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Wednesday, October 11, 2017


The Best Australian Poems 2017
Edited by Sarah Holland-Batt

Mark Twain once wrote that when Benjamin Franklin wanted to fly his kite undisturbed on a Sunday, he used to hook a key on his kite string and tell any scandalised onlookers he wasn’t breaking the Sabbath, but rather ‘fishing for lightning.’ Reading for The Best Australian Poems 2017 feels very much like Franklin's fanciful hobby. You tell everyone how arduous and serious the job is, but secretly you spend your time joyously rummaging through journals, magazines, anthologies, individual books and submissions, compiling a long list of your favourites. Of course, the difficult part swiftly follows: you have to shave all those poems down to a tidy hundred. At the end of the process, though, I’m thrilled by this year’s haul. A few special highlights for me are Barry Hill’s moving elegy for the late great poet Fay Zwicky, which lands on the beautiful afterimage of Zwicky’s voice, ‘the old smoke still roiling in it’, Maria Takolander’s wonderfully spiky ‘Nox’, in which a wife composes a poem during a husband’s stint anaesthetised in the ER, and Jaya Savige’s exuberant echo-chamber ‘Fort Dada’, where language doubles in on itself in a serious of skilful refractions. There are more such favourites, of course – many more – and I hope readers will enjoy fishing for lightning in this year’s anthology themselves.
—Sarah Holland-Batt


Robert Adamson, Jordie Albiston, Cassandra Atherton, Luke Beesley, Judith Beveridge, Judith Bishop, Kim Cheng Boey, Ken Bolton, Peter Boyle, Margaret Bradstock, Lisa Brockwell, David Brooks, Pam Brown, Joanne Burns, Michelle Cahill, Lee Cataldi, Julie Chevalier, Eileen Chong, Jennifer Compton, Stuart Cooke, Shevaun Cooley, Judith Crispin, Sarah Day, Shastra Deo, B.R. Dionysius, Lucy Dougan, Laurie Duggan, Adrienne Eberhard, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Stephen Edgar, Anne Elvey, Russell Erwin, Diane Fahey, Michael Farrell, Susan Fealy, Liam Ferney, Luke Fischer, Toby Fitch, John Foulcher, William Fox, Angela Gardner, Lisa Gorton, Phillip Hall, Natalie Harkin, Jennifer Harrison, Dimitra Harvey, John Hawke, Dominique Hecq, Paul Hetherington, Barry Hill, Andy Jackson, Clive James, Carol Jenkins, A. Frances Johnson, Jill Jones, Rae Desmond Jones, Amanda Joy, Carmen Leigh Keates, Antigone Kefala, John Kinsella, Louis Klee, Mike Ladd, Anthony Lawrence, Bronwyn Lea, Jeanine Leane, Emma Lew, Cassie Lewis, Bella Li, Jennifer Maiden, Caitlin Maling, David McCooey, Peter Minter, Marjon Mossammaparast, Philip  Neilsen, Geoff Page, Claire Potter, Ron Pretty, Brendan Ryan,  Gig Ryan, Tracy Ryan, Philip Salom, Jaya Savige, Michael Sharkey, Melinda Smith, Vivian Smith, Maria Takolander, Heather Taylor Johnson, Andrew Taylor, Tim Thorne, Mark Tredinnick, Todd Turner, John Upton,  Chris Wallace-Crabbe, John Watson, Alan Wearne, Petra White, Jessica Wilkinson, Chloe Wilson, Fiona Wright and Fay Zwicky.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Anh Do wins the 2017 Archibald Prize ANZ People’s Choice Award


The painter, comedian and author has taken out the $3,500 prize for his portrait of actor Jack Charles.
Painter, comedian and author Anh Do has won the 2017 Archibald Prize ANZ People’s Choice Award for his portrait of Jack Charles. The artist interviewed and painted the actor – whose recent roles have included Uncle Jimmy in the ABC TV sci-fi series Cleverman and his stage production Jack Charles v the Crown – on his popular ABC show Anh’s Brush with Fame. The portrait is a vivid depiction of the actor, whose tumultuous life story was told in the 2008 documentary Bastardy, with hidden surprises – or Easter eggs – that reveal themselves on closer inspection.

