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.)

Theatre Tuesday

October 9, 2017

Sedation group happy

So you’ve been feeling a bit past your use-by date, and a little tarnished by time.  Perhaps you are terrified that you are losing your way, and becoming the type of writer who repeats themselves, not to work and rework ideas like an artisan kneading bread, but because they can’t do anything else.  You meet that type, and they piss around the corners of conversations, lest new ideas insinuate and undermine their certainties.

And then someone* finds one of your poems, tucked away on this very blog, and includes it in a theatre work, and it is given a new voice and body by an actor**.  And you listen to it take its place in the work, and feel glad that someone felt its energy and its humour; a humour wedged between despair and hysteria.

Because you’re a total dag, you adopt a horizontal position in a photo amongst some of the other poets, and the actors.  You*** would underline how much the production meant to you in some alien form of punctuation.  You really need to discover decorum, rather than dwell in a cellar of rum.

*Adele Chynoweth, who directed the work Under Sedation, currently showing at The Street Theatre, as well as selecting/arranging the poems

**Ruth Pieloor (The other actor is Ben Drysdale and you can probably spot him in the photo above.)  The photo below shows Ruth adopting a Polonius stance, after the production.

r as p

***You obviously doesn’t mean you, dear reader.

 

On the sticky retirement of myth

Pegasus got too old
so Bellerophon melted him for glue.
Useless glue; for each pot is full
of feathers. Lovely scrapbooks
are ruined by inconvenient discards,
as grandmothers grow downy beards,
and babies sport Trumpy wigs.
And they fly into the air, too,
the photos, nay, the very books,
and escape into the ether,
to gallivant with feckless clouds.
Never use a famous wingéd horse,
where a broken legged nag will do.

P.S. Cottier

pale-horse

There’s a bit of my recently adopted veganism peeking around the corner of that poem!

A thoughtful review of my chapbook Quick Bright Things: Poems of Fantasy and Myth just appeared at the Science Fiction Poetry Association website (also extracts of the review appear in in Star*Line, the Association’s journal).  The reviewer is Sandra J. Lindow, a well-known poet in the speculative field.  (The review appears quite a way down the linked page.)

Ms Lindow writes of the chapbook that that ‘(t)he tone clip-clops down a slope elevated by the language [of] Victorian fairy-lore poetry…’.  I hadn’t consciously thought of that, but she is quite right.  That’s what happens when you write a PhD on Dickens, I guess!  And Goblin Market has always fascinated me.  The review refers to Christina Rossetti, author of that long poem.

Nice to have an Australian chapbook reviewed at the US based site.  I am a member of the SFPA, and recommend it to anyone interested in science fiction, horror, or fantasy poetry.

I was rapt to read that ‘P.S. Cottier’s slender chapbook of nineteen fantastic poems is like an elegant carriage ride through a department store of social criticism.’  Or perhaps I should say enraptured, in keeping with that older time?

Now I’m putting my fingers in my ears and repeating ‘la-la-la’ during a certain inauguration ceremony.  Feel free to join in.

It’s by link to Tim Jones’s site, where he posts a poem from my new chapbook Quick Bright Things: Poems of Fantasy and Myth.  He also gives some commentary on the poem and the book, which is cool as a sea cucumber.  (The poem is about a sunken city, hence the sea imagery creeping in there.  Or sliding, or however sea cukes move.)

I was thinking of posting an appropriate Atlantis type image, but here instead is the cover of the book once again, with the cricketing fairy drawn by Paul Summerfield.  You can buy a copy here.

quick-cover-copy-front-only-copy

Written Off

They had insured
and re-insured,
still it was not enough.

They hunched over maps,
consulted climate science.
Beachfront property

went with the stroke of a pen:
no possible premium
could insure that level of risk.

And floodplains:
why do people choose to build on them?
Bigger floods, more often: gone.

East Coast farmers, eyeball-deep
in debt, haunted by drought,
desperate to irrigate:

you backed the wrong horse.
Low-lying suburbs, factories
built next to streams:

there is no mercy
in insurance. The numbers speak,
and then there is no mercy.

Tim Jones

new-sea-land-front-cover

This poem is from Tim Jones’s new book New Sea Land, and deals with the effects of climate change in a particularly effective way, using deliberately simple language to describe a practical effect of rising sea levels.  It will become impossible to insure all those ‘desirable beachfront properties’, which may soon require scuba gear for inspection.

Tim’s book envisages the further changes that we may see (alongside those that we are already seeing) due to the global experiment that humanity is performing, without a control world to see if it’s a good idea.  The effects on the environment and people, both in his own country of Aotearoa/New Zealand, and worldwide, are the subjects of the book. The changes are envisaged in the very title of the book, with the shift from the words New Zealand to something recognisable, but quite different.

If the book’s topic sounds a little overwhelming, the poems themselves are witty, controlled and moving.  As someone who is trying to write on the same issues, without breaking into long and unseemly rants, I recommend this timely book to anyone who is concerned with climate change.  (Which is a bit like saying anyone who thinks, really.) Personal history is a concern in New Sea Land as well, notably in poems such as ‘The map’, but this is inextricably linked with questions of the treatment, control and ownership of land.

I have had the pleasure of editing a book with Tim, and is intriguing to see how he has moved his political concerns to the centre of his creative practice with New Sea Land.  And what a cover by Claire Beynon, showing a person teetering on a thin rope.  Tim’s poems are also attempts to find a way of walking the new landscapes we are creating, where loss and uncertainty surround us all.

New Sea Land is available from the publisher, Mākaro Press, who are producing great books.  Here are the details:

Title: New Sea Land
Author: Tim Jones
Publisher: Mākaro Press
ISBN: 978-0-9941299-6-3
$25 (NZ).