2006 Archive

25/12/06: Merry Christmas, Eid Adha Mubarak and Seasons Greetings to all my readers!

May 2007 be a year of peace for you..

22/12/06: ‘Poetry doesn’t have a high profile in Australia… I can’t see why contemporary poetry shouldn’t deal with big issues and still reflect our unique cynicism and dry humour.’ read more… So says me (I?) in an interview in the City of Onkaparinga’s quarterly magazine Horizons (page 5).

20/12/06: Maggie Ball (compulsive reader) has written a review of micromacro for Thylazine. Unfortunately, it won’t be online before June ’07. Even better, however, Maggie’s going to interview me about the book on her new radio/ podcast show on Internet Voices Radio on Jan 10. I’ll be her first guest on a monthly feature on Australian poets. Internet Voices Radio is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan but its podcasts make it accessible around the planet. We go live to air in the US on January 10 – something for me akin to doing some Cirque du Soleil act without a net, in view of the fact that during my last live radio interview I dropped the manuscript and Cath Kenneally had to stall very professionally while I scrabbled on the floor desperate to find the appropriate poem… The interview will be downloadable from Internet Voices Radio immediately afterwards.

16/12/06: Selfgoogling

“Selfgoogling as a pastime’s quite inspiring.
Eponymous achievements will ensue-

the anticlimax is; it isn’t you…”

rob. (a Julain, originally published on Carter’s Little Pill, Jan, 06)

15/12/06: Friendly Street Poets Thirty (edited by Louise Nicholas and rob walker & launched at Adelaide Writers’ Week last March) has been reviewed in Orrmulum, the literary website run by Creative Writing students at the University Of South Australia. More here.

13/12/06: alicia sometimes has selected possibly the shortest poem i’ve ever written for Cordite Poetry Review’s latest edition Generation of Zeroes. It’s The truth about everything… I’m privileged to share the podium with Alessandro Porco, Carol Jenkins, David Prater, Derek Motion, Elena Knox, Greg McLaren, Jeff Crouch, Jennifer Arthur, Jill Jones, Joel Deane, Klare Lanson, Kristine Ong Muslim, Mark Garnett, Maria Zajkowski, Monica Carroll, Nathan Sheherdson, Peter O’Mara, Stuart Cooke, Tara Motherwell, Timothy Barbon, Tiggy Johnson & Trisha Kotai-Ewers.

12/12/06: Finally got to attend a Lee Marvin reading last night. It was the 16th in the series & featured work by Andrea Jorss, Shannon Burns, Linda Marie Walker and Mike Ladd – all very different, all entertaining. It’s in a great little space called Gallery De La Catessen, only about a block from Adelaide’s Town Hall. Ken Bolton told me he gave the gig its quirky name because he already had a photo of that late icon. Fair enough. It’s good that there are quite a few poetry shows around town at the moment. There’s one more opportunity to get there this year. Then Lee Marvin will start up again around April when The Fringe is over. I suggest you come to Adelaide and patronise poetry!

11/12/06: Just heard Generalissimo Augusto Pinochet is dead. May he R.I.P. (Rot In Purgatory.) If I were nearby I’d dance on his grave. I hope Juan Garrido-Salgado and the Romero community are all celebrating tonight..

[ from the archives, one year ago… “Bethany Clark has written a review of New Poets Ten for the University of South Australia’s online Creative Writing magazine Orrmulum. Of rob’s collection sparrow in an airport she says:

” Walker’s focus is on using graphic visual imagery to frame issues of beauty, injustice and need, and he is fearless in the issues he confronts. Captivity of both animals and humans is a strong theme, evidenced in ‘Hornbill in a cage’ … and ‘detention’… He creates a whole picture in his pieces, sometimes even employing the device of concrete poetry to visually structure his words, such as in ‘lean’ which is devoted to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. While the subject matter can be thought of as global, Walker brings a personal insight to issues that have clearly had an impact on him during his travels. “ Read the entire review here.

08/12/06: My thanks to wordfire for posting two of the poems i read last Monday: Spud and Jesus, the sequel.

07/12/06: (from the Archives, one year ago..) My poem The bird leaves its cage and enters another, which was inspired by Juan Garrido-Salgado and his collected poems has been accepted by Graeme Hetherington, (along with Love at the physio) for publication in Blue Giraffe #3. Juan liked the poem & wants to translate it into Spanish to try a few publications in Chile.. My first work to be translated into another language (…as far as I know!)

04/12/06: What a wondrous pleasure is this thing called Wordfire.. Tonight I had the honour of reading my work with Nicholas Jose, Yahia al-Samawy, Alice Sladdin, Anna Solding, Heather Taylor Johnson, Sam Franzway and two great bands Emergency Crank Radio and Crooked House – all for the absurd entry fee of $2 ! If you missed it in 2006, make it next year. Tonight I read Spud (my prose-poem tribute to my grandfather) and poems from micromacro: Jesus the sequel, how do i shop at ikea?, a beginner’s guide to postmodernism, Coathangers, A day in the life, and love at the physio.

02/12/06: I will be appearing with a stellar cast at the Christmas Edition of wordfire, the ‘literary salon’ this Monday December 4 at 7.00pm in the Crown & Sceptre pub, King William Street, Adelaide. more

01/12/06: (archives) 2 years ago: ” rob’s review of Tony Page’s poetry collection Gateway to the Sphinx published in Cordite Poetry Review.”

27/11/06: My poem Elegy for Colin Thiele has been published in the AEU Journal (SA.) Colin was a great South Australian writer and poet with a lifelong interest in the welfare of children and the environment. He died on Sept 4, the same day as Steve Irwin.

From the Archives (one year ago today): 27/11/05: rob: “My 93 year-old great-aunt Ethel (whom I never met) passed away recently in a Sydney nursing home. Aunt Ethel was born in Melbourne, but later changed her name by deed-poll to distance herself from her wayward brother, Ern, and lived most of her life in the obscurity of Sydney’s western suburbs.

Amongst her few effects were a letter and a sonnet which were forwarded to me. I passed them on to David Prater and Liam Ferney of Cordite Poetry Review to assess the authenticity and value of the manuscripts. David and Liam were most impressed and have graciously published both letter and poem on their website. As it was untitled, they have attributed the arbitrary heading “Ethel Malley: Sonnet.”

24/11/06: The Cole Commission AWB “Oil for Food” Inquiry has handed down its report to the Governor-General. It will be tabled in Federal Parliament next week. Howard and his ministers are smirking already. Expect Australian Wheat Board & public servant heads to roll. Government heads will remain intact. See HERE for a poetic summary of the sorry saga…

23/11/06: Had an email from Karunesh Kumar Agrawal in Allahabad, India, to say that my poem slater will be published in the tenth edition of the Taj Mahal Review. This is the first time that my work’s been published on the sub-continent. It’s a great honour for me. My wife & i visited the Taj and Fatehpur Sikri in January, 2005, and loved the rich culture and friendliness of the Indian people.

19/11/06: As i mentioned earlier, John Rice’s poem Johnny’s Fireside Chat won Friendly Street’s Political Poem competition for 2006. It’s a kind of alternative history set in the very near future and you can read it HERE. Spot on, John…

16/11/06: Amanda Smith & Mike Ladd discuss the poetic form of the villanelle and replay my reading of A Villanelle on Certain Provisions in Relation to a Bill concerning Anti-Terrorism by the Hon. Phillip Ruddock on Radio National’s The Deep End today.

13/11/06: Not all the letters i get are rejection slips… had an email to say that editor alicia sometimes (not to be confused with Adelaide’s famous Indigo AllTheTime) has selected my brief poem The truth about everything for cordite‘s upcoming edition Generation of Zeroes.

12/11/06: …from the archives two years ago: “12/11/04: The poem wow! has been published on The Oracular Tree (US)”

11/11/06: I thought Mike Ladd & the poeticA production team did a brilliant job of the programme Thirty Years of Friendly Street, through very succinct, yet sensitive editing of music, anecdotes and the poets’ own words. You can listen to it online HERE if you missed it.

8/11/06: This Saturday poeticA will replay Friendly Street’s 30th Anniversary readings exactly one year after the celebrations. Click HERE & scroll down to 11/11/05 for all the details…

7/11/06: rob performs new poems 2am to 3am and The Fresh People Food at Friendly Street (live!)

6/11/06: You might call it a ‘literary salon’. You could call it a bunch of people reading their writing in a pub. Either way, wordfire, (held every month or so at the beautiful old Crown and Sceptre hotel in Adelaide) beats the hell out of staying home and watching mindless tv. Tonight was a smorgasbord of short stories, excerpts from novels in progress and contemporary poetry from Peter Goldsworthy, Alice Sladdin, Phillip Edmonds, Amy Matthews, Shannon Burns, Nicola Haywood, Juan Garrido-Salgado and Indigo AllTheTime- all for a measly $2 entry. I’ve been invited to read at the next one, Dec 4.

