Sunday, February 26, 2017


One battered author copy

Update: PS Cottier's question below about publishing has me thinking more about that recession time. Big publishers were 'rationalizing,' small publishers were holding back or folding and bookshops were closing. In my job at the time I visited bookshops when I was in other places for work — in the trade, bookshops have their own high profiles. I remember a pleasant visit to one store in Hobart where I asked after another I'd had trouble finding. They told me it had recently closed down. Their eyes were downcast. I felt they suspected they were next. Btw I still haven't archived that next drawer.

I’m feeling quite nostalgic. I’ve emptied out the top drawer of one filing cabinet and gone through each folder before ‘archiving’ ie shove in a storage box. I’ve not only made space for some of the pile pictured in my last post but revisited my first book She’s a Train and She’s Dangerous: Women Alone in the 1990s (Literary Mouse Press 1994). What a long title — I always thought I wouldn’t do that.

Letters accompanying submissions range from short and business-like to chattier with positive feedback on the idea, to women sharing their lives. 

bedridden she writes about her life
sends me lavender and pine cones

They are typed — and even handwritten — including one from Elizabeth Jolley. There is correspondence with poets I’ve come to know quite well and my own updates showing the hard history of trying to get a first anthology published (not to mention during a recession). There is a small, beautiful catalogue of poems and images from the late artist and poet Margaret West — now retrieved and placed on my poetry shelves. 

Over six hundred poems and stories later and a village post office in a bit of a flap ...  

I’m reminded that it was Sarah Rossetti who suggested the fabulous Ruth Clark and her Literary Mouse Press in Perth — I was wondering how we first connected. I’m also pleased to tell you that this first book sold out in six months. Women stopped me to say how they loved the book and were sharing it around. One was in a reading group queue — doesn’t help with sales but I loved the spirit of it. There were loads of reviews.

There is the memory of other wonderful writers who offered different kinds of support and advice including Sherryl Clark, Nina Kavunenko, Susan Lever, Robyn Lincoln, Chris Mansell, Janene Pellarin, Sarah St Vincent Welch. So much has happened since.

I can’t wait to ‘archive’ the next drawer.



  1. Lizz, Do you think things have improved in terms of publishing since then, or the opposite? Coincidentally, I've gone nostalgic on my blog, too!

  2. Hard to say Penelope. That anthology was my very first book and I also didn't have a huge publication history as a poet at that point. It really was during the recession. Small publishers and bookshops were folding before my eyes (I worked in publishing — I was paying attention). One lovely publisher was very interested - had received positive feedback from a Reader - but then decided to pull back to its core (academic??) list to survive. Tears! Etc etc. I certainly hope it's easier these days - there seem to be a few small publishers around again and for poetry of course poets themselves have rallied. (Sorry for delay.)