Moving south

It seems that I'm an itinerant. I've moved around all my life - from early on, when, due to unusual circumstances, my mother, father, brother and sister took off in separate directions when I was just eighteen months old until now - and that's many years later. According to my partner Jane and her French friends, I have what they call la bougeotte - from the verb bouger - to move, or get around. La bougeotte means having the fidgets. I don't think of it this way at all - I just seem to change address fairly often. Not including various residencies overseas, and not including various addresses in the same suburbs at different times, in chronological order, these are the places I've lived :

Seymour, Victoria. Camp Hill, Brisbane. Army Base Toowoomba, Queensland. Enoggera Army Base, Gaythorne, West Chermside, Kangaroo Point, Milton, Figtree Pocket, Brisbane, Queensland. Little Bay, Paddington, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Sydney, New South Wales. Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria. Paddington, Surry Hills, Sydney, New South Wales. Sherbrooke Forest, Monbulk, Dandenong Mountains, Victoria. Glebe, Sydney. MacDonald Valley, New South Wales. Annandale, Rozelle, Sydney. Mountain Lagoon, New South Wales. Parkside, Adelaide, South Australia. Newtown, Petersham, Camperdown, Ultimo, Bellevue Hill, Sydney. Blackheath, New South Wales and, finally, I'll say farewell from Rose Bay, Sydney.

 Sultry morning, Rose Bay, Sydney
25th October 2006

                   The famous saucepan (foto courtesy AWM, Canberra)

One of the stories that Rose Bay locals like to tell concerns a Japanese submarine and the damaged aluminium saucepan. It was taken from the kitchen of the place next door to where we've lived for the last four and a half years. It was demolished by a shell from the large Japanese submarine I-24. The I-24, which had launched the midget submarine in a famous attack on Sydney Harbour a week earlier, fired ten shells into the Sydney suburbs of Bellevue Hill, Woollahra, Rose Bay and Vaucluse on the night of 7-8 June 1942. The only one of these shells to explode fell outside the Yallambee Flats on Plumer Road, Rose Bay, where it caused considerable damage. Several slight injuries were suffered by civilians, and as a result, many residents of the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney took up temporary residence in safer locations such as the Blue Mountains of NSW.

                   Yallambee, 3 Plumer Road, today

One way to enter the building at the University of Sydney that houses Badham Library, where I've worked for the past sixteen years is via the Graffiti Tunnel. I have been very fond of walking through this particular passageway and its ephemeral imagery.

             Graffiti Tunnel, University of Sydney, 2006

This time, we're moving south to Melbourne.

       A shipping container 'Art Box', Melbourne Arts Festival, 2005

A note to visitors to The Deletions - you can click on any images that appear on the blog if you want to see them in larger sizes.



is proud to announce the publication of its fifth annual issue and the launch of its brand-new website.

FULCRUM: an annual of poetry and aesthetics, Number Five, 2006, edited by Philip Nikolayev and Katia Kapovich * 544 pp., perfectbound, exquisitely designed, cheaply priced * SPECIAL FEATURES: Poets and Philosophers; Poetry and Harvard in the 1920s * POETRY BY Stephen Sturgeon, Ben Mazer, Jeet Thayil, Vivek Narayanan, Glyn Maxwell, Joe Green, Landis Everson, Dan Sofaer, Billy Collins, John Tranter, Andrea Zanzotto, Don Share, Sean O Riordain, Greg Delanty, Michael Palmer, Kit Robinson, Brian Henry, Pam Brown, David Lehman, John Hennessy, Charles Bernstein, Charles Baudelaire, Guillaume Apollinaire, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Arthur Rimbaud, X.J. Kennedy, John Crowe Ransom, Alex To, Fiona Sampson, Fan Ogilvie, Richard Fein, Joyelle McSweeney, Justin Marks, Gerard Malanga, Alexei Tsvetkov, George Bilgere, John Wheelwright, Malcolm Cowley, R.P. Blackmur, Dudley Fitts... * ESSAYS BY Eliot Weinberger, Peter H. Hare, Simon Critchley, Marjorie Perloff, Lisa Goldfarb, Pierre Joris, Raymond Barfield... * ART Esther Pullman, e.e. cummings * INTERVIEW: Andrea Zanzotto * ...AND MUCH MORE!

