A

Richard James Allen

Richard James Allen is an Australian poet, born in Kempsey, New South Wales, on the unceded lands of the Dunghutti Aboriginal People. His writing has appeared widely in journals, anthologies, and online, and he has been a popular reader at multiple reading venues, over many years. His latest volume of poetry, The short story of you and I, was published by UWA Publishing in February 2019. A suite of recent poems, Minimum Correct Dosage, commissioned by Red Room Poetry, was published in December 2019. Previous critically acclaimed books of poetry, fiction and performance texts include Fixing the Broken Nightingale (Flying Island Books), The Kamikaze Mind (Brandl & Schlesinger) and Thursday’s Fictions (Five Islands Press), shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. A new book, More Lies (Interactive Press), in print, eBook and audio book form read by him, in 2021.

Former Artistic Director of the Poets Union Inc., and director of the inaugural Australian Poetry Festival, Richard is the creator of #RichardReads (https://soundcloud.com/user-387793087), an online compendium of Global Poetry, Read Aloud, and an editor of the landmark anthology, Performing the Unnameable: An Anthology of Australian Performance Texts (Currency Press/RealTime).

Well known for his multi-award-winning career as a filmmaker and choreographer with The Physical TV Company (http://physicaltv.com.au/), and critically acclaimed as a performer in a range of media and contexts, Richard has a track record for innovative adaptations and interactions of poetry and other media, including collaborations with artists in dance, film, theatre, music and a range of digital platforms.

The recipient of numerous awards, nominations, and grants, as well as multiple opportunities for presentations, screenings and broadcasts, he graduated with First Class Honours for his B.A. at Sydney University and won the Chancellor’s Award for most outstanding PhD thesis at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Links: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_James_Allen

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Fixing the Broken Nightingale

In National Library of Australia

Nearly 40 years later his tenth book of poetry, Fixing the Broken Nightingale, from Flying Island Books, is a journey from the comical and personal to the profound and provoking. Fixing the Broken Nightingale moves through five sections of poetry plus a prologue and epilogue, each focusing on a theme and creating an overall snowball effect from the internal to the universal.

In the first section titled ‘Natural disasters’, Allen gives the reader a quirky glimpse into day-to-day life, love, and creativity. It is as if Allen has sat down with the reader in a busy coffee shop after many months distance and plunged into discussions of lost umbrellas, tattered books, street-walking drug addicts and lucky pennies.

Throughout the second section, ‘Unanswered questions’, Allen holds our hand through a lifetime of love, stopping to focus our attention on sex and suffering through visceral imagery and structure. Form becomes an important technique in poems such as ‘Cradled in the elbow of time and space’, and ‘It doesn’t take long to forget’, a prose poem of energetic run-on sentences in oppressive block-text.

Sections ‘Occasional truths’ and ‘Flickering enlightenment’ confront death, aging, and insignificance. Here Allen takes each reader’s head in his hands and gently repositions our view, looking out of ourselves and making us feel small and dark like, ‘being inside / a cathedral built / of souls’ or falling ‘between the hand and the heart… because it’s easier than answering such questions’.

Allen describes his final section, ‘A scheme for brightness’, as an affirmation of art (that ‘Behind the thin mask of art / is the nothing. Nothing.’). However, it speaks also as an affirmation of love. The reader is led to consider that throughout the previous sections’ heartache and loss, what is ultimately important is ‘the greater love that passes through us, that binds all things’.

Fixing the Broken Nightingale first comically points a finger at the reader’s chest and then directs their gaze to the dark firmament of death, doubt, and smallness above them, leaving you with a feeling of having sped through life in a mere hundred pages.

Source: writingnsw.org.au/book-review-fixing-the-broken-nightingale-by-richard-james-allen/

Andres Ajens

Andrés Ajens is a Chilean poet, essayist, translator and literary activist born in 1961. Among his books of poems and hybrid essays are Conmemoración de inciertas fechas y otro poema (1992), La última carta de Rimbaud (1995), Más íntimas mistura (1998), and O Entrevero (2008). His latest book is Æ (Santiago: Das Kapital Ediciones, 2015).  He co-directs and edits for Intemperie Ediciones and is a co-director with the late Emma Villazón of the international South American journal Mar con Soroche. His work in poetry and essay touches on indigenous writing and languages, the history of literature in the West, poststructuralist philosophy, and linguistics, and uses formal elements both traditional and postmodern. In English translation, he has published quase flanders, quase extramadura, translated from Spanish by Erín Moure of poems from Más íntimas mistura. (Cambridge, UK: CCCP, 2001; Victoria, BC Canada: La Mano Izquierda, 2008). His essays appear in English as Poetry After the Invention of America: Don’t Light the Flower, Michelle Gil-Montero, translator (NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). His work has also been translated into French and has appeared in both France and Quebec, and in Spanish has been published in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and other South American countries.

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Bolivian Sea

In National Library of Australia

Steve Armstrong

Steve Armstrong

Steve Armstrong lives in Newcastle, New South Wales, and writes poetry when he’s not working as a social worker/therapist.

