Monthly Archives: November 2011

New Leonard Cohen Track

After recent years of touring, Leonard Cohen is showing no signs of slowing down, with news of a new album, Old Ideas to be released in January 2012.

It has been touted as his most spiritual album to date, “the album’s ten songs poetically address(ing) some of the most profound quandaries of human existence – the relationship to a transcendent being, love, sexuality, loss and death.”

Pitchfork currently has the first cut from the album, Show Me The Place, available for listening and if it is anything to go by, Cohen’s age worn baritone is sounding better than ever.

This may be the album that kick starts my new year…

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Expressions of Interest open for QLD Poetry Festival 2012

Australia’s premiere celebration of all things poetic, Queensland Poetry Festival, invites proposals from poets, performers and artists interested in being part of the 16th annual festival.

QPF is not a director-led festival; rather it is programmed each year by a group of Brisbane poets through an open Expression of Interest process. In that spirit, QPF is inviting Expressions of Interest from poets, musicians, performers, and spoken word artists interested in being a part of the 16th annual three-day festival, spoken in one strange word 2012. Be it a reading, a project, a performance, or perhaps something that embraces myriad art forms, bring it on! They are open to all forms of poetic expression and want to know what you’ve been cooking.

If you are programmed to perform at QPF 2012, flights, accommodation and performance fees will be provided.

Submission deadline: Wednesday 22nd February, 2012.

QPF 2012 runs from 24 – 26 August at the state-of-the-art, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

For further details, submission forms and guidelines, visit the QPF website at, or contact them at with any questions.

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Southbank Ginko

Last Sunday, our haiku group descended on Brisbane’s iconic, Southbank Parklands for our weekly ginko (haiku walk). The Spring weather turned it on, and the park was teeming with wildlife of all varieties! Here’s a few poems from the group + a couple of my own:

pink ice cream
a baby sucks
its thumb

Tiggy Johnson


this green place
all my own
one willie wagtail

Rebekah Woodward


in the lily pond
catfish eyes

Lyndon Norton


city beach
all the fathers running
like children

Graham Nunn

the tarot reader slips
out of character

Trish Reid


breeze ruffles
a seagull’s snowy chest
cloudless sky

Corrie MacDonald


hot sun
Pauls milk sign spoils
the view

Lee-Anne Davie


white stains
by the ice cream stall
sacred ibis

Andrew Phillips


waiting for you
the bouganvilla
pours out its song

Graham Nunn

photopraphy by Corrie MacDonald


Filed under poetry, poetry & publishing

Brunswick St ginko, Issa’s Untidy Hut & other haiku happenings

There’s been a flurry of haiku activity of late, so here’s a bit of a roundup:

This week, I was one of the Wednesday haiku poets over at Issa’s Untidy Hut along with Bruce Hodder and the mighty Issa himself. You can read the poems here

I have also recently had a handful of haiku published in vol 18: no. 3 of the beautifully produced South X Southeast Haiku & Haiku Arts Journal. If you have never had a look you can do so here.

And just in time for Christmas, the Third Australian Haiku Anthology has just been released by paper wasp. I also have a selection of haiku published in this anthology, which celebrates the vibrant Australian haiku voice. You can read more about the anthology and order copies here.

And finally, here is a selection of poems written as part of last Sunday’s Ginko through Fortitude Valley. I was not able to be there, but these poems bring the ‘Valley’ to life for anyone who has never taken a walk through one of Brisbane’s iconic inner city suburbs.

And tomorrow, we are off to Southbank for another perfect haiku morning…

valley markets
in the mirror
a girl writes her thoughts

Lee-Anne Davie


under a tree
a man contemplates
a parking meter

Lyndon Norton


longevity bench
an old man
smokes a packet

Andrew Phillips

stone sunflowers
in perpetual bloom
cheap lease

Rebekah Woodward


discount massages
the masseuse uses
only one hand

Cindy Keong


morning market
the colours
of a hangover

Tiggy Johnson

2 for $3
or $2 each
plastic buddhas

Chris Lynch


last coins
the old woman feeds
her hunger

Trish Reid


ibis stalk
the city street
wary shoppers

Corrie MacDonald


photography by Cindy Keong


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Poetry in a Matchbox

The Lavender Room Zine-in-a-Matchbox, Bumper Poetry Issue is here!

Many of you may have read the interview I did with the lady of the Lavender Room, Pascalle Burton, back when issue #1 hit the streets, but this 8th issue is ready to blow all others away.

The matchbox is bursting with tiny poems by Bruce Dorlova, Hadley, Matt Hetherington, Carmen Keates, Chris Lynch, Corrie MacDonald, Andrew Phillips, Jacob Polley, David Prater, Nathan Shepherdson, David Stavanger, emily xyz, this Lost Shark and many others. The box is also elegantly designed and comes with a single match.

