the girl on the train and the rabbit

We went to see my daughter Amy in Melbourne for a few days. In a nice piece of serendipity I was able to stay an extra day and accept the invitation to the launch of Rabbit Poetry’s 7th edition The Sound Issue which includes my poem the girl on the train to Shikama. The poem appears as text in the substantial 176 page book as well as an audio version which was a collaboration with ccmixter’s Melody Romancito (aka Calling Sister Midnight.) Thanks to organiser/ editor-in-chief Jessica Wilkinson for inviting me to perform the poem live at the launch last night. It was also a pleasure to hear and meet π.O. , Ania Walwicz, Tim Grey, Autumn Royal and Susan Hawthorne as well as Jess herself. And thanks to π.O. for generously giving me a copy of his latest experimental magazine UNUSUAL WORK.

I was pleased to see that both Max and Jacqui Merckenschlager have a song and poems on the 25 track CD. Max magnanimously gave me a copy of his Sorry Day Song some years ago and I played it to my music students at Woodcroft Primary. It’s great to see this beautifully-produced song getting exposure at a national level.

You can find out more – and subscribe – to Rabbit HERE.


kakkoi groove

This is a remix of my shakuhachi track kakoi. My thanks to J Lang for this very smooth remix which is part of the February Fortune secret mashup on ccmixter. J Lang describes it as “another laid back chill track with a touch of hip hop.” I love it! (Click on Kakoi’s Groove below to hear it.)

Kakoi’s Groove-The J. Lang ReMix by djlang59

Attribution Noncommercial  (3.0) Creative Commons License

Zephyr does it again

What a unique privilege it was to be a part of Zephyr Quartet’s Adelaide Fringe performance yesterday! On a hot Adelaide summer’s evening we were treated to live renditions of every track on the newly-launched A Rain from The Shadows in the relaxed atmosphere of  The Wheatsheaf Hotel in Thebarton. Each of the pieces on the CD was inspired by – or elicited  responses by – poetry.

All of the original musical compositions are by group members Belinda Gehlert, Hilary Kleinig and Emily Tulloch. Add to these viola player Jason Thomas and these technically accomplished musicians produce a sound which is as unique and original as it is beautiful.

The collaboration between us goes back about seven years. I could never have imagined that the simple act of inviting Yahia al-Samawy to a school concert would have resulted in a series of concerts and a CD!

The CD itself is a work of art. A booklet insert publishes all of the poems. I’m lucky enough to have 3 poems and associated compositions. The artwork is superb. As Hilary said last night, what a wonderful thing it is in this digital age to be able to hold something beautiful in your own hands.

Thanks Zephyr for your continuing friendship and association. It was an honour to be invited to be involved in the first of the national “Rain” tour of mini-concerts and launches (Mike Ladd recited his poem dirt while I performed Shearwaters last night.)

Zephyr is destined for great things. Four years ago the Adelaide Review said In their almost ten years together, these four musicians have collaborated with an extraordinarily wide range of other practising artists and have significantly expanded listener notions of what the string quartet medium stands for.

Since then Zephyr’s collaborated with visual artists, dancers and poets playing in genres from chamber music to electro and hiphop.

As I say, it’s a humbling privilege to be associated with creative artists of this calibre…


There’s one more concert in Adelaide. You may be able to get a ticket HERE

This is followed by concert/ launches in Sydney and Melbourne.


an accident waiting to happen

This is my new upload to ccmixter. The February Fortune challenge was to remix some of the work of Kara Square. (Click on the title below to hear it)


the music.


I was both excited and daunted to draw Kara Square as my secret mixter. Excited because I’ve already “collaborated “ with her before & love her work – daunted because I’d already mined her work and couldn’t find anything which I could add to, as so much of her work is already perfect and complete. More than a week went by and I’d turned up nothing. Then I started thinking about the idea of Fortune, Luck and Accident, remembered by poem and thought how it might interact with Kara’s 2011 spinning. Spinning had already been remixed many times by people with much more ability than me but my poem would take spinning in a whole new direction.

The more I pulled spinning apart, the more I realized what a masterpiece it was, so I decided to leave Kara’s production intact for the second half (and climax) of the song. The extended mix is still based on Kara’s and CSoul’s instrumentation – the ominous organ (by trivient) and building percussion stretched out a little so it can be savored a little more.

