Three Reviews

My recent and last reviews for 2011 - three Australian poetry titles -

Sly Mongoose by Ken Bolton, on the web in Galatea Resurrects here.

Perrier Fever by Pete Spence, also in Galatea Resurrects here.

New Poets 1 - Emma Rooksby, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, J.P. Quinton - edited by Tracy Ryan on the web in Heat Poetry Online here.


Three Australian online poetry features published at once -

The Australian independent and small press network, Small Press Underground Networking Community SPUNC has published its Summer Poetry Feature in four parts. Work from twenty-six poets' books published by independent small presses represented by SPUNC, edited by Kent MacCarter.

Issue 36 of Cordite Poetry Review guest edited by Jill Jones. Visual poetry, poetry and audio files (audio & spoken word editor Emilie Zoey Baker).
This issue of Cordite makes a bow to music and the ways musicians in various modes and guises have used electric technologies to generate sound.

The first instalment of a presentation of fifty-one contemporary Australian poets in Jacket2, edited by myself.

Please visit Jacket2's gallery to view the accompanying art.

                     Paul Sloan, gouache on paper, 2011

Forty-one further poets and many more artworks to come in the J2 Australian poetry feature.
Stay posted.


Launched at lunch on Sunday 27th November, More is Plenty is a limited edition monograph on multimedia artist Kurt Brereton's work since the mid-1970's, edited by Adelaide art critic and poet Ken Bolton. Contributions include an introductory essay by the editor and essays by George Alexander, Anne Howell, Arnie Goldman, Diana Wood-Conroy, Edward Dore and other art writers.

The book is beautifully produced (in square format) with many full colour images of the work and photographs of performances, installations, works in progress and the artist's family.

It publishes the brilliant Pathetic Manifesto compiled between the years 1997 to 2000, and culminating in 2006 in an artist's talk at Project Contemporary Artspace in Wollongong - Patheticism - A Report from the Illawarra Frontline. Consisting of 46 short statements this discursive talk/manifesto outlines the concerns of contemporary artists who celebrate failure, immorality, style-free art and who have no interest in the romantic abject or sublime.

Kurt Brereton's notes on Patheticism -
• attempts to synthesize disparate accounts of pathos and the pathetic.
• indicates a desire to move beyond the bounds of irony via an unapologetic occupancy of a position which is from the outset acknowledged to be untenable in any heroic sense yet very human.
•ethos of empathy, the democracy of failure, and any other excesses of hyper-individual introspection (from any era).

Some of the reproductions of the paintings -

                        Dreamhome, No 6, 2007

                         Tagging the Escarpment, 2007

For more on this diverse work and info on how to buy More Is Plenty visit Kurt's web site here


from Big Bridge #14:
Before drifting away from his involvement in poetry in the earliest years of this century, Vincent Farnsworth was involved in poetry milieus in the San Francisco Bay Area, New Orleans and Prague, featured in international festivals in Prague and Bratislava, managing a journal JEJUNE: a.e.i.y., author of Immortal Whistleblower (Lavender Ink, New Orleans) and published in many little magazines and online poetry sites. A graduate in Creative Arts from San Jose State University, Farnsworth studied under the late Naomi Clark as well as Lucille Clifton and was influenced by Tom Clark and Peter Dale Scott. He was featured in the Micro-Festival Poetry Series in Prague, Czech Republic in April 2009, marking a return to his work in the concept of "deep poetics", trying to fuse the contemporarily relevant and political with perennial truths. Farnsworth also performs as "Reverend Feedback" in the music group Blaq Mummy and solo as Pazvuky in Prague, Czech Republic, where he lives and works as a teacher. He has been active in anti-war and human rights activities in Central and Eastern Europe.

Further information and publisher, Litteraria Pragensia.

There is an essay by Louis Armand, the resistance of medium [On the Poetry of Vincent Farnsworth], in VLAK 2.


                    Astrid Lorange is fossicking in Sydney for Jacket2.
                    Click here to see her findings, so far.


Steve Evans' Third Factory's annual 'collectively-drawn map of the field' - lists & commentaries charting invited poets'current interests in poetry and related books is now complete.
Visit Attention Span 2011
My contribution can be found on the list and here.


Last night in Glebe, Sydney - a wonderful reading, hosted by Toby Fitch at Sappho's Books. The poets were Tom Lee, Astrid Lorange, Ella O'Keefe, Tim Wright & Nick Whittock, Oscar Schwartz, Michael Farrell and Duncan Hose. Here are some photos of the readers and a few of the audience.

