from Dominique Hecq and Béatrice Machet’s “Crypto”

Virtu L

ce qui ne se voit pas n’existe pas
objet toi       Le plus visible
                Le plus accessible
                Le plus vite possible 

tout entier dans son image 
comme Narcisse
sans reste aucun
mirez-moi ca

transparence absolue 
        transparence tue
Virtu L

which is not seen doesn’t exist 
object you the most visibLe 
        the most accessibLe
  the most readily possibLe

entirely whole in one’s image
like Narcissus 
nothing left over
behold id

absolute transparency 
dead muted transparency 

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

Huang Lihai 作者, 黃禮孩

Huang Lihai was born in the 70s in Xuwen county, the southernmost tip of the Chinese mainland. His poems have been included in more than one hundred anthologies and he has published a number of poetry collections, including I Know Little about Life, Feed Rainbows to the Birds and Who Can Outrun Lightning. He has written essays and critiques on art, dance, film, and poetry. In 1999, he founded Poetry and People journal and in 2005 established the Poetry and People International Poetry Award. He has won a number of prizes, including the 8th Lu Xun Literature and Arts Award, Phoenix TV’s Annual Artist Award, the Lebanon International Literary Award and the first Hai Zi Poetry Award. He is currently the editor of China and Western Poetry Magazine.

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Feed Birds Rainbows

Translator(s) 譯者, 客遠文Kit Kelen, 宋子江Song Zijiang

Gail Hennessy

Gail Hennessy was educated at Our Lady of Mercy College Cronulla and graduated from the University of Sydney with a BA degree in 1959. From 1960 to 1988 she lived and worked in Canberra with her husband and five children. During the 1970s and 1980s her poetry was widely published in regional and national newspapers and literary journals. She was an active member of the Canberra branch of the Society of Women Writers.

In 1988 she moved to Newcastle.  During the 1990s she committed herself to academic work in the field of Australian/Aboriginal studies, graduating in 1999 from the University of Newcastle with a Masters degree by research into the autobiographies of Aboriginal women. This work led to her successful PhD thesis of 2004, ‘Testimonio: Witnessing my Mother’s Life in Twentieth Century Australia’. After completing her thesis Hennessy returned to poetry and has been successful in a number of competitions and anthologies. In 2009 she produced a collection of old and new works under the title Witnessing which derived from her PhD work. (Biography provided by author to the National Library of Australia.)

Hennessey’s Written on Water (Flying Island Books) was published in 2017. The M Word (Girls on Key) was published in 2018 . It is a memoir about postnatal psychosis, and addresses the stigma around mental illness.

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Written on Water

In National Library of Australia

Common or Garden Poets – Post #2 – Jean Kent inviting Gail Hennessy


In my Mother’s Garden

   for Gail Hennessy

first thing from the veranda

an orchestra tuning
instruments of bright …

Kit Kelen, ‘secret no one can keep’


For an hour before dawn a secret bird
practises its song.  Nine notes,
a melody neat

as an artlessly tied silk scarf,
too quicky looped &
flung around the neck of the garden

for its labour to linger in my ear.

In this drowsing twilight my dream –
harrowing empty corridors,
seeding departed rooms
with small hopes of finding my mother—

ends with a bunch of hospital flowers,
a bought garden bright in my hands
but no dented metal dipper like hers

offering a rainwater bath before a vase.

Spangled with spiderwebs her garden
makes mazes now—
narrow pathways with more room
for plants than people.

Under the curtaining wisteria
who will take banana peel
to the orchids?  Who will shiver the dew
over the freesias and the thryptomene?

Who will follow her,
snipping and sniffing and accepting
the riddles of sleeping under earth

and waking seasons later

as if the secret we forget could never be
that we’re just flutter-byes,
brief flittery visitors

to these springs, premature
or predictably passing
in a wink?

Remembering our hydrangeas of childhood,
how patiently they waited for summer
to fill heads with sky-blue

I think of the man in Japan
drowned in tears after the 2011 tsunami,
searching for his family in the Fukushima ruins

until, at last, he planted canola,
a maze of rising sunshine,
a place to be happily lost.

Though it will not last forever,
the light is longer there.
It opens the faces of visitors like secrets

everyone is happy to share.
For this season of flowering, at least,
we all know

if we save the garden, the garden may save us.




Hello Flying Islanders!

I’m very excited to have been warmly welcomed into this community and blogosphere as an honorary member after launching Steve Armstrong’s latest pocket book of poetry What’s Left.

I’m a poet, and emerging literary critic, living on Darkinjung country on the Central Coast of NSW. My chapbook, A Fistful of Hail, was published by Vagabond Press in 2018.

