Israel’s supreme court has ruled that Franz Kafka’s manuscripts are the property of the National Library of Israel, ending a lengthy legal battle, judicial sources said in Monday.

The nation’s top court on Sunday rejected an appeal by the heirs of Max Brod, a friend of Kafka and the executor of his estate to whom he had willed his manuscripts after his death in 1924.

More at The Guardian, 9th August 2016

Cradle of Australian culture on offer as Miles Franklin’s former home Brindabella Station for sale

A farm which was the genesis of Australia’s most prestigious literary prize, the Miles Franklin Award, is entering a new chapter in its rich history.

Brindabella Station, the former home of author Miles Franklin who wrote My Brilliant Career, is for sale.

The property on the ACT and NSW border has been a cradle of national culture, loved and lived in by an assembly of notable Australians including Banjo Paterson, Malcolm Fraser and Richard Carleton.

By Sonja Koremans; more at The Age


The return of Helen Demidenko: from literary hoaxer to political operator

The two leading parliamentary opponents of wind turbines, David Leyonhjelm and John Madigan, have novelists in their employ. Madigan’s chief of staff is one Brendan Gullifer, the author of Sold, a satirical novel published by Melbourne publishers Sleepers. Leyonhjelm is advised by Helen Dale, aka Helen Darville, aka Helen Demidenko, author of The Hand that Signed the Paper.

By Jeff Sparrow; more at The Guardian


What’s new at Picaro Press – April, 2015



Feeling entrepreneurial? Reckless?

Basically, I’m looking to pass Picaro Press on to an individual or a group which could build on what we’ve achieved over the last 14 years. For free.

The reasons for that are largely due to health. Eighteen months ago I was riding my motorcycle to work when a lady in a rush to pick up her kids from school pretty much cleaned me up. Basically, the impact wrecked both my knees. I’ve been blessed with a particularly good physiotherapist, and I’ve made a good recovery (sans a couple pair of anterior cruciate ligaments). There are still quite a few things I can’t do, though, or can only do slowly. My overall fitness isn’t what it was, and over the last year I’ve become vulnerable to RSI. That’s a problem for making books and chapbooks … a print run of 100 didn’t used to be particularly hard on fingers, wrists and elbow-joints. Since the accident, I have to conclude that’s changed. I’m hoping that someone will put a hand up to take it over.

I’m not looking to sell Picaro Press. Ideally, I’d like to DONATE it a good home. And I’m keen to make that as easy as possible.
I’ll be happy to pass on the computer which has the Creative Suite software for layout and printing. And, of course, all relevant files, including databases. I’ll pass on the business name, the website URL, and our stash of ISBNs. There’s a fair accumulation of consumables: papers, cover stock, staples, and suchlike which I’d be happy to pass on. And hardware: a guillotine, a printer, stapler, a trimming board … it’s a fairly long list.

And of course I’d be very happy to help the new proprietors through the print-on-demand production sequence to make sure they don’t have to re-learn what I’ve discovered the hard way since inception in 2001. It’s really a pretty straightforward process, and I’d be more than happy to walk the new proprietors through it. Obviously, it’s something one person can do while still holding down a day job (though it might help if there were a few eager pairs of hand to pitch in once in a while). Picaro Press has always been limited by the fact that there’s just one employee on the assembly line. It’s a big commitment … but the rewards are definitely worth the effort.
Picaro Press has run in the black since day one … it has to. It’s a pretty big commitment, though. We have over 325 titles in print, most of which are still selling. That’s 131 back issues of Wagtail magazine (which could be easily revived, 116 chapbooks, and 80-odd spined books. And climbing. New books from Mark O’Flynn, Gillian Telford, Geoff Page and Meg Mooney will be launched within weeks.