“I feel very lucky that Jack let me paint his portrait for the Archibald prize. He’s an extraordinary Australian with a great face full of character. Jack has lived a big life and I enjoyed getting to know him and painting his portrait immensely,” Do said.

nb: I couldn't supply an image, and for this I apologise.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017


In the most famous literary essay of the twentieth century T S Eliot wrote of “Tradition and the Individual Talent”, arguing that no poet’s work has its meaning alone. This series of discussion groups comprises twelve sessions, meeting fortnightly; commencing Wednesday, November 1, 2017 18:00 20:00.
Each session will begin with a talk on the poets and the period by Dennis Haskell, and will examine the tradition of poetry from Great Britain from a contemporary poet’s point of view as well as that of a literary scholar followed by group discussion. It is aimed at a greater understanding of the poetry of the past and the way the history of English poetic practice informs contemporary writing.
The total cost is $120 and all proceeds go to WAPI and the Centre for Stories.
Text: The Norton Anthology of Poetry, ed. Margaret Ferguson, Mary Jo Salter & Jon Stallworthy. 5th edn; NY: Norton, 2005.
There will be a maximum of 20 participants. Enrolment is via the Centre for Stories website:

Closing Date: Sunday 23rd of September 2017
2017 Competition Judge - Judith Rodriguez
First prize – Leon Shann Award $AU1,500
Second Prize $AU500,
Third prize $AU200
Martin Downey Urban Realist Award $AU100
Book Vouchers for 3 Highly Commended &
Books for 6 Commended Poems
 Details at

Monday, September 04, 2017


We are very sorry to hear of the loss of our admired and beloved contributor John Ashbery.
I don’t know what the poet that I am is, very much. I was rather an outsider as a child—I didn’t have many friends. We lived out in the country on a farm. I had a younger brother whom I didn’t get along with—we were always fighting the way kids do—and he died at the age of nine. I felt guilty because I had been so nasty to him, so that was a terrible shock. These are experiences which have been important to me. I don’t know quite how they may have fed into my poetry. My ambition was to be a painter, so I took weekly classes at the art museum in Rochester from the age of about eleven until fifteen or sixteen. I fell deeply in love with a girl who was in the class but who wouldn’t have anything to do with me. So I went to this weekly class knowing that I would see this girl, and somehow this being involved with art may have something to do with my poetry. Also, my grandfather was a professor at the University of Rochester, and I lived with them as a small child and went to kindergarten and first grade in the city. I always loved his house; there were lots of kids around, and I missed all this terribly when I went back to live with my parents. Then going back there each week for art class was a returning to things I had thought were lost, and gave me a curious combination of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. —John Ashbery, The Art of Poetry No. 33

Friday, September 01, 2017



Applications are now open!
(Closing Date: Sunday 23rd of September 2017)

See below for entry forms and details.

Award show will be held on Friday November 24th at Collected Works  -
​check the upcoming events page. It's going to be a nail biting rush of excitement to find out who wins.

2017 Competition Judge - Judith Rodriguez

​First prize – Leon Shann Award $AU1,500

Second Prize $AU500, Third prize $AU200

Martin Downey Urban Realist Award $AU100

Book Vouchers for 3 Highly Commended
& Books for 6 Commended Poems

see below for payment methods
File Size: 154 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

Melbourne Poets Union IPC Payment

Email entries to: <>


Post entries to: MPU International Poetry Competition, PO Box 266, Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 8009, Australia.

ENTRY $10 per poem


 All poems entered must be written in English, typed in a standard font (such as Times Roman, Garamond or Calibri) in 12pt, with a maximum of 50 lines.

 Poems must be the original work of an individual author, unpublished, not accepted or submitted for publication,
and not have been entered in any other competition.

 All poems must be accompanied by a single completed entry form. Entry forms may be downloaded from the MPU website
 The author's name or any identification must NOT appear on the same page(s) as the poem.

 There is no limit to the number of entries an individual may submit.

 The entry fee is $AU10 for each poem entered. Entry fees are not refundable.

 Entries may be submitted by email or by post.

 Email entries: poems and the completed entry form should be submitted as a single MS Word file or PDF attachment via the MPU website by midnight Sunday 23 September 2017.

Prior payment of the entry fee must be made online to:
Account name: Melbourne Poets Union, BSB: 063 010, Account number: 1005 4087.

The author's name must appear as the 'Message/Reference'. This payment can also be made at any CBA branch or Post Office.

 Postal entries: poems and the completed entry form should be sent to MPU International Poetry Competition, PO Box 266, Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 8009, Australia and received by Sunday 23 September 2017.

Entries must be accompanied by a cheque or money order payable to Melbourne Poets Union for the appropriate amount. Please do not send cash.

 Shortlisted poets will be notified by telephone or email before Friday 3 November 2017.

 Announcement of results and presentation of awards for all the prize-winning poems will take place at the Awards Night on Friday 24 November 2017 at 6.30 p.m. at Collected Works, Swanston St, Melbourne.

All prize-winners will be invited to read their poems at the event.

 The competition results will be published on the MPU website and Facebook. MPU reserves the right to publish the winning poems on their website and FB and subsequent anthology.

 Judith Rodriguez will judge the competition. Her decision is final and no correspondence shall be entered into.

File Size: 154 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

Melbourne Poets Union IPC Payment

(Closing Date: Sunday 23rd of September 2017)

NOW Open

Proudly sponsored by:

Black Inc Books -

Black Pepper Publishing -

The Paperback Bookshop -

and Wendy Fleming - CLICK HERE