A gnome by Geoffrey Prince, ‘All the galaxies’ by Diane Caney and ‘Lap, lap.’ by Miriam Dale

A packet
of poems
to put in
your pocket

&

skeleton
keys
for you to
unlock it …

-Geoffrey Prince

All the galaxies

To the little pirate:
who dreamed of clouds
being fairy floss,
while lording it over ships
and massive sandcastles.

To all the sun-kissed babies:
tucked up in bed, day-dreaming
of riding to the moon on a dragon,
meltingly happy.

Until the moment
when the fairy-tale
was ripped away.

These words are for you.

You were six, maybe seven,
twelve or thirteen.
INSIDE and OUTSIDE
your childish landscape
was bright shining as the stars …
before it was ship-wrecked,
on rocks of shame
and you were left
drowning
in an ocean
of self-loathing …
knowing,
without any (bed) room
for doubt
that the nightmares
would … not … end …

You couldn’t tell anyone
or if you did, they would not listen,
or they COULD not listen,
or they DID NOT CARE.

SUDDEN DEATH
feels like an EXIT sign,
beckoning …
after the endless reruns
of ‘The Day YOUR Childhood
Had Its Head Kicked In’

Listen to me …
I want to tell YOU
about the fury I have
for every CARDINAL,
Politician-Priest-Relative,
RECKLESS BUREAUCRAT
who’s PRO-
TECTED,
PRO-
MOTED?!
OR
PRO-
VIDED
for the men and women
who’ve COLD-HEARTEDLY STOLEN
the endless yellow days of childhood …
the days you should have had
with lazy blue skies,
red helium balloons …

And the adolescent years
that should have been filled with joy,
and the surprise of first love …

Instead, a wasteland of living death.

I want to tell you about the fury

But if I am to open my mouth …

If I am to open my mouth –

it will have to OPEN
as wide as ALL the galaxies
in every possible universe
and the sound –
that long and anguished

HOWL …

will never end.

The FURY
is
UN-
SPEAKABLE

But you have my WORD
that I will NEVER
stop speaking
about the UNSPEAKABLE

-Diane Caney

‘All the galaxies’ waswritten in pieces while, I was the cafe poet at Chado – The Way of Tea (run by Dr Varuni Kulasekera and Brian Ritchie) in Hobart. I performed a slightly different version of it at a pub in Hobart in 2015. I put a version on youtube, so that it might buoy up the Ballarat Survivors on their way to Rome. Also, in the hope that the Healing Centre in Ballarat becomes a source of hope, love, peace, kindness, restoration, strength, courage, and calm for all who need it– Diane Caney


Diane Caney reads ‘All the galaxies.’ Used with permission by the author.
N.B. Unfortunately, there is no visual on this recording, only audio.

Lap, lap.

Lap … lap
Goes the water on the bones
Lap … lap
The water on the bones
Lap … lap
The water on the bones
Lonely bones on a lonely beach

I read about your story
Fleeing from your country
Seeking life and hope
For your family
The young boy, only 23
Now just –lap … lap- bones on a beach

You hunted for safety
Through so many countries
And you hunted for hope
For life and for work
You got stuck in Calais
On the beaches of France
And now it’s just lap … lap, bones on the sand

You saw one more chance
For hope and for happiness
One more chance
For money, to feed
Saw it across the ocean, the channel
It didn’t look that distant
It didn’t look that deep.

So you bought a cheap wetsuit
And you bought cheap flippers
And you told your family you would see them soon
And then you set out into the cold waters
And swam for your life
Through the washing seas
Swam for your life
Through the gathering gloom.

And you kept on swimming
Who knows for how long
And somewhere you drowned
Who knows where
And somewhere you lost
The battle for freedom
And all that we know is just
Bones, on the beach.

And somebody found you
Though they weren’t looking
And somebody studied
Your bones on the beach
And they studied and searched

And hunted all over
Till finally they discovered
How you tried to swim the sea.

And all I can think of
Is your lonely body
All I can picture
Is the washing seas
And some days, the image won’t leave me
Of lap … lap
Bones on the beach

-Miriam Dale

‘Lap, lap.’ by Miriam Dale was inspired by ‘The Boys Who Could See England’, an article by Anders Fjellberg that was published in The New Statesman on 16th July 2015. Read the article here

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                  Geoffrey Prince

Geoffrey Prince is a poet and long-term sufferer of mental illness who lives in the Dandenong foothills of Melbourne with his wife and Australian cattle dog. Geoffrey has several books of poetry published through Papyrus Publishing including, The glass asylum and other poems (2005) and Anthems of artspace (1998). His first book was Highly Commended for the FAW Anne Elder Award for poetry in 1994. Geoffrey was the Australian Poetry Café Poet at Abitza Café, Upwey in 2010.

 

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Diane Caney

Diane Caney was the café poet at Chado – The Way of Tea from 2011 to 2013 which was run by Dr Varuni Kulasekera and her husband, Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes/MONA FOMA). Diane Caney’s poems are influenced by the live music played at the café, her anger about child abuse, and her PhD thesis on intertextuality. Diane has written a book for children who have suffered abuse entitled, The Time Virus which will be launched on 11 November 2016 at Baha’i Centre of Learning for Tasmania, in Hobart. More of Diane Caney’s poems and short stories can be read at ‘over there’.

 

 

 

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Miriam Dale

Miriam Dale is a blue-haired, MMA-fighting, theology-loving poet who lives and works in Melbourne. In between writing and working she enjoys reading Terry Pratchett, Henri Nouwen, and Vogue. Miriam Dale was an Australian Poetry Café Poet at the Brunswick Flour Mill, Melbourne from 2013 to 2014. After a successful Pozible campaign, Miriam published her first poetry collection, The Common Condition: poems and prose in January, 2014. She launched The Common Condition at the Brunswick Flour Mill during her residency there as a Café Poet.

 

 

Featured Writers Part 2: Past Australian Café Poets- Curated by Zalehah Turner
Read about the Australian Poetry Café Poet Program (2009-2014)
_________________________________________________________________

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

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Good things come in threes: Poems by Alysha Herrmann, Janette Dadd and Indigo Eli

Adopted

He is –

Murky breaths and midnight toenails
Perfect Tai Chi in between the walls
Headlight free and Sunday solid
He bends I told you sos into spoons

…………made in his mother’s image.

Silent in a father’s absence.
Light feet on cold floors
Old dreams starting new wars
Nothing in a name –

He’d like to ask. He doesn’t.

-but shame. Woven into brickwork clusters.
Filling in cardboard carpets and red flags.
A dented screen, a captured queen.
A ticking secret on the other end of an Instagram like.

He swallows.
He bends.
He –

– is.

-Alysha Herrmann

Convergence

I. Churches, Boots and Trains

The ritual is complete
as with gloved hands pushed together
she receives wafer and wine
allowing the sweet God of her supplications
to flow through her veins.
He ribboned her soul with His eternal breath.

She collects mended boots tied with string
from the jigsaw of a shop.
Her nose sniffs the elixir of hides, polish, sweat.
A swarthy skinned mute watches her quietness – black eyes looking
as he controls  the whirring straps flapping against metal constraints.
Once, invited, she ventured behind the counter.
He silently held her hand to the quivering belt.

Her body swings with the train’s rhythmic chant
as she follows him to the engine
jumping her fear when the earth raced backwards between carriage gaps.
He let her sound the whistle as the dark tunnel bent the smoke
stole the daylight.

II. Cicada Season

The cicada’s song resonated the summer she left.
After six months of tunnelling through the soil of familial expectations
and shedding multiple shells of held views
she finally split the carapace of family –
the effort and agony of separation over
and pulling herself out of herself
she was able to dry those wings and prepare for flight.
She thrummed a discordant, eschew view
and tested the circumferences of her oscillating sphere.

