Tag Archives: Geoff Goodfellow

A Million Bright Things – feat. Geoff Goodfellow

My second feature from the forthcoming CD – A Million Bright Things – is South Australian poet, Geoff Goodfellow.

Geoff Goodfellow is as tender as he is tough . . . as hard as he is soft. He is a walking contradiction. Throughout his twenty year career in poetry, he has revealed a considerable capacity for listening and close observation. His first collection No Collars No Cuffs, first published in 1986, is now in its 9th printing. Eight books have followed, most running into multiple print runs. He writes with a ‘contrived simplicity’, detailing the lives of seemingly ordinary people. It is however, his poet’s eye for the micro, rather than the macro, that allows him to focus on and dramatise a single crucial moment or situational aspect, to suggest much more the extraordinary.

Geoff’s poem, Blue Sky Mornings is featured on the CD A Million Bright Things.



Blue Sky Mornings

I remember being five years old
& walking up & down
the white quartz driveway
of our family home in Copley St
       dragging on a Rothmans Plain
i was often up at 5am on those
summer mornings
       tip-toeing over the floorboards
& being careful not to let the
screen door slap as i’d creep
out to dad’s cream FX Holden
       to sneak a smoke out of
the red soft pack he’d left on
the front bench seat
i’d walk the driveway then —
& practise doing the drawback
       feeling dizzy at times
but somehow enjoying it
       & i might do the
Chinese drawback too —     
feeling the smoke drift up my
       & i remember blowing
smoke rings into perfect blue
sky mornings
       looking up at the apricots
at the end of the driveway —
& sometimes hearing them fall
       & seeing white cling peaches
still setting on the tree
       & the corn already high enough
to hide a boy like me
but i was big enough to work
       & even then i knew
i wanted to be a working man
those mornings i’d listen for
the jingle of empty bottles
& the clip-clop of hooves
on our unmade street
       knowing that Lennie Sugars
the milky was coming
       & i’d butt my smoke into
the red clay soil & bolt out
to meet him
i’d spend the next two hours
placing pints on front verandas —
        hearing the clink of empties
from the back of the cart as the
horse worked his way towards
Lennie’s low whistle
       i remember too —
my forefinger & index finger
       greasy from the residue of
so many poorly washed empties
i’d picked up
but over the next fifty years & more —
       i’d pick up more than just
greasy bottles

there were sixty to eighty cigarettes
a day for fifteen years
       & over twenty half coronas
for another ten
       & lots of five paper joints

& i’d pick up solvents & sealants
& stains & paints & fluxes
& fluids with peculiar smells
       working through twelve hour
days on building sites in blinding sun 
with no UV protection

& yet no one can tell me with any
       just how i got cancer.

(forthcoming from Waltzing with Jack Dancer)


A Million Bright Things will be launched at Riverbend Books on Tuesday June 22. Doors open at 6pm for a 6:30pm start. Tickets are $10 and include a glass of wine and sushi nibbles. To book tickets call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at www.riverbendbooks.com.au


Filed under events & opportunities, poetry & publishing

Bush Slam

If (like me) you didn’t catch the first episode last week, make sure you check out tonight’s Bush Slam, hosted by H.G. Nelson on ABC TV. Tonight’s episode features Geoff Goodfellow and James Blundell heading off to the fishing town of Stanley in Tasmania’s north-west, where they will have three days to take in the town and write a poem, before reading it in front of a live audience at one of the local pubs.

I am personally really looking forward to seeing what Geoff Goodfellow comes up with, as his reading of his longer poem, The Seventh Doctor, was my highlight from QPF 2009 and rates as one of the best readings I have ever witnessed. Geoff also recently appeared on ABC TV’s Stateline reading from the series of poems Waltzing with Jack Dancer and talking about his battle with cancer. You can also check out some of Geoff’s work on his own site.

Coming up in future episodes of Bush Slam are poets Sam Wagan Watson, Kate Fagan, Emily Ballou, Alison Croggon, Morganics, Melinda Schneider and John Kinsella.


Filed under poetry & publishing

The Best Australian Poetry 2009 (UQP, ed Alan Wearne)

Well, I came home to a copy of UQP’s The Best Australian Poetry 2009 tonight, featuring poems from some of my Australian poetic heroes – Geoff Goodfellow, Robert Adamson & Thomas Shapcott – so it is a nice feeling to have 5 of my haiku included alongside these gentlemen and about 30 or so other fine poets.

These haiku, written during my residency at the Ekka, have been displayed as part of Museum of Brisbane’s ‘Ten Days in August’ exhibition as well as at the Ekka, so they have been really good to me.

I’m off to crawl into the pages and soak it all up… here’s one of the haiku published in the sequence.

                                                                      first date
                                                                      too scared to kiss
                                                                      on the ghost train


Filed under poetry, poetry & publishing

QPF Spotlight #16 – Ten QPF Poets

Just four more sleeps and I will be in poetry heaven… yes QPF 2009 is just around the corner. There are still some tickets left for Friday night’s, ‘A Tangle of Possibilities’ concert so make sure you get your seat booked asap. You can do that online here, or call The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts Box Office on (07) 3872 9000 between 12pm and 4pm.

And to help fill your next few days with poetry, I have put together a sampler from ten of the poets featuring at QPF this weekend. Hope this gets your poetry gland salivating.

See you at the festival!


The Violence of Work by Geoff Goodfellow

Ruminations, Allegro & The Swoop by Geoff Page

These are Wobbly Days by Anna Krien

Cheap Red Wine & Why I Write? by Bronwyn Lea

38 ways to stain a memory by Nathan Shepherdson

Death and the Maiden by Jeffrey Harpeng

And this is just the morning, glass to sea-junk: a sacrifice & How do you do, Tuatara? by Zenobia Frost

Getting off the Round-About by Janice Bostok

Of a Place by Elizabeth Bachinsky

One by Hinemoana Baker


Filed under poetry & publishing