Hi! Thanks for visiting. I’m an Anglo-Australian writer from Bristol, UK, living on the Surf Coast in Victoria, Australia. In a former life I was a teacher of English, Drama and EAL. My poems, short fiction and reviews have appeared in The Best Australian Poetry, Poetry Foundation, BODY Literature, Shearsman, Southerly, Island, FLASH (UK and US), Overland, Cordite Review, Poetry Salzburg, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Rabbit Poetry, The Antigonish Review, Event, The Rialto, The Griffith Review, and Kill Your Darlings, among others.
My latest chapbooks from Pocket Poets (Ginninderra) travel to remote and exotic parts of Australia in all weathers. Wet Zone (sensuous and watery), Spirit, (the ghosts of lutruwita/Tasmania), Mirage (a Journey to Uluru and the Red Heart) and Unsettled (a Journey to the Far North).
Vagina Dentata after Kilsby’s Sinkhole, South Australia
Sag, Snake, Swallet, Swallow…
How do they avoid it-this heavenly pit lurking beneath desire paths?
Breeding ewes cluster as they lamb and wool
but they don’t fall in.
Divers canoe the limestone yawn,
drop to John Deere harvesters, bull skulls and barbed wire slung
down this marvellous hole.
Some take time out from iPhones to bask like wobbegongs.
Young soldiers –finned and slippery, nose into tunnels
where algae /moss-to-be/ nibbles patiently, biding its time.
They are lulled.
Sinister minerals from this portal make a womb
fit for a platoon.
Horses put hooves through the green veneer.
A thousand tonnes of rubble make no plug in it.
Boys who would be men drown in it, knowing it’s there.
From Wet Zone, first appeared in Australian Poetry Journal.
Lake Pedder Dilemma
There are times I pike-dive into the eye
of my past—glacial lakes, cirques beckoning
As warriors we nudged moraine out of the way
making moats, castles with flags
Our theatre gleamed in the wash of a wake
jetsam was treasure in our pirate imaginations
These days I seem to be growing gills in almost
every poem— gliding slowly like corralled salmon
no longer upriver ear pressed to the sound of the now—
white irises opening in the moonlight
wattle birds performing courtship rituals
growling from the high line of my balustrade
From Spirit (ghosts of Tasmania). First appeared in The Antigonish Review (Canada)
Painting Rock Woman Uluru
we snake around her stubborn hulk
pat the sacred skin scaled as a desert skink,
a red brick wall
crawl into her hydra mouths leave footprints
on her tongue with Blundstones
and white runners
she’s winky round the eyes
a kewpie doll pitted with acne
on a fresh cheek
memorial plaques are stapled
to her thighs Marcia, Brian, Leslie,
George have toppled off these
ancestral slopes fulfilling lifelong
ambition ignoring the warning
ants like us don’t creep over her curves today
clouds party with grey haze from Alice fires
it’s windy as hell the rains have come
frogs clack-clack love calls like music sticks
before the dry sets them hard in red again
for now, a weeping wet folds a shroud
or bridal veil, a skull tattooed into her back
spinifex sprouts in her sorry cuts
under wide skirts a kindergarten of baby river gums
wild flowers sweet as newborns’ fingernails
charm us with their pinks, yellows
at sunset she will pose for greedy eyes
we steal her stories, trawling reservoirs
for sorrow ghosts swirl about this cathedral
jelly baby dugong dreaming
nose of dolphin caterpillar
grungy steampunk armadillo
we make her ours
From Mirage (Journey to the Red Heart) first appeared in Rabbit.
Up early in our rented Getz
brightly red pokey on the turns
we cross a Myall Creek There must be two
Not this one New South Wales 1838
when thirty Wirrayaraay mums
and bubs, old guys whittling sticks
are bushwhacked into a yard
scorched one by one behind a hill
But this one sleepy Daintree spot
at the foot of Mt Sorrow PK’s Jungle Bar
where we drink beer, watch the Ashes
disappear into the new Sony flat screen
Heading south we stop to let
a cassowary dad and fluffy dino babe
walk out to peck the bitumen –roadkill remains
Like the boy section D row 7 of the Port cemetery
Slashed to the bowel by that middle toe
Stabbed by raptor stiletto Aged sixteen Dan Mclean Pupil no 4
Caught in the creek learning his last lesson
Our cameras focus on the neck
cobalt blue scarlet wattle
Black gloss of forest demon
trapped in a Canon click
So easy through the lens
From Unsettled (Journey to the Far North). First appeared in Southerly.
When I saw Jimi, my full collection, a memoir of growing up in Sixties Britain, was shortlisted for The Crashaw Prize, Salt, UK, 2012. We were described as ‘major new talents’. It was published as joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize, Indigo Dreams Publishing, UK, 2013.
My other chapbooks include: Tango Boleo, (with Avril Bradley) Ginninderra Press, 2019, Lips That Did, Dancing Girl Press, US, 2017, To Have to Follow, (with Terry Quinn), Indigo Dreams, UK, 2016, Kiss of the Viking, Poetry Salzburg, 2014,
You Love You Leave -e-chapbook, Kind of a Hurricane Press, US, 2014.
In 2019 a short story The Harry Chair White was shortlisted for Overland’s Fair Australia Prize and in 2020 an essay Wandering Dogs Broken Hearts shortlisted for the Bass Coast Prize for Non-Fiction. In 2018 I was longlisted in The Rialto Nature and Place Poetry Competition and had two poems highly commended in the 2017 W B Yeats Poetry Prize. In 2017 I won Best Poem in fourWNew Writing 27, Highly commended in 2016. One of my poems How Deep is Your Love was shortlisted for the RedRoom Company New Shoots Project in 2016.
I was one of two poets, in addition to commissioned works, selected for Wandering Words, a chapbook of ekphrastic poems presented at Sensing Spaces at the Royal Academy, London, 2014. The winning poem;
A Forest Went to Upton Cheyney for a Walk
After Li Xiaodong, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2014
You can’t imagine how
stupid we looked
in the deepest
days of our hiding
My snow past
That day coppiced rods failed
to conceal us in our lust,
my red fur boots, leaking
We tried to make love
on the snow floor
Coats on, gloves off
in some foolish trance or truce
where leaves had nothing
to do with it
There were none
just see-through see-all sticks
The floor gave way
Our clandestine meetings
on mountains in forests,
before that sinister front
diffusing what little light was left
made us hurry back to the car,
wet, looking ridiculous
It was later
the ice burned through
As feature poet I’ve appeared in LA Cultural Review, Sundress Best Dressed, US, Tincture, Melbourne Poets Union, Winter Words at Airey’s Inlet, Poetry at the Dan, Melbourne, Damson Poets, UK, on Tania Hershman’s blogspot and Clare Carlin’s Pieced Work.
My work appears in several anthologies including The Result Is What You See Today, (Smith/Doorstop anthology on running, 2019), Best Australian Poetry (UQP), Australian Poetry Journal and Anthology, Sylvia is Missing (Flarestacks), Heartshoots (Indigo Dreams), fourW New Writing (Booranga Writers), Motherhood, Dance and The Sea (The Emma Press).
I conduct writing workshops, edit poetry and fiction and mentor emerging writers.