So as the year drags its poxy old carcass towards December, waiting to be reborn, I thought I’d have a bit of a think on what I’ve done this year in terms of writing. If that is likely to bore the intellectual beeves from your brain’s corral, please scroll down to the end, where there be a poem.

Firstly, the list is not all settled as the anthology edited by Tim Jones and myself has been nominated for the poetry category in the ACT Publishing Awards, run by the ACT Writers Centre.

SLS_Cov

The awards are to be given out in the lovely old building that is now the Gorman Arts Centre, on the 17th, as people sip wine and nibble on cheese.  Or, in some people’s cases, spurn cheese and guzzle wine.  I’ll update on those results.

Here’s some other stuff I did this year. Some future publications (accepted but not announced) do not appear:

P.S. Cottier’s stuff in 2015

Poem ‘Canberra’ accepted for Capitals anthology, edited Abhay K. To be published in 2015.  Now 2016.

Poems ‘Lord A of Yarralumla’, ‘Bike ride at night’, ‘A good end’ and ‘The smell of heaven’ published in Eureka Street, Volume 25 No 2, 9th February 2015. ‘A good end’ also published in Global Pulse, ‘edited in Rome, produced in Thailand’.

Poem ‘A lively discussion over the merits of flash fiction’ published Antipodean SF, issue 200, February 2015, along with reprint of ‘Prickly Green’. Recording of latter on radio show, March 2015.

Shortlisted Thiel Grant for online writing, March 2015 for proposal to write weekly piece on Frankenstein and Mary Shelley.

Report on Banjo Paterson Festival for Australian Poetry website, March 2015. (I performed a poem at the competition in Orange in February.)

Reading, Folk Dance Association of ACT, March 2015.

Poems ‘Cockatoos’ ‘All the blond Jesuses’ ‘The chicken in Autumn’ ‘A gecko in Canberra’ published in The House is Not Quiet and The World is Not Calm: Poetry from Canberra, edited Geoff Page and Kit Kelen, China, 2015.

Poem ‘After hours in the op shop’ republished in Rhysling Anthology, 2015, USA

Pocket book Paths into Inner Canberra published by Ginninderra Press, March 2015 in ‘Pocket Places’ series.

Adelaide Plains Poets Inc Poetry Competition 2014/15 ‘CLIMATE’ theme, awarded second prize for ‘Circular’. Judge Shelley Hansen.

‘Miles and beyond’ published Eye to the Telescope, Issue 16, on ‘Music’ theme, edited Diane Severson Mori, April 2015. (USA)

Tanka ‘without you’ published All You Need is Love, ed Amelia Fielden, April 2015.

‘Fire haiku’ published in Flood, Fire and Drought, ed Hazel Hall et al May 2015

Poem ‘The fruit of her hands’ published Midnight Echo, no 11, edited Kaaron Warren, April 2015. Also column on poetry, called ‘Writing with the Left Hand: P.S. Cottier discusses the sinister side of poetry’.

Article; ‘Crafty poet seeks words’ in ACTWrite, May 2015 (How I write)

Article ‘Literary competitions: Better than the pokies?’ (retitled ‘An accountant of dreams’) Overland Blog, May 2015

MS ‘ “Impressed upon me even more deeply”; Reflections of the monster’ judged to be ‘outstanding’ by Amy Hilhorst, work & tumble’s letter press chapbook competition, June 2015

Reading, Manning Clark House, June 2015 (30 minutes)

Highly commended inaugural Interstellar poetry award, June 2015 for ‘We are all working our way up, towards the birds’

Poem ‘Carrying an injury’ Verity La, June 2015

Poem ‘Route 9’ awarded third prize Australian Catholic University Poetry Prize 2015 on theme Peace Tolerance and Understanding, judged Kevin Hart and published in book of theme name, August 2015.

‘Shellac’ republished in Dwarf Stars Anthology, USA, 2015, edited John Amen.

Book Review Timelord Dreaming by David P Reiter published SMH 1-7 (on-line) Canberra Times 1-8 (print)

‘Soft-sacks for total relaxation’ (story) published Antipodean SF, August 2015. Also recorded for radio show. Broadcast November 7.

Book Review Growing Older Without Feeling Old: On Vitality and Ageing by Rudi Westendorp published The CT, August 8 2015

Two poems ‘The rules of cricket rewritten for the fairy world’ and ‘All the ships of the world’ published Eureka Street, Volume 25 No 15, 10 August 2015

‘At the Lifeline Bookfair’ Canberra Times, 19 September 2015

First Place Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing, New England Writers Centre, 2015, published Armidale Express and the NEWC website. Judge Les Murray.