Described as a poet of “landscape, desire, memory, love, lust and loss…” (Mark Tredinnick), he won the Bruce Dawe Poetry Prize in 2015, the Local Award of the Newcastle Poetry Prize in 2014 and 2019. He’s been shortlisted for the Ron Pretty Prize (twice), and the Australian Catholic University Poetry Prize.  What’s Left is a collection that of poems that explores what it means to walk with the world; the natural world, or in those pockets of wild close at hand in an urban environment, and for that matter, within ourselves.  Broken Ground, his first collection, was released by University of Western Australia Publishing in 2018. He posts poetry on Instagram @lyricforinstance

Links: www.stevearmstrong-poesis.com

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Whats Left

What’s left

What’s Left picks up where Steve’s 2018 collection Broken Ground left off, and further explores what it means to walk with the natural world. Many poems draw inspiration from classical Chinese poetry where a love of nature leads to a deeper meditation on what it means to be human. “Mengjiao – bird in an empty city”, and “pluck a lotus for pleasure – women poets of the Song Dynasty” are ASM  titles that have been particularly influential.

standing still the trees: works on paper by Carol Archer

 

Archer’s drawings and prints celebrate the sense of immersion and wonder one feels when standing with trees. Meanderings near the artist’s home in the Myall Lakes region of N.S.W. and further afield have moved the artist to make these pictures. A preoccupation with light suggests the ephemerality of human perception. The viewpoint, towards ground rather than sky, underlines trees’ resilience and rootedness in ancient earth and rock. 

More about Carol Archer at www.carolarcher.com 

Steve Armstrong – What’s Left

Hi fellow Flying Islanders

I’m thrilled to have joined your ranks; my pocket book What’s Left was launched December 2020. 

I’m a poet living in Newcastle, who works as social worker/counsellor when I’m not writing.

Dimitra Harvey, poet and editor of Mascara Literary Review launched What’s Left at the Poet’s Picnic in Markwell, and said in conclusion-
   “

For me, Steve’s poetry attends to what Burnside describes as ‘a new science of belonging’ — one that, in his words, puts us ‘back in the open’, seeks ‘to make us both vulnerable and wondrous again — to reconnect us’ with the earth. What’s Lef is charged with that ecological imperative to dwell in and with the rest of the world in a new way.”
This poem Lizards the is taken from the collection.

Lizards

The fetor strikes me first,
and then I find them, a pair of shingle-backs
with armoured scales of polished brown.
They lie close together by the sandy track
that takes me along the high-line of a dry lake.

The smaller of the two is dead.
Mobbing flies and his sinking, say to me,
they’ve spent some time like this.

She’s unflinching.
I stop to wonder how long a novice widow
might keep her vigil. Maybe she’ll go
when he’s lost all resemblance to the one she knew,
or when hunger foreshadows her own decease.
I can imagine a crow might drive her off.

My reductive eye—its blinkered flash—
sees only instinct here.
Even though a pared-back vision is not without
its place,
I’ve feelings for this cold-blooded
couple.

They lived alone much of the year,
then each season, still enchanted—imprints held
in memory—they’d meet up again.
How will she live with what was and is no longer?

I stand by them and the last of the evening
light falls into bed,
true as the lake flats.

Richard James Allen


Richard James Allen is an Australian poet.  He was born in Kempsey, New South Wales, on the unceded lands of the Dunghutti Aboriginal People.  His writing has appeared widely in journals, anthologies, and online over many years.  His latest volume of poetry, The short story of you and I, was published by UWA Publishing in February 2019.  A suite of recent poems, Minimum Correct Dosage, commissioned by Red Room Poetry, was published in December 2019.  Previous critically acclaimed books of poetry, fiction and performance texts include Fixing the Broken Nightingale (Flying Island Books), The Kamikaze Mind (Brandl & Schlesinger) and Thursday’s Fictions (Five Islands Press), shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry.  

Former Artistic Director of the Poets Union Inc., and director of the inaugural Australian Poetry Festival, Richard is the creator of #RichardReads (https://soundcloud.com/user-387793087), an online compendium of Global Poetry, Read Aloud, and an editor of the landmark anthology, Performing the Unnameable: An Anthology of Australian Performance Texts (Currency Press/RealTime). 

Well known for his multi-award-winning career as a filmmaker and choreographer with The Physical TV Company (http://physicaltv.com.au/), and critically acclaimed as a performer in a range of media and contexts, Richard has a track record for innovative adaptations and interactions of poetry and other media, including collaborations with artists in dance, film, theatre, music and a range of digital platforms.  

The recipient of numerous awards, nominations, and grants, as well as multiple opportunities for presentations, screenings and broadcasts, he graduated with First Class Honours for his B.A. at Sydney University and won the Chancellor’s Award for most outstanding PhD thesis at the University of Technology, Sydney.  

how many umbrellas or love letters

how many umbrellas have I lost in my lifetime – left in the pristine

foyers of yoga centres, in the muddy corners of coffee shops, in the

mysterious worlds that exist under the seats in bus shelters, dangling

like bats off park benches?

I imagine each of these umbrellas, all dead and forgotten now of course, as giant origami love letters, which people I don’t know opened to the plunging sky with delight and relief.

looking back, these random forgetfulnesses may have been the major contribution of my life, popping up in the lives of others like the tips of islands emerging in a world where the sea levels are actually dropping to save beautiful but bedraggled shipwrecked wayfarers in a lost play by a man still named Bill.

 And then 

the rainless dawn.

(from Richard James Allen, Fixing the Broken Nightingale, Flying Island Books, 2014)