farewell reflections and shadows of blackheath
view a selection here


poetry franchise

How can we join this branch? Perhaps Australian Poetry Ltd can provide contacts with the two poets 'running' it or with the estate of Frank O'Hara (who is currently pissing himself with laughter in his grave).

Update - John Tranter has sent a note to the deletions and an evidential photo:

Actually, it's Frank O'Hara's ghost who runs the Ken Bolton Franchise, in New York:

(Quote from a review of John Tranter's poetry in the Sydney Morning Herald, December 2010)


In May 2010 I was invited to write a review of a collection of Vicki Viidikas’s writing for Australian Book Review. It has yet to be published and, as far as I know, may never appear in the magazine.
So here it is -

Vicki Viidikas New and Rediscovered, edited by Barry Scott (Transit Lounge 2010)

In 1967 the British pop group The Beatles dressed up in embroidered mirror-cloth and tinted shades and set off on a spiritual quest for peace and love to an ashram in India. The US and Australia (whose military force consisted mainly of young conscripts) were engaged in an unpopular war against communism in Vietnam. In Sydney, a poem, ‘At East Balmain’, by former high school dropout Vicki Viidikas, marked her first publication in a moderate magazine, Poetry Australia.

‘At East Balmain’, set around Mort Bay, is about the timelessness of life on a working harbour. It introduced an exceptionally competent nineteen year old poet with an aptitude for sharp observation and description –

    This day will be submerged in a thousand other days,
    yet I know distinctly I felt the glance of a figure
    in a singlet, rolling cigarettes as his barge went

The 1970s in Sydney was a time of great social change driven by youth culture. It was an era, evolving from the protest movement against conscription and the Vietnam war, of long-haired pacifist hippies and the widespread use of marijuana and other ‘mind-expanding’ drugs that engendered a profusion of rebellious and high-spirited creativity. Counter cultural happenings like Jumping Sunday, a weekly celebratory afternoon in Centennial Park, Martin Sharp’s Yellow House, and PACT theatre flourished. There was the advent of underground printing presses, the UBU group’s experimental films, psychedelic music and light shows, of sexual freedom, and women’s liberation. Vicki Viidikas was publishing and reading her poems and becoming a well-known figure in the lively, male-dominated literary scene around Balmain. Just a few suburbs away in Glebe, in December 1969 Helen Jarvis had founded Sydney Women’s Liberation House, a hub for discussion and women’s activism that would thrive into the new decade.

Viidikas might have been a candidate for women’s lib, given that she wrote experientially of a darker side of female life –

    I should have been selfish
    not a woman, but learnt
    to violate myself too, so I could fit the boat,
    twentieth century and rock …

   ’White Poem’

Her poetry is almost always tinged with pain and her prose pieces are often about the extreme edge of relationship. ‘Punishments and cures’, a dark poem about being raped by an ex-prisoner with venereal disease, seeks, in a tentative, exploratory way, moral elucidation –

    Perhaps it’s true what he said,
    that all women are ugly …

    One feels that
    when you become a four-letter word,
    and afterwards, there’s some private festering
    not always cured by a doctor …

In her life, Viidikas took risks. Her friend the poet Kerry Leves says, in this book’s introduction, ‘… she embraced experience, even flung herself into or out of experiences, …’. She entered chance encounters or ‘pickups’, as she called them, and wrote about them. In ‘The Snowman in the Dutch Masterpiece’ an impoverished young woman writer drifts into a brief, whisky and cocaine drenched liaison with a cashed-up drug dealer who drives a flashy Mercedes Benz. Their few hedonistic days together are described with some detachment. Viidikas’s writing was a precursor to the coming eruption of confessional women writers but hers was an instinctive response to the condition of womanhood, not informed by a political consciousness. Many of Viidikas’s characters were ‘fucked up’. And many of them were in her second (and I’d say ‘best’) book, Wrappings (1974), a third of which is included here.

In 1975, in an interview with Hazel de Berg,Viidikas said about her writing :

 What I was writing was really confessional, it was just – I’d go out to a party  or something and if anything upset me or I was depressed, I’d go home and  scribble things down on bits of paper, really just what my inner feelings were  at the time.

Viidikas’s work is all about subjective experience. She records persistent unhappiness and trouble. The intensity of sadness builds incrementally in this collection, so that it’s a huge relief, about a third of the way in, to read the exuberantly sensuous ‘Mad Hats of Desire’ –

    OK romantic
    I wanted to wade your body …

    … I wanted to rip suck bite kick
    growl laugh nuzzle your self
    black mad hats
    put on put off

    Now I don’t know what to ask
    can’t promise
    log cabins apple pie
    raccoon boots for winter

And later, there is a surprisingly loving poem about her Estonian father.