Here’s a poem from that collection, which inspired the title:


You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed…

Psalm 128:2

Time has scalloped and tightly crimped

the hill’s stone — all the troughs

and rifts of its flanks studded

with cypress, laurels. The Acrocorinth

juts into wind above the yellowed vineyards

and timber pig-sheds, the fish

like wands of garnet or black-spotted quartz

carving the shallows at Vrahati beach.

My grandfather’s people


clusters of bitter-and-sweet jade fruit

from the vines, while time – like a god’s

hand on the hill – tapped off seams

of limestone with the rain’s pick, or pounded out

trenches with fistfuls of hail, lightning.

In the village, pines drip

resin in the brush. I walk

dirt tracks where hens pace for seed. In dusty

gardens, in olive groves, the goats swank

oily beards, the hammered scrolls

of horns, gnashing thyme thickets — the Acrocorinth

pale as whey to the south. From here

I make out the old acropolis extruding

from the hill like blunted teeth; I probe,

till my eyes ache, for Aphrodite’s

temple, nesting somewhere in the high

ridges. The Corinthian Gulf flickers

down a north-east road, and I know

this evening the sun will strut there like a peacock

trailing long feathers across

the water. Soon, I’ll walk back

to my great uncle’s house.

He’ll empty wine from a barrel.

He’ll tell me stories of his brother’s fist.

I’ve seen the x-rays — my mother’s

dented wrist, forearm — all the fractured

bones. And I’ll think of those hands,

coaxing, on the vines; and I’ll think of a god

with a fistful of hail. I’ll drink

the cool, bitter pink liquid, and currents

of sweetness will twist

through each mouthful.


‘Acrocorinth’ was first published in Philament Journal — Precarity, Vol. 22 December 2016; and appeared in The Best Australian Poems 2017.

Dominique Hecq

Dominique Hecq grew up in the French-speaking part of Belgium. She now lives in Melbourne. With a BA in Germanic Philology, an MA in literary translation, and a PhD in English, Hecq writes across genres and disciplines—and sometimes across tongues. Her creative works include a novel, three collections of stories, and ten volumes of poetry— Kaosmos (Melbourne Poets Union) and Tracks: Autofictional Fragments of a Journey without Maps (Recent Work Press), both published in 2020 are her latest.

Among other honours such as the Melbourne Fringe Festival Award for Outstanding Writing and Spoken Word Performance, the Woorilla Prize for Fiction, the Martha Richardson Medal for Poetry, the New England Poetry Prize, and the inaugural AALITRA Prize for Literary Translation (Spanish to English), Dominique Hecq is a recipient of the 2018 International Best Poets Prize administered by the International Poetry Translation and Research Centre in conjunction with the International Academy of Arts and Letters.

Fencing with Béatrice Machet in 2018, Dominique contributed a bilingual Flying Islands Press pocket book titled Crypto.

Plus proche de l’aube

Attrape le jour par la peau du coup

les retours au bercail ont les dents pointues

bien qu’ignorantes du sens elles mordent et


les premières rondeurs     avec un premier amour

sombres et douces les paroles

se fondent dans le tourbillon de l’encre

que nous appelons survie

goutte à goutte c’est toi-même reflété et recueilli

aussi noir que le souffle quand il se faufile

entre les crocs

sous le soleil qui louche

si chaud      tu te glisses    à l’intérieur

en fuite   et griffonne

                       au sujet de rencontres


un oiseau-arc-en-ciel—qui

ne t’appartient pas—

est ta main     qui salue

que pourrait-elle attraper qui ne s’échapperait

en gribouillant

mais un « je »

avec multiples voix

et personnages sauvant

scénarios et fragments de temps

ou de mort

quelles quantités pour la même chose

mais un I

ceberg en guise de bateau

revendiquant son extériorité

qui fermente jusqu’à ce que gonflé jusqu’à

ce qu’éclaté prématurément

en essayant pourtant d’être plus humain                   

alors que des dents de glace s’écrasent sur le rivage 

Nearer this dawn

Pick up the day by the scruff of the neck

homecomings have sharp teeth

though ignorant of meaning they bite

taking puppy fat            for puppy love

and dark      soft     words

melt in ink swirl we call


drop by drop it is

your very self reflected and gathered

as dark as breath  when it sneaks out

between fangs

under the cross-eyed sun

so hot        you creep       inside

and scribble at large

                         about interstellar


a rainbow bird—which

doesn’t belong to you—

is your hand      wavering

what could it grasp that wouldn’t escape

through scrawling 

but an I

with multiple voices

and personae salvaging

scenarios and pieces of time

                                  or death

which amounts to the same thing

but an I

ceberg standing for the ship

claiming its outsiderhood

fermenting till swollen till

prematurely split open

 yet trying to be more human 

 as iceteeth crash on the shoreline