Wednesday 7 September 2011

National Poetry Week: Share

Now I've recovered a little from my buying spree yesterday, I'm here to share. I haven't thought a lot about what to share, so I'm making it up as I go. Hope it works out ;)

First up, I'm going to share an old favourite, Clancy Of The Overflow. At the recent Queensland Poetry Festival I was very pleased to listen to Helen Avery recite it (along with half a dozen other classics) and have had it playing in my head a little since.

In the spirit of sharing other people's work, I notice the National Library are getting in on NPW and have done some sharing of their own. Also, poet and blogger Gabrielle Bryden is sharing poems this week that are mostly written by not-usually-poets. This link will take you to today's entry and you can scroll back and forth to see what else has been shared: she's sharing all week.

Yesterday I shared my buys and recent reads as well as an opportunity to get a copy of my chapbook, First taste, for $10 including postage within Australia, and promised to spend all of this week's sales on more Australian poetry.

I'm not sure if this link will work, but Cranbourne Library in Victoria are sharing poetry from a variety of Australian poets on their Poet's wall. I'm not sure how long it'll be there but if you get a chance, drop by to check it out.

I can't end the post without sharing some of my own poems. I have a few in online publications, so I'll send you to a few. This is an audio poem published in Cordite that I wrote shortly after the passing of my grandmother. Also on Cordite, this poem was written after noticing Claudia as a baby seem to discover for the first time that she was able to control her fingers. I have a few others on Cordite that you can find yourself, but I also recommend you have a good look around in general, there is some fabulous poetry available and it's all free to read and/or listen to.

This link to Verity La will take you to what has been called a brave poem, Shopping for girls. And... just one more: A poem about visiting my father in hospital for the last time that I would ever see him, in the June 2010 edition of The Diamond and the Thief.

I said I wasn't going to share the poem I wrote on Monday on WRITE day, but for some crazy reason, I've changed my mind. It's in the spirit of this week, right? It doesn't have a title, so feel free to suggest one (or anything else), though mostly, I just hope you enjoy it (especially after I sent you to all those not-so-happy poems). And lastly, feel free to do your own poem sharing in the comments (short poems or links to poems).

Pulling my jeans on
I notice chicken shit
on the cuff
remember wiping it from the side
and sole of my shoe yesterday.
I pull the jeans on anyway
because the shit doesn’t smell
and looks like dried mud
not that anyone will notice
or care
unlike when my toddler
has left a trail of snot
across the shoulder of my t-shirt
and someone invariably says
that’s disgusting.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

National Poetry Week: Tuesday = Buy

It's National Poetry Week, and I'm excited.

Yesterday I wrote a poem, for WRITE day, and today, for BUY day, I've started well. I'm stuck at home so restricted to the online shops, but that's working out fine. Too fine, perhaps. Shopping online really is too easy. Anyway, I've bought:

Anthony Lawrence: Bark (UQP)
Michelle A Taylor: If the world belonged to dogs (UQP): one for the kids.
Kate Middleton: Fire Season (Giramondo). Recommended by a friend
Cate Kennedy: The taste of river water (Scribe)
and I'm sending off for a copy of Heather Taylor Johnson's Exit Wounds (Picaro Press).

And it's less than two weeks since I bought up at the Qld Poetry Festival!

In case you're after ideas, here are a few titles I've already enjoyed this year.

Michelle Dicinoski: Electricity for beginners (Clouds of Magellan).
Max Ryan: Before the Sky (Picaro Press). (Only $5, inc post.)
Robyn Rowland: Seasons of doubt & burning (5 Islands press) and my recent favourite,
Rosanna Licari: An absence of saints (UQP). I'd prefer to direct you to the publisher's shop, but they don't appear to have copies for sale, but you could pick one up here if you're quick.

I'm also offering my poetry chapbook for $10, including postage within Australia, so if you're interested in buying a copy, email me at 'tiggatha [at] gmail [dot] com' and I'll send you payment instructions. If you'd like to read a review first, go here.

