(PB with apologies to Chester Gould)


In mid-December I read some poems into the telephone from my recently published book True Thoughts and was interviewed for Writers Radio by Cath Kenneally. To listen to the broadcast click here.

                                                Cath Kenneally


         Very best wishes to US friends from the deletions
         at this historic, momentous and wonderful time.


American Memories, Melbourne

(not quite after Hope Mirrlees)
I want a panorama


green art deco bakelite in the national gallery


creak chug creak chug creak chug under Princes Bridge on the Yarra


Greek woman tearing the gig posters from the lightpole
outside her son’s bar
Going down Madam ?

follow the commemorative brass plaques in the footpath
a golden mile must be almost two kilometres

ne rien faire walk slowly doing nothing
for approximately two hours

WARAKURNA ARTISTS at Alcaston Gallery in Fitzroy until Saturday

discover why Melbourne is called ‘marvellous’

a grey mouse running through green & purple wisteria vines

attached to creaking weatherboard cottages

the awful HARD art of the minimal
strikes here and
strikes again in Montréal, actually strikes TWICE in Montréal
at the Museum of Contemporary Art and at the Musée des Beaux Arts

créme émolliente hydratante blow wind blow
buy Magic Gloves at Dollarama

red wine and voodoo at RUBIS ROUGE

in the USA public toilets flush automatically which can be alarming
all announcers have Spanish accents
the L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E poetry is really realism
Ron Silliman’s VOG is Voice Over Guy, Voice Of God, Very Ordinary Glory
Vital Organs Grim …

on the SILVER STAR 91
from Philadelphia Pennysylvania to Richmond Virginia
(Dixie Hummingbirds, Cab Calloway, Ruth Brown, Amos Milburn)

the suitcase keys
are in
the alternative medicine pill bottle


Henry ‘Box’ Brown
mailed himself to freedom
in a big box labelled ‘Dry Goods’ - from Virginia to Philadelphia in 1849

from Richmond Virginia to Washington District Columbia
(Elizabeth Cotten, Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye)

innumerable Stars & Stripes innumerable

Famous American Female Poet :
‘What you might need to know is that you might not make it
But if you do, you might have needed an astrolabe
or a two-bit smile or smirk, this is a style
that could get you a cup of coffee’

AMERICAN coffee ??
old worms in the woodwork
old hooks on the hat rack
old bottomless cups depleted

TIPPING drives me crazy -
quoted price
+Value Added Tax
bring a pocket calculator

As Portentous As The Opening Chords Of A Big Bob Dylan Ballad
the prescience of the dead

Yours truly, Your paranormal host,

hooray at last here’s the panorama coming up now

discover all the charms of ELEGANT and CONTEMPORARY

cross the west gate bridge for AMAZING city views
observe the yarra river's BUSTLING ACTIVITY
see queen victoria market, fitzroy gardens
and albert park, home to the australian formula one grand prix.
visit the HISTORIC shrine of remembrance
stroll along southbank's waterfront precinct

this city has it ALL - discover it for yourself

pour boire, merci, thank you, tip

taxi to lax

JaMaiCan LeMoNaDe woo you never know
HeY HeY VLaMinCK !
Maurice Vlaminck’s portrait in oilpaint of Guillaume Apollinaire

white women smiling into the air
Michael Jackson and his monkey


greasy screen at the mex internet café grill
too dangerous
to walk south
down the SAN DIEGO freeway

Almost Completely Finished With Pop Art Finally
call the paramedics

The quote from the ‘Famous American Female Poet’
is from Above The Leaders by Alice Notley (Veer Books, 2008)


Another year has begun and it's definitely time to begin it, so I've been sorting through some box files and folders and throwing out old clippings, photocopies, maps, pictures, postcards. Allow me a little personal indulgence - here, from the piles of files is a tiny sample from hundreds of bits and pieces. Remember, if you click on the images you can enlarge them. I'll start with a set of the card game 'Happy Families' I made, with my mother Jean, when I was seven years old. You can view the entire pack here. Clunkily cut cardboard, dribbly watercolour - I wasn't anywhere close to being even a 'budding' artist but there were hours of fun up ahead playing cards.

Little images or notes found or clipped or kept, like one of my father's military notebooks, or a scrap of paper, a ticket, a jigsaw piece, a label popped into a pocket, placed in a notebook and later saved in a box file :

                    click any of the images (except Her Grumpy Majesty) to enlarge them


Now now now

The Now now festival is on again this weekend.
For further information and tickets to events click here


                                                   Cover illustration by Julia Wolfson.

