Geoff Page

Geoff Page is an Australian poet who has published eighteen collections of poetry as well as two novels, four verse novels and several other works including anthologies, translations and a biography of the jazz musician, Bernie McGann. He retired at the end of 2001 from being in charge of the English Department at Narrabundah College in the ACT, a position he had held since 1974. He has won several awards, including the ACT Poetry Award, the Grace Leven Prize, the Christopher Brennan Award, the Queensland Premier’s Prize for Poetry and the 2001 Patrick White Literary Award. Selections from his work have been translated into Chinese, German, Serbian, Slovenian and Greek. He has also read his work and talked on Australian poetry in throughout Europe as well as in India, Singapore, China, Korea, the United States and New Zealand.



A few of them he’s seen already, arriving in the early dawn, staying in a small hotel not too far from the station. He’s walked their boulevards, their backstreets, the pathways of their parks; he’s strolled beside their rivers, those enigmatic swirlings, and sometimes on the esplanades, dressed a little out of season, wondering at their moody seas. He’s probably seen more than most  and yet he’s not well-travelled. 


Arriving all his life as rumours, as traveller’s tales or deft allusions, they line up as a reprimand, these classics that he hasn’t seen. Now, with just these ten years left (or weeks or hours) he knows a visit’s less than likely. He thinks about the schedules, the brochures with their gloss and colour — and thus to inconveniences, the quality of coffee, the noise on the piazzas. The weather, too. Autumn would be best. Spring, for him, ironic — the heat and cold on either side needlessly extreme. Neither is what he’s had in mind. He thinks, too, of the work that made them, fierce obsessions, dreams translated into stone. Or brick. Or glass and steel more recently.  He thinks about those half translations, the ones he’s used so far — the photographs, the moving pictures, the acreage of Baedekers, milky slides in living rooms forty years  forgotten. 


He looks down at his cup; takes some water from a glass. Sometimes the coffee’s brought too hot — though never scalded. He wouldn’t be here if it were. He lets it cool and stares a while at what a blonde barista’s made with just one flourish of a spoon. This, too, is art.  How easily it’s done. He folds his hands around the cup. Time now to begin.  There’ll be a few more yet, he thinks, and sees himself in ticket queues, impatient at a counter or travelling in cramped compartments. He’ll walk the cobblestones and hear the slanting of their consonants, the strangeness of their vowels. How many more? Say three or four, the ones unseen already turning into myth. 


Oblivion is the word he wants. Unique to him at first. And then.


Charlotte Clutterbuck

Charlotte Clutterbuck lives in Canberra and writes essays and poetry. Her collection of poems, Soundings, was published by Five Islands Press in 1997. She won the Romanos the Melodist Prize for religious poetry in 2002 and the David Campbell Prize in 2009.






There were causes:


            we could have

            we should have

            we might have

            we weren’t

            we mustn’t have


and also:


            I did and

            I could be

I was but

            I shouldn’t have been


not to mention:


            he might have

            he wouldn’t

            he was but

he couldn’t


But these facts remain


I am not there


I am here


I will not be there when he hears


I live at the periphery of what used to be central

the Hume Highway is long

my back aches as much as my heart.





this first year

foundations – taking sights

laying out lines


ceremony of first sod

spadefuls of loam

barrowed away for turnips


pickaxe and crow

dislodging old coins

a smashed teapot


the builders’ dogs

faithful or busy, eyeing

each other, settling


rain setting in

overnight, trenches

full of muddy water


thud and shock


juddering rock


burnt and sweaty

shoulders heaving

rubble to surface


hands blistered

bruised and scratched

with limey soil


only in minds’ eyes

Satan flying west    

on judgment door


mermaids on misericords

under baritone bums

sopranos shifting


spirits above

transcept into a spire

that’s yet to be



flat earth


I’ve stepped off the edge of my life

a contortionist’s tangled legs and arms

flailing, the music of the spheres rude

with shock, feathers drifting down

onto flattened vestiges of garden


I twist my neck to see

my crumpled limbs

through other people’s telescopes

unbalancing profit and loss

I knew but did not know the costs

could not preempt these doubts


peremptory love under spring boughs

bring me a cup of tea

kiss my cold shoulders and feet

tell me there’s no rabbit trap

pressing into my skull


let your voice and fingers

keep telling me of the wild place

somewhere in the mountains

where sparks from a twilit

bonfire fly above these jagged slopes



Rodney Williams

Rodney Williams has had poems published in various journals, including Overland, Blue Dog, Five Bells, page seventeen, The Paradise Anthology & Tasmanian Times, along with Poetry New Zealand and Antipodes. His haiku and tanka have appeared in a range of periodicals in Australia and America, as well as in New Zealand, Austria, Ireland and Canada. Also publishing critical pieces and short fiction, Rodney regularly performs in Spoken Word events, with readings broadcast on radio. A secondary school teacher of English and Literature, he has led workshops at regional writers’ festivals.  In collaboration with painter Otto Boron (twice named Victorian Artist of the Year), in 2008 Rodney Williams produced the book Rural Dwellings – Gippsland and Beyond.





