So as the year drags its poxy old carcass towards December, waiting to be reborn, I thought I’d have a bit of a think on what I’ve done this year in terms of writing. If that is likely to bore the intellectual beeves from your brain’s corral, please scroll down to the end, where there be a poem.

Firstly, the list is not all settled as the anthology edited by Tim Jones and myself has been nominated for the poetry category in the ACT Publishing Awards, run by the ACT Writers Centre.

SLS_Cov

The awards are to be given out in the lovely old building that is now the Gorman Arts Centre, on the 17th, as people sip wine and nibble on cheese.  Or, in some people’s cases, spurn cheese and guzzle wine.  I’ll update on those results.

Here’s some other stuff I did this year. Some future publications (accepted but not announced) do not appear:

P.S. Cottier’s stuff in 2015

Poem ‘Canberra’ accepted for Capitals anthology, edited Abhay K. To be published in 2015.  Now 2016.

Poems ‘Lord A of Yarralumla’, ‘Bike ride at night’, ‘A good end’ and ‘The smell of heaven’ published in Eureka Street, Volume 25 No 2, 9th February 2015. ‘A good end’ also published in Global Pulse, ‘edited in Rome, produced in Thailand’.

Poem ‘A lively discussion over the merits of flash fiction’ published Antipodean SF, issue 200, February 2015, along with reprint of ‘Prickly Green’. Recording of latter on radio show, March 2015.

Shortlisted Thiel Grant for online writing, March 2015 for proposal to write weekly piece on Frankenstein and Mary Shelley.

Report on Banjo Paterson Festival for Australian Poetry website, March 2015. (I performed a poem at the competition in Orange in February.)

Reading, Folk Dance Association of ACT, March 2015.

Poems ‘Cockatoos’ ‘All the blond Jesuses’ ‘The chicken in Autumn’ ‘A gecko in Canberra’ published in The House is Not Quiet and The World is Not Calm: Poetry from Canberra, edited Geoff Page and Kit Kelen, China, 2015.

Poem ‘After hours in the op shop’ republished in Rhysling Anthology, 2015, USA

Pocket book Paths into Inner Canberra published by Ginninderra Press, March 2015 in ‘Pocket Places’ series.

Adelaide Plains Poets Inc Poetry Competition 2014/15 ‘CLIMATE’ theme, awarded second prize for ‘Circular’. Judge Shelley Hansen.

‘Miles and beyond’ published Eye to the Telescope, Issue 16, on ‘Music’ theme, edited Diane Severson Mori, April 2015. (USA)

Tanka ‘without you’ published All You Need is Love, ed Amelia Fielden, April 2015.

‘Fire haiku’ published in Flood, Fire and Drought, ed Hazel Hall et al May 2015

Poem ‘The fruit of her hands’ published Midnight Echo, no 11, edited Kaaron Warren, April 2015. Also column on poetry, called ‘Writing with the Left Hand: P.S. Cottier discusses the sinister side of poetry’.

Article; ‘Crafty poet seeks words’ in ACTWrite, May 2015 (How I write)

Article ‘Literary competitions: Better than the pokies?’ (retitled ‘An accountant of dreams’) Overland Blog, May 2015

MS ‘ “Impressed upon me even more deeply”; Reflections of the monster’ judged to be ‘outstanding’ by Amy Hilhorst, work & tumble’s letter press chapbook competition, June 2015

Reading, Manning Clark House, June 2015 (30 minutes)

Highly commended inaugural Interstellar poetry award, June 2015 for ‘We are all working our way up, towards the birds’

Poem ‘Carrying an injury’ Verity La, June 2015

Poem ‘Route 9’ awarded third prize Australian Catholic University Poetry Prize 2015 on theme Peace Tolerance and Understanding, judged Kevin Hart and published in book of theme name, August 2015.

‘Shellac’ republished in Dwarf Stars Anthology, USA, 2015, edited John Amen.

Book Review Timelord Dreaming by David P Reiter published SMH 1-7 (on-line) Canberra Times 1-8 (print)

‘Soft-sacks for total relaxation’ (story) published Antipodean SF, August 2015. Also recorded for radio show. Broadcast November 7.

Book Review Growing Older Without Feeling Old: On Vitality and Ageing by Rudi Westendorp published The CT, August 8 2015

Two poems ‘The rules of cricket rewritten for the fairy world’ and ‘All the ships of the world’ published Eureka Street, Volume 25 No 15, 10 August 2015

‘At the Lifeline Bookfair’ Canberra Times, 19 September 2015

First Place Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing, New England Writers Centre, 2015, published Armidale Express and the NEWC website. Judge Les Murray.

