31 March 2004

How many Tasmanian publishers ...

Q. How many Tasmanian publishers are there?
A. 11 ... 12?
  • Bandicoot Books
  • BumbleBee Books
  • Blubberhead Press
  • Cornford Press
  • Cornhill Press
  • Esperance Press in Dover
  • Montpelier Press
  • Pardalote Press
  • Red Hill Books
  • Regal Press
  • Roaring Forties Press
  • Walleah Press
(More if one takes into account magazines such as
  • Island
  • Famous Reporter
  • 40 degrees South and if you look online,
  • The Write Stuff.

These presses all seem to me to have very different aims in life. Most are managed by writers (poets: Tim Thorne, Edith Speers, Lyn Reeves, Anne Kellas; prose writers: David Owen, the Ishams, Robert Cox, Sheila Allison). If you go back in time, there was Twelve Trees Publishing (poet Andrew Sant) -- a two-volume book on the small press publishing industry in Australia by Michael Denholm published in the early 80s (?) could shed more light on the matter than I can.

It's probably a natural development to have this flourishing if there are indeed so many creative people living here -- this island is alleged to have more writers per capita than any other Australian State or Territory. "Maybe it's the water." Mabye it's the writerly equivalent of our natural forest -- let's not take that analogy further! But the really interesting thing is definitely that it is the writers who drive these presses.

These presses are valuable to the writing community here because without them, so many writers here would not be in print. In this way, the presses provide tremendous support for our writers, often at a sacrificial cost to their writer-owners.

NB: The need for a sustainable model for distribution and electronic sales for these presses has been a hot issue which Lyn Reeves and I have discussed and worked on for a large number hours last year. We developed a plan for a shared portal for sales but our words have apparently fallen on deaf ears ... at an Arts Tasmania meeting last year (to which I was not invited) Lyn aired the work we had done, and a document describing our work on the idea was sent to Arts Tas in response to their request for attendees at that meeting to put ideas to them. There has been no response and as far as I know, it would seem our words and that document have fallen on stony ground or into a very large black hole and the weeds and tares of life have overtaken them - everyone's too busy to think, listen.

In Tasmania, that is. Elsewhere, our model has been of interest and value. Why not here?

The Write Stuff competitions: entry forms

Entry forms for The Write Stuff 2004 competitions can now be downloaded from the Write Stuff web site as a WORD rtf document. Copies of the entry form are on the current issue of the Republic Readings broadsheet, and are also available at the Tasmanian Writers Centre and bookshops.

29 March 2004

Haiku Submissions to Famous Reporter: by 30 April

The closing date for haiku submissions to the next Famous Reporter is 30th April as the editor has a busy schedule ahead in May/June. The expected release of the next issue is 29 July with another launch in Melbourne on 29th August. Please read the guidelines for haiku submissions on the Famous Reporter website, at: http://www.famousreporter.the-write-stuff.com.au/haiku.html

28 March 2004

Pardalote Press MEDIA RELEASE: The Poetry of Ancient China

The Poetry of Ancient China

A live reading of poetry from the Tang Dynasty will take place at the Art Gallery of NSW on Wednesday 28th April at 5.30 pm to coincide with the 'Fantastic Mountains' exhibition of Chinese landscape paintings from the Shanghai Museum.

The poems - a selection from the recently published Singing of Scented Grass will be introduced and read in English by translator Ian Johnston, with readings from the original Chinese by Wang Ping (lecturer in Chinese literature at the University of NSW) against the richly evocative backdrop of landscape paintings on show in the new Asian Galleries from March 12 to May 9.

Retired neurosurgeon, Ian Johnston, lives on Bruny Island where he pursues his passion for translating verses from ancient China so they can be enjoyed by today's readers. The poems were first performed at the Ten Days on the Island Arts Festival in Tasmania where audiences were entranced by their beauty, simplicity and enduring power. Pardalote Press is pleased to present the poems, whose lasting relevance bridges the centuries, in the collection Singing of Scented Grass: Verses from the Chinese.

The three poets, Wang Wei, Bai Juyi and Li Shangyin lived during the greatest cultural flowering in Chinese history. The political upheavals during their lives led each of them to turn to the contemplative life and the solace of Buddhism, a philosophy that is strongly present in their verses. The poems, most of which are accompanied by the Chinese text, are illustrated by the Chan school of painting, The Forest of Brushes, also from Bruny Island. The book includes a small selection of Johnston's own poems, responses to his readings and translations of the Analects.

Mabel Lee, Associate Professor of Asian Studies at University of Sydney and translator of the Nobel Prize-winning Soul Mountain, says of this collection:

'Singing of Scented Grass is a unique selection of Tang poetry by Wang Wei, Bai Juyi and Li Shangyin, followed by the translator's own poems that interrogate the Confucian ideal of aspiring to high political office. These elegant translations from the Chinese testify to the depth of Johnston's engagement with these Tang masters: Singing of Scented Grass is his journey to poetry.'