From Muir Woods to Walhalla

A triolet for my son Rohan


in a fresh forest stream – headwater-clean –
our blood-folk close, in a united state,
you once spied a crawdaddy no one had seen;
in a fresh forest stream (headwater-clean)
you find fingerling trout now, kingfisher-keen,
just as your sight’s clear, when kindred debate;
in a fresh forest stream, headwater-clean,
our blood-folk close in – a united state




First Aid

for Hazel


our mother was superintendent
to a red cross service company –
no mere charitable collectors
her crew staffed the local blood bank
while every winter weekend
in their tin booth at the netball
they’d patch up bitumen grazes
staining knees with gentian violet
soothing sobs with reassurance
from calico we kids would fashion
slings not sipped in Singapore –
as a hearthside cottage handicraft
we’d fabricate injuries in maché
stiff as splints on limbs still slender
sporting wounds in livid enamel
with bones jagged in card protruding
compound fractures if not interest
money tight as snakebite tourniquets

at ambulance first-aid courses
my sisters and I played patient
well schooled in all our symptoms:
a car wrecked out on the roadside
could host a training exercise –
when the fire brigade held a back-burn
our mum might stage a mock disaster
with her offspring cast as victim
a role we’d each learnt all too well
father had no drinking problem
if he’d another glass to drown in –
with her marriage past resuscitation
mum was made citizen of the year
likewise honoured by the queen:
filling a host of poorly paid positions
the old girl kept us kids together
the greatest service to our company
her toughest first-aid exercise of all



Black Betty

a Wilson’s Promontory Myth
Black Betty, settlers called her –
a fiery piece but not half bad


on my rounds of Wilson’s Promontory
coming back from Sealer’s Cove
as park ranger I spot a hitcher
bare skin dark as any full-blood
her thumb more down than out
I’ll drop her off at Tidal River
some decent clothes we’ll find her
no one over there she’ll bother –
as I wind down my window
pretty Betty starts to speak


whitefella whalers, redhead sealers
rank with blubber, sperm and steel
all foul breath and sickly chests
rummy heads and scabs undressed
my eyes despise them still
not enough to take our hunting
they forced their way between my legs
till like harpooned meat I bled   
then with a blade made for flensing
from my trunk they docked my head
leaning against this ranger’s truck  
I lift my noggin off my neck
to place my block upon his bone –
vanishing yet I haunt his sight
as white folk vouch by campfire light


Black Betty, he still called me –  
did I send the wrong man mad?






Denis Gallagher

Denis Gallagher was born in Sydney in 1948 and now lives in Blackheath NSW. He wrote his first poem as a student at Normanhurst Boys’ High School, and recalls that it included the word “shibboleths”. His enthusiasm for poetry continued whilst a student at The University of Sydney in the late 1960s, but it wasn’t until several years later while sharing a house with Ken Bolton and Rae Desmond Jones in the inner-Sydney suburb of Glebe that he became actively engaged with the writing of poetry, which lead to his first collection, International Stardom, published by Sea Cruise Books in 1977. He is the author of three other collections of poetry and a contributor to Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets, edited by Michael Farrell and Jill Jones (2009).





On the Bosphorus from Eminonu to Uskudar

An old man built me a memorial of words

In tribute to the poet Yahya Kemal

How his heart like incense permeates the years


An old man built me a memorial of words

A monument to loss, regret, huzun

How his heart like incense permeates the years

Another ferry departs


A monument to loss, regret, huzun

Hidden in the eyes of every Istanbullus

Another ferry departs

A dream, as though within a dream begins


Hidden in the eyes of every Istanbullus

The aimless, lost street dogs’ search

A dream, as though within a dream begins

Ataturk’s bronzed eyes look west


Aimless, the lost street dogs search

Where once the pasha’s grand mansion stood

Ataturk’s bronzed eyes look west

Still let me dream my country is unchanged


Where once the pasha’s grand mansion stood

If death is night upon some foreign shore

Still let me dream my country is unchanged

On the Bosphorus from Eminonu to Uskudar



Two Dogs of  Blackheath


I heard later

Those little dogs

Were Po and Mo



Of Prince George Lane

Quiet on the lounge


Alert at the window

Under the curtains

Chewing the air


Their mistress

The barmaid

Told me their names


Short for Poetry

And Motion

Her twin darlings



Of  the moment

She’d pulled a beer


We laughed

At ourselves

Looked at the floor


Over and over

That  memory

Comes back


Every time

I walk



Every time

I walk



Their mistress

At home

Asleep on the lounge


I laugh again

At the thought

PoMo alert


Watch me pass by

Lost in the moment

Writing on air


Oscar Jr Serquina

Oscar Tantoco Serquina, Jr. currently serves as an instructor in the University of the Philippines-Diliman, where he finished his BA degree major in Speech Communication. He was a fellow for poetry in the 10th UST National Writers Workshop and the 49th Siliman National Writers Workshop. His works have been published in several online journals, like Writers’ Bloc, The Houston Literary Review, and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He maintains a blog,


