I’ve had two articles published in other places this week, talking about the wonders of poetry, in prose.

Here is a link to a launch speech I gave last year for the pamphlet In Response to Magpies. It deals with that most Australian of birds, its colonial conquests, and some very well known poets. That’s in the Australian Poetry members magazine, called Sotto.

This second link is to the ACT Writers Centre blog, where I mentally swear at a stupid person, and talk about Byron, as per usual. It is a defence of poetry. It contains jokes.


So busy have I been writing prose about poetry that I have no Tuesday poem for you today! But fear not. Click this feather, and other poets will satisfy your cravings:

Tuesday Poem

Next week, the third anniversary of the Tuesday Poem group, we will be writing a joint poem, starting on Tuesday, to be posted gradually at that link as each poet writes a section. It should be a lot of fun!

Have a wonderful, reflective and chocolate flavoured Easter.

tanka and wine crop

What a lovely present for a launch speech! Yesterday it was about 36 degrees in Canberra and unusually steamy, and I gave my first launch speech for the pamphlet In Response to Magpies.  This was organised by Hazel Hall, Australian Poetry’s café poet at Biginelli’s café.

Hazel Hall

Hazel Hall

It went quite well, and the readings by the poets included in the collection were enjoyable. Here I am looking up in the air, as if there is an invisible magpie swooping:

magpie launch

Fortunately I am wearing my special invisible helmet

I am hoping to write up the speech for publication. The wine remains intact, as it is gin weather.

Last night I went to a poetry slam, co-organised by fellow Triptych poet J.C. Inman at The Front, and it was so steamy and hot we were all like pieces of tofu floating in a laksa. Here is a piece of poetic tofu, also known as J.C. Inman:

J.C. Inman(my phone was fainting from the heat)

J.C. Inman
(my phone was fainting from the heat)

I realised how exhausted I was when I read a poem before the slam and my hands were literally shaking. People must have thought I was a very sensitive flower, but that was not it at all. It was: half heat, half gin, half gym. So what? A mathematican I ain’t.

Canberra: freezing one day and Brisbane the next. If only I could afford a pankawallah.  Or another gin.

Now I’m off to be languid.  After the gym.

Silver-eyes and figs

Each bird a single note, played
between the heavy figs, swollen
breves in this flighted music,
swing accents in an airy score.
The eye does not dissect
any swift segue of feather,

rather the bird breeze shakes
the hand-leaves, palms turned away.
It is the movement we see, not
a display case specimen mounted,
spread eagled for our slower eyes.

To watch this quick-silver is to
turn away from focus, to become
silver-eyed ourselves, as the ruffled

feathers of the fig
breathe scent of bird.

This uncharacteristic poem appears in my first book, The Glass Violin, copies of which are still available from Ginninderra Press. (Scroll down this linked page to Cottier.) Annoyingly, the last two lines above should appear as a broken line, with the word ‘breathe’ under the word ‘fig’, but this broken line keeps being removed before I can post this entry, creating a lovely chunky effect. Sigh.

I still remember how nervous I was before the launch of that first book. Geoff Page did the launch speech.

And now I am doing the launch of a book for the first time on Friday. The book is called In response to magpies, and is a small pamphlet of nine poems dealing with this charismatic Australian bird. The idea is that it would make a wonderful alternative to a mere Christmas card. The authors are Denise Burton, Amelia Fielden, Hazel Hall, Norma Hayman, Kathy Kituai, Sandra McGahy, Fiona McIlroy, Sandra Renew and Jill Sutton.

golden eye, not silver

Details: Biginelli Expresso, 5th floor, School of Music, Australian National University, 2pm. Please come along if you feel like poetry or coffee (or both) in the middle of the day.

I understand that magpies cause some havoc in New Zealand, where they are an introduced species. So even though one might say Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle, I doubt somehow that this feather represents the magpie. Click it, and you will fly to New Zealand, where further poetry awaits you.
Tuesday Poem