So who is in it?

May 22, 2014

I thought people might be interested to know who is in The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry. So here is the full list:

David Adès, Zoë Anderson, Jude Aquilina, Emilie Zoey Baker, Catherine Bateson, Eric Beach, Judith Beveridge, Jenny Blackford, Peter Boyle, John Le Gay Brereton, Sara Bruxner, joanne burns, Michael Byrne, Caroline Caddy, me, Mike Crowl, Victor J. Daley, Luke Davies, C.J. Dennis, Jake Dennis, Benjamin Dodds, Joe Dolce, Michael Dransfield, Diane Fahey, Mary Hannay Foott, Carolyn Gerrish, Kevin Gillam, Alan Gould, John Grey, Lesbian Harford, Dimitra Harvey, Ron Heard, Eliza-Jane Henry-Jones, Matt Hetherington, Paul Hetherington, Dorothy Hewett, Marilyn Humbert, Lisa Jacobson, John Jenkins, Jill Jones, Raphael Kabo, Melinda Kallasmae, S.K. Kelen, Earl Livings, Chris Lynch, Emily Manger, Catherine Martin, M.F. McAuliffe, Victoria McGrath, Jo Mills, Peter Minter, Lizz Murphy, Les Murray, Jan Napier, John Shaw Neilson, Barry O’Donahue, Jan Owen, Moya Pacey, Andrew Barton Paterson, Simon Petrie, Dorothy Porter, Craig Powell, David P. Reiter, Philip Salom, Janeen Samuel, Miro Sandev, Tim Sinclair, Alex Skovron, Melinda Smith, J. Brunton Stephens, Alan Stewart, John Tranter, John Upton, Rod Usher, Susan Waddell, Rob Walker, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Samuel Wagan Watson, Mercedes Webb-Pullman, Les Wicks, Sean Williams, SB Wright.

Rapt, I am, to unwrap such a group. Lovely pagefellows to lie between such covers:

a thing

I am really looking forward to the launches now. I’ll post the invitation posters again soon, just in case the list has inspired you to come along and hear some of that group read at either of the launches. (I copied the list by hand and eye, just to refamiliarise myself, so please excuse any typos, which are not in the book!)

The very best poetry readings are where you manage to discover something about your own work while in the act of reading; that is, you forget the notion of performance while performing.  Happened to me on Tuesday at The Gods, where I found a pun lurking in one poem that I had not previously noticed, and had to swallow an inappropriate laugh.  (They do breed like rats just released onto a Pacific island in my work, it must be said. Puns, that is.)  I also enjoy the response of the audience.  A good turn up it was too, for Melinda Smith, Russell Erwin and myself.

he's not that blurry in real life

Melinda Smith, P.S. Cottier, Geoff Page

I wore a Vogon poetry shirt, as a little reminder that if it didn’t go well, there are definitely worse poets out there, somewhere in the universe.  But it did go well, and some very intelligent questions were asked of the three readers after the readings.  You can see Melinda answering one being put to her by Geoff Page in the last photo, while I try and disappear behind the microphone. (Russell was there too, but out of shot. He’s the one in the striped top above.)

Reading one’s work is fun, as is discovering the work of others in their own voices.  Melinda’s tart, elegant and poignant poetry, Russell’s dive-in and discover expansive explorations, and whatever it is that I write made for a varied menu. I managed to put in a plug for humorous poetry, too, during the questions.  And people were laughing during parts of the reading, and I think in a good way.

Now back to the serious, beret-ed business of writing some more poetry, having scuttled out into a public place for a couple of hours.


Kaleidoscope of dreams opens
with a quick twist or gentle pop!
of cork, that dearest birth of joy.
Let us go down paths that wind
and never stop their winding.
Spin with me, webs to catch grief,
then let go the delicate and fine
who may flutter on to others.
Crimson measure in crystal,
I raise you to the sky and see
the world made kinder through
flickering, red-coloured glasses.

P.S. Cottier

And on the other hand, let this photograph be a warning to you all:

a little tired and emotional

a little tired and emotional

I am reading at The Gods, Australian National University campus, at 8pm on Tuesday 10th (meals from 6.30).  The cover charge for the reading itself is $10 waged and $5 unwaged.  What a bargain! Because this is the day after the night that I usually post my Tuesday poem, I may not get to it this week.  If so, please regard this poem, posted on Saturday, as a Tuesday poem.  Have a glass of wine and that Will All Make Sense.

The other poets are the excellent Melinda Smith, previously featured on this very blog, who also has a book launch on the Wednesday at Smith’s Books (her book of autism poems), and Russell Erwin, whose work I do not yet know. Hopefully I will be in a state to remember it, should I be lucky enough to read first, and therefore liberated to have ‘a drink or two’ afterwards as I listen to Russell and Melinda.

There seems to be a pattern emerging…

I prefer

serious illness to surprise
computers to my brother
reading number plates to Christmas morning

straight lines
submerging my ears in a warm bath to waterslides
deep fat fryers to matchbox cars

torture to haircuts
libraries to birthday parties
standing ankle-deep in ocean

tenpin bowling to climbing trees
looking at things out of the corner of my eye
Sonic the Hedgehog to family time

death to dentist visits
my mother with her glasses off
plastic wheelie bins to petting zoos

not to see my school friends outside of school
cricket statistics to Toy Story
chewing clothes-pegs to talking

rules to freedom
truth to sarcasm

to be left alone

This poem, by Melinda Smith, is written in the voice of an autistic primary school student.  Melinda is another Canberra-based poet.  (There are many of us here, scuttling quietly between the monuments.)

She has been widely published in magazines, newspapers and anthologies and her poems have also been set to music, hung on gallery walls, printed on postcards and displayed on Canberra’s buses.  (Although not, I believe, the same poem simultaneously, more’s the pity.) She has also appeared in the Random House NZ parenting poem anthology Swings and Roundabouts and recently had a poem in the Marginalisation issue of Blackmail Press. She has two books out with Ginninderra Press (Pushing thirty, wearing seventeen and Mapless in Underland) and has a third coming out in April 2012, called First…Then… . This is a book of poems about autism and has an NZ connection: Kapiti Coast poet (and GP) Glenn Colquhoun read an early draft of one of the poems in 2010 and told her that it needed to be a book. You can catch a sneak preview of the book here and Melinda’s general poetry blog is here.

The poem above will be included in First…Then… and you will be able to order the book direct from the Ginninderra Press website, when it becomes available in April.  I’ll post here when it’s available for order, and any other options for purchase.

I would like to thank Melinda for allowing me to post her quietly haunting poem. I was pleasantly surprised by the references to cricket and ten-pin bowling, which stopped this being the first post in the last five hundred years in which sport did not make an appearance on my blog.

I think it’s time for politics here, though, next post.

Tuesday Poem

Click the feather. I can’t guarantee flight, but I can guarantee poetry from up to thirty other poets.