Fragments … 6th Feb 2015

I missed this post on Pam Brown’s blog while we were away overseas, it’s a short talk by Chris Edwards, poet, designer, typesetter and collagist, on designing Vagabond Press’ deciBels poetry books – delivered at the launch on Sunday afternoon, November 30th, 2014.

The New Yorker features a video piece on Richard Flanagan at work on Bruny Island.


Fragments … 31st January 2015


We’ve created a three-part mini-course/sampler of metapoems — one proto-modern, one modern, one postmodern. Listen to a brief audio introduction and then watch three video recordings of several of us working through close readings. [Jacket2]

STICKY’S FESTIVAL OF THE PHOTOCOPIER 2015 is happening on February 12th-15th, with the massive zine fair in Melbourne Town Hall happening on the Sunday.


SUNDAY 15TH FEBRUARY from 12-5pm.

Now taking applications for zine stalls. Just to make sure you know: we will only accept zine stall applications. It is a zine fair. We are a zine shop. It is a zine event. If you are planning on mostly having a stall selling records or ‘Keep Calm’ tea towels or knitted Morrisseys* or whatever, this is not the event for you. ZINES! Please. Thank you.

Please email with your name and the zine(s)/distro you’ll be representing, with the email subject ‘ZINE STALLOUT’ – it’s like a cross between zine stall and callout, see.

Thankyou! We can’t wait. And THANK YOU to Ashley Ronning Design for that save-the-date. Lovely. See more here.

THE POET TASTERS: “… there is no commercial sphere against which ‘literary’ poetry defines itself, however much handwringing there might be about accessibility. The most celebrated or popular Australian poetry volume will struggle to sell 1000 copies. It takes manic tenacity or global fame to make a career by writing poems. The total revenue of all Australian poetry volumes in any given year would struggle to match the advance for a mid-list novelist.

[Ben Etherington, Sydney Review of Books, 30th Jan 2015]


“… the usual claims – no-one makes a living from poetry; 1000 copies is a best seller; and ‘the total revenue of all poetry sold in one year would struggle to match the advance for a mid-list novelist.’
Whoa! Adrian and me went red in the face rather quickly. Here we go again. Stamp collectors of the world unite! When someone discusses poetry, they must adhere to the academic, white-bread, sanctioned view of what poetry is…. [Steven Herrick]

MARK STRAND, WHO DIED IN NOVEMBER at the age of eighty after a long battle with cancer, is the first among my oldest friends to go. Having known him for forty-six years, I’ve come to realize since he passed away what a huge presence he was in my life and still continues to be. [Charles Simic, ‘New York Review of Books’]


“COLLEEN McCullough, Australia’s best-selling author, was a charmer. Plain of feature, and certainly overweight, she was, nevertheless, a woman of wit and warmth. In one interview, she said: ‘I’ve never been into clothes or figure and the interesting thing is I never had any trouble attracting men.’ ” [Rebecca Shaw writing in The Guardian, 30th Jan 2015 and lamenting the way that in obituaries, women’s lives are too often abridged and disrespected]. 



fragments … 28th Jan 2015

VICTORIAN PREMIER’S LITERARY AWARDS. Historian Alan Atkinson, has won the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature for his book, The Europeans in Australia, along with the $25,000 prize for nonfiction as part of the Victorian’s Premier’s Literary Awards.

Other winners of the $25,000 category prizes were: (fiction) Rohan Wilson, of Brisbane, for To Name Those Lost; (drama) Angus Cerini, of Melbourne, for Resplendence; (poetry) Jill Jones, of Millswood, South Australia, for The Beautiful Anxiety; and (young adult fiction) Claire Zorn, of Keiraville, NSW, for The Protected.

Published on 26 Mar 2012

Tony Frazer – an editor and publisher at Shearsman Books – talks about the types of submissions he receives, the types of books he publishes and how he has managed to stay in business for over three decades. He was speaking at the States of Independence fare that was held at De Montfort University on March 17, 2012

US journal Coldfront – reviewer of poetry books, reports on poetry and music, and publishers of visual poetry – has  put out its list of  Best 40 Poetry Books of 2014.


Alliteration is overdone in the phone book, if you ask me.

WRITE A POEM IN SOLIDARITY WITH THOSE IN MANUS PRISON CAMP – a call to poets to stand in solidarity with those in Manus Prison Camp, send poems of solidarity to


Fragments … 21st Jan 2015

HERE’S TO THE POETRY READING [EVEN IF NOONE COMES].  ‘Then there is a special experience: that of hearing a good poet read their work well. It can be electrifying.  ‘ [Petra White, ‘So Long Bulletin’, 19th Jan 2015]

POETICA CUTS. I remember having to pull off the road as Ali Cobby Eckerman read ‘I Tell You True’. The raw power of that poem, which I’d already known for a decade, had my hands trembling on the wheel.  [Bruce Pascoe, Writers Victoria, 16th Dec 2014].

