Sea Skins

‘Word Flight’ by Sophia Wilson

I woke to hear the murmurings of a new language:
brainstem compromise, cerebromedullary
disconnection, de-efferented state

My brain
was inundated and turned to slosh
like plains after the flood’s passed through

speech swept away by torrent
vocal cords divorced from breath
expression marooned 
and I am now a silent island  

devoid of movement and of gesture
no matter how I muster will
to signal ‘stop’
or raise a lip-corner of smile

Monotony weighs in, a daily groan
Nurses flit. Fluids enter and exit via tubes
Medical students loom
dangling stethoscopes like rattles

I’m locked in, looking out
tracking the movements of others
who are teaching me
to employ eyelid-flutter as speech

I haven’t achieved competence 
with the new Morse – 
lid movements are effort-laden
my code, indecipherable

so I can’t tell them I’m leaving
that I’ll employ the words
crowding my head, aim their acuity
at the rot, dissect and redefine it  

I’ll fly out through the key-hole
if I have to

They think I’m wallowing in my own
but I am gathering strength
to soar 

( In memory of Vivian Wilson, honorary Māori chief and All Black, 1899–1978 )   

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Belief by Les Wicks

By the Wayside

Over the drinks

Alise started discussing “us veterans”

as though we had conquered something real.

There were enough stories that day,

our backs bent, the calcium dust we shed as we struggle on towards dotage.

There’s a form of war universally fought against the years.

She had a hit in the 80’s.

Staunch, she faces this foe that always defeats

but that’s not the point.

Later, look her up on google, 251734 results.

Then think back her ex-lover Janet

that careless brilliance the photographs, poems

her singing voice raw with gitanes & clarity.

I think about the “fallen”,

those casualties to narrative,

the ones who shone with promise flared a few years

then disappeared.

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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 (kindredtrees.com.au) 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.

Links: sarahstvincentwelch.com

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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Wang Mingyun 王明韻:六月雪

Wang Mingyun is a member of the Chinese Writers’ Association and the China Film Association, and was awarded as a National First Class Writer. He is Vice-chairman of Anhui Writers Association and Chief Editor of the Poetry Monthly Magazine. Wang has published more than 10 books of poems, including The Fourteen Lines of the Body, Original Sin, and Immortal Book.

He has issued five volumes of prose essays including Burst into Tears for Life, Walking Fish, and Admiring Pigs. His works have been translated into English, French, Russian, Korean and Japanese.

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications


Translator(s) 譯者, 梅丹理 Denis Mair.

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Camellia Wei 韋靜瑩:許多昨天和一個冬天

Carmellia Wei Jing Ying comes from Guangxi, home of the largest minority in China, the Zhuang. She was brought up in a Zhuang family and was greatly influenced by the native song culture (traditional oral poetry). In 2015 she was completing her Masters degree at the University of Macau.

Links: www.facebook.com/camellia.wei

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Many Yesterdays More than Seasons

In National Library of Australia

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Anne Walsh

Anne Walsh is a poet and a story writer whose work falls somewhere on the border of those two countries. She’s been shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize twice and for the ACU Prize for literature. Her first book of poems, I Love Like a Drunk Does, was published by Ginninderra Press (2009, Australia). Her second book of poems, Intact, was published in January, 2017 by Flying Island Books. Her poems have been published widely in Australia and abroad. Her work has also been published in the U.S., including a short story, The Rickman Digression (Glimmer Train).

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications


In National Library of Australia

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Robert Wood

Robert Wood is a poet and essayist living in Redgate, Western Australia. His writing focuses on our relationship with the natural world and draws on his experiences of country, suburb and city to create mythic landscapes informed by history and philosophy.

Robert has worked for Australian Poetry, edited for Overland, Peril and Cordite, been a columnist for Cultural Weekly and was the first poet on the faculty of The School of Life. He just signed his first official book contract for History and the Poet

Links: www.liminalmag.com/interviews/robert-wood

Flying Islands Pocket Poet Publications

Concerning A Farm

In National Library of Australia

Concerning a Farm, a collection of fifty eight, mainly short, free verse poems, is a pocket sized volume, but shows large ambition and breadth. It is the third book published by Robert Wood, the Western Australian poet whose previous publications are History & the Poet: Essays on Australian Poetry, and Land Mass, a hundred page poetic history of Australia.

See review by Lyn Chatham plumwoodmountain.com/lyn-chatham-reviews-concerning-a-farm-by-robert-wood

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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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killing my commas softly (Sarah St Vincent Welch)

killing my commas softly (Sarah St Vincent Welch)

enamoured of the pause

the dawdling the adding on

the lists, the enjambent

forced, I admit 


less in love

with the arguments the rules

the haughtiness of editors

(not poetry editors, mind you)

my prosey report editing colleagues

holding up a falling edifice

by themselves the masses


the commas in their iron hearts

the comma the most weaponised

of all punctuation

aimed across desks as ninja stars

commas the shape of tears

raining from above


I prefer to massage a sentence

break it up gently with a timely, small

restructure to avoid the stabs

I avoid pain


in poetry my commas are shedding

like autumn falls

like rubbed eyelashes 



a sweep of black kohl wiped off with oil

even the ninja stars yes 

the shurikens spinning

lodged in the walls 

I leap to the ceiling and cling



my aspiration is    to    let

you find your own breath

within my lines my marks

rarely ask for you to hold 

for over long

to tease you to a pant 

on occasion 

then rest in a    space

an absence

a rythmic 

letting go 

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