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From the Director’s Desk

Editorial: Where Have All the Academics Gone...

To Be or Not To Be...Reviewed

Up up and Away: Spring Season 2002!

An International Award for GHB Author

Queensland Poetry Festival 2002

Out & About


Focus: Lesley Singh

IP Gallery

Cover Story

The Editor Recommends

Your Deal

Vol 4, No. 4— ISSN 1442-0023


Welcome to our sixteenth issue and our final newsletter for 2002. We’ve saved the best till last featuring IP’s Spring Season Launch of new titles.

On reaching the “age of consent” we’ve consented to do what grown-ups do — speak our minds! David takes a swipe at academic ambivalence toward independent publishing and creativity generally and muses tongue-in-cheek about what you have to do to get reviewed in this town. I wonder if it would give us more exposure in the local press if our authors took up his outrageous suggestions?

I said in a previous issue that David’s an evangelist for digital publishing. New South Wales continues to be fertile ground for his message and this issue he’s out and about in Wyong and Sydney, as well as Stanthorpe.

We’ve all the details from the launches, a special feature on our artistic covers, and an eNews first - a “gallery” with artist Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox, whose painting Searching for Energy appears on the cover of Lesley Singh’s Cry Ma Ma to the Moon. Kathryn’s words also make beautiful reading.

Our authors appeared recently at the Brisbane Writers Festival and the Queensland Poetry Festival. A retrospective on the latter includes a “Best from the Fest” focusing on publications in new media from guest poets.

Bestlinks features Stylus Poetry Journal, and we recommend an Otherland print publication, In Your Face: Contemporary Chinese Poetry in English Translation, edited, introduced and translated by Ouyang Yu.

We have some great deals on our extensive list of titles and with the holidays just around the corner, now would be a great time to purchase books/CDs and avoid the usual shopping nightmare.

Finally, we congratulate Beatriz Copello, author of Meditations at the Edge of a Dream (GHB), for her recent international prize.

Watch this space for our first issue of 2003, where we'll announce the winners of the IP Picks 2003 Awards. There are four possible winners in the poetry and fiction categories. Email us for the full entry form and conditions. A reminder to authors: hurry with those manuscripts, the closing date of 30 November is fast approaching.

Sara Moss, Editor, IP eNews

From the Director's Desk

DR in Park The highlight of the past three months for me would have to be our Spring 2002 Season Launch, with five new titles released to an enthusiastic crowd of seventy and our official fifth anniversary celebration. But there were other high points along the way.

It was a pleasure working with the latest additions to the IP family: Brett Dionysius, David Rowbotham, Lesley Singh and the author of our latest GHB title, who wishes to be known as “A Mother” for now. Seeing a title through its final stages always has its trying moments as well as its joys, but we got there, and I’m sure you’ll agree that the extra effort down the home stretch was worth it (I must still be thinking of the Melbourne Cup!)

We were pleased to receive a vote of confidence in IP’s work from the Australia Council, which awarded us our first grant this year, amidst some very stiff competition. It’s tough breaking in, especially as an independent, but hopefully our partnership with that agency will continue to strengthen.

Once again, IP was in the thick of things with the Queensland Poetry Festival and the Brisbane Writers Festival (reviewed below). My multimedia murder mystery, Sharpened Knife, earned me a seat on a Crime Fiction panel with UK sensation Jasper Fford and Sydney-based Gabrielle Lord. For some reason, the 200 plus people in the audience thought it was funny when I began by saying I knew I would earn audiences like this for my poetry—eventually!

I was happy to be part of the opening of Lake Haven Library near Wyong, New South Wales, recently. One of the new breed of high tech libraries, Lake Haven offers a battery of computers with Internet access. After a reading hosted by Stanthorpe Library, and my guest appearance at Live Poets in Sydney, I paid another visit to North Sydney Girls High School, this time to talk with their English staff about strategies for assessing multimedia projects.

This issue is bursting with good news about our new titles released in our Spring Season, so I won’t drone on any longer except to join with Sara to be among the first to wish you the best for the upcoming holiday season.

Thanks to Shane Carter for the photos we used in the Flash movies for this issue.

Have a look at our Your Deals column for so me easy ways to spread some Christmas cheer — or Channukah joy, for that matter! And don’t forget to pamper yourself with some good holiday reading. The IP Shop will provide!


