Monthly Archives: March 2011

Sandgate Ginko: Jonathan Hadwen


                                               the sun disappears behind a cloud
                                               a lone gull
                                               stamps its memory in the sand


                                               pool of water
                                               underneath the tap
                                               ibis drinks its share


                                               I tread so lightly through the rock pools
                                               still the fishes flee


                                                tide comes in
                                                children and dogs
                                                rush to say hello


                                                restless night
                                                the light is tired
                                                of being switched on


                                                                          photograph by Cindy Keong


Filed under poetry & publishing

Sandgate Ginko: Vuong Pham


                                                           corrugated mud
                                                           how silent
                                                           the rotting branch


                                                           I see it
                                                           then I don’t
                                                           aeroplane through trees


                                                           distant waves
                                                           the paperbark rustles


                                                           howling wind
                                                           at low tide
                                                           the dog tracks fill in


                                                           kite surfing
                                                           falling leaves


                                                                            photograph by Cindy Keong


Filed under poetry & publishing

Sandgate Ginko: Lee-Anne Davie


                                                           a lone ibis fossicks
                                                           in the mangroves


                                                           low tide sand flats
                                                           gulls and kites
                                                           share the breeze


                                                           bare feet
                                                           cool in shallow water
                                                           the last of autumn


                                                           the curl
                                                           of the blue iron roof
                                                           waves roll to the shore


                                                           late autumn breeze
                                                           too few
                                                           waffle cones


                                                                           photograph by Cindy Keong


Filed under poetry & publishing

Sandgate Ginko: Cindy Keong

On Sunday the QWC ginko group headed over to Sandgate, a sleepy little coastal town on the outskirts of Brisbane. And although we are yet to see much sun on either of our ginko, there were some superb haiku written. During the week I plan to feature poems from each of the group members, starting with Sandgate local, Cindy Keong.

                                                                  autumn haze
                                                                  cargo ships
                                                                  ghost the horizon


                                             kite surfers skip across cloudy skies


                                                                  one seagull
                                                                  finds company
                                                                  in the still water


                                                                  breaking waves
                                                                  my thoughts
                                                                  tumble over


Cindy is the feature poet at tomorrow night’s The Back Room event at Confit Bistro (4/9 Doggett St, Fortitude Valley) and will also debut an exhibition of her photography. If you are in Brisbane, come along… doors open at 6pm!


Filed under events & opportunities, poetry & publishing

Riverbend Poetry Series II: Vanessa Page

The second event in the Riverbend Poetry Series is edging closer and it is another stellar line up of poets that will light up the Riverbend Deck on Tuesday April 19. Taking the stage on the night will be David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger, Julie Beveridge, Max Ryan and emerging Brisbane poet, Vanessa Page.

Vanessa Page is a Rosewood-based poet who hails from Toowoomba in Queensland. Memory Bone is her first collection of poetry and is due to be published in 2011 by PressPress

Vanessa is a frequent reader at Brisbane’s SpeedPoets events and has been a feature poet at 2010’s Poetry Author Month readings at Avid Reader bookstore in West End.

Her work has been published at kipple, the bluepepper, SpeedPoets zine and in the 2010 Central Coast Poets Inc Anthology. She won the USQ Poetry Prize in 2010 and in 2009 was runner up at the Ipswich International Poetry Feast.

Vanessa will be reading from Memory Bone on the night, so if you are yet to have the pleasure here is a poem by Vanessa to introduce you to her words.

Christmas, 1982

We are kiss curls wet under
paper crowns, sun licked noses over
seersucker cloth, and milk teeth
nibbling corners off white Christmas

Skin poached by December and
hands burnt blue in the mouths of
concrete laundry tubs, fishing
for the last creaming soda 

In bullet heat, the fig tree is
a tangle of arms and legs and
skinny tinsel is threaded loose
through may bush spindles
We are barefoot over bindii eyes,
blurs melted into photo paper
squares, lips smiling over icy pole
slicks and fossilised in tangerine

We carve our initials deep into
asbestos cement off-cuts for
safekeeping, and bury them with
memories under the mulberry tree.


Full details of the event are:

Tuesday April 19
Queensland Poetry Festival, QLD Writers Centre & Riverbend Books are proud to present the second event in the Riverbend Poetry Series for 2011. The April event features one of Brisbane’s finest new voices, Vanessa Page, reading from her debut collection, Memory Bone, the wildly wonderful, David Stavanger (And the Ringmaster Said), lover of all things rock’n’roll, Julie Beveridge (Home is Where the Heartache is) and Max Ryan, who’s latest collection Before the Night won the inaugural Picaro Poetry Prize. 
Date: Tuesday 19 April
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

These events are always hugely popular, so book early to avoid disappointment!


Filed under events & opportunities, poetry & publishing

The Felice Brothers set sail to Australian Shores

That merry band of Hudson River vagabonds, The Felice Brothers have a fourth full length album Celebration, Florida ready to launch and even more excitedly, they are finally making their way to Australia for a handful of shows in Sydney and Melbourne this April. This Lost Shark snapped up a ticket to their show at the legendary Annandale Hotel in Sydney and now I am marking the days on the calendar in anticipation.

