If you think poetry isn’t for you. Think again.

My friend Michelle Dicinoski has recently released her collection of poems, Electricity for Beginners.

Most modern poetry leaves me cold – too weird and complex. I feel like a I  need a degree in philosophy and cryptic crosswords just to get a handle on them.  Not so Michelle’s work.

With deceiving simplicity she weaves half-magic worlds that are still deeply familiar and moving. Reaching for meaning and a truth that is beautiful.

Here’s a section from her poem, “The City Gauge” about her experience of the recent floods in Brisbane.


Soon it will be dawn, soon it will be

weirdly beautiful – the water a foot from the floorboards,

high-set verandahs kissing their reflections,

six-foot fences vanquished – soon we’ll realise we’re trapped.


But for now, it’s night, and there’s just

the torchlight, and the radio voices

and the raising things up, the lifting that is like belief :

the best that we can do

            but never high enough.

Michelle’s poems resonate with this kind of beauty but also show her sense of humour and keen intelligence. 

I particularly like

silverware, girlish, shivers in its drawers from “Arterial”.

and  “Off Season at Concord” about her encounter with a statue of Thoreau

I pashed Thoreau

in Massachusetts but

it being winter

and he being bronze

he almost took my lips

(which are large and

wouldn’t suit him).

He stood alone by his shed –

room for a desk and a single bed –

staring hard at his palm as if he’d misplaced something –

a pencil, or an embrace.

Poor dead bugger.


When I am dead and famous

build me a statue of

ice or grass – something that

melts or shoots – and let me look up, up


not forever down

at my own damned hand.

This is just a taste of the many delights in Electricity for Beginners. “Turf” is another favourite, “Prayer Flags”, “Owl”, “Such Riches”, “Lexicon”, “Rounds”. I love them all. But you’ll have to buy your own copy to read them. It’s available direct from the publisher at  http://www.cloudsofmagellan.net/ or if you’re in Sydney Gleebooks has it too.


cover of Thrill Seekers

Thrill Seekers

 YES! After a wait of over three years, Thrill Seekers is finally on its way. It’s wending its way to India for printing, expected here in Australia in late July or August. I keep pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. After all this time I’ll be swinging from the rooftops when my carton of books is delivered. Stay tuned for more info about a launch and free preview copies.

I’m busy marking student stories at the moment but will back with a vengeance soon. I plan to do a series of interviews with wonderful writer friends, including Favel Parret, Chris Currie, Phillipa Fioretti, Katherine Howell, Antonia Baynard, Victor Marsh, Michelle Dicinoski and my best writing buddy, talented memoirist, Helena Pastor (check out her new blog for helpful advice). I’ll be asking about their writing process, how they do what they do, and asking for hints and tips.

Happy writing everyone.