Monthly Archives: June 2009

Dear Rose Book Launch… a sneak preview

Here’s a sneak preview of the Dear Rose cover and an excerpt from the title poem… Details of the launch are also included so hope to see all you Brisbane folk there on Sunday night, and for all those beyond, details of how to order online will soon be posted to the Small Change Press website.


Dear Rose Cover


an excerpt from Dear Rose… by Nicola Scholes

Dear Rose, you were the best friend I had since I was torn from country at age ten in the back of a black beetle cab. The driver couldn’t understand he was only taking us to London as he took a corner it would set off my mother then my father would start saying don’t look back. It was the last time we’d go down those streets and the face I left footing the curb was not replaced until I met you.

Dear Rose what have you replaced me with, copious cups of tea or coffee alcohol Ali study TV Connie Debbie or someone new? Do you appreciate this time, have you achieved distinctions?

Dear Rose you said I stressed you out, you had to eliminate the stressors from your life. What’s it like now, are you no longer stressed, how do you fill your time now is it peaceful?

Dear Rose I won the open mic you shoulda been there Rose you shoulda seen me Rose I did the poems justice I wasn’t nervous it was a huge stage they loved me Rose you shoulda been there Rose you shoulda seen me Rose you shoulda.

Did you have a good time with Debbie that night?

Rose I may be transferring to UQ I’ve started rehearsals for a new play don’t you want to see the artwork I did for the flyer Rose my car’s still not working but the exercise is good I saw the doctor about my legs the scars are healing next week I turn 32.

Dear Rose the updates are getting longer. I’m worried that one day they’ll get so long they’ll need filing. You’ll say how are you & I’ll say fine. One gig of memory zipped.


Small Change Press is excited to launch it’s first title for 2009, Dear Rose by the winner of the inaugural ‘Dream Aint Broken Chapbook Competition,’ Nicola Scholes. The poems in her debut collection are brimming with inventiveness and moments of illumination.
As part of this live launch experience, Nicola will be reading from Dear Rose, alongside one of Melbourne’s truly innovative spoken word artists, Santo Cazzati and the sonic beauty of Bremen Town Musician
Date: Sunday July 5
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Venue: Queensland Writers Centre, Level 2, 109 Edward St, Brisbane
Tickets: $15.00 single or $20 couple (including a signed copy of the book, glass of wine & nibbles).

Book your spot now by emailing (tickets to be paid for on the night)

See you there!

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Filed under events & opportunities, poetry & publishing

Cannot Buy My Soul



I was thrilled when I heard earlier in the year that the Cannot Buy My Soul tribute to Kev Carmody was coming to QLD as part of QMF. The concert features performances from a diverse range of Australian singer/songwriter/musicians, including Paul Kelly, The Herd, Tex Perkins, The Drones, Steve Kilbey, Claire Bowditch, Archie Roach and many others. Since the release of his debut album Pillars of Society in 1989, Carmody has been one of our leading indigenous voices, embracing a range of styles from gospel to reggae and drawing comparisons to the likes of Bob Dylan along the way for his from-the-gut protest songs.

Carmody is a unique Australian talent, so if you have the chance to see this show… do it.

If not check out QMF’s Cannot Buy My Soul page and click on the artist bios to watch some live video from previous concerts.

And while you are at it, check out this live version of Thou Shalt Not Steal with John Butler at the Make Poverty History Concert.


Filed under events & opportunities

Oodgeroo – bloodline to country

Sam Watson’s new play Oodgeroo – bloodline to country opens today. The play centres around the 1974 hijacking of an aircraft in Dubai by Palestinian terrorists. One of the passengers on that plane was Kath Walker (later to be Oodgeroo Noonuccal). The other central issue is the differing pathways to peace; for Oodgeroo it was negotiation, but for her son Denis along with Sam Watson (the play’s author), it was armed struggle and the formation of the Australian arm of the Black Panthers. This play is a must see for all poets and activists.

Here is a link to a great article by Rosemary Sorenson from The Australian – An Ode to Oodgeroo.

