Thursday, 12 December 2013

Inner Light Cynthia Sharp

Inner Light

it’s the colours
the sun
evokes in the trees
that heals
from their core

to mine
Cynthia Sharp

Falling in Love at Forty-five

Falling in Love at Forty-five

falling in love all over again
with my first love
every new relationship
we have with each other
deeper, more relaxed
in the maturity of letting go
Cynthia Sharp

Fall Gathering Cynthia Sharp

Fall Gathering

pausing to pray
as the leaves swirl
'round rakes and coats
moments of stillness
for the beauty to move in
portals to give praise into
divinity in every breath

Cynthia Sharp


Cynthia Sharp has been published in Toasted Cheese & Haiku Journal and was nominated for the XXXVIII Pushcart Prize & Best of the Net Anthology. She enjoys the beauty of nature on the Canadian west coast, where she is at work on a series of fantasy novels for tweens and teens.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Vale Nelson Mandela

(18 July 1918 - 5 December 2013)
"Courage is not the absence of fear - it's inspiring others to move beyond it."
Nelson Mandela

Raise the colours
to half mast.
Bow your heads
in benediction.

Angelic chorus
is weeping.

The world keeps on going.
Look to the person
deep within yourself,
and look at the person
you hate, you fear,
despise the most.

Are either of you really
that different from each other?
Do not allow the trains to run,
shut down the schools,
ground all the flights.
Stop the traffic.

Suspend the stock-exchange.
Cancel your trip to the plastic surgeon.
Stop all the killing
for just one minute…
For a great man sleeps
eternally now.

Not a man raised in privilege
or sort, stardom, wealth or fame…
A simple man,
an angry man,
freedom and justice
his only aim.
A generation he sat
in a vertical tomb of stone,
hatred, oppression
buried him—patience
and love, eventually freed him.

A man of violence and struggle,
who found wisdom, inner-peace.
Do not let his passing go un-noticed,
do not let his sacrifices, just become
legend and myth.

The world’s become a little
colder, the stars just a little more
dim, for tonight he sleeps
in eternal reverence
and we’ll be all the better,
all the wiser,
all the more loving,
for having shared the world with him.

© James WF Roberts Friday, 6 December 2013

Sonnet number 1 James WF Roberts

The touch of your hand in the darkness,
the longing for hope in our kiss,
the chill of the bedroom, in your absence
oh, the way you light up the room is bliss.
The fear in your eyes in the morning,
the echo of our own, and shared past,
his shadow over the bed, haunting;
every embrace ends too fast.
But, look inside yourself, Quicksilver
mercury girl, twisting, road all around us,
decisions, revisions, fear and solitude
forever consume our hearts, but lust
is a constant. Lust is so clean,
Lust doesn’t hang up mid-conversation
or see either of us, seething green.

(c) James WF Roberts

Is there anybody

Is there anybody there?
Lofty, lonely, mad on that diamond chair.
All the world is cold,
all our love is old,
nothing compares to the sunshine we once shared.
Now, I'm floating in this vortex,
this rushing wave of fear,
standing in front of my reflection,

just one thing remains to be clear...

Yet in this world full of ugliness, just you, just you
know how to reach me by that tenderness in your touch.
That death watch beetle, stalks me tonight,
that death watch beetle of the soul.

Twisting everyway, no clear path. No clear way of getting out of here.
I'm the middle man,

of the three in the cave, light and shadow,
puppets on the wall, is suffering an illusion,
is there nothing left for me at all?

(c) James WF Roberts 

Bored by existence (C)Daniela Voicu 2013

Bored by existence
bored by his existence
the kids its outside without shoes
looking at the big tree from the neighbor house
bored by his existence
the man its on the chare remember how was
to walk on the snow... now standing and drink
his beer alone
bored by she’s existence
the women cry,  is on the big rock
looking the sea...
Its Christmas
no one remember us...

