2019 has, so far, been all work, no
play poetry. Simply not enough hours in each day to write the way I’d like to. Sighhhhhhhhhh. Still, there has been some movement out ‘there’ in the poetry world … I’m pleased to have a poem — ‘Iris’ — coming out in the next issue of Antipodes, ‘Channelling a wabi sabi world view, for you’ coming out in Meniscus, and have a poem called ‘One Doll Less’ in Issue 4 of the stunning Not Very Quiet addressing the theme of ‘performing gender’. It recalls a vivid memory from childhood. Thanks to Sandra Renew, Moya Pacey and K.A Nelson, the editors of this issue, and I’m sure, like me, you’ll enjoy reading thought-provoking poems by the other contributors.
It seems to be the season for anthologies — a poem from a few years back — Mid Life Crisis — was selected for Forty Voices Strong: An Anthology of Contemporary Scottish Poetry, published by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and edited by Patrick Moran. While I no longer live in Scotland (and haven’t for quite a while!) I publish there when I can, and it’s an honour to be represented in this selection of poems. I continue to send poems to Scottish magazines (my favourite is The Poets’ Republic) and the ongoing Scottish poetry friendships mean a lot.
I’m also very happy to have a poem coming out in a new anthology from the Frogmore Press. This poem is called ‘Blue Door’ and the anthology is Pale Fire: New Writings on the Moon, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first manned (sic!) moon landing. The anthology is edited by Alexandra Loske, also an art historian, who has researched the art, science and culture of the moon in a previous publication (with astronomer Robert Massey) and has another forthcoming publication titled Colour: A Visual History which I can’t wait to get my hands on.
Last night, I read poems at Smallroom — Griffith University Gold Coast’s creative writing and performance meet. The theme really resonated with me — dream/reality. I was one of two guest readers, and it was a pleasure to share the guest spot with Rachel S. Morgan – award winning Australian screen writer and creative writer who read this fantastic blend of sci fi and memoir. Loved it! It was huge fun to be in the thick of the vibrant writing community I work in and among familiar faces — many of the open mic student readings were excellent. Thanks for the invitation to read, Sally Breen.
One of the poems I read was ‘If I Hadn’t’, which was first published in my chapbook Milky Way of Words:
If I Hadn’t
If I hadn’t worked in a bookshop
I wouldn’t have been wearing
the Jack Kerouac shirt
at the hotel tennis courts
and the man in dark glasses
wouldn’t have asked me a question
that led to a love affair
where I became suspicious
of the beauty of camellias
and learnt that there would be
no reward for learning to cook moussaka
but that pain grows poems
and gold doesn’t float.
I’ve sometimes wished since
that I’d worked in a petrol station.
The other major major MAJOR highlight of the last week was emceeing the launch of a retrospective exhibition of my father’s watercolour paintings — Lex Frank: A Retrospective — in my home town of Maryborough. It was a joy to be with family, close friends and artists Dad knew and spent time with. I’m tremendously proud of all he achieved. Dad’s sister Rosslyn McCarthy officially launched the exhibition — 130 works dating as far back as his teenage years.
There’s sure to be a poem somewhere in all of that!