In an ideal world I would have used pizzicato strings over Kara’s bass for the intro but the ukulele was all I had at hand! The rest was just my own words and a little shakuhachi in the slow build to Kara’s vocals. Kara’s words about our environmental inaction added to my ‘accident waiting to happen’ theme. I used a fair bit of panning to enhance the swirly sounds associated with the spinning theme and pared the end right back to the initial plucked uke to support Kara’s words ‘turn the end into the beginning.’

Thanks Kara, Csoul, trivient and ccmixter.


the text


This formed the first half of a longer sequence titled Original clichés which was originally published in Red River Review (US) last November.


An accident waiting to happen


purposeless and alienated, a coexisting anomie and ennui

a concatenation of the unrelated    I lurk on street corners

planning the intersection of vehicles.


delayed by traffic light whim or

leaving home moments earlier you leave    yourself

vulnerable to my coordinate points.


I am the haybale awaiting synchronicity

of temperature                   and humidity

to interrupt            a firefighter’s dinner.


I am the thrown match which may peter out

or destroy the entire national park,

the oily rag in the shed.


I am the outdated nuclear reactor

behind the low seawall

waiting for the plates to move.


I am the occasional freight train,

the unsignalled crossing,

the sleepy motorist.


I am the barely submerged snag in the murky river,

the sharemarket software trigger

programmed to sell  sell   sell.


I am the scissors in the hand of the running child

the gun in the glovebox,

gathering ions in cumulo-nimbus

above the golfer on the fairway,

the jet engine’s invisible hairline             fracture,

the tiny blood vessel in the brain under pressure


I am the one flake of snow

that begins the avalanche.


I am unstring theory.


I am tired of waiting,


so tired…


© rob walker, 2012 (First text-published in Red River Review. First recorded with Max-Mo in Adelaide in 2011,

The Water Trilogy and A Rain from The Shadows

My collaboration with Zephyr began six years ago when I organized for the Quartet came to play at Woodcroft Primary where I was a music teacher at the time. They were to play a beautiful sufi piece and I thought it would be nice to invite ex-patriate Iraqi poet Yahia Al-Samawy (he had a daughter at the school) to hear some Middle Eastern music sensitively played. Yahia was moved to tears and so moved were the Zephyr girls that they invited both of us to collaborate in an upcoming venture where they composed and played original pieces inspired by our poems. Mine was dunes. We performed it publicly together twice, although I’m sure it’s been played by Zephyr many more times without me.

Over subsequent years we all said ‘let’s work together again some time’ and from time to time I’d send the odd poem to Belinda Gehlert.

Fast-forward to 2012 when Bel wrote a beautiful piece inspired by Victoria’s Ewen Ponds, sent an mp3 of it to me in Japan and asked if I could write a poem. I said I couldn’t really write about her experience but that we’d just visited an amazing lake in the Japanese Alps and would that do? It did.

So now we have The Water Trilogy; dunes, Shearwaters (written after seeing mutton birds flying home to ‘roost’ in the dunes near Strachan, Tasmania) and Yama / reflecting written in Japan. All three are printed in the booklet insert for Zephyr’s latest CD A Rain from the Shadows and all three musical compositions are by Belinda.

Rain from the Shadows takes its title from a poem by another poet mate Mike Ladd. There are also works inspired by Yahia, Gary Soto, Nicki Bloom and Finegan Kruckemeyer.


If you’d like to come either of the two launches (21/2 & 23/2) at The Wheatsheaf Hotel and hear the entire CD performed live – with poetry – you can book HERE:


Mike and I will be performing on the Thursday night (21/2.)


Hilary (artistic director & cellist) Kleinig will be interviewed with me on FM 101.5 Radio Adelaide’s  ArtsBreakfast Show with Cath Kenneally at 9am on Saturday 16th.


Jen (Zephyr publicity) and I will also do an interview/ promo on Triple D’s Arts Show on Monday night around 7:30.


I’d love to see some friendly faces at the launch. If you can’t make it, you’ll get one free tune & one free interview on Radio Adelaide or tripleD!