The Bumper Poetry Issue is now available via The Lavender Room Facebook Page or the etsy site for just $8 + postage.

So if you like words that catch fire, then start clicking… with Christmas knocking on the door, the Bumper Poetry Issue might just make the perfect gift!


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Peaceful Music

We are still waiting for the arrival of our son… ah yes, the best things in life take time, require patience.

So, to say the least, my head is a wee bit overloaded, which is why I have been diving headlong into the glorious pool of minimalist recordings I have in my collection. And one of the very latest in this collection is Peaceful Music I – VIII, by Brisbane based sonic experimentalist, Marisa Allen (aka Bremen Town Musician).

She describes it as:

Alone in your room. It’s winter. No it’s summer… but not yet. A dog barks, there is a chicken wandering through the yard and the possums scream during the night. You live in the city but you don’t really live in the city. It’s quiet. Everything starts to warp and then you are melting. It’s 3 am. It’s midafternoon. It’s not breakfast. It’s not lunch. The wind is blowing, the clouds are gathering. A car. A motorbike. Nothing else.

Here’s the video for 2nd single from the album, IV:

The album is available now for download from Bremen Town Musician’s BandCamp site.

Another recent release well worth getting your ears on is The Peregrine by one of Brisbane’s sonic pioneers, Lawrence English. In fact, if you want to do this, you had better get cracking as The Peregrine is a strictly limited release of 500 vinyl copies. Composed in response to J.A. Baker’s book of the same name, English’s latest work cements him as one of the modern masters of his craft.

Here’s a passage from J.A. Baker’s, The Peregrine:

Swiftly now he is resigning his savagery to the night that rises round us like dark water. The great eyes look into mine. When I move my arm before his face, they still look on, as though they are seeing something beyond me from which they cannot look away. The last light flakes and crumbles down. Distance moves through the dim lines of the inland elms, and comes closer, and gathers behind the darkness of the hawk. I know he will not fly now. I climb over the wall and stand before him. And he sleeps.

And you can listen to a sample from the album here:

So if these sounds strike you, show your support for local, independent art.


Filed under who listens to the radio?

Sex Times at SpeedPoets

This Sunday, November 6, is the last chance to get along to SpeedPoets before the long days of Summer set in.

It’s been a sparkling 10th year, with features from touring artists such as Matt Hetherington, James Waller and Santo Cazzati (Melbourne); local musicians including Baron Field, Primitive Motion, Ichabod’s Crane and Mardi Lumsden and some of our favourite local poets: Fern Thompsett, Phillip Ellis, Nathan Shepherdson, Rachael Briggs, Michelle Dicinoski and Carmen Keates.

And the final line-up for the year is another 3-way feature act that is bound to POP!

SpeedPoets regulars, Andrew Phillips and Michael Cohen will perform their debut feature sets alongside Brisbane art-rock fetishists, The Stress of Leisure, who will have their spanking new single, Sex Times available for the first time in 7″vinyl. So if you want to get sexy, SpeedPoets is the place to be!

And don’t forget to pack a poem in your pocket so that you can make your voice heard in Brisbane’s hottest Open Mic.

All the action kicks off at Brew (Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City – click here for a map) at 2pm and runs until 5pm. Entry is a gold coin donation and the monthly SpeedPoets Zine is free as a 2yr old in a shopping centre!

To get you in the mood, here’s a couple of clips of The Stress of Leisure teamed up with two of Brisbane’s finest poets, David Stavanger & Nathan Shepherdson. Get your dancing shoes on!

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Lighting the Global Lantern

Lighting the Global Lantern: A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Haiku and Related Forms by Terry Ann Carter. Canada: Wintergreen Studios Press (2011) 178 pp. p.b. RRP: US$25.00.  ISBN: 9780986547317.

Reviewed by Patricia Prime

This guide to writing haiku and related literary forms is from the internationally-renowned poet, editor and teacher, Terry Ann Carter.  Carter has published four books of haiku and three collections of lyric poetry.  She is committed to poetry in service to the global community.

The major categories of Japanese short forms of poetry are examined closely: haiku, tanrenga, rengay, renga/renku and linked haiku, haibun, tanka and haiga.  Each genre is illustrated with examples by traditional Japanese poets and contemporary international poets.  There are also articles for teaching the forms, as well as definitions and histories of the various genres, and a list of resources and useful books.

Lighting the Global Lantern provides one of the most comprehensive overviews of Japanese traditional poetry to be found in English.  The main theory of the work, the need for a teacher’s guide to the various forms, is developed in a sequence of examples and discussions.

