City of Stars

City of Stars

I was delighted today to attend the launch, and read a poem, from a new collection called City of Stars, an ‘anthology of love poems for Frankston’ edited by Avril Bradley.

The new collection is published by Gininderra Press and features poems from Garth Madsen (the unoffical poet laureate of Frankston), Jennifer Compton, Ann Simic, Glenn Harper and others.

I was fortunate enough to have three poems included in the collection: Beginnings, The Day it Snowed in Frankston and The Wedding Train, about the train journey on the Frankston line, loosely inspired by Philip Larkin.

I read the one about the day it might have actually snowed in Frankston, inspired by a story a student named Eloise told me a long time ago.

It was good to hear some of the poems being read aloud, and to get together to celebrate a place that seems an unlikely catalyst for poetry at times. In praise of place.

You might be able to get a copy of City of Stars from local bookshops like Robinsons.

Below from left: Avril Bradley (editor) launches the collection, Jennifer Compton, Garth Madsen.

Avril Bradley Jennifer Compton Garth Madsen

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Poems about Frankston

Frankston can get some bad press at times. Like many regional centres, especially at the end of the railway line, it has its share of problems: youth unemployment, drugs, crime and all that comes out of that.

But there’s another side of Frankston too; it was once a sleepy seaside holiday town, with a long, sandy beach and a meandering creek wandering by the shoreline. You can even read a passionate defence by the Mayor of Frankston HERE

I grew up in Frankston and though I haven’t written about it a lot, just a few poems now and then, it’s part of who I am. In my writing, my interests have moved further south, to Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay particularly.

But I was delighted to be asked to contribute to a forthcoming anthology of poems about Frankston and I can’t wait to see how other writers have responded to this place. I think I’ll have a couple of poems in the collection including, The Day it Snowed in Frankston. More details when I know more about a launch date.

Taking Flight

 

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I got home last night to find two copies of the new anthology Taking Flight on my desk. Edited by Janette Fernando, this is a new collection of poetry from various writers held together by the theme of ‘taking flight’, some more literal than others! My two poems in the collection, Swallow and Flying Over Europe are inspired by the literal idea of flight but other poems in the collection have titles like Flight of Fancy, Climbing, Pilgrim etc. Many of them are faith-based in some way.

Good timing, since I’d just flown in from Malaysia where I’d been at a conference and was still gently swaying to and fro from the eight hour flight. I don’t like much about flying (the queues, the x-rays, the lack of leg room!) but I never tire of looking out the window when you happen on a clear day and a window seat. I took the shot below with my iPad.

Taking Flight is published by Poetica Christi Press Oh, and I’m taking flight again, to Vietnam on Friday, which I’m pretty excited about.

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Taking Flight

island birds

 

I’ve always been fascinated with birds and flying and planes and have never ever got complacent about sitting in an aeroplane and seeing the world below spread out like a hand-made quilt. I mean, what would Leonard da Vinci have given to have that view? So, of course that interest has flowed into my writing and I’ve written about birds and flight quite a bit, and am even planning a mini-collection of my own on that theme, probably in iBook format.

So,  given that interest, I was pleased to have a couple of poems accepted into a new collection called Taking Flight, published by Poetica Christi Press. The new collection is just what I was describing, a book of poems about flight and flying and I’m looking forward to seeing my two submissions: Swallow and Flying Over Europe in there, and in hearing what other writers have to say about the airy world. The collection is edited by Janette Fernando and launches towards the end of March.

resized taking flight book cover photo 7th feb 2013

 

Top photo: Island birds by Warrick
Bottom: Taking Flight Poems

The joy of paper

Image

I’m pretty much as digital as the next person but it’s one thing seeing an emailed picture of the new ‘Best Australian Poems’ and quite another seeing a couple of hard copies right there in the letter box in real life so to speak.

Two copies arrived this week and I love the reverse alphabetical order of authors that John Tranter has adopted this year. Well I would wouldn’t I! In the introduction he talks about the urge to the ‘narrative’ that he’s seen in this year’s selection.

I like the cover, and I like the company I’m in: Alan Wearne, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Mark Tredinnick, Les Murray, Jennifer Maiden, Geoff Goodfellow, Katherine Gallagher, Sarah Day, Bruce Dawe and many more. I recommend this as the ultimate ‘stocking-filler’ for grown-ups.

Best Australian Writing 2013

I was delighted to hear recently that a poem of mine called ‘Hands’ has been selected for inclusion in Best Australian Poems 2013, published by BlackInc. John Tranter is editing this year’s collection and writes on the BlackInc website:

‘I was struck … by just how many poems depended on the ancient devices of the storyteller … Many have a lyrical or meditative feel, but most have a story to tell, captured in a brief glimpse of the meaning of life, or a dramatic climax.’—

I’m really pleased because the annual BlackInc collections are so impressive; they do an annual one on poems, essays and stories. Long-time readers of this blog will know I was featured last year too.

You can read more, and look at lists of all the contributors here: http://bestaustralianwriting.com.au The books will be available in hard-copy and digital form from November 5th and make fantastic Christmas presents!