A dream haiku

A dream 
Pink snowflakes gray sky
On my skin they melt love sing
Following one dream
 (C)Daniela Voicu 2013

Winter somewhere haiku

Winter somewhere
Snowing over eyes
Watching the infinite soul
Lonely it’s cold
 (C)Daniela Voicu 2013

Unfrozen heart

Unfrozen heart
-5 C everything is unmoved.
Crystal trees don’t breath, they look at me
Wanted to help them…
Big arms with thousand longer transparent nails
Want to catch every heat wave
From around…
No one walk, all look like a big painting of 
William Arthur Winter.
I am looking at the window
I see the silence,
The frozen music of the winter
And the pain of the cold
They remember me the warmth,
The big New York tree full of light
And the happy holiday of the Christmas, soon
With my family:
  “Silent night… holly night …”
                                    Unfrozen heart …
  (C)Daniela Voicu 2013

Windows without dreams

Windows without dreams
1. Winter night
black and white...
when the  world
goes to sleep
after midnight,
every window
has a shadow
of a dream,
waiting answers,
freezing there
until morning.
2. the sad lullaby
is the first snowflake
that melts on the winds lips
blowing all dreams
from your eyes.
3. morning never been so alone:
unsinging, unspoken, unwhispering,
without answers.
give me a reason
to build windows without dreams.
(C)Daniela Voicu 2013

GLOW Daniel Voicu

the shy night put her cheek
on the breast of the moon
she listen the Universe  music
played by dusty angels of Light
she is a child
who likes to be embraced
Christmas gift she choose—the stars
sometimes she take between fingers stars,
and sprinkle them over Love
making Life to Glow
so shy... night
teach the bright
(C)Daniela Voicu 2013

Poet's Coner Daniela Voicu -26

-26C ...
I never understand
how can be so happy
the wind at -26C...
playing on the windows
is  a clown
he is trying
to take the tongue out
which glue the icicles
in place
singing: mmmm... mmmm
funny song
white frozen night
deeply poetic cold chatter
African sounds in the air of an iceberg
breath of piano finger opera
an igloo mind
writing a new story of the cold.
forget the summer
who  knows if
it will be warm
(C)Daniela Voicu 2013

Monday, 2 December 2013

"And the Skin..." John O'Rourke/(An ode to John Donnes Ode to Death (ya shrouded prick)

"And the Skin..."
(An ode to John Donne's Ode to Death (ya shrouded prick)
And the skin with which within I hold myself will fail
like my bladder and my faith in the immorality
that hides behind youth as a disguise
and if I'm lucky I'll have memories
and if I'm lucky ones I'll remember
and if not at least be remembered

but of all the terrors hidden in my cellular decay
that could potentially manifest
and replicate and replicate without my say
until I'm riddled with deaths reign on my parade
the only fear I'll struggle to swallow

the only thing that keeps me awake
is that I treat every day the same

and become as weak as my body will
by not remembering I have will
and not just doing with it what I may
but doing something, something
being someone, an individual can be defined no other way

 “I never want money for art because I believe that is what eventually leads to the destruction of your desire to create, you create art, to me, because you need to, because it helps you and you hope that at some point what has helped you create that art, the things that have inspired it may help somebody else… saying that I would still love to know what’s happening to the stuff I create, if it’s read out loud or just emailed to somebody, I’d like to think that my art is created because there has and always will be a desire to express not because of what you gain but what you can change”. John O'Rourke. Dublin.

"Hello There" Correy Tibbs

Hello there, the angel from my nightmare. This shadow of my life’s despair, omnipresent, perpetually you linger, my tainted destinies harbinger, lurking, those empty eyes, that burning, piercing stare, a window to my own demise. Through my eyes I see you, but are you ever truly there? Or are you just the figment, of a twisted minds imagination, a deranged manifestation of my crippling despair.

These manipulative voices in my head, only I can hear as they jest and jeer, never willing to just evaporate, to just disappear. As these voices, through this tormented mind they swirl, and right on time, like clockwork, you appear, but still I can’t tell if you are really here. 

