I am very happy to have my first publication in India.

The poem ‘Canberra’ appears in the book Capitals, edited by Abhay K.  The anthology contains poems about nearly all of the world’s capital cities, and is published by Bloomsbury, India.  I came across this YouTube film of the book being launched recently at the Jaipur Literature Festival, by Ruth Padel:

Canberra is represented by two poems; the other one is by Michelle Cahill, which I am hanging out to read.  So we’re really writing above our weight division in terms of population, particularly as Oceania is merged with Asia in the book.

I am very much looking forward to receiving my contributor’s copy.  Here is the cover, which is stompingly cool:


I responded to a call-out for poems for the anthology on the Australian Poetry website, and feel honoured to be included with my mild little poem about Canberra.  Poets in the anthology include Ms Padel, the late Mahmoud Darwish, Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva and Derek Walcott.  Just shows that you should always submit a poem if the project interests you. You have nothing to lose but your quatrains, as Marx didn’t say.

Most of all though, I’m delighted to be published in India, which is home to the world’s second largest number of speakers of English.  It makes a welcome change from Oz or the USA.  My poems are becoming much more well-travelled than I am!  (I’m usually beyond rapt when I do a reading in Melbourne or Sydney.)

The book can be ordered through Amazon India, from late April, according to that site, or from Bloomsbury, also in April.  No doubt it will be available elsewhere as well.

UPDATE: I just I just found out that the Jaipur Literature Festival is coming to Melbourne!  Exciting stuff.

Not so egregiously slack

October 30, 2014

I really have been absent from my blog for about two weeks now, which is virtually unprecedented. ‘Virtually unprecedented’ is a pretentious way of saying I am usually not lazy like that. But I have been busy, judging other people’s poetry. bigstock_Pen_4267530 That image is very dignified, whereas the process is somewhat more fraught. ‘Fraught’ is a slightly pretentious way of saying difficult. The whole issue of judging poetry throws one back to basics: Why me? What makes a poem good? It is easy to spot the bad poems in a Big Pile. They may use obvious rhyme to the extent that a rhyme seems to be the only point of each line. (A bit like that sentence, but even rhymier.) They may dwell too obviously on the poet him or herself (all the poems to be judged are anonymous, of course, so one does not know the gender of the entrant). I actually like some poems in which the process of writing itself is dealt with, if they are amusing or surprising; not if they are turgid or caught up in an unreflective notion of genius. A good poem should surprise and take risks. It should not use the occasional ‘poetic’ word as seasoning for a balefully plain meal. Somewhere between pinch, stroke and slap we find the Good Poem, strutting herself like a green flamingo, all swerve and flap and tingle. flamingo There you have it; a Good Poem describes an unusually feathered tall bird that tastes like sherbet. Having cleared that up, and finished judging a contest in which there were just too many lovely flamingos, I can move on to something different.

A very interesting anthology is currently being prepared for publication in 2015. Here are the details: http://www.abhayk.com/p/global-poetry-project.html Abhay K., Indian poet and diplomat, is editing a collection of poems on capital cities. One for each capital city, I think. I just found out that my poem has been accepted for Canberra. This will be the most international publication that I have been lucky enough to be part of, with poets from Tehran to Jakarta to Paris to Lima included, with 196 or so more. Very exciting indeed!


I am struggling to find the time to work on assembling a new manuscript of poems. So please, dear reader, forgive the absence of an actual poem here this time. I will remedy that in the near future. Which is a pretentious way of saying keep reading.