20170720_113506

bikes sticks birds
inner city Canberra
feathered bustle

PS Cottier

heron july

This beautiful bird was photographed in ‘inner city’ Canberra, a few kilometres from Parliament House. It was walking around a pond, one that was relatively recently created as part of a project to return some of Sullivan’s Creek to a more, um, creek-like state rather than the concrete drain it has been for a while.

In my little book Paths Into Inner Canberra I talk about this effort to recreate a ‘natural’ environment in a little more depth. But it’s great to be able to spot creatures like this heron so near to where I live.

paths cover

Very happy that my wee book Paths Into Inner Canberra has been short-listed in the non-fiction category of the ACT Writers Centre Publishing Awards.  Last year the book I edited with Tim Jones called The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry was highly commended in the poetry category, which is a different kettle of aliens.

The photo by Geoffrey Dunn above shows me pedalling vigorously (or coasting) between genres.  Of course, poetry often describes the world in all its maddening detail from a slightly different perspective.  Slant, as one Ms Dickinson put it.  So rather than speaking of the bike-path running between poetry and non-fiction, perhaps we should picture two lanes separated by a weirdly curving, vivid orange line.  Poetry as high-vis non-fiction?  Non-fiction as poetry elongated into paragraphs?  Mmm, I think I need to do a bit more thinking from under my invisible helmet.

I’m afraid I haven’t read the other non-fiction books nominated.  Here is a link to all the nominations.  I have read the two poetry collections nominated, and they are both excellent.

Looking forward to the announcement on Thursday, and I am more than happy that a book that retails for $4 (plus postage) has made it to the short-list.   Makes an excellent alternative to the type of Christmas card in which Santa hovers over the chimneys like a rum-filled Hindenburg.

My new poetry collection, Quick Bright Things: Poems of Fantasy and Myth, marks a return to fairies. But often rather unpleasant ones, not so far removed from reality.  It is also available at that link.

UPDATE: 16-12  Very happy that Paths received a Highly Commended at the awards last night. Building a City – C.S. Daley and the Story of Canberra by Jennifer Horsfield was the winner in this category, and well done to her.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/ganggang-turtles-diving-like-huge-coins-thrown-into-a-wishing-well-20150812-gix4gz.html

That’s a link to a very nice appreciation of my chapbook Paths Into Inner Canberra, written by Ian Warden. He is kind enough to write that:

‘She writes poetically, deftly and quirkily. The needle on my highly sensitive cliche-detector didn’t flicker once during my reading.’

Lovely stuff! I write hoping that I may surprise a few readers with an image or a reflection, and it is gratifying to read that this was the case with Ian Warden. Here is the cover, with a photograph by Geoffrey Dunn:
paths cover

The book can be purchased from me (for those who ride bikes/drink too much coffee at cafes), from Book Lore, Lyneham, in Canberra, or from the publisher, Ginninderra Press. It is $4 (plus postage, if you order online). It is a prose essay with two poems.

It snowed yesterday in Canberra, so I was not on my bike. Snow is an occasional surprise here, and everyone was armed with their smartphones to record the phenomenon of cold dandruff. It has never settled on the collar of the pavement, though, that I can remember.

I am having an essay published. Yes, in prose, with two bonus poems. This is happening in a wee pocketbook to be called Paths Into Inner Canberra. The publisher is Ginninderra Press, based in South Australia. It is part of a new series they are publishing, called Pocket Places.

In the book, I describe riding a bike through Canberra along the bikepaths, and the wildlife that one can see, such as cockatoos and turtles. It is part memoir, part philosophical reflection (that’s a very little part) and part evocation of aspects of this city that I love.

The lovely photos have been taken by the very clever and cool Geoffrey Dunn. Here is one that the publisher chose not to use, which I quite like.
GDPhoto_150210__web-5

How do I obtain this wonderful book, I hear you cry? And is it true that it costs only $4?

In answer to your first question, I will post a link when it is available. Or if you see me in Canberra, enquire direct, buy me a coffee (or a beer or wine, if your accountancy skills are delightfully bad) and one will be your own to keep. To quote Willy Loman ‘That is a one million dollar idea.’

In answer to the second: Yes. Plus postage.

I am very happy that this essay is being published, although I should probably call it creative non-fiction, or extended haibun, or something clever. Does anyone write essays anymore?