Melinda Smith

Melinda Smith is a poet, editor, teacher, arts advocate and event curator based in Canberra. She is the author of seven poetry collections, including the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award-winner Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call. She frequently collaborates with artists in other disciplines including dancers, musicians and visual artists, and is also a former poetry editor of The Canberra Times. Her latest books are Goodbye, Cruel (Pitt Street Poetry, 2017) the chapbook Listen, bitch with artist Caren Florance (Recent Work Press, 2019) and Man-handled (Recent Work Press, 2020).

Links: and

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Perfectly Bruised

Perfectly Bruised is a bi-lingual selection of Melinda Smith’s work between 2001 and 2019, in English and Mandarin. Her poetry shifts between multiple voices, perspectives, and forms, by turns quirky, witty, tender and forceful. The judges of the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award described her as ‘a major new poet’ and her work as ‘full of unexpected and richly varied pleasures’, praising ‘its range of technique and tone’ and ‘its depth of ideas, imagery and emotion’. In this selection from her work the reader is often surprised, and sometimes disoriented – but never bored.

Translated by Karen Kun and Beibei Chen.

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Matt Turner

Matt Turner

Matt Turner (b.1974) is the author of Not Moving (Broken Sleep Books, 2019), and the translator  of Lu Xun’s Weeds (Seaweed Salad Editions, 2019). He is also the co-translator of works by  Hu Jiujiu, Yan Jun, Ou Ning and others. His  essays have appeared in numerous journals,  including Bookforum, Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel and Hong Kong Review of Books. He lives in New York City, where he works as a freelance translator and editor.

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Wave 9 Collages

Wave 9: Collages

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Laurie Duggan

Laurie Duggan, born in Melbourne and later a resident of Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane, moved from Australia to the UK in 2006, and returned to Australia in 2018. His recent books include Selected Poems 1971–2017 and No Particular Place To Go (both published by Shearsman in the UK), and a reissue of his first two books as East and Under the Weather (Puncher & Wattman). He is also the author of Ghost Nation (UQP), a history of modernist tendencies in Australian art.


Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

A Kite Hangs above the Border by Laurie Duggan

A Kite Hangs above the Border

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Sarah St Vincent Welch

Sarah St Vincent Welch grew up in Sydney and was a member of No Regrets women writers workshop and the Sydney Poets Union. She has a double major and honours in English Literature from the University of Sydney. In 1987 she gained a Graduate Diploma in Media at University of Canberra (UC).

She worked at the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) for a decade as a Film Preservation Officer with a speciality in early cinema. She worked at UC as a casual and contractual tutor, lecturer, and convenor in creative writing units and was acknowledged with a Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council. She now works as a freelance writer and editor and is the founder of Kindred Trees ( a project that asks Canberra poets to write in response to a beloved local tree. She is one of the organisers of That Poetry Thing That is on At Smiths Every Monday. Working with writers living with a disability, and writers living with mental illness, fed into a continuing love and commitment to facilitating creative writing in her community through workshops, which she has done for thirty years.

Her latest commission is a description for signage exploring the diverse cultural stories of trees on the Ngala Trail in Haig Park, Canberra. Her short stories and poetry have been published in anthologies and literary journals. In 2021 she is travelling around Australia working on a creative non-fiction We don’t have words: a meditation on suicide and place. She plans to continue her #litchalk practice, chalking poetry on footpaths at arts festivals, for as long as she can.


Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

chalk-borders-by Sarah St Vincent Welch

chalk borders

Sarah St Vincent Welch’s chalk borders is playful and soulful, and explores borders, frames and boundaries. chalk borders includes spare poems engaging with places from her #litchalk practice, where she chalks poems on the footpaths at art festivals in an ekphrasis of place, treating the whole environment as an artwork. These and longer poems engage with the tenuous lines drawn between art and life, the animate and inanimate, inside and outside, and present and past. chalk borders is inhabited by a love of existence and hope.

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Morgan Bell

Morgan Bell is a Port Stephens’ author of short fiction. Her books include Sniggerless Boundulations, Laissez Faire, and Intersection Control: Collected Works. She is a qualified technical writer, creative writing teacher, and editor of Sproutlings: A Compendium of Little Fictions. Her first chapbook of visual poetry Idiomatic, For The People was released in 2019.

Morgan Bell is an Australian woman, born in Melbourne, Victoria in 1981.

She attended primary school in the regional areas of New South Wales, including the Northern Rivers and South Coast, lived in Newcastle during her high school years, and has lived in Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Tasmania as an adult.

Morgan is university educated in civil/traffic engineering, technical communications, linguistics, and literature.

Morgan enjoys the visual storytelling of film and TV, which is of course a euphamism for being a couch-potato and movie trivia buff.

Morgan currently resides in Port Stephens NSW with her two cats, Romilly and Sansa, and her mother.