Dr David Reiter

One of the authors whose work was recently launched in our Spring Season 2002 had a word with me after the event. ‘Where were all the academics?’ he asked.

Where, indeed?

We had been generous with our invitation list, sending quite a few out to staff at the local as well as interstate universities, but the response was well below the average that direct mail gurus expect from the general population.

One person sent an RSVP and then didnt turn up. The others didnt bother to reply. In all, two academics attended our three events in Maleny and Brisbane, and we were grateful to those two — they were there to launch titles.

We even went so far as to hold one of the events AT one of the universities, with lavish promotion in the English Department and the creative writing sub-set. True, it was during mid-semester break, but NO academics turned up.

Did this surprise me as much as the author, who holds a masters degree from those hallowed halls? Not at all.

From my perspective, high expectations of this group are a bit naive. Academics are poorly represented at most literary book launches and other creativity-based events. This has a lot to do with history, university culture, workload, committee work, but perhaps more to do with intellectual...lethargy.

I know of what I preach, having lectured at several universities here and overseas for more years than I care to reveal. My experience at the University of Canberra was a case in point. I managed to found a literary magazine, Redoubt, in my second year of work there. The indifference to this untested enterprise from most of my “busy” colleagues was breath-taking — until it started attracting funding from the School and grants from external agencies.

I also set up a reading series that was to include not only visiting VIPs but also students. A few staff came along to the first couple of readings, then, having done their duty, retired into “committee work”. Student numbers withered soon after. The temptation to model their behaviour after their teachers was too great.

Redoubt survived for nearly ten years after I decided Id had enough of the academy, thanks to the dedication of a couple of exceptions to the academic rule, neiither of whom had permanent appointments on staff. I dont take any credit for Redoubts endurance, and none was offered. But it only served to confirm my view that if publishers and artists depend on academics for their daily bread as much as academics depend on them, the former will quietly starve.

What is the problem with academics? Are they really as over-worked as they think they are? Or have they finally come to believe their own smug critical theories about the Death of the Author, and blah, blah, blah...?

Perhaps we publishers are partly to blame. We have made them complimentary copy junkies. To the extreme point that the only way to involve them in an event where money might change hands to acknowledge someone elses creative output is to deliver the champagne to them. Free. Sans catalogue or order form.

I do a lot of travelling here and overseas and people never ceased to be amazed that I am not “attached” to a university, and that IP is not sponsored by one. They seem amazed that I am content with my lot as a publisher and author. When they ask yet again about wish-lists, I flash them a post-modern grin and say its all about academic freedom, mate!


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Queensland’s Minister for the Arts Matt Foley quipped that he had “more launches than Rocket Man” at Belushi’s Café in Brisbane on October 20. The Minister, a valued supporter of IP, was on hand not only to launch our Spring Season 2002 of titles, but also IP Picks 2003 and our fifth birthday celebration. As usual, he had very kind words to say about the quality of IP’s list and the positive impact it is having on the cultural scene in this State.

It was a day when the number five featured prominently. A day to reflect on five years of publishing achievement and to celebrate the release of five new titles: Brett Dionysius’ Bacchanalia, Lesley Singh’s Cry Ma Ma to the Moon, Poems for America by David Rowbotham, Sharpened Knife by David P Reiter and Sera by A Mother. A more than ample display of IP’s continuing dedication to quality and diversity in literary publishing.

MaMaCovFirst off the launch pad was Cry Ma Ma to the Moon, with Bronwen Levy of the University of Queensland doing the honours. Lesley completed a master’s degree in Creative Writing at UQ and Bronwen’s gracious speech revealed detailed insight into the novel, not just the “story on the surface” but the “currents underneath” as well. This was the third event featuring Lesley’s title — a celebration had been held at the Maleny Branch of Caloundra City Libraries and a reading at UQ Bookshop. We were delighted to be joined by Kathyrn Brimblecombe-Fox, whose painting ‘Searching for Energy’ was used in the cover design of the work.

BaccCovBacchanalia was then launched by Paul Hardacre of papertiger media. Brett and Paul co-edit the CD journal Papertiger new world poetry. Paul’s eloquent speech also revealed a thorough knowledge and understanding of the book. He made particular reference to its exploration of masculinity. Anne Wallace, whose fine painting ‘Virgins’ graced the cover of the books, was also in attendance. The painting was supplied for reproduction courtesy of Anne and the Queensland Art Gallery, where it is part of the collection.

