Monday, July 19, 2021










A Brush with Poetry will Zoom this Sunday (1.30 for 2 pm). You can join us from anywhere you are — so why don’t you? We’d love to see you on screen and to hear your poems. Any style of poetry is welcome along with music and song. (Don’t forget if you’re reading or performing someone else’s poetry you should have permission.)


Many thanks to Coordinator Robyn Sykes for ensuring the continuation of this varied and entertaining Binalong Arts Group program, in spite of current NSW restrictions. Also thank you to Southern Tablelands Arts for Zooming support.


A Brush with Poetry will be back at Binalong’s Café on Queen as soon as it is safe and permissible to have an audience there again. Meanwhile they are open on Sundays for socially distanced coffee, wine, meals and snacks. This week I’ll be Zooming so it’s BYO wine and cheese for me


And here is the link:









I’ve had a bit of a froggy week. Got back to recording frogs with the FrogID app, even wandering right down to our small dam to get clearer calls and maybe even sight a frog or two (I didn't). Then I decide to drop into Rattle (#71 Spring 2021) and there is the poem Go Out and Listen to the Frogs. Such a lovely poem even if you don’t love frogs. It’s by J R Solonche.


Saturday, July 17, 2021

















If you jump on to the Spinifex Press website now you might be just in time for a 25 per cent discount on Two Lips Went Shopping — it’s Book of the Week


There are poems from both sides of the shop counter. Some a bit of a laugh while others are eye-rollers. Still others document important change — equal pay for example — yes I was working when that all happened. The book doesn’t stay on the shop floor though. It covers a range of social issues … Published a while ago I think it still holds its own.


(The title poem is another story. Small, visual and on the fun side it was inspired by Dada poetry.)


Two Lips Went Shopping was supported by the ACT Government through a 1998 ACT Creative Arts Fellowship (Literature) and I continue to be grateful for the chunk of writing time that provided. (I’m also sorry the ACT Creative Fellowships were discontinued at some point.)

Monday, July 05, 2021



Here we are in the new financial year! Just thought I’d say that. Yesterday a fox (presumably) ran off with my two pet chooks. It wasn’t even night or dusk or daybreak. Somewhere between 8.30 am and 10 am when I let them out just for a while before the Canberra commute. I’m not so fond of foxes at the moment.


Here are some foxy coloured fungi. Might be Orange Peel Fungus. Or maybe not. Who’d have thought there were so many details to consider. I’ll inspect more closely tomorrow. And also — as Billy Collins would say (on his poetry broadcasts) — google it up.





Tuesday, June 08, 2021



















I’ve subscribed to Rattle in the past and loved it. Might do again. Billy Collins tells us in his poetry broadcast (via Facebook) that he subscribes so there’s another recommendation. Rattle is a quarterly journal coming out of the US with a number of opportunities including submissions to their print issues paying US$200 a poem. Interestingly they don’t say read us for what we publish but read us for what we haven’t published yet. Submissions received all year.


Each issue publishes Tribute poems — the current call is for poems by librarians for the Spring 2022 issue. Deadline is October 15. There is also an ekphrastic challenge where you are given a month to respond to an artist’s image. One poem will be selected by the artist and Rattle Editor Timothy Green for publication. Payment $100. Have a look at the image by Annie Kuhn — deadline is June 30.

Every Sunday and sometimes on a Wednesday as well, they publish a poem online under the heading Poets Respond. Must be written that week in response to a ‘public event.’ Deadline Fridays midnight PST (sorry I haven’t worked that out in Oz time yet). Payment $100. Turn over a new leaf — or an old one — and write a news related poem each week. Send it in. That all should keep you busy for a while.

So how did I get back to Rattle? Oh yes through Timothy's Rattlecast via Facebook. Poets Respond poems and interviews with featured poets. Livestream it (Sunday evenings his time) or catch it later on various platforms.

Saturday, June 05, 2021


Speaking of Vortex: The Crisis of Patriarchy (Spinifex Press 2020) you may like to listen to the author Susan Hawthorne on this FiLiA podcast at Covers a range of issues including the impact of climate change on Australia. She speaks with clarity.

Another PS to the same post below: I will not Bear you Sons is by Usha Akella. Usha is Poetry Editor of Lucy Writers' Platform.


