Sunday, January 10, 2021

ACT Writing and Publishing Awards

Along with Eleanor Malbon, I judged the Poetry category of the 2020 Writers Centre ACT Writing & Publishing Awards.

We had excellent submissions to the category, but we ultimately chose Sandra Renew’s collection Acting Like a Girl from Recent Work Press.

‘Acting Like a Girl. From its deceptively declamatory opening poem, ‘Trust what I tell you. / I am here to describe / one of the greatest discoveries / that has ever been made’ this collection brings a muscular and well-dressed strength to its examination of gender, while revealing the protagonist's vulnerabilities as equally robust. As one example, that making a stand can come at a cost, ‘make convoluted arrangements to never leave / the dog home alone and vulnerable.’ while showing that patience and teaching can be ends in themselves, ‘Just wait for the dog. What else do you have to do?’ The book maintains an un-veering focus, and drawn from a series of interviews it develops a historical artifact that shows the reader a multitude of experiences while taking no prisoners; ‘the toad count rose, all those potential princes, under the wheels,’ while acknowledging the finiteness of the individual, ‘Where will my atoms go when I die? They’ll mix and meld with the Sandman, ride the V8 rumble….’

I really enjoyed reading and discussing the poetry books submitted to the ACT Writing & Publishing Awards, congratulations to those shortlisted and thank you to all who submitted their work. It made for some tough choices.

You can find Acting Like a Girl at Recent Work Press, and please get a copy of the Highly Commended books, Blur by the by Cham Zhi Yi and Catching the Light by Suzanne Edgar. You can find Sandra's video response to the award, as well as information on all the other winners at the ACT Writers Centre website.

Saturday, January 09, 2021

My Letter to Star Wars

I have a letter published with Cicerone Journal. In July 2020, I asked people for a letter topic to write to and promised them a letter and Star Wars sticker. The first letter I wrote was in July, to two young fans of Star Wars. I am proud of this letter, it is to two young people, but also to Star Wars, to creativity, and examines my philosophy of artmaking. Thanks to everyone who makes and has made Star Wars for all the inspiration. Thanks to Cicerone Journal for publishing this.

Monday, August 17, 2020

The 2020 Australian Poetry Journal Anthology Vol 8

I have a poem in the latest edition of Australian Poetry. Thanks to the editors Sara Saleh and Melinda Smith for including my poem, for whom the red ticks. And thanks to Rabbit Poetry Journal and editors David Stavanger and Pascalle Burton for originally publishing the work. Thanks too to my mum for R2-D2. You can grab a copy here from Australian Poetry. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

RABBIT 27 – Tense (Within Australia)

I have a poem in the ‘TENSE’ issue of Rabbit Journal. Lately I have been writing a lot about work, and this poem covers some aspect of what I have been focused on in that context. The journal was guest edited by Pascalle Burton and David Stavanger, thanks to both for including my poem.

You can purchase the journal at or subscribe for several issues. Thank you to Rabbit Poetry Journal.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Can Serrat, El Bruc, Catalonia, 23 May 2019

The two weeks have been busy, Can Serrat Residency hosted a day of experimentation at the El Bruc town hall, ran a day trip to Barcelona for a gallery opening at one residency space and an open mic at another. A book club was also organized, as well as multiple paella (paellas?) cooked.

I’ve also managed to make progress on three chapters of the book, Tomas Brown, past Canberran and another of the residents here, translated six of my poems into Spanish and I’ve managed to get feedback on my work as well as provide input into Tomas’s writing project.

The experimentation day on my first weekend here involved a past resident’s work, and building three concurrent narratives from images they supplied while using simple scripts, then turning those into a film. The process took up the entire day for selecting different images, then arranging them. It was a bit hard to follow for me so I am probably missing a bit, I’d only just arrived and was adjusting to the different languages being spoken.* But it was a fun process to watch and I found a way to engage with it alongside some of the other residents who were similarly on the fringe of the event. It was one of those days that will percolate and maybe something creative will come out of it, but even if it doesn’t it was useful to see all the visuals of past Can Serrat residents.

During last week all the residents of Can Serrat travelled to Barcelona for a day and night of engaging with other residencies, we first went to a gallery space and residency called La Place for a Q&A regarding the installation there. Three hexagon tubes were suspended from the ceiling, you could stand up into each of them and a sound would play while (it was explained to us) a smell was released - I completely missed the smells. There was also an abundance of rock salt all over the ground that made a very satisfying crunching sound as people walked on it. The gallery doubles as the work-space while upstairs is were the resident lives. They are looking for people to apply to undertake residencies and exhibitions, and sound installations are one of the things they are about.