5/11/06: Congrats to Adelaide poet Kerryn Tredrea (Paroxysm Press, Shotgun, Friendly Street) who’s had her poem running with knives on a slippery surface chosen by Dorothy Porter for Best Australian Poems 2006 (Black Inc.) Kerryn’s edgy poem first appeared in Friendly Street THIRTY in March this year.

3/11/06: Crikey! Friendly Street‘s current Featured Poem is Obituary by Pat Irvine!
I’ve also just found out that Radio Adelaide replayed my micromacro interview with Cath Kenneally on Writers’ Radio on Oct 9 & 14. (It’s also available as a podcast from Radio Adelaide.) Scroll down to 10/09/06 below to read about the behind-the-scenes stuff. Hope they’ve edited out the long pauses…

1/11/06: Rejection turns to acceptance.. 2 poems from micromacro in the respected TEXT (electronic Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs) – vocabulary of the beach and wire fence.

28/10/06: I’m back! Fresh from Japan – a fabulous experience which will find its way into my poetry over the next few months. Thanks to the hundreds of thousands of poetry aficionados who sent me cards, letters and emails.. Meanwhile, in my absence:
In an article in The Australian newspaper Writers lost in the Wikipedia wilderness (14/10/06), Jenny Sinclair makes me famous by the ignominy of my anonymity. Blasting Wikipedia for its patchiness on Australian Literature, she says “Even the poets are poorly served by the individual listings: younger contemporary poets alicia sometimes and Michael Crane, both active as editors and event organisers, are missing, as is prolific South Australian poet rob walker. “

In an article in the Tasmanian Times, Liz Winfield says she’s never heard of me: ” There are names I haven’t seen before: Diane Fahey, Brenda Saunders, Sue Stanford and Rob Walker. It was a real joy meeting these writers for the first time.”
Speaking at the launch of Blue Giraffe, Liz makes it obvious that she’s a really nice person with a keen eye for a great poem, as she goes on to say “Rob Walker’s poem ‘The bird leaves its cage and enters another’ explores the concepts of language and prisons; and I admit I was sooky, but I cried at the end of ‘love at the physio’. ” Hopefully she wasn’t crying because the poem was so bad…

Meanwhile, in my absence from Oz, I’ve failed to win a number of poetry competitions:

• The Bruce Dawe (although I was vicariously happy to see fellow SA poet Jude Aquilina was shortlisted.)
• Friendly Street’s Political Poetry Competition (won by John Rice)
• Salisbury Writers’ Festival (although I was a Capitalised Highly Commended for my piece Pelicans.)
Oh- and I got very nice rejection letters from Best Australian Poems 2006 and Blast.

On the upside, my poem how do i shop at ikea? (from micromacro) is featured on Australian Reader website.

02/10/06: Expect this to be a quiet blog for the next 3-4 weeks. I’ll be in Japan. I may have time to access emails, but not to upload the site. My son Ben will still be around to fill mail orders for micromacro.. Sayonara!

01/10/06: rob: “Thanks to the 60 or so friends, colleagues, relatives and other poetry lovers who helped me to launch micromacro last night. It was an important milestone in my creative life and I appreciated all of you being there to share it with me.”

28/09/06: My thanks to Phillip A Ellis for promoting micromacro on his new poetry blog Wild Grapes: Australian Poetry.

I haven’t quite worked out how or why.. but micromacro is being promoted on the “Popular African American Chat Rooms” website. Since I’m neither African nor American, this is quite a feat. Thank you to all concerned!

27/09/06: I am now an Aussie Author! (See logo permanently added to links page)

24/09/06: There are several Friendly Street Featured Poems for September 2006 – Bridges by Margaret Fensom, and Digital Alarm Clock, Group Therapy, Adelaide Winter and Log Off by Dennis Wild. Dennis has read some excellent work this year – it’s unfortunate we’re losing him to Canberra!

23/09/06: I’ve enjoyed the work of Phillip A Ellis for quite a while on the Australian Reader website. Phillip emailed to say he was starting a blog to promote and review Australian poetry. All power to him! He’s posted my poem ‘a forty nine year old child sees his first bumblebee’ (from sparrow in an airport.) Please check out his site called Wild Grapes: Australian Poetry and consider contributing to Phillip’s new venture!

22/09/06: Today was a day of sadness and joy. I drove to West Lakes early this morning to pick up the first print-run of micromacro from Seaview Press and was shocked to learn from Susan Rintoul that her partner Bill Phippard had died suddenly. My heart goes out to Susan. My little book of poems suddenly looks very insignificant… Later in the day I picked up a copy of Horizon (Onkaparinga’s newletter) which had a photo of me with Susan & Bill winning the Poetry Unhinged Single Poets’ Collection. It just reinforced the fact that these moments are precious and that I won’t be seeing Bill again.
Tonight I went to Adelaide’s Festival Centre to see my choir perform at the SA Public Schools’ Music Festival. Anyone feeling pessimistic about the state of the world should see one of these concerts.. Such talent, such enthusiasm and dedication from the hundreds of children involved. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – great things happen in our schools everyday.

21/09/06: Saw a brief glimpse of Bhutan on the TV series Getaway tonight. Pretty superficial, but brought back a flood of memories of our memorable ‘expedition’ last year…

The Launch of micromacro nears – picking up the first prints from Seaview at West Lakes tomorrow morning before work. I’m more excited than Big Kev (and infinitely more alive.)

13/09/06: Had a fun time at the Adelaide version of National Poetry Week’s Slam last night. Performance poetry took us on a Twin Flip emotional ride which visited spiders, deserts, AFL, death, sex, youth, ageing and laughter. There were no injuries. SA government Safety Inspectors said they were “satisfied.” First, second and third cash prizes went to Mark Martin, kami & little ol’ me. Can’t remember 4th! Hope this gig’s even bigger and better next year!

Tonight I accompanied two of my talented students to another excellent sawc Young Authors Night. (See 21/06/06 below.)

11/09/06: It’s been a very poetic week. Yesterday my good friend Yahia al-Samawy and i were the guests of the Hills Poets at their National Poetry Week reading at Crafers – a small but passionate group of poets who meet and share their work monthly. We also had a surprise visit from Queensland by the National Poetry Week director Jayne Fenton Keane, whose work i’ve enjoyed for quite a while via print, audio & flash animation on the net. So it was great to finally meet – and hear – her in the flesh.

Today was a sobre reminder of the tragic events of 5 years ago. On the eve of the 9/11 atrocity I had conducted my children’s choir at a local citizenship ceremony. I was on such a high after seeing the joy and hope on the faces of the new Australian citizens, that I came home and wrote the following poem. The only thing I changed after the events of the following day was the title:

911 eve

( At the Australian Citizenship Ceremony

10 / 9 / 2001)

City of Onkaparinga.

Noarlunga Theatre.

modern building, ancient names

These Smiths Taylors Petrovs… From Aghdasis to Zares

A thousand mile journey

to be in one place.

We are one.

We are many.

skins from snow to chocolate

wide-eyed infancy to multifocaled seniority

swagger of adolescence to stoop of age

smiles are médecins sans frontières

a roomful of suits jeans and aspirations

pomp of mayoral robes casualness of jumpers and joggers

the past a boot of persecution

present pure as a child soprano

future hopeful as a potted plant

This wedge of humanity’s pie

a microcosm

of optimism.

10/09/06: The radio interview went well yesterday. Apart from not having the correct security swipe-card when i went to have a nervous pee and finding myself locked in a stairwell for ten minutes and Cath Kenneally having to come and search for me. But the reading and interview were good. Apart from the dead airtime on live radio caused by dropping the manuscript and scrabbling around looking for page nineteen. But generally it went well. Honestly.
When I get some spare time i might upload the interview onto the site here somewhere. Maybe i’ll edit out the silences…

07/09/06: rob: sent Cath Kenneally an invite to the launch of micromacro & she replied with a return invitation to be interviewed on her Arts Breakfast programme @ 10a.m. this Saturday morning (Radio Adelaide, 101.5 FM)

05/09/06: one year ago: 5 of my poems posted on the new OutOfOrder!! Website: This had a brilliant title which i’ve forgotten, On watching television Rugby, My Verona, Drama in Real Life and shucked as an oyster. “Shucked” is soon to appear in micromacro.

rob doesn’t read at Friendly Street. For the first time ever since joining FS poets i didn’t read one of my poems at the monthly performance tonight. i’d been trying for a month to write something about the madness going on in Iraq and Lebanon and gave up. Instead i sang Buffy Sainte-Marie’s timeless Universal Soldier – sadly as relevant today as it was in the sixties.

04/09/06: dropped off the corrected proofs of micromacro at Seaview Press at 7am this morning. Only 26 days to take-off.. Hope it gets printed in time for the launch

My poem Making a preposition (on watching Big Brother) was (sadly) not taken up by MeanjinDue to the large volume of submissions” etc. Actually it was a polite little rejection with an added hand-written comment by poetry editor Judith Beveridge: “sorry! It was fun.” Sigh…

03/09/05: It was a year ago today that Mike Ladd & the poeticA crew broadcast their excellent production of my poem ovine soliloquy, stonehenge on ABC Radio National.