With a novel celebrating the feminine and a collection of poetry examining themes of masculinity, our Yin and Yang were well uncovered this season.

PACovDavid Reiter launched Poems for America by David Rowbotham. He and Matt Foley read some poems from the collection, and the author delivered an impromptu reading himself, to the delight of the audience, including his family, who had turned out in force to support their father and grandfather. Reiter indicated in his speech that IP was both pleased and honoured to release this title from a veteran writer of so much outstanding poetry.

Sera_Cov David also announced the release of the latest title from Glass House Books, Sera by A Mother. ‘A Mother’ is, of course, a pseudonym but the real life author was incognito at the event, and her books were available for sale at the book table, which did a roaring trade all afternoon.



SKCovThe Minister then launched Sharpened Knife, David P Reiter’s latest work, which he describes as a multimedia murder mystery set in the wilds of Far North Queensland. A handy laptop computer was at the ready for those wishing to “try before they buy”.

In all, the event had the atmosphere of a family party, apt for a fifth birthday celebration. Media and arts aficionados were thin on the ground, regrettably, but that only heightened the intimacy of the day. Supportive families, friends, and contributing artists were abundant and joined in a celebration, not only of the launch of these works, but of the considerable effort and accomplishment they represent.


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[Lesley Singh lives and works in Maleny, in the beautiful Sunshine Coast hinterland, a locale that recalls the texture of her novel Cry Ma Ma to the Moon.]

We were proud to launch Lesley Singh’s Cry Ma Ma to the Moon at events in Maleny and Brisbane in our Spring Season 2002. The inaugural winner of the IP Picks Award for Best Fiction by a Queensland author, the book has already attracted praise as “a contemporary rural fable – full of sensuality, colours and light” (Philip Neilson). And Lesley’s been described as “a distinctive and charming new voice in Australian writing” (Jean Bedford).

Cry Ma Ma to the Moon is a short novel with a long, fascinating history. A history that, in some ways, mirrors the contents. An important element of the book is the strength of friendship between women. Lesley’s friendship with Kathryn Brimblecomble-Fox, the artist who supplied the cover image `Searching for Energy’, is another story of inspiration.

They met in 1994 when Lesley bought one of Kathryn’s paintings. Kathryn read Lesley’s work-in-progress and found it so engaging it inspired over 60 works on paper. In 1996, The White Box Gallery in Brisbane hosted an installation entitled `Knitting Time’, featuring excerpts from the novel and Kathryn’s art.

The Gallery noted that “Kathryn’s work, prior to reading Lesley’s manuscript, had been exploring the sometimes rupturing effect modern feminism can create between and amongst women. The relationships of the novella’s four central female characters provided a strong focus and direction for Kathryn’s new work. The installation examines the junction of the two artists’ ideas, and the links between image and vision, and text and story as psychic maps searching for what a woman’s experience means in an age of post-feminism.”

Writing that inspires works of art, that features in installations where observers refer to “rupturing effects of modern feminism” and use terms such as “post-feminism”, is bound to attract more than glowing praise. Criticism can be painful for authors. For publishers, a little controversy goes a long way. In her speech at the launch of her novel at Maleny Library (reprinted below), Lesley counters her critics with the true message of the novel. It is a work that celebrates the power of the feminine and the connections between women.

A Fabulous Tale

Let me tell you, this is a fabulous book.

It’s a fable about another world. In this other world, friendships between women are as strong as trees, older women are listened to, middle-aged married men fall in love with younger women but think about the consequences of their actions, and when things fall apart, people still struggle to be kind to each other.

Writing a fable makes me a fabulist, which the dictionary defines as a teller of a tale intended to instruct. I begin Cry Ma Ma to the Moon with the classic fabulist opening: “Once there was…” Just what is the wisdom I wish to convey?

LesleySBefore going into this subject, let me read some words of criticism from a feminist academic who declined to write a blurb for this book. Seeing it as “an ambiguous ad for the powers of grass to produce transcendental sexual experiences” she says:

I’m afraid i can’t wax really enthusiastic…I have a sense of some of the implied politics…being shallow. The novella seems to move towards some sentimentality in its resolution, if it ended at [page] 62 it would be pure Mills & Boon… [the main character’s] self-assertion isn’t credibly expressed through killing 3 hens… I do like it nonetheless and you have done a nice job…

Even more recently she told me it was “an ad for John Howard’s family values.”

