I’m very excited to be able to say my first book of poetry, Paper Nautilus, is now available as an ebook through Amazon. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it (and given it’s (a) poetry and (b) has been out of print for more than a decade that’s presumably pretty much everybody) it was first published by Five Islands Press as part of their New Poets Series in 1994, was shortlisted for the National Book Council of Australia’s Banjo Award for Poetry in 1995, and contains a series of poems I wrote between 1991 and 1993.
It’s always strange rereading work you wrote a long time ago, but looking at the book again I’m surprised how well it stands up. Perhaps unusually I didn’t really start writing until I was in my 20s, and because I managed to get published reasonably quickly the poems in Paper Nautilus aren’t just the first things I had published, many of them are amongst the first things I ever wrote. That being the case it’s sort of gratifying to find the book contains not just a number of poems I’m genuinely proud of but a number more I’d forgotten that are surprisingly good (I have to confess I had no memory of ‘Winter Afternoon’ at all until I reread the book). Even more interesting is seeing the way so many of the interests and preoccupations of my fiction were present right from the beginning.
I’ve made a few minor corrections to the text but otherwise the book is as it was when it was first published, except for the very handsome new cover, designed by Who Creative.
There’s more information and a few reviews over on the page I’ve created for the book, but given you can have the whole book for a mere US$2.99, perhaps you’d be better off just hopping over to Amazon and buying a copy.
Bruce Pennington, ‘Children of Tomorrow’
Busy writing, which is cutting down on the posts, but in the meantime I thought I might point you in the direction of a couple of things that might be of interest.
The first is the latest episode of Jonathan Strahan and Gary Wolfe’s excellent Coode Street Podcast, which I was lucky enough to be a part of last weekend. If you’re interested in SF and Fantasy and you don’t already listen to Coode Street I heartily recommend you check it out; recent episodes have featured discussions with Paul Kincaid about his stinging critique of the state of contemporary SF in the Los Angeles Review of Books a few weeks ago (there’s a nice roundup of other responses to the piece on Kincaid’s website) and the brilliant Kij Johnson (if you haven’t read her new collection, At the mouth of the river of the bees, you should do so immediately, although not before you’ve read the opening story, ’26 monkeys, also, the abyss’). The episode featuring me is available for free from the Coode Street website or direct from iTunes.
The second is this week’s launch of issue 6 of P76. This is a project with a rather wonderful story behind it. As some of you may remember, P76 was a small but adventurous literary journal that produced five issues in the late 1980s and early 1990s before folding just before the publication of its sixth issue in the summer of 1992/3.
Earlier this year P76’s editors, Mark Roberts and Linda Adair, found the setting for this lost issue, which features work by M T C Cronin, joanne burns, Gary Dunne and others and decided to publish it as a time capsule showcasing the state of Australian literature 20 years ago. This was a decision that was of particular interest to me because the issue also contained one of the first poems I ever sold, and which, as a result of the magazine’s collapse, never saw the light of day. If you’d like to read the issue it’s available from Rochford Street Press. Issue 1 of P76 is also available for free online. My poem’s called ‘Wintering’, and it’s actually not bad.
Now, back to the novel …
Via Overland comes Karen Andrew’s sly update of Clive James’ poem, ‘The Book of my Enemy has been Remaindered’.
And here was me telling some students only a couple of days ago that one of the joys of blogging was that the status anxiety and envy that so shrivels novelists and poets’ hearts just evaporates in cyberspace. Oh foolish, utopian me.
I’ve got a poem, ‘Bodysurfing’, in the April issue of Australian Book Review, which is out this week. It’s only eight lines but I promise they’re all gold, every one of them.
Of course, in the unlikely event the promise of eight hand-tooled lines by yours truly doesn’t seem enough to justify your $9.95 (which makes it a mere $1.25 a line, or 40c a word), the issue also contains the winning entries in this year’s Calibre Award, which has been awarded jointly to Kevin Brophy and Jane Goodall. Both pieces are worth reading, but I definitely wouldn’t miss Kevin Brophy’s truly horrifying account of life with the neighbours from hell, and the secret violence of suburbia.
Australian Book Review is available in bookstores, online, or you can lash out and subscribe.