And of course, the play features many of Oodgeroo’s poems. Here is one of my favourites:


We Are Going
       by Oodgeroo Noonuccal

They came in to the little town
A semi-naked band subdued and silent
All that remained of their tribe.
They came here to the place of their old bora ground
Where now the many white men hurry about like ants.
Notice of the estate agent reads: ‘Rubbish May Be Tipped Here’.
Now it half covers the traces of the old bora ring.
‘We are as strangers here now, but the white tribe are the strangers.
We belong here, we are of the old ways.
We are the corroboree and the bora ground,
We are the old ceremonies, the laws of the elders.
We are the wonder tales of Dream Time, the tribal legends told.
We are the past, the hunts and the laughing games, the wandering camp fires.
We are the lightening bolt over Gaphembah Hill
Quick and terrible,
And the Thunderer after him, that loud fellow.
We are the quiet daybreak paling the dark lagoon.
We are the shadow-ghosts creeping back as the camp fires burn low.
We are nature and the past, all the old ways
Gone now and scattered.
The scrubs are gone, the hunting and the laughter.
The eagle is gone, the emu and the kangaroo are gone from this place.
The bora ring is gone.
The corroboree is gone.
And we are going.’


Filed under discussions, poetry & publishing

Get Your Fix

Another Sunday, and after the grey, weeping sky that prevailed last weekend, it is so good to feel the last of today’s winter sun streaming through my window.

And while I am getting my fix, you should get yours.


Check out this great short film based on the poem A Fix by Herbert Huncke. For many Huncke is better known as ‘Herman’ in Burroughs’ classic novel, Junky or as ‘Elmer Hassel’ in Kerouac’s On the Road, but Huncke was certainly no bit player. In fact it was Huncke who intoduced Kerouac to the term ‘beat’.

And if this film peaks your interest, check out this reading of Huncke’s classic ‘The Evening Sun Turned Crimson’.

Now that voice is beat.

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Filed under discussions, interviews/artist profiles

The Suffering Song

Well tonight I finished watching Deadwood. If you have not seen it, I totally recommend you do so. And don’t be put off by the relentless cursing, violence and moral chaos… there is so much more going on. I mean, this is hands down the most linguistically brilliant television dialogue I have encountered.

Just have a look at some of these quotes and these two articles on the language of Deadwood.

Deadwood’s linguistic brilliance

The language of Deadwood

And already, I am mourning for it.

So here’s a song from Willard Grant Conspiracy, to ease the pain… The Suffering Song. Indeed for all of the characters in Deadwood and all in life, suffering’s gonna come someday.

Get yours here… The Suffering Song.


Filed under discussions, who listens to the radio?

Gloves Off! Poetry vs Literature

In my Saturday morning travels, I came across this great post by Todd Swift.

It took me back to the recent post, Is Poetry Failing?, as again the capitalist concept of success is at the heart of the matter.

“There is a publishing industry… It is a commercial enterprise, endorsed by government bodies, and cultural organisations and affiliated media sponsors, and festivals. Together, it constitutes an “establishment”. On the whole, this system favours the novel, and narrative, over poetry of any kind, and surely, poetry with disrupted syntax. Why is this?”

The short answer… money.

But has fiction won? Swift goes on to argue:

“the truth is, poets buy in, far too much, to the idea… and that its delights and world (of fame and celebrity and film deals) is one they might approximate.”

Sure fame and all its trappings seem pretty damn attractive to all of us some of the time, but in reality, it does not equate to success. Fame is most definitely in bed with entertainment and as Swift says, poetry is a little more radical than that.

As Steve Kilbey says in the introduction to his book Earthed,

“Poetry and all that falls under its ambiguous umbrella, is still relatively pure, still relatively untainted by the eddying currents of supply and demand, dollars and deutschmarks and big, big deals…

There’s no airbrushing or visual enhancement. No distortion pedals, holograms, special effects, negative passive resaerch, hi-con subliminal hooks nor probability studies… it’s only plain old words and in a linear way, it’s probably un-understandable… but there exists something that’s better than mere understanding. It resides in that part of you which is not Earthed.”

Well said SK… may we all remain UnEarthed.

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Filed under poetry & publishing

One Book Many Brisbanes

This Lost Shark has had a massive poetry week. A great night of live poetry at Riverbend Books on Tuesday night, where I also got my first glimpse of the three new Small Change Press titles for 2009 (very exciting, but more about those in another post), followed by the launch of the B150 edition of One Book Many Brisbanes (OBMB) on Wednesday morning. This was an extra special occasion as earlier in the year, I was commissioned to write a poem to open the anthology. And to make it even a little more special, it was the first time a poem had been included(generally it is an anthology of short stories). It was one of those times I was proud to have my wife, mum and dad and close friends beside me to share the moment.