Her talk of transcendental sex, Mills & Boon and the killing of hens may make the story sound irresistible to some but my point is this: not everyone will like my work. So who do I think will like it and who should buy it?

It’s a story about love – all forms of love, not just romantic love but the love of the mature couple for each other, the love of friends and family, the love of the wise for those who suffer. I hope when you read it you feel something akin to the satisfaction one feels after leaving the arms of a lover. Not only do I hope you will enjoy it, but share it with someone you love – a daughter, a dear friend, or a lover. I wish it to be a book worth reading.

Which brings me to the messages within. It is the characters on the edge of the love triangle who have the best lines. Clare says, “I tell you, happiness is not built on another’s sadness. Joy cannot stand on tears.” Naomi says, “That’s the thing about this place, we all know each other in the end. We’re all connected.”

Back to my judge, the feminist academic. She is right to question my politics. Drug use is a major cause of suffering; it cannot bring lasting happiness. The planet and its species are in trouble. The US government wants to make war. The current Australian government wants to help them. Nearly every day we hear of new bombings somewhere in the world.

At a time like this, am I a writer with nothing of consequence to say? After all, my story is simply that of a love triangle.

MaMaCovI suggest in this short book that women matter, that men should be careful about how they treat us, and that all of us should try to be kind and to live with integrity. I suggest that we human beings need to make effort to understand one another. To connect with one another. To forgive each other.

If we did these things, wouldn’t the world be a fabulous place?

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As a publisher of multimedia works, IP has a natural interest in the cross pollination of ideas, vision and inspiration across text, sound and image, both static and moving. The exceptional standard of our book covers, seen above, shows how seriously we take our art!

During the recent launch of his title, Brett Dionysius revealed how he dreamed of using Anne Wallace’s painting Virgins on the cover of Bacchanalia. This was a dream realised when the artist and the Queensland Art Gallery granted permission for IP to use the image.

David P Reiter demonstrates his prowess in digital design on the cover of David Rowbotham’s Poems for America. It’s photo-montage inspired by subjects addressed in the collection drawn from David’s library of images taken during his extensive travel throughout the United States. He uses more special effects for the cover of Sharpened Knife.

It’s amazing the impact one single colour used profusely can make. Sera by A Mother is all-pink save for a yellow heart with wings. Yellow is, of course, the colour of Peace, a central theme of the book.

We’ve already mentioned that Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox’s painting Searching for Energy featured on the cover of Lesley Singh’s Cry Ma Ma to the Moon. But we’d like to tell you more about Kathryn and her work, which is why she features in our inaugural Gallery column.

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Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox is an artist with energy. She graduated from the University of Queensland in 1980 with a BA majoring in fine arts and art history and has since exhibited her work widely and won numerous awards including the Dalby Art Prize and the Moree Art Prize.

In September of this year, her solo exhibition Distance was hosted by Gallery 27, Cork St, London. Kathryn presented Distance in association with the 2002 Year of the Outback and Kathryn is a Year of the Outback ambassador. Her exhibition Cut Lines recently appeared at the Soapbox Gallery in Brisbane.

The artworks featured are from the London exhibition and Kathryn’s comments were also written for Distance but relate generally to her recent works.

When I paint I see, I feel and I sense. I love painting. When I paint my landscapes I immerse myself in something that is not easily explained, but which is felt. I think about my childhood, youth and adulthood.

Distance is time, space and memory and it can be simultaneously far and close. Aura is not easily explained either and I like its inexplicable nature.

Walter Benjamin’s description of aura as “...the unique phenomenon of a distance, however close it may be,” tantalises with its promise of movement, indefiniteness and energy.

I grew up on a grain farm outside Dalby which is on the Darling Downs in South West Queensland, Australia. My parent’s farm was in the middle of a fertile, but treeless black soil plain. Looking west there was nothing but the horizon, looking east the Bunya Mountain Ranges cut a majestic silhouette into the relentlessly blue sky. Mirages were everywhere tricking people with their watery shimmerings, smudging edges and giving birth to illusion. I lived with and in distance.

I also lived in Goondiwindi for 18 years. This small rural town was farther west than Dalby. A different landscape of grey green eucalyptus trees, red dust, hard clay soil and endless prickly plants stared back at me. Night skies glistened with the dazzle of the Milky Way. Long drives along lonely highways, which I got to know too well, have left the landscape in my head.

