Interview in Verity La (Forum)

Interview in Verity La (Forum)

The editors of Verity La asked me recently for my opinion on the topic of:

A New Archaeology?

When the novel first emerged it was considered trivial entertainment. The literary productions most honoured were to be found in verses and sometimes on stages. As those mediums waned in their traditional states, the art of song writing matured and attracted many of the talents driven by poetry. Cinema rose into a global phenomenon—becoming the major cultural agent for all Western cultures.

We are presently watching the book dwindle into the doddering ineffectuality of old age as print media prepares for retirement. A new medium is already emerging. It is often considered trivial entertainment, just as the novel was in its youth. Will an e-form emerge in the coming generation as the new literary standard? Is the blog already the key artefact for a new archaeology?

My response can be read in the Verity La Forum if you click here.

There are also a number of other writers from Australia who have joined in the forum. It makes for some interesting reading.

Initially the piece was written tongue-in-cheek as someone who had not even seen an e-reader, let alone used one regularly.

I adore the printed book and magazine.

I am the person who ‘will tell anyone who is listening that paper books had marvellous hand held qualities and dusty smells that made people swoon.’

But I know that things are a changin’ and fast!

I thought I better get with the program.

By sheer coincidence, I recently won a Kobo e-reader from the lovely folk at Overland Journal (thankyou – ‘I love youse all’) as part of their annual subscriberthon. I also won an Overland t-shirt and some other goodies, which was really cool.

Have I mentioned that Overland is one of my all time favourite journals – everyone should subscribe or subscribe a friend for Christmas ;).

I am now really hooked on the e-reader phenomenon. So is my son Michael, who has hijacked the device and is guarding it with great alacrity. He has never read so many books. He literally can’t put the e-reader down. He wants books, books, and more books.

This can only be a good thing.


Note: thank you to editor Alec Patric for inviting me to participate in the Forum 🙂

Guest Blogger – beeblue

Guest Blogger – beeblue

Today I would like to introduce you to a blogger from Australia – beeblue, who blogs ‘life, or something like it, in poetry and photos’ over here. She is also known as bluebee (just to confuse us).

bluebee or not bluebee, that is the question. (sorry – couldn’t resist 🙂 ).

She is a very talented poet (rumoured to have an aunty famous for poetry – I wonder who it could be?), unafraid to dredge the deepest waters for material. Her poetry will make you laugh, make you cry and make you wish you could write better.

Beeblue also posts lovely photographs of trips to places like New York and makes us all very jealous – haha. Now without further ado, the wonderful beeblue will answer my usual two little questions.

Why do you blog?

I started my blog mainly as a way of relieving stress and to balance out what I consider the left-brained nature of my work with a bit of creativity. I’ve dabbled in creative writing on and off over the years and started writing a novel two years ago but don’t really have the necessary time to devote to it given my work and personal commitments. Writing poetry is less time-consuming but it satisfies that need for a creative outlet and helps me to focus on articulating some pre-occupations.

What do you like best about blogging?

I’m very interested in the way people distil their view of the world through their unique manipulation of language. And the fact that people from almost (almost) any global demographic can exchange views and debate on almost any subject is remarkable – it provides a fantastic opportunity to engage with talented and interesting people we would never otherwise meet and I’ve learnt a lot from my experiences with the good, the bad and the downright weird ;-). And the whole meme aspect just blows my mind, too. But what I love most of all is seeing the humour and resilience shine through people’s writing when the subtext indicates that they are struggling with some pretty serious issues – it’s instructive and keeps my faith in humanity hanging on by its fingernails, ha, ha.


Thanks beeblue 🙂

Queensland Writers Week

Queensland Writers Week

Place in Poetry

Queensland Writers Week (October 10-16th) has been up and running in our fine State and as part of the celebrations Brisbane-based poetic guru Graham Nunn invited seven Queensland poets to:

‘discuss the role of place in their poetry. A sense of place plays an important role in the initiation of images for many poets. When a poet taps into the depth of their surroundings and is able to create images that bring the reader headlong into the environment that inspired them, it is a rare and blessed experience.’

I am pleased to be featured along with terrific poets like Samual Wagan Watson and Kristin Hannaford.

If you pop over to Another Lost Shark you can read my take on place in poetry (and the other poets who are from all over Queensland).

Guest blogger – tipota

Guest blogger – tipota


Today I have great pleasure in introducing you to the uniquely talented and wonderful blogger tipota – proprietor of spaces between trees. Her real identity will remain a secret but I can tell you that she is an innovative and experimental artist (visual, sound), writer and genius to boot! Her blog contains poetry, story fragments, ideas and her distinctive audio/visual podcasts (all composed and produced by tipota). She loves cats and has been known to look after the lost and found felines of her neighbourhood in Cape Cod, USA.

I can also reveal an ‘exclusive’ photo of tipota (above) – haha – one of only 2 in existence on the net, I am told (we are used to her cartoon gravatar, below). This is all very exciting, so let’s get to the questions and answers. Over to the inimitable tipota.