Maybe for Viidikas it was more about ‘writing’ than about ‘what she was writing’. She worked from a compulsion to write things down. In 1977, in Australian Literary Studies she wrote ‘… I first started writing my problems on scraps of paper when I was 15 and living away from home, and later found these ‘problems’ were actually poems.’ Description was easy for her but she was rarely analytical. She delivered her stories and poems without investigating the process. She doesn’t seem to have laboured for long over technique or form. She wasn’t interested in showing off. These are straight up confessional or descriptive pieces. Vicki Viidikas was interested in telling.

Her poetry is more playful than the prose. Sometimes her deft, free verse reads like automatic writing. She said that she wrote poetry ‘off the top of my head, straight off, in one go. … My writing is done at any time of the day or night, it’s quite a spontaneous thing… .’ Emotions were what she was trying to express. Perhaps Viidikas found solace in the ritual of writing.

Viidikas’s work often tells us that she preferred India to Australia. (‘It was Calcutta not Canberra, that honeycomb of barren souls.’ ‘The Silk Trousers’). She lived in India for more than a decade. An early story is about an Indiaphile living amongst shrines and incense in a poky Darlinghurst flat. Her last book India Ink (1984), was immersed in Indian culture and Hinduism.

Having not visited India, nor studied its religions, I found the comprehensive glossary in India Ink invaluable. Ten of those poems are republished here without aid for readers who know little about India. However, as the writing is mostly descriptive, like all good poems about place, these do make a vivid, yet never too-sensational impression.

    You waited, black
    stone goddess
    in a scarlet sarong,
    Your shoulders packed
    with yellow powder,
    feet dusted with red,
    one hand in a blessing,
    palm upright, take it easy

   ‘Durga Devi’

Australian poetry presses supported Vicki Viidikas, publishing four of her books in a decade. Her last title appeared in 1984. She lived a further fourteen years without a new collection and with her writing appearing only scantily in a period when women’s writing was booming. Sadly, as Viidikas’s heroin addiction increasingly formed the basis of her modus operandi, she became marginalized and publishing and performing opportunities vanished.

In 1975 she had written ‘A View of the Map’; a speculative, time-shifting prose piece. It ended – ‘My Iceland is at the centre of this map. Knowing you have visited it and gone. That I am the only permanent resident.’ In 1988 she added a new final line, ‘There is no compass.’

Melbourne publisher Barry Scott has made a respectable selection to introduce Viidikas to contemporary readers. There is though an odd inclusion of eight childish drawings that add nothing to the project (signed, copyrighted and dated by Viidikas, possibly indicating that she took them seriously). The cover portraits show Viidikas with long blonde hair parted in the middle, kohl-lined eyes, appliqued peasant blouse, a cigarette – like an icon of the 1970s.

Vicki Viidikas New and Rediscovered offers a kind of restitution. There are around twenty uncollected pieces, an extract from an unpublished manuscript, Kali and the Dung-Beetle, and a few later poems, including ‘Lust’, written only two months before her death at fifty, in 1998.

Read an interview with the publisher here
Visit Transit Lounge press here



A Digital Bridge for Auckland and Sydney, 2010

The New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc) is pleased to
announce the completion of its trans Tasman digital bridge project.

We invited contributions to build a digital bridge between Auckland
and Sydney as poetry symposiums took place in each city March and
September 2010. In June the first part of the bridge was launched:
50-plus creative contributions, a collaborative digital poem, audio
talks and photos from the Auckland symposium.
Now the Sydney sidelaunches with 60 creative contributions, a complementary digital collaboration, more audio talks, video readings, photos, and texts of papers and commentary. We present here the multiple traces (text, audio, visuals, poetry, prose) of the year’s trans Tasman exchanges, noting how often the roles of host and guest have flip-flopped, and hoping that they will go on doing so as we move between each other’s reading and writing spaces.

Click here

Pam Brown, Martin Edmond, Brian Flaherty and Michele Leggott

The New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc) at the University of
Auckland is an electronic gateway to poetry resources in New Zealand
and the Pacific region. It is coordinated by Michele Leggott and Brian
Flaherty with the support of representatives from the University of
Auckland Library, Auckland University Press and the Faculty of Arts.
Information: m.leggott@auckland.ac.nz


In August this year, I gave a poetry reading at a seminar with
post-graduate students and some interested poets at Monash University in Melbourne. In the discussion following the reading John Hawke asked me what I might suggest as a topic or an area that’s been overlooked or neglected, to someone wanting to research Australian poetry. I went into a kind of awkward mental paroxysm because I don’t really trust the kinds of historicisations that have been produced here. With scant exception they’re usually traditional masculinist studies and the few anecdotal biographical books produced by poets are also usually kind of glossed-up male memoir. So I said a few things like that and then made a regrettably unthinking (stupid even?) statement about not being interested in memoir or biography much anyway. Hmmm … not quite true. Although I have been reluctant to historicise my own life-in-poetry on paper, so far.