31/08/06: rob: My poem slater is to appear in the Taj Mahal Review – my first work in an Indian anthology. I’m grateful to Karunesh Kumar Agrawal in Allahabad for his interest in my work.

29/08/06: rob: “I’ve been honoured with admission to Poetas del Mundo (Poets of the World.) This website, dedicated to the ideals of peace and tolerance, has published my poems Flood and Desert (for Yahia al-Samawy), Jesus, the Sequel, Choice Theory, The bird leaves its cage and enters another (for Juan Garrido-Salgado), advice to a politician, colin powell addresses the UN and Jordy’s balloons .

Thanks, Yahia, for telling me about this excellent site and nominating me.”

23/08/06: more from the archives… 23/08/05: rob: “Got a very pleasant surprise in the old milk-can mailbox today- a handwritten note from Les Murray accepting my poem Speech of parts (from Blur) for this year’s Best Australian Poems anthology. Les wrote ..”I was afraid no-one was going to cheer me up with puns this year. Good on you!”

21/08/06: The 11th of November looms large in Australian history. Apart from memories of war and sacrifice, we also associate it with the dismissal of Gough in ’75 and here in Adelaide with the birth of Friendly Street Poets. Last year a whole panoply of poets (like that one?) came together to celebrate the first 30 years. [Scroll down to 11/11 here for details] Exactly a year later, ABC radio will broadcast edited highlights in “PoeticA: 30 Years of Friendly Street: A Retrospective.” As well as more renowned poets, my dulcet tones will be heard performing A Villanelle on Certain Provisions in Relation to a Bill concernng Anti-Terrorism by the Honourable Phillip Ruddock. Hopefully I will not be charged with sedition..

19/08/06: Friendly Streets Featured Poem for August is Adelaide in Autumn by Jill Gloyne.

13/08/05: Al Zheimer published in Australian Reader on this day last year… This poem will also be included in micromacro, due for release Sept 30.

11/08/06: (from the 2005 archives, 11/08/05) : rob: “It was a privilege to be present at the launch of Collected Poems by Juan Garrido-Salgado tonight at the SA Writers Centre. Juan is an inspiration. He was born in Chile and became a political prisoner under the Pinochet régime for the crime of speaking the truth. “Launcher”, poet Erica Jolly gave a moving speech and we were left in no doubt that, despite torture, Juan is still a man of sensitivity and humanity. He was exiled to Adelaide around 1990. As “co-launcher” Graham Rowlands pointed out, had Juan arrived today under the Ruddock-Howard administration, he would probably be incarcerated in Baxter Detention Centre.

Juan has a unique voice. The poems employ beautifully expressive metaphors- even more humbling when you learn that he’s learnt English as a second language late in life. It’s an exceptional book of poems in both English and Spanish which deserves to be read widely.”

10/08/06: Iraqi/Australian poet and friend Yahia al-Samawy will be reading his poetry with me at the Crafers Inn, Crafers (Adelaide Hills) on Sept. 10 at 3pm as part of the South Australian regional celebrations of National Poetry Week. Enquires to Jill Gower on 08 8339 5119.

06/08/06: from the 2004 archives: 06/08/04: rob’s review of Les Wicks’ book of poetry Stories of the feet published in Cordite Poetry Review..

03/08/06: In between the day-to-day business of inspiring young minds and putting the final touches to micromacro i am retrospectively learning about the poetic output of Karen Knight… Peter Macrow sent me My Mother Has Become, another sequence under the Picaro Press imprint.
It’s simply phenomenal.
In a mere 15 pages of poems Karen deals with the death (and her own grief) of her mother. This is yet another confirmation- if i ever needed it – that less is more. Like all good poetry, here is multi-layered meaning, where the poet is ostensibly writing about a physical description of the room, yet simultaneously rendering her own loss:

In this sound-proof
hospital chamber
they keep hiding the door.

.. If the moth
on the ceiling

its wings will creak
like new boots
on a metal stair
(“Silence”, p10.)

And after her mother’s death:

My body trembles
like the silver-eye
that crashed
into a reflection
in my mother’s window
last Christmas Eve

when the sky was celebrating
in orange and cream

when I cupped the bird’s body
I could feel its heart
pulsing shock-waves
as the wind chased

yellow leaves through the door
bringing jasmine scent
from the corner of her garden,

Now, after the funeral
my friends hold me
and I have nowhere to hide.

(“Outside the Crematorium”, p15.)

These excerpts don’t do justice to Karen Knight’s collection. Every poem is a potent piece of an integrated whole. I’m just amazed that you can buy these little classics for less than A$10… As usual, contact Rob Riel.

01/08/06: rob attends the AGM of Friendly Street Poets and also performs how do i shop at ikea? and only a man on an island.

The Hobart launch of the print version of Famous Reporter #33 which includes work by Yahia al-Samawy, Juan Garrido-Salgado and rob walker.

27/07/06: a beginner’s guide to postmodernism (a poem from the upcoming micromacro collection) has just been posted on Justin Lowe’s excellent BLUEPEPPER poetry blog.

22/07/06: OUT OF ORDER!! has moved

21/07/06: (2005 archives, one year on) : ” Wandering , a poem about stones and pain, has been published in the (US) summer edition of Plum Ruby Review. ”

20/07/06: I’ve never met Karen Knight , although i’ve admired her work for some time & we’ve shared a few publications – Famous Reporter, Blue Giraffe, & Best Australian poems 2005 come to mind..
Last week Peter Macrow sent me her latest sequence Doctor Says and this little Picaro chapbook stopped me in my tracks.

At first glance you might mistake this for simple poetry. It is dense, potent stuff, to be taken by the shotglass, with a jolt at the end and an afterburn.

I think it was Schopenhauer who said “Use ordinary words to say extraordinary things.” Karen does. These are poems about memories in a mental hospital (yes, that’s what they called them then.) With all the hopelessness and horror of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the ultimate authority of the medical staff:

The Two Second Circle Test

(for Emotional Health)

The doctor gave me

a pharmaceutical pen,
as I stepped into
the prescription
of his white room.

But the sequence also shows the irony – even absurdity – of the Draw-a-Person or Rorschach tests and life in a 60s Institution. This could be a very depressing book, but there’s no indulgent self-pity, instead, sparkles of compassion and humour.

There are old men in straight-jackets, women in canvas frocks, the pain of missing home and achingly beautiful images like listening to a grand / piano’s sob or watching a honeyeater suck / its shadow from a puddle.

This is starting to sound like a review & it wasn’t meant to. Peter Macrow has already written an excellent one and submitted it to Five Bells (which they will publish if they have any taste.) Just buy it. It’s only $5 for Christsake! Send your paltry $5 to Rob Riel, PO Box 853, Warners Bay, NSW 2282.

15/07/06: I was honoured to participate in last night’s Launch of Juan Garrido-Salgado‘s new bilingual sequence Unmoving Navigator who fell in love with the ocean’s darkness / Navegante inmóvil que amó en la obscuridad del océano (translated by Peter Boyle), published by Picaro Press. With a life-time interest in Pablo Neruda and his work, Juan used the occasion to both celebrate the birthday and poetry of Neruda and release his own collection of poems based on beautiful sailing-ship figureheads housed in the Maritime Museum at Port Adelaide. The evening was compered by Jude Aquilina and officially launched by Graham Rowlands, with readings by Juan in Spanish and Bel Schenk, Steve Brock, Erica Jolly and me in english. There were also readings and a biography of Neruda by Silvia Standfield and Maria Barrientos and a very interesting talk by retired wharfie Rex Munn from the MUA on the history of figureheads and sailing ships in South Australia. The launch was well-attended by Adelaide’s poetry and Romero communities, activists – in short, Juan’s diverse group of friends and admirers. Unmoving Navigator is published by Picaro Press and available through Rob Riel for only $5. Scroll down to 11/08/05 here for Juan’s first Australian collection.

09/07/06: I’m delighted and excited to announce that I (yes, me! rob walker!) have won the Onkaparinga Poetry Unhinged Single Poetry Competition. This means that, thanks to Onkaparinga, South Australian Writers’ Centre, Seaview Press and SALMAT, I will have a complete collection (60+ pages) of poetry published by the end of September. I have already enlisted the help of my talented son Ben to design a spectacular cover. (If it’s as impressive as FS 30 or New Poets Ten, I’ll be happy!) I believe the collection, micromacro, contains the best of my work (published and unpublished) over the last 3 years. Judge, Adelaide poet Jude Aquilina made these gratifying comments:

” The quality of entries in the Poetry Unhinged Single Collection Competition was very high, so my job of choosing just one manuscript was difficult.. micromacro is an excellent manuscript which I chose as Winner because of the sheer number of outstanding poems it contains, and for the range of emotions and topics it covers. The manuscript is exciting, intelligently written and full of surprises; it flows well and the tone is consistent throughout. I like the poet’s willingness to experiment with form and language – and I know that other readers will enjoy this book. It is obvious that the poet enjoyed writing these poems and playing so cleverly with the English language, and that sense of passion and discovery is carried over to the reader.”

