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: melindasmithpoet.com and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melinda_Smith

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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Kerri Shying

Kerri Shying is a poet of Chinese, Australian and Wiradjuri heritage who recently published sing out when you want me, a poetry collection that arose from receiving a Writing NSW Early Career Writer Grant in 2016. Membership & development officer Sherry Landow caught up with Kerri about the collection and other writing projects.

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Knitting Mangrove Roots

In National Library of Australia

Kerri Shying’s poetry taps into a very rich vein of experience. The work draws the reader in like an old friend, combining nourishing warmth with a subtle, snarky humour so precise, you can’t help laughing out loud. Knitting Mangrove Roots is Shying’s third book of poetry. The cover features a handmade “scarecrow” that is both homely and exotic, which is a good description of the poetry in this work. Though the book is the handsome pocket-size that Flying Island Books have become known for, Knitting Mangrove Roots is very much a full length collection. There are 86 poems in quite small text, each following the “elevensies” form that Shying invented and used to good effect in her book Elevensies, published in 2018 as part of Puncher and Wattman’s Slow Loris series. The form involves poems of eleven lines, with a jutting, italicised title in the middle separating the first and last parts. There is no punctuation, and everything is in lower case which gives the poems a soft quality that underlines Shying’s sharp vision. The unique structure of these poems presents a continuum from piece to piece as the title leans out towards the next poem. It almost feels as those these italicised titles form their own poem working simultaneously with the other pieces and sitting outside perimeter of the page. Each poem is short enough to read quickly and dense enough to savour through multiple re-readings.

sing out when you want me

“sing out when you need me is a powerful collection which reads easily but continues to reveal secrets and expand outward with each re-reading. The mostly short poems stay with you, becoming little charms against all of our inevitable deteriorations. It is all about “keeping going” which, in the face of pain, poverty, confinement, medical visits, the poking and prodding of life itself, becomes a heroic, transcendent act:”

Reviewed by Magdalena Ball Compulsive Reader June 2018

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Michael Crane

Michael Crane is an Australian poet, writer and compere of poetry events in Melbourne.

Born in Brisbane in 1961, Crane moved to Melbourne at age 18. He has been an active member of Melbourne’s poetry scene, performing in many open poetry readings from 1989 to 1991. In 1991, Crane organised the first Poetry Slam to be held in Australia and has organised and run more than 150 since.

Crane’s work has been published in literary journals and magazines, and he has self-published three chapbooks between 1991 and 1994, including The Book of Screams, An Almost Summer and Joan of Arc was a fire eater. Ten of Crane’s poems appeared in the collection Loose Kangaroos in 1998. Crane’s first collection of poetry, The Lightmaster, was published in 1999 by Phoebe Press. He released Not Mad Just Raving, a CD of spoken word with musical accompaniment. In 2003, Ninderry Press released A Dog Called Yesterday – Selected Poems and Prose. In 2007, Picaro Press published Crane’s chapbook of poetry entitled Poems from the 29th Floor. This was released at the 2007 Melbourne Writers Festival. Since 2001, Crane has written 200 micro stories called Postcards from the End of the World, many of which have appeared in the literary magazine Gangway. He has also written a yet-to-be-published detective novel.

Michael Crane is one of the most published writers in literary journals and newspapers since 1994 including poems in the Best Australian Poems 2011,2014 & 2015. He has been compared to legendary writer Charles Bukowski, established Poets, David Brooks and Geoff Page.

Links: Wikipedia – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Crane_(writer)

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Poems from the 29th Floor 

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Les Wicks

Over 45 years Wicks has performed widely in Australia & internationally. Published/broadcast in over 400 different channels, magazines, anthologies & newspapers across 35 countries in 15 languages. Conducts workshops around Australia, has edited various projects over the decades, latest being Guide to Sydney Crime (2022) & runs Meuse Press which focuses on poetry outreach projects like poetry on buses & poetry published on the surface of a river. His 15th book of poetry is Time Taken – New & Selected (Puncher & Wattmann, 2022).

Links: leswicks.tripod.com/lw.htm

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications


…because his eye is withering and direct, Wicks gives his subjects a dignity and specificity that many a contemporary Australian novelist would envy.

Adam Aitken, Communion

Iconoclastic, irreverent, but always vigorous and compelling.

Margaret Bradstock

an elaborate mosaic where the tiles are words; paradoxes, satire and the vernacular adorn the pages of this beautifully crafted book. 

Beatriz Copello

clever and brutal – an unflinching examination of human belief, in all of its horror and beauty.