                           Ella O'Keefe

                           Mim Chat, Astrid Lorange & Johanna Featherstone

                           Adam Lippman,Toby Fitch & Tom Lee

                           Oscar Schwartz

                           Astrid Lorange & Johanna Featherstone

                           Chris Edwards & Amanda Stewart

                     Michael Farrell, Tim Wright, Oscar Schwartz, Nick Whittock & Ella O'Keefe

                                Duncan Hose by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

                                Duncan Hose by Henri Fantin-Latour

                           Chair by Giorgio Morandi


A truly impressive and stimulating poem that I’ve read recently is ‘Evental’ by Ali Alizadeh.

Ali Alizadeh says in the frontispiece that this poem is an attempt at versifying the tenets of the work of Alain Badiou and draws on a number of his key texts - Being and Event, Conditions, Ethics, and Metapolitics.

Using his customary couplets, Ali condenses to an intelligent précis a history of revolutionary France, canvasses troubled war times in Iran, tries mathematical formula that might contain the vocation of poetry and so on. The long poem ‘Evental’ is followed by a personal coda - another poem, ‘Evening Star’.

Published as a Vagabond Press Rare Object chapbook, this is another of their extensive list of affordable poetry publications. Visit Vagabond Press here. (The site is currently being rebuilt but you can email direct to salesATvagabondpressDOTnet.)


Justine Poon from Something Else on Eastside Radio (89.7FM) sent me some of the questions that there wasn't time to talk about in the conversation in August. She has posted it as a follow up on the blog here.


In 1984, Colin McCahon went missing for 24 hours in Sydney. Found the next morning, kilometres from where he started, he had no memory of who he was or where he had been. In Dark Night: Walking with McCahon, Martin Edmond traces McCahon’s possible footsteps, past pubs and monuments, art galleries and churches, barracks and parks: to accompany him some way into the darkness of his end. Edmond’s record of the journey is a brilliant exploration of a city and its denizens; of the nature of art and the foundations of faith; and of the shadowy crossroads where they intersect.

               Read about Colin McCahon here.

               And for Martin Edmond, click here.


I’ve added a link to Blogs & beauty spots on the deletions sidebar to the Sydney Eastside Radio (89.7 FM) program ‘Something Else’ podcasts.

I was invited to their studio in Paddington Town Hall last night to read poems and converse with Justine Poon. Here’s the link. The podcast should be on the web soon. You can listen to earlier poetry readings and talks by visiting the podcasts link above. There's also a blog.

If you go to Blogs & beauty spots on the sidebar you’ll also find a link to Cath Kenneally’s program from Adelaide, Writers Radio, which has extensive podcasts of poets and novelists readings and interviews. Just scroll down to Television & Radio.


An incredibly various, eclectic group of Australian poets who might often differ in practice and thinking are here translated into Mandarin by Song Jijiang, Debby Sou Vai Keng and Iris Fan Xing. Edited into an anthology by Australian expatriate poet, editor, and academic in Macao, Kit Kelen, who was ably assisted by Song Zijiang. Cover drawing by Carol Archer. Published by ASM Poetry, Macao.

Adam Aitken : John Bennett : Pam Brown : Anna Couani Rae Desmond Jones : Carol Jenkins : Kit Kelen : S. K. Kelen : Andy Kissane : Martin Langford : Myron Lysenko : Chris Mansell : John Mateer : Ron Pretty : Clive Ralfe : Philip Salom : Beth Spencer : James Stuart : John Tranter : Chris Wallace-Crabbe : Les Wicks : Song Zijiang

A pocket size (10 x 13cm) book of poems by Rae Jones, published by Cerberus and ASM Poetry, Macao

Rae Desmond Jones was born in the mining town of Broken Hill, in western New South Wales. He migrated to Sydney at the age of 17, but still maintains contact with his origins. He published number of books of poetry through the 1970s, and several novels in the 1990s. After becoming Mayor of the inner Sydney Council of Ashfield (& retiring in 2007), he published ‘Blow Out’, a further book of poems in 2009. He has a family of two sons and a daughter. Barring a resurgence of irritation with the holders of municipal power, he wants to devote the rest of his life to literature, so long as literature is as keen on him as he is on her.

Kit Kelen’s new and selected collection ‘China Years’ also published by ASM Poetry, Macao

                                Christopher (Kit) Kelen


Corey Wakeling has written a summary of the recent Poetry & the Contemporary Symposium in Melbourne. It's published in Cordite online magazine here.

and here's Corey (in the cap) at the Bella Union bar during the conference -
(photo by John Tranter)


                     Book Launch - Sydney - Sunday Arvo 14th August                          click to enlarge


                photo by Elsa Dorfman

The blog 'The Allen Ginsberg Project' has a video interview with Allen Ginsberg made during his trip to Australia in 1972. Jeune Pritchard made the interview, I think for the ABC program, 'GTK.
Visit the blog and watch the video here.