III. Captured Images

There is quietness now.
The whispering of her ghosts is welcomed in the dappled light of dreams.
When she had been cut too deep her raw heart stained everyone.
When she had been cut too deep, their sorrow seeped into her, reopening her wound.
She thought it would always be that way.
But a smile pushes a tight mouth’s edges as she watches the fern pushing its way,
disturbing the levelled pavers, like a wafer uplifted a girl’s soul.
Her body becomes as skittish as a cat’s when the wind
tangles her hair and whips her skirt.
She grins like a child invited behind the counter.
Thermal currents, stirring a coastal storm, remind her of smoke
sucked into a tunnel’s depth
as her mind spirals with images of a girl gone.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Find a centre, hold peace.

-Janette Dadd

.                           waiting at the stop.

.    our breath exchange is paused. lingering. at a stop.
. a breeze of cars circulates like a smooth pulse. exhale.
.exhaust. concrete.  my thoughts circle your waist, wrist,
.fingers. find the ticket.   inhale.   a rumble-wave of trams
.                                                            dips in from above.
.                                                                       dips in from
.                                                                               above.
.sigh.
.  I left you
.      asleep  between   the silky sheets of this morning.
.                                                          remind me why.
.                          pause.   inhale.   remind me why.

-Indigo Eli

 

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Alysha Herrmann. photograph by Siobhan Fearon

Alysha Herrmann is a proud parent, regional artist and advocate working across disciplines in the arts, education, community development, social justice and social enterprise. She is a writer, theatre-maker, cultural organiser, and the current Creative Producer of Carclew’s ExpressWay Arts. Alysha has won numerous awards for her work using the arts to interrogate and explore community concerns and aspirations including, the 2015 Australia Council Kirk Robson Award and the 2014 Channel 9 Young Achiever Arts Award. Alysha was named as one of SA’s fastest rising stars under 30 by SA Life in 2014. Alysha tweets tiny poems as @lylyee and blogs about living a creative life at http://alyshaherrmann.wordpress.com Alysha was the Australian Poetry Café Poet in residence at Sprouts Café, Berri, South Australia in 2012.

 

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Janette Dadd

Janette Dadd has had two books of poetry published with Ginninderra Press. The first Eve’s Tears was published in 2000 and the second Early Frosts in 2013. Janette also reviews verse novels and poetry collections. Her reviews have been published in Spineless Wonder, Global Poetry and Mascara Literary Review. Janette is the convener of the poetry slam, held annually as part of the Eurobodalla River of Art Festival. Janette was the Café Poet in residence at the Air Raid Tavern, Moruya, NSW from 2011- 2013 through the Australian Poetry program.

 

 

 

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Indigo Eli

Indigo Eli is a multi-form poetic artist based in South Australia. Her work weaves between writing, spoken word, performance, visual art, installation and everyday encounters. She is a three-time Australian Poetry Slam national finalist and was an Australian Poetry Café Poet at two venues: Conniption Café in Paper String Plastic Gallery in 2011 and The Croydon Store in 2013. At her first, as part of ‘the nameless project’, she dropped poetry bombs during an exhibition opening. At her second, she delivered hundreds of poetic fortunes under coffee cups. Find out more about Indigo Eli here.

 

Featured Writers Part 2: Past Australian Café Poets- Curated by Zalehah Turner
Read about the Australian Poetry Café Poet Program (2009-2014)
_________________________________________________________________

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

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‘The glass table’- Mark Liston

“‘The Glass Table’ is a response to that first winter; fresh and joyous, and totally foreign to our previous, Newcastle home.”- Mark Liston

The glass table

We left the table outside.
It had started life as a desk
but being glass, and heavy
and rather large,
it didn’t fit in the study anymore.

So, it sits on the paved back deck
home to three spider webs,
collections of plant pots
and two empty paint tins.

But last winter it found a new job.
Each morning ice collects
in pools and sheets of frost
and fingers of haw fronds.

And from underneath
nascent sunlight
refracts as tiny spectrum murals.

If you time lapsed a video
the spiders and ice and seven
colours of it, the fronds of plant and frost,
the melt of light and rusting circles of tin
and the disappearing of day

would win you a doco prize
for best inverted use of a glass table
with added poem and voice over.

-Mark Liston

A hard winter and ‘The glass table’

Living in rural Tasmania, we struck a ‘hard’ winter, as the locals called it. A week of minus 6 plus degrees froze the river and water fountain in the town leaving frost in spots of shade all day. ‘The Glass Table’ is a response to that first winter; fresh and joyous, and totally foreign to our previous, Newcastle home.

Experiences as Café Poet and beyond

I was Café Poet at Sprockets Newcastle for 2 years (renewing every 6 months or so) from October 2011. During that time, I was Poetry Co-ordinator at Hunter Writers Centre. [I conducted] a monthly group and bi-monthly open mic readings at Sprockets with special guest poets, including, Montreal Prize winner, Mark Tredinnick. Picaro Press gifted many poetry books for prizes and handouts. [I organised] local musicians to play at several events. [I was] also Secretary of Poetry @ Pub. The three positions coalesced [and helped me build] a strong community of poets which still continues.

In 2013, I was invited to organise the poetry component on the inaugural Newcastle Writers’ Festival started by Rosemarie Milson- journalist with Newcastle Herald. I invited and successfully gathered together, numerous highly credentialed poets including, Anthony Lawrence, Phillip Salmon, Anna Kerdijk Nicholson, Judy Johnson and Jean Kent as guests to three open mic sessions, one at Sprockets. [The open mic sessions were important.] They gave local poets a chance to read their own work and to feel part of the whole Festival. In subsequent years, poetry has become embedded into the Festival even more.

Many of my poems have appeared in Anthologies and my poem ‘Her Cameo Face’ was Australian Poetry Poem of the year in 2013.

I met Les Murray at Sprockets. We discussed the Café Poet program and all matters poetry (a true highlight). I subsequently wrote a piece about the meeting for ABC Open.

Several short poems and haiku [of mine] were translated into five languages on online sites and in a Poetry Café in Toronto, Canada as a result of meeting overseas visitors at the café and at open mics.

I published a chapbook with Picaro Press in 2013, again because of exposure as a Café Poet.

In 2014, [My partner and I] semi-retired to Tasmania and have since joined two poetry groups in Launceston (Poetry Pedlars) and attended the Tasmanian Poetry Festival, and the Europa Poets in Burnie, reading at their yearly Poetry and Music Concert.

We are in Burnie now as foster parents for 6 sibling children, but I still find to write and read as much poetry as possible. I have enjoyed the last few years of involvement in poetry at various organisations and hope to continue to ‘spread the word’.

-Mark Liston

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Mark Liston reading from Fragile Diamonds (Picaro Press, 2013).

Mark Philip Liston’s poetry and short fiction has been widely published. He won the 2013 All Poetry Prize and 2014 Australian Poetry, Poem of the Year Award. Mark was Australian Poetry Newcastle Café Poet in Residence at Sprockets from 2011 to 2013. His first collection of poetry, Fragile Diamonds was published by Picaro Press in 2013. He now lives in Tasmania.

 

Read ‘Her Cameo Face’ by Mark Philip Liston, winner of the ‘Poem of the Year 2014’ Prize on Australian Poetry here

Featured Writers Part 2: Past Australian Café Poets- Curated by Zalehah Turner
Read about the Australian Poetry Café Poet Program (2009-2014)
_________________________________________________________________

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

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‘Transparent City’/ ‘Ville filigrane’, ‘Snapshot’/ ‘Instantané’ and ‘Powder Puff’- Daniel H. Dugas

“I was a Cafe Poet at the Blackwattle Cafe in 2013 in Sydney. During my residency, I worked on a book project called L’Esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time, a collection of poetry in French and in English with photographs. The book was published last December by Les Éditions prise de parole.”- Daniel Dugas

1-transparent-city-ville-filigraneTransparent City

Here I am, sitting at the Blackwattle Cafe. The air is humid, fresh, invigorating. The doors and windows are open. Customers are coming and going. The sound of spoons and cups clanging seems familiar. The morning fog is slowly dissipating. I see the Anzac Bridge stretching across Sydney Harbour. There is a continuous flow of trucks, cars, buses, and I see a few pedestrians walking like floating shadows. The buildings in the distance are still shrouded in the mist. The landscape fades away; the transparent city hangs only by a thread.