A gorgeous Brush with Poetry in Binalong last Sunday, delightfully emceed by Greg Piko (regular co-MC) and Alex Webb standing in for Robyn Sykes (coordinator and regular co-emcee). Was so pleased to be present for a mini second launch of The Moorings a joint collection by Janne Grahame, Amelia Fielding, Julia Irwin, Neva Kastelic. Also picked up Greg's latest collection Breaking my Journey.

A Brush with Poetry is a Binalong Arts Group (BAG) event. Robyn will be back for the next one on the last Sunday of July which is ... the 25th. It's back in the room at Cafe on Queen at 2 pm. Many thanks to Robyn for maintaining and sustaining the event through Zoom last year and more.



Recently delivered books from Spinifex Press. Can't wait to get into them. Start here for Book of the Week then on to news and the full irresistible catalogue.


Friday, April 02, 2021












Poetry for the Planet: An Anthology of Imagined Futures is a fundraiser for the Australian Conservation Foundation. Open to Australian and New Zealand poets, submissions close April 5. Editors: Julia Kaylock and Denise O'Hagan. More information at: 

Echidna Tracks is taking submissions of haiku on the theme of Light & Colour throughout April. 

Palette Poetry competitions include: The Emerging Poet Prize (no more than two collections published) closing April 19 with a prize of US$3000: the inaugural Sappho Prize for self-identifying women with a prize of $2500 — submissions accepted April 20-June 13; The Palette Poetry Prize open June 19- August 16 with a prize of $4000. All have smaller prizes for second and third place.

The $3000 Bruce Dawe Poetry Prize closes June 4.

The Newcastle Poetry Prize closes June 28. Judges this year are Toby Fitch and Jill Jones. First prize is $15000 with another $10000 worth of place/prizes.

Thanks to the Women's Poetry Opportunities Facebook page for some of this information. Breathe fire into your work and get it out there, roar like a dragon.

Sunday, February 21, 2021




old habit

pairing his socks 

















If you want to ‘sing and weep’ read Foxline by Chris Mansell (Flying Island 2021). My precious few moments for myself lately have been spent in the sun with this riveting collection where ‘the moon arched like a fox eye;’ where ‘the farmer cuts back in despair’ and the fox ‘sniffs the long dead line of them.’ This book is never still. Delightful foxlines; wrenching foxlines.


It is launched today by Jean Kent at The Shop Gallery, 112 Glebe Point Road, Glebe (2.00-4.00 pm) alongside another seven Flying Fox titles by KA Rees, Steve Armstrong, Robert Edmonds, Myron Lysenko, Irina Frolovo, Ross Donlon, Harold Legaspi. Congratulations to all the poets and poet/publisher Kit Kelen. More info on this event here:

Sorry this is just a quick note — flyin! Cheers.








Sunday, November 29, 2020






I Still Dream of Horses: A girl, her horse and the stories of their lives (RRP $18.95. hb. 200pp. 2020) by Binalong’s Leanne Heffernan is a memoir you will gallop through.


Consuela, an 18 year-old appaloosa mare, takes us from the day she was purchased for fourteen year-old Leanne through all the twists and turns of her long life. Her memories include the joys of her young owner and her horse loving friends, horsie friendships and the bitie politics of public agistment, and new animal friends including a moppity clydie and a crazy Billygoat. There is a myriad of challenges and changes for both Consuela and Leanne as time goes on but their love for each other never sways. Consuela spends a lot of her time in Canberra allotments but eventually heads for regional fields and finally Binalong itself.


Saw a notice for this book on the Binalong Post Office notice board just recently. I wouldn’t have paid much attention to it as our horse days are long behind us — yes we did do the pony club thing with the kids and had a couple of beautiful Clydesdales at one time. Except that … another Binalong author? Stage left to Bill Kosseris’ wee shop! ‘Thought I should buy this book Bill as it’s a Binalong author.’ ‘Oh yes,’ he says, and in the way of small towns, ‘she lives up there in so and so’s house …’ Houses are not placed by their addresses but by their histories. My new neighbour! All the more reason to check this book out.


I’m not sure what the target market is. I’m thinking it’s a book for teens — if they can wrestle it off their mums first But then again it was highly recommended by a younger discerning reader in Bill’s shop at the time. Thank you Ella — you were right — I Still Dream of Horses is a REALLY good book. Keep the tissues handy but be prepared for a good chuckle too. An un-put-downable memoir with a difference.