Recently though, I read a memoir, well, actually the author doesn't like or use the term 'memoir', I read a non-fiction novel,
INFERNO (A POET’S NOVEL), by one of my favourite US contemporaries, the inimical Eileen Myles.

Eileen has written many books of poetry and has also written tons of
art criticism (see Ken Bolton on her recent collection The
Importance of Being Iceland
Eileen’s prose is almost always a memoir of some kind - the stories in
Chelsea Girls, a short memoir called On My Way, and a
‘non-fiction novel’ Cool For You. Inferno is about a
working class girl from Boston who has written some high school
poetry, moving to New York City and beginning a life-in-poetry through the social upheavals, drinking, drugs (speed) and sexual experimentation of the 1970s. She is figuring out her own sexuality and her place in the poetry scene and the world at large. She’s interested in things other than a simple history of herself. She connects in her encounters with a whole lot of different people, including, of course, older poets living in NYC. Eileen ran as a candidate for the US Presidency in the 1980s. She was for a time the co-ordinator or director (?) of St Mark’s Poetry Project. In Inferno she goes on a reading tour to Berlin with some punky companions (Kathy Acker et al), unexpectedly spends a year or so writing in a big country house owned by NYC art scene patrons, talks about her dad the alcoholic mailman and her mother the loving yet staunch Catholic. It is written in her usual frank, funny, sad, droll, minimal style - it’s as if Eileen is talking to you, (and to herself and to her dog, Rosie) as you read. She makes some terrific descriptions of her lovers’ labia and clitorises (once she becomes a lesbian). It’s a clever book. Here are some excerpts from Inferno :

I was preparing for my new life. La Vita Nuova, La Vita Nuova I
reported cryptically to my friends at Grassroots. I knew the ball had
fallen so I went to Oscar Wilde and bought some books. I was reading about Renée Vivien who had died for love. She sort of looked like Rose. And she wrote about someone - that I think she was jealous of - maybe Natalie Barney- that she was nothing but a cunt with a pen. This was quoted as an example of Renée Vivien’s deterioration, her slow sink into mental illness but I didn’t see what was wrong with this at all. Is it so bad to talk about a woman and her writing in the same sentence, especially to insult her? Are we supposed to be fake?

   Eileen then, photo by Robert Mapplethorpe

And, these are outside a context here, but great anyway -

Poets hated anyone outwardly courting success - particularly
anyone seen courting it in our world - as if there actually were “a
poetry field.”

… No one asked me to have a life like this, to be a poet. It was my
idea. I mean and I would definitely say poetry is a very roundabout
way to unite both work and time. A poet is a person with a very short
attention span who actually decides to study it. To look. To draw that
short thing out… … Like Jimmy Schuyler once said, the writing the poem part is easy, it’s the rest of the time that’s the problem.

               Eileen now, photo by Leopoldine Core

When I think about it, I do like 'memoir'. Some kinds of memoir. Take some recent, not so conventional books - Patti Smith’s Just Kids, Tony Towle's MEMOIR, John Kinsella's Genre(a wildly abstracted memoir), Bob Dylan’s mid-60s ‘novel’ Tarantula and Chronicles:Volume One, Prosper Mérimée’s short recollection of Stendhal in Simon Leys’ With Stendhal - I loved all these books. And looking at the bookshelves in-need-of-culling in this room where I stare into space, scribble notes for poems, and have corresponded with zillions of Jacket magazine contributors (some of whom have written northern hemisphere memoirs) and from where I sometimes push tiny ideas out into the ether of the internet, there are biographies, autobiographies and memoir sitting close by - Samuel Beckett, Juan Goytisolo, Mina Loy, Georges Perec, Chester & Wystan, Bernard Smith, Michel Foucault, Harpo Marx, Marjorie Perloff, Arthur Rimbaud, Jim Sharman, Mary Wollstonecraft, Edward Said, Jean Genet, Gwendolyn MacEwen, George Sand, Dorothy Hewett, Frank O'Hara, Wayne King, Tennessee Williams, Eric Michaels, Luis Bunuel, Slim Dusty (Walk A Country Mile) and more …

Maybe I could start my anecdotal narrative on the Enoggera Army Base, Brisbane in 1963, or in Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney in my flat above the original Maltese pastizzi booth in 1970, or.. or..


some sonnets

Sonnets are all the go, as they have been since the Italian sonnet (sonetto - ‘little song’) was introduced to English poets in the early sixteenth century and was to become gradually ‘anglicised' and altered and eventually known as ‘Shakespearean’. As poetry-reading visitors to the deletions already know (and so may wish now to skip straight to the poems and books I'm going to mention), sonnets used to be a neat lyrical form that used various rhyme schemes. (Italian sonnets had some repeated rhymes and used iambic pentameter). The final couplet usually functioned as an epigram, summarising the moral drift or giving some kind of twist to the poem. Rhyming has been ditched by many contemporary sonneteers, as has the epigram, and formal traditional rhythm. Now, with the sonnet form in mind, you can write a poem that turns out to be fourteen lines or two stanzas of seven lines and you can fracture and indent eccentrically and it can be a ‘sonnet’.

