Andrew Burke — ‘New and Selected Poems 2020’

Andrew Burke launched his latest collection of poetry last week, ‘New and Selected Poems: 2020’.

Peter Holland performed the honours, an inspired choice — the intimacy of friends — given the pair have known each other since ‘fourteen or fifteen’ and remain close.

Andrew Burke has described himself as being a child of the “confessional” poets of the fifties and sixties, poets like Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath, and certainly in this book he has given us the story of his life. In a sense, I suppose, it is an autobiography, but that’s only a fringe benefit, an incidental dividend. It’s far more than that, far more interesting than that, far more significant than that.

It’s a fucking HUGE collection of what John Kinsella described as “sociable poetry, of day to day, but hard-backed by nature”.

Peter’s launch speech appears online at ‘Rochford Street Review’ along with several of Andrew’s poems.

You can get hold of a copy of the book from Andrew directly. Email him at (he receives a couple of hundred emails a day, from poetry friends, jazz lovers, cricket acquaintances, so pls include the words ‘BOOK PURCHASE’ in your header for easier identification). Or pick it up online at Walleah Press (196 pp, $20, includes postage within Australia).


Andrew Burke - cover, 'New and Selected'

Sylvia Martin: ‘Sky Swimming’ launch speech

Something about Vance and Nettie Palmer – some titbit of information, I can’t recall details – caught my attention last year, and I mentioned it to friends. They kindly, (foolishly) lent me a copy of ‘Ink in Her Veins: the troubled life of Aileen Palmer’ (the Palmer’s daughter), authored by Sylvia Martin. I took the book home and stored it in a ‘safe place’, from where it subsequently slipped my mind.

Recalling the loan months later, I searched and finally  recovered the book from its ‘safe place’, and — embarrassed — returned it unread.

I note now that Sylvia Martin has published a new book, ‘Sky Swimming’ (UWA Press, 2020), a memoir. Rochford Street Review  published Sylvia’s son Matthew’s launch of the book in June 2020.

In a UWA Press promotion, Sylvia Martin speaks of and reads from ‘Sky Swimming’, while Sophie Cunningham and Peta Murray offer generous praise:

In this delicate memoir Sylvia Martin considers the ways in which researching other women’s lives have led her deeper into her own. She asks how do you build, how do you write, a life?

Martin inducts us into the thrill of the biographical chase in this series of lyrical, yet unsentimental, vignettes. Sky Swimming is in turns rhapsodic and elegiac.

A book to savour? And avoid storing temporarily in a ‘safe space’?


Matthew Stephens:

I say this book is personal because I suspect many of us in this room feel they know the subjects of these books: Mary, Ida and Aileen, their partners, lovers and networks quite intimately. Significant Australian figures who would be far less well known if Sylvia had not cast her inquisitive, respectful yet forensic, eye on the lives of these women and their worlds.

Some of these women appear in this current volume, Aileen Palmer in particular, but I would like to focus for a moment on Mum’s own life rather than of her biographical subjects. In her chapter ‘Shadowing the Boyds’ she opens with her re-acquaintance with making music, and writes:

I am learning the piano, more than half a century after I last played. Eventually, I would like to be able to play Erik Satie. My father was a piano teacher and we even had two pianos in the house for a time when I was a child; one stood in my bedroom. In a London music shop in the 1970s, I found a book of sheet music by Satie and, with fond memories of his music enhancing the mood of European films such as Carlos Saura’s Elisa, vida mía, I brought the book back to Melbourne and presented it to Dad. He was not familiar with the early twentieth-century French composer but he quickly mastered Satie’s haunting melodies, shifting tonalities and eccentric musical instructions.

Today, at the end of my first lesson for decades, my teacher starts to play the first of the Trois Gnossiennes. As I watch him play, his smooth fingers on the keys fade into the gnarled fingers of my father: their slightly swollen joints after he developed arthritis; the split nail on the index finger of his right hand, relic of a long-forgotten accident. My eyes blur with tears.

[Read Matthew Stephens’ full launch speech at Rochford Street Review]


Launch: Andrew Burke’s ‘New and Selected Poems 2020’

The launch of Andrew Burke’s new poetry collection ‘New and Selected’ takes place at 7pm 20th September.  Peter Holland will perform the honours — at Moana Hall, upstairs of 618 Hay Street Mall in Perth, Western Australia.

The launch event is free with a cash bar. ‘And my book is a bargain at $20 (cash),’ Andrew says. He adds ‘I don’t have a credit card machine so cash would do nicely, thank you.’

The book is also for sale (at a cost of $20, including free postage within Australia) — online, from Walleah Press, as well as directly from Andrew: you can email him at (please add BOOK SALE within your email header).

And remember to pay him a visit at Hi Spirits, particularly if you’re a jazz buff!

Book launch: Ron Moss, Hobart 23rd August 2019

  • When23 Aug 2019
  •  5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
  • Location: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, 91 Murray Street, Hobart 7000

Join us to celebrate the publication of Ron Moss’ new collection of haiku and ink paintings.

Broken Starfish

To be launched by Lyn Reeves

“With poetry and ink paintings, Broken Starfish completely satisfies, while it leaves me waiting for the next volume from this remarkably talented artist and poet.” – Ferris Gilli, Consulting Editor, The Heron’s Nest

“The best haiku reveal an absence of separation between the poet and that which inspires that poet. Ron Moss’s haiku consistenty demonstrates this.” – Christopher Herold, co-founder of The Heron’s Nest.

Launch: Tim Thorne’s new poetry collection ‘Running Out Of Entropy’

If you’re in Hobart on Thursday March 1st and in the mood for some standout poetry, join us for the launch – by Jane Williams – of Tim Thorne’s newest collection of poetry ‘Running out of Entropy’ (Walleah Press) at 5:30 pm at Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square.

This is Tim Thorne’s fifteenth collection of poetry over a career spanning more than fifty years. He was Director of the Tasmanian Poetry Festival from 1985 to 2001, during which time he duly entered the festival’s premier event – the Launceston Poetry Cup – year after year, but never managed to take home the honours. He’s won the event twice in the years since, in 2006 and 2008.

‘He’s clearly making up for lost time,’ opined the festival’s subsequent director – Cameron Hindrum – on the occasion of Thorne’s second win in 2008. ‘He didn’t win it at all in the seventeen years he ran the poetry cup, but has won it twice since I’ve been Director.’

‘What’s really disappointing is that I probably never will surpass Colin Berry’s record of two cups in two different millenia,’ Thorne replied regretfully. ‘But by God, I aim to try’.

Thorne’s verse is typified by its caustic wit, political engagement, wide-ranging subject matter, sheer generosity and – to summon an occasionally debased descriptor – integrity. His work has won a number of prizes, grants and fellowships from the Australia Council and Arts Tasmania, the Eleanor Dark Foundation (1993), Launceston Poetry Cup (2006, ’08), William Baylebridge Award (2007), Christopher Brennan Award (2012) and the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize (2014).

There’ll also be a launch, by Cameron Hindrum, in Launceston – at Petrarch’s Bookshop, 89 Brisbane Street – at 6:00 pm, Friday 16th March. Please join us.