Ville filigrane

Je suis attablé au Blackwattle Café. L’air est frais, humide, vivifiant. Les portes et les fenêtres sont ouvertes, les clients vont et viennent. Le bruit des cuillères et des tasses scintille. Des nuées d’oiseaux s’envolent. La brume matinale se dissipe peu à peu. Je vois le pont Anzac s’étendre au-dessus du port de Sydney. Les camions, les automobiles, les autobus passent sans arrêt. Les ombres des piétons s’allongent, perpendiculaires. Les édifices au loin sont encore enveloppés de nuages. Le paysage s’estompe. La ville filigrane ne tient qu’à un fil.

2-snapshot-instantaneSnapshot

It is the first day of my project and I am here to write about colours. At first glance, what is striking at the Blackwattle is the walls. The building, once known as The Bellevue, belongs to the city and was renovated a few years ago. There was a will to bring the house back to its former grandeur. As in an archaeological dig, the walls were carefully scraped to reveal all of the tints that were used in the last centuries. The result is breathtaking, a snapshot of all of its lives.

Instantané

Ce qui frappe au Blackwattle, ce sont les murs. L’édifice appartenant à la ville a été rénové il y a quelques années. On a voulu restaurer la villa, The Bellevue, à sa grandeur originale. Comme des archéologues, on a soigneusement enlevé une à une les couches successives de papier peint et de peinture. Pour témoigner des vestiges ensevelis, on a laissé ici et là des coupes du raclage, exposant ainsi les strates de couleurs. Le résultat est saisissant ; chaque vie est une couche, chaque décennie une couleur.

spirit-of-the-timePowder Puff: The English language introduction from L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time by Daniel Dugas

The Spirit of the Time, a project based on words and colour, was created in Sydney, Australia during a residency with the Café Poet Program of the Australian Poetry Association. Coffee houses have always been inspiring locales for poets and the goal of the Association was to revive this connection. My office was located in the Bellevue, a large Victorian house owned by the City of Sydney. In 2012, this 19th century villa on the shores of Blackwattle Bay was transformed into what is now known as the Blackwattle Café. It is a magical place with breathtaking views of the harbour and the Anzac Bridge; the staff is inviting and the coffee, superb.

German lithographer and engineer, Harald Küppers, said that man could distinguish 10,000 different shades of colour but that his vocabulary for describing them was limited. If colour is an element of joy and surprise, the names invented by paint companies suddenly become surprises within surprises, an explosion of possibilities. No longer bound to a limited set of descriptors, our world of colour has become Gypsy Moth, Powder Puff or Chocolate Cosmos.[1]

Both words and colours are vehicles that move the emotions, the symbols of our desires and our hopes, the emblems of our determination to face reality. But words do not function in the same way as colours. While a blue pigment is blue because it absorbs all colours except blue, the word blue does not absorb or expel letters of the alphabet. Instead, words provoke our imaginations, carry fragments of fiction.

I set out with the idea of using commercially available colour palettes as cues and I picked swatches from Benjamin Moore, Ralph Lauren, Behr, Earthpaint, Taubmans as well as others. Every day, on my way to the Blackwattle, I would take photos of objects or scenes that stood out: a bright yellow safe in a window display, a discarded VHS tape left in the garbage, a Chihuahua waiting for his master. I made detours, took different routes altogether to discover other neighbourhoods in the city. At the Café, I would begin by studying the images for emerging meanings while searching each photograph for two colours, especially for the two that seemed to be vibrating with the most energy. I would then work through the mobile applications supplied by the various paint manufacturers to find matches for those two colours. The colours and their marketing nomenclature, as well as the source images themselves provided the base material for my writings. The Spirit of the Time is also a translation project. The texts were all written in either French or English, and then translated into the other language, a process which provided many cross-pollination opportunities. Sometimes it simply enhanced the original version, at other times, the text was transformed. Whenever a paint company did not provide a bilingual name for a colour, I translated it, keeping as close as possible to the original. In order to share links to each week’s poems, I created QR codes and posted them on the walls of the Blackwattle Café.

More than the hues, the names of colours are cultural reflections of certain moments in a timeline. They express the Zeitgeist, the way we were, the way we are, or the way we would like to be tomorrow. They are: The Spirit of the Time.

– Daniel H. Dugas

[1] Sample colours from Complete Paint Palette – Martha Stuart Living.

‘Transparent City’/ ‘Ville filigrane’, ‘Snapshot’/ ‘Instantané’ and ‘Powder Puff’ (an introduction) by Daniel Dugas were originally published in L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time (2015) by Les Éditions Prise de parole. All images and text are courtsey of the author.

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Daniel H. Dugas. photograph by Valerie LeBlanc

Daniel H. Dugas is a bilingual, Canadian poet, videographer and musician. He has participated in festivals, literary events, exhibitions, and performances internationally. His ninth book of poetry L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time was published in December 2015 by Les Éditions Prise de parole. The Spirit of the Time (2015) is a collection of photography and poetry in French and English that Daniel created during his residency as a Café Poet at the Blackwattle Café, Sydney in 2013. Daniel’s work has also been published, in French and English literary magazines in New York, Ontario, New Brunswick, Belgium and France.

More about Daniel
Purchase L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time (2015) by Daniel H. Dugas here

Featured Writers Part 2: Past Australian Café Poets- Curated by Zalehah Turner
Read about the Australian Poetry Café Poet Program (2009-2014)
_________________________________________________________________

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

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‘Minus Minus’ (extract)- Claine Keily

“Minus Minus is a prose poem that tells of the dark underside of rural life”- Claine Keily

Minus Minus (extract)

How can a woman love once she has learned the laws of commerce? All her loves, long before Minus, were tiny men leaning towards subtraction, as shamelessly as flowers toward the sun. But when it came to her they added up, counted up, the lines, the years, multiplied her sex, then divided, while she screamed “Let me, let me”, they were stuffing up their ears.

I do not count on you my love for I know myself far stronger, and I have a horror of children who appear in bodies far older than their years. I prefer the mystery, the brief time before subtraction. Love cannot pass through this knowledge of division, which men devised to help them on their way.

We have never known love, only the desire of a victim for a tormentor. A something doubled over. And then to love the animals, is to turn from a man in horror, to forget childbearing beneath the fur of unbearable forests.  The word love is a shield for all we hope for, a minuscule something glimpsed behind a mirror. A moment forgotten. And how we want to know its name, as surely as we can add and subtract upon our fingers. 

And so love is hiding, love is cloaked, is hair, is paper. Somewhere there is a trunk enormous and it tucks itself in at night behind this tree, long before we can reach it. 

She-friends, separated, toy with misdoses of poisons and extracts of kindling herbs. Silence grows in them. They hear the chemical murmur, the chemical murder written on their walls. Psychologists twitch out prevention and cure, balancing their shoulders against the wait of fall.  Psychiatrists linger dull in offices without splendour, careful as the sown of wheat now, they waver and shudder reaction and reason. 

Minus is here, paper throated, a midget dancing on the pathway. There are pearls and cars miraculous, but no music, no voices wailing to joy now, learning to name the darkness. I want to say that you are summer, that you are tillage to the garden, the silver to the frost, but I am a darkling, a forever stranger, throttled now for want of love.