Highly Commended FAWQ Poetry Competition, November 2015 ‘The sounds of dying’

‘Secondary ghosts’ published Australian Poetry Journal, Volume 5 Issue 2, November 2015, edited Michael Sharkey.

‘A hard poem to market’ published Cordite ‘Toil’ edition (52) edited Carol Jenkins, 1 November 2015

‘Remembering Laika’ published in A Quiet Shelter There: An Anthology to Benefit Homeless Animals, ed Gerri Lean, Hadley Rille Books (US)

Solo reading/discussion Smith’s Alternative, November 2, 2015. That Poetry Thing That Is On At Smith’s Every Other Monday.

Poem ‘Three ways to look at crochet’ accepted for The Canberra Times, September 2016 (!)

***

I feel I’ve been quite busy this year, and I am particularly pleased with the wee book Paths Into Inner Canberra, which combines prose and poetry.  On the other hand, I should be sending out full length manuscripts here and there, but just want to write more individual poems at the moment.

I’ve been doing a few readings, and did my first solo one at Smith’s in November.  I particularly enjoyed being interviewed by Norm de Plume (Josh Inman) who is back in Canberra after defecting to Sydney.

Sydernee and Melbourne are both easier places to be a poet, it seems to me, (cos bigger and nearer to more publishers) and harder, in that it is easier to slip into anonymity there (cos bigger and more poets).  But definitely, those of us in the provinces need to be a little noisier to be noticed and acknowledged, I think.  Hard for the shy and retiring!  Or those who find Facebook and Twitter unbearable, anyway, such as your constant blogger.

Here’s a wee poem after all this egregious seeveeing.  (Which is like emceeing but even more ego driven.)  About climate change and monsters, which are frequent companions in my work this year:

Full stomp

It’s coming —
stomp! stomp! stomp!
down the roads of your town
or city or village or Tokyo style
megalopolis. Or isle now all swamp —
splash splash splash splash!
Roaring and slapping buildings
like the cheeks
of a thousand hysterical women
in chap rich 50s Westerns.
Stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp!
It is silver as a can,
silver as the idea of an automobile
before we (forget Tokyo)
realised that petrol had a price. Or gas,
as the Americans say —
fart fart stomp fart fart.
Godzilla on steroids
(for we shall use Japan when it suits us)
it turns its awful face towards us!
The face seems so familiar!
It breathes out the thick air
of a million hangovers!
Its cheeks have warts like silver hubcaps,
flung onto the highways of its cheeks!
I am the Anthroposaurus, it says.
Look upon me and weep!
Its voice is as subtle as its step,
subtle as this poem’s drear
stompification.
(Full stomp.)

P.S. Cottier

struth-winkelried

oral hygiene and the dragon

In many ways, this blog is my favourite creation, and thanks to all my readers for being part of it.

Other Tuesday Poems can be found here.


We are all working our way up, towards the birds

We are all working our way up, towards the birds.
Outliers like Icarus, 70s pterodactyl hanggliders,
twitchers and breeders of weird coloured parrots:
they have all felt the urge and responded
to the best of their beakless capacities.
But they are not the neo-orno avant-garde.
The egg must come first, before the flight —
putting aside philosophy, that is just true.
So who is nature’s true Anna Wintour?
Where is the next Paris to be found?

The catwalk of the world is spiked by echidna.
Platypus pouts there too. (That is hard with a bill.)
These two are the fashion-forward models,
who will soon sprout wings and launch and fly;
it is happening now, as I type and you read.
Placenta will be ditched, like yesterday’s rags.
Next year, unaided flight will be de rigueur,
and song will erupt, without instruments,
deep from the gape of seven billion throats.
We are all working our way up, towards the birds.

P.S. Cottier

airship-1670

This poem was recently highly commended in the Interstellar Award for Speculative Poetry. Fellow Tuesday Poet (and lovely person/editor) Tim Jones was placed second with a poem that blends the speculative and the political, and Kevin Gillam (who may be lovely, for all I know, but who lives in Western Australia, which is much further away than New Zealand, at least psychologically) was awarded first place with a fascinating work that demands several readings. (A little like that monstrous sub-clausey sentence, but much much better.) You can read their poems and the detailed judge’s report here. This was the second thing I was highly commended/shortlisted/close-but-no-cigared for in the last fortnight! I won’t bore on about the other one though, as I don’t want to publish that poetry here just yet.