More than any band working today (at least in my world), they know how to write a mean ballad. Channeling Guthrie & Dylan through a filter of rambling blues and the raw sensuality of the carnival, The Felice Brothers have penned some of the finest barroom ballads of the past decade. Songs like Ballad of Lou the Welterweight, Rockefeller Drug Law Blues, Katie Dear, Frankie’s Gun & Cooperstown have marked them as unflinchingly honest storytellers. To quote the Filter Good Music Guide,

the places and people they’re singing about aren’t literary devices but actual people doing their damnedest to rage against the growing darkness.

The song that has been drawing me further and further in to its menacing narrative is Boy From Lawrence County from their third album, Yonder is the Clock. When Ian Felice sings,

Be so kind, tell me warden
who’s in line to die this morning
can I see the show?
If he bore his teeth to scare us
would we see our likeness sheriff
in the pearly glow?

it never fails to raise the hair on the back of my neck. You can read the full lyric here and better still, here’s the brothers in all their full-throated glory, live at The Tractor in Seattle.

Roll on April, roll on.


Filed under who listens to the radio?

Brisbane River Ginko II

Sunday is quickly rolling around… so before we hit the shores of Sandgate, here’s a handful of haiku from our Brisbane River Ginko from the ‘three Johns’ of the group.

                                                               ferry wake
                                                               the river
                                                               speaks up

                                                               cello lessons
                                                               under the paper-bark
                                                               days lengthen

                                                       John Wainwright

                               baby grasshopper on my page
                               this autumn morning
                               it will learn to fly

                               reading Issa
                               I kill my first moth

                               a row of ducks in the rain
                               even the hermit
                               must smile

                              Jonathan Hadwen

                                                             full moon
                                                             the river rises
                                                             with my anxiety

                                                             autumn river
                                                             a leaf takes
                                                             its final voyage

                                                     John Koenig


Cindy Keong has also posted two new haiku on her site and they are well worth the click! And while I am mentioning Cindy’s work, here’s a few photos of Sandgate for those who haven’t had the pleasure. Let’s hope the weather holds…



Filed under poetry & publishing

Only The Best…

Submissions are now open for Black Inc. Publishing’s The Best Australian Poems 2011, so if you have had some recent work published (after August 1 2010), or you have an unpublished gem, this is a great opportunity to have your work anthologised alongside many of Australia’s finest.

Editing the anthology this year is John Tranter, who takes the editorial reigns from Robert Adamson after a great two-year stint. Full submission details can be found at the Best Australian Writing site.

I have long been a reader of both Tranter and Adamson’s work and over the last few years, I have searched long and hard in second hand book stores all over the country collecting their extensive catalogues. One book that has continued to elude me though is Tranter’s 3rd collection, The Blast Area, so you can imagine the smile that spread across my face when I discovered an online version of the book. You can download the pdf version of The Blast Area here. And believe me, it is well worth the click!

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Filed under events & opportunities, poetry & publishing

Brisbane River Ginko

On Sunday, I braved the autumn drizzle and a very large group of cyclists and set off along the bank of the Brisbane River along with six haiku enthusiasts on the first of our planned ginko. 

While it may not have been the kind of day that pulls you from your Sunday morning slumber, it is amazing how the small world of an umbrella makes you focus. Here’s a haiku sequence I wrote while out walking:

                                   Brisbane River Sequence

                                               dawn river
                                               my head
                                               yet to clear

                                               morning walk
                                               just enough rain
                                               to give the river voice

                                              standing alone
                                              the puddle at the edge
                                              of shelter

                                              waiting for
                                              the 7am ferry
                                              lone cormorant

                                             whistling at the joggers
                                             the old man’s
                                             hearing aide

                                             magpie song
                                             the day brightens
                                             under my umbrella

At the end of our ginko, we gathered together and shared our morning’s work, each poet presenting their favourite haiku of the morning, then casting their vote to select the poem of the trip. The winning poem from the Brisbane River Ginko was written by Cindy Keong.

                                                             lingering heat
                                                             my sweat beads
                                                             on the lawn

Next Sunday we are off to Sandgate for a coastal ginko. Nothing like sea air in your lungs to start the morning.

                                                                          * all photographs by Cindy Keong


Filed under poetry

Super Full Moon

For all you sky watchers, don’t forget to check out tonight’s super full moon. To quote the NASA website:

On March 19th, a full Moon of rare size and beauty will rise in the east at sunset. It’s a super “perigee moon”–the biggest in almost 20 years.

It doesn’t seem like I am going to get much of a look at it this evening as it has been overcast here all day and there isn’t any sign of the drizzle letting up. But here’s hoping…

Being a bit of a science nerd, I couldn’t resist posting this:

The March full moon is also often referred to as the storm moon or crow moon. Such a wonderful name… enough to stir a poem.

                                                       crow moon
                                                       the newborn’s
                                                       endless cry

Here’s hoping for a clear night.


Filed under discussions, events & opportunities