AND... I've decided that any money that comes in for sales of First taste by the end of this Friday, I will spend on Australian poetry, including the books above I have already bought/ordered.

Tomorrow is SHARE day, so if you can handle me posting here again in such a short period, I might come back and share some poetry. Meanwhile, I hope you're enjoying National Poetry Week too.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Falling in laugh

I should be writing the first uni essay I've had to write in years, but it's difficult to settle into a sitting-still pose for long enough after spending five days down in Byron Bay.

It's no great secret that I love a good writer's festival and I haven't been to one for ages, so I didn't hesitate when one of my new Brisbane friends invited me to stay in a share house over the weekend. And, I'm so glad I went.

It was great. My own festival highlight would have to be the whole of last Friday. I know that's cheating, but when the day starts with a random encounter with Tim Ferguson and gets better from there, it's tough to pinpoint an actual moment. We missed out on a seat in the first session we chose, so ended up spending the first hour in the ABC live-broadcasting tent where Mandy Nolan had me wiping tears from my eyes before my coffee had time to go cold. Sticking with the theme, I found a seat in the tent where Benjamin Law, Charlie Pickering and Fiona Scott-Norman were 'standing up for embarrassment' with chair Jenni Caffin. It was there that I fell in laugh and as lovely as other sessions I may have walked in on later in the day may have been, my mind was rampant with words that needed to escape and so I found a shady spot by the lake and scribbled in my notebook.

It's true that I had to go to Pickering's other events as well as a disco performance by Scott-Norman.

Even though the festival was fun and I have a heap of new scribbles to draw upon, the highlight of the weekend was meeting up with existing friends, making new friends and, top of the list, acting somewhat juvenile for days in a row. I learned that drunk people don't necessarily notice if their bed has been short-sheeted, that 'in your pants' is a joke of absolute hilarity that lasts much longer than it should and that I don't get out enough. Looking forward to next year already.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Surviving school holidays

The kids have gone back to school today and while it is lovely and peaceful, I have to admit these past two weeks haven't been as bad as I recall school holidays being in the past few years. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the gorgeous sunny days we've had and maybe also that the kids are always keen to get in with the chickens.

Not that any of this explains why they have been playing nicely together more than they usually do. As an example, yesterday it took until 5pm before they had their first argument/fight. 5pm! Though I must admit, they resolved it quickly after I asked which of them wanted sandwiches for dinner instead of fish and chips.

But, back to the chickens. Getting chickens has been on our to-do list for some time and now we have finally done it. We planned to get four, so of course when we went to the local market and saw the beautiful bantam with her five chicks, we couldn't possibly not have them, or separate them. Then, because they're tiny, especially the five chicks, who probably won't lay until the end of the year, and tiny eggs even then, we had to get more. Bryden went off to get two browns and brought 3 home and then last week a friend was looking for a new home for her chicken who has been lonely in a small suburban backyard. So, we have ten chickens. Henrietta, Cluck, Blackie, Whitey, Violet, Sprinkles, Jemima, Charlotte, Cherry and Madame Houdini.

In other school holiday news, we did a fair bit of baking, with the date scones and Hamish's chocolate chocolate chip cookies being the highlights (yes, I meant to type 'chocolate' twice). We also had a few playdates, though mostly we stayed home. Claudia was super tired for most of last school term and it was lovely to see the kind and gentle version of her rear itself after a few days. Not that the new grumpy version of her wasn't to be seen: just less often.

I've been teaching her to sew and as well as it being something that excites her, it seems to help her calm down at times. I got this book, and it's been great, with all the projects having been tested on children as young as five. And she's definitely capable (except at threading the needle and tying knots). Mostly, she's been making coasters, which are just two squares sewn together with both good sides of fabric showing. Once her sewing becomes straighter, she might make a skirt for one of her dolls.