Two sonnets by Canadian poet Anne Carson in a recent edition of the London Review of Books stretches the form beyond the form. They seem clever but perhaps they’re over-clever, intense examples of dry dedicated experimentation? Then I guess if mainstream international journals like the LRB publish sonnets like this, then poetry readers might have caught up with poetry writers …

       Sonnet of Addressing Gertrude Stein

         Here is a pronoun to


                (click on 'Drop't Sonnet' to enlarge for clearer reading)

                    cover art by Tallulah Knox

Some Sonnets was edited and published by Tim Wright in Melbourne
in Winter 2010 in an offset(?) or photocopied, hand-collated,
limited edition of 100.

It’s an unpaginated assortment of thirty six sonnets by a variety of
innovative Australian poets. The poems are ‘ordered by shuffling’ and
there are no author designations accompanying them. If you like, you
can figure out who wrote what by referring back to the contents page
and that’s random too, not following the order the poems appear in the
book. It’s interesting to read poetry without knowing or thinking
about the ‘poet’. Whether the sonnets work or not relies on your
particular tastes or poetic interests.

Not many of these twenty-first century sonneteers attempt high form -
embellished, lyrical sonnets - in earnest. Mostly, they fulfil Louis
Zukofsky’s desire, eighty years ago now, for innovation. In 1930 he
wrote “It is time someone resurrected the sonnet from a form that has
become an exercise.” Though some, like Claire Gaskin’s ‘looking into
the eye of my addiction’, Jill Jones’ ‘What Is Due’ and Ryan Scott’s
“The Suddenness of Spring” do look like traditional sonnets and are
lyrical. Cory Wakeling’s ‘Barrett’s Song For Hattie’s Detour’ also
looks conventional but it’s his sonnet’s curious ‘Australianness’ that
gives it a comic spark -

I look left, you look right, I look Nullarbor
you rush Bendigo. Decide: …

Duncan Hose contributes two complex (yet clearly written), kind of
metaphysical love sonnets - one in German,’O ein Liebes-Sonett’, that
introduces the wonderful word ‘Tweetyvögel’, and the other in English,
‘o a love sonnet’, that translates the earlier German poem where we
found the ‘tweety-birds’.

Some Sonnets also includes sonnets from Kate Fagan, Marc Jones,
Patrick Jones, Sam Langer, Caroline Williamson, Nick Whittock, Joel
Scott, the wildly varying innovator Peter Minter, Michael Farrell’s
ineluctably cryptic minimalisms include a nine line sonnet, Derek
Motion, the collection's editor Tim Wright, Jal Nicholl, Ella O’Keefe,
Tom Lee, the linguistically playful Chris Edwards presenting his own
renditions of Rilke, Brett Dionysius, Jessica L. Wilkinson, Peter
O’Mara (more conceptual minimalism), Stu Hatton, Astrid Lorange,
Stuart Cooke and Ted Nielsen.

Ted Nielsen has been writing a sonnet every week for a few years. He
publishes them on his blog magic dog vs tokyo as ‘Friday sonnet’.
Ted’s poems carry a tone and lightness of touch engaging with the everyday
that remind me of John Forbes and the 1960s sonnets of Ted Berrigan.

friday sonnet (#124: tedpapa pig)

old man getting older & weary today it’s
already tomorrow you’re still tired the
bags under your eyes have bags under
them & she says that’s a pig because you
like pigs & he says dad, you’re an idiot &
this is all in japanese & one dad is dead &
another dead drunk & if you were any
more sentimental it’d be an epidemic like
travel sickness so we joke around in the
bath singing some kind of monkey song &
stay up for hours past bedtime it’s all
good then for the next few days there are
pigs drawn on everything, that is, pigs,
hearts, tulips, occasionally a spiral pattern

Richard Lopez reviews 'Some Sonnets' in Galatea Resurrects here

Pete Spence's Sonnets, co-published by Karl-Friedrich Hacker's
Footura Black Edition, Germany & New South Press, Kyneton, Australia
in a limited edition of 50, in 2009, is a hand-made book of ten
sonnets, with an afterword, also a sonnet.