THE CHANGING FACE OF LITERARY JOURNALS. Madeleine Dore speaks to editors and publishers of The Lifted Brow, Kill Your Darlings, Meanjin, and Archer to find out what they are doing digitally. [ArtsHub, 16th Jan 2015].

SEX AND DESIRE IN THE WRITING OF CHRISTIOS TSIOLKAS. In Tsiolkas’ fiction, gay relationships flare and die with regularity that is remarkable only in revealing how absent they typically are from mainstream narratives of love and desire. [Veronica Sullivan, ‘Archer’, 15th Dec 2014]

MAYBE JUST SHARPEN THE WEIRDNESS: A DIALOGUE WITH SASHA FLETCHER & MONICA MCCLURE … we live in a country where nothing is important. To sacrifice for art by dying little capitalist deaths every day is (sic) keeps the imagination alive. When communities of people lose their culture, they replace it with accumulating wealth. [‘Fanzine’, 4th Nov 2014]


Fragments … 20th Jan 2015

THERE’S BEEN A NEW CONDITION added to the Terms and Conditions of both the Josephine Ulrick Literature Prize and Poetry Prize offered by Griffith University:  Entries composed wholly, predominantly or substantially of verses or passages taken from other authors are not eligible entries, whether or not they are disposed in a new form or order. Nothing else has changed, the conditions of entry have been the same for years … a response, I imagine, to Australian poetry’s plagiarism scandal of 2013 including the appropriation a line from Sigmund Freud,“Everywhere the signs that a poet has been here before me”.

THE DEFINITION OF A DICTIONARY. Merriam-Webster is revising its most authoritative tome for the digital age. But in an era of twerking and trolling, what should a dictionary look like? (And do we even need one?)  Stefan Fatsis. ‘Slate’. 12th Jan 2015.

ENOUGH LISTS: 2015 is  another good year to read books by women, writes Natalie Kon-yu. ‘When we waved goodbye to 2014, we also farewelled one of my favourite initiatives – The Year of Reading Women.

SELF-PUBLISHERS PUSH FOR RECOGNITION. Self-publishers are a hopeful lot, willing to take on the uncertainties of the publishing market and back their own work. But these authors and other industry players have been dismayed in the past week to learn self-published and ebook-only authors again will be excluded from consideration in the national literary awards. Now one of their number has started an online petition to urge Tony Abbott to allow them entry to the awards. [Amanda Ellis, The West Australian 20th Jan 2015)

Ralph 20th Jan


Fragments … 13th Jan 2015

LIT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2015 … ArtsHub takes a peek behind the covers of some of the most anticipated titles of 2015.

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT CLASS IN AUSTRALIA is the title of a thoughtful, compassionate piece by Tim Winton published in ‘The Monthly’. The essay’s thirteen months old now (I missed it at the time) and is well worth the read. ‘In 2010, when my face appeared on a postage stamp, I had to submit to the good-humoured sledging of relatives at pains to restrain their pride. In my family, teasing is a blood sport and a measure of affection, so I copped it with pleasure. I enjoyed their refusal to seem impressed. Of course, there were lots of jokes about having to lick the back of my head. But at certain moments it was painful to be reminded that some of them could moisten the stamp but not write the letter it was supposed to send on its way. These are the family members who only follow my stories in audio format – not because they’re too busy to be bothered with books but because they are functionally illiterate. Their curtailed educations, which have sorely constrained their adult lives, were not a manifestation of character. They were outcomes of class. When I’m with those of my friends who are privately educated, I can’t help but be mindful, now and then, of those intimate and often shameful family constraints. Prosperous Australians, even those who’ve snuck under the wire like myself, forget so easily that others are still living over-determined lives in another economy altogether. They aren’t all faceless abstractions, either. Many of them are old neighbours, school friends, relatives, and often they live close by, in the same postcode as you.’

LAUNCH OF ‘TRANSPORTATION‘, Thursday 15th January 2015 at Fullers Bookshop, Hobart, 5.30pm. A year after the notion of an international literary exchange was mooted, and high calibre short stories from two disparate yet similar places, an active online presence and a book were discussed, Transportation, islands and cities, is launching at Fullers Bookshop, 5.30 this Thursday night. The book features some of the best new writing from London and Tasmania, short stories, many voices, covering wide range of styles. There are challenging, beautiful, funny and slightly rude stories alongside the laconic and the sad. Well known Tasmanian raconteur, and editor of ‘Tasmanian Times’, Lindsay Tuffin is launching the book and he will be accompanied by convict punk band, The Dead Maggies and readings from three of the featured writers, Oliver Mestitz, Emma L Waters, Claire Jansen and Erin Hortle.

DAVID HARSENT HAS WON THE TS ELIOT PRIZE FOR POETRY  with his 11th collection of work after four previous appearances on the shortlist. The prize is worth £20,000. (‘The Guardian’, 12th January, 2015)