Here are a couple of links to articles about OBMB, so head on down to your local council library and check it out.,23739,25679496-5003424,00.html

Happy Friday night everyone!

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frost on hinges – a winter kasen renga

               by Ashley Capes & Graham Nunn


frost on hinges
by the letterbox
a thin shadow

every pine needle

the powerline
raven’s claws

your black skirt
drying in the wind

on the verandah
first wood-smoke
only the fire
warms his old hands

two moths
circle the lamp – fighting
or fucking or both

the click of a light switch
swallowed by black
in bed
my coffee and I

flipping through vinyl
ancora tu

old cat
watching the kite
chase its tail

wind flings leaves
into water

rising moon
a mango stain
on my t-shirt

cicada husk
grey in the moonlight

morning drizzle
the blonde’s
exposed roots

watering the pot plant
even the birds hushed

spring moon
each hibiscus flower
flooded by light

a gentle tread
grasshoppers scatter

on the hillside
a riot of flowers –
bee sting

young boy streaks
past the swing set

in the park
the ibis flees
echo of laughter

two sugar ants
share our blanket

on the swing set –
nosebleed spots

a red scarf slashed
across her throat

the white butterfly
folds its wings
I am very still

just the two of us
crushing dry herbs

lover’s quarrel
from the train yard

so much longing
in the owl’s voice

in the electrical storm
me and the moon
who is thinking of who?

gathering leaves
shaped like tear drops

one seat
between us
and not a word

the fence posts
make perfect bookends

leaning further
into dusk –
old poinciana

black against the sky
the farmer’s hoe

before sunrise
colour the fields

against the back step
boots covered in pollen


* for those of you who would like to find out more about renga, or even get invloved in writing one, head on over to Issa’s Snail and check out what is happening there.


Filed under poetry

#*%^ the football… watch this – Dylan and The Band at Isle of Wight

Recently I got my hands on the audio of Dylan and The Band at Isle of Wight in 1969; Dylan’s first step back into the live arena after ‘the accident’. It is a momentous occasion… the first time any of the songs from the underrated classic album of 1967, John Wesley Harding were aired live.

Here’s links to watch some footage of the concert… so if you want to escape tonight’s football fever, check it out. It’s pretty raw, but who would have it any other way!

Highway 61 Revisted

One Too Many Mornings

I Threw It All Away

I Pity The Poor Immigrant


Filed under who listens to the radio?

Black Stump Blues pt. II – Further

In just over a week I am heading out west to Blackall again with Hinemoana Baker (2009 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence)… I was fortunate enough to have a two week residency out there last year and ever since leaving I have had the ache to return. The country really gets under your skin…

Here’s part II of the poem I wrote during my residency. I posted part I, Beyond back in April this year for those who want to go back and check it out.

Can’t wait to see what writing comes out of this year’s trip…




rise early
to catch mail run
ninety kilometres
of dusty
road deeper
into nowhere


dry earth marked
by dot-dash tracks
of roos catches
morning sun
redder still
against stubble
of gidyea trees


the eye travels
into clear sky
broken by flight
and glide
of kite hawk


bleached skull
parches throat
and lips crack
to draw breath


disturb wedgetail
at breakfast
he looks down
his beak
and struts off
in feathered


pull in
to Isis Downs
discover beauty
in drought-stricken
bones of sheep


feet search out
loose boards
in shearing shed
with weather-beaten
music of this place


the horizon level
through three hundred
and sixty degree sweep
you can see
the whole universe
from here


two hundred
metres down
Dardanelles Rd
I question
its existence


shudder over
cattle grid
Springlea Station
a gate


step out into heat
working dog stops
to greet me


galahs squabble
in what remains
of shade
while shearers
watch the clock
three more sheep
’til smoko


in the pens
sawmill buzz
of flies
the lame beast


wind blows
quickly through me
and tumbleweed
lodges a moment
by a fencepost
then is gone


you are the river
following floodlines
and I this
naked stretch
of land


eyes follow
the road home
words swim
along parallel
lines and blur
into horizon


return to Blackall
for coffee
and cold shower
drive these stories
into my veins


Filed under poetry