The next stop in Barcelona was an open mic at the now closed Jiwar Barcelona Residency. The open mic was a chance for all the current Can Serrat residents to present some of their work, and we heard poetry from one of the past Jiwar residents. My favourite part of the experience was hearing poetry in Catalan, I’ve heard poetry in Spanish before, and in French, but to hear a Catalan poet perform work he’d written about locations in Barcelona was a first for me; the space was excellent too, we were in the back garden of the Jiwar Residency surrounded by apartment buildings, so we had to finish by 8pm out of consideration for the neighbours.

We had a book club this Tuesday gone too; all the residents were asked to read a passage from what they were currently reading or present something that had influenced them. I can’t check the book out of the library here as I don’t have membership (I walk up to the library each day to read), so instead I read Ron Padgett’s The Fortune Cookie Factory, it was the first poem by someone else that I performed and it has stayed with me since I first read it in the Bible of American Outlaw Poetry. We each provided context for our reading and the group then discussed it. This discussion was pretty wandering and interesting as we explored some of the concepts behind the different residents’ work, my favourite discussion centred on the positives and negatives of deconstructing people’s beliefs (to way over summarize).

I will write a about where my project is at in part two of this post, as well as how I’ve interacted with the work of some of the other residents. Until then, here is a photograph of one of the permanent residents, he was sick when I arrived, and so pretty stand-offish, but after a dose of antibiotics he has become really talkative and keen to hang with us temporary residents.

* When I was here in 2014 the majority of residents were from English speaking countries, so it was pretty comfortable. This time while everyone speaks English, the majority of people are from Spanish and French speaking countries and it has taken a couple of days to adjust to hearing those two languages so frequently.

Solid Air: Australian and New Zealand Spoken Word

I have a poem in this forthcoming anthology from University of Queensland Press.

Solid Air: Australian and New Zealand Spoken Word, the title is in all caps on the cover, which is a good thing, this is what UQP have to say about it, “Over the past decade, Spoken Word has established itself as a central part of contemporary Australian & New Zealand poetry. For the first-time ever, these voices are transported from the stage to the page, captured in print so that the spoken-word experience can be shared with a new and broader audience. Solid Air showcases the work of more than 100 performance poets - combining elements of slam, hip-hop and experimental performance poetry - to deliver an unforgettable reading experience that is both literary and loud.”

You can pre-order from the publisher as well as see some of the other names of people who have had work included, the editors are the previous Queensland Poetry Festival Directors, David Stavanger and Anne-Marie Te Whiu.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Can Serrat, El Bruc, Catalonia, 10 May 2019

For this residency at Can Serrat I am focused on turning around 60-70 poems into two chapbooks and writing new work for both collections.

I attempted one poetry book from this collection of poems, written between 2008 and 2019, but have decided there are two different books.
Joan MirĂ³ Foundation
The difference is not due to changes during the extended period of writing that these poems are drawn from, though I think my writing has changed, and initially I had hoped to reflect the developments within the single collection, but for thematic reasons two separate manuscripts is now my approach.

When I go through the manuscripts a substantial portion of one book is made up of much older material while the other contains a large amount of newer work. But each has a selection of recent or older poems respectively that fit thematically; so, there are themes and concepts I keep returning to. The working titles are: Fighting Poetry and For Whom the Red Ticks, both titles will likely change as I work my way through the poems in each.

In preparation for the residency, I have been taking notes and collecting material to write new work for both collections.
Montserrat from El Bruc
This has included writing in the Woden food courts- thanks to taking a contract with a Commonwealth Department -I had never been to any of the Woden food courts previously. This nine-month contract is also part of the reason I can afford this trip, so thanks to the people who employed me.

I also re-visited the Joan Miro Foundation during my jetlag recovery in Barcelona over the last two nights, I found new perspectives since my last visit in 2014 and am hoping I can work these into new poems.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Tundish Review

I have a poem in the latest edition of the Tundish Review, apparently it is sold out.

But you can make sure you get a copy of the next edition by submitting, they are currently accepting work for issues 9 and 10. They can be found on Facebook or go directly to their submission page here.

Support small poetry publishers.