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.”

Links: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rae_Desmond_Jones

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 rochfordstreetreview.com/2014/01/10/let-there-be-war-between-us-robbie-coburn-reviews-decline-and-fall-by-rae-desmond-jones/

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.

Links: www.annacouani.com

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 rochfordstreetreview.com


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.

Philip Hammial

Philip Hammial grew up in and around Detroit, Michigan, where he spent his teenage years getting into serious trouble, a juvenile delinquent with too much imagination for his own good. After three years in the engine rooms of US Navy ships he went to Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan, and then to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he ‘discovered’ poetry, art, philosophy and history. Graduating with honours in English Literature and Philosophy in 1963, he went on to travel the world for a total of ten years, visiting seventy-four countries and working in three – Denmark, England and Greece.

In 1972 he arrived in Sydney on a tourist visa and nine months later was granted a residents visa. He is now an Australian citizen, married with one child, a daughter born in 1997, and has been living in the Blue Mountains since 1994. He has published twenty collections of poetry, one of prose and is the editor of 25 poetes australiens, an anthology published in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec and Paris. He is also the editor (with Ulli Beier and Rudy Krausmann) of the seminal Outsider Art in Australia. As the director of The Australian Collection of Outsider Art, he has curated or helped to organize twenty-six exhibitions of Australian Outsider Art – in Australia, Germany, France, Belgium and the US. In 1979 he became the editor of Island Press. Possibly the oldest small press in Australia still publishing poetry, Island was founded in 1970 by Philip Roberts and has published forty-seven titles to date. Hammial is also an artist. He has had thirty-three solo exhibitions and his work has been included in seventy group exhibitions.

Two of his poetry collections were short-listed for the Kenneth Slessor Prize – Bread in 2001 and In the Year of Our Lord Slaughter’s Children in 2004. He has represented Australia at four overseas poetry festivals – Poetry Africa 2000 in Durban, South Africa; the Festival Franco-Anglais de Poesie, Paris, 2000; The World Festival of Poets, Tokyo, 2000 and the Festival International de la Poesie, Trois Rivieres, Quebec, 2004. In 2001 he had a one month writer-in-residency at the Fundacion Valparaiso in Mojacar, Spain.

A member of the Woodford Bush Fire Brigade between 1995 and 2003, Hammial fought many of the fires that raged through the Blue Mountains during those years. An environmental and human rights activist, he has worked as a volunteer for the Wilderness Society and for the Free Tibet Action Group.

Links: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Hammial

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

The Beast Should Comply

Translator Song Zijiang

In National Library of Australia

Pam Brown

Pam Brown was born in Seymour, Victoria. Most of her childhood was spent on military bases in Toowoomba and Brisbane. Since her early twenties, she has lived in Melbourne and Adelaide, and has travelled widely in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions as well as Europe and the U.S., but mostly she has lived in Sydney. She has made her living variously as a silkscreen printer, bookseller, postal worker and has taught writing, multi-media studies and film-making and worked from 1989 to 2006 as a librarian at University of Sydney.

From 1997 to 2002 Pam Brown was the poetry editor of Overland and from 2004 to 2011 she was the associate editor of Jacket magazine. She has been a guest at poetry festivals worldwide, taught at the University for Foreign Languages, Hanoi, and during 2003 had Australia Council writers residency in Rome. In 2013 she held the Distinguished Visitor Award at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Links: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_Brown

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications


Alan Jefferies

Alan Jefferies grew up in Cleveland on the Queensland coast. He published his first poems in 1976 and since then his work has appeared in magazines and newspapers in Australia and overseas. He holds degrees in Communication and Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney and for many years worked as a librarian and teacher at the Workers’ Educational Association, Sydney.

Between 1982 and 1992 he lived in Coalcliff south of Sydney in a house which was a meeting place for writers, poets, artists and musicians.

In 1998 he moved to Hong Kong where he lived for almost ten years. He was one of the initiators of a spoken word event called OutLoud, which takes place on the first Wednesday of each month at the Fringe Club in the Lan Kwai Fong District on Hong Kong Island. In 2002 he co-edited an anthology of work from the readings called Outloud: an anthology of poetry from OutLoud readings.

He has published five books of poetry in Australia including Blood Angels: Poems 1976-1999 (Cerberus, 1997). In October 2004 his bilingual children’s book The crocodile who wanted to be famous, based on the real-life crocodile (Pui Pui) that visited Hong Kong, was published and attracted widespread interest from both the Chinese and English press.

His most recent poetry book Seem, is a bilingual edition English/Chinese (translated by Iris Fan Xing), and published in Macao. His work has also been translated into Arabic, Romanian and Uzbec.

The poet Ken Bolton has recently written that Jefferies’ poems “continue to evince a kind of spiritual, slightly mystical openness or suggestibility in a language that is demotic, cool-ly neutral: epiphany with no signs of struggle or effortfulness, no rhetorical war-dance”.

Links: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Jefferies

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications


trans Iris Fan Xing

In National Library of Australia

in the same breath

Greg McLaren

Greg McLaren (born 1967) is an Australian poet. Born in the New South Wales Hunter Region coalfields town, Kurri Kurri. He moved to Sydney in 1990 where he studied at the University of Sydney and in 2005 he was awarded a PhD in Australian Literature. His thesis was on Buddhist influences on the Australian poets Harold Stewart, Robert Gray and Judith Beveridge. As well as poetry, he has published reviews and criticism. Julieanne Lamond writes in Southerly that “McLaren attempts to find a stable connection between the Buddhist acceptance in the face of unknowing … and the anger and drama of his sense of history”. McLaren’s work has been anthologised widely. His poems appear in Noel Rowe and Vivian Smith’s Windchimes: Asia in Australian Poetry (Pandanus Press, 2006), Australian Poetry from 1788 (edited by Robert Gray and Geoffrey Lehmann), A Slow Combusting Hymn (edited by Kit Kelen and Jean Kent) and Contemporary Australian Poetry (edited by Martin Langford, Judith Beveridge, Judy Johnson and David Musgrave).

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

After Han Shan

In National Library of Australia

Translation: Song Zijiang