The Sydney Launch of ‘The End of The Line’, by Rae Desmond Jones

Rochford Press is pleased to invite you to the launch of The End of the Line poems by Rae Desmond Jones. It is the last book written and compiled by this poet, activist and former Mayor of Ashfield.

WHEN: Sunday 24 February 2019 at 1.30pm

WHERE: At the Exodus Foundation – the Burns Philp Hall, 180 LIVERPOOL ROAD, ASHFIELD

‘The End of the Line’ is an animated collection, bristling with the varied perspectives, moods, and colours of Jones’ consciousness and ‘voice’. Jones was an impressive raconteur and his distinctive physical voice echoes through the pages. The poems shift easily from the social/political agora to the deeply personal, to contemplative, spiritual/cosmic dimensions. He investigates individual and terrestrial mortalities, and concepts of being. He can be playful, cheeky, bawdy, satiric, savage and biting – as well as reflective, passionate, lyrical and grave. Shadowy images inhabit the book’s atmosphere at times, but in the final poems there is a sense of achievement – of abundance and joy: ‘Harvest the glow’. This is a  vivid book. In ‘To prepare a course of poetry’ Rae advises – ‘ Porridge should be avoided’. – Joanne Burns

Rae Jones was one of the great characters of the Inner West. His commitment to safeguarding the built environment led him from being an activist to becoming Mayor of Ashfield Council. Rae’s poetry reflects the eclectic and progressive nature of the community where he lived, as well as his passion for politics. It canvasses a range of topics including family, friendships, history and the state of the world. – Anthony Albanese

Link to the Facebook invite https://www.facebook.com/events/242278270027993/

Launches have also been confirmed in Perth and Melbourne – details to follow.

If you can’t make it to the launch copies of The End of Line are now available to purchase through the Rochford Press Bookshop – https://rochfordpress.com/rochford-press-bookshop/the-end-of-the-line-by-rae-desmond-jones/

AUSTRALIA – a poem by Rae Desmond Jones

AUSTRALIA is from Rae’s final collection of poetry The End of the Line, Rochford Press 2019. Sydney Launch details and pre-sales information will be available in a few days. To be placed on a mailing list to be advised about the launch and were to buy a copy please complete the following:

 

‘Menindee Fish Kill’ – Bonita Ely and Melissa Williams-Brown

Having heard the sickening news of the fish kill in Menindee I drove there as soon as I could. Because of the current drought, high temperatures and long term bad, if not corrupt management, the lower Darling River was infected by blue/green algae (a pernicious growth that poisons warm, tepid water). Then a drop in temperature killed the toxic algae bloom. When it dies it decomposes and siphons oxygen from the water, suffocating the fish. It’s estimated a million fish died.

Thinking about it during the long drive from Sydney, having recently re-read Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu, I contemplated ways of embedding myself/us, white Australians, into the catastrophe. Maybe push my pale feet amongst the fish carcasses, into the mud and algae-infected water? My hands? Millais’ painting of drowning Ophelia popped into my head but how to photograph myself with no assistant or tripod? Fortunately I met photographer, Melissa Williams-Brown in Menindee who loved the idea immediately, and we worked together to stage and shoot the performance for camera, Menindee Fish Kill.

Synchronicity was the order of the day.

Ophelia’s pose and facial expression were a perfect quotation – chest heaving, she sinks into the water, her hands raised in helpless supplication. Her eyes gaze into the middle distance, her face in shock.  I’m immersed in gross toxic water, dead fish, maggots, a fly on my face. My garment’s paisley pattern – fish shapes/tear drops, but also signals colonial appropriation – the   pattern originated in the Middle East and India. The  Scottish town, Paisley, copied the pattern, claimed and named it.

This appallingly abject image powerfully evokes a complexity of feelings, a sharp reality, haptic, empathic.