If you are not near Binalong in the Yass Valley, NSW, you can also order from the author (add $6.95 p&p) via Amazon has paperback and kindle versions and by the way says it is for ten year-olds to adults. Visit:


If you are in the area why not make Binalong your next country delight. 


PS Apologies Leanne for my sloppy photo

Tuesday, November 24, 2020














Here are three of this year’s anthology releases and I’m thrilled to have a poem in each of them: Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry (MUP, eds. Cassandra Atherton & Paul Hetherington, RRP $39.99 pb, 232 pp), Australian Poetry Anthology, Volume 8/2020 (Australian Poetry Inc, eds. Sara Saleh & Melinda Smith), These Strange Outcrops: Writing and Art from Canberra (Cicerone Journal, RRP $10). Belated thanks and congratulations to all the editors. See the links for more information including how to buy.


If you'd like to know more about Canberra's iconic Cummings bus shelters (featured on the cover of These Strange Outcrops) visit Capital History Here. I used them on occasion — and got a poem or two — but mostly I saw them in passing as my Yass-based Transborder bus tootled through the ACT dropping us regional commuters off at key work spots. Also remembering now how much we all valued our Transborder drivers (I'm talking 1990s) — they were mates. Also remembering the day I could NOT stop coughing! Driver John handed  a Soother to the passenger in the front seat and it was handed along until it reached me, and I discovered Soothers really do work just like on the ads. Who'd have thought ...



Friday, November 20, 2020






Every now and then I poke at a filing drawer, a bundle, a stack, hoping it will magically shapeshift into an organized archive-worthy file. Doesn’t happen. At the moment I’m in nondescript early manuscripts. I’m talking 1990s. There’s the poem faded from memory, fade of dot matrix printing, the greater and more literal fade of correspondence on fax paper (I worked around librarians just long enough to know better), the correspondence that I hope has faded from the memories of the recipients.


People were so kind. ‘It seems cruel to write, returning your poetry manuscript …’ says one. ‘The poems to which I responded happily … … I feel ashamed of not doing you any good ...’ says another. ‘… it is not much help to say that the poems are fresh, alive and most unusual. However: quote me!’ Kind and generous. Sensitive.


Me? I’m grateful. Grateful these poetry editors took the time at all to read these premature and immature attempts. To let me down so gently that … I would then have the cheek and naivety to send them another! Poor bastards. I could be mightily embarrassed. But they helped me keep going and I have done alright. I’ve also had immeasurable pleasure. Not only from writing itself but from related activities and friendships.


I once had the opportunity to thank a poetry editor in person. I saw Judith Rodriguez sitting quietly by herself in a café during a literary festival. I wonder if it was in Melbourne? I had the great juggle in my head: is she needing space; is another bloody poet pestering her the last thing she needs; there might be a chance for a conversation with a great; I could at least say thank you. I said thank you. She didn’t seem to mind. I buzzed off quickly … it was a bit like a swatted blowfly impersonation.


Okay, back to poking old poetry …


Saturday, September 19, 2020




Back again. COVID-19 got to me (and family health stuff) — scatter-brain scatter-gun skitter-scatter — but somehow a manuscript eventually off to a publisher and a new manuscript concept hovering. Still visiting that lake (in Belconnen) watching the birds. At home (Binalong) recording and identifying frogs. No I don't normally capture them — this little fella just wandered inside. Quickly returned to the outers.

A couple of events:

That Poetry Thing is now a hybrid, live at Smith's Alternative/Zoom event. Triple launch — Dolan, Smith, Strange on September 21. Go to their FB and website pages for bookings advice (strict seatings) and Zoom links (do duck in). Congratulations and thanks go to the dedicated and persistent Thing Team.

A Brush with Poetry will Zoom on Sunday September 27 at 2 pm. Shared mike open style event. Zoom link on the Binalong Arts Group FB page. Congratulations and thanks go to the dedicated and persistent Robyn Sykes, Binalong's champion bush/spoken word poet.