If you like humorous, short poetry, I promise that some will be read at Manning Clark House on 24th June at 7.30pm. I hear there will also be some quite angry stuff, and, of course, some speculative poetry. That’s by me; I have no idea if Mark Tredinnick writes any of that sort of thing. (He is the other reader.)

Come along to 11 Tasmania Circle and find out. Also; wine.

cheers

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

Poet assassin for hire

The poet is armed and kicks.
Sometimes that even hurts.
Then she legs it, all enjambe
ment and blisters.
A regular mule with the metaphors,
she similes like a snake on butter,
and can tell voltas from mere electrics.
She chucks haiku
and knows better than counting
syllables like coins.
She put the eco in ecopoetry
and swoops like a precarious bird
onto the blank pages of logs.
Knuckledusters swell
on the ends of her fingers
like real toads waxing
in totes imaginary salons.
She stashes bullets
in well-worn culottes.
She will absolutely murder
for a few couplets more.

I, too, dislike her.

P.S. Cottier

(Many apologies to Marianne Moore.)

Wistful and vicious

Wistful and vicious

Sometimes it is good to have fun, ‘because fun is good’, as Dr Seuss wrote. Did you spot the ‘haiku’ embedded in the poem? Sorry, there is no prize.

I know at least three people that a poem written purely for fun will annoy, as they disapprove of play. I hear that Poet Assassin does not care. She is beyond shame. But obsessed by spelling; and I hear that she chose enjambement over enjambment for some obscure reason of poetics. Question that decision and die…

Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets around the world by pressing here.
***

On a very different note, there is a great new opportunity for poets who would like to write a speculative poem. A competition, organised by Joanne (Jo) Mills, will award $1000 (that’s the plucky Aussie $) to the best poem written in the science fiction, fantasy, horror or any related field. Entry is $12 (again, in the magic coin of Oz). Online entry? Yes.

Here are the details:
https://interstellaraward.wordpress.com/interstellar-award-for-speculative-poetry/

I am chuffed that the contest was partly inspired by the book The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry edited by Tim Jones and myself last year. Ms Mills had a poem called ‘Folds’ selected for the anthology by the incredibly talented and gorgeous editors, who are only slightly inclined to exaggeration in one case.
bigstock-Comet-in-the-sky-15028232

a persistence of jellyfish
flesh liaisons bloom
sea-flowers have no soul

P.S. Cottier

‘sea-flowers…’is from Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Blue_bottle_jelly_fish

This bluebottle is the sort of lovely Australian creature that delights visitors. The image (PD Wiki Commons) is very fine, but doesn’t show the long tail of the creature, which is the bit that stings.

I have a vivid memory of swimming out of my depth, when one of these wrapped around my arm like a mad doctor’s blood pressure tester. I had to swim to shore, against a slight overtow, with a band of pain tightening around one of my arms. I developed a delightful weal on my arm, resembling a string of rubies given by a particularly sadistic Prince from a fairy tale by Angela Carter.*

At the time, I didn’t know how bad the sting of these creatures was, in terms of how poisonous. Fortunately, they are not too bad for most people, unlike the small invisible jellyfish found further north, which are deadly. (Some people have bad reactions to them though, as with bee-stings. See this article.)

Interestingly, the bluebottle is actually a co-operative of creatures that band together, rather than a single life-form. I believe that these are the sorts of things that we will find on other planets. ‘Other planets’ here means the south coast of NSW.

I believe that Australian wildlife may be touched on in the central Tuesday Poem this week. Press this link and find out.

*UPDATE: I have been flicking through other posts by Tuesday Poets, and just noticed that Helen Lowe is featuring a poem by Tim Jones about Angela Carter. There is an absence of jellyfish in the fine poem, but the coincidence tickled me. Like a bluebottle, but a lot less painful.

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/book-review-the-stars-like-sand-edited-by-tim-jones-and-ps-cottier-20150223-13au1z.html

The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry was just reviewed for the Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra Times and elsewhere. A lovely review by Peter Pierce, which states that the book is a ‘splendid anthology, that entertains from start to finish’. Adjectives such as ‘enterprising, unusual and rewarding’ are used, which is always a good thing, providing retrospective solace to editors on their long trips through the unknown reaches of the poetic universe*.
a thing
Seek out the book here, or, if necessary, through those on-line bookstores.

You could even ask a physically constituted bookstore to order it for you, you intrepid little time traveller you.

*’Poetic universe’ is here defined to mean Australia; a small solar system on the outskirts of the English Andromeda.