Carter notes in her “Definition of haiku” that “A haiku is a short poem that uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an experience.  It is what is happening ‘now’”.  Examples of both traditional Japanese and contemporary haiku illustrate this section, as we see from the following examples:

cold moon –
three stalks of bamboo
among the withered trees



wants the dog

Ruth Holzer

Omitted from Carter’s list of tanka, haiku, haibun and linked form magazines is the New Zealand magazine Kokako, of which I am co-editor.  The magazine also runs a haiku and tanka contest on alternate years.  Another website which may interest students and teachers is the Katikati haiku Pathway, which was instigated in New Zealand by poet Catherine Mair.  Here one can see examples of haiku, from traditional to contemporary haiku, engraved on boulders.

The opportunity for students to experience writing collaborative sequences of free-verse poems with friends or overseas poets is offered through the forms of tanrenga, rengay, renga/renku and linked haiku.  A useful site for those wishing to learn more about such forms is John Carley’s website at  Garry Gay invented the “rengay” in 1992 and some of his notes concerning this format are included under the heading “Rengay”.  In his opening paragraph, Guy says: “To write a good rengay you are probably a good haiku writer. The rengay, like the haiku, relies on your ability at suggestive writing.”  A fine example is given of a rengay composed by Terry Ann Carter and Richard Straw.

The definition of haibun states that “A haibun tells the story about something that you saw or did or imagined.  It is important to remember that the haiku that follows the narrative should illustrate the point of your prose, or extend the prose – it does not capsulate what has been written.”  Several excellent haibun are incorporated into this section, one being Mike Montreuil’s “Change”:

After two months of hearing complaints from my nineteen-year-old  daughter, I finally heard a good morning and bye when I left to work. It was  another reason to scratch my head and wonder why her mood suddenly  changed.

a tease from her brother
she snaps a response –
love is in the air

Websites on offer to writers of haibun are Contemporary Haibun Online and Haibun TodayHaibun Today is also instrumental in offering a venue for tanka prose.  Many articles on haibun and tanka prose are to be found in both journals and may be of interest to students and teachers alike.

Tanka is defined as being “a highly personal and emotional poetry; in Japanese, it is written in five lines or phrases in a pattern of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables.  Kozue Uzawa, editor of Gusts: Contemporary Tanka, explains that English tanka should come closer to 20 syllables.  She invites us to write directly and express our feelings freely.”  The following two examples are from Japanese traditional tanka and from contemporary tanka:

no different, really –
a summer moth’s
visible burning
and this body
transformed by love

Lady Izumi Shikibu


the cold walk,
between us,
the creek running
under ice

Tom Clausen

The many tanka that Carter chooses to demonstrate her themes are moving, and worth reading.

As Carter says in her “Definition of haiga: “Haiga is a traditional art form composed of brush painting and calligraphy of haiku poetry.  Today, haiga is created with drawings, paintings, photographs and digital technology – marrying image and text so that each is independent of the other, yet producing an artwork mysteriously ‘new’”.  Examples are given of both traditional haiga and contemporary haiga – one a most beautiful piece by Pamela Miller Ness, featuring embroidered image and haiku on linen. Photographic images are becoming more and more popular and a section is devoted to Paul Benoit’s photos.  Line drawings by Matt Cipov are also a feature of this section.  Jim Kacian’s article “Haiga: Pictures and Words Together at Last” is an invitation for both students and experienced poets to “enrich ourselves with examples of art in order to inspire modern day haiga.”  Kacian develops his argument from paintings and posters to Japanese practioners of haiga using the poem/portrait.  As Kacian says of the use of paintings in haiga:

Our relationship with the image is changed, because the words shift out  attention from our contemplation of the image to finding some relationship  between the  image and these words. We know this because this image has  been used for advertising purposes, and so has lost some of its power to excite  the imagination purely as image.

This guide is a wonderful resource for both students and teachers.  It contains insights and examples of the many forms of Japanese short poetry, as well as valuable information in the form of essays, book lists and websites.  It is highly recommended to those wishing to write, teach or study the various forms.


Filed under discussions, poetry & publishing

City Botanic Gardens Ginko

Here’s last Sunday’s haiku harvest from our ginko around Brisbane’s City Botanic Gardens. It was a rolling Spring day where the only colour that remained certain in the sky was the purple of Jacaranda blossoms.

on the path
crow throws a sideways look
I know! I know!

(Trish Reid)


photographing flowers
the eye of a curlew
fills the lens

(Cindy Keong)

fig tree
a quick root
against the wall

(Tiggy Johnson)


family picnic
a jacaranda
provides the blanket

(Lyndon Norton)

mangrove forest
passing bikes tremble
the bridge

(Lyne Marshall)


river surges
twenty masts
sway in agreement

(Corrie Macdonald)


in the flower garden all the names I never learned

(Chris Lynch)

photohgraphy by Cindy Keong


Filed under poetry