Nothing works, so numb to the world, no respite do I ever see, just the strings you use to contort me. These knives, these pills all feel the same, just another twist in your torturous game. And this hatred, anger which burns inside, this destructive flame, no longer can tame.

Alone and scared, no more pain upon myself can I inflict, these open wounds, these searing slits, trying to expel, this creature stirring, devouring me from within, my personal hell, I look at you now , this angel of sin, those jagged teeth form, a menacing grin. Your presence, a dreary cloud, over my dawns every sun, and my spirits at every chance they try to escape, they try to run. But these walls of despair you conjure, trapping them, a massacre of hope, slaughtering every last one, nowhere for me now to run. And that empty expression, you always assume, my sickness obsession, the devils own son.

My life consumed by this constant fear, to my eye comes but the last remaining tear, no longer am I able to cry, and alone in this empty room I lie, no longer will I try, Against your torture, I will no longer stand, and into this pit of dark and hopeless plight, reaches, no helping hand, no piercing light, no salvation, just an exodus, fated, to walk alone through this endless night. And as I lay, my heart devoid of warmth, of life, my soul bereft of light, and no longer your temptation do I choose to fight, I slip into my final sleep, this final tear now I weep, and for the final time, alone, I cry, this angel, now its hand I take, my eyes they close to never wake,  and like a blossoming flower, stripped of light, I wither, I die.

"Throbbing" by Corey Tibbs.

Throbbing, aching, no strength left, 
at the point of breaking, this pain forsakes me.
Flat, I lay, my consciousness it slowly slips, seeps away.  
Murmurs, hushed, their tones unerring, messages of bleak despair.
Still I lay, my mind not there,
it has deserted me, trapped, a slow decay.
Encircled, these figures, silhouetted, faces which have washed away.
Faceless, these people, a world away.
And still I lay, my heart, my mind, my life astray.
Engulfed by the blinding lights the figures fade, this light,
this light, has it come to guide me away, content to go, and still I lay.
I plummet, the light swept away, falling,
hopeless, sinking and still,
I lay. spiraling, darkness creeping in embracing me,
a beeping, beeping, beeping,
slowly but surely fleeting as the darkness penetrates my soul,
this rasping breath, a tear,
a muffled scream, then silence, darkness... nothing more.
Alone and still I lay, this room, a sombre shade of grey,
so clearly different, yet strangely, the same.
So alien, so different, this room in a way,
wanting to run but my fear drifts away.
And still, on the floor of this strange room, I lay.

Nothing, no windows, no doors,
the silhouetted figures stood over me no more,
just these expressionless faces etched into each wall.
A sound, breathing, a whisper swirling like air,
a single phrase, several letters just lingering there.
These words evaporating, as if never there, and the room,
again it feel silent, as it had just been.
The faces they faded, and the room now the same,
except the lingering whisper, which echoed, my name.
Silent, I lay, a thought on my lips,
but unable to say.
And in this room, alone,
I would stay.
And still through it all with my fate all but sealed, no weapon,
no thought and no hope I could wield.

As again my mind distant,
my thoughts in a vice and my spirit torn away,
I lay, I lay, and I lay.
But suddenly, the walls start to change,
as they shift, and they crack, my fear kept at bay,
as there in the centre, rigid I lay.

Distorting, these walls,
before me they blur, and by some force
 to me unbeknownst like paper, they’re torn.
The mist it grows thick like haze before dawn.
Slowly, softly, the darkness, returned.
Beep, beep, beep, alone once again through this darkness
 I surged, in this whirlwind of chaos I feel like I’m a  bird,
 though my wings are of paper,
which is shredded and burned.

And again I’m thrust into this blinding light my
wings now drifting, my body a kite.
This rasping breathing, this pain subsides.
My heart, mind and body as one they re-surge
and above me from these all consuming shadows, these faces emerge.
From this life, almost torn,
A phoenix from the ashes now reborn.

“Untitled” By John O’Rourke.

By John O’Rourke.

