Monthly Archives: February 2011

Castlemaine, here I come

I am jetting off to Melbourne tomorrow, so if you are anywhere near Castlemaine, I would love to see you at their monthly gig, as I am stoked to be featuring there this coming Sunday. All the details below:

Castlemaine Poetry Reading
Sunday,  February 27th
The Guildford Hotel
3pm – 5pm.

All Welcome. 

Into its sixth year, The Castlemaine Poetry Readings restarts on February 27th with a Triple Treat; a dynamic Queensland poet, a sage translator / presenter of Asian poetry, and the 2011 launch of one of Australia’s major poetry journals.

This Lost Shark will be joined by Richard Perry and the launch of Famous Reporter,  edited by Ralph Wessman, who will also be at the Guildford on the day.

Richard Perry will read his translation of Chinese and Japanese poems. A great presenter, Richard is Emeritus Professor of Fine Arts at York University,  Toronto, Canada, the institution at which he taught Asian art history  and humanities for over thirty years.  His academic degrees are from  Harvard University and the University of Michigan.  While residing in  Canada, he also served as chief music critic for a number of daily metropolitan newspapers, and as book and recordings editor for several journals.  Since moving to Australia, he has taught popular courses in Zen Buddhist painting and poetry at the Centre for Ideas, Victorian College of Arts, Melbourne, and has given a number of public readings of Chinese and Japanese poetry.  He claims to have written one or two commendable haiku himself. A rare chance to hear poetry from China and Japan in the hands of an oustanding academic and performer.

From Tasmania, Ralph Wessman brings Famous Reporter, one of Australia’s leading poetry journals, to launch the 2011 issue. Central Victorian poets, Lorraine McGuighan, B N Oakman and Ross Donlon will read poems.

Stellar poets, Jane Williams (Tas) and Julie Beveridge (Qld) will also be at the reading.

The Wow Factor is off the scale for this one. A great start to 2011… the best reading this side of Rocky Hall. Still at the Guildford Hotel, 15 haiku from Castlemaine – 15 minutes for humankind. Early attendance recommended for the best seats.


Filed under events & opportunities

Hold Back the Water Fundraiser Update

Last night’s gig at Riverbend Books went off, with Pascalle Burton, Alan Wearne, John Koenig, Chris Lynch and Sheish Money playing to a packed Riverbend deck.

Alan Wearne

Pascalle opened the night, messing with the idea of reversible poetry, performing two new pieces over a backdrop of the reveresed voices of Nathan Shepherdson & David Stavanger. She was followed by Melbournian, Alan Wearne, who lifted the cover on the Australian Popular Songbook and introduced the audience to a handful of wild characters along the way. And then it was the launch of Brisbane New Voices II, with Romantic Rebel, John Koenig & Poetic Adventurer, Chris Lynch reading from their debut micro-collections. The mighty Sheish Money (who opened the night with a stunning new song, Let It) and I then closed the show with a performance of my poem, Meditations on a day when the river. And as the crowd walked out into the blustery Brisbane night, it was clear that the combination of artists had worked their strange magic!

Chris Lynch

And tonight, I am just home from The Back Room gig at Confit Bistro. Another strong crowd rolled up and the live sounds were bristling…

John Koenig

And importantly, we have now almost reached the $1000 mark in the Hold Back the Water Fundraiser. A massive thanks to Cindy Keong and Sarah Gory for selling tickets on both nights! The final event in the sereis will be the SpeedPoets 10th Birthday Bash, so make sure you are there to get yourself a ticket or three. All money will be donated to the Premiers Disaster Relief Appeal.

Big thanks to Fiona for sending me the photos and for her review of the Riverbend gig on ‘Dada Doesn’t Catch Flies’.


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Countdown to SpeedPoets 10th Birthday Bash

This week is a big one… 

Tonight’s gig at Riverbend Books is almost sold out (a few tickets left so get there early!!!), tomorrow nights gig at Confit Bistro is being filmed for Channel 7’s The Great Southeast and then on Friday night I fly down to Melbourne to feature at The Castlemaine Poetry Reading (at The Guildford Hotel), hosted by Ross Donlon on Sunday, Feb 27.

Big times indeed…

And to add to that excitement, I am counting down the days until SpeedPoets celebrates its 10th birthday on Sunday March 6 at InSpire Gallery Bar (71 Vulture St. West End). SpeedPoets has kicked off the year by revamping their website and the first person to step on to the virtual stage is one of the 10th birthday features, our lovely lady from 4ZzZ’s Waxing Lyrical, Fern Thompsett. Head on over and check out our interview and read her poem Sunset on the Back Steps.


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The Rise & Fall of a Book Empire

I am sure many of you have been following with great interest the fall of REDgroup. And as a result, things are not looking pretty for the Borders chain in Australia or our largest book retailer, Angus & Robertson.

I can remember just how excited I was when the first Borders store opened in Brisbane. As a consumer of poetry in this city, it provided a much needed avenue for the purchase of quality poetry, much of which, the independents were not stocking. Since that time (and particularly during the last 5-years), I have watched stocks dissipate and prices rise… the initial buzz of the place, long gone. Thankfully, many of the independents – Riverbend Books, Avid Reader & Folio – have stepped up and their poetry sections have become more dynamic, though it must be said, there is room for improvement, as they are a far cry from Sydney based independent, gleebooks.