Highly Commended FAWQ Poetry Competition, November 2015 ‘The sounds of dying’

‘Secondary ghosts’ published Australian Poetry Journal, Volume 5 Issue 2, November 2015, edited Michael Sharkey.

‘A hard poem to market’ published Cordite ‘Toil’ edition (52) edited Carol Jenkins, 1 November 2015

‘Remembering Laika’ published in A Quiet Shelter There: An Anthology to Benefit Homeless Animals, ed Gerri Lean, Hadley Rille Books (US)

Solo reading/discussion Smith’s Alternative, November 2, 2015. That Poetry Thing That Is On At Smith’s Every Other Monday.

Poem ‘Three ways to look at crochet’ accepted for The Canberra Times, September 2016 (!)

***

I feel I’ve been quite busy this year, and I am particularly pleased with the wee book Paths Into Inner Canberra, which combines prose and poetry.  On the other hand, I should be sending out full length manuscripts here and there, but just want to write more individual poems at the moment.

I’ve been doing a few readings, and did my first solo one at Smith’s in November.  I particularly enjoyed being interviewed by Norm de Plume (Josh Inman) who is back in Canberra after defecting to Sydney.

Sydernee and Melbourne are both easier places to be a poet, it seems to me, (cos bigger and nearer to more publishers) and harder, in that it is easier to slip into anonymity there (cos bigger and more poets).  But definitely, those of us in the provinces need to be a little noisier to be noticed and acknowledged, I think.  Hard for the shy and retiring!  Or those who find Facebook and Twitter unbearable, anyway, such as your constant blogger.

Here’s a wee poem after all this egregious seeveeing.  (Which is like emceeing but even more ego driven.)  About climate change and monsters, which are frequent companions in my work this year:

Full stomp

It’s coming —
stomp! stomp! stomp!
down the roads of your town
or city or village or Tokyo style
megalopolis. Or isle now all swamp —
splash splash splash splash!
Roaring and slapping buildings
like the cheeks
of a thousand hysterical women
in chap rich 50s Westerns.
Stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp!
It is silver as a can,
silver as the idea of an automobile
before we (forget Tokyo)
realised that petrol had a price. Or gas,
as the Americans say —
fart fart stomp fart fart.
Godzilla on steroids
(for we shall use Japan when it suits us)
it turns its awful face towards us!
The face seems so familiar!
It breathes out the thick air
of a million hangovers!
Its cheeks have warts like silver hubcaps,
flung onto the highways of its cheeks!
I am the Anthroposaurus, it says.
Look upon me and weep!
Its voice is as subtle as its step,
subtle as this poem’s drear
stompification.
(Full stomp.)

P.S. Cottier

struth-winkelried

oral hygiene and the dragon

In many ways, this blog is my favourite creation, and thanks to all my readers for being part of it.

Other Tuesday Poems can be found here.

I had some exciting news recently. My poem ‘Criminals who are no longer criminals’ was awarded first place in the Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing, run by the New England Writers Centre. The poetry judge, Les Murray, liked the clarity of the poem’s descriptions, which is particularly cool given that the poem deals with a group of ghosts. These are the ghosts of people convicted of crimes now repealed, including homosexuality and witchcraft, and I wrote of them meeting outside courts.

Chair of the New England Writers Centre, Sophie Masson, interviewed me and the interview can be read at her blog. I talk about the inspiration for the poem, which was the way we (meaning Australia) deal with asylum seekers. Also about what sort of poetry I like, and further details of my life of poetic crime. There is a link to the actual poem, at the Armidale Express.

As usual, Old Book Illustrations provided the perfect image, seemingly dealing with the process of composition.

study

I am now off to buy a budgie with the winnings. No Tuesday Poem from me. Unless you chase the link above, that is.

UPDATE:
The poem can now be read here.

He is risen indeed!

April 5, 2015

He is risen indeed!

— like Daniel Vettori, one-handed catch,
or Wingard marking like a boofy angel,
or Medhurst steadying before the net,
but with no ageing, no hamstring tweak,
and no second division.

And one day, we will see his face.
Perhaps tomorrow, or Tuesday week.

P.S. Cottier

Jesus_Resurrection_1778

Now, for benighted foreigners/those from non-cricketing, non-netball, non Australian Rules Football nations (for I hear that such places actually exist):

* Daniel Vettori is a cricketer who plays for New Zealand, who took a spectacular catch on the boundary in a recent World Cup match. I shall say no more about the eventual result of the tournament, although the word ‘plucky’ springs to mind. (Or plucked.)
* Chad Wingard is an AFL (Australian Football League) player who took a fantastic mark playing for Port Adelaide in a match against St Kilda last season. (A mark is where you leap up to catch the ball, often using another player as a fleshy ladder.)
* Natalie Medhurst is a prolific scorer in the Australian netball team, who exemplifies calmness and accuracy under pressure.