These light-hearted sonnets are like a mix of Shakespearean sonnets,
French modernist/cubist poetry and 60s New York School dailiness. Pete
Spence has Cendrarsian 'squares of green light' being thrown about,
Frank O’Hara's room for roaming variously, the Forbesian ‘stunned
mullet’ and other modern classic influences.

Sonnet 8

in the millenium of the pushbike
everyone must know of the worsening
weather? my shadow stretched forever
no Badoit? no money! it’s a day
of Perrier fever! this is all we need
another set of sonnets? deciduous
as a plum you eat it & it leaves
is there more roughage in eating books?
the wind jogs through the rainforest
squares of green light are thrown about
is there more air in daylight? I’m
a couple of steps from everywhere
somewhere in the shadows evening waits
is yesterday the subject of these poems?

Sonnet 9

walking Planck's constant in a red shift!
great day! upwind the day winds down
squares of light are thrown about
should i feel ok now that yesterday
is the subject of these poems? better
to be quick about it like a shadow
taking shade from today's sun! when
will i have room where there's room
where i can roam variously & hang
my tantrums & other guests?
the pushbike's 15 minutes in the frame!
its the end of the terror of Perrier fever!
a mullet sidles through the air
& i'm stunned by its flight!
hearts, tulips, occasionally a spiral pattern

                    (click to enlarge)

Jeff Hilson edited The Reality Street Book of Sonnets in 2008. This anthology
contains my own failure at writing sonnets which would only ever get
themselves to twelve rather than fourteen lines, called Eyes on potatoes.

This year Jeff Hilson has published an attractively designed square
book In the Assarts that, on first look, seems to be a book of
sonnets, but doesn’t always adhere to form. Yet, there are
sixty-eight, fourteen line poems. Apparently Jeff was given the notion
of sampling Sir Thomas Wyatt (who introduced the sonnet form to
England) from the Reality Street publisher Ken Edwards.
These sonnets are often very funny, riffing from the probably
to-be-expected Ted Berrigan, and from Petrarch (‘No one listens to
Petrarch’), Sonny & Cher, Donovan, Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees,
Tubular Bells (Mike Oldfield!),Thomas Wyatt (of course), Veronica
Forrest-Thomson, Oliver Cromwell and others. It’s great fun and
technically smart to boot. It looks great too - the square format is
pleasing, the cover drawing, clever and the typeface apt. In the
publisher, Veer Books, definitely looks like an
adventurous UK independent small press.

                    (click to enlarge)


Jim Goar very generously sent me a copy of Seoul Bus Poems and, staying indoors on this misty, rainy Sunday afternoon I found a lot of pleasure in reading Jim’s poetry. Here are a couple of poems from the book and you can read some others in the current Jacket.

        There is a list of names
        outside my window.

        In Changsa my name.
        By noon the wall was
        white again.

        Nouns hang
        from globes outside

        my window. a list
        of names outside
        my window.

        my name. the wall was
        white again.

        Nouns hang
        from globes outside
        my window.

        the wall. a name
        was white again.

       sheets all filled with lemon
       snow and everything is children
       from the plant we tend music
       of statues drip home open window
       sleds of glass bird whose name
       we do not know melt back and
       forth in the tub a ducky quackady
       quack on the bed you need another
       shower of snow blue flower parted
       this music is closest to German



          gannet been
          been sarcomas
          top surmount
          matching count
          U.N. tree
          state neutered

Steve Evans' annual constellation of what poets are reading, Attention Span, is in process. Read my list here


New issue of Ekleksographia (Wave Two)
guest edited by Pam Brown.
Audio files, photos, poetry and prose.

Contributors :
Chris Andrews - Anny Ballardini - Bird Lane Nettle- Ken Bolton
Pam Brown - Kurt Brereton - Kieran Carroll - Justin Clemens
CAConrad - Peter Davis - Roger Dean & Hazel Smith
Laurie Duggan - Martin Edmond - Kate Fagan - Michael Farrell
Jill Jones - Kit Kelen - Rachel Loden - Conor Madigan
Peter Minter - Jane Joritz–Nakagawa - David Prater
Maurice Scully - Amanda Stewart - Tim Wright

Thanks to AhaDada's Ekleksographia general editor Jesse Glass
and Matthew Teutsch and Daniel Sendecki, techno editors.

Visit the issue here



Raquel Ormella, Poster Reduction, 2005 (electronic whiteboard, temporary & permanent texta markers, thermal paper print outs, photocopied enlargements
dimensions variable)

In the Balance: Art for a Changing World features works by Australian and international contemporary artists that respond to ecological concerns. The exhibition reflects the diversity of environmental debates and concerns within and beyond Australia today, and features works that address a spectrum of issues including sustainability and recycling.