 – Bonita Ely, Jan 2019, Menindee

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Australian artist, Bonita Ely’s cross-disciplinary artworks explore environmental and socio-political issues. From the 1970s she has forensically photographed the ecology of the Murray River and its environs, witnessing its decline.  Representing Australia in Documenta14, 2017, her installation in Athens, Plastikus Progressus, addresses the plastics pollution of water’s trans-ecology. In Kassel, Germany’s iteration, Interior Decoration, evokes the inter-generational effects of PTSD as an outcome of war.  Dr Ely is Honorary Associate Professor, Art & Design, University of New South Wales, Sydney. She is represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane. https://bonitaely.com/

Melissa Williams-Brown (b 1970) is an Australian photographic artist and professional photographer specialising in portraiture, documentary and fine art photography. She has been a finalist in several prestigious Australian photographic art prizes.
2012:  (Semi-Finalist) Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize

  • 2015:  (Finalist) Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year (ANZANG)
  • 2015:  (Finalist) William and Winifred Bowness Prize
  • 2016:  (Finalist) William and Winifred Bowness Prize

https://melissawilliamsbrown.com/

Welcome to the Rochford Plateau

Welcome to Rochford Plateau. Here, in this slightly rarefied atmosphere, you will find those articles and reviews for Issue 26 which are time critical – that is they can’t wait until the rest of the issue is loaded in March 2019. Normally you will find exhibition, drama and film reviews here. When Issue 26 is loaded the content of the Plateau will be integrated into the overall issue. As always, if you have want to contribute a review or article to the Plateau, or have an event that could be highlighted, please contact us at submission@rochfordstreetreview.com.

 

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1932-35 #1-3 – Artist Statement

Vivienne Dadour: Biographical Note

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1934 #1-3.
Mixed medium- Digital prints on Hahnemuehle photo rag paper, collage, hand written text, photography by Vivienne Dadour, digital photographic reproductions from Harold Cazneaux 1933-36 photo album, Blue Mountains City Library collections and Paul Sorensen papers, Sydney Living Museums, Caroline Simpson Library collections.
Written Text #1
“During the depression of the 1930’s cheap labour was readily obtained…the number of men employed, or who the individuals were, is uncertain owing to a lack of information in the surviving time sheets…nor is it known where they came from” National Trust report c1963

 

The central component of A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1932-35 #1-3 is to uncover and work with public and private archives concerning the complexities of the conditions and forces surrounding life during the Great Depression 1930-36 in the Blue Mountains. These art works  consider some of the social and political concerns that were pertinent then and remain so today- Identity, survival, resilience.

  • Who were the Craftsmen at the everglades c1932-35? Migrants, relief workers, unemployed, skilled or unskilled, age, address, family ties, religion?
  • How did they survive? What were their working conditions like?
  • What was required to keep working in the face of despair?

 

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1934 #1-3.
Mixed medium- Digital prints on Hahnemuehle photo rag paper, collage, hand written text, photography by Vivienne Dadour, digital photographic reproductions from Harold Cazneaux 1933-36 photo album, Blue Mountains City Library collections and Paul Sorensen papers, Sydney Living Museums, Caroline Simpson Library collections.
Written Text #2
“The dry- packed ironstone walls were built from specially selected and hand shaped stones, most of which were the locally collected iron rich sandstone. The walls exhibit an extremely high quality of workmanship: in their massive stability, the skillful introduction of tubular stone foundations and in their aesthetic result. The physical labour required to create the walls and planting was daunting. Fortunately for the Everglades, the depression was at its height and manpower was readily available.” National Trust report c1963

Reports from the National Trust archives Everglades booklet, 1963 states that ‘The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades’ hired by Van de Velde during the Depression to work on his house and garden came from cheap labour that was readily obtainable, from the large number of unemployed… the number of men employed, or who the individuals were, is uncertain owing to a lack of information in the surviving time sheets and to the possibility of Van de Velde having paid some of them cash in hand…nor is it known where they came from…

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1932-35 #1-3 aligns with the political sub-texts often found in my artwork where I incorporate documents, photographic archives and contextual materials to reveal important social and political issues that may be obliterated, ignored, hidden or obscured by the passage of time.