My thanks to Onkaparinga for another successful Poetry Unhinged Festival and to Seaview Press for their generosity in promoting local poetry in this wonderful, innovative inaugural prize.

09/07/06: fresh Out of Order!!

08/07/06: Today I had the pleasure to participate in an excellent Friendly Street Poets’ Political Poetry Workshop which was conducted by Graham Rowlands. Graham is one of Australia’s most prolific poets and he’s been writing biting political work for over 40 years. He was able to help us with our own work by tracing (overly self-deprecatingly, I thought) the development of his own poetry over that time-frame, then brain-storming the strengths & weaknesses of our own efforts.
And now for something completely different.. Tonight I attend Onkaparinga’s Bush Poetry night for the final public event in their successful 2006 Poetry Unhinged festival. Tomorrow night is Awards night.

06/07/06: fresh cordite

02/07/06: Flashback: 02/07/05: rob’s poem Rock Paper Scissors published @ Australian Reader

…………………………………02/07/04 : Glory Vine published on the The Oracular Tree. (US)

01/07/06: the pulse, rob’s poem about public education, has been published in the latest edition of the Australian Education Union Journal, SA.

30/06/06: rob: “On Sunday I’ll be performing at Onkaparinga’s Poetry Unhinged Spoken Word Competition at the Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale. Last year I performed poem on the underground which has just appeared on the CD Going Down Swinging #23 . ”

29/06/06: Fresh stylus!

26/06/06: on this day i was born. Happy Birthday to me.

23/06/06: Frank Moorhouse on the proliferation of writing courses in Australia (with apologies to all my friends in Creative Writing Courses!):

‘All 37 Australian universities offer some sort of course in creative writing. As in the US, the teaching of writing provides a source of income for established writers who teach full time or for a semester, or are writers-in-residence … or who give occasional lectures. Now the joke goes that when someone says they’re a writer, the next question is, “Where do you teach?” ‘ (Weekend Australian, 27-28 May 2006) from AustLit

Belated congrats to Jaya Savige who won the $15000 Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize ( 2006 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards ) for his first collection latecomers (UQP.) Jaya was kind enough to choose & announce the Nova Prize for us at the launch of Friendly Street Poets THIRTY at Adelaide Writers’ Week. The Slessor award is an amazing achievement for a first collection…

22/06/06: rob: Below is my entry from this day last year. Budding poets and authors – I recommend having a go at this. Imposing external limits on your writing (in this case, using a given, limited vocabulary) forces you to devise creative solutions that you wouldn’t normally consider. Recently I’ve been experimenting with traditional verse forms – such as the sonnet – for the same reason. Happy writing!

[ 22/06/05: rob: “Ever seen those word fridge magnets that you can make poetry with? Now you can compose in a virtual world if you find yourself fridgeless or magnetless. The Melbourne Poets union has a great site where you can experiment yourself with a given random vocab (& upload your masterpiece if you think it’s worthy.) The challenge is to use as many of the provided words as possible- an interesting exercise in poetics- and surprisingly creative! Warning: this is even more addictive than pokies.. Here are a few of mine:” ]

to not wheeze gentle
Plagues Doth Predict Astronomy
Britney Chooses Between Career and Maternity
Oil [and a War on teRROR:::
The Seventh Millenium

the persistence of clouds

21/06/06: What an inspiring evening I’ve just had at the South Australian Writers’ Centre 2006 Young Authors’ Night! Primary-aged (that’s elementary for all you US readers) kids from all over the state who were identified by their schools as talented young writers came to hear published local authors speak about writing, then read their own short story or poem to their small group. What a brilliant way to encourage and celebrate literary creativity in our schools. The three students I took from my school obviously enjoyed the program. I’m sure the recognition they earned tonight will encourage them to keep writing in the future..

The Friendly Street Featured Poem for June is ‘Visions on the Glenelg Tram’ by Stephen Brock.

19/06/06: This week is an important one in Canberra. Federal Parliament is scheduled to debate whether to amend current refugee laws to appease Indonesia or whether to stand firm for children and human rights.

Last week parliament received a 32,000-strong GetUp petition to stop legislation to legalise the forcing of asylum-seekers to offshore detention centres. It sounds like it was inspired by Guantanamo… Please consider adding your name to the list of thousands of fair-minded Australians trying to shame our so-called representatives into withdrawing this draconian legislation.


Politicians from all major parties – including 10 Coalition backbenchers – now have serious concerns. The government is nervous – stand up & be counted this week- next week may be too late.

18/06/06: Tryst has a new edition. This US site always has attractive graphic design & fresh, diverse poetry. My poems old ma formby and Hotel Room appeared on it in 2004.

15/06/06: Australian Reader has spent some time collecting photos & scans of early drafts of work from many of its regular writers to gain some insight into the creative process. Dubbed “The Writers’ Notes Project“, it includes handwritten & typed work of Christiane Bostock, Cher Chidsey, Philip A. Ellis, Helen Hagemann, John Irvine, Helen Jetter, Paul Madill, Julia Osborne, Deva Shore, Kate Smith, Bhupen Thakker, rob walker and Irene Wilkie.
It’s a difficult thing to try to retrospectively analyse the point of origin for a poem. I know in my case there are sometimes months or even years between the AHA! moment and an acceptable written version. Despite my resolution to always carry a small spiral notebook, many initial seeds for poems are written on the back of A4 Important Staff Bulletins, halved 3 times and slipped into the back pocket where they may (or not) be later retrieved before relegation to the automatic washing machine. Because I lose pieces of paper I now attempt to download early drafts onto the Mac at the earliest opportunity. Having all eight drafts of the bird leaves its cage was more serendipity than good planning.

The Writers’ Notes Project is to be archived by Pandora, so that future generations
my have some insight into the confused minds of Australian authors in the early third millenium…

15/06/06: (two years ago) “rob’s old ma formby published on Tryst (US)”

12/06/06: (2005 archives- one year today) rob’s eco-poem balansa clover accepted for the July issue of Stylus Poetry Journal (AUS)

09/06/06: from the 2004 archives.. .cut-up/rearrange – an anagrammatic poem on the dissection of people and verse @ Plum Ruby Review (US)

08/06/06: rob: “Perhaps it’s for my own sanity that I tend to compartmentalize my life. I’m a teacher of music and drama to 5-13 year-olds by day and write by night. It’s not ideal, but it works for me. It’s a rare moment when these worlds cross over. Last week was one of those moments. As part of the excellent MusicaViva programme for Australian schools, I organized a visit by the wonderfully original Zephyr String Quartet. I’d spent the whole term introducing my 800+ students to violins, violas, cellos and the fertile diversity of styles that Zephyr wallows in. The culminating concerts allowed kids from my school to engage with the quartet through dance, improvisation on instruments and the rare opportunity for a gutsy little boy from Iran to play his violin with professionals. I was also able to invite Iraqi poet and friend Yahia Al-Samawy to hear Zephyr Quartet perform the haunting traditional Sufi melody Mevlana. Yahia was moved to tears. He told me later that the tune brought back many happy memories from the Middle East, but also reminded him that laughter and music are rare now in Iraq.. another reminder of what I’d realised long ago – that music is a universal language that can by-pass the intellect and travel directly from soul to soul.”

06/06/06: (Satan’s Day): Going Down Swinging #23 Book/CD available HERE.

rob reads the following poems at Friendly Street: Symphony Under the Stars, pinups & downloads and enigmas.
rob: “I also had the pleasure of reading the english translation of Yahia al- Samawy’s Four Loaves from the Heart’s Oven.”

05/06/06: Friendly Street Poets Thirty (co-edited by Louise Nicholas & rob walker) was given a very positive review by Katharine England in last Saturday’s Adelaide Advertiser. Rating the selection at five stars, Katherine England says “Housed in a satisfyingly clean and handsome volume are the works of first-time tyros and those who have been featured regularly since the first Friendly Street annual reader or who have found over the years a national, even an international voice. Dip into this fecund variety, from haiku to concrete verse, wit to wisdom, or read from cover to cover and marvel at the sway that poetry supposedly unpopular and unpublishable, still holds over our hearts and our imaginations.”

04/06/06: (from the archives, 04/06/04): rob’s poem jordy’s balloons chosen as Featured Poem on the Friendly Street Poets website. It was also later included in the blur anthology.

