Blog Archive

April 10 Do you have a collection you would like reviewed? Libby Hart has created this online opportunity for those of us who might like to review or be reviewed.

It’s a beautiful flyer-elegant and gorgeous. Click here to see and contact Libby if you’re interested.

What the bird said (1)

Debra Alma created quite a storm last night on Facebook when she asked if anyone knew of good online journals. It’s worth a look.

Best news this morning.I opened an email from Don Share, editor of POETRY saying he loved one of my poems and would like to publish it. A very big thrill indeed.


April  Feeling jetlagged from sitting at my desk all week trying to finish an essay on chivalric love and gender roles in ‘The Lady of Shalott.’ Hurrying because I have to make a dash back to the UK to help mother recover from a hip replacement.  If I had a knight I’d send him. It’s the bibliographies and referencing that sucks the life out of me but the upside is, a poem I  loved as a child I probably appreciate more now, all except ‘Tirra Lirra by the silly river.’ Very lame, Lancy Boy. Having to read about Tennyson, poet,  and then research courtly love was a bonus.


So many of the research articles say the same thing that I wanted to find a new angle. I tried a few ideas but they will probably be kicked into touch. At least I can sail the onion lady downstream and concentrate on the creative side of the unit. I shall be writing a love song in Frank O’Hara lunch poem style, the ‘I did this, I did that’ business.

Received mystery package in mail this week.Postage cost half as much as the book.  Ian Seed’s Ice Cream colllection. Where did it come from? I don’t remember buying it. Curiouser and curiouser. Thank you, whoever you are.

Just heard from a  friend whose poems were held for seven months and then rejected by a reputable journal which represents poets.We know it’s a labour of love but can’t rejections be issued quickly? I know a UK editor who must receive hundreds of poems a week but she will send a gracious rejection within days. Come on Aussie editors. We don’t mind rejections but either let us submit simultaneously or get our work back, please.

Off to look for cheap airfares now. Royal Brunei looks like the go. Bit sick of packing and unpacking a suitcase but it will be carry- on and under 7kg so manageable. Looking forward to catching up on the year’s movies. Hope there’s plenty of M15+. There’s no alcohol which is good as I’m a recovering alcoholic this week.

I won’t be joining the Miranda Kerr Mile High Do it Yourself Club either.



Late March  Great week this week.

World Poetry Day. Reading by Geelong poets featured in Best Oz Poems. Excellent.

Wrote poem for friends getting married on Saturday in Somerset cus I can’t be there. Easy since they’re such a colourful couple. Parcels in the mail.  Three collections of UK poet Catherine Smith and Marion McCready’s debut collection. She’s a lovely poet. We met in Ventenac in Pascale Petit’s workshop last year and she goes from strength to strength.  Would love to be going to every one of Pascale P’s workshops. First the Tate and now London Zoo. The most generous poet. How doe she get to write?

Latest Rabbit on The Long poem. Always a juicy surprise. Nice one by Autumn Royal. Also received Australia Poetry Anthology, ‘Concrete.’ I submitted five poems and silly me, didn’t realise it was visual poetry, not my thing. It would be so good to be rejected promptly. I waited more than four months before I heard anything.

Have been invited to speak at a regional Literary Festival in October which made me very wobbly but now I’ve decided to present on getting published and turning memories into manuscripts. I will be nervous  as hell but it will be good experience.

Stoked to hear that the lovely Felicity Plunkett has chosen a poem for No Theme Cordite.

Amazed to hear I am shortlisted for the Rachel Funari Short Story Prize. Seems strangely poignant to know that two weeks ago I camped in Adventure Bay on Bruny Island where Rachel was last seen three years ago at around the same time.

Early March. Just back from a bush camping off-road wild and wonderful trip to north west Tasmania. Between waterfalls, conical rocks, sun bleached middens and sand pyramids we got bogged, rolled the vehicle, lost brakes and battery and smashed three wine glasses. The thermos fell off the back of the truck and I was half swallowed by a peat bog. Feel close to our deadly convict and colonial past in this little state and while


its beauty is breath-taking we leave such a mess behind us. Abandoned mines, logs washed up on beaches making them look like boneyards. The one standout brilliance is MONA and thank you David Walsh for the best art space in the world. When I walked in I cried. The sheer scale and scope of this place has to be seen, experienced.

While I was away I found out that one of my poems had been selected for the Ekphrasis project at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. I’m so excited by this as I found the exhibition Sensing Spaces so inspirational I didn’t stop writing for a week. I loved researching the architects and their work. I felt I’d travelled the world and learned so much.

Here is the poem and link to the piece.

Yesterday I received the latest Emma Press anthology Motherhood  which is a thing of beauty and not at all pink and fluffy. I’m not a big fan of the themed anthology usually, but this packs a punch and Emma nd Rachel are such livewires and get things done quickly. I was lucky to have one of my poems in it along with the likes of Liz Berry, Clare Pollard and Catherine Smith. It really has some fabulous poetry in it.

The Emma Press Anthology of Motherhood

I am checking the mailbox daily as am hoping to get Pete Spence’s latest ETZ which is always whacky and out there.

And the last treat for March will be my copy of Poetry Salzburg Review where I am hoping to have three poems. So, amidst the rejections, there are rewards.

Am now working on putting photos with poems and some smaller collections based on travels to remote parts of this amazing country.