Litteraria Pragensia's second issue of VLAK magazine is an exciting issue. It includes Ali Alizadeh's essay on contemporary 'experimental' poetry in Australia - 'Avant-Garde in the Antipodes'.

The editors for this issue are Louis Armand, Ali Alizadeh, Edmund Berrigan, Stephan Delbos, Jane Lewty, David Vichnar and Carol Watts.

For information and to buy a copy click here.

click on the itinery to enlarge


Recently, many Australian poets were interviewed by Michael Brennan for Poetry International Web

If you’re wondering what Vladimir Mayakovsky’s book cover and Allen Ginsberg’s signature have to do with Australian poetry,
then click here to read Michael’s interview with me. You’ll find
all the other interviews on the sidebar of the page.

Links to mentioned Mayakovsky poems -
Brooklyn Bridge here
A Cloud In Trousers (part one) here


Poetry and the Contemporary Symposium
7-9 July 2011
Venue: Victorian Trades Hall, Melbourne

Convened by Ann Vickery & Michael Farrell

For further information, the program and details about a reading at the famous poetry bookshop ‘Collected Works’ click here

Over two nights, join us and some of Australia's best poets for papers, panels, roundtables, readings and book launches.

THURSDAY 7 JULY - 5.15 for a 5.30 start

Pam Brown - Complaints Department: what I've heard - a few gripes about the incorporation of Australian poetry plus some whining about poetic content, or, what's wrong.

Pam Brown is an associate editor of Jacket and, currently, Jacket2 and a past poetry editor of Overland, she is the author of numerous collections including Authentic Local, True Thoughts, Dear Deliria (NSW Premier’s Award for Poetry winner 2004), Text Thing, and 50-50.

Vivienne Plumb - Fact or Fiction: Meditations on Mary Finger.
A performance lecture that comments on the symbiotic relationship between the critic/curator and the writer/artist/creator

Vivienne Plumb writes poetry, drama, and fiction. She was born in Sydney and has lived in New Zealand for some time, and presently lives between Sydney and Auckland.

Grand Parade Book Launches:
* Perrier Fever by Pete Spence, and
* 6am in the Universe by Benjamin Frater
with Alan Wearne, Kris Hemensley, and John Hawke.

There has to be limits to suffering the sheer volume of poetasters and their doggerel (no matter how 'free', no matter how 'well made') that continue to swamp Australian verse. For although all poetries have and have had them, toleration is finite. Come along then to the launch of these two magnificent books.

Five Islands Press Book Launch:
* Vishvarūpa by Michelle Cahill
Launch by Jill Jones
Of ‘Vishvarūpa’ Chris Wallace-Crabbe writes: “Can there be any Australian poet who has entered with such lyrical depth into the intermingling voices of Australia and India? Our literature is immediately changed by ‘Vishvarūpa’?'

SATURDAY 9 JULY - 6.15pm for 6.30pm start
Book Launches:

* One Under Bacchus by Duncan Hose
The second collection of 2010 Newcastle Poetry Prize winner, Duncan Hose. With its title a cunning anagram of the author’s own name, One Under Bacchus will whet the appetite of poetic truffle hunters. A supersaturated cosmic wealth of cornucopiac phrase, it taunts much & invariably delivers a banquet of soft-skun, delicately chewed, and poutingly cured textual delights.

* Career by Liam Ferney
The second collection by Liam Ferney, a past editor of Cordite Poetry Review and associate editor of papertiger. A ‘Daewon Song meets Jackie Chan’ spectacular, Ferney frees cliché from betwixt press releases and promos, snapping apart short-order culture & shuffling sharp critique with an effervescent dodge of the syntactic curb.

Steamer and Rabbit Launch Special
with MCs: Sam Langer and Jessica Wilkinson
and readings by Emily Bitto, Stuart Cooke, Will Druce, Marty Hiatt, Fiona Hile, Sam Langer, Tom Lee, Jal Nicholl, Sharne Vate, Corey Wakeling, Nick Whittock, Jessica Wilkinson, Caroline Williamson, and Tim Wright.

Rabbit - a journal for poetry is a new print-based quarterly journal for poetry, poetry reviews, and interviews with poets, with an emphasis on new and emerging rabbits.

Steamer is the first Australian poetry magazine to employ André Breton's principles (as defined in the first Surrealist Manifesto) of Automatic Editing, in anything like a rigorously systematic manner. Since November 2010 the magazine has been committed to searching out and presenting the most exciting poetry and anti-poetry of its times and places in an affordable, visually attractive, and portable format.

For the Bella Union site click here.