Hush Published in Cordite Poetry Review

CONFESSION-cover-image
Image by Therese Ritchie

I’m chuffed to have my poem Hush appear in the recent Confession Issue of Cordite Poetry Review. There are some extraordinary poems in the issue, as well as some stunning photography by Therese Ritchie. My thanks to editors Keri Glastonbury & Kent MacCarter!

Hush

You’re bloated and there is
fear in your gaze.
You’ve demanded the right
to be this way and I
have acquiesced.

Mirtazapine bought no peace.

Food wrappers, razor blades, beer bottles, bong.
Your body is an energy pushing
pain into a form which it commands
the world to witness —

I witness you.

I look into your eyes and whisper
— with my eyes — I see you.

Bitch, you shoot, from the dark side of your mouth,
your head in chaotic orbit.

I’m whatever you need me to be, baby.
Let’s croon the moon to sleep like we used to.
Hush.

 

Launch of Engraft by Martin Langford

12654248_10153963895347437_5224428608965360806_nWell it’s done!  Engraft has officially been launched, and I couldn’t be happier. The room was full, the crowd were kind, and some books were sold. Phew!

Distinguished poet and critic Martin Langford was generous enough to launch the book, and Rochford Street Review were good enough to publish the speech he gave.

Martin said:

“Writing has a complex relationship with Buddhism. It is so weighted with the dirt and doubt and slew of ordinary living that it can never hope to walk in that territory where one is free of such encumbrances – the territory, that is, that Buddhism aims for. For this reason, some schools of Buddhism dismiss the arts altogether. What the two do share, however, is a common engagement with understandings. They may come at them from slightly different routes, and neither of them may quite have understanding as their ultimate aim – there is a point in Buddhism where one hopes to move beyond one’s understandings, whereas in literature, the aim is usually to take those understandings and work them into some sort of overall aesthetic experience – but both revolve, in important though different ways, around that fragile, verbal confrontation.

I was thinking of these similarities and differences reading Michele Seminara’s new book, Engraft. Many of the poems are attempts to shape the forces at play in experience in a credible and accurate way: in short, to understand them…”

You can read the rest of Martin’s thoughtful launch speech here. Many thanks to him, to fellow poet Les Wicks (whose 13th book Getting By Not Fitting In was also launched on the day), to my publishers Island Press and to all who attended or sent good wishes. I feel very fortunate to have actually published a book, let alone to have anyone read it!

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Beyond the Father’s Shadow, a film by Saba Vasefi

saba posterBeyond the Father’s Shadow to be launched at NSW Parliament House August 26

Beyond The Father’s Shadow is a short film by Iranian-Australian feminist documentary filmmaker (and my good friend!) Saba Vasefi. It’s the story of Australia’s first female parliamentarian Edith Cowan. The film portrays the struggles behind Cowan’s ascent to power, revealing how her traumatic childhood experiences motivated her to become a social worker and, ultimately, the first female member of the Australian parliament.

The film will be launched by author, patron of the Full Stop Foundation and UNICEF Ambassador Tara Moss; hosted by Greens Member of the NSW Legislative Council Dr Mehreen Faruqi; and MC’d by ABC’s commissioning editor, Andrea Ulbrick.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on misogyny and politics.

Panelists for the evening will be:

♀ Dr Mehreen Faruqi: Member of the NSW Legislative Council

♀ Tara Moss: Author, Full Stop Patron and UNICEF Ambassador.

♀ Saba Vasefi: Filmmaker, Poet, Refugee Council of Australia Ambassador for Refugee Week.

♀ Lee Rhiannon: Senator for NSW

♀ Sarah Hanson-Young: Senator for SA

♀ Hon Linda Burney: Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Education & Aboriginal Affairs

♀ Van Badham: Guardian Columnist, Writer & Social Commentator

♀ Dr Wendy Michaels: Historian, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Newcastle; Director, The Women’s Club; Convenor, Rose Scott Women Writers’ Festival.

 

So basically, a stellar line-up!