Living in Western Queensland meant these long drives were part of daily life. I have spent many hours driving into the distance. It collided with me as it drew me forward. It was both close and far.

In my paintings I try to tease out the intimate energy of the landscape without losing the essence of its vastness. This is somehow entwined with my reflections of the past, present and future...memory and time.

I like to think aura is working with me. With hindsight I also see previously unnoticed prophecies. The future is definitely in the past.

For more information regarding Kathryn, her work and the Year of the Outback visit:

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[The Australia Council recently sponsored a nation-wide roadshow intended to smarten up the act of arts organisations in their approach to media relations. Director David Reiter attended.]

Most new titles rise or are remaindered on the basis of how much exposure their publishers can win for them. Independent publishers are hard pressed to leverage any promotional opportunities for their list, so, when the Australia Council and consultancy offered a two-day workshop in Brisbane on how to get the media eating out of our hands, we had to be in it, right? The registration fee was heavily subsidised, morning and afternoon tea and lunch were laid on, and a Meet the Media evening, complete with water bombs was on the agenda — although the balloons might only have been a rumour...

The tenor of the two days was essentially Know Thy Enemy Better than Thyself. Presenters were offered copious notes and a plethora of “reality checks” to aid of arming us with lethal weapons for our next Media Campaign.

Presenters Judith James and Emma Heath addressed an eager audience ranging from specialised publicists working for larger organisations like the Queensland Theatre Company and Opera Queensland to managerial types like our intrepid Director, who, ever the optimist, regards a well-oiled media strategy as a Possible Dream for IP.

On either side of morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea were sessions on building effective media relations, writing for the media, pitching stories, creating images (real rather than imagined ones!), taming the interview butterflies, and managing a media controversy when someone (other than you!) has stuffed up and leaked your Booker Prize shortlisting during the embargo period.

Our Director was so bold as to volunteer to be videotaped during a mock interview. His performance was rated as...well, satisfactory, but at least he was having a good Hair Day!

If it is true that course evaluation ratings are directly related to the quality of the catering, then David came away very well fed indeed — and motivated to effect CHANGE.

Immediately upon returning to work, he revamped our media strategy, such as it was, and produced a kit of tailored press releases, Media Alerts and posters that won us unqualified praise from the organisations working with us on our Spring Season slat of events.

Did this material earn an ovation from the media as well? Sadly, no. The Press Release did appear, word for word, in the Maleny Range News, and author Lesley Singh was interviewed by the Sunshine Coast Daily. But to our knowledge, no feature has seen the light of day. Perhaps the reporter was intimidated by the quality of our Press Release?

The Big Smoke media must have been even more intimidated. No advance notice of our Spring Season Launch appeared in the papers or on the air, and no reporters took up our offer in the Media Alert of uninterrupted access to the authors prior to the event.

It wasn’t a total washout. The Minister’s office put out their own Press Release, which did make it into print, and a magazine from the University of Queensland provided a good preview of our event out there.

We do, as they say, have much room for improvement, and we’re open to suggestions. Someone has already proposed that we read in the nude in the Brunswick Street Mall next time — or at least announce our intention to do that in the relevant Media Alert.

The day may come when authors are expected to submit to coaching in aid of such an event. This may breathe new life into the cliché IN YOUR FACE writing.

See you on the Six o’clock News!


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Author Beatriz Copello has scooped an international award for her third book, Meditations at the Edge of a Dream, GHB, 2001.

MedCovThe Award is the Premio Internationale Libri de Oro (Gold Book International Award). The award is given by Edizione Universum, Trento, Italy, an Italian Publisher who reviews International Books.

Beatriz’s other books are Women, Souls and Shadows, Forbidden Steps under the Wisteria and Malinche’s Fire.

A hearty congratulations to Beatriz on her win, and for those of you who haven’t read Meditations yet, be quick with your order!

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Sweet poetry perfumed the air of Brisbane during September. It was festival time again. Last year, there was anxiety in poetry circles when Brett Dionysius and Melissa Ashley of the Fringe Arts Collective announced Subverse 2001 Festival would be their last. Fringe Arts had grown the festival from humble beginnings to a professional event attracting authors from interstate and overseas. Who would take up the reins? Everyone knew the work was exhausting and the pay lousy. Despite this, a hardy committee formed under the direction of authors Rosanna Licari, Jayne Fenton-Keane, Bronwyn Lea and Francis Boyle, and the Queensland Poetry Festival 2002 was off and running.

