Category Archives: Poet’s Breakfast

Poet’s Breakfast #5 – Beverley George

This time for Poet’s Breakfast, we enter the intertidal world of Beverley George, so grab a cup of tea, and let your mind unwind… this is a breakfast landscape to lose yourself in.



lagoon sunrise –
the pelican’s bill keeps time
with my teabag

We live between an ocean and a freshwater lagoon.

The ocean is beyond tall houses on the other side of the street. The large freshwater lagoon is five metres from our back door.

I watch moorhens; egrets; cormorants; herons;  four species of duck.

It is the pelicans I love, when they are here, rather than being busy; flying west, flying north, being somewhere else.

At 6 am, heating the jug for my fresh lemon juice in water, I look for them. When they are present, plummeting from the north headland, folding onto the water, fishing, my day-start takes on a contemplative mood.  Breakfast is no longer something to merely fit in, or not.  It exerts its own weight amd circumstance.

In the kitchen, on our open shelves below the plate rack, there are five breakfast bowls from Kyoto.  The bowls are inexpensive but they have been shipped here, after my return, in a black lacquer box with slanting divisions, as carefully packed as if they were porcelain.

The bowls do not match in colour, but they tone. I take down one at random. Any one. That is at the heart of the ritual. Any one. No premeditated thought of which to choose, or memory of the last one I used. It’s like crossing fingers, not walking on cracks.

I scoop into the bowl the same brand of natural yoghurt, add blueberries or fruit in season. Wait for a pelican to drift into the water space I am watching, between boughs of melaleuca. 

I wish I could say inspiration strikes me in this quiet time, but it rarely does.  It’s just time out, a space for me, before the day begins.

Still facing the lagoon I find a teacup. Pour water onto tea.


About Beverley George:



Beverley George lives between the ocean and a freshwater lagoon and dabbles in most forms of writing. She is the founder and editor of Eucalypt, Australia’s first journal for tanka only and past editor of Yellow Moon 2000-2006 and the Society Of Women Writers NSW (Inc) Newsletter 2004-2006. Her seven international first prizes for haiku and related genres include the British Haiku Society James W Hackett Award 2003 and the Tanka Society of America’s International Contest 2006. She is president of the Australian Haiku Society. Her first book for children, Sneeze Power, was published by Blake in 2006.


Find Out More:

Eucalypt has reviews of her tanka collection, empty garden and an article on tanka first published in “Five Bells”.

Beverley was the featured poet January – July 2008 on Tanka Online, a teaching site for tanka. An interview by Jeanne Emrich and a selection of Beverley’s tanka are available

Simply Haiku vol 4 no 3 has an  interview of Beverley by Patricia Prime and examples of her haiku tanka and haibun.


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Poet’s Breakfast #4 – Suzanne Jones

Time for that early morning wake up call! It’s Poet’s Breakfast with Suzanne Jones…


Wake up mum, Weetbix time! 2 year olds have no time for pancakes unless its second breakfast and mums always need time for coffee.



maiden sleepover voyage
her father at the helm
a Sunday breakfast


I began to seep
maple trees

saplings at least
walling off

at sixteen leagues
I baked
my own

called my father to table
called my mother to table
called my sister to table


tomorrow I’ll call my son
and husband to table
we shall sit

a veritable sugar house
and eat
our own.

About Suzanne:

Suzanne Jones: Performance poet and co-founder of seZsu, has featured at the likes of Woodford Folk Festival; QLD Poetry Festival; Sydney’s Friend in Hand; and was a member of the first QLD Poetry Slam team; Finalist in the prestigious Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup 2006-2007; Co-winner of the National Poetry Week Open Mic Championship 2005 and QPF Poetry Slam 2006 and 2007 finalist; she released her first chap book, Pregnant & Tongue Tied in 2006.

Find out more:


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Poet’s Breakfast #3 – Rowan Donovan

Ease into your morning and enjoy the breakfast ritual of Rowan Donovan. Pour the tea, sit back and taste this toasted life…

Part One:   A Slice of Toasted Life. 

The Japanese call it, “asa- gohan”. Morning Rice. The French, “un petit dejeuner.” Me? I call it, “breakfast”. A morning ritual I’ve prescribed to and haven’t changed in years. 

