She talks about her creativity as something exhilarating and powerful, but also very fragile, liable to damage if she doesn’t handle it with care. “You work your whole life to build up integrity and you lose that in seconds if you allow yourself to do the done thing, or not listen to an instinct because someone in the industry has got an idea about who you might be for them. You’re defined by your choices so you have to be aware of that.”

[By Dorian Lynskey; more at The Guardian, 30th April, 2017]


Issue forty-four of Otoliths has hit the hustings. Included in this issue are Eileen R. Tabios, Sheila E. Murphy, Steve Dalachinsky, Andrew Topel, Brandon Nakasato, Cecelia Chapman, David Lohrey, C. R. E. Wells, Norman M. Gendelman, Texas Fontanella, Philip Byron Oakes, Caitlin Rose Doyle, Keith Walker, John Xero, David Dick, Kyle Hemmings, Mary Claire Garcia, Jesse Glass, Arpine Konyalian Grenier, Philip Elliott, Sanjeev Sethi, sean burn, Kirk Robinson & Garin Cycholl & William Allegrezza, Bill Wolak, Pete Spence, Jim Leftwich, John M. Bennett, Thomas M. Cassidy, osvaldo cibils, Kelly J. Powell, harry k stammer, Raymond Farr, John Amen, Lucianna Chixaro Ramos, a.j. carruthers, Olivier Schopfer, Joel Chace, Carol Stetser, Les Wicks, Volodymyr Bilyk, Lana Bella, Diana Magallón, Clara B. Jones, Laurent Grison & Yvon Guillou, Meeah Williams, Michael Berton, Michael Farrell, Anatoly Kudryavitsky, Charles Borkhuis & John McCluskey, Lakey Comess, John Martone, Evan Gray, Willie Smith, Allen Forrest, M. Leland Oroquieta, hiromi suzuki, Jack Galmitz, Mason Keys, Joe Balaz, Luisa-Evelina Stifii, Howie Good, Matina L. Stamatakis, George Moore, Drew B. David, Adam Levon Brown, Márton Koppány, Michael Caylo-Baradi, Carlyle Baker, J. Crouse, Richard Kostelanetz, Heath Brougher, Anwer Ghani, J. Ray Paradiso, AG Davis, Joanna Thomas, Kasy Long, Heller Levenson, Tom Snarsky, Dawn Nelson Wardrope, cathy aragon, Jeff Harrison, Marco Giovenale, John W. Sexton, Eugenia Hepworth Petty, bruno neiva, Stu Hatton, Ian Gibbins, dan raphael, Alberto Vitacchio, Douglas Penick, Nika & Jim McKinniss, Alan Summers, Jeff Bagato, Mariapia Fanna Roncoroni, Michael O’Brien, M.J. Iuppa, Carla Bertola, Andrew Galan, Katrinka Moore, Thom Sullivan, Joseph Veronneau, Marcia Arrieta, Sean Negus, Shloka Shankar, Seth Howard, Paul T. Lambert, John Pursch, Ella Skilbeck-Porter, Linda M. Walker, Tony Beyer, Edward Kulemin, PT Davidson, Michael Brandonisio, Adam Fieled, Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Angad Arora, Bob Heman, Carol Ciavonne, Sheila Windsor & Brendan Slater, Stephen J. Williams, Marilyn Stablein, Felino A. Soriano, Louie Crew Clay, Peter Bakowski, David Heg & Nicolette Wong, Francesca Jurate Sasnaitis, J. D. Nelson, & Marilyn R. Rosenberg & Ann R. Shapiro.

There’s also an interview at Thomas Fink’s new interview site, Dichtung Yammer, where editor Mark Wright speaks with Tim Wright about the Otoliths journey.


Poet Pete Hay is co-curator with Carol. The collaborative works from this retreat will be exhibited in August 2017. Hay calls Tasmania “a poet’s island”. “We’re expecting a lot from them”, says Hay. “Not just one piece. It’s a whole body of work.”

Adrienne, a teacher at St Michael’s Collegiate, has three sons and writes poetry in what she calls “the stolen moment”. She worries social media is discouraging the quiet, contemplative space people need to write and read poetry. “I think if young people never learn to concentrate, to read, to give a poem a go, then they lose something of immense value. It’s not that we lose poetry but we lose the readership and the potential in ourselves for understanding, empathy, and compassion that poetry can provoke.”

Tasmanian Aboriginal poet and essayist Greg Lehman, who is paired with artist Imants Tillers, has welcomed the group, and urges them to learn the name of the local Aboriginal tribe who once lived in the area. In their watery nest, while they draw and write, Sue and Adrienne repeat the tricky name over and over: Loontittetter Mairrenerhoiner, Loontittetter Mairrenerhoiner, Loontittetter Mairrenerhoiner…

By Hilary Burdon; more at Poets and painters , 22nd October 2016.