The exhibition encompasses photography, film, installation and architecture, drawing on the MCA Collection and loans from across the country. It presents a number of site-specific and commissioned works, performances, and projects taking place both within and outside the museum. In addition, the exhibition explores the role of community engagement and participation.

Visit these blogs about their work by artists in the exhibition:
Environmental Audit by Lucas Ihlein
Food Forest by the Artist as Family
weedy connection by Diego Bonetto
Urban Wildlife Safari by Joni Taylor

Participating artists:
Badger Bates, Lauren Berkowitz, Diego Bonetto, Andrea Bowers, Dadang Christanto, Bob Connolly, Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Nici Cumpston, Peter Dombrovskis, Bonita Ely, Emily Floyd, Euraba Artists and Papermakers, Amy Franceschini and Futurefarmers, Jeanne Van Heeswijjk and Paul Sixta, Lucas Ihlein, Lyndal Jones, Yvonne Koolmatrie, Janet Laurence, Makeshift (Tessa Zettel and Karl Khoe), James Newitt, Mavis Ngallametta, Susan Norrie and David Mackenzie, Raquel Ormella, Cecilia Peter, Frank Petero, Catherine Rogers, David Stephenson, Joni Taylor, The Artist as Family (Patrick Jones, Meg Ulman and Zephyr Ogden Jones), theweathergroup_U, Angela Torenbeek and Olegas Truchanas.

At the MCA,
Museum of Contemporary Art,
Circular Quay

21st August - 31st October 2010

for further info, locations, talks, visiting times, click here

   Lauren Berkowitz, ‘Manna’, 2009


Home & Away
A Trans-Tasman Poetry Symposium

In Sydney at
University of Technology & University of Sydney
1-3 September 2010

Participating poets and thinkers:
Miro Bilbrough, Ken Bolton, Pam Brown, Michelle Cahill, Janet Charman, Jen Crawford, Martin Edmond, Michael Farrell, Brian Flaherty, Martin Harrison, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, David Howard, Cath Kenneally, Jill Jones, Michele Leggott, Kate Lilley, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Peter Minter, John Newton, Vivienne Plumb, Chris Price, Nigel Roberts, Jack Ross, Lisa Samuels, Amanda Stewart, Helen Sword, John Tranter, Ann Vickery, Adrian Wiggins,
Mark Young

For further information, locations and the program
                  click here

Everyone Welcome   Free Entry



Sitting duck
in Toodyay

add to cart

Lost toy panda
by the roadside

add to cart

Digital creature,

add to cart

Hearts and minds
in Oruzgan

add to cart

You’re the same age
as the ugg boot

add to cart

What will tomorrow
be like

add to cart

If that isn’t DADA
it’ll have to do

no further credit


                        The Underground Radish

Lucas Ihlein has guest-edited an edition of Artlink Magazine.
You can read more about it here

The issue features great essays and artwork, interviews and comics, by and about Ian Milliss, Chris Fleming, Vanessa Berry, Leigh Rigozzi, Pat Grant, Rick Smith, Alison Bechdel, Margie Borschke, Ianto Ware, Geert Lovinck, Shane McGrath, Breakdown Press + Ian McIntyre, Glenn Barkley, Jessie Lymn, Danni Zuvela, Teri Hoskin, Ali Russell, Tony Birch, Caren Florance, Peter Drew, Melinda Rackham, Kirsten Bradley, Eve Vincent, and Donald Brook.

Launch Celebration :
3pm Sunday 4 July 2010
at Bill and George
10-16 William Street
Redfern, Sydney.

Free, all welcome! Magazine available at a discount price!

Bill and George will also be launching their LIBRARIUM project-
“a slow-growth free-range artisan’s library of small press publications"

PLUS! Hot off the Big Fag Press
a limited edition print of cover to this edition of Artlink.
Get ‘em while they’re hot!


The New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc)
has completed phase one of its multimedia anthology
All Together Now: A Digital Bridge for Auckland and Sydney.
Thanks to all contributors
We hope everyone will enjoy exploring the upload

*poets from NZ, Australia & the digital neighbourhood
*collaborative digital poem & video Archipelago
*audio talks from nzepc’s HOME & AWAY 2010:
A Trans Tasman Poetry Symposium, University of Auckland
30-31 March 2010
*photo gallery from March symposium


Pam Brown, Martin Edmond, Brian Flaherty and Michele Leggott

*All Together Now: A Digital Bridge for Auckland and Sydney

Kia Kotahi Rā: He Arawhata Ipurangi mō Tamaki Makau Rau me Poihākena

March-September 2010*


I don’t usually post announcements of reviews of my own work on ‘the deletions’ but, excuse my indulgence, unusually, here’s Drinking Water in a Suburb Called Zetland: Notes on Memory and the City in Some Poems by Pam Brown by Tim Wright. Read it here in Mascara Literary Review.


the deletions goes to cockatoo island

                  Richard Grayson’s 2004 piece Messiah is somewhere inside that cliff -                    here’s the entrance
                 It's The Midnight Amblers singing a country song about Jesus on dvd.
                      Yellow singalong text obscured.
                      Are they mocking The Messiah? Yes they are.

                    ha! that was funny     sort of
                    through to more art ...