Two pairs of gloves
Idiot strings broke like their hope
Rusty nails
Adorn the wood of unmarked graves
Sweaty balls
Memories chastised out of recollection
Guilt feeding on misplaced trust
A vomiting birth of retribution
And the hate at the thought of a warm touch on pin pricked skin
Instead of trust that precludes all embraces
Torn like the Hyman of a child
Who's death comes long before dying
And the monster rarely roars to frighten
But passes amongst the quiet folk
No disguise better than silence
And in all the ugly facets of the despised and clearly broken
In pain we do not shudder we grow angry and despising
It's empathy that slays our heart
The sharing of emotion
We fear and can identify
But what truly leaves us hopeless
Is that the monster isn't alien.

John O’Rourke
I have a B.A. in Video in Film Production
I currently work as a Tech Support Agent for a Large Video Game Company.
I live in Dublin, Ireland.
I have never been published.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Leonard Cohen Live at the Rod Laver Arena, 2013

Leonard Cohen Live at the Rod Laver Arena, 2013
James WF Roberts

The house lights go down, purple, blue and red filters change slowly one the black curtain. A black clad figure moves across the stage, an old fedora and a pin-stripe suit.  The light catches his shadow like a predatory shadow in a noirish film. The fusion of jazz, blues, gypsy folk and modern balladry begins.
It is hard to review a live concert. I will say that from the get-go. It is like reviewing a football match, not from the comfort from a press box or the over-privileged   God’s view of the game from the commentary team. Sitting in the throng, the mass of people at Rod Laver arena, all in riotous chanting, applause and devotion to the craggy-faced, troubadour, the would-be self-styled prophet, Leonard Cohen.

The crowd is mostly middle-aged, or older. Very well dressed for a pop-concert. Trilby and fedora hats flood the hallway, when you are trying to line up for a beer.  For someone like me, still regarding himself as an emerging poet/writer and an amateur musician and would-be song-writer. It is a dream come true to see Mr. Cohen on stage. For 79 years old he is spritely, and charismatic. He jokes with the audiences, he bows in reverence, he crouches on his haunches, like in prayer and offers his benediction of song to the audience.  He is rather captivating to listen to and to watch.  Even though his standard and somewhat minimal vocal and range of movement is repetitive.  The first half of his first Melbourne show saw seamless transitions between songs – songs that we all know if you have ever gone to an open mic night or know a few singer-song writers, Cohen’s canon is almost as popular with emerging musicians as Lennon/McCartney songs.

Cohen’s electic style of writing and influences is echoed by the fusion of jazz, blues, gypsy folk, rock, pop and electronica. Cohen is flanked by some of the best musicians in the world, all experts and some professors in their field; bassist and musical director Roscoe Beck, guitarist Mitch Watkins, violinist Alexandru Bublitchi, keyboardist Neil Larsen (on Hammond organ), guitarist Javier Mas on Bandurria guitar, drummer Rafael Gaol and vocalists Sharon Robinson and Charley and Hattie Webb.

Cohen is a very generous performer. Generous with his audience and with his ensemble, many times throughout the show,  the Webb sisters and his long time song writing collaborator Sharon Robertson do their own solo work. He allows the spotlight to shine on the rest of the band, like no other solo artist I have seen. You get the feeling there is that gypsy/jazz sense of a wandering band of musicians on stage.
“Thanks friends for your warm welcome and those who have climbed the heights. Tonight we’ll give you everything we’ve got,” promises Cohen and he remains true to his word. On occasion, Cohen kneels towards the floor. During “Tower of Song,” the throng claps after his amateurish keyboard solo. “You must be kidding”, retorts Cohen. 