The ‘he’ of the title is rumoured to have been born in a non-cricketing, non-netball, non-Aussie Rules playing country. Can this possibly be true? (-: I shall try and understand this as I eat my weight in chocolate.

Tuesday poem: Falling through

February 23, 2015

Falling through

Suddenly enough, all the computers yawned, quick gape of electric jaws, and we fell inside their crocodile bytes. Gusting through googles of guts, airy programmatic colons, we were curtly expelled onto other users’ chairs. I am now John le Carré, and he has swapped Cornwall for my Canberra. He pecks up the slim crumbs of poetry, that elegant confetti of wordy Gretels, tracing back the route to nowhere known at all. He likes the sun-dipped cockatoos, the nestling hills, and the pungent gums; their leaves such shy apostrophes, punctuation in all four seasons’ sentences.

You’d think I’d favour it, being famous. Heaving shelves of unborn books with my name on them groan out to a midwife agent, so patient and alert. But anonymity has its charms of liberation, and cover stories (as John would know) can thin and fade, and sometimes even fray. For England, Cornwall almost has a Summer, or at least a Summer’s spritely maiden Aunt, out for a jaunt, recalling dead youth spent in War. I have felt something approaching happiness, writing of Berlin or terror on the cliff edge of this little island, staring out to frown of dark, deep grey sea.

I want to go home now, to space and lancet light, but this white dumb screen stays obdurate; locked square surface, on which so many best-sellers have been keyed. Teases of postcards beckon in front of portal mouth; I tempt it with treats to open up, chew, and spit me back. It likes this latest tray of toffees so tightly wrapped in silver. Now it quivers; a glassy jellyfish on firm dry sand of desk. Now

P.S. Cottier

bigstock_ripped_jeans_with_blank_space_10905971

Prose poem? Flash fiction? Unclassifiable weirdness? You be the judge.

I read somewhere that John le Carré does not write on a computer, but we’ll call that detail poetic licence, hm?

I hear that there has been a dead drop of poems here. Press this link and find out.

Seabirds and Labradors

November 25, 2014

Sometimes you lose sight of why you are doing something. Sometimes you get so caught up in the minute details of doing, that the beauty of doing evades you. You focus on a poem that was rejected, or a deadline that was missed, rather than remembering something that seemed to work well on the page, or an image, or a person you met through writing.

And then, suddenly, almost miraculously, you shake off that sludge. Or someone removes it from you, you miserable little seabird of gloom.

Three good things happened recently.

Firstly, I have been tutoring an on-line course in speculative poetry, that is drawing to an end. I have found the process of focusing on others’ work almost like trying something new at the gym; the muscles (or brain) scream, but new connections are made. Thank you to all the participants in the course, who have been my personal trainers.

Secondly, I undertook a one day course in writing and producing picture books, run by the expert and enthusiastic Tania McCartney, who is the author of many illustrated children’s books. Again, the brain felt its underdeveloped triceps straining, as someone who approaches writing for different people, and in a different way, took me through a (pleasurable) boot camp. Here is a photo of Tania, who is, as she said, obsessed with picture books:

Tania McCartney

Roaming around the Gorman Arts Centre at lunch time, I met a bevy of poets and other writers and performers, which reminded me how many people do interesting and creative and challenging things in Canberra. Undoubtedly many of these people has had a time when they felt seabird-in-oil sick, and each of them has found his or her way through.

A woman at the course (I won’t mention her name, as I don’t know how she’d feel about that) asked me if I would be interested in judging a poetry slam, and passed on my details to the organisers.

And that brings up Good Thing Number Three, where I’ll be judging a poetry slam for women, which is a special part of A Night of Art and Inspiration with Anthony Anaxagorou. I have seen some of this wonderful poet’s performances on YouTube. Search them out. You really should, you know. Kaveh the Unlikely Poet will also be featured at the event, which begins at 7pm, Sunday 7th December at the Transit Bar in Canberra. (Get there earlier for cheap pizza, if your stomach so desires. It’s in Akuna Street, near, but infinitely better than, the casino.)

So this is how unexpected connections can work, at times, at least for those who live in as lucky a place as Canberra. At least for those of us who also have access to literacy and educational opportunities. At least for those who are not to be denied citizenship because they are mentally ill, as if being locked up for being a refugee wouldn’t quite often make you mentally ill. Perhaps that’s the idea.

Sometimes you are buoyed up by luck and unexpected connections. I am fortunate to be able to find ways to shake off my depression like a Labrador shakes off water after a swim.

That’s my fat black dog out there, always chasing ugly ducks. He’ll come back to shore shortly.

***

Forgive this tl/dr rave; there will be poems again soon. Hopefully with metaphors a little less mixed than a fluffy duck.