Kelly Street writing residencies

At the end of 2021 and start of 2022 I was fortunate enough to be able to self-fund a couple of writing residencies in Hobart at my beloved Kelly Street Cottage.

My beautiful doorstep in Hobart

Although I had applied for the residency in the official manner, ongoing border closures and contact restrictions played tremendous havoc with the residency’s planning, forcing the organisers to have to rearrange everything and postpone the stays of people who had been booked in already.

Because of my status as a Queensland resident, and my newly flexible existence as someone whose job had been made redundant, I made the trip to Hobart, and just went with the flow to be the residency’s first guest in over a year.

It’s hard for me to overstate how much I adore Hobart. When I’m there, I can walk around all day, just beaming with excitement. I must look like a real idiot, but I don’t care. To feel the strange rush of invigoration I get from the place is extraordinary. I remember when I landed there on 29th September 2021 and walked up the street and smelled the woodsmoke from the chimneys, I was just in heaven.

Anyway, writing and editing had been slow. I seemed to have lost a level of sureness about what was good, what should stay, what should be cut, what should be built on. I was just drifting, mentally, stylistically.

When I returned in February 2022, I really dug in. I wanted something to show for all this. A friend sent through some award and submission notifications. One was for a chapbook competition. That seemed to grab me — I’ll do a chapbook. Well, that decision just cemented something, and soon I had gathered nine of my poems into a document, edited them, and then (this was the clincher) with the feedback from the same friend of a couple of suggestions about which poems should stay together in the sequence, I suddenly had a viable document. I was actually proud of the work, and I felt like I had my judgement back.

So, thank you Hobart, and thanks to my reader friends who gave me feedback and confirmation when I was a bit lost with things.

And a huge thank you to the Salamanca Arts Centre who administrates the Kelly Street Cottage residency. Thank you for letting me be your flexible artist-in-residence during a very weird time for us all.

Catching up a bit…

Yes, I’m one of those people catching up on a few posts since 2020.

Without trying to lift anything too heavy with this little update, I’ll just mention my ongoing co-editing of the online poetry journal, foam:e. I’m very glad to have continued to be part of the little team on this publication, mainly with Angela Gardner, and now also with assistance from Kerry Kilner. foam:e accepts poetry submissions every year in a window starting from the beginning of September and closing at the end of November. Then we make our selections and the issue is published the following March. I’m happy to see what comes in next.

I would also like to mention an essay I had published in Cordite Poetry Review. I’m very proud of this one. It’s called Exoskeletonism, and it’s a deep look into some of my persistent cinema-related poetry images. It also talks about editing — editing my own work, and that of the students I supported as part of my former job at a university in Brisbane. Thanks to Cordite’s essay editor Prithvi Varatharajan for giving me the opportunity to do this piece, and for the good editorial support.

Finally, I had a poem published in Causeway/Cabhsair: A Journal of Scottish and Irish writing (Vol 12.1 2022). The poem, “We Have Come to an Island”, stems from a visit to Orkney (and also owes some imagery to the Swedish island of Fårö too). The journal is, I think, only published in hardcopy and is connected to the University of Aberdeen. Thank you to guest editor Melissa Fagan for the opportunity to be included.

Foam:e 16 is published


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The 16th issue of Foam:e online poetry journal is now available.

Foam:e is completely free and open access.

This issue features poetry from Anna Jacobson, David Stavanger, Rose Hunter, Maria Takolander and many more.

Foam:e is published annually in March and is co-edited by myself, Carmen Leigh Keates, and founding editor Angela Gardner.

We’d love to consider your poetry for Issue 17 when the submission window opens again in September. Here is our submission info:


Submissions Open for Foam:e Issue 16


The submission window for Foam:e online poetry journal is open again. You can submit up to six poems for consideration. International poets are welcome too.

Submission is through our WordPress site this time around (not email as we used to arrange it).

Have a look at our past issues before you select which poems to send — all our issues are online and free, so hop in.

Issue 16, which will be published in March 2019, will again be edited by Angela Gardner and me.

The submission window is open until November 30th.


Photo credits Jane Yule ‘Iceland’

Back from another big trip


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I’m back from my latest ‘big trip’, my first since my 2016 ‘big trip’ that took in Gotland (Sweden),  Tromsø (Norway), and big old drive right across Denmark.

