This little story was the winner of the RedBeard Bakery 50 Words Microfiction Competition, at the Words in Winter Festival, Trentham, Victoria. It is up by link on the Word in Winter site, but I thought I’d post in here now. Prize winning entries in the other categories can be read here. The story had to be exactly 50 words long; hence the rather clipped tone! The theme was ‘Origins’.


It was hidden in the op shop, behind fifteen copies of Fifty Shades. First edition Darwin. Original Origin.

He grabbed it from me, paid $5, and ran. I followed, did only what was necessary, and reclaimed the book.

It sold for £100,000.

That’s only fitting, if you think about it.

PS Cottier


I also have a micro-poem just published in Award Winning Australian Poetry (Melbourne Books) which is being launched in Melbourne on the 30th August, at the Athenaeum Library in Collins Street, at 6pm. I went last year and it was a great launch.

So, after two micro awards, I’m obviously getting big in a small way. I received $200 in vouchers from a great bakery in Trentham for the story, which probably works out at a large roll a word, and will have to drive down and stuff myself some glorious and calorific day.

And on another note, over at Overland there’s an extended debate about whether ‘bush poetry’ deserves to be included in ‘Best of’ collections. I find it fascinating how this sort of debate tends to attract so many more men more than women; what is it about definitions and certainties? But, anyway, here’s my less than serious contribution.

Mayweather v McGregor was more entertaining
than trying to know poetry by explaining.

It’s all so pugnacious.
(Is rhyming contagious?)

Next week: post-structuralism summarised in a limerick, and semiotics in a haiku.

And on yet another, far less frivolous note, send a thought to the home of real haiku, who just had a missile sent over their northern island.

Tuesday poem: Outings

November 28, 2016


Out for review
Out for the count
Out of time
Out for lunch
Out and about
Out for a duck
Out of luck
Out of the closet
Out on the town
Out of the corner of my eye
Out of the box
Out of the mouths of babes
Out of fashion
Out caught behind
Out of it
Out and out
Over and out

PS Cottier

A bit of fun this week; and why not, as we head into glorious summer and Christmas?


I was chuffed (a technical term for a state somewhere between freakily ecstatic and mildly pleased) to hear that I have been shortlisted for the Red Room New Shoots Poetry Prize, in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, and Rochford Street Review.  You can access the full shortlists here (plural as there was a site specific contest for the Botanic Gardens, too).   Lovely to recognise some other people on the list!  And to see some names that are totally unfamiliar, as well.

Now I’m off to work on some sunburn.

I am so very nice

April 21, 2015

Why that self praise? I am about to share the details of a wonderful poetry prize currently on offer with all readers:

First prize is $15,000 for one poem of up to 50 lines, and entry is $20. It is open to everyone in the world who writes English and has a credit card with at least $20 left on it. That may exclude quite a number of poets, admittedly, but a few may qualify. There’s a bit over a month before the prize closes. Obviously, there will be quite a few entries!

Pick up pen, tablet or crayon and write. Or enter a poem that you have been too lazy to send in to a journal. Do it or be beaten by this rabbit:

I am hoarding a poem for the competition like Gollum with the Ring. It just requires a bit more polishing.

Good luck!

A nice surprise!

July 21, 2014

I just heard that I have been awarded second prize in the Hector the Lump of Coal Picture Book Competition. I wrote a story in verse called ‘Hector and the Bully’.

Such a pleasure to rhyme and to have a narrative, and a group of characters, I must say. It was a very different type of poetry from that which I usually write, which tends to be free verse.  I tried to make the poem quite easy to read, particularly aloud, while avoiding overly clunky rhymes.  (It is about a lump of coal, though, which is a fairly solid addition to any poem.)

I wanted to raise the issue of bullying without making the work too confronting for a potential audience of young readers (some of whom might have the story read to them by parents, should it be published).

Hector became more like a real presence to me as the piece progressed, as those close to me noticed. What started purely as a bit of fun became a tad more serious. Hector began popping up in the conversation all the time.  I began imagining him in all sorts of scenarios.  As is usual with me, I became a little obsessed.  First time it’s happened with a coal-shaped mascot, though!

To say that I am surprised to win a prize is actually an understatement, given that this was so far from what I usually do.  Although I have secretly been working on a different children’s book, it must be said…Here I am dreaming of publication.

This current award does not necessarily mean publication of the story, by the way. It is a cash prize.

Thank you to the organisers, DBCT Pty Ltd. I only wish I could meet Hector some time.

I had a poem prepared for today, but this most unexpected news intervened.

Perhaps that should be lines. The Cricket Poetry Award closes on 31st August, so if you have an idea for a poem about playing or watching cricket, it’s time to pad up.

The prize is $2000 AUD, entry is $20, which can be done by Paypal, and the announcement of the winner is made at the SCG members pavilion. The top twenty poems from each year have previously been published in a booklet.

Entry forms and full conditions can be found here. There is a tight word limit of 150, so there is no defensive play allowed. No Boycott. Only Gower. And that has to be a good thing.

Bloody batting metaphors. Grumble grumble.