Links: Morgan Bell’s Blog

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Pretend I Don’t Exist

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Daniel Ionita

Daniel Ionita, born in Bucharest, Romania, teaches Organisational Improvement, part time, at the University of Technology Sydney. Over the last ten years Daniel has dedicated much of his time to poetry. He has had his own work published in both his native Romania as well as Australia and the USA.

In addition, Daniel’s passion has been sharing poetry through anthologies, bilingually in English and Romanian, as a principal translator and editor of volumes such as Testament – 400 Years of Romanian Poetry, a comprehensive collection of Romanian poetry in English from its origins until today. This volume won the most important translation award in Romania, for representing Romanian literature into a foreign language – the “Antoaneta Ralian” Prize awarded by the International Bookfair Gaudeamus-Bucharest 2019.

Other such anthologies include The Bessarabia of My Soul – a representation, also in English, of poets from the Republic of Moldova (for which Daniel was awarded the Poetry Prize of the “Literature & Art” magazine in the Republic of Moldova – 2018), and Return Ticket from Sydney to Bistrita – A Lyrical Carousel between the Antipodes. This work brings together, again bilingually, two groups of poets living and creating 17000 kilometers apart: “The Judith Beveridge Poetry Class” from Sydney and “The Palace of Culture Bistrita Poetry Group” from Romania.

Daniel is the current president of the Australian-Romanian Academy for Culture.


Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Short Bursts of Eternity

Instructions for reading this volume:

I will be home, or maybe not when you arrive.
The soup is in the empty fridge; just warm it up.
A ghost of lettuce and a spectre of some buttercup,
there should be something, maybe nothing, to contrive.

Not much to do about that cough, should it persist,
and settle in the guest room, should it still exist.
Watch some TV, there’s nothing on unless there is,
and read this book with missing pages – hers and his.

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Brian Purcell

Brian Purcell is a poet and painter based in Bellingen on the mid-north coast of NSW. His first poems were published in Poetry and Audience (Leeds, UK) in the early eighties. In 1984-85 he met poets like Kit Kelen and Adam Aitken through publishing poems in Poetry Australia’s young writers’ issue, New Pressings.
He became involved in community literature, as voluntary secretary then president of the Poets Union Inc, and continued to publish in Australian magazines such as Meanjin, Imago, Hobo, Rant, Scarp and Southerly, and in anthologies such as Australian Love Poems (Inkerman and Blunt).
Brian was the singer/lyricist for the alternative Sydney band Distant Locust (1985-95) with whom he toured Europe in 1991, playing in the Netherlands, Italy and Germany. His only book-length publication, Lovely Infestation, was released in 1995 by the independent label We Make μ-sick, and contains lyrics and collages associated with Distant Locust. That same year saw the band’s last CD release, Fearful Pleasure.
In 2008 he moved to Bellingen and in 2010 founded and coordinated the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival. In March 2021 he had a one-man show of paintings, The Day on Fire, at the Shop Gallery in Glebe NSW. The Leaving is his first book of poetry.

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

The Leaving

The Leaving features poems mostly written in the past decade, covering the author’s move from the city to the country, new challenges, relationships, landscapes and loves. Poems written with humour and in sorrow, with joy and passion, with incredulity and awe. Sometimes clear-eyed and disturbingly real, sometimes utterly fantastic, containing portraits of painters and politicians, of children paddling canoes, of a doomed lyricist writing songs on the road, of a lover pleading with his girlfriend to stay, and finally of life in the shadow of Covid. Just one person’s life in the 21st century.

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Jane Skelton

Jane Skelton is a Blue Mountains writer of poetry, short stories and novels. Chimera, her chapbook of prose and poetry was recently published by Rochford Press. Lives of the Dead and Other Stories was published in 2013 by Spineless Wonders, and her novella Flying Foxes was short-listed in the Carmel Bird Award and published as an eBook in 2015, also by Spineless Wonders.
Jane Skelton’s poetry and stories have also appeared in literary magazines and anthologies including in Overland, Island Magazine, Going Down Swinging, Hecate and the Margaret River Press collection. Earth Eaters, a novel, was a winner in the Varuna LitLink award in 2010, and extracts are included in Lives of the Dead.
Actors have given voice to her creative writing at Little Fictions events in Sydney, and in the 2018 Story-Fest.
Jane has a doctorate in Creative Arts and is a casual academic at Western Sydney University. She is a member of the LGBTIQA+ community.


Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

What the river told me by Jane Skelton

What the river told me

Where is home? Where is my place? Would I feel at home in the place of my ancestors, or is my place this invaded, colonised country, where I’ve mostly lived? In these poems, I journey to Scotland, to the moors of Northumberland, seeking a genetic thread. I think I’ve found my people, ‘but it was only the whiskey’. Home again, through rivers, the lake and the sea. The dry bush, Queensland, are washed in images of water. I dig at the roots of colonisation, the blackbirder William Boyd, who left his mark on a coast that I love, a wild, quiet place with a violent history. A centre, a heart-place is identified, only to be devastated by fire and flood, the onslaught of climate change. Virginia Shepherd’s illustrations, her strange primordial fish, are a pause, a counterpoint, a reflection on nature and transience.