Kate Richards' and Sarah Waterson's
'sub_scapePROOF - a machinima'
is in SynCity
a survey show of dlux greatest hits!

Opening 6 - 8pm
Friday 20th October

australian centre for photography
257 Oxford Street
Paddington, Sydney

Exhibition runs 21st Oct til 26th Nov
Tues-Fri 12md - 7pm
Sat-Sun 10am - 6pm


Vernal stirrings

                                              A & B, frisky


foyer's cat-sprayed dado walls
welcome mat in tatters
a neighbour announces
the first cockroach
of spring

fresh southerly change
chance of a shower
tell the dirty sacred ibis
feasting on boutique rubbish
from the skip
behind the Italian deli
to wing it

oddly elegiac
turning on the variety show's
latest episode
garden power reigns supreme
blue collar sensibilities
fill each fresh poem
and minds meet



In October 2001, over 400 asylum-seekers departed from Indonesia in a grossly overcrowded, unseaworthy boat bound for Australia. Somewhere between the two countries the boat sank, with a terrible loss of life. 353 of the asylum-seekers drowned.The boat was known as the SIEV X.
The Australian government claimed it had no prior knowledge of the unfolding tragedy. Yet, from the beginning, government ministers and senior officials tried to mislead the Australian Senate and the community over important questions. What did the government and its agencies know about the boat and its fate, and when did they know? Did they have or should they have taken any responsibility for the tragedy? Did they have a duty of care that they shirked ?

This weekend a public memorial will be held in the Australian Capital Canberra to mark the fifth anniversary of this tragic incident:

Siev X Memorial Ceremony and Raising of the Poles

Weston Park

2 pm Sunday 15 October 2006

Ex- Australian-ambassador to Cambodia and Poland, Tony Kevin wrote an investigative book about the sinking of the SIEV X - A Certain Maritime Incident, published by Scribe in 2004. The book revealed a disquieting record of government misconduct, including Australian Federal Police involvement in a people-smuggling 'disruption program', and an extraordinary combination of stone-walling and professed ignorance by a government dedicated to micro-managing the deterrence of asylum-seeker voyages.

Many of the victims of this disaster have family members living in Australia on temporary protection visas. This book is dedicated to them. It is also for the rest of us because, Tony Kevin argues, nothing less than a comprehensive judicial enquiry into the sinking of SIEV X will suffice if Australia is to regain its national honour.

Tony Kevin retired from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1998, after a thirty-year public service career. He served in the Prime Minister's Department, and was Australia's ambassador to Poland and Cambodia. He is currently an honorary visiting fellow at the ANU Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies. He has written extensively on Australian foreign, national security and refugee policies in Australia's national print media, including Eureka Street, Canberra Times, the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, and Australian Financial Review.

He has also recently written a critique of the proposed Australian Values and English Test that Sylvia Lawson also covered recently - blogged here on The Deletions.

A letter to the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald Newspaper on this topic was published yesterday :

Language test for immigrants is a smokescreen
(October 13, 2006)

I write concerning the proposal that immigrants must speak English.
A language test on immigrants harks back to the dark days of white supremacy in Australia, and the test will prove absolutely nothing about immigrants' ability to integrate.

One of my happiest days in the Australian foreign service was December 5, 1972, with the end of the White Australia Policy.
To that time the Australian government excluded non-white immigrants by testing them in a language they did not know.

I have lived in non-English-speaking countries and understand how hard it is for the first generation of immigrants to operate in a second language. As any immigrant family will tell you, it is the second generation who become the native speakers of English, while all are part of the community in their own way.

My wife is an immigrant who speaks English. She has degrees in French, Russian and Chinese literature from the University of Michigan, University of California, Berkeley, and the Sorbonne.

She has more letters after her name than are in her name. You would think she is the sort of well-educated person Australia would welcome. However, her Australian experience was hellish. She wanted to integrate, but Australians, by and large, would not allow that.

That said, she and I made many dear Australian friends, but because of the attitude of the community at large, we prefer to stay out of Australia and make the occasional return trip to see friends and family.