 

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1934 #1-3.
Mixed medium- Digital prints on Hahnemuehle photo rag paper, collage, hand written text, photography by Vivienne Dadour, digital photographic reproductions from Harold Cazneaux 1933-36 photo album, Blue Mountains City Library collections and Paul Sorensen papers, Sydney Living Museums, Caroline Simpson Library collections.
Written Text #3
“A team of 14 Scottish master stonemasons constructed the exterior stonework under Paul Sorensen’s supervision, a French tradesman manufactured the wrought iron onsite, piano makers were engaged for the house joinery, and as many as 15 or 20 labourers were employed at any one time in the gardens.” National Trust Report c1963

 – Vivienne Dadour

 

Vivienne Dadour: Biographical Note

A Biography of Place: – Artist Statement

Vivienne Dadour’s art practice since 1992 has investigated issues that confront political and social issues concerning the complexities of identity and cultural difference. This has led her to seek interpretive strategies that consider ethical alternatives that challenge aspects of mainstream political discourse while encouraging dialogue and fostering tolerance of religious and cultural diversity. In her practice she focuses on specific communities and often works collaboratively with other artists.

Dadour conducted ethnographic and archival research for contemporary art exhibition projects that combined images and text in- Projectdocument : Resilience in Times of Adversity c1939-50 Blue Mountains, Blue Mountains Cultural Centre August 2019; A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1932-35 #1-3, Everglades, Leura, NSW, 2018; Correspondence: The War Illustrated c1939-1950 Woodford Academy, Woodford, NSW, 2018; Illustrated: Women, Work and War WW2, Explorers exhibition, Woodford Academy, Woodford, NSW, 2017; Blown Away Articulate Project Space, Leichardt, NSW, 2016; Connections-a Community Project Articulate Project Space, Leichardt, NSW, 2015; Displaced-Greta Migrant Camp, NSW 1949-60, commissioned by Maitland Regional Art Gallery 2014; Instincts, Traditions, Usages: The Syrian Quarter in Redfern, NSW circa 1920, commissioned by the Australian Lebanese Historical Society, Parliament House Sydney, 2010; Invisible Realm: The Syrian Quarter in Redfern, NSW, The Cross Art Projects, Kings Cross, NSW, 2004.

Dadour has exhibited her work nationally and internationally being included in many public and private collections including Australian War Memorial Museum, Campbelltown Arts Centre, New England Regional Art Gallery, Maitland Regional Art Gallery and NSW University Art Collection.

http://www.viviennedadour.com/

Rochford Street Review in 2019 – Come on the Journey!

Photograph: Mark Roberts

2018 has been a period of transition: Rochford Street Review was put on hold for a period of time while we examined options at making it more sustainable and engaging. The outcome is a new format and renewed sense of excitement as the Review heads into 2019.

    • Rochford Street Review will look a little different in 2019. Since the beginning of 2012 we have published 25 on-line issues, with close to 800 reviews, articles and discussion pieces and we have had over 180,000 visitors from around the world. We think this is a pretty impressive achievement and one which we can build on, but it also needs to be sustainable, especially if we continue to be ignored by the various funding bodies. So from Issue 26 we will look a little different.
      .
    • At the start of each quarter we will call for submissions and the journal will be published at the end of the quarter over a week to ten-day period. The call out will be for reviews and articles, together with creative work (poetry, prose artwork etc). We will continue to be a Journal of Australian & International cultural reviews, writing, art news and criticism. If you are interested in contributing reviews, articles, launch speeches, artist talks or creative work please contact the editors at submission@rochfordstreetreview.com
      .
    • We recognise, however, that there are some things that have an immediacy, that can’t really wait until the issue comes out (reviews of exhibitions or films for example). Items that are time sensitive will be published as appropriate in a new on-line feature called The Rochford Plateau and incorporated in the Review at the end of the quarter.
      .
    • We will be reviewing our current system of subscriptions. While these have provided valuable support to us over the last two years they have barely covered our costs (we have just, for example had to pay out around $250 dollars for Web hosting and domain registration for 2019) and have made it difficult to pay contributors. While access to the review will remain free we be will looking at how to “suggest” to readers how they could subscribe to the journal. We will also be actively perusing other models of funding including crowd funding models to support payment to contributors etc. Meanwhile please feel free to donate to us at  https://rochfordstreetreview.com/supporting-subscriber.

Now sit back and browse through over 800 reviews, articles, poems and artworks and please support us as we enter a new year.