A rise in online sales and the much debated parallel importing of books have been blamed for the demise of REDgroup, but for mine, there has to be more to it than that… with that in mind, this article is well worth reading:

10 lessons from the collapse of Borders and Angus & Robertson

Let’s hope that immediate job cut backs are not the first course of action, but with the news that customers have been told that they must spend double the amount of any outstanding vouchers to redeem their value, I am far from confident.

Sad times indeed…


Filed under discussions, poetry & publishing

haiku hit

Want a quick hit of haiku?

I am currently participating in a Junicho lead by Ashley Capes and was asked to submit three haiku for a summer verse. Here are the poems I submitted:

      still dawn
      every cloud is
      a dead lamb

                                              behind a stand of pines
                                              the sun slips

      sky to sea
      and back again

To see which one was selected head over to Issa’s Snail. There are some mighty fine verses waiting for you!


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Riverbend Poetry Series: The Romantic, John Koenig

It’s only four sleeps until Riverbend opens its doors for the first event in the Riverbend Poetry Series and the line up is set to crackle.

It has been wonderful featuring each of the poets, so it is with great excitement I present the final of the four feature poets, John Koenig.

John has been on a hundred wild goose chases in his time. He has however, never caught any geese, though once or twice he may have come up with some tail feathers. When not chasing wild geese, John hides out on a ridge north of the city of Brisbane, from where he ventures out for work, play and of course, wild goose chasing. After half a lifetime of venturing forth it turned out that he was a poet. Wonders will never cease. John admits to a romantic inclination towards life, and likes in no particular order: birds, words, people of all ages and love.

John will launch his debut micro-collection, Green Tea & Nicorette as part of Brisbane New Voices II on the night, but for now, here’s a new poem.

When a boom time rises,
everything converges on the roads.
Pulsing through blue veins of bitumen,
incognito, trucks have run the track,
in the night that came before,
signposting a trail of carnage,
in various stages of decay 
and disarray.
Mammals and marsupials
rearranged to resemble,
blood stained blankets
that have been,
thrown away.
While wily Crows dine fat on
roadside service.
Blown out tyre treads remind me,
that you never see any dead crows,
just a murder of their own

Tickets for the event are almost sold out, so be sure to book yourself in for what is shaping to be a fine opening to the Brisbane poetry season! Here’s the details:

Date: Tuesday 22 February
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Tickets: $10 available through Riverbend Books and include sushi and complimentary wine. To purchase tickets, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at

See you all there…

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Fine tune those words… two poetry workshop opportunities

There are many wonderful things about living in Brisbane. One of those things is being close to the QLD Writers Centre HQ at State Library of QLD. The good folk at QLD Writers Centre are always looking for new ways to assist poets with the development of their craft and there are a couple of workshops coming up in March/April that are well worth checking out.

Course 1: Ginko with Graham Nunn

I am thrilled to be running the first of these courses, which will focus on the art of haiku, through engaging in a number of ginko (haiku walks) around this fine city of ours. Together we will take in the sights, scents & sounds of Brisbane and turn those experiences into haiku that crackle.

We will discuss the history of the haiku, explore what makes a haiku work, look at some techniques for writing haiku and discuss markets for getting your haiku published. 

So if you want to Ginko with this Lost Shark, you can find all of the details here on the QWC Website

Dates for the ginko are: Sundays 13, 20, and 27 March, 3, 10, and 17 April and sessions will run from 9am to 10:30am

Cost for the 6 sessions is a very reasonable $95. Bookings essential!

Course 2: Poetry Manuscript Development

If you are at the stage of putting together a poetry manuscript, then this is the course for you. Former UQP Editor, Bronwyn Lea will provide formal guidance to help make your manuscript sing. The sessions will focus on crafting, structuring, and editing your manuscript, as well as providing valuable inside information about current poetry markets in Australia. If you have a poetry manuscript in the making, Bronwyn will provide all the tools you need to pull it together for publication.

 Dates for the course are: Thursdays 7 April, 5 May, 9 June, 7 July and 4 August and sessions run for 6pm – 8pm.

To book your spot head to the QWC website.


Filed under events & opportunities

7 days to get your applications in for QPF 2011

So get cracking people!

QLD Poetry Festival is without doubt, the finest festival of its type in this country and is renowned worldwide, as one of the hottest events on the global poetry calendar.

So if you want to mix it up on this worldclass stage with some of this country’s and the world’s finest, head on over to the QLD Poetry Festival website, download an Expression of Interest form and set yourself to work.

Expressions of Interest must be received by Thursday February 24.

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Cleaning out the midweek webs

We’re right in the thick of a golden live music streak in Brisbane at the moment and tonight I’m heading out to see the criminally underrated, Swervedriver. Got a feeling this one’s going to give the ears a good workout…

Here’s what I mean:

Big 90’s guitar sounds here I come!

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Filed under who listens to the radio?


There is steam in the earth
a brief gust of summer.

Curtains lift a matter of millimetres.

We marvel at the damage —
broken bedside lamp on the carpet floor.


Filed under poetry