Mountain launch

November 4, 2019

I just returned from Blackheath in the Blue Mountains of NSW, where I attended the launch of Mountain Secrets, a new anthology published by Ginninderra Press of South Australia, edited by Joan Fenney.

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Over 70 people attended the launch, which is quite remarkable, given that Blackheath is quite difficult to get to from any of the major capital cities. (Easiest from Sydney, and some people even commute, I believe!) I have a poem in the book called ‘Heat and snow’ about the Mountain pygmy possum, one of many Australian animals threatened by climate change. I was one of many poets to read at the launch.

The book looks and feels fantastic, although I’ve yet to read all the poems. Here is a photo of Stephen Matthews, who, along with Brenda Matthews (who was also celebrating a significant birthday on the day) runs Ginninderra Press. The poet reading is Sandra Renew, another poet from Canberra.

SM and SR

And finally, I have to include this photo of me having a drink at the pub in Blackheath, where a pipe band from Lithgow suddenly entered and started playing. That was a bit of a surprise. I’m not sure if this is a regular gig, or if it was part of the Rhododendron Festival that was also on in Blackheath. Anyway, I restrained myself from requesting ‘It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll’ by AC/DC. Just.

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Next year will be a very exciting one for me in terms of publications. More on that later.

Tuesday poem and reviews

October 28, 2019

A bit of a link-fest this week! Firstly, here’s a link to on-line journal of women’s poetry Not Very Quiet, for a poem called The dusky grasswren, which is what it says on the box. This is not a dusky grass wren.

artist at work

The links to two recent reviews I have written recently; of Jack Charles’s book Jack Charles: Born Again Blakfella, and of Mike Chunn’s A Sharp Left Turn: Notes on a life in music, from Split Enz to Play It Strange. Both reviews were published in The Canberra Times.

I used to review books a fair bit, and it’s great to be doing this again. Quite a different discipline from poetry; entering into a book with an imaginary potential reader as your companion.

Tuesday poem: Fungi

June 2, 2019

Fungi

They are not one nor the other
neither animated beasts
nor sluggish vegetables.
We see them as ambiguous,
but they are what they are,
have no need for categories
to undermine like mulch.
Some have an orange that is limitless.
Ten trillion angelic spores tickle the air.
They join forests with reaching non-fingers.
They are neither sadness nor glee.
Persistent softness breaks down logs.
Some push up after rarest rain —
quaint exclamation reversed,
cap upright but no mere tittle,
and not a little ‘i’.
They mouth off.
They are easily mistaken —
or rather, we mistake them,
rejecting our uncertainty.
Poison is just a flicker from food,
kidneys breaking down like wood.
They are not one nor the other —
they have their ways.
Would that we were they.

PS Cottier

Gelbstieliger_Nitrathelmling_Mycena_renati

A new poem celebrating those things that one finds when walking, that confuse our unthinking preference for binary categorisations.

(Image by Holger Krisp, Ulm, Germany, CC BY 3.0)

This one is a Christmas poem, just published at Verity La.

The poem is about reugees. It’s important to remember those excluded and shunned all year, but it’s particularly pertinent to Christmas, when God took on the form of a child born in a stable. The outsider became the centre of the story.

There’s another poem at the site about climate change and specifically, the Great Barrier Reef. An enormous number of future refugees will be fleeing the effects of climate change. And destroying the lives of other species is inexcusable, too.

God bless us, every one! Have a wonderful Christmas.

 Onthemorningthomas1

blood elephant

Blood elephant
bathes in human river
tusk intact

PS Cottier

Now, next time someone is saying what a beautiful sport surfing is, bear this photo in mind. The person who injured his head (and inadvertently caused the painting of the blood elephant to drain itself onto his shirt) drove two hours home from the coast, with a head injury that required six stitches. Past at least two hospitals.

I think that goes beyond the merely gnarly.

***

In other, less gruesome news, my poem ‘The ineffable boredom of Polonius’ is one of many making up a performance anthology of Canberra poetry, being produced very soon.  The play is called Under Sedation: Canberra Verse Remixed, and it will be at the Street Theatre, from September 29 (preview) to October 14. The director (and the person who compiled the anthology) is Adele Chynoweth, and the actors are Ruth Pieloor and Ben Drysdale.

Here is a list of the poets whose work will appear (apologies for any typos):

A.D.Hope (whose work provided the title of the production), Andi and George Band, Greg Appel, Dorothy Auchterloine, Burrows, Michael Byrne, Adrian Caesar, David Campbell, Coda Conduct (Sally Coleman & Erica Mallet), Malcolm Coller, P.S.Cottier, Vesna Cvjeticanin, Michael Dransfield, Chris Endrey & Bec Taylor, Niloofar Fanaiyan, Bela Farkas, Fun Machine, Kevin Gilbert, Paul Hetherington, Suzie Higgie, J.C.Inman, Subhash Jaireth, Aaron Kirby, Victoria McGrath, Mark O’Connor, Lizz Murphy, Omar Musa, Geoff Page, Anita Patel, Sandra Renew, Sarah Rice, Fred Smith Melinda Smith, John Karl Stokes and Monique Suna.

I can’t wait to see the production.  Here is the director, Adele Chynoweth, who recently (last night, in fact) launched a book by Sandra Renew at Smiths Alternative.   I hope this is the image you remember from this post!

AC