The Festival kicked off on September 22 at the Judith Wright Centre with `An Evening with Les Murray’. An icon of Australian Poetry and winner of the T S Eliot Prize, Murray entertained with a reading in his relaxed inimitable style. This event also launched `National Poetry Week’, initiated by Jayne Fenton-Keane, which included activities for people of all ages.

The events started in earnest on the evening of September 27 on the Rooftop Terrace of the Brisbane Powerhouse in New Farm, with announcement of the winner of the Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award for Unpublished Poetry. The presence of Val Vallis reading his own poetry ensured a special event. Newcastle author Judy Johnson won the award with her poem “New Guinea Mission”.

The festival continued over the next two days at the Powerhouse and the Judith Wright Centre. Featured artists included Anthony Lawrence and Dorothy Porter, who once again proved their popularity with the local audience. A problem for previous festivals had been inaccessible venues. This year, the venues were accessible to the elderly and disabled. The trade-off – and there usually is one – was a more rigid atmosphere in the larger spaces.

Past, present and future IP authors read at the festival including Chris Mansell (pictured with David), author of The Fickle Brat, who travelled from interstate for her appearance. Brett Dionysius, David P Reiter, Phil Brown and Sara Moss also appeared. Kristin Hannaford and Louise Waller travelled from Yeppoon in Central Queensland to attend. Both women proved to be accomplished readers of their own poetry. IP will publish their work next year in a combined volume entitled Swelter.

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Mixing it Up – Best from the Fest

When David established IP in 1997 he did so with a vision of `mixing it up’ – text with sound, visual images and interactive elements would extend the reach of poetry and literary fiction into the world wide web and onto portable media. While this was not revolutionary outside literary circles, there weren’t too many authors or publishers at that time, particularly poets, seeking production of their work outside traditional print.

This year’s Festival reflected the changing times. While poets haven’t abandoned the book, there is growing evidence of their embracing other media. CDs are more commonplace and a website is becoming the author’s equivalent of a business card. New Media publication is rapidly becoming a credible alternative to print, as authors choose to work with musicians and other artists to add exciting dimensions to their work.

My Best from the Fest this year reflects this trend. papertiger media launched the second of their CD-ROM journals of `new world poetry’ at the festival. These are the first literary journals on CD in Australia and the quality of their content and exceptional standards of production and design should ensure them a healthy future. Issue 2 features poetry in text from new and established authors, as well as audio, video and flash animated works. Marissa Newell’s interface is subtly effective and easily navigable. The feature on Dorothy Porter is particularly good with thumbnails of her published books and a selection from each. Copies are available from papertiger’s website.

Brisbane author Rosanna Licari also eschews traditional print for her Chronicles of Desire: Fragments. She joins with musician Bernard Houston for a word and music performance on CD. The voices or fragments tell the thoughts of several women characters in different situations in time and history. Get the CD from Bent Books or Avid Reader in West End. Or email Rosanna.

I’ve long been a fan of Ian McBryde’s spare and haunting poetry. McBryde caused a bit of a stir by distributing sheets of A4 paper containing only a single web address: The Still Company teams up McBryde with musician Greg Riddell. The Still Company is their second CD, fulfilling their vision of taking poetry “beyond the page, to house it within musical/ambient frameworks.” Purchase the CDs from their website.

Against the trend, one of my print purchases this year was Jayne Fenton-Keane’s Ophelia’s Codpiece. This is an enjoyable collection with a good mix of entertaining and thought-provoking poetry with some quotable lines: “Greed exists deeper than its representation. Extinction cannot speak up for itself”. Our comrade-in-arms in independent publishing, PostPressed, did a fine production. See their website to order.

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As if he wasn’t busy enough with preparations for our most ambitious Spring Season ever, David still managed to squeeze in two trips south and several important meetings locally.

For some time, he’d planned to travel back to the Central Coast of New South Wales to help with the opening of Wyong Library’s new high-tech Lake Haven branch, but construction delays intervened. Finally, everything came together in September, so a lightening visit was arranged. David set up an informal display of our titles and attracted interest with his interactive demos of our recent digital productions, which included the first public viewing of Sharpened Knife.