In 2008, US poet Sharon Olds came out about her poetry, admitting that her writing is based on her own life. Since the publication of her first book, Satan Says, in 1980, when she was thirty-seven, she’d been evading questions about the biographical basis of her work. In her rare interviews, she would gently correct ‘personal’ to ‘apparently personal’ as a description of her poems and emphasise with kindly patience that they were works of art, not autobiography. Then, in her late sixties, she changed her mind. She confirmed that the man dying slowly from a throat tumour in her book The Father was her own father; that the woman who in a number of poems ties her young daughter to a chair was the poet’s own mother; that the marriage whose end is painfully documented in Stag’s Leap was Olds’s own thirty-two-year marriage. In an email to an interviewer, she explained her re-think with reference to a reading she once gave at a high school. ‘A student said: ‘If I thought you’d made up all the stuff in your poems, I’d be really mad at you,’’ she writes. ‘And I knew how he felt, and in his place I’d feel the same way.’ Far from being offended by the idea that a reader might connect her poems with her life, she had taken that link for granted. She had assumed that the reader would know the poems had emerged from her own experience, even if she had never explicitly said so. ‘It had not crossed my mind really that anyone would make up a life, make up these stories,’ she goes on. ‘It seemed so obvious to me they were being told, sung, from some inner necessity that rose in an actual life.’

By Ann-Marie Priest; more at Cordite


Issue forty-three, the southern spring 2016 issue of Otoliths is now live & available. Read it here.

Otoliths 43 features work in a variety of styles & a variety of media from Jesse Glass, El Habib Louai, Scott MacLeod, Maria Damon & Alan Sondheim, Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo, Cecelia Chapman, Pete Spence, Kyle Hemmings, Heath Brougher, Volodymyr Bilyk, George McKim, Nicole Pottier, John J. Trause, Sanjeev Sethi, Ian Ganassi, Jim Leftwich, Willie Smith, Philip Byron Oakes, Mary Claire Garcia, Douglas Barbour & Sheila E. Murphy, AG Davis, Peter Ganick, differx (Marco Giovenale), Jim Meirose, Mark Roberts, Olivier Schopfer, William Repass, Texas Fontanella, Michael Gottlieb, John W. Sexton, Edward A. Dougherty, Eric Hoffman, hiromi suzuki, Simon Perchik, John M. Bennett, Ivan Argüelles, Scott Helmes, John Xero, Pat Nolan, Andrew Topel, Daniel John Pilkington, Demosthenes Agrafiotis, Raymond Farr, Lakey Comess, Bill Dunlap, Christopher Barnes, Robert Okaji, Jeff Bagato, Nico Vassilakis, Mitchell Garrard, Keith Higginbotham, Fabrice Poussin, Richard Kostelanetz, Sabine Miller, Meeah Williams, sean burn, Louise Landes Levi, Brendan Slater, Oscar Towe, Tom Beckett, Mark McKain, Jürgen O. Olbrich, Sneha Subramanian Kanta, Jorge Lucio de Campos, Eileen R. Tabios, Andrea Mason, Joe Balaz, Michael Caylo-Baradi, Jacqueline M. Pérez, Owen Bullock, Roger Mitchell, Steve Dalachinsky, Jeff Harrison, Aurélien Leif, Holly Day, Stephen Vincent, Carol Stetser, nick nelson, Seth Howard, Taylor Leigh Ciambra, Poornima Laxmeshwar, Hamish Spark, Márton Koppány, Alicia Cole, Cara Murray, bruno neiva, Jack Kelly, Mark Cunningham, Massimo Stirneri, Matt Dennison, Olchar E. Lindsann, Karen Greenbaum-Maya, Darren Marsh, Nika & Jim McKinniss, Natsuko Hirata, Tony Beyer, Edward Kulemin, John Pursch, Irene Koronas, Darren C. Demaree, nick-e melville, Josette Torres, Shloka Shankar, Piotr Kalisz, Ella Skilbeck-Porter, Bob Heman, Garima Behal, Paul T. Lambert, J. D. Nelson, Michael Brandonisio, Eddie Donoghue, Katrinka Moore, Indigo Perry, & Marilyn Stablein.

Also, the print parts of Issue forty-two are now available from The Otoliths Storefront. “Apologies for the price of Part 2, but, unfortunately, 288 pages of full color doesn’t come cheap. Issue forty-three will be available by the middle of November.”