So … Picaro Press is definitely a going concern. While it probably won’t pay off the mortgage, it pays its own way, plus a bit. If you’re one of the many poetry-lovers in this wonderful country who’d like to make a contribution, here’s your chance. If you’re at all interested becoming the new proprietor of Picaro Press, e-mail me at Or call me on 04-3865-9868. Thanks for your consideration, and

all the best,

Rob Riel
Picaro Press


‘A Letter in My Purse’: From Slain Poet Shaimaa El-Sabbagh

shared from Pierre Joris’ blog, Nomadics

Shaimaa El-Sabbagh, the activist who was shot dead at a rally in Tahrir Square yesterday, was also a poet: A letter in my purse … By Shaimaa El-Sabbagh, trans. Maged Zaher
————————–I am not sure
Truly, she was nothing more than just a purse
But when lost, there was a problem
How to face the world without her
Because the streets remember us together
The shops know her more than me
Because she is the one who pays
She knows the smell of my sweat and she loves it
She knows the different buses
And has her own relationship with their drivers
She memorizes the ticket price
And always has the exact change
Once I bought a perfume she didn’t like
She spilled all of it and refused to let me use it
By the way
She also loves my family
And she always carried a picture
Of each one she loves

What might she be feeling right now
Maybe scared?
Or disgusted from the sweat of someone she doesn’t know
Annoyed by the new streets?
If she stopped by one of the stores we visited together
Would she like the same items?
Anyway, she has the house keys
And I am waiting for her

Maged Zaher is a 2013 “Genius” award winner who both writes and translates poetry. His most recent collection is Thank You for the Window Officeand his most recent translation The Tahrir of Poems.

Fragments … 6th Jan 2015

THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL has developed a new grants model supporting a diverse range of artists, artistic practice, organisations and arts activity, which it predicts will make it easier and simpler to apply for grants.

THE QUEENSLAND POETRY FESTIVAL has announced replacements for outgoing Director Sarah Gory who after four years as Festival Director, has left to take maternity leave and pursue some new projects. David Stavanger and Anne-Marie Te Whiu posted a brief hello yesterday, on their first official day in the role of Co-Directors of the Queensland Poetry Festival for 2015.

TRACY RYAN is Poet of the Month for the January-
February 2015 issue of Australian Books Review, in which she is asked a number of questions including ‘What have you learned from reviews of your work?’ Tracy Ryan suggests some reviewers approach a book in its own terms, others with an agenda regarding what a book or poem should be – which topics or approaches they consider off-limits or acceptable, which ‘… always surprises me, because writers must have the freedom to be unacceptable, to go where their work leads them. I haven’t had many unfair reviews (where the issues are ad feminam and/or undeclared), but I have seen it done to others. All you can do on the receiving end of that is push on past it….’

ARTS TASMANIA is seeking artists, designers, writers, museum professionals, industry experts or arts workers to self-nominate to join the Arts Tasmania Peer Register.  You do not have to be a Tasmanian resident to be on the Peer Register.


Rochford Street Review: ‘Welcome to 2015’

Interesting to read Mark Roberts’ post this morning outlining his plans for ‘Rochford Street Review’ over the coming twelve months, particularly the expansion of the journal’s coverage to include international writing as well as articles and reviews on the visual arts, film, drama and other art forms …. Mark writes:

Rochford Street Review took a short break over the December holiday session. Like most projects that run on a shoe string we are very sensitive to external pressures – with so many balls in the air sometimes one or two can get dropped. But we are back again for 2015 and we have some plans to freshen things up a bit and to build in a little more resilience to the way we operate – but more of that later.

Looking back Rochford Street Review is now over three years old and has published just over 200 reviews, articles and speeches. We have had almost 65,000 visitors during that time and have directed a large amount of internet traffic to small press publishers and individual writers’ and artists’ websites. We think it is worthwhile continuing into 2015 and we hope you agree.

As for our future plans – we want to try and involve more people in the day to day running of the site. While we are not too sure how this might work we are happy to receive any suggestions or offers of assistance. We would also like to expand the scope and reach of the journal to include more articles and reviews on the visual arts, film, drama and other art forms and we would also like to expand beyond a purely Australian focus to include more international analysis.

One short term change is that we will be including a feature artist and writer each issue who will provide a number of pieces of work that will run throughout the issue. For the current issue (Issue 13 – Double Issue) the featured artist is US based poet and artist Sheila Murphy whose work, Quotidian Rapture, appears on the cover of Issue 13. The first featured writer will appear in Issue 14 which will begin loading in April

Rochford Street Review relies on the generosity of donor to keep us afloat and recently we have been fortunate to have received a number of very generous donations. This has enabled us to commit, at least for the next few months, to pay contributors a nominal payment of $5 a review or article. This will be regularly reviewed in light on incoming donations to ensure that it can be maintained and/or increased. Please feel free to consider either a one off or regular donation by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

So please keep an eye on us to keep up to date with the changes and all the best for 2015.

– Mark Roberts