSI Poetry on the Move festival where they will be invited to read their poem and a chance to meet some excellent poets.’  And possibly some mediocore ones!  That is not compulsory though.

There is yet another competition being offered through the University of Canberra too.  This is the Health Poetry Prize, which is only open to Australians, and the poems must be on the theme of ‘Living Life Well’, which also sounded vaguely off-putting to me at first glance, until I noticed that the poem could also deal with barriers to ‘Living Life Well’.  So there is no need to use that foul word ’empowerment’…This one is $10 to enter, and seems like a great initiative.

Of course, everyone who has ever written a poem in English, and their more literate pets, will enter the international Uni of Canberra one, which makes it the most competitive.  (Given that ‘everyone’ has a credit card with at least $20 left on it.) These things are a bit of a lottery (however well qualified the judges are), but if you get a decent poem out of the process, it may be worth it.

My own view of poetry competitions is that if the topic catches my eye, I’ll have a go, but I won’t force a poem out because there is a competition.  I have written about the whole economy of competitions elsewhere.  (At Overland.)

Have fun!