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.
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
the Director's Desk
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.
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 didn’t
turn up. The others didn’t 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 master’s 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 I’d
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 don’t
take any credit for Redoubt’s
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
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
else’s 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 it’s all about
academic freedom, mate!
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
[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
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).
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
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
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?
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 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.
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?
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.
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
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
[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 fuel4arts.com 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
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
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!
Author Beatriz Copello has scooped an
international award for her third book, Meditations
at the Edge of a Dream, GHB, 2001.
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
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
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.
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
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: www.thestillcompany.com.
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
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
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
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
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”.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
[This issue we feature another noteworthy
new zine based in Queensland.]
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.
[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
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
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:
[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
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
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
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