Falling for it in 1993

The small poetry collection Us, Falling for It, that I’ve mentioned here before is now online and available in Kindle format from my Amazon author page HERE

In 1993, I took long service leave from teaching and headed overseas for the first time, with my wife and two small daughters. We planned a trip through some of Greece, Italy, France, England and Ireland.

During the trip I kept notes for poems that were later assembled in a small collection for close friends and family. That self-published chapbook, completed at the end of the journey, is published here more widely for the first time.

Why publish now a self-published chapbook thirty years old that was ‘published’ in an edition of twelve copies? After all, as I wrote at the time in the introduction: ‘This booklet is not meant to stand the withering scrutiny or critical judgements of strangers’. As a young teacher and writer trying to establish my voice as a poet, I lacked the confidence to look further than family and friends. However, I’m less concerned now about ‘withering scrutiny’ and see things here that others might enjoy.

What I liked about the collection, looking at it again after all these years, besides the memories of a wonderful journey as a family, was the wide-eyed innocence at it all. I knew at the time that I’d been seduced by these first impressions; it’s implicit in the title ‘us falling for it’, but at the same time those first impressions were real, vivid and lasting.  I was more than willing to be taken in. It felt like these impressions could be shared more widely.

The collection is $5AUD on the Kindle store. I hope that readers enjoy it. I’m heading back to Europe in a new few weeks for the first time since 2018. I hope that I still have the ability to fall in love with it all again, and some new poems come of it.

My 2022 Books of the Year

My book of the year for 2022 is Orwell’s Roses by Rececca Solnit.

I’ve enjoyed Rebecca Solnit’s work for a while, particularly her earlier book Wanderlust. I think this is even better, a series of essays and a meditation and exploration of gardens, life, death, Orwell, creativity, time and place.

Read the Guardian Review HERE

I also read, and was amazed by, Gravity’s Rainbow, so inaccessible and wonderful, and so different to the breezy prose of Anne Tyler in French Braid. Her insights into family and time have always struck me as true somehow. It was also good to enjoy a new book of poetry again. Kasey Jued’s book has been well reviewed and deservedly so. Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger was unlucky not to make the list; that was a compelling and at times exasperating read.

As always you can check the READING link of my PoetryPages to see more about my reading over the years and what I’ve enjoyed.

Text version (to paste into your shopping app of choice!

Rebecca Solnit. Orwell’s Roses (NF)
Thomas Pynchon. Gravity’s Rainbow (F)
Karl Ove Knausgaard: Morning Star (F)
Anne Tyler. French Braid (F)
Kasey Jueds. The Thicket (P)

The Other World

I am happy to announce that my ‘new and selected’ poems, The Other World is now available as a Kindle book or as paperback via Amazon.

As I mentioned here in a recent post, this has been a long process of re-reading and selecting from my three previously published collections and adding some new poems as well to the mix.

I was conscious that my three previous collections are long out of print and limited copies are only available directly from me, something that some readers aren’t always comfortable with. I wanted the poems to be accessible again. As much as I admire the extra layer of editing and professional quality control that a external publisher can bring (see Brook Emery’s recent Sea Scale) I wanted to have control of the project and didn’t want to get into a lengthy submission process, so I made the decision to publish this collection myself Any errors here are all mine!

The paperback edition is 90 pages and both the hard copy and ebook versions are available HERE from Amazon. It’s a nice feeling to have this selection out at last and I’m looking forward to hearing what readers think. I’m also looking forward to getting stuck into some new poetry projects over the rest of this year.

Planning for a Selected Poems

I’ve spent some time over the past few months planning a ‘selected poems’ based on poems from my three published collections and some new work. The idea is to collect together the ‘best’ poems from those original books and make them accessible in a new format. This will be something I’ll publish myself and make available in a Kindle edition and a paperback.

The process began with a look back at the original collections and choosing the poems from them that resonated most with me now. It’s a challenging thing to do at times, especially given that my first book was published thirty years ago, in 1992. They are different poems to what I’m writing now and I’ve resisted the impulse to re-do them as I work through them, and have left them in their original state.

Some of the work has involved actually typing up the poems from the hard cover book version; in some cases the poems have not been digitalised at all or were originally in some early computer format, perhaps on an Apple II, that has long since disappeared. The book will also include some ‘new’ work published since the third collection.

The cover will incorporate an image of Atlantis from an early edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (edition unknown, if any Jules Verne fans could shed any light on what edition it was, I’d appreciate it). It’s an image I’ve had framed in my study for many years. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of Atlantis and considered using the image for my first book Lost Things & Other Poems. In some ways, Atlantis is the original lost thing. It also connects nicely with the title I’ve been working on: The Other World: New and Selected Poems

I’m looking forward to finalising the project by the end of this month and will announce details here then.


Sea Scale

It was nice to hear about the release of a new and selected volume from Australian poet Brook Emery, launched recently in Glebe, NSW, available now from the poetry section of the Puncher and Wattman site. When I had a look recently I was surprised and impressed with the range of Australian poetry they’re publishing currently.

With a particular focus on memory and the sea, this new book brings together new poems and selections from his five previous volumes; themes that particularly appeal to me.

I’ve been reading and enjoying Brook’s work for a long time now (proof here with my post about attending his 2012 launch of ‘Collusion’, way back in 2012!), so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of this significant release.

Some Gwen Harwood Editions

After reading and writing again about Gwen Harwood recently, I thought I’d post some images from some of the editions of her work I have. Wikipedia lists the following for Harwood and I have most of them.

  • Poems (1963)
  • Poems Volume Two (1968)
  • The Lion’s Bride (1981)
  • Bone Scan (1988)
  • The Present Tense (1995)
  • Gwen Harwood : Collected Poems, 1943–1995 (2003)

The prize of my collection, probably, is my copy of the first book Poems. It’s missing the dust-jacket it originally would have had, and is a bit of a battered old library copy, but I’m happy to have a first edition of the first book of this important poet.

The next I have is The Lion’s Bride, which is a wonderful collection. My copy is a bit battered and faded, and copiously underlined.

Bone Scan (1988) is another wonderful collection which won several prizes.

I’ve got a couple of copies of the Selected Poems and they are falling apart a bit as was the tendency of the early A&R poetry editions. I bought one to a Gwen Harwood reading and she kindly signed it for me. Unfortunately, in the busy room, she mis-heard and signed it for Warren, not Warrick! Nevertheless, I cherish that one too.

My copy is underlined throughout and heavily annotated as it was the basis for my minor thesis on Harwood. That makes it less valuable for anyone else, but more valuable for me.

The two most recent ‘selections’ are still in print now. Harwood (along with Les Murray) would be one of the few Australian poets to be continually in print since her first book in 1963.

Poems (Volume 2) 1968, her second collection, is the important missing one I’d most like to find at some stage. You rarely see copies in second hand shops and I’ve seen one or two online at $150USD os so. Perhaps one day!

Looking back at her body of work, iIt’s hard to believe now that she published no books between Poems (Volume 2) (1968) and The Lion’s Bride, (1981), so no books at all during the 70s, when I think her voice would really have resonated with the times, particularly the feminist poems that seem so much in tune with the changes in Australia at that time.