-Claine Keily

Extract from Minus Minus: A prose poem that tells of the dark underside of rural life (2016) by Claine Keily

“I wrote the whole novella [Minus Minus] in 2002. An extract was published in Standards in 2002 and can be read online in that journal. The complete novella was published in 2016… The novella tells a tale of a relationship breakdown set against a backdrop of rural isolation. Minus Minus is the male partner in [the] novella who subjects the female narrator to psychological abuse as a form of control over her.”- Claine Keily

Claine Keily talks to Zalehah Turner about her Cafe Poet residency, transmedia poetry, Minus Minus and Luce Irigaray

A couple of years ago I became a Café Poet at The Four Birds Cafe in Darwin. I undertook a series of poetry performances at this cafe which I titled, Hotel Genet. These were public ‘happenings’ outside the cafe in the shopping arcade. Australian Poetry asked me to open the Wordstorm Writers Festival with a reading as well as to host a National Poetry Month reading as part of my residency.

I have worked in a variety of mediums for all of my artistic life. I make super eight films and video poems based on my writing. I have produced many artist books of my poetry and these form part of the rare book collections in state, national and university libraries in Australia.

In 2011, I lived in Paris and then in Oxford for six months. I performed each week at Spokenword in Paris as well as at Catweazle in Oxford.

I am influenced by the philosophical writings of Luce Irigaray. I wrote my Masters thesis in response to her ideas on sex/ gender. Minus Minus was written after my study of her ideas. [I]f you have engaged with Irigaray’s ideas about sexual difference, then you may see that I am reflecting on many of her ideas in Minus Minus.

Minus Minus was written while I was living in a shack in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales. The novella is written in a stream of consciousness manner; while at the same time, being built on two years of intensive study at Sydney University engaging with the work of Luce Irigaray.

The novella maps the terrain of psychological abuse in all its forms, against the backdrop of an isolated rural alpine environment. I have written many volumes of poetry as well as, full length prose novels and novellas. Extracts from these works have been published in print and online journals. My novellas and collections of poetry are available for sale at Amazon.

I recently participated in Project 365+1 which is an online community of poets who write and publish a poem each day during the time they are part of that community. I am always working on a novella or collection of poems. I am often working on a video poem or two as well as, performing my poems at poetry events with a range of musicians.

‘Minus Minus’ (extract) video by Claine Keily

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Claine Keily

Claine Keily is a poet, video artist, performance poet, and author of six prose novellas, including, Minus Minus (2016). Her prose novellas are all available through Amazon. Her poems and selections of her prose novellas have been published in journals in the USA, Ireland, China and Australia. Claine Keily’s limited edition artist books form a part of the rare book collections at National, State and University libraries across Australia. She currently works as a teacher of English Literature. Claine Keily was a Café Poet at Four Birds in Darwin in 2013. 

 

Minus Minus was published in January, 2016 and is available through Amazon here.
Keily, C. 2002, ‘Minus Minus,’ Standards, vol 8, no 1 here.

Featured Writers Part 2: Past Australian Café Poets- Curated by Zalehah Turner
Read about the Australian Poetry Café Poet Program (2009-2014)
_________________________________________________________________

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

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‘Amsterdam towards winter’ by Kate Rees

Amsterdam towards winter

entering the birthplace of your ancestors    I saw
battle lines drawn    from areola to umbilical
inside    the air    close    and musty
this    sweet thickness    surrounding
bodies    lounging    with drinks
sprawled    over keyboards computer
terminal eyes    glazed maraschino
cold air riding off canals
under    other    lights
body parts    torsos hang    off the backs
of chairs    dissected
by groups    of lads    carrying    the loss
of national    football teams
here,    whores pay tax

wet cobblestone    damp     smell of sex    daylight
exits a sky streaked bacon grease    water turns
crystalline    in canals potted geraniums bleed

transpacific cables carry her    voice
she shot    home  chrome yellow—
orange    ripe dripping juice    outre-mer lapis
burst through window frames    out of doorways
overflowing onto footpaths

what came back    empty VB canned
dullness    void as a McDonald’s wrapper
the memory opens —   a wound
cauterised                              leaving the phone-box
its chord umbilical

-Kate Rees

“In Amsterdam, I was specifically looking at the words and silences between words, which are displayed as blank space on the page. They both join and separate the words, hopefully giving weight to both.”- Kate Rees

Z.T.: How did you use your time at the State Library of NSW? Did you encounter any challenges?

K.R.: I have always worked more than I have wanted to and written, well, a lot less. I’m sure this experience is a common one across the creative arts. That’s been my dilemma, finding how to produce work creatively while undertaking the necessities of life. Add in a family and the responsibilities that come with it, and you have two very strong counter-weights working against the space and time you need to produce creatively.

When I was doing the Café Poet gig at the State Library, I’d just quit my job. I was able to take up an unpaid opportunity, as I saved some money and planned to have an extended period of time away from work. I happened to apply to Australian Poetry at the same time. It was serendipitous. It was also rather confronting, as suddenly I had time to focus on the craft of writing. I felt I had little idea how to go about it.

I enjoy working in a public space, but I’m not sure that I know how to be a focus of attention within that space. I sat in the café with my Café Poet’s sign, which drew some interested looks from the lunchtime crowd. Sometimes, people came over and asked me what I was doing, or whether they could bring poems for me to read, which was lovely, but also a little daunting. I hadn’t even considered evaluating other people’s works, but in some instances, the people who brought work for me to read just wanted to share their poems. The need to share creatively is something I think a lot of artists search for.

Z.T.: Did you learn anything about the way you work in your time as Café Poet at the State Library of NSW?

K.R.: I produced what amounted to a journal of daily observations that I recorded and published online. This wasn’t meant as the project itself, but it was a familiar way of keeping myself honest and the writing muscles moving. It was a technique I used effectively when I was working full-time. Those observations would sit there unused until, I wanted to examine a facet of life in greater detail. I would then cherry-pick those observations into the guts of a poem and rework it into its essence over time. I also looked in detail at how other artists approached their work and the use of poetic forms.

I have yet to go over those journal entries. I’ve realised that my poems often go through a period of time where they need to ferment. Since my time as a Café Poet, I’ve recognised for me not to become frustrated, I need a few projects on the go and at various stages of completion. It’s a slow process. Sometimes exasperating, but mostly rewarding when you finally have the finished version in your hands.

Z.T.: What inspired you most about the Café Poet’s programme?

K.R.: I was lucky enough to be at the State Library and I always intended to split my time between the café and the library’s collections. There are so many amazing collections housed at the SLNSW it was a privilege to work in that space. They have a large collection of ephemera, pamphlets and advertising material; things that used to find their way into our mailboxes in the 80s and 90s. Items that have mostly disappeared due to the internet. I found myself strangely attracted to these items I would have dismissed as junk and noise at the time they were produced. It was a dull nostalgia that would prickle at the edge of my senses.

I was also in awe of the space of the café itself. On quite a few occasions, I spent the whole day there, gathering the sounds of the space. You could really feel the expression of mood shift around the busy meal times and morning and afternoon coffee peaks. It’s also a gloriously sunny spot with floor to ceiling glass. I spent some time trying to think of a way to display a portion of the poems I had been working on. In the end, I decided I would tweet a short series of ‘coaster poems’ that thematically drew on different aspects of the day. A sleep deprived morning, lunchtime with office shoes removed in a park and an evening, already full of the sounds of tomorrow.

I also wrote a few longer verse poems; these exist mostly in draft form.

Z.T.: You attended Judith Beveridge’s master class at the State Library. How would you reflect on the experience and the development of your own writing?

K.R.: I usually know that I’m writing a poem, as opposed to say, a short story, if I’m struck with a particular image and I think there is a possibility that it can be expressed in an interesting or unusual way. As previously mentioned, I take a while to figure out the best form for the expression. When I was at the State Library, Judith Beverage was there taking a master-class on the poetic line. I found Judith’s insights helpful in a very practical way. Judith recommended a book that has become a well-pawed volume in my library called The Art of the Poetic Line, by James Longenbach. In it Longenbach explains that the function of a line of poetry is sonic. Longenbach writes in the very opening of his book that “poetry is the sound of language organised into lines. More than metre, more than rhyme, more than images or alliteration or figurative language, line is what distinguishes our experience of poetry as poetry.” I think when I have studied poetry in the past, often the focus is on all those elements. They are recognisable in a check-box kind of way as your ‘in’ to the correct (or otherwise) interpretation of the poem. When you create your own work, It’s been my experience that you attempt to create meaning that may be translated to a reader, as well as, crafting the object in and of itself, and line becomes a powerful tool for this communication.

