Blog

Launch of Hologrammatical

Philip’s fifteenth book of poetry HOLOGRAMMATICAL was launched on Thursday 30 November 2023 by Amanda Johnson, award-winning writer and artist in conversation with Philip Salom. Amanda was introduced by David Musgrave, founder and publisher at Puncher & Wattmann...

read more

The Poem Announces Itself

The Americans are always doing research into how we function. What happens in our organism. They study the prose of us. Erica Michael and Marcel Just conducted brain scans during conscious acts by human subjects to discern brain activity and especially brain...

read more

A Tribute to Elizabeth Jolley

People are usually surprised when they discover I write so much of my work in longhand. Elizabeth Jolley surprised even me when she said she wrote her works with a fountain pen, not filled internally, but by regular dipping in ink. It gave me a strongly visceral sense...

read more

Time

I will never become accustomed to the befuddling dimensions of time. More specifically, its passing. Like many people I feel quite unable to register ageing internally – and it's there, inside, where I'm feeling young, that mind tricks me and no doubt leads me to at...

read more

Poetic Intelligence

I have been wondering about this quality for some time, an aspect of writing/language which I can only call poetic intelligence, a something far more than 'intelligence' normally accounts for… and yet it is a kind of mental accuracy of skill and knowingness. An...

read more

Reading comes first

Leaving actual judges aside for a moment (see 'Judging Poetry' blog post)… One way to look at the critical continuum is in three parts: the actual poetics influencing the poets’ writing; the poems themselves and how they ‘work’; and how the readers read, what they are...

read more

Bookshelves

Our bookshelves are made of gorgeous WA jarrah and – thanks to the low-shine satin finish– they give off a subdued but distinctive glow between the rows of books and the golden pheasant (everyone asks about the stuffed pheasant) and the black graphite coloured hi fi....

read more

Judging poetry

I have judged several poetry awards at ms and book level, with one other and two other judges, and it can be strange encountering readings and pre-dispositions that are not merely lacking knowledge, and rigour, and fairness, but reacting in ways that are beyond...

read more

Jussi Bjorling’s secret to singing

Jussi Bjorling’s secret to singing: line up ears up directly over shoulders (from David L. Jones)…

OK, it’s not true, but anything about Jussi Bjorling fascinates me. The great Swedish tenor was born in 1911 and died in 1960. I have recordings made a few days before his death of a heart attack in August of that year, and the singing in that magnificent last concert  pours out in full voice and with all his incredible, expansive tone, as if nothing held him back, nothing restrained him. He knew, though, his heart, already weakened from previous attacks, could go at any moment. His singing is always moving, but this is especially moving.

read more

Thoughts About the Lyric

I have been discussing one of my poems with an alert school student and it began as a maybe/maybe not moment that relaxed into a small pleasure. The poem is an oldie so re-visiting it was interesting – returning as a reader, feeling my way back into the poem enough to...

read more

Launch Speech for The Keeper of Fish and Keeping Carter

The following speech was attributed to Prof Ross but maybe he's a heteronym too. I have a couple of apologies to announce. (Reading piece of paper) From um let's see.... Oh, it's Alan Fish... Fish has left a message which reads: I would love to be there but I'm here...

read more

Another Novel Hits the…

It is finished bar the shred-fest of in-house editing. Novel number three.It appeared directly on my computer screen at something like 1000 words a day during the last semester of my lectureship at Melbourne Uni. That was 2008. This writing was to be a two-way...

read more

Innovation

Last week I became Poet-in-Residence for Creative Innovation 2011, a conference presenting the ideas and advice of speakers who have extensive track records in driving, facilitating and/or theorising innovation. Not in the artistic sense but in areas of the cognitive...

read more

Francis Webb Poet Extraordinaire

Celebration! On the final Saturday of the 2011 Melbourne Writers Festival, one of Australia’s greatest poets came back into glorious print. To celebrate the occasion, several leading Melbourne poets were invited to read one or two poems each from the brilliant new...

read more

All’s Write with the World

Always fascinating to find how the world fits in with the writing. When it does, I mean. When it does. Especially when a problem in the writing requires some 'helping' right answer from the world. I was reading through the final versions of the MA Carter poems before...

read more

Wombats of Bundanon: Twenty Australian Poets book launch

At the Friend in Hand pub in Glebe.So, there we are: Poets and Wombats in the same title. Poets numbered (twenty of us) and wombats innumerable (though poets do seem to be multiplying every time you look around). Regarding that syntax - poets are wombats? Let’s see....

read more

Tagore: an Amazing Life

If the dates are correct, Rabindranath Tagore – whose 150th birthday has just passed – lived a life as brilliantly symmetrical as he was brilliantly talented: born on May 7 in 1861 and dying on August 7, 1941.

In the west he is usually considered a great poet (for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1913) but throughout his remarkable 80 years he proved himself the most extraordinary person of the ‘Indian Renaissance’, publishing 30 or so collections of poetry, eight novels, four novellas, ten books of essays, several collections of critical writings and speeches on the culturally central subjects of literature, history, politics and religion.

read more