Monstrous arrival

June 4, 2020

arrival

My new poetry collection just arrived from the publishers, Interactive Press. As the title would suggest, it deals with some horrible creatures, from a re-working of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, to killer garden gnomes, to sharks that eat suns, to aliens on a nineteenth-century lunar voyage. There’s also the dubious future of the game of cricket. There’s some disturbing stuff, and some humour too.

You can read more about the book here. And it can be ordered here. The print version is postage free to Australia and New Zealand, for a limited time.

Thank you to Kaaron Warren for the Introduction, and to Andrew Galan for providing a blurb. Also to Zoe Hartland for the suitably freaky gnome, and Geoffrey Dunn for the author photo.

I will be launching it sometime in Canberra (and possibly elsewhere), when gatherings become a little more feasible, and I hear that an on-line event for all IP books published this month will be held. David Reiter, the publisher, is organising that.

Of course I wish that the May launch could have occurred, but the book has won through, in all its manic strangeness. I can’t wait to read some of the poems aloud to an actual gathering!

Because so many poets and poetry books have been affected by the coronavirus, Red Room Poetry produced an anthology of poems, called In Your Hands. Each is from a book which has been in some way touched by the current lockdown. (Even though Australia really has had it easy compared to many other countries, there have been many things cancelled.) My poem ‘The belly of the gnome’ is from a forthcoming collection called Monstrous (Interactive Press) which was to be launched this month, but now isn’t. It is on p23 of the In Your Hands anthology. This link will take you to the page where the free anthology can be downloaded. Enjoy.

I will be launching my book after the restrictions ease (don’t know the date yet!).

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As I sit and constantly look up the spread of the bushfires, particularly on the South Coast of NSW where we’d usually be around now, I thought I’d reflect back on all my publications and readings this year to take my mind (and lungs) off the smoke. Here we go:

Participant, Living Studio, Belconnen Arts Centre, late 2018 (November) onwards. Reading at Centre, 12 March (star poems) ‘Living the Studio’.

Poem ‘On the couch’ published The Canberra Times, 2-3-19

Poem ’Two stroke or more’ published Not Very Quiet 4, March 2019. Read it at launch.

‘The Ashes, 3150 A.D.’ published Eye To The Telescope 32, US, April 2019, ‘Sports and Games’ edited Lisa Timpf.

Poems ‘Mining time’ and Excalibur’s Lament’ published in The Rhysling Anthology (US), 2019, edited David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Poem ’Transformation’ published The Mozzie, April 2019

Poem ‘The creature runs through the ice, pursued by Doctor Frankenstein’ published Cordite 91, Monster issue, edited Nathan Curnow, May 2019.

Poem ‘Freckles’ published Sponge, Issue 5, New Zealand, May 2019

Senryu ’turpsichore’ (deliberately spelt like that!) published The Mozzie, Volume 27, May 2019

Reading poem ‘Fry up’ for special event, Poetry. Science. Women: Celebrating the Amazing, Smiths, 17 June, 2019. To be published in Axon.

Poem ‘Mawson Expedition medicine chest, 1911’, written on commission for National Museum of Australia about that object in the Objects Gallery. To be read at Museum event in June (2019) and published on website.

Shortlisted ACU Poetry Prize, July 2019, theme ’Solace’. Published in chapbook.

Reading Manning Clark House, July 2019

Poem ‘The Ashes 3152 AD’ republished The New Zealand Cricket Bulletin July/August 2019 No. 597

Review Jack Charles: Born-again Blakfella by Jack Charles with Namila Benson published The Canberra Times, 31-8-19

Haiku ‘Aliens declutter’ published Scifaikuest, US, August 2019, Edited Teri Santitoro.

Reading at The House (ANU) August 2019

Poem ‘Mountain Pygmy-possum’, renamed ’Snow and heat’, in Mountain Secrets anthology, ed. Joan Fenney, Ginninderra Press, 2019. Read it at launch in Blackheath, Blue Mountains, November 2019.

Poem ‘The dusky grass wren’ published Not Very Quiet Issue 5, September 2019, edited Tricia Dearborn

Haiku ‘Angels picnic’ published in The Mozzie, September/October 2019 (received November)

Panellist, Conflux (Poetry) and also interviewed by Kaaron Warren for another panel, October 2019

Review of A Sharp Left Turn: Notes on a life in music, from Split Enz to Play It Strange by Mike Chunn published The Canberra Times, 26-10-19

‘The Most Loyal Servant and the Peas’ (story) published Antipodean SF, No 254, November 2019, and on radio show (my reading).

Review of Never Say Die: The Hundred-Year Overnight Success of Australian Women’s Football by Fiona Crawford and Lee McGowan published The Canberra Times 9-11-19

Review of Absolutely Bleeding Green: The Raiders Story by David Headon published The Canberra Times 23-11-19

Review of The Institute by Stephen King published The Canberra Times 24-11-19

‘Fry up’ published Axon: Creative Explorations, Vol 9, No 2, December 2019

Review of Maybe The Horse Will Talk by Elliot Perlman published The Canberra Times, 7-12-19

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I’m happy that I’m doing quite a few reviews again, as it keeps you on your intellectual toes (now I’m picturing a brain in a tu-tu) and encourages you to think about how each book promises something, and whether it lives up to those implied promises. I really enjoyed reviewing the history of the Raiders and the history of women’s football in Australia; all I need now is a cricket book, and AFL.

I’ll definitely try and keep the reviewing up next year.

Next year I’ll be having two books published, both poetry.

Have a great Christmas, and let’s hope that there is still an inhabitable east coast of Australia after the next few months. (And SA, and WA, too.)

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.