Judith Nangala Crispin

…Belief displays an accomplished elder statesman of Australian poetry laying out with disarming agreeableness some of the fundamental questions of the near future. Often playful, sometimes circular, always self-aware in an optimistic rather than despairing way…

Lucas Smith, Plumwood Mountain

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Danny Gentile

Danny Gentile is a Newcastle-based poet, with works published in journals such as Overland, Stylus Poetry Journal, Meanjin and Southerly, and anthologies including The Best Australian Poetry 2006, The Best Australian Poems 2008, New Beginnings: An Anthology and Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets 2009.

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

The Icicle Tree 

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Geoff Page

Geoffrey Donald Page (born 7 July 1940) is an Australian poet, translator, teacher and jazz enthusiast.

He has published 22 collections of poetry, as well as prose and verse novels. Poetry and jazz are his driving interests, and he has also written a biography of the jazz musician Bernie McGann. He organises poetry readings and jazz events in Canberra.

Page has held residencies at numerous academic, military and political institutions, including Edith Cowan UniversityCurtin University, the Australian Defence Force Academy, and the University of Wollongong. From 1974 to 2001 Page was head of the English department at Narrabundah College, a secondary college in Canberra. He retired from teaching in 2001.

He has travelled widely, talking on Australian poetry in Switzerland, Britain, Italy, Singapore, China, the United States and New Zealand. His poetic style ranges from lyrical to satirical, from serious to humorous – and often addresses his concerns about contemporary society and politics. Judith Beveridge writes that “Page is a humanely satirical poet. He lets us view our condition with a fusion of the comic and the tragic.”

Page is the poetry reviewer for ABC Radio’s The Book Show and, for a decade before that, its Books and Writing program.

Page curated the Poetry at the Gods and Jazz at the Gods series at the Gods Cafe in Canberra, and now curates Geoff’s At Smiths.

Links: His own Wikipedia page – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoff_Page

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications


trans Chris Song, Matthew Cheng (in National Library of Australia)

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Clark Gormley

Clark Gormley is a poet and singer-songwriter based in Newcastle.  He has been heavily involved in organising and promoting local poetry readings for over 20 years.  He has been published in several anthologies including Visions from the Valley, A Slow Combusting Hymn and Brew: 30 Years of Poetry at the Pub Newcastle. He has written and performed three nerd-themed one-man shows and a bunch of nerdy wordy songs.  Gormley pursues these creative endeavours in an effort to counterbalance the stodginess of a career in chemical engineering.

Links: www.clarkgormley.com

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Clark Gormley is a poet and singer-songwriter based in Newcastle.  He has been heavily involved in organising and promoting local poetry readings for over 20 years.  He has been published in several anthologies including Visions from the Valley, A Slow Combusting Hymn and Brew: 30 Years of Poetry at the Pub Newcastle. He has written and performed three nerd-themed one-man shows and a bunch of nerdy wordy songs.  Gormley pursues these creative endeavours in an effort to counterbalance the stodginess of a career in chemical engineering.

Links: www.clarkgormley.com

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Not what you think

Not What You Think is a collection of poems that uses wit and wordplay to explore the hidden stories of everyday life. Many of the poems delve into the domestic suburban surrounds of his home-town. Others offer a satirical take on nature and modern technology. From watching birds to venetian blinds and nonsense rhymes, Gormley’s poetry adds lustre to things we know so well that we often stop thinking about them.

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Susan Fealy

Susan Fealy is a Melbourne-based poet, reviewer and clinical psychologist.  Her poems have been published in Australian journals and anthologies including Best Australian Poems 200920102013 and 2017. Others appear in the United States, India and Sweden. Among awards for her poetry are the NSW Society of Women Writers National Poetry Prize and the Henry Kendall Poetry Award. Her first collection, Flute of Milk (UWAP) won the 2017 Wesley Michel Wright Prize.

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

The Earthing of Rain

More information about The Earthing of Rain to come.

translation Iris Fan Xing

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Kit Kelen

Christopher (Kit) Kelen (客遠文) is a well-known Australian poet, scholar and visual artist, and Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Macau, where he taught Creative Writing and Literature for many years.

Kit Kelen’s poetry has been published and broadcast widely since the seventies, and he has won a number of prestigious awards over the years, including an ABA/ABC Bicentennial Prize in 1988; and in 1992 an Anne Elder award for his first volume of poems The Naming of the Harbour and the Trees. He has also won Westerly‘s Patricia Hackett Prize and placed second in Island’s Gwen Harwood Prize. In 2012, his poem ‘Time with the Sky’ was runner up in the Newcastle Poetry Prize, an award for which he has been frequently shortlisted. In 2017, Kit was shortlisted twice for the Montreal Poetry Prize and, for the second time, won the Local Award in the Newcastle Poetry Prize.