                    Stay tuned - deflated inflatable still to come -

                 it was going to be ‘a must see’-
                 Brook Andrew’s Jumping Castle War Memorial

                 after only one week (& 2 months still to go) - collapso.
                      no bouncies - under a forlorn tarpaulin

              Dale Frank’s resin paintings look comfy in this messy old turbine hall
                 (note to designers - replicate for Darling Point living room walls)

                  lights powered by…

              Cai Guo-Qiang hangs up and illuminates real cars, but it doesn’t matter

              There was much more to experience (and wonder why) on Cockatoo Island,
                  a small selection of almost perfunctory 'Asian' pieces in the main foyer
                  at the Art Gallery of NSW,
                  but, so far, the best of the Sydney Biennale art is at the MCA
                  with Art Space and the Botanic Gardens to come ...


If you're going to Darwin for the festival in August, this show will be worth visiting -


soi 3 modern poets,
an imprint of Papertiger Media, presents -


a new collection of poetry by Pam Brown

Pam Brown’s poetry attends to the soundbites and transitoriness of contemporary Australian life. Her dazzling wordplay gives us glistening souvenirs of overblown politik-speak, uncontrolled Western consumption, and the daze of the habitual and housetrained. Rather than timeshare the modernist experiment, Brown moves beyond its heroics and fashions a commentary that is understated, down to earth, and unsettling. While questioning its own title, what remains marvelled at in ‘Authentic Local’ is the colloquial and its uncanniness, the utopic harbour glimpse of a home language. - Ann Vickery

This book complements the collection True Thoughts, published by Salt Modern Poets in 2008. Authentic Local collects around fifty poems written in the years between 2002 and 2005, most of which were put aside whilst compiling the selection for True Thoughts. To read Ken Bolton and Carl Harrison-Ford on True Thoughts click here. Read Tim Wright on the same collection here. A number of recent poems are included in Authentic Local alongside the earlier material.

The title reflects a consistent irony that is threaded throughout the poems. An ‘authentic local’, like a Benjaminesque restless cosmopolitan, can inhabit any place at any time and for any period of time. So these poems are variously located.

These deceptively minimalist poems are layered in a kind of eclectic tumble. They are only seemingly autobiographical as they cruise through sharply delineated street-scapes, food courts, imagined havens, distant places, through encounters with friends, through lost and ordinary cities, through wit, boredom, disillusion, nostalgia, paranoia, irony. Always irony, and perhaps also a sense of the ludicrous, as they attempt to fathom the question ‘how to live?’ alongside the larger one ‘how to live now?’

The pastiche of this group of poems addresses (among other things) the concept that the ‘self’ is never fixed, that it is a slippery notion and that it is perhaps nothing much more than a daily work of bricolage. The poems are energised by dualities : self-deprecating wit coupled with associated knowledge and depth, the mundane and the illuminated morphing together textually, the local (Australian) and the international quizzically extemporized via things and moods, and via moments of brief existential measuring. The energy in the use of dualities together with an avoidance of placing judgement enables a discovery of beauty in the various contrasting ideas in this manuscript. Encompassing opposing ideals of academic and domestic, foreign and familiar, the poems are always at odds with the ‘lyrical’ and yet they are lyrically engaged.

What else can you do in the face of dark times (permanent war, floundering science, haywire climate), and your experience of this as unspectacular, utilitarian and silencing, but disrupt that silence and search for and imagine a role. One thing you can do as a poet is turn irony back on yourself and write poems made as if from particles that offer a range of trajectories arcing off into open space, that might evoke in a reader action and reaction.
These poems hope to never fail to give – and to give generously with humour and acuity from a tempered, critical and ultimately optimistic delight in the oddness of the world.

For more information, or to buy a copy of the book
contact Pam Brown.