03/06/06: Albert’s Armistice and poemectomy were two of my earlier poems, both written in 2000. Albert’s Armistice is based on a childhood memory of my grandpa who fought in WWI. Poemectomy was the dissection of a poem and why I wrote poetry at a time when I was churning out new work and posting it on poetry sites all over the world through the wondrous new Net. Albert was first ‘published’ on David Barnes’ Poetry DownUnder site in WA. It also appeared on Larry Jaffe’s monumental Poets4Peace site (US) (in the ‘Mother Teresa Wing’!), Indie Journal (US) – unfortunately, now defunct – and Oracular Tree (US). It was also included in my first collection sparrow in an airport.

poemectomy also made its début on PoetryDownUnder and later appeared on Verian Thomas’s Comrades Press (UK) – now also in cyberspace heaven – & Doug & Anja Poole’s Blackmail Press (NZ Poets online – still going strong!) I sincerely thank all these people who helped to promote my early work, not because they were out to make money, but simply because they loved the poetic word.
Most significantly for me though, it was on this day exactly three years ago that I first read at Friendly Street. It was, I think, the second-to-last time that Friendly Street Poets met in the old Box Factory, and these were the two poems that I chose on that first night…

02/06/06: The torture of Yahia now also appears on the iraqi/ arabic sites Friends of Democracy and Civilized Dialogue, by courtesy of the translator Sabah M. Jasim. Thank you Sabah.

Congratulations to the production team and contributing authors of AustralianReader.com which is now part of the

National Library of Australia’s archive, PANDORA. Pandora’s brief is to archive online material of national cultural significance which is, by nature, ephemeral and would otherwise be lost to future generations. More..

01/06/06: Colin Powell addresses the UN and speech of parts were read for the first time on this day at Friendly Street Poets, Adelaide two years ago. Colin Powell later appeared in sparrow in an airport (New Poets Ten) and speech of parts appeared in Friendly Street Reader #29 blur and Best Australian Poems, 2005.

31/05/06: My poems The bird leaves its cage and enters another (for Juan Garrido-Salgado) and love at the physio have just been published in Blue Giraffe #3. Once again, Peter Macrow (and guest editor Graeme Hetherington) have done a wonderful job with this exquisite little magazine which includes work by Raymond Allan, Ivy Alvarez, Jennifer Compton, Stephen Edgar, Diane Fahey, Karen Knight, Andrew Peek, Lyn Reeves, Brenda Saunders, Megan Schaffner, Edith Speers, Sue Stanford, Philomena van Rijswijk and Brenda Saunders.

See Blue Giraffe Press for subscription details. Reviews of Blue Giraffe #1 and Blue Giraffe # 2.
Juan has also translated The bird leaves its cage.. into Spanish, so we hope to see a Spanish-speaking publication of the poem some day. The Australian Reader is soon to attempt to wander through the innerworkings of my brain (good luck, Georgina!) and look at the embryonic forms of this poem as part of its feature The Writers’ Notes Project for its upcoming Second Birthday celebrations.

29/05/06: I wrote Clearview on the first anniversary of the death of my younger brother, Lindsay. The poem was published on The Oracular Tree two years ago today.

My essay The torture of Yahia has also been published on the Iraqi Writers’ Union website.

28/05/06: from the 2005 archives...”New poem added to the US ezine The Oracular Tree- George Bush delivers Henry V’s Agincourt speech to a packed house in Baghdad

26/05/06: Legendary Australian author and poet Henry Lawson was born in Grenfell, outback New South Wales in 1867. The town of Grenfell hosts its annual Festival of Arts each June long weekend. This year’s traditional verse competition was won by talented SA poet Max Merckenschlager for his poem ‘Men of Skins.’ Congratulations, Max! (My poem ‘Beans Talk’ was lucky enough to get a Special Mention. )

24/05/06: My friend iraqi poet Yahia Al-Samawy emailed to say my essay The torture of Yahia (first published in Famous Reporter #33) has been translated into arabic by Sabah Jasim and distributed widely in the Middle East. As I replied to Yahia: “If only our writing could bring peace to your beloved country...”

22/05/06: Britney Chooses between Career and Maternity. Believe it or not, I wrote this eleven months ago & posted it on The Fridge

21/05/06: Six days to the launch of Going Down Swinging # 23 which includes my work ‘poem on the underground’. The CD/book will be launched at the Sydney Writers’ Festival next Saturday and then in Melbourne in June. GDS is a pioneer in spoken-word in Australia, having produced an annual anthology since 1980. The track (on which my son Ben composed the music) began life as a poem written after my visit to London in the hysteria about WMDs before the invasion of Iraq and about two years before the actual bombing of the London underground. In retrospect it was disturbingly prophetic. (You can read more about the background of the poem in the interview i did with Georgina Laidlaw of AustralianReader online.)

21/05/06: (from the archives, 21/05/04) : ” rob reads ‘Albert’s Armistice’ at the Pablo Neruda Centenary celebrations at SA Writers’ Centre, Adelaide”.

18/05/06: It’s a hat-trick! My essay The torture of Yahia, Yahia Al-Samawy’s The Last Poem and Juan Garrido-Salgado’s Sonnet (Writers’ Week 2006) have all been accepted for Issue #33 of Ralph Wessman’s excellent journal Famous Reporter. You can view them online, but go one better – Support Ralph, buy the journal and have them in print to keep. These are limited runs and will be very collectible in times to come. Order here!

17/05/06: Flashback! Two years ago today my poems Persistence of Memory & empty sockets 2 were published on The Oracular Tree ezine. Persistence later appeared in New Poets Ten.

16/05/06: The City of Onkaparinga (in association with SA Writers’ Centre) is again hosting the Poetry Unhinged Festival from July 1-9. There are a number of categories in the competition including Spoken Word and Bush Poetry and events which include the perfect marriage of poetry, food & wine! > Details.

13/05/06: rob: I’m really looking forward to Blue Giraffe# 3. [ Declaration of Self-Interest: Part of the reason is that Peter Macrow has accepted my poems love at the physio and the bird leaves its cage and enters another – a poem which refers to my poet-friend Juan Garrido-Salgado.] The other is that it is one of the best little poetry journals in Australia at the moment. Its beautifully hand-made and elegantly-designed covers hold some of the best contemporary Australian poetry. How does Peter produce such a little gem for five bucks? These will be collectors’ items in a few years…

Blue Giraffe #1 included work by Richard Hillman, MML Bliss, Lyn Reeves, Gina Mercer, Myron Lysenko and local associates Shen, David Mortimer and Lidija


Blue Giraffe #2 published works which included Louise Oxley, Graeme Hetherington, Les Wicks, Ivy Alvarez, Anne Kellas, Kevin Brophy and SA friends Graham Rowlands and Erica Jolly.

I’m proud to be in such talented company.

11/05/06: The Friendly Street Poets Featured poem for May is the profoundly moving Leave My Country by Yahia Al-Samawy.

10/05/06: rob’s poem 911 eve appeared on the US website Oracular Tree exactly two years ago. rob: ” I wrote this after one of my choirs was invited to perform at a local citizenship ceremony. I was inspired how people had come from all parts of the planet to live in our community and chose to become Australian citizens. The sad irony was that we woke to news of the Twin Towers attack on the following day and overnight the world had changed.. This poem was also published in the Australian Education Union Journal.”

911 eve

( At the Australian Citizenship Ceremony

10 / 9 / 2001)

City of Onkaparinga.

Noarlunga Theatre.

modern building, ancient names

These Smiths Taylors Petrovs… From Aghdasis to Zares

A thousand mile journey

to be in one place.

We are one.

We are many.

skins from snow to chocolate

wide-eyed infancy to multifocaled seniority

swagger of adolescence to stoop of age

smiles are médecins sans frontières

a roomful of suits jeans and aspirations

pomp of mayoral robes casualness of jumpers and joggers

the past a boot of persecution

present pure as a child soprano

future hopeful as a potted plant

This wedge of humanity’s pie

a microcosm

of optimism.

03/05/06: rob: Last Tuesday night it was my great privilege to introduce my friend Iraqi poet Yahia al-Samawy as Guest Reader at Friendly Street. Yahia spoke briefly in English, then read four of his poems in Arabic: Leave My Country, From the Ashes of Memory, My Love Broke Me and The Last Poem . I was very honoured to be asked to read the english translations. Yahia is widely known in the Middle East, but his work is only now beginning to get the recognition it deserves in Australia and the US. We all hope that we’ll soon have an English-language retrospective of Yahia’s considerable life’s work. (See below 9/03/06 for my observations of Yahia’s performance at Adelaide Writers’ Week.)

02/05/06: rob reads The AWB Triptych at Friendly Street Poets (Tues night- Live!)

01/05/06: rob’s poem a beginner’s guide to postmodernism published in ArtsSA’s Artstate #14

25/04/06: Two years ago there were three unrelated Walkers frequenting Friendly Street. Amelia now works & writes in Melbourne. G M (Gail) Walker is still here and last Friday I attended the launch of her latest work blue woman . A 120 page book of poems is no mean feat- and this is an excellent production. Rob Scott of Bookends has already published poetry books for Richard Hillman, Steve Evans, Kate Deller-Evans, Michael Hier and David Mortimer. I especially like the accompanying artwork, particularly the cover entrapped by Bozena Gowin, which depicts a naked blue woman in a claustrophobic cubic (pubic?) cave.