Cohen’s career and canon and quite interesting from a historical and a pop-cultural sense. His songs reflect life, death, sex, revenge, compassion and the spiritual ennui that we have found ourselves in over the last few decades.  With a twenty-six set song list, a 3 and a half hour show and many encores it was truly an impressive and emotive spectacle.  The older songs in the middle of the set list and at the end of the show, were the stand outs for me. “Suzanne” was powerful and beautiful, as it always is, as was “Bird on a wire”, I still find Cohen’s original version, though there are several versions he recorded, his rendition of “Hallelujah “, to me has always been the best, it has a satirical and edgy dark humour to it, that I think is often missed in many of the covers of that now standard/ almost torch song, as my fellow Writer Joe Dolce wrote on here a few weeks ago, that Cohen’s most famous song has now become almost a party-favourite, a show-stopper on American Idol and the X-factor, and people treat it as a prayer—much like I find they treat Cohen as a would-be prophet, Nick Cave is often revered in the same way for much of the same and wrong reasons, I think.

 Cohen’s music and songs, and indeed his poetry is often quite complex to get around, highly sexual and masculine, yet soul-searching and full of reverence.

  One of his  most sexually explicit, which also one of his most  one most famous songs, “Chelsea Hotel # 2”, which as Cohen admits in interviews now is his most un-gallant song, it’s basically about getting a blowjob from Janis Joplin in the stairwell of the famous New York hotel. I like the darkness in Cohen’s work, “Future”, famously used in the soundtrack of the Oliver Stone film, Natural Born Killers,  “Democracy”; these are fire and brimstone songs, apocalyptical prophesies of the highest order. Even, things like the Euro disco style New world order call to arms, “First We’ll Take Manhattan”. Cohen is still very much the old school folk singer, he is just electrified and modernised.  The new stuff he was doing in the first half of the set did get a bit repetitive. His new stuff is trying to be his old stuff, and it simply isn’t. it’s not the same time, or the same world it was when many of his major hits were written and performed. 

I like Cohen immensely. I guess what he is doing now, is what I want to do eventually. But, I do get the sense that he is repeating himself with some of his new pieces. Even, on stage much of the backing music to the new stuff sounds remarkably like Bird on a Wire, Tower of Song and So, Long Marianne. But, of course that could just be the MD trying to give the performance stage scope and symmetry.
Overall, I quite liked this concert and I do recommend Cohen as a stage performer and a song writer. I agree with Joe Dolce though, that I think Cohen still has the potential to be one of the great poets, but I think fame and anxiety and the mythology surrounding Cohen has made him less of a poet and more of a man playing the part of a prophet/poet song-writer.

But, please do yourself a favour and go see Cohen on his Nov/Dec 2013 tour and listen to his music, especially if you are an aspiring poet and/or song writer. There is a lot from Cohen you can inspire you and teach you what to do and what not to do.

Red Wolf Press Australia: Our First two anthologies

What better way to end the busy Silly seasons, and see 2013 to its inevitable end then by coming down to the Brunswick Hotel, having a drink, buying a book, reading a poem, singing a song, you can do it all on Monday 30th of December, 2013...

Red Wolf Press Australia, Lulu,the Brunswick Hotel and Passionate Tongues proudly brings to you, two new poetry collections by James WF Roberts, Ten Poems and The Preludes. Red Wolf Press Australia is a new experimental and dark prose/verse publisher. These first two publications are the foundation stones of what will hopefully become part of the Melbourne and Australia literary scenes.

 So what are the books about? Ten Poems, is an experimental collection of ten poems written in a variety of different voices, textures and tones; ranging from a bank heist gone wrong, the miracle of birth in the tragedy and banality of a war zone, drug addiction, the trials and tribulations of love and relationships, to Indigenous Australian Land rights and spirituality.

The Preludes, by James WF Roberts, is a work of more serious literary and artistic pursuits. The Preludes are series of 50 individual pieces that are connected by narrative, structure and ideas. A philosophical work meditating on what it is to be an artist living in the world today, how do we cope with the loss of a loved one, the loss of the soul, the mechanical nature of society, does God exist? Is love real or just a chemical in-balance. Preludes is a cross-genre work, based on the traditions of TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, the Psalms of the Bible, Classical mythology and modern contemporary pop-culture—the poet is going on a journey in this collection, he is trying to find meaning in homogenized, digitized, corporatized world. Will he find what he is looking for?

