Maggie Ball’s Black Cow is an honest take on mid life crisis and the need to redefine who we are and why the #@&! we are here anyway’. Maggie’s puMaggie Ball’s Black Cow is an honest take on mid life crisis and the need to redefine who we are and why the #@&! we are here anyway’. Maggie’s pull no punches, no holds barred approach leaves you feeling you have looked like peeping tom’s over the shoulders of her characters into their inner sanctums and watched them sink, swim and drag themselves ashore spitting weed. This is an honest to goodness look at ‘sea-change’ warts and all for which Maggie is to be roundly congratulated!...more
This collection is a remarkable assortment of stories across numerous genres with something to suit, no matter what your tastes, age, or background. TThis collection is a remarkable assortment of stories across numerous genres with something to suit, no matter what your tastes, age, or background. The stories have been drawn from around the world and all over Australia. A smorgasbord and it is all for a very good cause, helping Queensland's flood victims rebuild their shattered lives.
Whether you are an animal lover [try "Kittens!" by Sam Adamson] or you want a belly-laugh of a read [try "Why Can't I take Life Easier?" by Keith Havers], something multicultural ["Cake" by Lunar Hine or "Burka" by Sylvia Petter], a story of unrequited love with a twist ["Her Smile", Emma Newman], SciFi adventure ["Transmutator" by Devin Watson or "Drake M. Causeway" by Tomara Armstrong], a tale for the nature lover ["The Speaking Tree" by Alan Baxter or "The Miracle Tree" by E.N. De Choudens], or something a bit trippily surreal and poignant at the same time ["Surviving the Kitchen Tiles" by Jessica Bell], it is all there. All collected together for you to dip into at your pleasure, whatever you mood, there will be a read for you!
And there is, as the adman says, MORE! At the end of the volume is a collection of 17 bonus stories, including the novel in miniature "Summer at the Sugar Palace" by Tanya Bell, the boy's own adventure of "The Quest" by Trevor Belshaw, "Clutch" a cruise ship romance with a difference by Jodi Cleghorn, my own tragi-comic "Her Ladyship Awaits..." under my other persona, J.R.McRae, and the uplifting and delightful "Smile" by Stacey Larner.
Short story collections have gained a new impetus with the advent of e-books, i-pads and Apps. A short story is the ideal way to indulge your reading passion on the move, waiting for a bus, train, plane or lift. They are the ideal online read during coffee-break or welcome diversion whilst whiling away time because your partner, lover, friend or colleague is late.
If you know someone going on a cruise or a long journey or a reader with eclectic tastes, this is the perfect present! It is like a box or Haigh's assorted chocs, you just can't wait to dip in! Do yourself a flavour! BUY IT!...more
Great to see author, poet, playwright, songwriter, Jan Turner-Jones in this very varied read for kids of all ages! Her "Scratchy Poem" graces the backGreat to see author, poet, playwright, songwriter, Jan Turner-Jones in this very varied read for kids of all ages! Her "Scratchy Poem" graces the back cover. My own story "The Stray" is reproduced in here along with numbers of poems. "The Stray" was originally published in AATE anthology, "The Girl Who Married a Fly", which was a CBCA Notable Book....more
Static Poetry II repeats the multicultural, eclectic mix of poetry and haiku covering every conceivable topic that could inspire a poem and which madeStatic Poetry II repeats the multicultural, eclectic mix of poetry and haiku covering every conceivable topic that could inspire a poem and which made such a buzz with Static Poetry I!
Below are a couple of excerpts from my contributions to the collection:
[From "Shut Down"] The switch is on, the wires hum, the lights flash! Turn on's firing down the lines- Stray exclamation marks hang out Like dead bats. The receiver holds its message to the ear, Only lips can Come closer.
[From "De-arranged"] Then someone starts up yelling, Threshing his arms in the air, Screaming at unseen assailants - And everybody stares, Takes one step back away from him, Says not one word, just glares... He walks on into oblivion And it could be the wind round the highrise Or the sighs of relief that he hears....more
This is an international collection with a wonderfully varied array of poetry and haiku. Canadian, Australian, Irish, as well as American poets are feThis is an international collection with a wonderfully varied array of poetry and haiku. Canadian, Australian, Irish, as well as American poets are featured.
Excerpts from two of my own contributions:
Prowling round my perimeters A great, grey predatory male With scars on his flank, A coarseness to his muzzle And one skewed tooth.