The nakedness and vulnerability is a very apt visual metaphor for the way Gail has laid bare her soul in this work.

blue woman is divided into three sections: reality bites , the Clive poems and crazy lust .

The first section includes verse on life and sex in the suburbs, the ageing and loss of parents, love, fear and the childhood that never leaves us:

at night before school

I used to rehearse


but the others refused

to learn their lines

and the words

died in my mouth [p.15 say something

Don’t let the topics listed here give you the impression that these are Hallmark gratuities- there’s an edgy bleakness here that keeps you turning the pages like a gripping novel. This verse reinforces my belief that you don’t need a thesaurus to read – or write – good poetry. Complex emotions and concepts can be expressed in the vernacular, without the need to resort to the ‘high fallutin’.

The second section is a large collection about Gail’s partner who tragically died at only fifty.

Poetry about grief is to be approached cautiously, I think. I know when my own younger brother died a few years ago under similar circumstances I wrote quite a lot about my feelings that was therapeutic for me, but not necessarily for public consumption. It is very easy to become self-absorbed and not consider the needs of your reader. Not so with the Clive poems. Gail manages to be quite specific about her own grief, but still general enough to let us in. A good example of this is 15 September 2003 where she describes that dissociated state of unreality when you feel that your world has ended, yet others carry on as if nothing has happened:

the sun is shining and the sky is a pale blue

my lover died today

jacaranda purple blooms appear in the streets

my lover died today

the smell of old roses fills the air

my lover died today

children are laughing

my lover is dead

[p.67 15 September 2003

And because these poems are spread over two years, we experience the process of grief and, if not resolution (or that repulsive current cliché “closure”), a kind of acceptance:

I carry my dead with me

they peer out at the world

through my eyes

their bones rattle in my shoes

they taste the joy and sorrows

of life through mine

they live on in me

[p.90 my dead

And finally:

say yes to life

to all the pleasures

and pain

say yes

that’s all

just say yes

[p.91 say yes

The final section crazy lust will be the most controversial. These are uncensored erotic dreams and fantasies, limited only by G M Walker’s imagination- and there doesn’t seem to be any limit to this! Along with lashings of lust (sorry, Gail- pathetic pun!), there’s also tenderness and beauty:

you sit next to me

turn your back toward me

in that instant I have you

naked and manacled to the wall

I stroke your back with my whip

trace each cut with my tongue

you turn, look at me

your expression quickens

like a startled gazelle

[p.123 recalling Percy Grainger part two

Other poems in this section are a kind of erotic version of Edgar Allan Poe, for example the black widow and the purple penis , although personally I find these longer prose-style ones less disciplined (this pun’s not intended) than Gail’s more pithy acerbic verse, her trademark.

To summarise G M Walker’s work, I don’t think I can improve on the comments of fellow poet Graham Rowlands:

She internalises other people and externalises the people inside herself. She mourns her partner’s death by peopling her life with new and living images of him. So her kinky and violent poems can be seen as physical manifestations of her role-playing imagination.

If you’re hungering for more G M Walker, keep an eye on Graham Catt’s Blog Nausea for an upcoming feature on Gail’s work.

21/04/06: rob: “I’m really pleased with a review of our book New Poets Ten (which includes my collection sparrow in an airport.) The review, by Susan Ballyn (Universitat de Barcelona) is online at Cercles, Revue pluridisciplinaire du monde anglophone (Multidisciplinary Review of the English-speaking world). Cercles (ISSN 1292-8968), published by l’Université de Rouen, France, reputedly has a regular worldwide readership of 35,000. Susan Ballyn decries the decline of the popular taste for contemporary poetry, praises small organisations and publishing houses like Friendly Street and Wakefield Press and appreciates the diversity of the unique voices of libby angel, robert bloomfield and rob walker.”

You can read the entire review here.

20/04/05: (one year ago):rob added to Friendly Street’s Gallery of Poets
: visit to ACT Writers Centre (Canberra)

18/04/06: (from the archives- 2 years ago) ‘Elgin’s’ Marbles poem of the week on Australian Poetic Society website (see 26/01/06 below for full poem)

(one year ago) : visit to Booranga Writers Centre (Wagga Wagga)

16/04/06: rob: “I love Easter. It’s autumn here in the beautiful Adelaide Hills. Time away from teaching. Time to write & reflect. I was wondering yesterday which (if any) of my poems will persist beyond my own life.. then I recalled the words of a greater poet ” :

To a vain poet:
Your poem will last a thousand years.
As will a dried-out mouse turd,
if conditions are right.
(from Anakhronismos, Rooms and Sequences, Mike Ladd, Salt Publishing, 2003.)

15/04/06: rob: “On this day two years ago my poems Bebop & eurostar appeared on The Oracular Tree (US). eurostar was later included in my collection sparrow in an airport (New Poets Ten).”

13/04/06: new one year ago: “Persistence, dunes, Perlubie Beach has been accepted for issue 31 of Famous Reporter (upcoming June, 2005)”

12/04/06: Friendly Street’s Featured Poem for April is ‘The Wounded Christ’ by Pauline Small.

NB: “Baxter” is one of Australia’s remote ‘detention centres’ (known in former times as ‘concentration camps’.)

08/04/06: Gregory K from LA has invented a neat little poetic form: the Fib. It’s based on Fibonacci’s sequence. Here’s my first attempt:

and leucadendron
fibonacci’s math is hiding..

Have a go! Use 20 syllables in the sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. Help me in my quest to destroy the haiku in primary schools!!

05/04/06:(from the archives, one year ago..) 05/04/05: As “guest reader” at Friendly Street Poets (live!) in Adelaide, rob reads a selection from sparrow in an airport (New Poets Ten).

05/04/06: Honeycatacombs published in Woorilla Vol. 1 No. 2, Autumn 2006. The poem honeycatacombs was awarded ‘Commended’ in Woorilla Poetry Prize 2005 (Open Section) by judge Judith Rodriguez who said: “This uses work on bee-hives to compare the rows of immature bees in the honeycomb with the dead in the Roman catacombs. It’s a complex comparison with interesting reflections on life and death.” (excerpt from judge’s comments)...”A lovely and rewardingly complex poem. I look forward to more!” (personal email, 26/04/05)

04/04/06: flow-on effect (a poem about the coastline and greed) has been accepted for the journal LiNQ, the literary Journal of the James Cook University, Queensland.
reads Honeycatacombs and Daddy Longlegs at Friendly Street Poets (Tuesday Night- live! ), Adelaide.

two years ago.. counterpoint published in Australian Education Journal

02/04/06: from the archives: (2/04/05) Les Wicks : “The Mouth has that really clear, unforgiving contemporary voice applied to the Australian landscape which I think is one of the great directions the Australian poets have yet to fully explore.” rob: “Thanks, Les. Coming from you- one of Australia’s great contemporary poets – I’m humbled & flattered.”

The Mouth was published in Australia’s New England Review Issue #21 one year ago.

01/04/06: rob: “Canberra-based poetry/critical writing magazine blast #3 arrived in the milk-can mailbox yesterday. (Self-declaration of interest: I have a poem in it called ‘breaking mother’s back‘, which editor Ann Nugent described -ironically?- as ‘quasi-concrete’ – it’s about a crack in the pavement!)

There are also diverse contributions from Philip Salom, Jennifer Harrison, Janet Jackson, Morgan Yasbincek, Paul Mitchell, Kevin Brophy, Diane Fahey, J K Murphy, Claire Gaskin, Mal McKimmie, Amelia Walker, Petra White, John Jenkins, Graeme Miles, Maria Christoforatos, Jan Owen, Aileen Kelly, John Millett, Bruce Dawe, Tim Metcalf, Lucy Dougan, Marcella Polain, Loubna Haikal and Jeremy Eccles. Congratulations to the ACT government for supporting quality contemporary writing…”

29/03/06: Lorem ipsem is a poem about Iraq, Bush, mangled language and pain. It appears from today on the AustralianReader online.

28/03/06: rob: “i am a happy boy. Got an email from alicia sometimes to congratulate me on acceptance of my work ‘poem on the underground‘ for Going Down Swinging # 23 which will be launched at the Sydney Writers’ Festival in May and then in Melbourne in June. GDS is something of a pioneer in spoken-word in Australia, having produced a quality combo CD/ book since 1980. I’d submitted the track (on which my son Ben composed the music) ages ago & given up hope. Apparently there was something of a delay with funding, which is AOK now.. The poem was written after my visit to London in the hysteria about WMDs that fed my paranoia before the invasion of Iraq and about two years before the actual bombing of the London underground. In retrospect it was disturbingly prophetic. (You can read more about the background of the poem in the interview i did with Georgina Laidlaw of AustralianReader online.) Anyway, it’s an honour to be part of GDS!

