http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/ganggang-turtles-diving-like-huge-coins-thrown-into-a-wishing-well-20150812-gix4gz.html

That’s a link to a very nice appreciation of my chapbook Paths Into Inner Canberra, written by Ian Warden. He is kind enough to write that:

‘She writes poetically, deftly and quirkily. The needle on my highly sensitive cliche-detector didn’t flicker once during my reading.’

Lovely stuff! I write hoping that I may surprise a few readers with an image or a reflection, and it is gratifying to read that this was the case with Ian Warden. Here is the cover, with a photograph by Geoffrey Dunn:
paths cover

The book can be purchased from me (for those who ride bikes/drink too much coffee at cafes), from Book Lore, Lyneham, in Canberra, or from the publisher, Ginninderra Press. It is $4 (plus postage, if you order online). It is a prose essay with two poems.

It snowed yesterday in Canberra, so I was not on my bike. Snow is an occasional surprise here, and everyone was armed with their smartphones to record the phenomenon of cold dandruff. It has never settled on the collar of the pavement, though, that I can remember.

I just had a blog post put up at Overland. It was originally called Literary Competitions: Better than the pokies? and is now called An accountant of dreams, which is a phrase from the essay. A few most carefully crafted jokes have disappeared, but it’s still worth a read! Here’s the link:

https://overland.org.au/2015/05/an-accountant-of-dreams/

The essay relates to this blog in that I’m always giving links to competitions, and it occurred to me that if you entered them all, you’d be spending quite a lot.

At the same time (even on the same day; my cunning plan to invade all corners of the web and print universes at once is coming to fruition like a Napoleonic pineapple mounted on a white pony crossing the Brindabellas*) I have an essay about how I manage to write poetry published in ACTWrite, the magazine of the ACT Writers Centre. I can’t link to that one, but there are 22 points in the article. Twenty-two! That’s quite a few.

Here is my exhausted pen, sweating ink. God knows why as I wrote both pieces on this computer, but a photo is Always Nice.
bigstock_pen_15740162

*Canberra’s hills (or mountains, as some call them). Also, I should shoot that sentence, as it is going off like Cujo after the bat.

Thiel Grant Shortlist

March 11, 2015

https://teacherintherye.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/thiel-grant-shortlist

Who is the only shortlisted person to use words in capitals in their application title…THAT WOULD BE ME!

Yes, I am shortlisted for Philip Thiel’s grant for on-line writing. My suggestion is to look forward to the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley creating the story of Frankenstein, and to blog about the book, the author, her times and the science. Also, I would consider the use of Frankenstein in culture generally, and how the book seems even more vital today. Gender, genius and monsters; literature, film, science and ethics. A big stack of of material there! Eight feet high like the creature himself.

I must say that it is an honour to be shortlisted with such a great list of on-line writers.

The winner will be announced next week, and receives $5000 to blog for a year on the short-listed topic.

A celebratory tipple

A celebratory tipple

UPDATE 18/3/15:
https://teacherintherye.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/thiel-grant-winner/
Congratulations to Patrick Lenton who won the grant. I look forward to following his blog.

I think I’ll still be writing about Mary Shelley here, but perhaps a little less intensively than if I had won.

That’s where you’ll find me, from time to time. One exciting development in the horrible world that lies on the wrong side of THE THIN BEIGE LINE OF COMPARATIVE NORMALITY ©* is Midnight Echo, the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association. Kaaron Warren is editing the next issue, and I have a poem in it, along with a column about poetry.

Press this link for the fully horrible Table of Contents. I can’t wait to be sickened, in a good way, by the issue.

who left the drawbridge down?

who left the drawbridge down?

I also have a poem coming up in the 200th issue of Antipodean SF, which explicitly addresses the merits, or otherwise, of flash fiction. And I believe a story of mine from THE VAULTS, otherwise known as 2008, may also be appearing.

There are other publications looming too, like the mutant pterodactyls of Moscow in a novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky, but these are enough for today.

*no, not copyright at all. If you like dreadful writing, please help yourself to the phrase.

Seabirds and Labradors

November 25, 2014

Sometimes you lose sight of why you are doing something. Sometimes you get so caught up in the minute details of doing, that the beauty of doing evades you. You focus on a poem that was rejected, or a deadline that was missed, rather than remembering something that seemed to work well on the page, or an image, or a person you met through writing.

And then, suddenly, almost miraculously, you shake off that sludge. Or someone removes it from you, you miserable little seabird of gloom.

Three good things happened recently.

Firstly, I have been tutoring an on-line course in speculative poetry, that is drawing to an end. I have found the process of focusing on others’ work almost like trying something new at the gym; the muscles (or brain) scream, but new connections are made. Thank you to all the participants in the course, who have been my personal trainers.

Secondly, I undertook a one day course in writing and producing picture books, run by the expert and enthusiastic Tania McCartney, who is the author of many illustrated children’s books. Again, the brain felt its underdeveloped triceps straining, as someone who approaches writing for different people, and in a different way, took me through a (pleasurable) boot camp. Here is a photo of Tania, who is, as she said, obsessed with picture books:

Tania McCartney

Roaming around the Gorman Arts Centre at lunch time, I met a bevy of poets and other writers and performers, which reminded me how many people do interesting and creative and challenging things in Canberra. Undoubtedly many of these people has had a time when they felt seabird-in-oil sick, and each of them has found his or her way through.

A woman at the course (I won’t mention her name, as I don’t know how she’d feel about that) asked me if I would be interested in judging a poetry slam, and passed on my details to the organisers.

And that brings up Good Thing Number Three, where I’ll be judging a poetry slam for women, which is a special part of A Night of Art and Inspiration with Anthony Anaxagorou. I have seen some of this wonderful poet’s performances on YouTube. Search them out. You really should, you know. Kaveh the Unlikely Poet will also be featured at the event, which begins at 7pm, Sunday 7th December at the Transit Bar in Canberra. (Get there earlier for cheap pizza, if your stomach so desires. It’s in Akuna Street, near, but infinitely better than, the casino.)

So this is how unexpected connections can work, at times, at least for those who live in as lucky a place as Canberra. At least for those of us who also have access to literacy and educational opportunities. At least for those who are not to be denied citizenship because they are mentally ill, as if being locked up for being a refugee wouldn’t quite often make you mentally ill. Perhaps that’s the idea.

Sometimes you are buoyed up by luck and unexpected connections. I am fortunate to be able to find ways to shake off my depression like a Labrador shakes off water after a swim.

That’s my fat black dog out there, always chasing ugly ducks. He’ll come back to shore shortly.

***

Forgive this tl/dr rave; there will be poems again soon. Hopefully with metaphors a little less mixed than a fluffy duck.