Monday, August 27, 2007

Degrees of Insanity

The Writing and Society Research Group
at the University of Western Sydney presents

James Ley (essayist, critic, and UWS postgrad)
on "A degree of insanity: Samuel Johnson's moral criticism and the
biographical essay."

Friday 31 August

University of Western Sydney, Bankstown campus
Building 23, conference room 2
(via the Henry Lawson Drive exit of the M5)

James Ley is an essayist and critic whose work has appeared in numerous
publications, including The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian
Book Review, HEAT, The Australian Literary Review and the Times Literary

All welcome.


Saturday, August 11, 2007



'… the only thing we have to fear is fear itself –
nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses…'
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

'I would like to see an Australian nation that feels comfortable and relaxed...'
- Prime Minister John Howard, 1996

rob's latest chapbook phobiaphobia is a collection on the theme of fear and anxiety. As well as favourites from his previous books sparrow in an airport (from Friendly Street's New Poets Ten) and micromacro, there are new poems on the fear of glass, knees, long words, the figure 8, death, the USA and all the other anxieties that go hand-in-hand with life in the 21st Century...



For a personally signed copy to anywhere in Australia within 7 days, send A$6.50 cheque or money order to

rob walker
RMB 481 Cherry Gardens Rd
SA 5157


Sorry- personally signed copies not available to overseas readers. Ask Rob Riel for postage rates outside of Australia. email:

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Since I launched this blog in October of 2005 I have frequently eyed off that "next blog" button at the top of the page, but for some reason never got around to clicking it until today. It is always a good idea to check out your neighbours. Mine one blog up happens to be a young kid from Singapore, I think, with an interest in photography, violent weather systems and himself. He seems harmless enough, a little nerdy, perhaps, but then I run a poetry blog. The guy after that seems to be obsessed with motorcars and tits and not much else. One of those places where a bogus "your computer may be infected!!" sign pops up the instant you happen on it. He seems to have managed to remove his "next blog" button, the guy at the end of the street with the two rottweilers and the ten foot fence emblazoned with "my home is my shooting gallery".

All you happy bloggers out there should try the same thing. As I say, it's always good to know who your neighbours are, and it may help give you some idea what the decade's grand pariah, Andrew Keen, is really on about (beyond sour grapes and that odd English petulance borne of the class system and the weather masking itself with intellectual airs and graces).

He really is an antsy little so and so, but does he have a point about this blogger world of ours with its lack of checks and balances, of editorial protocol and the self-censorship of the market? Before answering, I refer you to my previous post headed "The Chains Tighten".

The Chains Tighten

As though further proof were needed as to the parlous state of our local publishing industry, tucked away on page 3 of the SMH yesterday was a report that Angus&Robertson, who control 20% of the local market, has written to a host of small publishers and distributors (such as Giramondo and Black Inc.) demanding an upfront payment of anywhere between $2500 and $20000 by August 17 or they will "have no option but to remove you from our list of authorised suppliers." Needless to say the targetted companies do not have this sort of money, but nor can they afford to be denied access to A&R's 182 bookstores. This is truly a red letter day for Australian publishing.

As a writer with a small but loyal following, I can attest to the great spirit that abounds out there among independent booksellers. Over the years stores such as Better Read than Dead and Gleebooks, not to mention the saintly Kris Hemmensley of Collected Works in Melbourne, have been tireless in their support of writers such as myself. I feel for them right now as they continue to battle against the enormous cut-price chains and can only suggest to all you book lovers out there to walk into your local independent bookstore today and not only voice your disgust for the corporate bullies but maybe even BUY A BOOK! Without the independents, publishers like Black Inc. and Giramondo will probably be faced with extinction, and that would be a tragedy of collosal proportions for not only Australian letters but for any prospect of an informed and reasoning polis. But please, something else besides Harry Potter. Contrary to popular belief, Potter-mania is actually driving up the corporate obsession with margins, not filtering the money down to the grass roots.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Poetry Without Borders

Poetry Without Borders

National Poetry Week Event
Sunday 2 September

Be part of a poetry reading with Chris Wallace Crabbe, Ouyang Yu, Judith Beveridge and Boey Kim Cheng

Poetry Without Borders reading celebrates our cultural diversity during

National Poetry Week. The proposed date will be 2/9/07 at 1.30 for 2pm and the venue will be Customs House Library.

If you feel inspired by this theme send us your expressions of interest.

We are looking for another 5 poets or so to complete the line-up.

Submit 3-5 poems with a short bio to the Poets Union, PO Box 91 Balmain NSW 2041 or email to by August 10

Please include all contact details including your email address.

This event is sponsored by

Poets Union Inc. Mascara Poetry Zine

A new monthly poetry gig in Sydney!!!!

Jack Peck has started up WordinHand at The Friend in Hand.

Should be a fun night so bring your friends along and nibble some new words...

WordinHand at The Friend in Hand
58 Cowper St Glebe 9960 2326 $5 Donation
Tuesday August 7 - 7:30 for 8:00 pm

This month WordinHand is delighted to feature two of Sydney's foremost Spoken Word performers...

Tom Jack of Hearts and Bravo Child
Thomas and Bravo have an international reputation for lyrical, rhythmic and wincingly beautiful performance poetry and storytelling.
Working in a tandem set, Tom and Bravo combine their creative strengths to deliver new delights! Plus, a Mystery Guest!

Open Mike

Have you written something and want it out there?
This month and most months from now on, WordinHand has several opportunities for new work to be presented.
Signup at the door.
Supportive environment for new as well as experienced poets.


The evening closes with a high-energy SLAM, led by Tom Jack of Hearts.
Audience participation (and how!)
Signup at the door.
First Prize: Bottle of wine PLUS a 5 minute set of your own next month! Second Prize: $20.

You are cordially invited to the launch of

Uncommon Light

By Brook Emery

To be launched by Martin Langford


Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe


Saturday 11 August, 2.30 for 3 pm

All Welcome Refreshments provided

Island Press PO Box 1015 Carlton 3053 Email: or phone 03 8344 8713


Saturdays 18 and 25 August, 10am - 4pm NSW Writers’ Centre, Rozelle
NSWWC Members $132, Members' Concession $110, Non-Members $198. GST inclusive. Bring multiple copies of three poems, writing materials and lunch. Morning and afternoon tea are provided.

Of past such workshops given by Poets Union member Les Wicks, participants have commented:
Exceptional, supporting yet challenging, showing (and earning) respect, a privilege to attend this leader’s workshop;
As advertised ­ now ­ threatening, now encouraging but with a great deal of experience and insight ­ which he shared generously; There was also a really good mix of participants ­
serendipity but fabulous; contributed very generously ­ great value for money;
I got more from two days with Les’ workshop than I did over a postgraduate year at university

LES WICKS is widely published both in Australia and overseas, an accessible poet with seven collections to his name. He's been involved in dozens of editing projects over his 30 years as a writer and has done his popular workshops from Hobart to Byron Bay to Broken Hill.

Enquiries ring 9555 9757