A special afternoon

April 19, 2015

David Stavanger works on a line between music and poetry…No.
David Stavanger erases the line between music and poetry….That’s better. Though overly simplistic.

Here he is setting up before his gig in Canberra at Hotel Hotel in New Acton.
david s setting up
Richard Grantham played actual music, including electronic delay with a viola, and keyboards. David played his throat, and the audience, in a devilish performance.

Ellie Malbon also performed her poetry, and at one stage she was joined with Aaron Kirby in a piece with eucalyptus forests, and drowning, which made me think of Birnam Wood coming towards Macbeth in his castle (in the soon to be released play of the same name). Also there were surfing images, and a challenging of the division between elements, and a questioning of myths of improvement. There was a bath, too, in another poem. Here are Ellie’s feet, displayed on the interesting floor which could hardly be described as minimalist:
ellie malbon's feet

CJ Bowerbird emceed and performed, and I regret not having captured either his suit or his performance. Andrew Galan read works from his forthcoming second collection, which had a decidedly canine feel to it. This is the sort of maniac that he had in the audience:
Annie Te Whiu of ag and me
Thanks to Annie Te Whiu for the photo.

All in all, this was a wonderful afternoon of poetry and music at Hotel Hotel, in which a lot of poems about water were transformed into magic. The wine was good too…

David’s collection, The Special, is one I should have read by now, but it’s always great to buy it from the poet direct.

It’s a thing now!

May 16, 2014

a thing

I spotted this handsome thing having a glass of good Australian sparkling wine at Tilley’s.

This thing will be launched in Melbourne and Canberra soon, and then be sent out to all the contributors whose DNA formed the thing.

But on a lovely sunny Autumn afternoon in Canberra, this blogger will join Thing in having a drink or eight.

My fingers are feeling shky…vant spell,,or punktewat…

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.


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…

First review! Plus stars!

September 30, 2011

That’s to say this is the first review on this site. Fear not dear discerning blog-lover, I have written quite a number previously. Indeed, my reviewing efforts were once rewarded with the prize of $200 worth of wine by the ACT Writers Centre, as part of their annual awards. That’s what a poet calls ‘Breakfast’.  I have the pleasure of judging the same award for book reviewing, sponsored by Z4 wines, this year.

And actually, I’m lying. There is a link here to a review written by a Canberra writer who calls himself or herself Poetix. So the review is not really here at all. I assume Poetix is a Canberra writer as the review of Canberra and Beyond by well known Canberra identity Bill Tully appears on the RiotACT, a Canberra-based discussion site about all things Canberran.

Sometimes you can have just too much Canberra.

For those 99.999% of the world’s population who have no interest in Canberra (which is the capital of Australia, for those overseas who have never heard of it) please enjoy this little poem about the frustrations of astronomy.  The night sky differs between the hemispheres, but there are always stars.

Kicking the telescope

All this antic fiddling

when I wanted wonder

injected from you

like a syringe of pure white.

Fingers work, and thumbs,

in order to make a handle

of space, my grip as dumb

as a paralytic’s knee.

Perspicillim, sounds like

a Martian’s green-snot cold.

Ugly tripod, alien crouching,

on those three ungainly legs.

I swing mine to make a fourth.

You bow your one-eyed head.

P.S. Cottier