I see him in the woods. He stops - Holding my eyes captive Whilst he devours. I have no defence against those eyes, Hunted to the brink of extinction Their flame dark and intense - The forest fire consuming lesser fires Cradled in man made girdles of rock. [from "The European Wolf"]
III. There are inroads to the heart Where the shy musk doe waits In moist moss gardens.
Invasion can't discover and peel back The layers of her love. Salt erodes the path her pain reveals. Cliffs form the legend and The sorceress. [from "Isle of Circe"] ...more
I have 12 humorous dragon poems in this collection. Here is a sample:
Pet Food Problems by J.R.Poulter
I have a little dragonling, I love him very much. II have 12 humorous dragon poems in this collection. Here is a sample:
Pet Food Problems by J.R.Poulter
I have a little dragonling, I love him very much. I just wish he Would bond with me, Not eat my relatives for tea And friends and peers and such!
It gets a little hard to keep Up with his food supply. All my remaining neighbours Have wary looking eyes. They ask me awkward questions About folk who come and stay And, many as are going in, Not any go away. I’m not about to answer, Truth is I know not how. I may just have to let my pet Eat up the neighbours now.
Then, I suspect, it won’t be long Before we’ll have to move. We sort of need a food supply, The one here won’t improve. And I’m a little worried That, if food supplies look lean, My dragonling might fancy ME, If you know what I mean… ...more
I generally read collections of poetry randomly. This gives me, I feel, better access to theLetters from the Asylum, by John Knight
Review by J.R.McRae
I generally read collections of poetry randomly. This gives me, I feel, better access to the variant moods of the poet. If you like, I feel I am looking over his/her shoulder unexpected and capturing something extra, something they may not have imagined was about to break lose from their verse.
Look at this will you… Pages 74 and 75 …the juxtaposition is something alone to mull over!
On facing pages we have the ultimate still life, a dead swaggy with all the irony of the ‘life’ his death is giving –
“white ants built a nest in his head.”
And the opposite page is “affirmation” with its powerful and wryly inspirational second last line -
“Maybe it’s time to send flowers to yourself,“
Here is something more than poetry, it is the mirror our words create in themselves, between themselves and up to us.
Let’s jump to John’s remembrances of his parents. Poor souls who love to give us life and then try… all their lives to live up to our expectations, live down our excesses.
Remembrances ”Seventy-Three Years” Page 21 and the wedding portrait’s due formality can’t hide his chin, her smile, their hope.
Only a child can censor a parent’s wedding photo and comment with a soft, sly touch. Then there are the death watch poems. The angst is gone, a sad humour remains. They are his parents. He has forgiven them. Now he stands beside them and slowly notes the last details of their existence…. It is almost excruciating.
“blind worm and greedy time’s decay” Page 20
1979 Oliver William Knight
I scraped the stubborn blade across my father’s face at his request. My sister’s hair fell on his chest. My mother held his hand and willed him life. ‘I want to wee,’ he whispered half-asleep.
1993 Blanche Marybelle Thirza Knight
Blind worm and greedy time’s decay may waste that shrivelled womb and foul the withered breast. Where I once sucked, and on the arm that cradled me vile cankers spread. But the raven hair you shook out for his pleasuring endures, and the plain ring on your finger.
Let’s travel on.
Pulped Fiction [P. 26] is a series of awfully pointedly observed images, pinned together to and irony and build to a painful insight – the sort that makes you stop mid laugh and cry.
The last lines sum it up perfectly –
… And last week, when I sent flowers to the woman I love, her brother’s dog bit the delivery boy. Is the universe trying to tell me something?
On the opposite page [P. 27] is one of the most beautiful and poignant poems I have ever read on suicide, “The People You Leave Behind”. I can’t pick out just one image. They are all inextricably linked and carry the reader like a gradually building wave towards the crash onshore.
Pages 32 and 33 are experimental verse – shaped and extravaganced. Do they work? I think so. They are John playing at being John – a sort of dress rehearsal for the main act.
Where will we go now…. We’ll have a “meeting in the op shop of desire” … [Page 46] What are titles for – to say more. They introduce, sum up and are the neon lit ad enticing us into their dark underground. This title does it well.
The poem flits like a moth in dark places looking for the deadly candle light. “The trick is not to get yourself... deleted.” Along the way, we play with rhyme schemes to emphasis the rhythm in this dance macabre.
War poems, replete with headlined images and the harsh economy of words that only works when too much is too much, these are terse yet tender. These are voyeur and would be peace worker trying to do their bit. The four stark poems on pages 64 to 65 are must read.
