Tag Archives: Collected Works Bookstore

Bookstores, bookstores everywhere

Yet, so many of them are not worth walking into…

There are however, those few gems where you could unfurl your swag and spend the night (no, let’s make that nights). My good friend, Cindy Keong, is currently somewhere over the Tasman, on her way home from San Francisco and a visit to what has to be one of the finest bookstores in the world, City Lights. This place is on my must visit list, as without this store, I may never have picked up a pencil to write. The literature that it has published or inspired has been more than influential. Check out some of Cindy’s photos at her blog. Can’t wait to hear her stories…

And if I was to go on a bookstore tour of the world, these two stores would definitely make my itinerary:


Shakespeare & Company (Paris, France)

Opened by George Whitman in 1951 after a conversation with his friend Lawrence Ferlinghetti (founder of City Lights), Shakespeare and Company has been a hub of creativity and a gathering place for the likes of Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Allen Ginsberg. A visit to their events page will most certainly have you wishing you were just around the corner…


Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen (Maastricht)

Described by many as ‘Gods own bookshop’, this place has got to be in the running for the most beautiful bookstore. Located in a radically redesigned 800 year old Dominican Church. They certainly don’t build bookstores like that over here…

I would also add Collected Works  to my must see list for anyone in the world, as if it’s poetry you want, then this place is as good as it gets! And if you want a bookstore owner who knows his stuff… then Kris Hemensley is your man. I always make my yearly pilgrimage…

And as I am off to Sydney, I must also give Gleebooks a mention. This is one of the many great indedependent bookstores in this country and again, it has an extensive poetry collection, so I always walk out the door a few dollars lighter.

Speaking of Sydney… I must be off to pack.


Filed under discussions

Things to do in Melbourne when you’re walking

Been a busy couple of days in Melbourne. The city has turned on some good-ol-fashioned sunshine, so I have been out enjoying it and some of the amazing stores, pubs and cafes that dot the streets and laneways. Places I have visited so far include:

Collected Works: Quite possibly the best poetry and ideas bookstore on the face of this (or any other) planet, run by one of the world’s true gentlemmen, Kris Hemensley. Located on Level 1 of the Nicholas Building, 37 Swanston St., this store is a must visit for poetry lovers. Yesterday I had the chance to chat with Kris at  length and I know the store is facing some tough times, so if you are on the lookout for poetry, make sure you do your shopping here. You can ring up the store and order over the phone (no online store as yet, but keep an eye out in the future for this) and believe me when I say, this is the most comprehensive collection of poetry you are ever likely to see assembled in a retail outlet, so they are most likely to have what you are looking for! I can also recommend checking out the Collected Works blog, poetry & ideas.

Missing Link Records: Very cool independent music store, boasting sections as diverse as psych/folk/drone (now that’s a genre I can get into!). Great place to find out about local, independent bands or get your hands on that hard to find import. Great vinyl section too!

Sticky Institute: This is place is a treasure trove of zines and independent writing. There are zines covering just about every topic you could dream up… some are printed on squares of toilet paper, some are printed on high quality glossy stock; there are titles like culture slut and all my friends are dead because I killed them. You can lose yourself in this place for hours!

Mag Nation: if you dig magazines, this is the place for you! Again, you can lose yourself in this place for hours. Great range of music, art and literature magazines as well as some pretty cool t-shirts and other bits and bobs.

Readings (Carlton): Last night was lucky enough to catch a reading there by the delightful Nick Powell (who will feature at the final SpeedPoets gig on Sunday December 5), Bonny Cassidy and Melbourne favourite, David Prater. Great store with a comprehensive Australian poetry section.

The Brunswick Hotel: Had the immense pleasure of featuring at their fortnightly poetry gig, Passionate Tongues last night with Tiggy Johnson. Tiggy’s work has that hit of authentic domesticity that makes it immediately accessible. Her sets last night featured poems from her debut collection, First Taste as well as a number of new poems, inspired by her recent trip around the country. We in Brisbane are very lucky as Tiggy and her family are about to make the move north! I also performed two sets last night. In the first, I read a number of haiku and longer poems from Ocean Hearted and then a set of completely new work. Michael Reynolds as always was in fine form as MC and kept the night rolling along. Good times indeed!

Degraves Espresso Bar: Melbourne prides itself on being a good coffee city and Degraves Espresso Bar serves up one of the best coffees you will find. Their menu is simple, but tasty… the homemade spicy beans on toast is a great start to the day!

And tonight I am off to a wonderful event called ‘Haiku & Soup’ at Myron Lysenko’s place and then tomorrow I am being interviewed by the ever smiling Alicia Sometimes on Aural Text. You can tune in to the radio live at 12:15pm Melbourne time. Details about how to live stream the show are here.


Filed under discussions, events & opportunities, poetry & publishing, who listens to the radio?

Melbourne’s Secondhand Bookshop Trail

Touched down in Melbourne just a short while ago and discovered this article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the secondhand bookstore scene here in Melbourne. I know what I will be doing for the next couple of days… But of course, the first stop will be poetry mecca, Collected Works.

And for those of you in and around Melbourne, don’t forget to come along to Passionate Tongues (The Brunswick Hotel, 140 Sydney Rd Brunswick) tomorrow night (Monday November 8 ) to catch feature sets from Tiggy Johnson & myself.


Filed under discussions, events & opportunities