My wife and I have become expatriates not because her language skills did not allow her to integrate and take on Australian values but because the pure merinos, the Australian-born Australians, were so uniformly hostile to her.

Is Australia ready for well-educated, white-collar immigrants? Are Australians ready to compete with them for jobs?
If not, how does Australia hope to allow them to make a life for themselves in Australia? Will these well-educated, English-speaking immigrants be satisfied making beds in hotels and serving in fish-and-chip shops?

The matter of English testing falls in the field of language policy and this debate needs to be informed by experts in that field.

The English language test is a smokescreen. In our experience the real problemf for immigrants trying to integrate into Australian society is the Australians, who are denying the values of those who seek to live there.

Geoffrey Thomas, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo


In Australia, we're talking about

Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, Attorney General, Philip 'Mr. Burns' Ruddock by Paul Batey

In Australia as the government moves so far to the right of what was once right that they now believe they're dead right, we're talking about the Foreign Minister ticking off politicians in the Solomon Islands, about North Korea, about Indonesia, about a national education curriculum to save us from pinko red lefty ideologues and we're talking about state-sanctioned racism in the form of English language tests for migrants (the revenants of the White Australia Policy still haunt us)

Sydney-based Sylvia Lawson writes essays, journalism and fiction. Her most recent book is The Outside Story (Hardie Grant, 2003), a novel centred on the contested history of the Sydney Opera House.The Archibald Paradox her multi-award-winning study of the early Sydney Bulletin and its first editor, is out in a new edition from The Miegunyah Press.
She has written an article on this current issue for The New Matilda in agreeable response to an earlier article by Emma Dawson.


Why is Michael Farrell grinning ?
Does he know about Van Gogh's Ear ?

                                 Michael Farrell (foto Nandi Chinna)

Melbourne poet, Michael Farrell has just published Break Me Ouch an A4 sized book of poetry comics . It's nutty, witty, funny and occasionally thoughtful too.

It's published by
3 Deep Publishing

Van Gogh's Ear 5: The Celebrity Edition

Van Gogh's Ear is an international anthology series based in Paris, France and published in conjunction with Allen Ginsberg's Committee on Poetry in New York City. Since its début in 2002, Van Gogh's Ear has gained considerable acclaim for its eclecticism and publishing such legends as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Yoko Ono, Tony Curtis, Xaviera Hollander, Charles Manson, and a great many more, alongside renowned poets, novelists, political activists, and never-before-heard voices from every walk of life in all parts of the world. Van Gogh's Ear is distributed in the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa, and Australia.

The editor, Ian Ayres, describes the new issue : Van Gogh's Ear: The Celebrity Edition, which is volume 5, celebrates art, poetry, and the ultimate sex goddess of the 20th century, Marilyn Monroe. There's a one-act play by Joyce Carol Oates that brings to life Marilyn's posing for the nude calendar shot, new insights from Marilyn biographer Sarah Churchwell, plus never-before-revealed Marilyn memories by her personal masseur, Ralph Roberts, friend John Gilmore, and others who actually knew her. More exciting highlights are memoirs by movie stars and celebrities such as Tony Curtis, Mamie Van Doren, Sylvia Miles, and Xaviera Hollander. Not to mention the many renowned poets, novelists, cultural icons and political activists also included in this truly international collection with contributors from Australia, India, Dubai, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Canada, the USA, Ireland, England, France, Holland, Germany, Finland, Serbia, etc. Volume 5 of Van Gogh's Ear addresses taboo, politics and the human condition from every walk of life. Plus there's a compelling letter from Patricia Nell Warren, author of best-selling novel The Front Runner , in which she warns about the negation of free speech and the rise of fascism in the USA. And a scan of a recent prison letter from Charles Manson, in which he expresses concern about what's happening to the planet, tells of how he's treated in prison, as well as how he feels about his fame and the exploitation of him in the music scene. Volume 5 is an odyssey through cultural landscapes, revealing more about our times than any internet news-source or guru ever has. Exhibiting paintings that honor the life and times of Marilyn Monroe by such artists as Demetrie Kabbaz, Werner Horvath, and Tony Curtis, this collection is a must for Marilyn fans everywhere. Due to nudes, however, along with explicit works by the world's most daring writers, i.e., the Marquis de Sade, a 'Parental Advisory' warning appears on the cover.

