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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.


A dead dog.
A deep hole.
A piece of rope.
I tied one end around the dog’s waist,
the other around mine.
Ralph (I’ve given him a name)
went in first.
We didn’t make it as far as China
but we did come out in a strange city, a city
unlike any I’d ever seen.
Everything – the streets, the buildings, the doors
& windows – was made of polished steel, everything.
And it was bright, much too bright
for my weak eyes.
I soon went blind.
Ralph (who by some miracle has come back to life,
or perhaps he was only sleeping)
was not cut out to be a seeing-eye dog
but he’s doing the best he can.

Philip Hammial has had twenty-two collections of poetry published. His sixteenth collection, In the Year of Our Lord Slaughter’s Children, was short-listed for the Kenneth Slessor Prize in 2004, as was his fourteenth collection, Bread, in 2001. In 2004 Philip was awarded an Established Writer’s grant by the Literature Board of the Australia Council. He has represented Australia at several international poetry festivals: Poetry Africa 2000, Durban, SA; The Franco-Anglais Festival of Poetry, Paris, 2000; The World Festival of Poets 2000, Tokyo; the Festival International de la Poesie, Trois Rivieres, Canada, 2004 and the Micro-Festival, Prague, 2009. In 2006 an anthology of Australian poetry in French that Philip edited – 25 poetes australiens – was published by Ecrits des Forges in Trois Rivieres, Quebec and Le Temps des Cerises in Paris. He was a resident at the Australia Council studio at the Cité International des Arts in Paris for six months in 2009/2010

The Northern Road


I should have known
him but I had no prior
experience with prophets.

Something about the time of day
felt still as

_______the invisible press of tobacco,
the rustle of upturned leaves
in a thousand barns.

Finality slides deeper.
Uncut grasses roll and die.

Commodified firewood fills
the absence of orchard bones.

Other attractions:

winter anonymity,
_______once done
creeps into country,
etches convoys in the woods.

The prohibition of nostalgia
is born in
cellar holes and undone buttons.

Ochre cigarettes paper the urinal.
Letters above the caricatures.

Please proceed in an orderly fashion
toward the faith cures.

Changes that would seem evidently
such as
_______the regeneration of lost fingers
do not arise
in the context of
_____________________modern healers.

Still it remains—
glass in her wound.

I never left the house
I just took the door with me.


The mouth is an archway
_______semi _______elliptical

The walls and roof bow
near the centre
and retain that curvature
_______to the end.

The floor inclines upward,
at the far end comes to meet
the bent ceiling.

This excavated channel is
born of deposits and erosion.

Near the ceiling two narrow
crevices extend across
and beyond the Cave.

One has a chimney-like opening
large enough to admit _____________________a man.

This small place is known
as the ‘upper cave’
and has a history and fiction
all its own.

This is the hermitage
of river thieves and highwaymen.

Early travellers designated it
by various names, all of which
contained the word ‘Cave.’

‘It has the appearance of
something like a large oven.’

‘We beheld numbers of names
cut into the sides of the Cave.’

I don’t know what ownership means
except to say
you own the silence that surrounds you.

In dwelling
the only occupation is
the air you leave behind.

A part
or particle _______unsettled;
a disused cavern
_____________________of breath.

Won’t you
_______come______________ in?

Author’s Note: This poem was influenced by my time with the residents of John Morony Correctional Facility and the landscape that surrounds it. It also responds to geological formations in an area known as Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois. Specifically, the place known as Cave-in-Rock that overlooks the Ohio River and the Natchez Trace. Throughout the nineteenth century, Cave-in-Rock was the seasonal home of generations of highwaymen and river pirates, who escaped detection within the inner cave. I am grateful for Otto A. Rothert’s excellent regional history, The Outlaws of Cave-in-Rock (1924). The quotes in part two are adapted from a letter by the British Astronomer Francis Baily, dated April 16, 1797, detailing his visit to Cave-in-Rock.

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.

a group poem

Trunk packed and ready for nowhere,
Manuscript tells stories in spots and dashes called songs.
Song list on the lampbase doubling as a microphone,
The man looks lonely and lost
As though he’s taken one last look before leaving
It reminds me of Jumanji.
What is the lion doing in the house with a police hat on?
The light is on and it’s already daytime.
The boundary line between the man and the lion:
The antique collector’s lounge.
__________This is one scary cat.
__________He dominates the room.
This is the lion’s domain,
The man is his pet
It’s a jungle in there,
_____This strange man’s den.
Cat in a hat.
There’s a dog wearing a cop hat.
The dooryard echoes of an open suitcase.

