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Visual Poetry

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The Magic Cat [click to continue…]

Francis Thompson 1859-1907
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The Poetry Object encourages young writers and their teachers submit poems and photographs about objects that are special to them. [click to continue…]

A kennings poem for Bellevue Hill Public School

Rusted whales
beached in the Bay of Bengal.
Ribs dismantled, returned
to metalled mud.

Ships splinter,
brittle as bone.
No time to
carve tombstones
in sand.

Blueprints don’t detail
these distances or depths,
boys hide and seek
in hulls.

Debris blazes on
scrapyard shores. Fractured shifts
of salvaged sleep,
dreams set adrift with

tomorrow’s satellites.
Below, there is a broken city,
the ocean can’t recall
all it has kept.

Tamryn Bennett is an Australian writer and visual artist currently living in Mexico. Since 2004 she has exhibited artists books (Showers and Clearing and Polaroids and Postcards) illustrations and comics in Sydney, Melbourne and Mexico. Her poetry, illustrations and articles have appeared in Five Bells, Nth Degree, Mascara Literary Review and various academic publications. She has a PhD in ‘Comics Poetry’ from The University of New South Wales and when in Sydney was Art & Publications Director for The Red Room Company. tamrynbennett.com

The Ventriloquist’s Lament

Let me tell you:

in strangers’ houses
all roads lead to rooms
mirrors turn a blind eye

to undone hair and buttons
the swoop of lambent moths
and other accidental creatures

kitchen tables float like coral
pomegranates stain your
hands blood red for days

space is reserved for

long eyes and afternoons
glancing in windowsills

every day a new photograph
in the thraldom of debt
I grew out of all that dust.

Lindsay Tuggle grew up in Alabama, Kentucky, and Kansas. She moved to Australia ten years ago, and now lives in Austinmer. She has written poetry for most of her life, though she only began writing for publication a few years ago. Lindsay is interested in the relationship between language and place, especially vanished or vanishing places: those that exist now only in the memories of the people who once lived there. Her poetry has been published in HEAT and as part of The Red Room Company’s Dust Poems and Unlocked projects. In 2009, her work was awarded second prize in the Val Vallis Award for Poetry.

Attempts to Get Oats Into this Poem
For Bishop Druitt College, 2012

It was no reflection on my fondness for you, the throwing of the sour milk.
The sound of the silver bucket spread out like a town at the beginning of a
Kurosawa. The milk was hula. The day: ultra marine. You stepped in the mood. Do you still follow bees? I found four in a tea pot …

On the cover of your book is an open locket and within it your relatives?
Cousins? Their faces are small but I can recognise your eyes. With what poems will you describe them this Christmas? Christmas like the name Tony
Tuckson. I guess I see spilled paint across the canvas like a pulled muscle.

We could get a towel, or sit in the sun? There’s a bus! And our reflection in it,
turning. It was my thought today that as poets we should eat good breakfasts.
You? Oats, sliced pear, pepitas, other seeds, natural yogurt.

Luke Beesley was born in Brisbane and is a poet, artist and musician, and has an M.Phil in Creative Writing from the University of Queensland. Luke’s first book of poetry, Lemon Shark, was highly commended in the Ann Elder Award. His second poetry collection, Balance, based on an Asialink Residency to India, will be published in 2012 by Whitmore Press, and his third collection, New Works on Paper, will be published by Giramondo Press in early 2013. He is presently working on an artists’ book of poems and drawings called Seed, which was researched with a Creative Fellowship from the State Library of Victoria. He has exhibited drawings in a number of group shows, and he had his first solo show, ‘Authors’, in 2011. Luke is the singer-songwriter for the band, ‘New Archer’, who play in Melbourne regularly and will release their debut ep in 2012. He lives in Northcote, Melbourne, with his partner – artist and designer, Zoe Miller – and their son, Ari.

Cranbrook, Mid-June
After Martin Harrison

The inarguable harbour proves the point
hit by the low winter sun, we squint
fishing for cutlery, facing the mirrors
in a high-ceilinged room.

We discuss pies and north coast water,
pale meat, dark gravy, Broken Head. Each beach
orchestrates a meeting of sand and water,
a certain mood or consistency, according to sandbars,
light, temperature, rock outcrop—and what to call
the way we gauge the feeling of surrounding water,
its pressures, its tastes and density on our faces,
in our thinking and remembering mouths, summing up this place
and the last, this place and the possible next.
The feeling of a wet face in the open air. These
summer memories persist in their fading.
I watch the unpainted, unphotographed scenes,
where two shadows stand in the shallows
hurling a ball back and forth for eternity. Knowing,
somehow, that they are creating the future with this custom.

