on swanston

My thanks to Briareus for a unique musical mix of my poem up here on swanston. Sadly, Collected Works, the Melbourne poetry shop referred to – which I visit every time I go to that city – is closing down in November. Listen HERE.

 

up here on swanston 2

above kfc maccas and hungry jacks
persists an older melbourne.

above the cathedral arcade outside
collected works it’s still the 1800s.

everyone’s slower. a shop
that only sells buttons.

winter sun draws oblique golden lines
through leadlight arches.

down the road at fedsquare a toddler
ignores thousands around him,

lost in tunnel vision joy. chasing
his shadow pixellating
on cobbles.

sees past thousands rushing about their
petty business, hubs of their own multiverses

while i worry about the rise of trump & hanson,
the fall of community,

the toddler revels
in his own moment.

(First published in the inaugural print edition of malevolent soap Vol. 1 (ed. Felix Garner Davis)

ISBN 978-0-646-97882-6

to end all wars

I’m proud to have my poem ‘ANZACS’ included in this important new anthology to be launched by Puncher & Wattmann on Oct 27 in Sydney.

 

 

‘To End All Wars’ was a phrase applied hopefully during ‘The Great War’. Its various permutations were meant to suggest that this one might be the last war of all. How quickly the phrase became ironic. How many wars have followed! The words ‘to end all wars’ must remind us today that all armed conflict is a vast social catastrophe.

 

The centenary of the World War I Armistice comes with a barely veiled triumphalism in the countries that were victorious one hundred years ago. It was that triumphalism, and the failed peace that followed it, which led onto new catastrophes in World War II and then the Cold War. Now, well into the 21st century, with ever uglier nationalisms raising their heads everywhere, it is time to critically examine the Armistice of one hundred years ago, and its meaning for Australia and for the world, then and now.

This collection contains work from Australasia’s leading poets, some of whom have made a particular focus on conflict like Jennifer Maiden & Geoff Page. But a clear goal from the beginning was to have a truly diverse collection to fully give the flavour of our society as it is now and the impact conflict has on it. This was in part achieved by an open call for submissions which yielded a number of valuable surprises which would have been otherwise overlooked.

 

An Earshot programme based on the anthology will air on Radio National, Monday 5th November 11am on Radio National, repeated Sat 10th November 1.30pm.

 

Thanks to Les Wicks who was the prime mover of this project and selected my poem for inclusion.

 

square pegs

… and so to September. This month we’ve released my latest collection Square Pegs – a genre-bending anthology of my short stories, memoir, poems and essays dedicated to those of us who don’t quite fit. My editor and publisher is Matt Potter of Truth Serum Press. My thanks to Matt for the care and attention he’s lavished on my manuscript in bringing it to publication.

Square Pegs is available online through all the usual outlets as a paperback and digitally through iTunes and ePub.