Passionate Tongues, (aka The Brunswick Hotel, 140 Sydney Rd Brunswick, Melbourne VIC) on Monday 2nd DECEMBER 2013 at 8:30pm.
 Free entry.

Book prices:
$5 AUD: Ten Poems.
$10 AUD: The Preludes
$20AUD: Blue Electric Dusk.

or buy all three books for only $30 Aud on the night.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Poets Corner: Catherine ZIckgraf Ambient


I’m demented from exhaustion again.
It’s 5 am, and my conscious mind
is scaling my skull to find its own kind.

            And I think I’m turning
wild in this wilderness,
tired of restlessness—
everyone’s abandoned the roads.

            The wind rolls in like tides, like sin—
            and I’m stalked by eyes inside these lines.
            I want to run, erase all of it—
            but I’m caged here till time unwinds.

                        So I’m fighting fear,
            fighting tears tunneling my ears,
            fighting demons that fill the stability
            they’ve prescribed me over the years.

And those screams in last night’s dreams
lead me past the graveyard path tonight
where my goals and plans once traveled my head.
I’m unraveling sanity, tossing in bed.

I’m desperate to settle down my bones,
desperate for eyes to close,
so I can float in my ocean of sheets.
But even when I finally sleep,
my mind still roams the streets.

And I’m trying to sleep.
But I run through rooms
where lights are flashing.
            I’m smashing through doors,
            soaring over the floor,
            twisting through carpeted corridors,

fleeing a roar, my folks screaming whore,
I’m unsure if I’m awake or asleep.
            And even weed doesn’t seem
            to work anymore. . .

Flooding blood swells around me.
Hell pulls me down to drown me
in the soundlessness of coffins
sliding out to sea.

Catherine Zickgraf is a writer first, a performer second.  As Catherine the Great, she has shared her spoken word from Madrid to Boston, from Miami to San Francisco, and on scores of stages in between.  See her perform at

Yet the written word is her first love.  Her writing has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pank, Bartleby-Snopes, and GUD Magazine.  Her chapbook, Every Clock Has Its Place, is forthcoming from Sweatshoppe Publications

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

2012 and other poems. Amanda Anastasi’s first collection of poems.

2012 and other poems.

Amanda Anastasi’s first collection of poems.

What Melbourne writers are saying about Amanda Anastasi’s first collection:

“2012 and other poems is a richly contemporaneous. Amanda Anastasi takes on various occasions as various as saving a great tree, Fukushima and the tragic shipwreck at Christmas Island. But the key to the book is the poet in person, a skilled wordsmith exploring, with candour and some irony, herself and the subtle extended life of her experience” Judith Rodriguez

“Amanda Anastasi is passionately committed to the emergence of the individual and directs a sharp philosophical critique towards anything which blocks this emergence, whether insitutions in society, consumer culture or sheep mentality. This philosophy is delivered in rich language which is nonetheless plain-speaking and avoids saccharine expression. These meditations on what it means to be an individual have their greatest impact precisely on the individual who thise collection privately and reflectively, perhaps in a bath of still, warm water”.
Santo Cazzati, 3CR Spoken Word.
“In 2012, Anastasi invites you to question the social and political constructs we take for granted in our day to day lives and over generations. Don’t turn a blind eye to this impressive collection. Amanda Anastasi is an emerging poet to watch”. Tiggy Johnson, Editor Page Seventeen Magazine

Nothing excites the blood, in my opinion more than seeing inside another person’s mind, going to the weird, wild, wonderful and sometimes downright whacky imagination of another creative spirit. This is real excitement, not the cheap thrills of a roller-coast or a ghost train at Luna Park, but real danger. The danger of allowing yourself to feel as another person feels, to love, to hate and to think the same way as that person. It is intimate, passionate, distant and ravishing. And this is how you will feel when you read this fantastic premiere collection by one of Melbourne’s finest Spoken Word Performers, Amanda Anastasi, 2012 and other poems, published by Lulu, 2012.