My copy was opened for inspection by Australian officials.

Featured Contributors:
Franklin Abbot Shane Allison Antler Jorge Artajo Joe Bacal
Dawn-Michelle Baude Barbara Beck Guy R. Beining
Kimberly Biggers Gojko Bozovic J. R. Brady Rolf Dieter Brinkman
Pam Brown Michael Brownstein Peter Cherney Sarah Churchwell
Billy Collins Dennis Cooper Barbara Costa Holly Crawford
Quentin Crisp Tony Curtis William Curtis Jen Dalton
Albert Flynn DeSilver DML Eduard Escoffet Landis Everson
Marcus Ewert Marilyn Yvonne Ford Serge Gainsbourg
Maureen Gallagher Johnny Gevalia John Gilmore John Giorno
Daphne Gottlieb Stephen Gray J. Kenneth Grider Andreas Gripp
Jane Hathaway Michael Hathaway Trebor Healey
Thomas M. Herndon Lynette S'phiwe Hlongwane
Xaviera Hollander Paul Hoover Werner Horvath Justice Howard
Gary Indiana Fred Johnston Demetrie Kabbaz Kit Kennedy
Romella D'Ore Kitchens John Kliphan Aki Lehtinen
Linda Lerner J. T. LeRoy Lyn Lifshin Jason Lynn Jayanta Mahapatra
Norman Mailer Charles Manson Lori A. May Ben Mazer
Gabrielle McIntire Sharon Mesmer Robin Metz Sylvia Miles
Peter Minter Pete Mullineaux Eileen Myles Thom Nickels
Joyce Carol Oates Ulick O'Connor Molly Peacock
Daniel Pendergrass Robert Peters Felice Picano Jane Piirto
Jennifer Pinard Wayne Ray Dee Rimbaud Ralph Roberts
Bob Rosenthal Lauren Russell Albert Russo Marquis de Sade
Aram Saroyan Richard Siken Mark Terrill Paul Trachtenberg
John Updike Mamie Van Doren Phillip Ward Patricia Nell Warren
Lewis Warsh Regina Weinreich Janean Williams A. D. Winans
Saint James Harris Wood Jeffrey Cyphers Wright Gerald Zipper

It's available from French Connection Press


Christian Bök in Sydney

                                                 (foto - Sharon Harris)

Christian Bök
(born Book in Toronto 1966) is a Canadian experimental poet. He is a sound poet best known for holding the world record of the fastest rendition of Kurt Schwitters' Ursonate. He performed this double-speed live on WFMU Radio, New York, where he also performed other compositions derived from made-up languages used for Canadian science fiction shows.

Eunoia is probably the work for which he is most famous. Edited by Darren Wershler-Henry at Coach House Books, Eunoia is a lipogram that uses only one vowel in each of its five chapters, and this work was a bestseller in Canada and won the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2002. One of its sections is chapter e for René Crevel.
'Vowels', a poem that appears in Eunoia was featured in the lyrics of a song on the EP 'A Quick Fix of Melancholy' by the Norwegian rock band 'Ulver' in 2003. Bök is also the author of Crystallography (Coach House Books, 1994), a pataphysical encyclopedia. He has created conceptual art, making artist's books from Rubik's cubes and Lego bricks. Bök is a Ph.D. graduate from York University in Toronto. He teaches at the University of Calgary. He has also worked in sci-fi television, designing artificial languages for Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict and Peter Benchley's Amazon. He lives in Calgary.

Christian Bök's publications:
Crystallography (1994) ISBN 1552451194
Eunoia (2001) ISBN 1933368152
Pataphysics: The Poetics of an Imaginary Science (2002)
ISBN 0810118777
The Cyborg Opera (forthcoming)

Christian Bök will be presenting his work
at UTS this Tuesday afternoon

Tuesday October 3 5pm
UTS Building 6 (Design and Architecture Building),
Level 3, Room 21
Enter from Harris Street steps
beneath the pedestrian bridge.
Free entry, all welcome.