Z.T.: Do you find that you write on specific themes, or experiences in your work?

K.R.: I find with my poetry, I usually start with a question, or something like a question but one that I have been unable to articulate. I attempt an explanation through the form and words written on the page. In Amsterdam, I was specifically looking at the words and silences between words, which are displayed as blank space on the page. They both join and separate the words, hopefully giving weight to both. I often find myself writing character or voice poems, probably left over from my days working in theatre. The genesis of these works come from a scrap of overheard or imagined conversation. With these poems, I’m writing down a particular vernacular or use of language that I want to explore further. I keep notebooks that go back over twenty years. I often turn to these when I want a lived experience. There is usually a voice I can plunder and put to purpose.

katerees_granada-headshot-colour-1

Kate Rees

Kate Rees has a Masters in Writing from the University of Sydney. In 2013 Kate was Poet in Residence at the State Library of NSW where she tweeted a series of ‘coaster poems’ to go with library patrons morning cups of coffee. She also produced a journal of her time at the library, available here. Kate is currently working on a novel length project and she continues to write poetry and short stories. Her poems have been published in Sotto and The Red Room Company’s The Disappearing.

 

Featured Writers Part 2: Past Australian Café Poets- Curated by Zalehah Turner
Read about the Australian Poetry Café Poet Program (2009-2014)
_________________________________________________________________

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Reviewhttps://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

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‘Not Thinking About the Circus, at the Circus’ by Angela Gardner

‘I write as a way of understanding’- Angela Gardner

Not Thinking About the Circus, at the Circus

I am shiny, towing an absence of sound through a tunnel. Holding
wrappers of the world I’ve arranged with head dead and disengaged
as tumble and throw subside. High wire step through the empty ring
of the moon. Its four quarters quartered inside, arms strength,
arm grasp, spin, climb and fall.

………………………………….AA door slams, a body slams.
It’s important to rebuff distraction. Self-violence works on the body
with near misses, forcing confidences to strangers: that gift
of unburdening. I listen: her in tangles of herself sometimes messy.
And it all looks fine to start with: doll-witted within a thing, within
an overbalance. It’s an edge she licks, for its bloody taste, hidden
from any clean-up crew.
A hard surface, oh yes but then there is ballast that sweetens the acts
in icing sugar. Access is a problem. She knows he sees what he sees,
in a dismount, to kiss or breathe.

……………………………………….IIt all hangs on the tethered wrist
or ankle: The idea of the real, companion to that personal copy we each
separately hold. That interval between possible worlds, the hinge
it all hangs from.

-Angela Gardner

Z.T.: Tell me about the way you write and what themes are particularly important to you.

A.G.::I write as a way of understanding and there is plenty to puzzle about! My main subjects in recent years have been the interaction of human and the natural world either with nature/culture (pastoral) or eco-poetic concerns. I’m also interested in science in particular the interface between biological and synthetic intelligence, but really because I’m trying to understand human consciousness and I love the language of these disciplines. But a number of poems come in response to visual art or theatre. I always take a notebook to exhibitions or will sit in the dark scribbling while, I watch physical theatre and modern circus. I just went to see Bangarra’s latest work and it felt odd to have lost my notebook (temporarily) and not [to] be writing while watching.

Z.T.: I’m interest in your work at the intersection between poetry and visual art. How has it developed, where has it taken you and who have you collaborated with?

A.G.: I trained in visual arts in Wales, then at Queensland College of Art, and my practice now revolves around drawing, printmaking and artist’s books. I work on collaborative artist’s books with [the] NightLadder Collective and am in group shows with them. At the end of September, I go to Ottawa on a travel bursary to be part of a panel discussion regarding artist’s books at Library and Archives Canada. I’m really looking forward to being able to attend the opening of the exhibition Open Books, that I have a work in, and also having time while I am over there to start another book of words and watercolour drawings. I have a number of collaborations with artists Caren Florance and Nicci Haynes which sees me go down to Canberra at least once a year. Caren is currently using a poem of mine Pleasure/Demolition as the basis for an artwork.

I keep up a correspondence with poet G.C. Waldrep (USA) and we will often recommend poets and poetry to each other. Whenever I am in London, I go to exhibitions with poet and art critic, Cherry Smith and Laurie Duggan, the Australian poet currently living in Kent (UK). There was a period of a few years when I caught the same train as Nathan Shepherdson and we would use the journey to talk poetry and art (his father is the painter, Gordon Shepherdson so, he is quite immersed in the world of visual art).

Z.T: What inspired you most about the Café Poet program and how did your residency at GOMA affect your poetry?

A.G.: I was inspired to become a Cafe poet because I really wanted to hang out in an art gallery. Who wouldn’t, they are amazing places! I completed an ekphrastic poem, ‘Unplanned Centaur’ that was published in my latest Shearsman collection, The Told World, [with] research in GOMA’s behind the scenes library. Lisa Gorton also selected ‘The View from GOMA’ for The Best Australian Poetry 2012 anthology. I mostly hung out in the cafe writing but there were some great exhibitions on at The Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art while I was there so I got to have some really in-depth time with the artworks. The residency at GOMA also led to another opportunity as Australian Historical Society‘s artist in residence for their ‘Conflict in History’ project supported by UQ Art Museum and the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classic.

Z.T: You’ve published the thirteen issues of foame:e! What have you achieved so far and where do you want to take foam:e in the future?

A.G.: The online poetry journal foam:e (www.foame.org) … submissions window [is currently open, from] September to November. This year Carmen Keates is joining me to share the editorship. It’s a chance to work with people (Jonathan Hadwen has just finished a three-year stint) and to really think about what is happening in poetry in Australia through interviews, reviews and poems. I’d like to see more women send in their work, the scales are tipped towards the men in submissions and that has showed some years in what we publish. It’s an annual publication, so it is part of the rhythm of the year but it’s always a thrill to find a new poet starting out and be able to publish their work among more established voices. I’d like foam:e to publish a print anthology sometime – poems from the back catalogue but also new, invited poems from contributors.

 

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Angela Gardner

Angela Gardener’s first poetry collection, Parts of Speech (UQP, 2007) won the Thomas Shapcott Arts Queensland Poetry Prize in 2006. Her most recent collections are The Told World (selected poetry) Shearsman Books UK and Thing & Unthing, Vagabond Press, Sydney both 2014. She is also a visual artist and edits at http://www.foame.org/. Angela Gardner was an Australian Poetry Cafe Poet in Residence at QAG/GOMA (Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art) in 2013.

Submissions to foam:e are by email addressed to foame.editor@gmail.com from 1 September to 30 November 2016. Include up to six poems in the body of the email and the name of the journal, foam:e in the subject line.
Read foame:e issue 13
More about Angela Gardner

Featured Writers Part 2: Past Australian Café Poets- Curated by Zalehah Turner
Read about the Australian Poetry Café Poet Program (2009-2014)
_________________________________________________________________

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Reviewhttps://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

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‘Swimming in the Southern Ocean’- Rachael Mead

“My desire is for my poems to act quietly and subconsciously, as a form of environmental activism”- Rachael Mead

Swimming in the Southern Ocean

I shed everything in the dunes and come to the sea
wearing only the curves and tones of the winter shore.

Wind surrounds me, an angry hive stinging
my skin with the fierce braille of its story.

I step over the lip where the sea tastes the sand
and wade into the green-glass gathers of the tide.

Everything burns with cold. I’ve crossed a border;
beyond my depth even though toes clutch the sand.

The waves slap my chest and drag their weight
against the backs of my thighs – out here

I am nothing more than weed-wrapped bone the sea
has finished with, passing it back to the air and earth.