A lot of people, especially in Australia I think, are distrustful of poetry. I want to say that they don’t understand it, or they afraid of it, or they just don’t care. But that is too harsh and also quite elitist on my behalf. Deep down I think though, that people are distrustful of poetry because it is thought of as something far above everyone’s own daily struggle. That it is for people with University degrees, wear black turtle necks and drink Chardonnay, go antiquing in the Grampians or at Daylesford and enjoy the spectacle of mass sport as masturbation or a modern church, I think you get the point, ( a note to any of my friends who suddenly want to beat me up after reading that last line, if you recognise yourself like that—it’s time to change your clothes)

But, poetry in its ind ividual and unique form is quite different than what most people are exposed to, say at school, or what they see on TV or movies about poets. Poetry is essentially the vehicle of direct language meeting direct emotional response. Beauty, truth kind of thing. The rythms, and structures, the cadence and form of good poetry are desgined for the reader, or the listener to build images up in their mind, without the audience knowing what tools, what road map the writer is using. This is very much the case with Amanda’s poem, Poets. [originally published in 2011, Short and Twisted, anthology, Celapene Press, then in 2012 Horizons anthology, Poetica Christi Press]


We run our fingers over the shell

of humanity, feeling for the pulse

of its mettle; the rhythms of its

prejudices, the beat of its concord;

drunk on the beautiful, redefining its

boundaries: its height, its breadth

and its colours, worshipping a

horizon’s sweep and the vein

of a leaf, the collected light

of a city and the glisten in

an eye; capturing a moment in the universe

and the universe in a moment.
I have heard a colleague and friend of mine, Michaeal Reynolds, say that Amanda doesn’t necessarily use words, it’s more that she honours them. And I agree with that idea. Read this poem aloud and you will feel that seduction take place.

Yet, there is irony in her words as well. Look where the word ‘boundaries’ appears, it is not on the regularly accepted position, or boundary at the end of the line. It is at the beginning of it, so maybe not so much a boundary rather a door, or portal, a journey towards a new realm of thought maybe?
Without spending too long on this poem, I can see many of the same ideas flowing through her pen, as one of the great English poets of all time, certainly in the top four of the Great Romantics, S.T. Coleridge. I think this poem, certainly falls within the same scope of ideas and utilizes the same seductive language that S.T. Coleridge uses in Kublai Khan. One of the arguments I have heard about that piece by Coleridge is that the Poet is witnessing the sexual fury, the giant release of the creative spirit, as the Pleasure Dome rises from the tumult, ie: the Dome is actually the poem itself.
In literature today, there is pretty much no, real no-go areas for writers of any gender, orientation, age group or religious background to explore. I am in favour of this occurrence. The global world is shoved down our throats 24/7 and I know a lot of poets feel the same as I do, that we have a right, if not a responsibility to respond to this new over saturated world. And Amanda certainly does that, with quite expert hands. She takes on a trip of emotional expeniture. Ranging from the first contact between Europeans and Aboriginals, the wreckage of Fukishima and of Cyclone Yasi, to our own shopping centres and suburban gardens and to marvel at the ‘Saturn’s rings’ of a thousand-year-old tree. She shares with us her own wonderment of our capacity for seeing, remembering, grieving and joy. This is a collection of wide scope, a path with many turns which constantly asks the reader to go just a little further every time.
First Boats is a prime example of the way Amanda builds up images with a simple yet refined way we find ourselves longing for understanding and being filled with compassion and I think a lot of shame.

first boats
January 18, 1788

they sail across our waters
they sail across our ancestors
hair the hue of sand dunes,
skin white as a sea eagle’s belly

thin second skins sheathe
their arms, legs, torsos
the colours of billowing sea,
moon and dead eucalypt bark
sun-like rocks decorate their

chests in long vertical lines
shiny skins blackened, moulded
to shape their feet that now step
from bulky canoes; we wave spears
above our heads: warra warra wai
where are your message sticks
seeking invitation?

they look upon us as they look upon
the mangrove trees, without seeing
this rainbow serpent will form a
second world on our mountains,
our waterways and forests – full with
spirit – though they brand it as bare
they stride across our land
they stride across our souls.