Friday, May 29, 2020


[Poetry in the air]

Don't Be Live Poetry Deprived 5: Sunday May 31 at 2.00 pm. Even tiny Binalong is joining the international poetry zoom craze thanks to Coordinator Robyn Sykes, with the support of Southern Tablelands Arts. A Brush with Poetry is an eclectic mix of poetry styles, readings and recitals from free verse to tanka to traditional Australian narratives. Music and song also welcome and sometimes that happens. Usually at Café on Queen (currently takeaway only) on the last Sunday of odd months Brush is taking to the air. See you there (and back at the Queen post-pandemic).

Go to the Binalong Arts Group Inc Facebook page on Saturday for the Zoom link.

(Zoom is quite easy. Download the app on to your computer or other device from At the scheduled time just click on the link supplied which will take you to the Brush 'meeting.' You'll see a message telling you the host will let you in asap. Then suddenly — voila!)

Sunday, May 17, 2020


Stepping across the way to New Zealand for a moment — many thanks to the NZ Poetry Society for their list of online NZ and world events and opportunities.

Here’s a couple of events: 

TODAY! Wairarapa Word's online open mike is on Sunday May 17 at 3 pm NZT. You will find the Zoom link here. Seems to be an open invitation.

Poetry at Your Place (includes poetry, spoken word, music, art) from Wellington on Zoom and Facebook. Sundays 7.30 pm NZT. Poetry Slam at Your Place on what might be alternate weeks I think. 

The House is Open (music, theatre, poems) from Wellington on Zoom Fridays 8 pm NZT. Cost $10 (family/household) ticket to help pay the NZ and OS artists. See Facebook for event details. 

NB Go to the event's website or Facebook for more information including where to find the Zoom link for the individual online happening — it's a new link each time. The link will take you straight there and the host will click you in as soon as they get a chance. 

Check out the NZPS international poetry competition while you are in their website. Closing soon. 


Watching the lake changing Ripples Bird wing shapes Diamonds like leadlight window panes Now short dashes the lake hyphenating reeds and rocks on its foreshore I am directly opposite a tree on the far shore its multiple trunks silver smooth against the dark of the trees behind It's a surprise to me my eye usually drawn away by walkers following a different track The ducklings are thriving how they love water can’t wait to get back into it (May 15)

I am glad for disinfected shopping trolleys and petrol pumps wiped eftpos machines people not walking up your back in shopping malls men not standing shoulder to big shoulder blocking every path and view

Wednesday, May 06, 2020



If you missed the Cultivating Voices — Live Poetry Open Mic on Sunday May 3, the good news is that recordings of the featured poets are still on Facebook. Well worth a visit as it includes a number of Irish poets not only reading their own work but celebrating the late and great Eavan Boland. Just wonderful. 

More good news is there will be another Open Mike on May 10. Please visit Cultivating Voices’ Facebook page for times (BST — GREENWICH MEANTIME+1 — er no I don’t understand that from an Australian perspective yet) on the Thursday before. You’ll also find instructions there should you wish to sign up to read. In the meantime you are welcome to post on the FB page and be part of an ongoing dialogue. 

Hosts are Elizabeth Ann Yannone and Sandra Yannone whose debut collection Boats for Women is published by Salmon Poetry. I hope to be there one day. The growing  interconnectedness of poetry online in response to COVID-19 is heart warming and exciting. Great thanks to all those poets organizing live streams through FB, Zoom etc.

Sunday, May 03, 2020


LIVE STREAM VERSES Monday May 4 via Melbourne
Monday seems a popular night for readings. Live-Stream Verses: an MSW live-streamed open mic is on Monday, May 4 @ 6:00 pm and every fortnight, via Zoom. It is broadcast to Twitch TV @ Register here to perform: Melbourne Spoken Word says: MSW wants to bring the spoken word community in Melbourne together and bring them to the rest of the world during this period of self-isolation.

BUSBOYS & POETS Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday via Washington
Online open mic & poetry slams three times a week 8.00 pm-10.00 pm on Instagram thanks to Busboys & Poets. The focus is poetry but musicians, visual artists, comedians, readers & listeners from all walks of life welcome. Find them @busboysandpoets

Busboys & Poets is: a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide ... we believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world. The founder is Andy Shallal. A mural artist among many other things Andy has instigated Paint the Storefronts paying artists to add positive messages to the windows of shops closed due to COVID-19.