Very happy that two of my poems have been nominated for the Rhysling Awards, which are annual awards for the best speculative poetry published in the previous calendar year. The award is organised by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, based in the United States. Poems are nominated by members of the SFPA (but you can’t nominate your own poems) and published in The Rhysling Anthology. The editor of this year’s anthology is Alessandro Manzetti. Members vote for their favourite poems in two categories. This week’s poem has been nominated in the short category. I think you can guess that the other poem, which I’ll post next week, is in the long category!

Both poems nominated were published in my book Monstrous, Interactive Press, 2020. You can see all of the nominated poems here. Some of them can be read by clicking on the title. Very happy to see at least one other Australian poet there, Jenny Blackford, and Tim Jones, of New Zealand. Go Southern Hemisphere!

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Mouthing off

She’s a shark, you know, a tiny one,

armed with milk teeth and coins.

She severs fingers, not legs,

hiding in lawnmowers, which she stops,

until an enquiring hand reaches

to unblock the green-clogged blades.

She strikes, starts the engine,

and the dumb machine gets the blame.

No-one sees her, flying off with the digit —

they mistake her sharp chortle for canaries,

the rattle of a hula hoop of surplus teeth

is heard as a cicada’s solo. She shimmies,

perched on a convenient tree,

and tucks into her well-earned, self-saucing snag.

Delightfully light, she flits on,

gathers a few more teeth, threads them,

bites a few puppies, enjoys the way

that the local pitbulls get the flak.

Her original teeth were removed long ago

in a futile attempt to stop her munching

on fingers, toes, and pets like candy.

She moved into kiddies’ teeth;

a penny there, then a dollar or a Euro.

She enjoys endless, free-market chomping,

glueing a new set every Sunday,

formed from that sweet, calcium-rich bandolier.

If a knife misses carrot

and finds flesh, it is surely

our invisible sprite who abbreviates the hand.

Carpenters have felt a sudden

blunting of their grip as ‘a chisel slipped’,

but the wound is surprisingly multi-edged.

A tiny rose of white thorn-petals removed

the formerly useful pointer, or mere pinkie,

if it was only time for a hasty snack.

Just recently, she has diversified,

depositing a few teeth into the ears

of the children who put them under pillows,

investing in her profession’s future.

They dream of fingers. They dream of wings.

PS Cottier

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6862223/harrowing-and-inspiring-stories/

In recent months I have been reviewing quite a few books for The Canberra Times. The most recent review, published on 8-8-2020, is of two remarkable books recounting the lives of Holocaust survivors, and I thought I’d post a link to it here. The books reviewed are Eddie Jaku’s The Happiest Man on Earth and When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father’s War and What Remains by Ariana Neumann.

Reviewing is a privilege when it involves reading books such as these; the only problem is trying to do the books justice in the space available.

flower rose close up black and white

Photo by Flora Westbrook on Pexels.com

Utterly arrival

July 2, 2020

utterlyarrival

Very happy to see my book Utterly in the flesh, straight from Ginninderra Press. Utterly has many poems about the environment and climate change, as well as more personal concerns. It can be ordered here (dispatching from the 13th July). Or through Amazon, etc.

My second book during the virus lockdown, although things are gradually getting back to normal in Canberra. I will be holding a physical launch for Utterly later in the year, probably alongside Monstrous (see last post). It’s hard to plan anything at the moment, although we are having a much easier time here in Canberra than parts of Melbourne (not to mention various other countries).

Regardless of the launch situation, it’s a wonderful thing to hold one’s own book!

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!

Tuesday poem and story

March 31, 2020

Both via link this time. One is to the Microflix festival, where my story ‘Makeover’ is one of the selected texts that someone may decide to make a film from: http://microflixfestival.com.au/2020/03/11/makeover-by-ps-cottier/ .

The other is to Not Very Quiet, where my poem ‘…scribbles, comments, glosses (annotations), critiques, doodles, or illuminations’ can be read. This one is about people standing (or sitting) at the side of history. https://not-very-quiet.com/2020/03/30/scribbles/ A recording of it may be posted too. Recordings are there in lieu of a launch, which was originally scheduled for last night, pre-virus.

artist at work