This poem was Highly Commended in the 2011,Julie Lewis Biennial Literarary awards, presented at the Peter Cowan Writer’s Centre in Western Australia.The judging poet was Kevin Gillam and it was one of eleven poems shortlisted from the 212 entries. There are more poems I could discuss here but then if I did that I would be too tempted to post all of them, and you would have no real need to buy this lovely book and Amanda would be very cross with me.
What intrigues me the most with Amanda is her own sense of style in her verse. She uses concetre imagery, and allows that imagery to speak for itself, she doesn’t illustrate the point she is trying to make by hitting you over the head repeatidly with the metaphor until you are dull. She uses all of her stylistic and versification weapons, admirably and doesn’t seperate the reader from the unravelling mystery in our heads. We are with the writer, the entire length of every poem, this is more like a greatest hits album from a singer than a debut album, almost every poem is a gold record that is critically acclaimed. There is an upsurge in the Melbourne Spoken Word scene and indeed in most Poetry Scenes, I think of trying to make poetry more mainstream, more sales, from a desperate readership looking for truth in an over saturated world. I think so many people are sick of reality TV shows, mindless panel discussion shows and pointless politicians, if Poetry in Australia is to move into the mainstream of Art and Entertainment where it belongs, it will be the poetry of Amanda Anastasi, I think that will be the first beginings of said movement.
Amanda’s poetry also works if you are new to poetry, or you want to give someone not very familiar with poetry, or with Australia as it is today, their very first book of contemporary Australian verse. This is a direct writer-reader response experience on the page, it will leave you wandering and thinking for hours after you have one piece, or two or three lines, but that is the beauty of good art, once it leaves the hands of it’s creator it constructs its own world and views, images, emotional complexity around whoever is willing to take the first steps of the journey. After all, beauty and poetry—beautiful, instense poetry is not just in the eye of the beholder, it’s also reponses to the beholder’s heart.

Amanda is also very passionate about new and emerging writers. She is always there to lend a helpful and supportive ear and is someone who is very well beloved and trusted, from what I can see in the Melbourne Poetry community. 

She is the one who re-introduced me to the Performance Poetry scene in Melbourne, at Passionate Tongues, at the Brunswick Hotel. So we are friends and colleagues, but my opinions of her work are not reflected or maintained by my friendship with her. I would hold these views regardless if we were friends of not.

For more information on how to purchase a copy of this tantalizing collection please visit:

Amanda Anastasi’s Biographay:

After completing her arts degree at Deakin University, Amanda shed her former conservative self to embrace independent thought. She started a piano tuition business, Virtuoso Music, through which she teaches up to sixty students a week, runs recitals and performs at the occasional function. Although she had majored in writing at uni, it wasn’t until 2009/10 that Amanda threw herself into the wonderful world of words. In 2009 she was surprised to find herself shortlisted in the Page Seventeen Poetry Competition. This gave birth to an insatiable poetry monster, and Amanda subsequently had poems published in many Australian and international anthologies and magazines. She was even more astonished to find herself the winner of the 2010 Seagull Poetry Prize at the Williamstown Literary Festival, with a poem concerned with asylum seeker issues. Amanda often drops in at Passionate Tongues or The Dan O’Connell readings to perform her work.

Amanda has also recently begun working and performing a very extraordinary collaboration with Steve Smart, Composer  Yvette Audain and Violinist Sarah Curro on Loop City.

Venue: Deakin Edge Federation Square, Melbourne, Vic, 3000, Australia
    November 9, 2013 8:15 pm
    November 9, 2013 10:00 pm    

Loop City - Fed Square Performance and Album Launch Promo # 2