Issue 25 Index. October – December 2018

Version 2

Lisa Sarp, Les petits morts (12 little deaths), 2016 chalk gesso and beeswax on 12 French muslin teabags with copper wire and bamboo embroidery hoops, dimensions variable as installed 52 x 73 x 4 cm (photograph by Lisa Sharp, 2016)

 

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A Personal Sense of Place and History: Mark Roberts reviews ‘Bloodroot’ by Annemarie Ni Churreain

Bloodroot by Annemarie Ni Churreain, Doire Press 2017

I was in Dublin in the week leading up to Christmas 2017 and went shopping for some contemporary Irish Poetry only to find there had been a “Christmas rush” and a number of titles were in very limited supply. Coming from Australia the notion of a pre-Christmas rush on poetry came as a bit of shock, but I eventually managed to track down most of the items on my list (as well as a few extra). One of the titles I eventually had to mail back to Sydney in order to avoid excess baggage charges was Annemarie Ni Churreain’s debut collection Bloodroot.

It took me some time to get around to reading Bloodroot, but the experience was well worth the wait. This is an extraordinary connection, finely crafted and rooted in place, politics and history. While obviously written from an Irish perspective there is much here which also has an immediacy for an Australian reader. The poems about institutional child abuse, the forced separation of mothers from their children and reflections on the same sex marriage debate will all appear familiar.

The simple dedication “for my Foremothers’ hints at the power of some of the poems to come and, indeed the opening poem ‘Untitled’ is unexpectedly complex and compelling. The title of the poem takes on added significance in the context of the rest of the collection – it is not just the poem that is untitled but also the speaker/poet. The unnamed poem searches for an identity as did the children separated from their mothers by the church controlled state:

The first time
a tree called me by name,
I was thirteen and only spoke a weave of ordinary tongues.

 – Untitled

The poem ends with a hint of discovery:

Come Underground, they said.
See what you are made of.

– Untitled

The poem ‘Penance’ which is dedicated “for a girl in trouble 1951” is one of the most direct poems in the collection. There is an anger here woven into the finally crafted words which has only been made stronger by the passage of time:

‘Shame’.
……..Use this word when you speak of love.

A man of cloth will come,
Your new home is among brides.

Deny
the child inside you is the child you dream at night

and when they cut short your hair,
watch the cuts fall

like the soft fur of an animal
held still by threat.

 – Penance

This them is continued most powerfully in the title poem of the collection ‘Bloodroot – at the Castlepollard Mother and Baby Home:

Behind the gates, a black awakening of trees.
Were you made to kneel here too, Mary Josephine, Bernadette?
…………………..If I call you by your house-names will you speak?

Torn avenue and pillars either side,……….I am here for the girl
who had birds in her eyes.
…………………..If I render a wing may she speak?

 – Bloodroot

I did a little research on the Castlepollard Mother and baby Home and discovered that it was run by the Order of The Sacred Heart for 35 years from 1934. During this time the Order never employed a doctor or nurse, only a single mid-wife as required by law. During this time 3,763 babies had their births registered. It is estimated that over 500 babies died and were buried in shoe boxes in a small piece of land down a lane way. After reading this I reread the poem and felt the anger and sadness rise in me as I remembered our own Royal Commission into institutionalised child abuse, a court case I cannot comment on and the Lost Generation of Aboriginal Children.

The power of these poems comes not just from the subject matter but from the fact that these are finely crafted and realised poems. They are driven by the strength of the imagery, the internal rhythm of the poems and even how they appear on the page.

Central to the success of this collection is the sense of place and history Ni Churreain conveys. Some of this history, is of course the history of the abuse of women and children at the hands of the Church/State, but there is also an older history here vitally connected with space:

………

This hill is pagan
This hill is Hill.

It will answer in bog-tongue
and occasional fire,
burning back the earth
along the heather-stream

despite bald heels of rock,
despite the kissy mink,
despite a saintly air

until the stream runs dark
with what needs
to blacken out of you.

 – Bog Medicine

And again in ‘Doire Chonaire’, which is dedicated “for a grandfather unknown”, we once again get this break in history and a striving to make connections:

To you I owe my thirst………For a name
gets passed down through the spear side
in the underland streams that pulse with clear meaning
and thrive towards the lips
……………………………………………..A name is how we match
our tongues to the source and taste our own sediment.

