Best launch ever?

July 22, 2016

The delayed launch of Suddenly Curving Space Time was held at Smiths late last night, and it was a memorable one.  Gerald Kearney was there, and performers included a band called Shoe or Shoo! (or possibly Choux? says the Francophile), a shakuhachi performance by Barbara, and of course poetry.  UPDATE:  I see from Bandcamp that the correct spelling is S.H.U.!  How’s a person supposed to guess that?


I didn’t get everyone’s full name, but here are some photos of performers, including Brian,  who has a really great voice.  And Gerald, one of the editors of the book (above and below) also gave a memorable performance.





me at launch suddenly

In honour of the weather that delayed the launch I read a few poems with a climate change and/or weather focus.  Despite a few people being unable to make the rescheduled launch (notably the co-editor Hal Judge, though Gerald read one of his poems),  it was an event that left me feeling inspired and intoxicated, in a good way.

Consider buying the book.


The photo above by Adam Thomas  shows me being interviewed by JC Inman. Monday at Smith’s, (aka TODAY!) I’ll be interviewing JC Inman. So that photo is doubly relevant.

Come and see Josh talk about his poetry, writing, life, eggs that also talk, and a few other things. 7pm at Smiths Alternative, Alinga Street, Civic ($10).  He will then read and/or perform some poems. There is also an open mic, and a bar where you can purchase good stuff.

Photo: Adam Thomas CC 2.0

UPDATE:  And a good, and even interesting, time was had by all.


Smith’s Alternative used to be a bookshop and is now a venue. I was lucky enough to be asked to be the first poet to read as part of ‘That Poetry Thing That Is On At Smith’s Every Other Monday’ aka An Evening with P.S. Cottier, by MC Norm de Plume.

I really enjoyed chatting to Norm (aka Josh) about writing and reading my poetry. In between there was a really lovely set by musician Gabriela Falzon. I wanted to listen more closely to the lyrics, but I had to compose a poem from words given to me by the audience at this time. God damn them. The words were:


Here’s what I wrote in ten minutes or so, between the interview (why, how, where) and the reading (what):

So I googled aardvark, and it took me
to South America, where the plants
are lumps of pain, needling the air,
the air thin as capillaries.
I want to be a gaucho,
chasing beef and capybara
through the blank page plains.
I wear chaps like parchment,
tattoed with macho glamour.

So I fell asleep, my pen flaccid
as a pancake’s Sunday hammock.
I am no gaucho, my purple bolas
do not spin. There is no flying
revelation, no roasted meal
in front of tossing, avid fire.
All I have is knowledge,
received knowledge, that the aardvark
seeks ants amongst ruins, as I seek
relics of greater words.
The cactus blooms, and no-one sees.

P.S. Cottier

Rough as a superannuated gaucho’s knees, but I enjoyed the process. (That is unedited, except for the spelling of aardvark, which is a word specifically invented for spelling comps.)

Smith’s has been a significant place for me. My first book launch was held there back in 2009. I wore the same dress tonight that I did then. My second poetry book was also launched there, and I remember independent MP Nick Xenophon read a poem from the book, the night the bar was opened. (Hal Judge launched that book, and Geoff Page launched the first one.)

Senator Xenophon takes a gamble

Senator Xenophon takes a gamble

Now Nigel is the proprietor, and I hope that the space works as a venue for years to come. Thanks to everyone who came along.

I suppose this can act as a Tuesday poem after all!

Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets by pressing here.

I have been asked to lead off a new series of poetry readings/discussions about poetry/general poetic hi jinx (the lesser known relative of the execrable Jaja Binks). Details for Canberrans/people with private jets who are not Donald Trump:

That Poetry Thing That Is On At Smith’s Every Other Monday @Smith’s Alternative, Alinga Street Civic
An Evening With P.S. Cottier
7pm, $5

That’s this woman, escaped from the psychedelically besmirched attic.

quiet dress

I am looking forward to being quizzed by JC Inman, fellow poet, about what inspires me and why I do it, and a myriad of other matters. There will be music! Hopefully composition on the spot! And then I will read for twenty minutes or so.

Do come along and keep the poet in fete money.

(I have an awful feeling that rugby may be mentioned, too…Josh Inman has some New Zealand blood, I believe.)
And, if you are seeking a Tuesday Poem, please press this link: That will take you to Cordite Poetry Review. This issue is on the idea or theme or prompt of toil, and is edited by Carol Jenkins.

Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets by pressing here.

By late Monday, I will be far too happy (I hope) to type.


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:

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.