“Finally, a plug for the new book by Alberto Vitacchio, Landlessness, in which the Pequod becomes a vessel engaged not only in a search for Moby-Dick but also in an exploration of American literature. Extracts have appeared in a couple of issues of Otoliths, & the entire is now available through Amazon.”


2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize Winners Announced

Island magazine and key sponsor, Hobart Bookshop, have announced the winners of the 2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize today.

Celebrating Tasmania’s most acclaimed poet, the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize was established in 1996 and has received generous support from Chris Pearce and Janet Grecian of the Hobart Bookshop since 1999.

2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize – First Prize
‘In Memory’ by Stuart Cooke
Thanks to the support of Hobart Bookshop and literary journals around the country, Stuart has won $2000, publication in Island and annual subscriptions to Island, The Lifted Brow, Griffith Review, Overland, Southerly, Westerly, Review of Australian Fiction and Meanjin.

Stuart was born in 1980 and grew up in Sydney and Hobart. He travels often, particularly in Latin America, where he lived for a number of years. Widely published as a poet, critic and translator, he now lives on the Gold Coast and lectures at Griffith University. His new collection of poems, Opera, has just been published by Five Islands Press.

2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize – Second Prize
‘Correspondence’ by Kate Wellington
Kate’s winning poem will be published in Island and she has also won annual subscriptions to Island, The Lifted Brow, Griffith Review, Overland, Southerly, Westerly, Review of Australian Fiction and Meanjin.

Kate is a teacher and poet. In 2014, she and her husband came to settle in Australia from the UK where she had been working in education and welfare. She lives on the Central Coast of NSW.

2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize – Highly Commended
‘Along The Wire, In the Dark’ by Jill Jones
Jill has published nine full-length books, including Breaking the Days and The Beautiful Anxiety, which won the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry. In 2014, she was poet-in-residence at Stockholm University and she is a member of the JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice at the University of Adelaide.

2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize Judges
The judges for this year’s prize were Island Poetry Editor and award-winning poet, Sarah Holland-Batt; writer and editor, Kent MacCarter and contemporary poet, Michael Farrell.


SS: You said that, partly because of your educational background, you are ‘not scared’ of drawing on the sciences. Are there topics or discourses that you are anxious about addressing in your poetry?

SW: Firstly, I would be afraid to write about science if there was a danger I would treat it too crudely or clumsily. There’s a massive difference between being an amateur enthusiast and being qualified to write about concepts or use them as metaphors or poetic tools or portals. So that is something I am very aware of.

As a privileged white woman, there are other areas I hesitate not exactly to write about, but to share. Who am I to write about immigration and prejudice? Am I qualified to write about human trafficking from my privileged position? Should that matter at all? There is a risk of exploiting peoples’ misery. So I try to approach these subjects with that awareness. I am writing about the definition of weeds – plants in the wrong places, and how that might apply to people.

More at University of Liverpool: Literature and Science Hub: Interview with Sarah Westcott


… almost all of us here already know what an extra-ordinary fellow Pete Hay is. If you don’t know Pete yet, chat to your neighbour later, for they are likely to have a story as good as any I can tell. Suffice for me to say that Pete is our most important public intellectual not because he has a comment to make on every development in the news cycle but because he doesn’t.

Pete asks his own questions and rejects the chaining of knowledge to the small-minded and specialised expert. No other scholar has had such an influence in changing ideas about Tasmania. For four decades he has been resourcing, coaxing into being, an intelligent, compassionate, imaginative reflection of what it means to make home on this island, AND what it has meant in the past and what it might mean in the future.

(James Boyce, launching Pete Hay’s new poetry collection ‘Physick’, at Hobart Bookshop, 18th August 2016)

– Read James’ full speech here


Wed 17th August, 2016 – 6:30-8:30 pm

Hares & Hyenas
63 Johnson Street

Sperm is the word. Anton Mischewski’s words ‘hunt without restraint’, coming again and again in different ways, rhythms and temperatures.
-Michael Farrell

In Pre-Tumourescent Anton Mischewski applies intellectual vigour and a passionate engagement with cultural history, literature and the arts to these poems about love and life. The results are poems of emotional force and lasting resonance. Mischewski’s ‘13 Ways of Looking at Sperm’, is one of the best parodies of Wallace Steven’s ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’ you will read. Mischewski’s parody is made all the more ironic by being only twelve ways. In a poetry that references Emily Dickinson’s ‘Slant of Light’ in its heightened intensities Mischewski uses dashes to interesting effect in the manner of Dickinson. These are poems that are ‘tigered bright’ in their expressiveness and philosophical undercurrents.

[Also see vale-dr-anton-mischewski]