 – Doire Chonaire

There is much to enjoy in this poem, the long lines that break just when you think you might be reading a prose poem, the gaps and spaces in the poem which suggests the break across generations and the use of words such as “spear side” and underland” all add to the depth of the poem.

Place returns in poems about India and Florida. In ‘Where We Come From’ we learn:

This is the Florida I will remember,
a hooded place where the moss hangs

like a lamp-lit silk, peeled from the body
and discarded among the boughs.

– Where We Come From

This is a very different world to the “underland streams” but the strength of the imagery is just as strong.

The poetry in this collection is so finely crafted and alive with language and meaning that it hard to believe that Bloodroot is a debut collection. I am hoping that there was another run on it in the bookshops of Dublin leading up to Christmas 2018.

 – Mark Roberts

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Mark Roberts is a founding editor of Rochford Street Review and lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. His latest collection of poetry, Concrete Flamingos, was published by Island Press in 2016.

Bloodroot is available from   https://www.doirepress.com/writers/a_f/annemarie_ni_churreain/ 

Annemariw Ni Churreain appeared in poetry Irish Poetry feature:

 

 

 

Rochford Street Review: A New Year, a New Format

Rochford Press and Rochford Street Review wish everyone a happy and creative New Year.

2018 has been a period of transition: Rochford Street Review (RSR) was put on hold for a period of time while we examined options at making it more sustainable and engaging. We also looked at the role of Rochford Press, the publisher behind RSR, a series of chapbooks and the very occasional P76 Magazine

The outcome is a new format and renewed sense of excitement as the Press heads into 2019.

Rochford Street Review

  1. Rochford Street Review will look a little different in 2019. Since the beginning of 2012 we have published 25 on-line issues, with close to 800 reviews, articles and discussion pieces and we have had over 180,000 visitors from around the world. We think this is a pretty impressive achievement and one which we can build on, but it also needs to be sustainable, especially if we continue to be ignored by the various funding bodies. So from Issue 26 we will look a little different:
  • At the start of each quarter we will call for submissions and the journal will be published at the end of the quarter over a week to ten-day period. The call out will be for reviews and articles, together with creative work (poetry, prose artwork etc). We will continue to be a Journal of Australian & International cultural reviews, writing, art news and criticism.
    .
  • We recognise, however, that there are some things that have an immediacy, that can’t really wait until the issue comes out (reviews of exhibitions or films for example). Items that are time sensitive will be published as appropriate in a new on-line feature called The Rochford Plateau and incorporated in the Review at the end of the quarter.
    .
  • We will be reviewing our current system of subscriptions. While these have provided valuable support to us over the last two years they have barely covered our costs (we have just, for example had to pay out around $250 dollars for Web hosting and domain registration for 2019) and have made it difficult to pay contributors. While access to the review will remain free we be will looking at how to “suggest” to readers how they could subscribe to the journal. We will also be actively perusing other models of funding including crowd funding models to support payment to contributors etc.

Rochford Press

You may have noticed that Rochford Press has now dropped the ‘Street’ from its name. Following the move of the Press to the Blue Mountains, the physical connection to a street in inner Sydney became purely nostalgic, besides, when Mark Roberts came up with a name in 1982 for the Press while living in Rochford Street, Erskineville, he modelled it on Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press, so-called as they lived in Hogarth Place at the time.

For the past few years the Press has mainly been concerned with publishing a series of small, hand-produced chapbooks. While we will continue to produce these chapbooks into 2019, we will also be looking at other projects of literary, cultural and political importance. The first of these will be the publication of Rae Desmond Jones’ final collection of poetry The End of the Line. Rae worked on this collection during the last year of his life and we are particularly proud to be working with his family and friends in publishing this very important and uniquely curated collection.

The End of the Line will be available for prelaunch sales within the next week or so if you want to be added to a mailing list to be advised on available and launch details please email contact@rochfordstreetpress.com

We thank you for your support in the past and look forward to an exciting 2019 and beyond.

 – Linda Adair & Mark Roberts

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