Aliens

September 13, 2021

Just had a poem published at Burrow, an on-line journal published by Old Water Rat Publishing, edited by Jillian Hall and Phillip Hall. It’s called The peculiar comfort of aliens, which was my response to the topic, non-human companions. I also put it one about a dog, but unsurprisingly, the submissions would have rained cats and dogs. Do have a look around the poems, it is a great collection.

Corrêa, Henrique Alvim

Speaking of aliens, you can read some great short science fiction stories at AntipodeanSF, where I also have a scifaiku about nasty things that can happen in space. I’ll be having one there every month for a while. This publication, which has been around for a very long time indeed, is edited by Ion Newcombe.

I am very happy to be starting as Poetry Editor at The Canberra Times. Submissions are open now UNTIL 30th June. Please read the guidelines below before submitting, and send only to the email given. Any poems or queries sent through to another email will not be read. At the moment, I am unsure if overseas people can be paid, so poems from people in Australia only at this stage please. I am very much feeling my way into things, but have already received some wonderful poems.

Canberra Times Submission Guidelines June 2021

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

poetrycanbt [AT] gmail.com

POETRY SUBMISSION PERIODS: Usually MAR 15-31, JUN 15-30, SEPT 13-30, DEC 15-31 (These are subject to change, and submission may become half-yearly.)  Do not submit until there is a call-out. The Poetry Editor Penelope Cottier will be making selections.

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

·       • Please send up to 3 UNpublished (includes blogs etc) poems of up to 24 lines, to 

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

·       • Attach all poems in one Word file — please 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 designated 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. (Some will be notified much sooner.)

·       • 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.

•    Please note that 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.

•    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.

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. 

Please note 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.

Submission periods are now quarterly (subject to change). Submission calls will be promoted to the list of poets who have previously submitted or enquired, and through social media and poetry networks — thank you for passing the word on.

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

Reviewing

May 17, 2021

I have recently had my fortieth review published at The Canberra Times. The book was a challenging and at times disturbing analysis of psychosomatic illnesses, entitled The Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories of Mystery Illness by Suzanne O’Sullivan. You can read the review here.

Writing so many reviews has given me a lot of time to reflect on the process. I see a review as a kind of bridge between the book and reader. The reader can cross over the bridge, and then make the decision as to whether they will jump off the other side, to buy or borrow the book.

Questions such as whether the book is a good example of its genre, and how it fits into an author’s previous publications can be addressed. New authors’ strengths can be celebrated, and what they add to a genre examined. There’s no point reviewing a thriller and complaining about it being action driven, or a horror novel for trading in darkness, for example; that would be a misuse of space.

I will of course point out what I see as faults in a strong book, but if there’s a book I really can’t stand, I won’t review it. People want to be referred to books worth the reading, and have an indication as to why, rather than observe the reviewer’s vocabulary of negative words being taken out for a walk (or flaunt). I don’t want to dwell on something that I find annoying or repellent, either.

The wide variety of books available has taken me to places I wouldn’t necessarily have gone without having the ability to read for review (which entails free books, and being paid something for the effort). Would I have sought out a book about psychosomatic illness before I began reviewing regularly? Possibly not. So a reviewer puts herself over a kind of bridge each time she picks up a new type of book, sometimes checking out surprising views on the way to the book’s end, before going back and asking the reader to accompany her.

I think I’ve flogged the bridge metaphor to death, and must now blow it up in a River Kwai type action. I try and avoid that sort of exhausting overuse of metaphor in reviews. Honestly.

Very happy to see three of my poems published at Eureka Street today, called ‘In the back of this poem’, ‘The eclectus parrot’, and ‘The edge of empty’, which is about extinction due to mega fires caused by climate change. I hope you enjoy them. Here is a picture of the male and female eclectus parrot.

Here’s the second poem that I wrote which has been nominated for the Rhysling Awards, run by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association based in the US. This one was nominated in the Long category, and is from my book Monstrous.

Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

The King of Eyes

His crown has fifty-two spikes,
and each boasts an eye
gouged from conquered realms,
or scooped like a four-minute egg
from every defeated pretender.
The eyes look out at courtiers,
at advisers, open and shameless
as any necessary lie.
Crowns parade around heads,
each decoration a soldier,
so there is always an eye,
or a platoon of eyes
upon you, heavy as an official chain.

We lucky, or unlucky, few
often in His Majesty’s presence
have noted that he arranges
the eyes to a distinct pattern,
blue following modest brown,
and every tenth eye is green.
Opalescent eyes, beflecked,
break the pattern near each ear,
as if to drop colourful rumour
direct into the regal brain.
Some say that it is possible
for each crown-eye to wink,
and that such a wink is deadly
as any guillotine, for the flicker
is only bestowed on those
whose own eyes will soon adorn
the King’s most puissant head.
I can not say if this is true,
as I have yet to see an eye
that still sports a gown of lash.
We walk quietly around
the regal panopticon,
just in case the eyes still see,
and the King might catch the
slightest flicker of disloyalty.

Yesterday I noticed an eye
of a near emerald green
that clearly broke the pattern —
and I recognised the glance
of the King’s courtesan,
who was strangely absent
from her stool near the window,
where she often sat, weaving.
I have clutched her in love,
these six months past,
and could not strangle a shudder
to see such beauty displaced.
If the eyes see, they saw me blanch,
at the elevation of her eye
from our shared soft pillow
to mere metallic display.

I am called to a meeting at eight.
My eye, such an average brown,
may yet be raised to the crown.

PS Cottier