Three poems from Authentic Local -


by the radio:
I mishear the news and sports presenter
say ‘the latest in nuisance sports’,
outside the light is green,
the lightning frightening stay away
from windows but the storm
takes no notice of me and my black Bic biro
here at the kitchen table
with a new biography of Dante – ‘Dante;
The Poet, The Political Thinker, The Man’ –
I’d just begun reading twenty minutes ago,
the cover image, a detail from a portrait of him,
one book open as he turns
to consult another, open and propped
up against two others, leather-bound,
he has the poet’s leafy laurel twig
tucked into his familiar red headscarf.
poetry is like
tv’s live coverage and if you change
a particle you can arrive at an elegant result
via electronic properties and, probably,
high conductivity in an electrical storm,
but the computer is down and so am I –
my bad handwriting taxes my energy,
how does my brain put up with it ?
(who am I to ask?)
this almost illegible notation driven into
the empty moments between a book
and a book, a poem ‘made in situ’,
the phrase imagined
as a t-shirt slogan or a label
but handwritten


excipient ties, like ell oh vee ee,
nothing to chance

I always
to plagiarise you

sleeping, you were ill,
and smelt like a mineral,
but different

at the start
your subwoofer
shook me to my microbes,
emergency exits
opened in my night

I loved to you a woman
as I returned your sounds
from phone to morph

slippery gleams
slithered into darkness,
your fermented prosody
ripe for traffic


very busy here
finishing up a 900 page epic poem I've been working on off
& on for
25 years!


I am
kind of continental

I want to come back as
a false witness

your gifts of cheap software
cannot compensate

what is
what is

frowsty hairdo

it worked for the chimp

good to be young, indiscriminate, finding out,
with time to

after the libidinal,
twenty years of scooping

a happy go lucky cunt, a lookalike

now, there’s
your fillip

this is the stich

picking at the price sticker,
everything must go !


New from Jacket Magazine

Visit the new 900-page issue - Jacket 39
Click here

Feature: Ron Silliman
Feature: Nathaniel Tarn
Feature: Bob Perelman
Feature: Douglas Barbour
Sister Sites: Vincent Katz on 'Vanitas' magazine
Interview: James Sherry
Interview and poems: Bob Arnold
Mark Silverberg:
The New York School Poets and the Neo-avant-garde:
Introduction: “A Lot of Guys Who Know All About Bricks”
Feature: Rewriting Canonical Australian Poems
Poems: Bob Arnold, Aaron Belz, Vincent Katz, Robert VanderMolen

Reviews of books by Rae Armantrout, Eric Baus, Miles Champion, Kevin Davies, Carla Harryman, Larry Price, Susan Howe and Simon Pettet

And for news about Jacket's exciting future, see the homepage here

Editors: John Tranter, Pam Brown


Jill Jones' Dark Bright Doors
published by Wakefield Press.

Booklaunch this coming Saturday 10th April
3.30 for 4pm
49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe


I heard the Canadian poet Christian Bök talking about his latest inspirational art-science project in an extensive radio interview with Joe Milford recently. Here’s the link to that conversation.

                        Deinococcus radiodurans

This article about the project is from the io9 website -

The Roman poet Horace once said of his works that "I have created a monument more lasting than bronze." Well, Canadian poet Christian Bök has pretty much blown Horace away with his plan to encode a poem into bacterial DNA.

The plan is simple enough, if completely insane. Bök hopes to inject a series of nucleotides into the DNA of the bacteria Deinococcus radiodurans that form an intelligible poem, and then, in case that was too easy, he wants the protein the bacteria manufactures to also form a meaningful poem.

Since he only has four characters to work with - the nucleotides adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine - he first needs to create an alphabet that substitutes various triplets of nucleotides in the place of the twenty-six letters. In other words, AGT might correspond to "a", while CTG could mean "b", and so on. However, Bök can't just choose the triplets at random, because for all the trillions of possible combinations, only a minuscule fraction will produce amino acids that also yields a workable vocabulary.

Bök is currently using specially designed software to find the optimal arrangement, and only once he's figured that out will he actually write the poem. He has said that he will be somewhat limited in what sort of poetry he can write, and that most likely he will compose something with a "repetitive, incantatory quality."
Once all that's done, it's up to lab technicians to string together the right nucleotides and inject them into Deinococcus radiodurans. It won't be easy and may take several attempts, but the potential legacy of such a project is almost incomprehensible. If Bök's poem nucleotides take hold in Deinococcus radiodurans, there's no reason to think they won't hang around for the lifespan of the species.

And considering there's also no reason to think this strain of bacteria will ever go extinct (or at least last until the Sun destroys the Earth five billion years from now)...well, there's an excellent chance that Bök's poem will eventually be the last evidence of humanity's existence left on planet Earth. I imagine Horace would approve.


Vagabond Press
celebrates the release of two exciting new poetry titles:

A Whistled Bit of Bop - new collection by Ken Bolton
Bonny Cassidy’s first chapbook Said To Be Standing

Sunday 18th April
2 for 2:30pm

Upstairs at The Rose Hotel,
Corner Cleveland & Shepherd Sts

drinks, pizza, poetry
everyone welcome


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 nzepc@auckland.ac.nz 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)