Philosophising on life and everything else is best done succinctly. John achieves this, reflecting on the sad state of politics in “The Day After” “we woke up sad and sorry but the sun was still there.” [page 84] and everything else [page 85] in “there is a light”. “I have given my days blindly” and “now the Earth beckons…”
A perfect ending to the collection is not on page 94 but on page 90, “peace”. I love every line of this little gem, so I reproduce it entire –
this house has peace in its timber, the slow blowfly hums peace, the pines and the clean sky echo peace, the kingfisher calls peace and the water breaking on the flat sand sings
Taupo Bay Tai Tokerau
As this is likely, alas, to be John’s final collection, I have added some excerpts from his ‘Introduction”. Extracts: [Page 11] For the greater part of my adult life, I have experienced recurrent severe depression — in the clinical as well as the popular sense of the term — alternating with shorter periods of considerable exhilaration.
The association of depression with creativity is not uncommon, and a substantial number of artists and thinkers are said to have been affected by it.
My own experience suggests that it is in the shift from one state to the other (either manic or depressive) that creativity finds purchase;
And on “the process of writing” [Page 14] there comes a time, if the work is to have its own veridicality, its own conviction, when it starts to speak back to me so to speak. It assumes an independent existence, and tells me what it will be. [Page 15] Out of it I seek to … assert an identity—this person, John Knight—and thus discover, uncover, recover an essential me.
Letters from the Asylum, Sudden Valley Press, Christchurch, NZ, 2009 ISBN 978-0-9582091-9-9 by John Knight
Availability: From John Knight, 38 Suncroft St., Mt Gravatt, 4122. $20.00 including postage within Australia. $A20 plus $5 p&p overseas, payment by paypal or direct deposit. ...more
GRIEFABET by Karen O. Johnson MEd. "Griefabet" by noted American therapist/counsellor/presenter, Karen O. Johnson is unusual.
The book,of course, is priGRIEFABET by Karen O. Johnson MEd. "Griefabet" by noted American therapist/counsellor/presenter, Karen O. Johnson is unusual.
The book,of course, is primarily aimed at counseling and therapy settings and there is a workbook that can be purchased to accompany "Griefabet". But this little book is a great deal more.
A book of warm, witty, affirmations for those who are coping with grief and loss, it has a few happily playful 'venting' exercises thrown in for good measure. It is also a free verse poem that celebrates life and the resilience of the human spirit. Finally, it is a work of art - illustrations use the letters of the alphabet in designs that mirror the verse of affirmation opposite. It is a design achievement!
In her new book, "Mirror", Jeannie celebrates the differences that makes up the diversity of world cultures and the elements that unite us, the bondsIn her new book, "Mirror", Jeannie celebrates the differences that makes up the diversity of world cultures and the elements that unite us, the bonds of family and the mundanities of every day life.
Even the presentation, as two books united within one cover, highlights 'same and different', but highlights it in a way that draws us closer to both families, the traditional Moroccan family and the modern Australian family.
Turning pages of each book simultaneously, reveals parallel aspects of the daily lives of these very different families. We see them with the intimacy and immediacy of a fly on the wall. They are at work, at meals, settling for the night, shopping and sharing. The colours are luminous and the details absorptive. Words are superfluous!
I have always been a fan of Jeannie Baker's beautiful, evocative, detailed collages. This latest book is a treasure!
"Mirror" by Jeannie Baker, Walker Books, ISBN 978-1-4063-0914-0....more
"It's a Book!" by Lane Smith "Its a Book!" - whilst I am definitely in favour of innovation and new technology, there is nothing like a book! This litt "It's a Book!" by Lane Smith "Its a Book!" - whilst I am definitely in favour of innovation and new technology, there is nothing like a book! This little gem beautifully and humorously puts books and new tech in perspective! Highly recommended! :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhUNyz...
Monkey is absorbed, reading a book. Jackass is busy, playing on his laptop. Jackass gets curious. What is it about this very static, boring looking assemblage of cardboard and paper that has Monkey's attention so completely? Jackass does what all curious kids do, asks and asks and asks and asks. But, instead of deterring Jackass, Monkey's repetitive response only spurs him on till, in desperation, Monkey lets Jackass look see for himself.
What is the result? Computer geek Jackass gets hooked on a book and Monkey heads off to the library!
By highlighting what a book is not, Lane Smith cleverly shows exactly the joy, fascination and involvement to be had by turning the pages of a good book. The illustrations humorously depict the characters of Monkey, Jackass and Mouse and further definition is given by the clever use of a different font for each character.
Not a word is wasted in this celebration of what a book is and why we love them!
"It's a Book!" by Lane Smith, is a Walker Book, ISBN 978-1-921720-14-7....more