One Can Be So Sure

The feel of our bodies locking
on each other—that is everything
we know about ourselves, as these days
are scaled down to their ultimate
sensation. We are snug with such relief,
such release, having shared all this
in numerous places: in malls and cafes,
in bars and cheap inns, in the accommodating
rooms of our parentless houses. And how,
in the endless hours of mourning over
our losses, romance rescues our beaten
lives, like a common alibi. Nothing
is gravely given—not our careless actions,
nor the labels in which we are nastily
forced into, nor the acerbic arguments
we have the mornings after. And if only
we could avoid the appetite of a touch,
the appeal of a private hour, the startling
slipping into showers. But there, at the end,
is our full surrender, arranging itself
like a tempting foreplay. We have known
better, of course. That when we talk
about these matters, with crassness
or caress, they end up as casualties
of our brazen indifference. If this becomes
our one and all, the huge wall that separates us
from the rest—so be it. Let the real
and the fake be blurred and blundered,
let the rumors stale in the grimy sink,
let the stink of our week-
old clothes concretize inside the hamper,
the unanswered calls summarize what we
shamelessly mean. Unfazed, we are left with this
sincerity: you, assured, me, assuring.


It Has To Be Done

Trying to make sense of things, he remains
With her in a park, under a gunmetal sky,
In a terrain that collects and collapses itself
Like a heap of debris. He is attempting to be one
With her, to position himself in the boundary
Of owning and letting go. I’m having a good time,
She says to him, expectations chaining together
In every syllable she makes, as if unready to accept
A pending sorrow. But what does it mean
When he finds no vigor to unlock her
Understatements, always furtive, always adrift in air?
He stares at the bunch of roses being sold
At the corner, their redness saying something
To him—a ridicule perhaps, or a conscience
That needs to be welcomed. At sundown,
The obligatory strolling down around the area, the fingers hinting
On intimacy. After a while everything recedes
From the view: the gush of delight, the urgency.
And all at once the conclusion dawns on him,
Cause after cause, effect after effect.
He is no longer lying to himself.



Janine Fraser

Janine Fraser’s book Portraits in a Glasshouse was published by Five Islands Press, Series 10 New Poets.  She has also written numerous books for children, including the Sarindi series published by HarperCollins.  She lives in Riddells Creek, Victoria.



Red Tulips (1)


Tight brown

Fists shoved in dark

Earth pockets


Latent with

The rage of life’s

Short round


Put up their

Leather-red dooks

And deliver


A knock-out

Pummel of punches

In Spring.




Red Tulips (2)

They continue
To grow in glass

To themselves
About an inch a day

As reputation
Growing on decease.

In the mouth
Of the water jug
They pour out

The peculiars
Of their common

Voluble in
Their predicament    
As Plath––the ink-

Blot of
Their throats a dark
Puddled jotting

Last fevered
Poem got out on
A gasp

The flame
Going out in them
Putrefying water

Petal drop
Shocking as blood
On the hearth.


Remembering Stonehenge


Mid April, there is this fractal of a second

     Hand sweeping the clocks bland face,

          Through a day whirling with wind gust


Swirling the parchments of elm

     Into a mushroom circle dotting the grass

          Beneath the slow grind and twirl of


The clothes hoist hung with a rainbow

     Line of briefs, line of socks you peg in pairs,

          Stripe of shirts cuffing your cheek.


You know a mushrooms natural history––

     Science of spores dropped from the hem

          Of the circular skirt, the minute


Mycelium rippling out in the eternal

     Pattern of water disturbed by a smooth

          White stone––know the rings expansion


Is nothing more than the law

     Of urban sprawl, the vociferous animal

          Eating out its patch.  All the same,


This mythic round of pithy plinths

     Pushing up on stolid columns, is as magical

          As muttered lore of faery,


Mysterious as Stonehenge.  There

     Last year in a fine mist of the weather,

          You circled the great hewn rocks


Along the gravel path, the guide in your ear

     Making a monument of date and data,

          Dismantling the mystic.  The sky


Gave up its clouds.  Huddled under

     Your black umbrella, you surrendered

          Your ear-plugs and let the grey stones


Speak for themselves––of the ground

     They’re rooted in, the light they melt into,

          The trembling spaces between.