Volumes of Kit Kelen’s poetry have been published in Chinese, Portuguese, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Indonesian and Filipino. The most recent of Kelen’s dozen English language poetry books are China Years – New and Selected Poems (2012, ASM/Flying Islands) and Scavenger’s Season (2014, Puncher and Wattmann). He also has a mini-selected poems in the form of A Pocket Kit. His next collection of poetry, Poor Man’s Coat – Hardanger Poems is being published by University of Western Australia Press in 2018.

The most recent of Kelen’s ten solo painting exhibitions were Next Stop is the Stars (Rui Cunha Foundation Gallery, Macao) in 2015; in 2016, Dotze Pinturas (Estudio Nomada, Barcelona); and in 2017, Kelen’s exhibition up through branches – por árvores acima – held at the SNBA (National Society of Fine Arts) Gallery in Lisbon.

For the last decade Kelen has been facilitating the translation of Chinese poetry into English and of Australian poets into Chinese, projects which have so far produced a dozen large scale bilingual anthologies. These projects involved bringing poets and translators to Australia (notably to Bundanon, the University of Western Australia, and Kelen’s Australian home) to workshop with poets being translated. They have likewise involved hosting poets for workshops and meetings in Macao, and elsewhere in China. Apart from parallel-text anthologies Kelen has notably co-translated two volumes with the late Hong Kong poet Leung Ping Kwan (Ya Si), and four with Macao poet Yao Jing Ming (Yao Feng).

Kit Kelen has also worked with poets and translators to co-translate and publish volumes of poetry from French, Norwegian and Indonesian. A 2012 volume, Notes for the Translators, collected the work of 142 Australian and New Zealand poets, together with advice from authors on how their particular works might be translated into any language.

As an editor and anthologist more generally, Kit Kelen has published the work of hundreds of poets from around the world, but especially from China and Australia.

In 2008, he co-edited with Agnes Vong the first English-language anthology of Macao poetry, containing the work of more than 120 Macao poets, some writing in English, many translated from Chinese and Portuguese. In 2009, his critical volume City of Poets – Exploring Macao Poetry Today appeared to accompany the 2008 anthology.

In Australia, A Slow Combusting Hymn (co-edited with Jean Kent, in 2014) collected the work of more than sixty Newcastle/Hunter-region associated poets. Writing to the Wire (co-edited with Dan Disney and published by UWAP in 2016) brought Australians poets and poets in Australian immigration detention together in a sustained meditation on the question of ethos and the meaning of nation in the case of Australia.

Nation and nationalism have been an abiding interest in Kit Kelen’s own poetry and in his literary research. With Björn Sundmark, Kelen has edited two major international collections on Children’s Literature – The Nation in Children’s Literature and Where Children Rule (both with Routledge). He is currently working on a monograph (under contract with Routledge) about poetry, children and anthropomorphism.

Kelen’s published research into national anthems dates back to the 1990s and he has written many articles on this subject. This work has culminated in the publication of two monographs – Anthem Quality – National Songs: A Theoretical Survey (2014, Intellect/University of Chicago Press) and (with A. Pavkovik) Anthems and the Making of Nation States – Identity and Nationalism in the Balkans (2016, I.B.Tauris).

Kit Kelen has also published a more general monograph on poetics: Poetry, Consciousness and Community (2009, Rodopi)

Kit Kelen is Series Editor for ASM/Flying Islands books and, in this role, has cultivated a pocket poets series, publishing writers in various languages from around the world, but especially from Australia and China. Kelen is also Literary Editor for Postcolonial Text.

Since 2016, Kelen has co-ordinated Project 366 – an international on-line community of practice, involving poets and visual artists in daily postings of draft work. As a participant in this project (originally intended to run only for the duration 2016) Kit has now posted a new draft poem to the blog every day for more than 800 days.

A new on-line collaboration among poets and artists A Conversation in Poetry has recently commenced (in 2018). Participants in this project – including many of Australia’s best-known poets) respond in kind to each others’ work, without any time limits.

Kit Kelen lives and works on a five-acre block, in a valley between forests, in the Myall Lakes district of New South Wales. He writes and paints every day.

In 2017, Professor Kelen was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Malmö, in Sweden.

Links: kitkelen.com

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Wake to Play: Poems in First Philosophy

trans Papa Osmubal (in National Library of Australia)

A Pocket Kit 2

In National Library of Australia

A Pocket Kit

In National Library of Australia

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