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…