26/03/06: rob: ” I think Peter Bakowski is becoming my favourite Australian poet. Make that ‘world poet.’
I say this after having the rare opportunity to attend a workshop that Peter ran at the sawc yesterday. In the human night (1996) has been a well-reread volume on my bookshelf for quite a while. I’ve just caught up with the heart at 3 a. m. which came out in 98 & is now in its 2nd reprint. Peter writes with a brevity and clarity that stop my eyes in their tracks. I find myself rereading a single line to ponder it for the next few minutes..

An example from Self-portrait with beliefs, 19 October 1997:

Sometimes my self-esteem
cuts itself shaving,
sometimes my heart is an airport
waiting for happiness to land.

I’m just another person

interested in self-improvement
but shocked by
its price-tag.

I believe that:

The telephone and the mosquito
have the same parents.

Art lends truth
a pair of binoculars.

can make our living
an illness.

But my beliefs

are hats
that life
sometimes blows away
as I walk through
the changing weather
of myself.

Beautifully crafted, sensitive poetry. And you don’t need to reach for the dictionary or the thesaurus to understand it. In fact Peter himself quoted Schopenhauer’s “Use ordinary words to say extraordinary things” to illustrate his approach. Some other quotes from the 3 hour workshop which have stayed with me:
“Get to the action.”
“Leave out the preamble and the weather.”
“Get in. Get out. Don’t linger.”

Peter also emphasised the importance of a ‘sacred’ protected writing time and reinforced the beliefs I already had- that you can’t become a good writer by waiting for inspiration or The Muse. Success is persistence with learning your craft, sheer stubborness and bloody hard work.

Confidentially, I wouldn’t mind having a modicum of Peter’s talent myself..”
[Thanks to Brad Evans and Ralph Wessman for their excellent interviews with Peter in the links above.]

20/03/06: (from the archives, 2 years ago) : rob’s poems Jordy’s balloons & Blue Wren appear in that vast entity The Oracular Tree (US)

20/03/06:(one year ago) rob reads The Mouth at Poetry Unravelled, the awards ceremony for the City of Onkaparinga’s Poetry Unhinged Festival.

19/03/06: rob: “Here are some interesting facts about Rob Walker:
“Rob Walker died in 2002.”
Rob Walker’s name comes up in The Beatles’ George Harrison’s 1980 autobiography, I Me Mine. In response to a question about “motor racing,” George says: ‘I don’t really know why I got into it, but it was long ago and half the people who were in it, who were racing then are in the background now. You know, older people like Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, and Rob Walker.’

Rob Walker is also a trumpet player, singer, director, professor of international relations , a plant physiologist and a professor of education (I’ve communicated with this Rob when his date-of-birth and identity were inadvertently merged with my bio on Austlit.)

I pass on this minutiae because I’ve just read a recent blog by my US namesake. I’ve suffered from the confusion of having this common name myself (which prompted me to write ‘self-googling‘, my first ever Julain.)
I emailed my US columnist-counterpart some time ago & suggested he change his name. He wasn’t inclined, although his response was very civil. He even says in his blog “I mean no offense to the Australian poet”. Now I write my name lower-case. But the confusion continues. .”I have said before and will say again how much I .. love Rob Walker” says Michael Schaub on the highly-regarded Bookslut website.

But it’s not me..!!.”

18/03/06: on this day TWO YEARS ago, rob’s poems Anorexic depression, Moths, Slater, Advice to a politician, Bull evaluation day, re:Mote Observer, Arc de triomphe, wood-cubed, and assimilation, sixties style were all added to Indie Journal website (US). Indie Journal published dozens of rob’s poems over many years. Sadly, it no longer publishes poetry, but Fred Wheeler continues to promote independent artists through his online radio station at Indie Journal Radio based in Edmond, Oklahoma.

18/03/06: from the archives..one year ago: “rob performs poem on the underground in the style of Mike Skinner (“The Streets”) at the Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale as part of Onkaparinga City’s Poetry Unhinged Festival.”

17/03/06: (from the Archives) one year ago: Poet Stephen Lawrence OPENED Friendly Street Poets NEW POETS TEN (featuring the first collections of Libby Angel, Robert Bloomfield and rob walker) and PoeticA’s Mike Ladd LAUNCHED Blur: Friendly Street Poetry Reader 29 at the SA Writers’ Centre, Adelaide.

Amongst his selection, rob read Even as I speak, his “homage” to Clive James.. and colin powell addresses the UN, a poem about the most famous Powerpoint presentation in history.

16/03/06 :rob: ‘on the 27th November last year I wrote in this website: “My 93 year-old great-aunt Ethel (whom I never met) passed away recently in a Sydney nursing home. Aunt Ethel was born in Melbourne, but later changed her name by deed-poll to distance herself from her wayward brother, Ern, and lived most of her life in the obscurity of Sydney’s western suburbs.

Amongst her few effects were a letter and a sonnet which were forwarded to me. I passed them on to David Prater and Liam Ferney of Cordite Poetry Review to assess the authenticity and value of the manuscripts. David and Liam were most impressed and have graciously published both letter and poem on their website. As it was untitled, they have attributed the arbitrary heading “Ethel Malley: Sonnet.”
Unfortunately, this amity between Cordite and me has gone sour. Cordite has accused me of fraudulent behaviour. I passed this poem on for the benefit of history and Australian Literature. Now I have been slandered by way of Cordite’s tabloid blog. I wish I had never set eyes upon this cursed piece of verse…’

15/03/06: Two years ago…Even as I speak, (rob’s ‘homage’ to Clive James at Writers’ Week, 2004) is published as Featured Poem on the Friendly Street Poets website. It later appeared in his first collection sparrow in an airport in Friendly Street’s New Poets TEN

13/03/06: South Australian poet and PoeticA presenter Mike Ladd won the $15,000 Barbara Hanrahan Fellowship announced at the 2006 Festival Awards for Literature last Sunday. Mike told me he intends to use the money to give himself time to create a poetic work on Adelaide’s River Torrens ( indigenous name ‘Karra-Wirra-Parri’ = ‘red gum + forest + river’ ), looking at it through time as well as space (he intends walking its length from its source in the Adelaide Hills to the mouth at Henley Beach and to study its importance to the Kaurna people –and its later use and abuse by Europeans.) Significantly, days later the river was closed for swimming and fishing due to an outbreak of blue-green algae…

11/03/06: from the archives: (one year ago)… “The Mouth (a poem rob wrote about the desecration of the Murray River) has been published in Australia’s New England Review Issue #21.”

11/03/06: rob: “Two poet-friends have had work published in the second edition of the high-quality Wet Ink which was launched at Writers’ Week – David Adés‘mapping the world’ and Rob Bloomfield‘s ‘ owls to athens’. Rob & I shared our first poetry collection with Libby Angel in New Poets Ten last year. ”

10/03/06: rob: “The final day of Writers’ Week and in a wonderful moment of synchronicity I was able to introduce Juan Garrido-Salgado to Yahia al-Samawy- both poets who had been imprisoned and tortured for their political beliefs and writings. Juan introduced me to Tom Shapcott (who’s retired from teaching and now lives in Melbourne) and Geoff Goodfellow was wandering past so I introduced him to all! Later, under the shade of plane and palm trees on a beautiful hot Adelaide afternoon, Juan and Yahia told me the details of their torture in prison.. and I’ve never been so grateful to have led a mundane life..”

9/03/06: rob: “Today at Adelaide Writers’ Week I had the privilege of hearing poets Lidija Cvetkovic, Stephen Edgar and Judith Beveridge read their own work. But the highlight for me was hearing my friend Yahia Al-Samawy read his powerful verse in arabic. I had read english translations of the three works (Two Banks with No Bridge, Leave my country and The Last Poem) before, but Yahia’s performance brought tears to my eyes as the musicality of his native arabic tongue told of a gutwrenching suffering that transcended language. We are so fortunate that Yahia escaped Saddam’s régime and we can still appreciate his beautiful verse, yet it must be so painful for to see his Iraq being torn apart after the invasion of its ‘liberators.’ I met Yahia through teaching three of his children. For local readers, he has accepted an invitation from me to be a Guest Poet at Friendly Street Poets on May 2nd”. For those further afield, Yahia has published only one small volume in english in Australia so far: Two Banks with No Bridge. Read Katherine England’s review here. It’s available from Picaro Press, PO Box 853, Warners Bay, NSW 2282.