In the small working space of my loved kitchen, morning after morning, I take the same paced side step shuffles. Two steps to the right. Open top draw. One pace to the left. Put the butter knife down. Half turn pirouette. Open fridge door. I could do it with my eyes shut. Take out the marmalade jam. The same big bowled green cup I have used forever. A mismatched saucer. A family heirloom if we weren’t so dysfunctional. And from the freezer of my fridge, two frozen slices of my favourite bread. Without one there is no other. There are lessons to be learnt here. Enlightenment can be found in the everyday mundane.

My bread of choice is Burgers Soy-Lin. Simply stated, it’s the best bread in the world. Period. Packed with natural goodness ie, calcium, iron, folate, phytoestrogens, omega and high fibre, I have been eating it forever. If I didn’t start every day with my two slices of Burgen, I could never be consoled.

My Sunbeam toaster has to be seen to be believed. It’s a retro relic from a time when toasters were toasters and not décor accessory items. Its slots take two slices. Only two. The toasting dial is permanently set on three. It would be tantamount to challenging me to a do or die duel to change that setting! And it roasts my toast to cooked perfection.




Strangely though, I’m a “cold toast” man. The secret is in leaving the toasted slices for that little bit longer after the pop up has popped. Just long enough to absorb a tad more radiant energy before taking the prized slices out to cool and dry.  This is where it gets tricky. We want toasted crunch. We don’t want limp. Toast ain’t toast if it’s limp. Know what I mean?

Of course what one dresses one’s toast with is a personal statement of intent. A homage to bourgeois indulgence. Like, “let them eat toast!” A zen like simplicity. I use a concoction that is neither butter nor margarine. I don’t know what it is. Just that it’s spreadable and fifty percent less fat. Last but not least, a final coating of Breakfast Marmalade. A generic brand. Thirty five per cent fruit. Made in Poland. Sold at Woolies.

Indeed, like the archer who aims at his true self, so too perfect toast. Perfection after all, is approachable.

                                                     Summer breakfast
                                                     burnt toast
                                                     and one more cup of tea      

To be continued   –   Part Two:  Chado

About Rowan:

Rowan Donovan was born in 1952 in Hawera, New Zealand. He started performing his poetry around Brisbane at various venues in 2001, often working collaboratively with good friend and Brisbane poet Graham Nunn. He continues to showcase his work to audiences whenever the opportunity presents itself. He is proud to be a founding member of Brisbane’s longest running poetry/spoken word event Speedpoets and to have served for five years on the Queensland Poetry Festival management committee.

To purchase a copy of Rowan’s book ‘The Lateness of Goodnight’ contact him at rdono22(at)


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Poet’s Breakfast #2 – Jacqueline Turner

This time we head overseas to Vancouver and enter the dreamy morning world of Jacqueline Turner.


Waking with the Dictionary – One Poet’s Morning

I should start with a disclaimer to say that I do not have a consistent morning ritual. I am not one of those people who gets up at 5 a.m. and writes for a couple of hours before work, like my poet friend Shane Rhodes. In fact, as soon as I develop some kind of pattern, my contrary nature suggests breaking it. Still, I think it’s interesting to contemplate how we start our days immersing our minds in language and kicking off the writing process, so here’s what I did this morning in my studio perched in the fog in English Bay (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada).


Jacqueline's desk 

Coffee is necessary. In this, at least, I am consistent. My latest morning strategy is to start off making a list of words. I am not thinking yet, barely awake in fact. I just list whatever words come to mind, listening for the next one and writing it down. So fun. Really. No pressure to create a brilliant post-lyric or avant-lyric, I just have to make a list of words.

What I do next is based on an idea I got from reading Harryette Mullen’s Sleeping with the Dictionary.