Why do you blog?

Thanks Gabrielle!

it’s always somehow magical to see the pieces ‘publish’. (when placement doesn’t match preview and if something is really way off, i have to figure out the html or rather unlock the secrets of WYSIWYG the automatic thing and try to fix it. or see how it works with a different editor. with options of which editor to use, new or old one – the actions work differently from one to the other. so it’s kind of like stardust collects into a solid image and view when it comes up. even if it comes up wrong) (and then it also can look different with different browsers, or color settings, or resolutions but that doesn’t bother me – i think that may be a bothersome thing for picky upscale brand names with cross-marketing on commercial websites). I’m not able to be quite picky enough with the basic template, and then as things go forward, the new editor will become the old one and a newer new one will take its place, etc. better if they kept them all and just numbered them because each upgrade both wins some and lose some.

and also the message. i had an idea for that when i first started. i started because a friend of mine was entertaining the public with her blog for the newspaper, she was an art teacher who left the trade to ‘pursue her own art’ – the blog was about all sorts of things but always had this sharp witty perspective. it was good too, because as a local teacher in the public schools many people knew her and followed her postings. she wrote outside the box about politics, animals, art, the vision in everyday experience. but the format only allowed text, no images. i got to reading and commenting and it was so much fun i thought about doing one in the wider world.

when i decided to start spaces between trees (sbt), i only knew about the text. honestly. i was way behind the average person in exposure to online cultures. i was only using the computer for design when friends were getting into chat rooms. and people were chatting about chat rooms and i was clueless ha ha. one friend had become an administrator on this math and science message board. she got so addicted that it was painful when her computer went out for over a week. blogs also were starting to circulate among people i knew.

it was when changes to copyright law were sneaking through our systems and controversies over that were forming coalitions that i started the blog. i was doing my bit. senator kennedy was alive then, and being that i was a ‘constituent’ who had been a delegate once, he answered my letters personally, thanked me for material to argue the point. he wrote that he hadn’t known the practices around selling original artwork to companies who would then use it in manufacturing of housewares, giftwares, paper products, textiles, furnishings, ceramics you name it including book and media jacket covers. and if it was successful, every other company in the world doing the same product would do a knock-off, the offshore reduced price/quality. the industries would squeeze every drop out of a winning pattern. it would trickle from the designer upscale down to walmart, and get clunkier along the way. it would take a long time to die. you’d be buying ivy patterned curtains with matching napkins for the next 4 years until it finally went away. the artists were tearing their hair out wondering when the public wold ever get sick of buying this crap trying to create new things, and the salesmen were trying to revamp whatever sold most or predict a blockbuster while the manufacturers were scrambling to put together mass production and there were always limitations. the law allowed already that a small 10% difference was within the realm of acceptable, enough to bypass copyright infringement, wink wink. this, i had written him, even without these proposed changes.

they give any manufacturer who licenses art and pays royalties a ripe chance to opt for the ‘orphan-trade’ instead. easy to do since the network of freelancers are clamoring for work. everything and anything could be claimed ‘orphaned’ if it is sold for reproduction rights under a company’s label, or by a ‘work-for-hire’ contract, and it could be converted to a dozen different things, produced and sold by truckloads before whomever owns the copyright ever finds out. alas, he informed me that much of the push for change had to do with the internet, and not so much with the use of art in and on products. but that he could see how a new ruling would affect these areas. there are thousands of artists who do this kind of work. because they cant find a living wage with their own. and the pay is good. anyway, because of this, and because of my friend’s newspaper blog, i decided i needed to see what it was about. i really didnt have much intro to begin with. and then i found out how wonderful it was to experiment and have this new fascination. i have to admit it was a whole other ballgame when i first started. learning a new field really, and that is inspiring. gingatao left the first ever comment on my blog. i’d had it there for several months and just kept exploring with it, had not either commented anywhere or received any comment, had taken a few months off and gone away, and when i came back, there it was. great surprise! it was really great!

in the time between clicking the “Publish” button and when the “Post is Published” sign comes up, there’s a part of me that is aware of related things like printing presses, grinding out everything from fliers to fine art reproductions. the ‘analog’ camera and complex chemical processing, etc. and earlier ‘posting’ communication practices were in deep contrast to the internet where there is no limited edition concept, as well as multiple formats and the ability to do several tasks at once so a post can include diverse elements. and you dont need to sort out fonts or make color separations. you dont ink anything or press the plates. all in all i think i do sbt because it’s really fun. but if i just said that, the answer would be really too short

What do you like best about blogging?

it has worldwide connectivity, and people do have the right and do pay to keep upgraded etc and contract the server/connection, it is a powerful tool, and collectively it is more informative than any other kind of medium imo, in a way that is direct and multifaceted.

important for me is the flexibility, that i can use different forms, writing, video, photos, art, music, etc. it’s really a wonderful environment – the enrichment it offers on so many levels.

communication, basically. and because of it, i come to know creatively talented people like you! i enjoy comments that spur me on to think differently about something. that is very rewarding. and i enjoy reading and commenting other blogs, keeps it moving. i see it as an important medium not yet fully defined and so has more unknown possibilities. which is a great place to be.


thanks tipota for that fascinating response 🙂

Guest Blogger – Martin Hodges

Guest Blogger – Martin Hodges

Martin Hodges (photo by Speckly Woo)

Guest Blogger – Martin Hodges

Today I would like to introduce you to UK writer, poet and editor Martin Hodges who blogs at Square Sunshine – ‘thoughts and observations of a grandfather’. Martin writes humorous and moving stories and poetry about life, with a keen eye for detail and a poet’s flair for language.