This time, flying in and out of Helsinki, I visited Gotland again for the Bergman Week festival on Fårö, which this year marks Ingmar Bergman’s centenary (pictures of the opening ceremony for the festival are below; it was held at Fårö Kyrka, in whose grounds Bergman is now buried). But mainly I was just going back to Gotland because I love it there.


I do love Scandinavia in general. I don’t like shopping, or eating in restaurants (which is all you seem to get information about when you’re looking for destination info on anywhere in this era), but I do like being alone and just sitting somewhere outside in the white light, soaking up the vibes. Or sitting in a forest. Or visiting some Neolithic graves in the middle of nowhere.

This trip, I also went to Scotland and went right up to the Orkneys. This was suggested by a friend because, in his words, “if you like Scandinavian archaeological stuff, you should see Skara Brae!” The manner in which he said it hinted something about the Orkney sites being superior in their construction, or arrangement, or ambience, or something.

I had a feeling that this approach — ‘if you like this, you’ll like that’ — was going about things all wrong. I do not specifically ‘like archaeological stuff’ — it’s just that I encountered ancient megalithic sites on Gotland as part of a larger, solo travel experience that was definitely formative.

Ring of Brodgar (left) and Skara Brae (right). No picture of Maeshowe, as pictures were not allowed on our tour.

So, although yes, Skara Brae, and Maeshowe, and the Ring of Brodgar are astounding sites, the bulky administrative and tourist structures that they now exist within made it difficult for me to appreciate the visits. There was little opportunity to be alone or to soak up anything without a particularly infantile type of touristy guidance being superimposed over whatever you were trying to make direct contact with.

The Scandis seemed to have avoided most of these problems somehow, and even in museums, the organisation of things was more relaxed, and certainly aimed a little higher (even the things aimed at children were more intelligently arranged).

Give me good old, empty Gålrum Gravfält on Gotland any day, where I can walk among seven stone boat-graves, plus a whole bunch of cairn-hills, without seeing another tourist. Maybe I’ll get stared-down by the odd ram, but that’s about it. And certainly I can enjoy Gålrum without booking in advance for the dedicated shuttle bus and buying a ticket online! I’m so glad I revisited Gotland and Gålrum; I think it’s one of my favourite places in the world.

Gålrum Gravfält on Gotland, Sweden.

At least now I am pretty sure I would not enjoy visiting Stonehenge or the like; that whole tourist thing is not that way I like to get a feel for a place.

Next trip: less driving; less tourist stuff; more quiet; more time in one place; more wandering around alone; and more following my nose.


Associative Leaps: a poetry workshop in October


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I’m holding a poetry workshop at the Queensland Writers Centre on October 13. I’m formulating a little writing process that we’ll use once then dispose of / transform quickly so that it’s a spark for a random leap, not a template to repeat.

Come along and give it a whirl.

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Bookable now through Eventbrite.

Foam:e 15

Issue number 15 of Foam:e online poetry journal is now published.

Foam:e, which comes out every March, is co-edited by Angela Gardner and by me; a good place you may like to start might be our current Editorial.

This issue includes the work of around 20 poets, and everything is accessible for free. Poets include Jill Jones, Stuart Barnes, Shriram Sivaramakrishnan, Rose Hunter, Mark Prendergast, Les Wicks, Zenobia Frost, Ali Znaidi, Elaine Leong, David Stavanger, and many more.

As well as poetry, the issue contains a number of reviews including two that I have written: a piece on Andy Jackson’s new poetry collection, Music Our Bodies Can’t Hold, and Jonathan Hadwen’s book of vignettes, All That Wasted Heat.

I am also very pleased to say that the featured interview this issue is one I conducted with prolific poetry critic and editor, Martin Duwell. Duwell’s Australian Poetry Review website recently reached 1 million views, no small feat for a poetry criticism blog run by one writer (who is also, predictably, an extraordinarily devoted reader).

This new issue of Foam:e has seen us move platforms, so thank you for bearing with us while we ironed out a few formatting niggles at the start of the month.

That said, we’re pleased to say that all the past issues are viewable on the new site now, too.

Enjoy this avalanche of wonderful new poems.