The locals were impressed by the potential of the new technologies. And, even if most still said they preferred “their books”, several noted that readers – and libraries – have to move with the times. Especially once e-book readers are made a bit more cuddly!

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Our friends at Common Ground Publishing arrived in Brisbane for a one-day Creator-to-Consumer roadshow of their own in mid-September. Many organisations sent delegates to hear about the latest research into New Publishing, the new technology coming on stream, developments in digital rights management, including metadata tagging and new systems for tracking digital works, as well updates on book production strategies such as “print on demand”.

CommonGrndCovWhile few of the participants were prepared to proclaim the death of the physical book from the mountain tops, most realised that the digital revolution will continue to have a profound effect on the nature of books produced and that the new forms will set challenges for all of us.

The University of Queensland Printery has a print on demand section that has already attracted considerable attention, and, while production costs are still pretty high, overseas experience suggests that those prices will soon become more affordable, even for self-publishers.

On the digital side, we talked about strategies for adapting a single master file for use on a variety of platforms – “multi-purposing”. The refinements to software packages such as Adobe Acrobat promise to help streamline the process, making it possible for small publishers to gain a larger share of the marketplace/space.

David spoke about IP’s experience as an independent publisher, and how we balance our print and digital programs. Indeed, one of Common Ground’s research publications acknowledges IP as a model of success in this emerging market.

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The dust had barely settled on the sales receipts from our Spring Season 2002 events when David was off again in late October. First stop was Stanthorpe for a reading sponsored by Stanthorpe Library and a preliminary chat about assisting with the set-up of a writers’ group there. There’s an art to setting up an effective working group, and the idea is to draw on David’s experience as a tertiary writing lecturer and workshop leader to avoid some of the pitfalls. Planning is underway, and we’ll keep you informed.

David had expected to read at the New England Writers’ Centre that evening. But, as sometimes happens when events are discussed months in advance, he arrived exactly one week later than the Centre was expecting him. Sorry, guys – mea culpa and all that. We will make amends in the New Year. There is talk of events in Tamworth, sponsored by the Central Northern Libraries around that time, so stayed tuned!

On to Sydney, where David had the pleasure of reading for the first time at the Live Poets at the Don Banks Museum. The museum itself is an attraction, heritage-listed, with ongoing exhibitions of visual art. The readings happen on the fourth Wednesday of each month, not, as some regulars still think, on the last Wednesday. So numbers were down a bit, but that just gave more airtime to those who’d signed up for the open readings.

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Following up on his visit to North Sydney Girls School earlier in the year, David gave a presentation to their English Department staff on strategies for assessing multimedia literary work. High school students in New South Wales now have the option of producing a multimedia project to fulfil one aspect of their graduation requirements, and many of them are keen to do so. However, many teachers are unfamiliar with multimedia as an art form and uncertain how to guide students who want to produce projects in that arena. More importantly, teachers are looking for advice on how to best assess completed multimedia projects.

Before offering a procedure for the teachers to follow, David showed some of examples of his own hybrid works, which use multimedia to add value to text. Ideally these productions can be so much more than simply migrating text to a digital environment, and teachers need to be aware that new criteria are required for a proper assessment of multimedia work.

We expect that other schools will be interested in sharing David’s insights, and we welcome invitations from them.

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[This issue we feature another noteworthy new zine based in Queensland.]

Stylus Poetry Journal

A decline in the number of literary print journals has been well covered in previous issues of eNews. Stylus Poetry Journal is one of a new breed that provides an online alternative without sacrificing editorial quality. Its founder, Rosanna Licari, was also inspired by her own interest in poetry of all forms.


This has resulted in a refreshing blend of contemporary verse and haiku, as well as reviews and feature articles. The November/December issue is the current one, with poetry from Cyril Wong, Luke Beesley and Catherine Mair and others. There were also haiku from Adelaide Shaw, Patricia Prime and Ross Clark, our local Master Haijin.

As a reader new to the form, I was naturally drawn to the haiku sections and found Janice M Bostok’s feature on “The Development of Haiku in the West” enlightening and informative. No, you don’t necessarily have to write three lines of five, seven and five syllables! However, I did feel Bostok needs to more clearly define her terms for the uninitiated.

Patricia Prime does slightly better in her review of Yellow Moon, a literary magazine of haiku and other forms, with clear definition of terms such as Tanka and Renga and a helpful list of references.