With the list beside me, I sit at my laptop, careful not to spill coffee on it, and write. Every time I stop or get stuck, I use one of the words. Clearly, they are on my mind in some way, so they must fit somehow. Here is the result this morning with italics indicating words taken from the list:


obstinately walk the sea edge black rock to rock
hey looking good today says the
bundled up man on the bench

capable of an excess of observation
i refrain, feel the flood of affect
flow through my chest like blood or rain

wonder if i was a scientist would i see
bodies cell by cell inside out would
a chest be a ribbonated box for a muscle
called politely the heart?

culpable in what i continuously cannot
see sear an obtuse hand tugging on my black jacket
i just need money for food he says

or the coldest day when a woman in sleeping bag
burns to death by the candle keeping her warm
3 a.m. in front of the seven eleven here in
this contentious bay where anger doesn’t
even help


It kind of works. I might even do it again tomorrow.


About Jacqueline:

Jacqueline Turner is the author of three collections Into the Fold, Careful and Seven Into Even. She lives in Vancouver, B.C. Her work has appeared in absinthe, West Coast Line, Rampike, qwerty, Tessera, and Fireweed. She has also published a number of chapbooks. She founded a literary magazine called Filling Station that has been publishing international writing for the last 10 years. In 2005, Turner was Queensland’s inaugural poet-in-residence at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Brisbane, Australia. Jacqueline teaches creative and critical writing at Simon Fraser University and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver.


Find out more:


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Poet’s Breakfast with Chris Mansell

This Lost Shark has always been fascinated by the concept of the Poet’s Breakfast, seeing that the majority of poets I know are not really what you would call ‘morning people’. So I thought it would be interesting to ask people to write about their morning rituals, the importance of place and other such things; to explore the time and space of breakfast through the eyes of many poets.

First up I asked Chris Mansell:


This poet’s breakfast
I’m not very good with food. I don’t pay attention to it much and then, when I do, I desire it with a salacious passion which is – unedifying. Breakfast is not one of the times of peak desire. There are other things that need doing in the morning: looking at the light; wrenching your consciousness from the flights of dreams and back to the solid world. Breaking the continuity of the night is not something that can be done lightly. The day seems an intrusion and it takes a while to get used to the idea. The magpies are carolling and the traffic is going past. Light is filling my bedroom because I leave the curtains open so that I can see the moon and stars from my bed in the night.
The exchange of the deep interiority of the night to the inconvenience of the day has to be carefully negotiated. The depth of consciousness that is the night’s gift can be held for a while, sometimes even taken to the desk. Poems ease the transition. Take one, first thing, on rising.
Breakfast is always solitary and this is the best. People who want to disturb the flow the universe with chatter of any kind are not to be trusted in the morning. I’m polite and certainly not a morning grump. I want the expansiveness of day but the mind of night. My intimates are quiet first thing because they too have learnt the habit of morning reflection. We smile happily at each other and don’t talk. It is calm.

Chris Mansell

This picture shows where I sit. I’m not sitting there in the picture because I’m taking the photograph (obviously) and I’m ashamed to admit that the book on the table is a book of short stories – not a book of poems, although morning is for poems. I’m likely to give up this position and wander away with a cup of tea into my nearby study and stare into the deep eye of the computer. I’m still unbrushed and ill-fed – where I always intend to do something small before I shower, eat etc although it might be 11 am or 2 pm before hunger sends me rampaging off to eat breakfast at the table, like a grown up.
Of course many days and many mornings are defined by someone else – I have to be here or there at the behest of some organisation or another. Then breakfast is a duty because I know I’ll run out of energy and other people have timetables that don’t allow a natural appetite at 11 am/2 pm. Then I sit with tea and cereal in a comfortable chair and listen to Fran Kelly on ABC radio telling me with her amiable earnestness what is happening in the day. The transition is fast and consciousness becomes thin – as is appropriate for a day spent outside of the study. On these days, I read prose.
Short bio:

Chris Mansell has written six books of poetry and a number of other smaller collections. Recent collections include Love Poems (Kardoorair, 2006), The Fickle Brat (text + audio CD) (Interactive Digital) and Mortifications & Lies which Kardoorair Press published in 2005. Chris Mansell has worked with many writers throughout Australia Council mentorship program as well as teaching writing in both university and non-university settings. A prize-winning poet in her own right, she has won the Queensland Premier’s Award and been short-listed for both the national Book Council Award and the NSW Premier’s Award among other things.


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