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Trans Tasman Poetry

HOME & AWAY 2010

The New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre - nzepc - is planning a two-part symposium in Auckland and Sydney. The first part of HOME & AWAY 2010 will feature readings, launches and forum-style talks with trans Tasman colleagues at the University of Auckland 30-31 March. For details of the program visit this site

We will also establish a digital bridge and invite poets and others to contribute text, images, audio or video that reflects or extends the symposium's trans Tasman focus. Another round of contributions to the bridge will be uploaded as HOME & AWAY convenes in Sydney 1-2 September. In this way we hope to create two-way traffic between points in time and places where poets connect.

Anyone interested in poetry and its current conversations can send a submission to the digital bridge. Submissions will be considered by an editorial team and you will be notified when your contribution has been accepted or declined. For further information on the digital component click here.

Poems and prose (prose no longer than 2000 words please) should be sent to as attached files. If you are sending images, audio or video check with us about suitable formats for upload. Submissions should reach us by 15 April for inclusion in the first upload, and by 15 August for the second. You should be the copyright holder of the material you are submitting.

The bridge will go live 30 March 2010.

Michele Leggott and Brian Flaherty, Pam Brown and Martin Edmond,
editors for NZ Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc)

Patti Smith. What can I say? ‘Pissing in A River’ was my theme song in the mid 70s. I scrawled the song title in big black texta letters on the interior roof panel of my VW station wagon. The album ‘Horses’ had the same inspirational effect on me when I first heard it as Bob Dylan’s ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ had when I was at high school in 1964. That is, I was, in the vernacular of the times, blown away. I still own my copy of Patti’s first single - ‘Piss Factory’/’Hey Joe’ - a rare item now, that she and Lenny Kaye made with Tom Verlaine and then, as Mer records, had it pressed in a limited edition of 1500 in Philadelphia in 1974.

I had read her poetry books, ‘Witt’, ‘Seventh Heaven’, ‘Ha Ha Houdini’ before I heard the music. I loved her books for their New York feel, for their look and style more than the actual poems. Patti Smith always tended towards the just-post-beat mystical and I was becoming interested then in a more hard-edged scepticism, and anyway, in Australia the mystical was for hippies in Nimbin communes. I had been fascinated, as many kids in their late teens/early twenties were, by the experimentation and seeming rebellion and freedom of the underground punk & poetry scene that followed on from the Beats in New York in the late 60s/early 70s.

               Patti Smith, cover photo for Horses by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1975

Just Kids is a memoir of Patti Smith’s early days with her lover and close friend Robert Mapplethorpe as they survive on part-time jobs in bookshops and hustle for dinner and rent and a room at the Chelsea as they gradually figure out how to become artists in New York City. Although she slips into occasional purple patches her generosity and openness here make this an honest and totally engaging memoir. It’s her gift to her soul mate, Robert Mapplethorpe, the visual artist and photographer who died of AIDS at the age of 42 in 1989.

I know I am totally unobjective about Patti Smith. When I saw her perform at the Enmore Theatre in 1997 during her first visit to Sydney, her raw power was extraordinary - her work had definitely deepened and strengthened as she had aged. On that tour, she read poems to a small audience one Sunday morning at the Museum of Contemporary Art. No celebrity artifice, just the poet and the work - it was brilliant.

Here’s Edmund White’s review of Just Kids

Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets
edited by Michael Farrell & Jill Jones
published by Puncher & Wattmann

Book launch with talks by
Michael Kirby & Anna Gibbs

Poetry readings by Kate Lilley, Martin Harrison, Chris Edwards, Andy Quan, Kerry Leves, Tricia Dearborn, Keri Glastonbury, Tim Denoon, Joanne Burns, Jenni Nixon, Dennis Gallagher, Paul Knobel, Louise Wakeling, Carolyn Gerrish, Jill Jones and Michael Farrell.

Other poets in the anthology include David Malouf, Dorothy Porter, Pam Brown, Lee Cataldi, Wendy Jenkins, Peter Rose, Angela Gardner, Miriel Lenore, Bel Schenk, Dipti Saravanamuttu, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, and others.

Friday 26th Feb, 6pm
Foyer, York Theatre
The Seymour Centre
Cnr Cleveland St & City Road,
Chippendale, Sydney

Jacket magazine to move in January 2011

An Announcement from John Tranter and Al Filreis

Dear friends:

We are writing with news of a transition we both deem very exciting.

By the end of 2010, John Tranter and Pam Brown will have put out 40 issues of Jacket ( It began in what John recalls as "a rash moment" in 1997 - an early all-online magazine, one of the earliest in the world of poetry and poetics, and quite rare for its consistency over the years. "The design is beautiful, the contents awesomely voluminous, the slant international modernist and experimental." (So said The Guardian.)

After issue 40, John will retire from thirteen years of intense every-single-day involvement with Jacket, and the entire archive of thousands of web pages will move intact to servers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where it will of course be available on the internet to everyone, for free, as always. But the magazine is not ceasing publication: quite the opposite.

Starting with the first issue in 2011, Jacket will have a new home, extra staff and a vigorous future as Jacket2. Jacket and its continuation, Jacket2, will be hosted by the Kelly Writers House and PennSound at the University of Pennsylvania.

The connection with PennSound, a vast and growing archive of audio recordings of poetry performance, discussion and criticism, is seen as a valuable additional facet of the new magazine, as is the relationship with busy Kelly Writers House, a lively venue for day-to-day poetic interchange of all kinds. The synergy in this three-way relationship has great potential.

Al will become Publisher and Jessica Lowenthal, Director of the Writers House, will be Associate Publisher. The new Editor will be Michael S. Hennessey (currently Managing Editor of PennSound) and the new Managing Editor will be Julia Bloch. John will be available as Founding Editor, and Pam will continue as Associate Editor.

More news about Jacket2 in the weeks and months to come. Meantime, the Jacket2 folks extend gratitude -- as many in the world of poetics do -- to John and to Pam Brown for the extraordinary work they've done. And John, for his part, is mightily pleased that Jacket will be preserved and will continue and grow in a somewhat new mode but with a continuous mission and approach.

- John Tranter & Al Filreis
Jacket Magazine

click on the names for links:

Al Filreis
Kelly Writers House
Jessica Lowenthal, Kelly Writers House Director
Michael S. Hennessey
Julia Bloch
Pam Brown
John Tranter

Note from Pam Brown, Associate Editor : - I welcome this move to the University of Pennsylvania and its many attendant connections with contemporary poetry. I feel enthused by the upcoming changes. I'll be staying on with 'Jacket2' and plan to edit Australian/NZ/AsianAustn/Southern Pacific material as a sweep of whatever has poetic currency in this region at the time.