Because she thought she wasn't doing 'real' sewing (ie not using my sewing machine), I even decided to start a hand-sewing project for myself. I chose this (the first picture). I know it will take me years to complete, but already I'm loving it. Mostly because I'm using scraps from projects I've made for people over the last few years and it makes me smile to remember those individual projects.

Tuesday 28 June 2011

remember me?

I've been languishing up here in the northern warmth for some time now, and I've probably had enough. Of the languishing, not the warmth. The warmth is wonderful.

It's been nice not having any real goals or anything specific to do, although there have been some days where I also found it difficult (but a little bit of boredom has to be good, I'm sure). For most of June I've pretty much been looking forward to the end of the month meaning time to start making lists and being at least semi-organised again. And really, even if I wanted to continue in my lazy ways, I wouldn't be able to.

For one, I'm judging the short story section of the page seventeen annual competition. There are still a couple of days to get an entry in if you haven't already. Get details here.

Then, or probably before I get stuck into that, I'll be back to study. I've enrolled in a Master of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University (by distance), which will qualify me as a librarian. I am sooo looking forward to studying again. Maybe it's a bit nerdy, but I love it.

I'm also very excited to have nabbed one of the very limited places in a 6 week poetry workshop series with UK poet Jacob Polley, who is the Arts Queensland 2011 Poet in Residence.

Meanwhile, despite all the previously mentioned languishing, I have been sending my work out, as I'd hoped to. And I've made a start on a series of poems inspired by my new interest in genealogy, including all the family photos my mother gave me to look after (all her mother's and her mother's).

I could go on, but really, after being absent here for so long, maybe I should keep something for next time.

Thursday 14 April 2011

my new hobby and other news

When sudoku first became popular, I was there, in among it all. I mean, a puzzle and numbers thrown in together? Two of my favourite things, how could I resist.

Even in my first weeks, I found the easy puzzles boring and only wanted hard sudoku, and then when that wasn't enough, I went for Killer Sodoku and eventually moved on to a different kind of number puzzle, the name of which I don't currently recall (kakuro?). I spent months, years perhaps (though not too many) addicted to sudoku. I even wrote a poem that begins 'I'm stuck within a sudoku'. Though eventually, I didn't feel challenged any more, and it's no secret that I'm unable to resist challenge. I needed something new. Sort of.

Not that I really sought out a something new. I mean, with all I do already, there are plenty of different activities vying for my time and attention. Even without producing a magazine. If I'm not writing or doing something with the kids, I'm probably reading or sewing (or wasting time on the internet).

And, come July, I'll be studying too. Master of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University, by distance. So I didn't really need anything new. Least of all an irresistible puzzle. One that will never be solved.


I don't recall what started me off, but I got stuck into the family history in February. At first, it was fairly easy and quick to find information, though it helped that I had my grandfather's birth certificate in my possession, as well as the information from the marriage certificate of grandparents on a different line. So far, all my research has been on my mother's side, as my father's is going to prove difficult due to most, if not all, of Malta's useful documents having been destroyed during WWII (but I will still give it a good go).

Before beginning, I believed I had a Maltese and British history, and while this is true, it's not the end. I've discovered I have Irish, Hungarian and German ancestors as well, though I'm quite interested in many of the stories of the individuals (not to mention the challenge of unearthing them). An ancestor born in the 1860s was admitted to a South Australian mental asylum, my grandfather's brother played for my beloved North Melbourne Kangaroos, my grandfather lied about his age to serve in the RAAF during WWII, and was later charged for illegally having in his possession approx 2lb butter, one dozen eggs and eighteen oranges, an aunt's name does not appear on the ship's immigration register, my g-g-g-grandmother was an Irish famine orphan and the drummer of a massively, hugely famous American band is my third cousin, once removed.

I'm not sure whether to be pleased or disappointed that I have no convict ancestors, though my husband, who was born in Scotland, is disappointed on my behalf.