Ekleksographia is an independent international poetry magazine edited, produced and published by Jesse Glass, Daniel Sendecki and a revolving panel of editors. The publication revolves completely around their efforts and therefore maintains a somewhat irregular publication schedule, averaging about 2 issues a year. Ekleksographia employs a 'revolving editor' system—the magazine retains a panel of editors, each of which edits one issue every so often.

Ekleksographia is published as an Ahadada Books cooperative publication. Editors and contributors are asked actively to contribute both their talents and their time to the publication.

Ekleksographia is an exercise in asymmetrical publishing, and is a shoe (or even two!) thrown at the spotlit shrug and yawn.

This issue was curated by Jane Joritz-Nakagawa. Jane's third book of poems, EXHIBIT C, has been published by Ahadada (autumn, 2008). Her other poetry books are Skin Museum (2006) and Aquiline (2007).

Contributors to Volume 1:
Frances Presley | Cyril Wong | Pam Brown | Michael Rothenberg
Cynthia Hogue | Joel Chace | Elisabeth Frost
Takako Arai (trans. Jeffrey Angles) | Alan Botsford | Harriet Tarlo
Samuel Day Wharton | Michael Crake
Yoko Danno | Kyong Mi Park (trans. Lianna Kushi) | Paul Hoover
Philip Rowland | William Allegrezza | Jane Joritz-Nakagawa


I am reading Loiterature, happily not an obsessively-linear book, by the only Australian member of OuLiPo, Ross Chambers, who is currently the Marvin Felheim Distinguished University Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan and is a Visiting Professor at Louisiana State University.

The cover image of ‘Loiterature’ is a detail from a photograph by Montague Glover

                         Montague Glover’s photograph

Loiterature's Chapter I   Divided Attentions (On Being Dilatory) begins:

I’ve been giving up caffeine for years now, but a caffé latte steams at my elbow. Midsummer:

    Wet heat drifts through the afternoon
    like a campus dog, a fraternity ghost
    waiting to stay home from football games
    The arches are empty clear to the sky

These verses might have been written (or composed, or generated) only a few yards from where I sit, at the intersection of N. University and S. State in Ann Arbor, the suture point (in my personal myth of the city) where the campus meets the town. No campus dogs in evidence (expensive animals on leashes don’t qualify). Times change. When Frank O’Hara came to Ann Arbor in 1950 he was amused by the Midwestern candor of the cafeteria signs that read, bluntly, FOOD; today they’re more likely to read cappuccino, and it’s hard to find a cafeteria:

              (la forme d’une ville
  Change plus vite, hélas! que le coeur d’un mortel).

Sitting lazily at this much frequented intersection, I think about intersections and I think about belatedness, my regret for an Ann Arbor I never knew (and wouldn’t have liked), the stab of Baudelaire’s midline exclamation point at “hélas!”, the image of abstention - better still, of anticipated abstention - in “waiting to stay home from football games.” Being belated, one foot in 1950, the other in the 1990s, is (like abstaining and anticipating) a form of divided attention, the “distracted” attention Benjamin thought characteristic of modernity (
was it Benjamin? I must remember to look it up). One foot in campus, one in town; one in 1950, one in 1994.....

Loiterature's back cover notes give a pretty good summary of the contents :
The fabric of the western literary tradition is not always predictable. In one wayward strand, waywardness itself is at work, delay becomes almost predictable, triviality is auspicious, and failure is cheerfully admired. This is loiterature. Loiterature is the first book to identify this strand, to follow its path through major works and genres, and to evaluate its literary significance.

By offering subtle resistance to the laws of "good social order," loiterly literature blurs the distinctions between innocent pleasure and harmless relaxation on the one hand, and not-so-innocent intent on the other. The result is covert social criticism that casts doubt on the values good citizens hold dear—values like discipline, organization, productivity, and, above all, work. It levels this criticism, however, under the guise of innocent wit or harmless entertainment. Loiterature distracts attention the way a street conjurer diverts us with his sleight of hand.If the pleasurable has critical potential, may not one of the functions of the critical be to produce pleasure? The ability to digress, Ross Chambers suggests, is at the heart of both, and loiterature’s digressive waywardness offers something to ponder for critics of culture as well as lovers of literature.

Read Laurence Porter’s review and a ‘preview’ of the book here

Books by Ross Chambers include The Writing of Melancholy, Facing It : AIDS Diaries and the Death of the Author, and Room for Maneuver.