Martin is also the co-founder, along with Clare Kirwan, of Poetry-24, an online journal of news-related poetry. The journal has only been going for about 6 months but has already established a reputation as a place for fantastic poetry from different countries around the world, on a huge array of topical and often hard hitting subjects. They are always looking for new contributors, so if you a poet please consider submitting to Poetry-24. I love to read my news in the poetry format ;).

I asked Martin a couple of questions about blogging and he was kind enough to respond.

Why do you blog?

When I told a friend that I was thinking of starting a blog, he said, “Be careful, it can be addictive.” He was right, to an extent, and for me, blogging has been a habit-forming activity. Habits of the positive variety.

Because I’m basically a lazy/easily distracted writer, I need to adopt a structured approach, if I’m ever going to get my thoughts and observations written down. I’m not a natural note-maker, but blogging encourages me to jot down ideas and experiences in bite-sized chunks, and for me, this has one distinct advantage over traditional pen and notepad. My posts (or expanded notes) actually take on a life of their own, and that can often be a satisfying conclusion to the creative process in itself.

After a couple of false starts, I launched Square Sunshine with the intention of posting about my experiences as a new grandfather, in the way I wrote my 80s newspaper column, about being a new parent. Remember, how I said I’m easily distracted? As with the column, Square Sunshine quickly evolved into a platform for a whole range of musings and experiments. Although ‘what it is to be a grandfather’ has remained fairly central, I’ve also enjoyed a wonderful and unexpected voyage of discovery into the realms of photography and poetry.

What do you like most about blogging?

I guess this leads neatly into what I like most about blogging. There are many things, not least the social aspect. It’s a bit clichéd, but I have been introduced to some fascinating individuals and, in turn, the stories of their day-to-day lives, hopes, achievements and creative expression. And, if anyone doubts that people in virtual communities don’t really experience human interaction, they’re wrong. I’ve laughed out loud, wept, and even grieved in response to what I’ve seen and read. Confirmation that well written diaries can be powerful and, sometimes, life-changing documents.

I enjoy the kind of freedom Square Sunshine offers me to get creative. But it’s also a window to worlds beyond my own, and the inevitable richness of the cultural exchanges that ensue.


Thanks Martin 🙂

Guest Blogger – Graham Nunn

Guest Blogger – Graham Nunn

Guest Blogger – Graham Nunn

Today I would like to introduce you to Brisbane based poet Graham Nunn of blog Another Lost Shark. Graham is an award winning poet with numerous published collections; he is also the co-founder of legendary spoken word event Speedpoets.

He would have to take out the award for most energetic person around and is involved in so many poetry-related events that I can’t name them all. If you haven’t read his blog, you are missing out on top-notch poetry (especially haiku) and commentary on many things poetry and musical. He is also a huge Bob Dylan fan (what more can I say).

Graham kindly answered my usual two questions (before he flies out to the USA for a holiday).

Why do you blog?


For me I subscribe to the theory that if you are going to call yourself a writer, then you have to write. Another Lost Shark provides a ready made space for this writing and the necessary kick to make sure it is regular. All things permitting, I write every day. Of course, every day looks and feels different and this influences what I write. On those sacred days when there is space and silence, I tend to write poetry. There are other days when my head is buzzing with music, so on those days, I tend to give myself over to the sounds. I also like to post details about local events and other happenings. Then there are times when I feel the need to reach out, so in those times I like to knock out a few questions and shoot them off to one of the many amazing writers I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. It all seems to balance itself out and hopefully it keeps the site vibrant.

And of course there is the community aspect… writers like to have an audience and I am no different. Another Lost Shark has provided an amazing platform for me over the last few years and has helped me connect with many people, who I may otherwise have never had the privilege of meeting. A great example of this is the fund raising I was able to do during the floods. In just over two weeks, I was able to sell in excess of 100 books and raise over $2000. The blogosphere is an amazing space!

What do you like most about blogging?

At the end of a day, I love knowing that I have a reason to sit down and write. It helps me filter through the debris of the day; helps me to relax, open my mind and make the move into a more creative mind space. In fact, I would say the space it creates is somewhat meditative. When I don’t get the chance to sit and write, I am always a little more irritable the next day.


Thanks Graham 🙂 and bon voyage