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Rae Desmond Jones

Rae Desmond Jones (11 August 1941 – 27 June 2017) was an Australian poet, novelist, short story writer and politician.

Rae Desmond Jones was born in the mining town of Broken Hill in the far West of New South Wales. Although many of his poems and stories are concerned with urban experience, he always felt that desert landscapes were central to his language and perception. He wrote in colloquial language, which sometimes exploded in powerful narratives packed with ambiguous sexual and violent imagery, especially in his earlier poems and some of his novels. His original and bleak vision was frequently mediated by gusts of earthy humour and unexpected sensitivity and honesty.

He became a popular mayor of Ashfield, an inner Sydney Municipality, from 2004 to 2006, and during that period held together a broad coalition of Labor Party, Green and Independent representatives. He said that for him “poetry and politics are mutually contradictory, and he finds consolation from each in the arms of the other.”


Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Decline and Fall

When I got a hold of Rae Desmond Jones’ pocket-sized collection Decline and Fall I knew from the moment I opened it and began reading I was in for an interesting and affecting ride. Yes, I’m a fan, and I was excited at the prospect of a small gathering of his previously published works (this was, of course, prior to his recent New and Selected Poems, It Comes from All Direction Grand Parade Poets, 2013).

To those who read Australian poetry, Jones is a fascinating presence, who has carved out his place in our literature as a unique, important and challenging voice, simultaneously relevant and visionary, often writing outside of the usual subjects or taking them from an obscure angle, and addressing those that are so often shied away from. Just look at Jones’ infamous poem “The Deadshits”, for example, which narrates a gang rape through the eyes of one of the perpetrators. Not Wordworth’s usual choice of subject, that’s for sure, but this is what distances Jones from the pack and makes him increasingly special, if that’s the right word. Although this poem is not included in Decline and Fall, there are plenty of others that address the unaddressable in a way that is intelligent, beautiful, humorous and more often than not, haunting.

Continue reading review by Robbie Coburn at

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Anna Couani

Anna Couani is a Sydney writer and visual artist who runs The Shop Gallery in Glebe. Her recent publications of poetry (7 books in all) are Thinking Process, Owl Press 2017 and Small Wonders, Flying Islands Press 2012. She co-produced The Harbour Breathes with photomonteur Peter Lyssiotis. She was involved in the small press with Magic Sam magazine and Sea Cruise Books with Ken Bolton, Red Spark (with Kit Kelen & Mark Roberts) and co-edited various anthologies – Island in the Sun 1 & 2, No Regrets, Hidden Hands and To End all Wars. She edited a chapbook for Cordite called Falling Angels.

She was in the No Regrets Women Writers Workshop for 12 years and was an officer of NSW Poets Union for 10 years, organising readings at New Partz in Newtown, The Performance Space and other venues. She spent her working life teaching art and ESL in secondary schools, mostly in Intensive English Centres where she produced booklets of student writing and visual art and conducted collaborative script writing for plays written and performed by her students.

She has shown her artwork in various group shows at The Shop Gallery with The Pine Street Printmakers.


Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Small Wonders

translations and ink drawings by Debby Sou Vai Keng

In National Library of Australia

Some time ago I was staring through a microscope at a sample of seawater from the Great Barrier Reef. Affixed to the slide, long thin active strands of streaming protoplasm explored this barren and flattened landscape, groping for detritus, microscopic signposts. This new landscape is foreign, less than a millimeter deep and blasted from beneath by a white light as hot as a drowned sun. Tracking the strands, I found their origin, an individual amoeba reaching out from inside an elaborately sculpted shell, hundreds of body-lengths away from the tips of these exploratory strands, called poetically pseudopodia or ‘false feet’. The maligned outsider scientist Sheldrake argues that ‘the sense of being stared at’ is real, and the extended mind behaves like pseudopodia. Not only does light enter our eyes or other senses, but the mind reaches out through them, touching that which is distant, drawing together those objects, people, landscapes, even memories it has explored, generating a vast synthesis, a view of the world that centers on a unique space-time address and connects web-like to all it has touched.

The poems in this book are like that. From the centre of a web of extended mind the poems reach out, like protoplasmic strands, across time and space, touching simultaneously the near and the far, Kochi in India, the arms stretched towards Turkey, between lovers-to-be who stare out at the same eye level from different Sydney buildings, protoplasmic strands delicately touching the past, the personal, familial, political, macroscopic or microscopic, probing the relationship between surfaces, the interior, the exterior, the individual and the collective, between whole cities and the minutia of urban landscapes, extending between cultures, lovers, philosophies, art movements.

Review – Virginia Shepherd Rochford Street Review


local concerns itself with the local environment of Glebe, an inner city suburb of Sydney and with other areas of the inner city. Some of the poems were written as part of 366 Poetry Project. It traces the author’s family history and connections to the inner city and also addresses issues of colonisation and the dispossession of indigenous people in Sydney. The book contains 13 artworks by the author.

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