7/03/06: rob reads Time of your life and Cat sin tacks at Friendly Street Poets (Tuesday Night- live! ), Adelaide. rob: “It was great to see founding Friendly Street poets Richard Tipping and Kate Llewellyn performing again. Richard’s face was illuminated by the blue glow of the laptop from which he was reading- something that might have been considered science fiction if he’d done it in 1975! Earlier in the day I’d seen another co-founder, Andrew Taylor, hosting fabulous poetry performances and discussions with Jaya Savige, Peter Goldsworthy, Simon Armitage and Chris Andrews at Adelaide Writers’ Week. ”

06/03/06: rob: “Thanks to all concerned who made the Launch of our 3 Friendly Street publications a great success at Adelaide Writers’ Week yesterday. Special thanks to Sandy McCutcheon for taking the time not just to launch THIRTY, but to have read the entire collection prior to the day & pass on his positive comments to the poets. Thanks too to Jaya Savige for selecting the winner of the NOVA prize for best unpublished poet. The winner was a very excited Helen Lindstrom. Congratulations, Helen”

03/03/06: rob: “At the beginning of the invasion of Iraq I wrote a poem called collateral language (see poems page), which was published on the Australian Poetic Society website. After three years of conflict, as Iraq seems to slide irrevocably towards civil war and the US seems likely to abandon the Iraqi people, in retrospect I would not change a single word.”

03/03/06: Heads in the clouds (added to poems page) appeared in the Australian Education Journal (SA) two years ago today. It was previously published in Verian Thomas’s UNO anthology.

02/03/06: One year ago: rob: ” I’d like to thank the kids and teachers at Mt Compass High and Tatachilla College for the two highly productive poetry workshops I conducted today. I appreciated the students’ openness and honesty in creating their own work.”

01/03/06: one year ago: rob reads his poem about childhood leukemia L is for.. at Friendly Street Poets (live!), SA Writers’ Centre, Adelaide

28/02/06: rob’s poem Breaking Mother’s Back accepted for Issue #3 of Canberra-based contemporary literature journal Blast. (Due out around March.)

23/02/06: Adelaide’s Writers’ Week also sees the launch of Friendly Street’s latest New Poets offering, NEW POETS 11. Three individual collections of first-time-published poets have been selected by poet and educator Kate Deller-Evans:

Low Background Noise by Cameron Fuller
Jars of Artefacts by Rachel J Manning and
Words Free by Simone G Matthews.

The cover features work by Adelaide artist Tom Moore.

All three poets also have work in THIRTY (ed. Louise Nicholas & rob walker), to be launched simultaneously.

18/02/06: All local & visiting writers, their friends and families are invited to the official LAUNCH of Friendly Street Poets 2006 Reader




at the West Tent, Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens (behind Government House)


5:45pm Sunday March 5 th ,

(day 1 of Adelaide Writers’ Week 2006.)

The anthology THIRTY, edited by local poets rob walker and Louise Nicholas, contains the 100 best poems read at Friendly Street (Australia’s longest-running continuous community poetry reading) throughout 2005.

THIRTY will be launched by ABC Radio National broadcaster, author and poet

Sandy McCutcheon .

The NOVA prize (awarded for the best poem by a new, unpublished poet) will be presented by innovative Queensland poet

Jaya Savige.

NEW POETS 11, containing the first published collections of

Cameron Fuller, Simone G Matthews & Rachel Manning

will be launched by poet, novelist and academic

Marion May Campbell.

The Friendly Street Single Poet Volume

Women with their Faces on Fire

by Annette Marner will be launched by Jeri Kroll.

Copies of all books will be available for perusal & sale.

Admission is free.

(All books are published by Wakefield Press and will be available online soon.)

11/02/06: Check out the Submission Guidelines for a brilliant new Literary Journal at Graham Catt’s blog. Scroll down to Feb 10th

7/02/06: rob reads A Beginner’s Guide to Postmodernism, Vocabulary of the beach and Galahs at Friendly Street Poets (Tuesday Night- live! ), Adelaide

02/02/06: rob: re: selfgoogling. “The first ever Julain contest.. & I won!!!!
I’d like to thank the Academy, my family, God, Buddha, Allah… Thanks to Julie Carter for devising both the competition and the form.”

26/01/06:rob: ‘In 1801 & 02 in Athens Lord Elgin organised the sawing-off of about half of the ancient Parthenon’s magnificent marble frieze and sold it to the British Museum. I was lucky enough to see these amputated sculptures in 2003. Two years ago I submitted this poem to the Australian Poetic Society, who later selected it as their Poem of the Week:’

Elgin’s Marbles‘, British Museum

Even an imperial name.
a lord’s lucre

kidnapped from blue skies /white columns /olive tree landscape
ransomed to these cold colonial caverns

Empire’s plunder

room after room after room

just down the Hall from Egypt’s lost sarcophagi
and a Rosetta stone speaking in tongues of lost identity

25/01/06: rob: aspiring poets! Have a go at a Julain.

Here’s mine:

Selfgoogling as a pastime’s quite inspiring.
Eponymous achievements will ensue-
the anticlimax is; it isn’t you…

24/01/06: rob: It’s great to see that the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts has funded Cordite for another year. This is an exciting & innovative web project promoting contemporary Ozpoetry and documenting our times. Long may it continue!

23/01/06: New poem added to site. speech of parts was chosen by Amelia Walker & Shen for Blur last year & later selected by Les Murray for Best Australian Poems 2005.

22/01/06: rob: Phew! It was 43°C here yesterday (that’s 109°F for all you North American philistines!) so I decided to upload something tropical. Here’s my poem ‘The Dream of Wearing Shorts Hardly Ever.’ It was written after a holiday in Singapore as a parody of Les Murray’s (far superior) ‘The Dream of Wearing Shorts Forever’. I don’t think he holds it against me…

Just added to site (under ‘other writing’ ): rob’s reviews of

Tony Page’s Gateway to the Sphinx
Deb Matthews-Zott’s
Shadow Selves and
Les Wick’s
Stories of the feet
(all reviews originally published in Cordite Poetry Review)

Check out John Bartlett’s latest issue of OutOfOrder!!

18/01/06: The poem Buffalo Grass originally appeared on David Barnes’ ezine (now defunct) Poetry DownUnder. It has also been reproduced on Indie Journal and in print in Verian Thomas’ Comrades Press anthology UNO. One year ago today it was reincarnated again on Australian Reader online

16/01/06: Graham Catt was born in the UK and now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. He’s a very creative guy who’s dabbled in design, music & cartooning as well as his more recent quirky short stories and often surrealistic poetry. Graham is currently working on 3 poetry collections, including a work on the music of the seminal punk movement of the 70s & 80s. His new website is here and has just been added to rob’s links.

14/01/06: one year ago: Apricots and Bushfires published in The Australian Reader online. rob’s interview with the editor Georgina Laidlaw is in the about section.

13/01/06: rob: “This time last year we were in the mystical kingdom of Bhutan. You can read about some of our adventures in this remote pristine land at the foot of the Himalayas in the ‘other writing/ travel ‘ section.”

10/01/06: rob: My poem mitchell park 2000 has been published in the latest issue of Quadrant. Now my own editorial line is somewhat to the left of Quadrant’s but I’m very honoured to be published in such a prestigious literary journal! Last year I submitted previously-published work to Les Murray. Les accepted speech of parts for Black Inc’s Best Australian Poems 2005 but added that, in his capacity as poetry editor of Quadrant, he’d like to take mitchell park as well. I let him know that the poem had been published in Positive Words and had also appeared on Warrick Wynne’s Suburban Margins/ Disappearing Landscapes website, but he was not to be dissuaded.. and who am I to question the great Les?!”

07/01/06: two years ago: The Boomers, Blackwood RSL posted on Coral Hull’s Thylazine Poets for Peace (AUS) website

05/01/06: two years ago: Chester Mourning published in Sidereality ezine (US). rob: “I wrote this at the beginning of the Iraq War after a curious conversation with a US citizen while in Chester, UK.”

02/01/06: New poems added to the site:

• Jordy’s balloons
eye, peeled
Redback Spider (Male)

01/01/06: rob: “To all readers & writers… Happy New Year! Thanks to Ben (my talented newmedia-savvy son) for the redesign & update of this site. We’ll be adding more poems to the site this year, particularly ones which have been published in Australian print journals difficult for overseas readers to access easily. Thanks to everyone for your feedback & encouragement. Let’s hope 2006 is a good one… ”
One year ago today: Poem Hotel Room published on Tryst.

31.12.05 : What’s new? (Not much… yet.) Site Update News from 2005 has been moved to the “What’s Old?” section and Redback Spider (Male) (a poem about sex and spiders) has been added to the poems section.

28/12/05: Coming in the new year : In the next few days.. promise! A website re-design with many more poems & interesting stuff poetic.. rob:Come back every day or so as we upload… Please feel free to email comments!”

18/12/05: Me old mate Amelia Walker (no relation- co-editor of Blur) has also got a gig in the new Wet Ink #1 with her poem genus unknown. I think Amelia is maturing into one of Australia’s great new poets. (rob exclusive! You heard it here FIRST!) Check out her bio at the Overload website (under ‘performers’) here..

2 thoughts on “2006 Archive

  1. Wow, incredible weblog structure! How lengthy have you been running a blog for? you make blogging look easy. The full look of your website is excellent, let alone the content material!

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