It’s our first really hot spell in the Adelaide Hills this summer. 39°C today and a possible 43°C (109°F!) on New Year’s Eve. These hot days always remind me of my poem January Drought which was published on the Australian Reader website a few years back…

I. A day

aged and crippled gums weep leaves
which whisper
as they fall to kiss the earth

gm food


gm food

Ambient corn

born at mince

be torn manic

Bent in macro.

Can it be norm?

Can men orbit?

I can’t rob men

met in carbon,


© rob walker 2010

Another one of my anagrammatic poems. It was accepted for the forthcoming Divan 8 at the beginning of 2010 but there seems to be a funding problem so I’m sure Earl won’t mind if I air it on my own website before it passes its use-by date.

While I don’t have any particularly doctrinaire views for or against genetically modified food, the subject has long interested me. The ethical possibilities of this science-in-infancy are obvious, from the Light side of drought-resistant plant genes to feed the world to the Dark side of companies owning exclusive rights. GM animals with synthetic versions of natural microbes in their rumens soon available!

Meanwhile I went through a stage of being obsessed with anagrams. The relatively new word ‘recombinant’ interests me (see vocabulary of the beach), so I explored its permutations. Serendipity! Ambient corn, bent in macro and met in carbon seemed prophetic. The rest just fell into place…

photo credit: picedit.blogspot.com


newcastle winners


After being fortunate enough to have won the Newcastle Poetry Prize (New Media) with Ben last year, I was very pleased to accept the Hunter Writers’ Centre invitation to judge the 2010 entries. Congratulations to the winners James Stuart and Laura Gulbin (I just read this on the HWC site – when I judged the entries a few months back they were submitted to me without the names of the creators).
James and Laura’s submission Sudden Rain, Tilba Tilba was exquisite. I’m not sure whether my judge’s comments were read at the announcement & launch, but I include them here for anyone’s interest:

This truly is mixed media. Like watching a close-up of hand-made Chinese paper on an old projector with the new millennium bonus of interactivity. Transparent water colours on a tactile surface; interesting use of textures and choice of typography. Some of the text animation is perhaps a little contrived, but transitions between screens and animated graphic elements are technically slick and aesthetically beautiful.
The counterpoint of Chinese characters and an Australian environment, the visual construction and deconstruction of the landscape and the effective and well executed soundscape add other layers to the meaning of the poem itself – a poem which could stand alone on its own merits but now has other strata of sumptuous complexity.
Sudden rain is much more substantial and polished than its rivals. It’s clear that much more work has gone into this than the alternate entries.
It has the best use of illustration, sound, texture, animation, transitions and layout and is the most successful in pulling all of these aspects together to create an immersive experience.
I especially appreciate that there are conflicting elements which don’t attempt to reach a conclusion – richly varied, complex and contradictory – much like Life.

Rob Walker
NPP New Media Winner 2009 and 2007

Congratulations James and Laura on a well-deserved win.

(Access it HERE which links to Laura’s website. Experiment with the text and the cursor!)