This long, cold beach holds distilled abundance,
a plush emptiness, exotic as a foreign tongue.

Long after I’m back in camp, clothed and fire-warm
the sea’s strange consonants roll in the shells of my ears,

inescapable, underlying everything
like a dark childhood – and roaring.

-Rachael Mead

Zalehah talks to Rachael Mead, past Café Poet at the State Library of South Australia

Z.T.: What inspired you most about the Café Poet program?

R.M.:I found the Café Poet program to be quite challenging as well as, inspiring. I’m usually a solitary person and I do most of my writing tucked away in a quiet corner of the Adelaide Hills. So sitting in a buzzing café next to a sign saying ‘Poet in Residence’ was a large step out of my comfort zone. At first, I felt quite self-conscious but I was surprised and inspired by how open and curious people were about this business of being a poet. Engaging people in conversations about poems they remembered from school or childhood, the poems that were read at their wedding, spoken-word poetry or whether lyrics can be considered poetry was an unexpected pleasure.

Z.T.: What was it like being a Café Poet in the State Library of South Australia and what did you use your residency for?

R.M.: After an uncomfortable first visit, I committed to putting my shyness aside and spent a couple of hours each week in the café engaging people in conversations and trying to meet the challenge of weaving the subject of poetry into every interaction. Then I’d move into the Library and concentrate on finding a quiet nook to write. Each week, I tried to find a fresh aspect of the State Library to write about and by the end of the residency I had the bones of a collection.

Z.T.: What was the collection of poetry you were working towards in your residency?

R.M.: The collection is called, ‘The Archaeology of Silence’ (but it’s still in its draft form since I’ve cut the Library section back and included sections on other quiet places.)

Z.T: Did you feel part of a community through the Café Poet program and did it help develop or change the way in which you write or work?

R.M.: The Café Poet program definitely made me feel a part of the Australian Poetry community and helped me take my writing to new places. Until the residency, I wrote primarily eco-poetry based within my quiet and sparsely populated rural landscape. Plonking myself in a very public space with the objective of writing a collection of poems about an urban environment teeming with people was challenging but I came out the other side unscathed and hopefully a better and more rounded poet.

Z.T.: Are you a current member of Australian Poetry and do you have any thoughts on how the organisation helped you (even if it is in the past, through the Café Poet Program)?

R.M.: No, I’m not a current member of Australian Poetry but I think the organisation has done a great job of promoting Australian Poetry and providing publication opportunities through the Australian Poetry Journal, the Members’ Anthology and Sotto. The Cafe Poet program was an exciting outreach initiative and a valuable experience as it both broadened my practice and transformed me into an enthusiastic poetry advocate.

Z.T.: How has being part of the community of Friendly Street Poets in Adelaide, including publication, helped your poetry?

R.M.: Friendly Street Poets is an Adelaide institution and it’s the place where the majority of local poets have their first experience of reading their work to an audience. The Friendly Street community has helped me tremendously, giving me support, encouragement and a range of reading and publication opportunities. Friendly Street has been the foundation of the poetry community in Adelaide for over forty years and I can’t name many local poets who haven’t been helped in some way by Friendly Street at some point in their careers.

Z.T: Is writing about South Australia and swimming in the Southern Ocean or other particular experiences important to you and if so why?

R.M.: Writing about my local region and the Australian environment is incredibly important to me. The majority of my work explores human relationships with and responses to non-human nature. I’m interested in what lies behind our perceptions of the natural world and how literature can provoke and promote empathy for non-human life. My husband and I are frequent travellers and we hike, kayak and camp in wild and quiet landscapes several times each year. Then I go home and turn my experiences and observations into poems. My desire is for my poems to act quietly and subconsciously, as a form of environmental activism.

Racheal Mead

Rachael Mead

Rachael Mead is a South Australian writer and the author of three collections of poetry: Sliding Down the Belly of the World (Wakefield Press 2012), The Sixth Creek (Picaro Press 2013) and The Quiet Blue World (Garron Publishing 2015). The Sixth Creek won Varuna’s Dorothy Hewett Flagship Fellowship for Poetry in 2011, a Varuna Publisher Fellowship with Picaro Press in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival Literature Awards Unpublished Manuscript Prize in 2012. Her latest unpublished manuscript was awarded Varuna’s Dorothy Hewett Fellowship for Poetry in 2015 and was shortlisted in the 2016 Adelaide Festival Literature Awards. Rachael was the Australian Poetry Café Poet in residence at the State Library of South Australia from 2012-2013.

You can find more about Rachael Mead at http://rachaelmead.com/

Featured Writers Part 2: Past Australian Café Poets- Curated by Zalehah Turner
Read about the Australian Poetry Café Poet Program (2009-2014)
_________________________________________________________________

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Reviewhttps://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

 

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‘CONTRAST II’- Skye Loneragan

Skye Loneragan, Q-POETICS, Glasgow, 2014. photographer Stewart Ennis

ABC News filming Skye Loneragan engaged in Q-POETICS at Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, 2014. photographer: Stewart Ennis [1]

[1] Although cameras were involved in the engagement in this instance, “documentation is gentle, done from afar or it affects the connection made,” Skye Loneragan

Skye Loneragan has “worked in a range of artist residences or devised public art engagement strategies, all of which hinge on the arousal of curiosity”

Curiosity as currency:
“most of my work begins with a question
which becomes a quest
I believe in curiosity as a kind of currency-
both in terms of value and exchange”
-Skye Loneragan

CONTRAST II: Spoken word poet, Skye Loneragan. Film-maker: Tony Walters, Fairfax Media, Sydney.

CONTRAST II (text)

twin poems questioning
‘Where the grass is greener
Wherever it is lit by the sun’

The grass is moist from our sweaty dew-crushing dance
Flattened by our joy-seeking, rhythm filled stance
And I spy an Aboriginal man mounting the podium
Mounting the stage between him and ‘them’
And an’ Us and Them – that white man with mike
Poised on a platform which is brighter
When it is raised to be seen

But he’s keen
To make his mark
Grabbing that mike
Swelling on an amplified order
To “move back! Every single one of you, white fella,
Move back! I am First Peoples, this is Arnhem land
Move back”– an exasperated hand
He raises his arm in exponential anger
Beer and sorrow make his strong muscle slow
“Mooooovbbb aaaaa ccccckkkk!”

And the crowd does, recede into its belly,
Till the band behind him presses a button
And we see his slurred words drowning
silenced by a growing song
and someone in power
switching his mike
to OFF

Mooooovbbb aaaaa ccccckkkk

The throng is torn
Between his sentiment
(give back my dignity-my-family-my-land)
and its accusation
(you are to blame you-can’t-ever-make-it-right)
tottering, inert, eyeing the dirt

Drug-addled coward
We’ve become
This multi-cultural crowd
Looking up at injustice
Doing nothing
(so few legs to stand on
If his soggy pain found his fist
which found the crowd’s face
and bloodied this place)

And this bloodied place
is the taut guilt in our held breath
A futile shame,
our limp bent head
mutters an uncertain name
sorry-proud of who we are
If only we knew who we are
If only we knew
Knew we only
Only ‘we’

Him included, him and the stage
And this perpetual racial page
That rips us in two
Before we’ve begun to write
Spinning every festive dance
Into a fight

An insecurity guard steps a lot closer
The man is staring out at what he’s lost
mouthing something we can’t hear
he turns, trips on his faith
drops into the margins,
while the lead singer returns from a side-line
And the First Person stumbles back
Into the crowd
And a cousin’s scolding hug

The act begins
Again
The act begins
Again

A voice
That of the white man on the bill
“Everyone to please, come forward”
and the crowd rushes back in
gushing with relief
“Come forward, please, come forward”
But what he doesn’t say is