Singing of Scented Grass: verses from the Chinese is the fifth publication from Pardalote Press, which has been commended for its foresight in producing its previous books. This collection continues Pardalote's vision for making available work of the highest quality and excellent design. Books will be available for signing and purchase following the reading at the AGNSW bookshop. This event and entry to exhibition are free of charge. All welcome.
Media enquiries / Further information please contact Imogen Yang on 0415 102 984.

About Ian Johnston

Ian Johnston was born at Collaroy, NSW, in 1939. He completed his schooling in London, and went on to study medicine at St Andrews University. After postgraduate training in neurosurgery in Britain, North America and Australia, he was appointed to two of the major Sydney University teaching hospitals (Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital) where he remained until early retirement from clinical work in 1999. At that time he was Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at Sydney University. In 2000 he received the AM for his medical work, particularly in the area of research into aspects of paediatric neurosurgery.

Ian's interest in Chinese literature began during his first undergraduate year and became a life-long passion. Throughout his medical career, Ian studied literature and philosophy, completing a BA Hons in Chinese at Sydney University and a PhD in Chinese. His honours dissertation addressed aspects of Wang Wei's poetry, and his PhD thesis, the writings of the early Qing philosopher, Gu Yanwu. He now has PhDs in Mandarin and Classical Greek and degrees in Latin and Philosophy.

In 2001 his translations were performed at Moorilla Museum during'Ten Days on the Island'. They have been presented on ABC Radio's 'Arts Today' and featured on ABC television. He also appeared on ABC's 'Compass'.

From the solitude of Cloudy Bay on Bruny Island, Tasmania, Dr. Johnston pursues his passion for ancient Chinese and Greek literature, spending his days and nights translating the works of ancient Chinese philosophers and poets as well as Greek medical texts from the 2nd century AD. Ian says, 'Despite the great gulf in time and culture I find a resonance in the writings of these poets, especially Wang Wei; the feeling of increasing disaffection with public life and sadness at the 'strange mutations' of the world, leading to the wish to spend my life in relative solitude, immersed in the beauties of nature, the writing of verse, and the study of Zen Buddhism'.

Source: Pardalote Press 26 March 2004.

26 March 2004

On Poetica this week:

27/03/2004: A feature on the poetry of the cosmos including classical works as well as poems by contemporary Australian writers. Based on an idea by Robert Kennedy, the program grew out of a project called “A Poetic Journey Into the Cosmos”, a series of readings held last year at the Sydney Observatory.

25 March 2004

Intrepid Tuffin: Award for fierce commitment to getting the news ...

Linday Tuffin, intrepid journo behind the online newspaper, The Tasmanian Times, has been awarded this year's Keith Welsh Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism. Belated congrats, Lindsay!

Lindsay received a Peer Nomination for the Keith Welsh Award for his creation of the Tasmanian Times website. The Peer nomination said: “Since its first issue in October 2002, tasmaniantimes.com has tackled significant issues including forestry, gambling, refugees, war and more - aiming to fill in the gaps left by the general media. The e-newspaper has also spurred the general media to follow its lead on a number of stories, be they news or features. It has become a source of information for journalists - and those in powerful positions. It has also become a source of inspiration for journalists'.

The Award is given "…in recognition of contribution and commitment to Tasmanian Journalism, and of consistently good journalism, achievement and outstanding leadership demonstrated throughout the year in any medium".

The judges of the Award consider factors including: "…journalistic excellence, courage and creativity as well as the entrant’s contribution to the promotion of the professional interests of journalists within the industry and in the broader community".

In making the Keith Welsh Award to Lindsay Tuffin, the judges stated that:
"Lindsay has made an outstanding contribution to Tasmanian journalism over many years - most recently as editor of the Sunday Tasmanian and sub-editor at The Mercury. He is renowned among his colleagues for his fierce commitment to “getting the news”, “telling the story” and giving people “a good read” and for his encouragement and support for younger colleagues.


The premier of the latest EHOS creative works is on this Sunday at 2 pm at the Carnegie Gallery.

Australia Council advisor in Hobart on 5 April 2004

For those intending to submit a grant application this year to the Australia Council, the Tas. Writers Centre is coordinating times for meetings with the visiting Australia Council advisor (Jill Jones) Monday 5 April 2004. (You need to contact Joe Bugden at the TWC to arrange a time. Ph (03) 6224 0029.

The Rise of the Creative Class

Book Talk -- Radio National Saturday 27 March, 1pm
The Rise of the Creative Class
" Richard Florida is an economist who's anything but a rationalist. He believes that creativity holds the key to economic growth and urban regeneration in the 21st century. His book 'The Rise of the Creative Class' was a best-seller in the USA, and it's recently been released in Australia.
Repeated Thursday 1 April, 2.30pm

19 March 2004

Coming up on Poetica: David Malouf

POETICA 20/03/2004
David Malouf's first publications were books of poems and, though now mostly known as a novelist, he has never stopped writing poetry: ABC site says:

" David Malouf's first publications were books of poems and, though now mostly known as a novelist, he has never stopped writing poetry. In this program, Malouf talks about his inspirations - language, landscape, love and childhood - and our need to fill the silence. He explains his vision of Australia, a continent not yet shaped by man, and his fascination with the underside of things.