The John Morony Correctional Complex is located 5 km south of Windsor. A group of students from the Intensive Learning Centre took part in the Unlocked project, with poet Lindsay Tuggle. Their poems are collected in the Unlocked Anthology.

58, black-most lot, collapsible ceiling and underground lung ward

My dear RG. Crates are melting under enamel and asbestos;
whalers are jumping ship for a slant of this rummy sham. Open the
archive to check the mobility, there’s a rotten panorama of a hundred
years of surplus. First the compositers, bakers, and small-time boiled
sweet bankers stocked the clout; second, the house trapped the labour
‘til it moulded the beams. Bad advice suggests that if you grant small debts to your neighbours—tins of beef, tins of milk, tins of tabacco,
tins of paraffin—you will keep their loyalty and gratitude. My advice:
follow the neighbourhood kids. Born in robbery, tucked into their
dance gear you’ll find notes from the ocean, shanties for mutiny, or
else wetted and folded pamphlets of every non-rum language, calling
for nutmeg, vinegary kippers, split peas and rabbit skins. Your
tendency to vanish must be your favourite toolkit. Away and wharfish,
deep to the buttonhole in capital well, pages 1-800 passim.

Astrid Lorange is a Sydney poet with two excellent books of poetry, Eating and Speaking and Minor Dogs, and her PDF book, Pussy pussy pussy what what (Au lait day Au lait day). Lorange also contributes a regular column about Australian poetry to the internationally acclaimed online journal, Jacket2, and was recently guest editor of Cordite. She’s compleing a PhD dissertation on Gertrude Stein at the University of Technology, Sydney, and it regularly between Sydney and Philadelphia.

I’ve never really known how to write about other people without imposing some kind of “treatment” on them. And I guess it’s not possible to completely avoid imposing a “treatment” – but there are “treatments”, and then there are treatments. I discovered a poem called ‘Holocaust’ by an Objectivist poet called Reznikoff which was composed
entirely out of cut-and-pasted transcripts from Holocaust survivors. Reznikoff’s artistic practice is one of selection – not invention. Or rather, invention through various selective combinations – sans commentary or explanation. And really, even when I’m writing from my own life, that’s what I’m doing. Transcribing the way I see the world is easy – what’s hard is knowing what shape what I see should take. So I’ve been building my Wayside Renga by transcribing conversations I’ve been having with five different regulars at Wayside from which I hope to build a layered poem that can capture the imaginative breadth of the place. Layer one will be the transcripts themselves, and the final layer will be a highly compressed mash up of phrases from all five interviewees. The final poem might also feature poems that the interviewees have written themselves.
– Pip Smith

Body in a Sports Bag – an excerpt from Wayside Renga
Pip Smith with Daniel

At about 1 am he is still up
long-thinking about
what to do next.

He goes to her work and stands
outside Bondi McDonald’s. It’s curves
are kind of like being on a rollercoaster.

So round about 6
she finishes her shift, comes out
turns around, and she sees him,

standing outside: baseball cap,
casual jeans. She’s standing
on the edge of Niagara. Can’t go

anywhere but down.
Turns around and says,


It’s cold and bucketing outside.
It’s exciting getting all wet.

Cats are outside
sitting on a brick wall
drinking Coke.

The cats drove to Bondi
In the cat car and saw
the whole thing.

Pip Smith writes plays, stories and poems, and is now undertaking a DCA at the University of Western Sydney.

The Wayside Chapel has provided unconditional love, care and support for people on and around the streets of Kings Cross, Sydney, since 1964.

THEthe Poetry and The Red Room Company are teaming up to share poems across the oceans. This collaboration introduces new audiences to the works of emerging and established poets from America and Australia. Weekly installments of poems, interviews and artworks will celebrate poetic observations from Brooklyn to Sydney and places between.

The Red Room Company is a not-for-profit poetry organisation founded in 2003 and based in Sydney. Their mission is to provide professional commission opportunities to contemporary Australian poets, particularly emerging voices. They present poetry to the wider community in engaging, unusual ways involving film, audio and installation. Since 2007, The Red Room Company has delivered Papercuts, their national poetry education program for primary and secondary schools. In 2010 the poetry education program was extended to Correctional Centres.