To be counted

-Skye Loneragan

‘CONTRAST II’ is part of a twin set questioning how the grass is actually greener when it is lit by the sun, and ideas of contrast. The two poems were part of Skye’s Q-POETICS (poetry in queues) project at the Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, 2014 and are concerned with the contrast that will continue to exist without “a common wealth.” The poems were inspired by Skye’s participation in AWAL (Artist Wants a Life) and the Wide Open Spaces Festival, outside of Alice Springs. Skye has performed ‘Contrast I’ and ‘Contrast II’ at various festivals and poetry nights, including Aye Write, The Mental Health and Arts Festival, The Tron Theatre, Sweet Talkers, (with Sarah & Phil Kaye), WordTravels, (Spoken Four, supporting Kate Tempest and Anis Mojgani), Seeds of Thought, CCA Glasgow, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Listen to ‘CONTRAST I’ by Skye Loneragan

More about Q-POETICS

Skye Loneragan is creator of the ongoing project, Q-POETICS which installs the poet and poetry in places and spaces of waiting, working with WordTravels and the Sydney Writers’ Festival 2013 and then the 2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow, supported by Creative Scotland’s Cultural Programme. Her residency work in includes the ongoing public engagement project, Making a Map of My Mistakes, inviting people in places and spaces of waiting to transform the mistakes offered up (macro-photographic mistakes) into what they’d like to see. Skye was also the Artistic Director of Toonspeak Young People’s Theatre in Glasgow, directing large-scale, site specific work.
Her theatre works include six solo shows, her first (Cracked) winning an Edinburgh Fringe First and adapted for radio with ABC Radio National, and Mish Gorecki Goes Missing. Skye has been published in Buying into The Property Market (GRIST Anthology, UK), The Grin of Our Choices, (Abridged Magazine, UK) and Award Winning Australian Writing (Melbourne Books, 2012). Skye was online featured poet with the Sydney Morning Herald online app & Sydney Poetry Prize winner, 2012.

Skye’s residency as a Café Poet: The “residency was self-arranged (approved by Australian Poetry [and] Paul Kooperman), through meeting the wonderful owner of Ampersand Cafe & Bookstore, Katherine. Seriously, she is a rare creature who supports arts and creativity and its couplings with non-arts/business. It was from 2011-2012, at Paddington, Sydney, then [at the] newly opened cafe in Surry Hills, Sydney.” -Skye Loneragan.

More about Skye and her work

Featured Writers Part 2: Past Australian Café Poets- Curated by Zalehah Turner
Read about the Australian Poetry Café Poet Program (2009-2014)
_________________________________________________________________

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Reviewhttps://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

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Australian Poetry’s Cafe Poet Program (2009-2014) and contributing Café Poet bios (curated by Zalehah Turner)

Australian Poetry Cafe Poet Program bannerAustralian Poetry’s Cafe Poet Program placed ‘poets in residence’ at cafes across the country from early 2009 to mid-2014. The program created a national network of poets who were given the space to write, showcase their poetry and engage with the community as part of their six month residencies. While having space to write is essential, many Café Poets also negotiated with the owners to create mutually beneficial programs which included poetry readings, book launches, poetry installations and innovative concepts which directly engaged the café patrons.

Laurie May at Page 27, Alice Springs with her Poet Tree

Laurie May with her Poet Tree at Page 27, Alice Springs.

Indigo Eli arranged for poetic fortunes from herself and other café poets across the country to be served with coffee at her café. Laurie May created salt and pepper shakers covered in short poems from café poets for her coffee shop, created a poet-tree with poetic offerings for all, and wrote poems across the glass windows of the shop to attract passers-by. Mark Niehus offered to write poems on any subject for a small donation on his 1954 Oliver typewriter. Since his residency, he has created amazing Street Art out of some these poems for coffee shop patrons, engaging an even greater community in the ‘power of words.’ Janette Dadd in Moruya, NSW Peter Langston in Tamworth and Robin Archbold in Maleny were just some of the Café Poets to organise regular poetry readings in their cafes. Janette Dadd also launched Ron Pretty’s What the Afternoon Knows (Pitt Street Poetry, 2013) and Brook Emery’s Collusion (John Leonard Press, 2012) in Moruya from her café.

Mark Neihus's poetry on any subject at Zedz Cafe, Adelaide 'Give me a subject and I will give you a little piece of soul'

Mark Niehus’s poetry on any subject at Zedz Cafe, Adelaide. “Give me a subject and I will give you a little piece of soul,” Mark Niehus.

While the program was originally an initiative of the Australian Poetry Centre (APC), the Café Poet Program was maintained by Australian Poetry, after the APC and NSW Poets Union merged in 2010. In late 2013, Australian Poetry changed the program by altering the residencies from coffee shops to libraries, museums and art galleries with the newly named Poet@YourLocal Program. While several Café Poets had already taken up residencies in the coffee shops of libraries and art galleries, the idea was to move them into the actual arts organisations. According to Australian Poetry at the time, they were aiming for residencies for poets in local public libraries. However, the idea didn’t completely take off. Many Café Poets preferred their café residencies and public libraries weren’t expressing at great deal of interest in the program.AP Cafe Poet logo

In January 2014, Australian Poetry notified Café Poets that they had to contact the café or space to arrange a residency themselves. Australian Poetry kept the selection process; approving applications and arranging for the successful applicants to have access to the Australian Poetry Café Poet logo and poster for the walls of the coffee shop but the rest was up to the poets. The program relied heavily on the initiative of the selected poets however, that was also its strength.

Unfortunately, the program was closed late 2014 and Australian Poetry CEO has confirmed that it will not be running again. While it is often the case that arts programs in the community are difficult to maintain over the long term, it is unfortunate given the incredible network of Café Poets and the obvious ‘power of words’ which engaged the wider community and drew poets, readers and lovers of coffee and poetry together. Issue 19 of Rochford Street Review showcases some of the wonderful work from past Café Poets.

Past Café Poets contributing to Rochford Street Review:

Mark Niehus is a multi-talented, multidisciplinary poet. He published his first book of poems How Do You Want the Fire to Leave You? in 2008 and has a second forthcoming, later this year. Mark developed his ‘Street Poetry’ process, using a typewriter to compose spontaneous poems for the public on a subject of their choice, followed by an intimate reading. He performed his ‘Street Poetry’ at Zedz Café in the Adelaide Central Market as part of Australian Poetry’s Café Poet Program from April 2013 to May 2014. He recently completed a series of Street Art hand painted murals in Adelaide and Prospect Memorial Gardens. The murals are a combination of visual art and poetry. The poem for ‘QUIETUDE,’ in the city of Prospect, was originally composed using Mark’s Street Poetry process as part of his Australian Poetry Café Poet residency at Zedz Café. Mark Niehus was also a Café Poet in 2012 at Zuma Café through the AP program.

‘QUIETUDE’ by Mark Niehus

Skye Loneragan is creator of the ongoing project, Q-POETICS which installs the poet and poetry in places and spaces of waiting, working with WordTravels and the Sydney Writers’ Festival 2013 and then the 2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow, supported by Creative Scotland’s Cultural Programme. Her residency work in includes the ongoing public engagement project, Making a Map of My Mistakes, inviting people in places and spaces of waiting to transform the mistakes offered up (macro-photographic mistakes) into what they’d like to see. Skye was also the Artistic Director of Toonspeak Young People’s Theatre in Glasgow, directing large-scale, site specific work.
Her theatre works include six solo shows, her first (Cracked) winning an Edinburgh Fringe First and adapted for radio with ABC Radio National, and Mish Gorecki Goes Missing. Skye has been published in Buying into The Property Market (GRIST Anthology, UK), The Grin of Our Choices, (Abridged Magazine, UK) and Award Winning Australian Writing(Melbourne Books, 2012). Skye was online featured poet with the Sydney Morning Herald online app & Sydney Poetry Prize winner, 2012. Skye Loneragan was an Australian Poetry Café Poet from 2011-12 at both the Ampersand Cafe and Bookstore in Paddington and in Surry Hills, Sydney.