It’s the kind of aspect that makes you check
every minute or so, thinking that it might have been a mirage.
That it might have ducked off or returned to its postcard.
In the east, winter deadens nothing of Sydney’s glamour.
The harbour is everywhere; distance in the foreground,
over there, but saturating your gaze no less than lack of sleep.
And something about the light these last few days,
ember-red mornings and evenings, penetrating, silvery mid-afternoons.

Scattered, identical bags, thoughtlessly dropped—
perhaps cars become supplements, parked in perfunctory locations,
fissured into oblivion by beelines, deadlines, getaways, routine. Life.

Strange to see such dedicated early morning activity,
such concern and seriousness in the minds of young men,
such mannered tentativeness and melancholy. I suppose
that’s the pain of adolescence, these adult sensibilities
crystallised in the foreign zones of youth. But it’s never a complete
or chronological change. We simply
become different children in a way, who discover deft, often clandestine techniques
for consulting that distant temperament
on matters of importance: like which treat to choose, or
whether to get up to something simply for the sake of it.
And perhaps we are never more adult
than in those dawning days when the contrast is most pronounced.
When the duties faced later still seem an impressive illusion:
avoidable, symbolic, inconsistent apparitions on the horizon,
to which we temporarily but never more believingly adhere.
At least that’s how it seems, walking amid the quiet activity
on the last day before winter break,
in the stunning, horizontal light, the panorama cut with mirrored surfaces,
sharp, dripping breaks in the outlook, nested coves and grand prospects;
such an unlikely atmosphere in which to reminisce, and yet…

Tom Lee is a Sydney based poet who is imminently submitting his doctoral thesis on the prose fiction of the late W. G. Sebald. He lives in Manly and returns often to the farm where he grew up in Central West NSW. His poetry and poetry criticism has featured in Overland Magazine, Southerly Journal, Blackbox Manifold, Steamer, whenpressed.net and The Reader. His poem ‘Plateau’ was commended in the 2008 Judith Wright Poetry Awards. A selection of his creative and critical work is viewable at tomfredlee.wordpress.com.

If you force the sea through a sieve
For Year 8, Frankston High School

If you force the sea
_____through a sieve

__________stand back. Oceans will run clear and thin.
__________You’ll grow bright over your dull catch –
__________eat like Neptune, then sleep

__________hardly feeling the neap and king
__________movements of your mind’s floor.
__________Light will pass,
__________and the sea things douse and drawl
__________through your dreams.

____________________At last their drip-
__________ping will seem to have sunk in silence.
__________Only then will you find yourself stir,
__________slowly ascend through the levels
__________to surface, hauled out
__________into blue avenues of spreading mass and murmur.

Papercuts Poet at Frankston High School VIC, 2011

Dr. Bonny Cassidy is a poet and writer based in Melbourne. In 2008 she undertook an Asialink/Malcolm Robertson Foundation literature fellowship in Japan, and she is currently the recipient of the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship for Poetry 2010-2011.  She was co-editor of The Salon Anthology of New Writing + Art 2005-2007 (Sydney: non-generic, 2007) and her first collection of poems, Said To Be Standing (Sydney: Vagabond Press) was released in 2010. A full collection, Certain Fathoms was released in 2012 by Puncher & Wattmann. In 2008 her first libretto, Wounding Song, was produced by the University of Wollongong, and she has recently completed an adaptation of Eve Langley’s The Pea-pickers for chamber opera, with composer Jeff Galea.  Bonny has taught Creative Writing, English and Australian Literature, and written on Australian poetry and poetics. She was President of Sydney PEN 2009-2011.

Papercuts is Australia’s only national poetry education program. Papercuts promotes the living practice of poetry through a series of workshops with contemporary Australian poets. Through Papercuts, students and educators in primary and secondary schools, correctional centres, community organisations, professional associations and universities, undertake workshops to develop their own poems, poetry collections and exhibitions.

Created by The Red Room Company in 2007, Papercuts is now programmed in over 50 schools across Australia. Originally designed for High School Students, the learning kits have since been expanded to cater to primary students from years 1-6. A diverse range of students have so far benefitted from the Papercuts learning experience, from students with special needs to gifted and talented groups. We have also run a project at Sunning Hill School in the Juniperina Juvenile Justice Centre.

Find out more about Papercuts.