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Usually when I have a photo taken, I freeze up into an iceberg of Titanic proportions. It is to the credit of Geoffrey Dunn that he managed to take quite a few photographs where I look thawed. In this one I look literate, for example. He has posted more on his site, at:

http://blog.lushpupimages.com/ps-cottier-poet

The one he has chosen of me with a parasol on the street is my favourite. The purpose of the session was to get a better photo for The Stars Like Sand, and we did, but I do like the more adventurous photos.

***

I have a busy few weeks ahead of me. On Saturday 15th, I am reading at Word Coop, at the ANU Food Coop, in Kingsley Street Acton, at 7.30 to 9.30pm. No, I will not be reading all that time. Other poets are Rochelle Fong, Good Ghost Bill and Ma Ya Ga Ng Re Ne. I may be wrong, but I suspect that some of these persons may be slam artists…Hosted and curated by the indefatigable Andrew Galan (who looked fairly fatigued last time I saw him) and by Amelia Filmer-Sankey.

Speaking of performance, on 22nd March, at 4pm, I am appearing at Smiths Alternative, with CJ Bowerbird, who has been crowned the National Poetry Slam champion. We will be reading some poems and discussing poetry, and responding to one of each other’s works. Andrew Galan will be in charge of that one too, fatiguing himself yet further.

These two events are part of the YOU ARE HERE Festival, which runs in Canberra between the 13th and 23rd. Many many events, so if you are lucky enough to live in the area, do check it out.

In between those two, I will be going out to Yass, as one of my poems has been short-listed in the open section of the Yass Show Poetry Competition. Should be fun. It was last year.
Lizz and me at Yass

That is Lizz Murphy, on the left of this definitely not professional snap taken at the Yass Show last year. Lizz will be reading tonight at The Gods, with John Stokes. Omar Musa was to be the third poet, but he will now read later in the year, and a super-sub will be taken from the bench.

No poem today, I’m afraid, as I have been caught up in egregiously demanding Things. If you feel like poems, click this link, and see what other Tuesday Poets have been doing:

Tuesday Poem

UPDATE: 10.22pm

Unfortunately, Lizz Murphy was unable to read for serious personal reasons. Very best wishes to you and yours, Lizz.

Harry Laing was the third reader, and Charlotte Clutterbuck stepped in at the last moment to take Lizz’s spot.

A successful evening, but I did miss Ms Murphy.

The indefatigable Geoff Page (was there ever a better surname for a poet?) has just released his schedule for readings at The Gods this year. Here it is:

Poetry at The Gods 2014

Tues Feb 11 & possibly Wed Feb 12 Les Murray (Bunyah)

Tues Mar 11 Omar Musa (Cbr)
John Stokes (Cbr)
Lizz Murphy (Binalong)

Tues Apr 8 Tricia Dearborn (Syd)
Barbara Fisher (Syd)

Tues May 13 Catherine Bateson (Dandenong Ranges)
Dennis Haskell (Perth)

Tues Jun 10 Moya Pacey (Cbr)
Harry Laing (Braidwood)
Geoff Page (Cbr)

Tues Jul 8 Ron Pretty (Wollongong)
Lynn Hard (Syd)

Tues Jul 22 Dead Poets’ Dinner

Tues Aug 12 David McCooey (Geelong)
Maria Takolander (Geelong)

Tues Sep 9 Alan Gould (Cbr)
Michael Thorley (Queanbeyan)
Penelope Layland (Cbr)

Tues Oct 14 Samuel Wagan Watson (Bris)
Judy Johnson (Newcastle)

Tues Nov 11 Jennifer Harrison (Melbourne)
Jordie Albiston (Melbourne)

Tues Dec 9 Stephen Edgar (Syd)
Judith Beveridge (Syd)

You can see that there is a melange of local and interstate poets, starting with Les Murray. Les always attracts a huge crowd, and there will most likely be two readings.
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The venue (a café and restaurant) gets its name from the fact that it is next to a small theatre on the Australian National University campus. My alma mater, at least for my PhD. I thought I’d put up a theatrical image because of that. And poetry reading is theatre; the darkened room, the sweat on the brow, the audience response. The critics!

In other poetry news, we are hard at work on The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry. The cover is being designed by David Reiter, and I should be able to post it here very soon. All being well, the book will be appearing around the end of April, although no date has been set yet. Very exciting. There is quite a cross-over between that list of poets at The Gods and the anthology, to segue like a mad thing.

Today I edit the main blog post of Tuesday Poem, and it’s a wonderful work by Hal Judge that takes centre stage. Click this feather to read his poem:

Tuesday Poem

***

On Sunday I drove out to Yass, about 50 minutes from Canberra, where the inaugural Yass Show Poetry competition was held. I had entered a poem in the adult contemporary written category; a free verse poem about Banjo Paterson who lived in Yass as a child, and later in his life.

There was also a bush poetry section, a performance section, a children’s section, and an open mic. We read next to the exhibit of prize wool clips, and the smell of the wool permeated the readings. Here I am with Lizz Murphy, who lives at Binalong in the Yass Valley, and who has had many books of poetry published:
Lizz and me at Yass
Sorry about the light in that photo! I am doing my best impression of a drunken owl, too, although not a dram had been taken.

I was a little nervous reading my free verse poem in a rural setting, but it was well received, and the judge, Robyn Cadwallader, was kind enough to have awarded me first prize in the written section. I listened to her very thorough judge’s report after winning and took in about 5% of what she said; I hope I get a chance to read the report. Here I am leaving the stage after reading:
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Thank you to another Robyn, Robyn Sykes, for organising the event.

UPDATE: Robyn Sykes sent me a copy of the judge’s report before this was posted. Will read it at my leisure.