‘CONTRAST II’ by Skye Loneragan

Rachael Mead is a South Australian writer and the author of three collections of poetry: Sliding Down the Belly of the World (Wakefield Press 2012), The Sixth Creek (Picaro Press 2013) and The Quiet Blue World (Garron Publishing 2015). The Sixth Creek won Varuna’s Dorothy Hewett Flagship Fellowship for Poetry in 2011, a Varuna Publisher Fellowship with Picaro Press in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival Literature Awards Unpublished Manuscript Prize in 2012. Her latest unpublished manuscript was awarded Varuna’s Dorothy Hewett Fellowship for Poetry in 2015 and was shortlisted in the 2016 Adelaide Festival Literature Awards. Rachael was the Australian Poetry Café Poet in residence at the State Library of South Australia from 2012-2013.

‘Swimming in the Southern Ocean’ by Rachael Mead

Angela Gardener’s first poetry collection, Parts of Speech (UQP, 2007) won the Thomas Shapcott Arts Queensland Poetry Prize in 2006. Her most recent collections are The Told World (selected poetry) Shearsman Books UK and Thing & Unthing, Vagabond Press, Sydney both 2014. She is also a visual artist and edits at http://www.foame.org/. Angela Gardner was an Australian Poetry Cafe Poet in Residence at QAG/GOMA (Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art) in 2013.

‘Not Thinking About the Circus, at the Circus’ by Angela Gardner

Kate Rees has a Masters in Writing from the University of Sydney. In 2013 Kate was Poet in Residence at the State Library of NSW where she tweeted a series of ‘coaster poems’ to go with library patrons morning cups of coffee. She also produced a journal of her time at the library, available here. Kate is currently working on a novel length project and she continues to write poetry and short stories. Her poems have been published in Sotto and The Red Room Company’s The Disappearing.

‘Amsterdam towards winter’ by Kate Rees

Claine Keily is a poet, video artist, performance poet, and author of six prose novellas, including, Minus Minus (2016). Her prose novellas are all available through Amazon. Her poems and selections of her prose novellas have been published in journals in the USA, Ireland, China and Australia. Claine Keily’s limited edition artist books form a part of the rare book collections at National, State and University libraries across Australia. She currently works as a teacher of English Literature. Claine Keily was a Café Poet at Four Birds in Darwin in 2013.

‘Minus Minus’ (extract) by Claine Keily

Daniel H. Dugas is a bilingual, Canadian poet, videographer and musician. He has participated in festivals, literary events, exhibitions, and performances internationally. His ninth book of poetry L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time was published in December 2015 by Les Éditions Prise de parole. The Spirit of the Time (2015) is a collection of photography and poetry in French and English that Daniel created during his residency as a Café Poet at the Blackwattle Café, Sydney in 2013. Daniel’s work has also been published, in French and English literary magazines in New York, Ontario, New Brunswick, Belgium and France.

‘Transparent City’/ ‘Ville filigrane’, ‘Snapshot’/ ‘Instantané’ and ‘Powder Puff’ by Daniel H. Dugas

Mark Philip Liston’s poetry and short fiction has been widely published. He won the 2013 All Poetry Prize and 2014 Australian Poetry, Poem of the Year Award. Mark was Australian Poetry Newcastle Café Poet in Residence at Sprockets from 2011 to 2013. His first collection of poetry, Fragile Diamonds was published by Picaro Press in 2013. He now lives in Tasmania.

‘The glass table’ by Mark Liston

Alysha Herrmann is a proud parent, regional artist and advocate working across disciplines in the arts, education, community development, social justice and social enterprise. She is a writer, theatre-maker, cultural organizer, and the current Creative Producer of Carclew’s ExpressWay Arts. Alysha has won numerous awards for her work using the arts to interrogate and explore community concerns and aspirations including, the 2015 Australia Council Kirk Robson Award and the 2014 Channel 9 Young Achiever Arts Award. Alysha was named as one of SA’s fastest rising stars under 30 by SA Life in 2014. Alysha tweets tiny poems as @lylyee and blogs about living a creative life at http://alyshaherrmann.wordpress.com Alysha was the Australian Poetry Café Poet in residence at Sprouts Café, Berri, South Australia in 2012.

‘Adopted’ by Alysha Herrmann

Janette Dadd has had two books of poetry published with Ginninderra Press. The first Eve’s Tears was published in 2000 and the second Early Frosts in 2013. Janette also reviews verse novels and poetry collections. Her reviews have been published in Spineless Wonder, Global Poetry and Mascara Literary Review. Janette is the convener of the poetry slam, held annually as part of the Eurobodalla River of Art Festival. Janette was the Café Poet in residence at the Air Raid Tavern, Moruya, NSW from 2011- 2013 through the Australian Poetry program.

‘Convergence’ by Janette Dadd

Indigo Eli is a multi-form poetic artist based in South Australia. Her work weaves between writing, spoken word, performance, visual art, installation and everyday encounters. She is a three-time Australian Poetry Slam national finalist and was an Australian Poetry Café Poet at two venues: Conniption Café in Paper String Plastic Gallery in 2011 and The Croydon Store in 2013. At her first, as part of ‘the nameless project’, she dropped poetry bombs during an exhibition opening. At her second, she delivered hundreds of poetic fortunes under coffee cups.

‘waiting at the stop.’ by Indigo Eli

Geoffrey Prince is a poet with an impressive history of publications and a long-term sufferer of mental illness whose poetry turned a negative into a fulfilling positive. He lives in the Dandenong foothills of Melbourne with his wife and Australian cattle dog. Geoffrey has several books of poetry published through Papyrus Publishing including, The glass asylum and other poems (2005) and Anthems of artspace (1998). His first book was Highly Commended for the FAW Anne Elder Award for poetry in 1994. Geoffrey was the Australian Poetry Café Poet in residence at Abitza Café, Upwey in 2010.

A gnome by Geoffrey Prince

Diane Caney was the café poet at Chado – The Way of Tea from 2011 to 2013 which was run by Dr Varuni Kulasekera and her husband, Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes/MONA FOMA). Diane Caney’s poems are influenced by the live music played at the café, her anger about child abuse, and her PhD thesis on intertextuality. Diane has written a book for children who have suffered abuse entitled, The Time Virus which will be launched on 11 November 2016 at Baha’i Centre of Learning for Tasmania, in Hobart. More of Diane Caney’s poems and short stories can be read at ‘over there’.

‘All the galaxies’ by Diane Caney

Miriam Dale is a blue-haired, MMA-fighting, theology-loving poet who lives and works in Melbourne. In between writing and working she enjoys reading Terry Pratchett, Henri Nouwen, and Vogue. Miriam Dale was an Australian Poetry Café Poet at the Brunswick Flour Mill, Melbourne from 2013 to 2014. After a successful Pozible campaign, Miriam published her first poetry collection, The Common Condition: poems and prose in January, 2014. She launched The Common Condition at the Brunswick Flour Mill during her residency as a Café Poet.

‘Lap, lap.’ by Miriam Dale

Laurie May’s poetry and spoken word challenges societal norms and explores the concept and construction of identity in notions of self, family and the cultural identity of Australia. Based in Alice Springs, Laurie performs around the country as well as, running youth poetry and performance workshops. Laurie is the Director of The Dirty Word and the Red Dirt Poetry Festival in Alice Springs. Laurie May was the Australian Poetry Café Poet at Page 27 Cafe in Alice Springs in 2013.

‘Lovers Once’ by Laurie May

Please note: poems from past Café Poets will be published in Rochford Street Review Issue 19 until, late September. Bios from the contributing poets will be added here when their work is published. The work of the past Australian Poetry Café Poets showcased in this issue is by no means comprehensive.

Rochford Street Review would like to thank all the Café Poets for their amazing work in cafes throughout Australia, the Australian Poetry Centre for creating the program and Australian Poetry for supporting it.

-Zalehah Turner

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Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review:https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor/

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