Already February and rejections from a  flurry of pre Christmas submissions are rolling in with the odd surprise. ‘Jimi’ has been positively reviewed in The Journal and Emma Press in the UK has accepted a poem for one of their new anthologies and may be launching it in London and Melbourne which is great. This is because they are featuring Australian poets which is good news.

Have just ordered Marion McCready’s new collection, enjoying Ocean Vuong’s beautiful poetry and Best Canadian Poems 2013. The year is underway with five Coursera subjects beckoning. These are online free courses with resources from places like Yale, Harvard, Edinburgh University and Penn Uni among many other top spots. It’s so refreshing to have a bit of brain food after those Xmas doldrums.

Abegail Morley’s Ekphrasis group on Facebook is calling for submissions in response to Sensing Space; Architecture reimagined at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Nilumbik Shire is holding a competition calling for ekphrastic poems. Pascale Petit, one of the most intriguing and exciting ekphrastic poets around,  is so generous in including class content from her Tate classes on her blog.

Looking forward to Pete Spence’s next issue of his very own post modern ETZ.

Back to the blank page…


Welcome to JAN 2014 and my blog of writerly things and let’s rejoice that Xmas is over and we can crack on. Am I the only person in the world who didn’t go down with dysentery on Xmas Day or was this just an excuse to get out of it?

After a brief week in tropical Port Douglas I’m waiting for dengue fever to strike. On the beach, away from deadly stingers,  I read and loved Best Australian Short Stories and think they are superior, as a collection, to last year’s Best British which harboured one too many ghost stories for my taste in traditional form. 

I am going back to the short story, specifically Melanie Rae Thon, who has blinding opening lines like,’ Two nurses with scissors could make a man naked.’ Try NOT to read on. 

Tania Hershman; award-winning writer of sudden fiction, Bridport judge, cat lover,  has an excellent web site devoted to all things short story here.

I am also reading Keef’s autobiography and loving the personal revelations about Mick, Anita Palenberg and others, less so the pages on his music-making and even less the details of how he neglected his children. Amazing they survived. Astounding to think that the Stones roll on minus Brian but the Beatles are dead and gone, sort of. Above all, I do admire Keef’s candour. Takes muscle to let it all hang out, then again, at his age, who TF cares?

In need of a laugh, I have started a Howard Jacobson memoir which is doing the trick. I am on the lookout for exciting, daring short story writers like Eric Dando, whose work has such energy. I love it.

Have sent off several poems this week and am about to catch the Kenyon deadline for the year. Nothing like a panic attack to sharpen the pencil. I am also going to start doing the simultaneous thing, I am so sick of waiting  so long for a response, if I get one at all, so need to work a lot smarter.


Jan 9            And just when I started to think I was rubbish

rubbish mouth

I get an invitation from the Editor of a well respected poetry journal in the UK asking me to submit and then within 24 hours accepting three poems for the August issue. That gave me a Woo Hoo moment. And Pete Spence has asked me to contribute to his next ETZ. In the mail this week I received a back copy of ETZ and tucked inside one of his famous collages and a signed print.


Fabulous. I shall hold onto them in case he becomes ultra amazeballs more famous and I can retire to somewhere retirable. Among the poets in this issue were Cameron Lowe, Jill Jones, Liam Ferney and Toby Fitch. What company. I enjoyed being introduced to poets I didn’t know also. Speaking of which…whom….

This morning in bed I treated myself to an hour or two with the Poetry Foundation website and podcast where a poet friend of mine, the marvy Marion McCready is featured.


I also read Amy King’s piece on what she thinks about Best of anthologies, poetry syllabi stuck in the Pleistocene and Gertie Stein.


What I like about Amy and Marion is not only their poetry but the fact that they read and recommend great poets;  European melancholy poets who know what it’s like to go without, to be persecuted, to be hungry, to feel like aliens among their own people. We have meltdowns when a burger comes without the pickle. This can lead to poetry without a heart, poetry too clever for itself, poetry we can’t understand but has some tricky words arranged trickily. I like a bit of blood in what I read.


I am considering my next guest poet and I have been drawn to two dead poets; Aileen Kelly and Marianne Moore. It would mean fictionalising an interview which could be fun. Both women were bold, crafty and make me read twice. I tried to watch the Yale lecture on Moore but the lecturer was very slooooow in his delivery and I just saw my life disappearing in a sea of ums and ahhhhs. Moore would have had none of it.

In the meantime I shall give you links to Amy King’s great feature from the Poetry Foundation and also Marion’s wondrous poems just up on the same site. I know she presented one of them at Ventenac in our week with Pascale Petit and it blew me away then. It makes me cry whenever I read or hear it. You can hear her lovely Scottish brogue reading it on a podcast here.

Jan 6            Yay etc! Christmas is over this goose got fat, please put a thousand bucks in my redundant sun hat. Rejections are coming thick and fast. I think any self-loathing poet can expect 8-9 rejections out of ten.Today, there is a memoir poem up here. The first gift of the year. Thank you, Ian Chung, editor of Eunoia Review. He responds in very gentle time and has some exciting work up here. Enjoying the increasing number of online poetry journals.

Have been busy sending out hard copies of my new manuscript and entering competitions. One lovely editor asked me for the e-copy so I hope that is a good sign.

Nov 16           Very excited to be shortlisted for the Whitmore Press Manuscript Prize for a second time. Congratulations to all!

Nov 15          Clare Carlin has interviewed me here for her divine Pieced Work website. I am alongside Ivy Alvarez which is an honour indeed.


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