If you’re in Sydney, please come along. I’ll be there, proudly supporting Saba, who is both a very talented filmmaker and a tireless supporter of others.

 

Location: NSW Parliament House, Sydney

Date: August 26,2015

Time: 6-9pm

Tickets: $10 Bookings: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/film-launch-at-the-nsw-parliament-beyond-the-fathers-shadow-a-film-by-saba-vasefi-tickets-17384411242

 

 

Verity La!

Basic CMYKI’ve been remiss in not letting readers of this blog know about an exciting new developement in my writing life. Late last year I took over the reins of an exceptional little online literary journal, Verity La. How this came about, and what it’s all about, you can find out in this editorial, which I wrote when first taking on the role of managing editor. As you’ll see, I was TERRIFIED! However, so far so good: it’s been a hugely rewarding experience, and I haven’t run it aground — yet!

So please take a look. At Verity La we’re privileged to have some of the finest writers and artists in Australia — and the world — share their work with us. I’m also privileged to have an extraordinarily talented and passionate team of volunteers helping me make it happen. We publish only one very, very fine thing each week, and you can subscribe to receive posts by email completely free of charge. Enjoy!

The Indomitable Spirit of the Film Maker: Michele Seminara reviews ‘Symphony of Strange Waters’ & ‘Don’t Bury My Heart’

symphony-of-stramge-watersLast year I had the honour of attending a film screening by friend, human rights activist and documentary filmmaker Saba Vasefi. Here’s a review I wrote of the evening, and the films – which deal with the important issues of the refugee experience, and the death penalty as it applies to children in Iran.

Rochford Street Review

Symphony of Strange Waters and Don’t Bury My Heart:  films by Saba Vasefi screened at NSW Parliament House on November 19, 2014

'Symphony of Strange Waters' a film by Saba VasefiSymphony of Strange Waters a film by Saba Vasefi

Last November human rights activist, film-maker, poet and academic Saba Vasefi launched her films, Symphony of Strange Waters and Don’t Bury My Heart, at  Parliament House in Sydney to an appreciative and supportive audience. The event was organised by Greens Senator Lee Rhianon and Greens Member of the NSW Legislative Council, Dr. Mehreen Faruqi. The audience were treated to speeches by author, academic and editor Michelle Cahill; Head Of Producing at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) Andrena Finlay; and musical performances by the Tara Anglican School’s Axis Wind Ensemble (conducted by Iain Hoy), and Minerva Khodabande, cellist with the Sydney Youth Orchestra.

First screened at The United Nations in Geneva, Symphony of Strange Waters is a…

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The Blue Stocking Poetry Jam!

blue space
I’m very excited to be MCing a special women’s edition of The Blue Space Poetry Jam! The Blue Space is a poetry and musical evening which takes place every third Thursday of the month in inner city Sydney. I’ve been a featured poet there in the past, and it’s a lot of fun!

We’re calling this one The Blue Stocking Poetry Jam, since it will be featuring  four AMAZING female poets, plus an all women’s open mic.

So if you’re in Sydney please consider coming along!

Contagion by Michele Seminara

My poem, ‘Contagion’, has been published in The Blue Hour magazine. Please check out this wonderful sight for poetry, prose, and art, and perhaps consider submitting something yourself! Many thanks to editors Susie and Moriah.

The Blue Hour

So now
after all your raging
you are
sweet again
meek again
wanting to reconcile

again

and I
am invaded
by your anger’s oily grey shadow,
which spread across the vast expanse of bed last night
and, ascending my carefully constructed
– cold shoulder –
seeped into my heart,
where it rose like Judas’s gall
in the festy heat of my hurt,
cloning itself a dark likeness…

So that I
upon waking
felt uneasy inside
and, opening my cavernous, unconscious mouth
spat the poison like spit-fire
into the wide waiting eyes of our child
(oh my child!)
who could not absorb it
but spewed it back in a torrent
of hot tears and indignation
and then skirted me,
warily,
with surprised looking eyes,
sensing that something that would harm it
had inhabited its mother –

All day I struggled to reconcile
the purport of my love with its lack,
all…

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