This is the third issue of Stylus. On the whole, the editors are achieving an excellent balance, interweaving work from both established and emerging authors. This provides authors with a new outlet at a time when print journals are in retreat. David Keane’s simple but attractive design allows the text to breathe, keeping the reader’s focus on the poetry. Well worth checking out.

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[This isn’t one of our titles, but we thought you might be interested in it!]

In Your Face: Contemporary Chinese Poetry in English Translation
Edited, introduced and translated by Ouyang Yu.

Ouyang Yu, originally from the People’s Republic of China, holds a doctorate in Australian Literature from La Trobe University (Melbourne). He’s had 20 books published, from poetry to fiction to non-fiction to literary translation, in Chinese and English, throughout the Chinese and English-speaking worlds. His work has been published by all the major Chinese publishers and literary journals including those in Hong Kong and Taiwan. More than 100 international magazines have published him, and he has been widely anthologised. His English work has been translated into Polish, Swedish and Chinese.

Given all this it’s incongruous that Ouyang Yu’s proposal for a collection of Contemporary Chinese Poetry in English Translation was met for years with a “Malevolent Silence” from Australian funding agencies and publishers alike.

His vision was to introduce Australian readers to a new world of poetry that they had possibly never experienced before, which could greatly enrich the culture, literary or otherwise, of this country as well as other countries ignorant of what is going on in contemporary China. He draws parallels between the response to the proposal, the difficulty of getting the project off the ground, and the political situation and prevailing attitudes in Australia:

When I looked at those poems, I had a feeling that I was smuggling them into Australia as if they were illegal immigrants that this country never likes, not before, not now, not ever. And yet by their very existence they insist on coming in, much the same way the recent boatloads of people did whether you like it or not. In your face. Head-on. In spite of all the consequences involving detention centres or deportation that this country has lately become world-famous for. As a poetic “snake-head”, and an unpaid one at that, I am solely responsible for their arrival en masse.

And arrive they did. The book was published 12 June 2002 as a special edition of Otherland. It includes 124 poems by 71 Chinese poets, born in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Postage-inclusive prices are: AU$29.9 in Australia, including GST; $32.95 outside Australia; AU$34.95 for institutions. Send your order, with cheques made payable to:

Yuanxiang (Otherland) Literary Journal
P.O. Box 200, Kingsbury, 3083
Victoria, Australia

[This time around we offer you several ways of spreading holiday joy from your keyboard. Avoid the maddening crowds by ordering special gifts from the IP Shop!]

Have You Joined the Friends of IP Club?

Not yet? Well, before you read any further, have a look at the Deal in our previous issue.

FIPC members receive an additional 10% discount on any promotions we offer below. So join up first then come back!

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Do a Rain-Dance for Drought Relief!

Everyone knows that Australia is in the grip of what some believe is the worst drought ever. Our farmers are doing it tough, and many are facing a grim holiday season and the prospect of not being on the land a year from now.

City folk forget how much our fate is linked to that of the farmers, and water restrictions are not enough to bring the message home. It may be time for all of us to do a rain dance in support of our rural cousins.

Our special deal will help out in the meantime. For every title you order until 15 December, IP will contribute $2 to the Red Cross' Farmhand Relief Fund.

Now $2 is just a drop in the bucket, so we'd like you to buy heaps more than one title. Order any title from List 1,

Cry Ma Ma to the Moon
Poems for America
Sharpened Knife
Kiss and Tell
The Fickle Brat
The Gallery
Peace Comes Walking

and add your choice from List 2 for just $12:

A Deep Fear of Trains
An Accident in the Evening
Bermuda and the Other Islands
Best Seller
carnal knowledge
Death: the Final Challenge
Facing the Pacific
Frankenstein's bathtub
Last Journey
Letters We Never Sent
Meditations at the Edge of a Dream
Old Time Religion
The Ventriloquist's Child

Order two titles from List 1 and get two from List 2 for $12 each, and so on.

Want more info on a particular title? Just click on the name.

There's a flat charge of $5 postage and handling per order, so the more you order the less noticeable the P & H will be.

FIPC members get a further 10% discount off the cost of their order plus free postage. But if you haven't signed up, you must fulfill the requirements for FIPC membership first.

You can buy from our Orders page or email us, but you must mention the following code when you place your order: YD16.

We look forward to your orders and being able to pass on a healthy cheque to the Red Cross before Christmas in aid of drought relief!

Offer available only to individuals. One order per household, please.