" David Malouf was born in 1934 in Brisbane and, after two extended stays mainly in Italy, now lives in Sydney. His first book of poems, Bicycle and Other Poems, was published by UQP in 1970 and most of his poetry can be found in David Malouf - Poems 1959 - 1989, also brought out by UQP. His most recent poems are published in the literary Magazine HEAT."

17 March 2004

Call for contributions
Cardigan Press is compiling an anthology of short stories by up-and-coming writers, to be published in August 2004. Please read the guidelines carefully to ensure your contribution is considered.
Closing date: 16th April 2004.

15 March 2004

North of the Latte Line, cited in Cordite Poetry Review

"Reading lit-crit blogs like Maud Newton, North of the Latte Line, , TMFTML and Bookslut might put editors in touch with the concept of the hungry online reader who's willing to shell out for good hard copy, where ever it's published worldwide. All they want is a little taste, man."
[ Anna Hedigan surveys "Australian journals on the web", in a recent issue of Cordite Poetry Review]

The Mountain Festival

I wonder if in my homeland they have The Minedump Festival.

Anyway, The Mountain Festival is on again, in case you have been living on Mars and had not noticed the beautiful posters adorning fashionable and literary venues around town. Personally I don't know the venues or times of the poetry readings, perhaps Lyn will post something here about them.

So clamber up the mountain tops and support ye poets!


"Reports that say something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns: there are things we know we know," ... "We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know ... " (US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld at a press briefing.)

Well I don't know. Maybe as Douglas Adams says in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "the answer is 42".

Ah well, "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish": I will not be posting here for a while as I am polishing The Write Stuff web site and adding some more poets who have been very patiently waiting a rather long time for their work to go online.

In the meantime, thanks to Ivy and Lyn for posting news to this site.

13 March 2004

Forestry rally / protest

There is about an hour to go to make your way into Hobart to join the rally to protest at the rape of Tasmanian forests. I hope lots of poets will show up!

An excellent article 'The Rape of Tasmania" by Richard Flanagan, appears in #73 of The Greens magazine, Green

On a personal note: my mother grew up in a beautiful forested area of the Eastern Transvaal; its forests were felled for pine plantations; it is now a devastated wasteland. This is real, this is urgent, and we should at the very least plant trees on our own land -- "If every landowner planted one tenth of his land in trees ..." Pay your tithe to the earth.

11 March 2004

MicroFiction Project: Express Media and Next Wave Festival
closing date 1 April 2004

Look up and see your text in lights.

Voiceworks magazine's Microfiction project for the 2004 Next Wave Festival takes fiction off the page and places it on public screens at ACMI and around the Melbourne CBD from 18 to 30 May 2004.

They're looking for extremely short stories by young Australian writers to splice into the regular programming on teletype tickers and LCD screens, infusing public spaces with a little fiction energy.

The project encourages young writers to experiment with narratives constrained by a limit of 25 words and takes their art to a broad audience. They're accepting up to 10 pieces of writing of 25 words each from people under 30 years old. The guidelines are attached, email if you need more info.

Email: editor AT expressmedia DOT org DOT au

[via Going Down Swinging's news page]
vibewire.net Poet in Residence: two more residential positions available
The Poet in residence project is still accepting submissions.

They have two more residential positions available. The position pays a stipend of $160 to one Australian poet under the age of 30 each month for the provision of 6 poems.

The vibewire.net Poet in Residence project is proudly supported by the Australia Council’s write in your face grant scheme.

Australian poets profiled thus far by the project include: Mandy Beaumont, Johanna Featherstone, Eytan Messiah, Bonny Cassidy, Debra Shulkes, Nick Powell and James Stuart [plus Ivy Alvarez!].

All of their work is available online and can be found by using the site's search function.

famous reporter's web site has moved

famous reporter's now got a more stable web site: please change your bookmarks to: http://www.famousreporter.the-write-stuff.com.au/

Roaring Forties Press -- no longer vaporware

For the past few years, Roaring Forties Press has been involved in web projects on a small scale, but now, thanks to the kindness of a benefactor, it is moving to the real world. The vision is to publish material of high quality from lands touched by the Roaring Forties trade winds (with a bit of poetic licence ...) Most of the authors published will be of one kind of diaspora or another. Watch this space for news.

8 March 2004

Literary news
  • Pedro Pietri, co-founder of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, dies aged 59 [link]
  • Dorothy Porter wins with her Wild Surmise [link]
  • A poem tattoed [link]

1 March 2004

Jan Bostok interviews Lyn Reeves for Stylus

The latest issue of the online magazine Stylus features an interview with Lyn Reeves by Janice M. Bostok on haiku and haiku-related forms and on small press publishing. (see: http://www.styluspoetryjournal.com/main/master.asp?id=395

Stylus is currently accepting submissions.

The Haiku Oz website has moved and can now be found at http://www.haikuoz.org

Short story competitions to enter in 2019

Thanks to the Australian Writers Centre, here's a list of s hort story competitions to enter in 2019: https://www.writerscentre.com.au/...