Update: July 2016

Thom Tom Sullivan Poet Poetry 2016

I’ve been away from the blog for a month or two, as I’ve been occupied with a few writing projects.

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In mid-June, I was a featured writer at the Meet the Writers Festival, an annual festival for middle- and high-school students that’s been run by the South Australian English Teachers Association (SAETA) for the last 23 years. The festival, which was held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, gave hundreds of our State’s young readers and writers the opportunity to meet, listen to and ask questions of some wonderful local and interstate authors – much like our annual Writers’ Week. It’s an event that’s a great gift from our State’s English teachers.

This year the other featured writers were Janeen Brian, Phil Cummins, Archie Fusillo, Roseanne Hawke, Jack Heath, Don Henderson, Greg Holfeld, Christobel Mattingly, Ruth Starke and Claire Zorn – some of whom I read at school myself.

The four sessions I ran gave me a chance to talk to students about my own writing, offer some tips for writers and creators, and read a couple of poems. It was a fun day, and I especially enjoyed my conversations with young people who have the same enthusiasm for writing that I remember having as a high-school student.

You can find some very complimentary student reflections on the festival here.

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Since then I’ve been editing a collection of poems for a friend and working through the final drafts (at this stage, at least) of what should become my first full length collection of poems. Once a final draft is done, the manuscript will be ushered out into the world in search of a home. And gladly – it’s long overdue (though the maturation time has been well worth it), and there’re a bunch of poems in there I’m looking forward to putting into people’s hands.

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This week Australian Book Review released a set of podcasts for its national ‘States of Poetry’ project. Each podcast features an Australian poet talking about, then reading, one of their poems. You can listen to me read my poem ‘Suburban Panopticon’ here. And you can find the Adelaide Writer’s Week 2016 session featuring five of the six South Australian ‘States of Poetry’ poets here – that is, Aidan Coleman, Jelena Dinic, Jill Jones, Kate Llewellyn and me.

On the ABR site, you’ll also find new podcasts for some of my favourite contemporary Australian poets, including: Ken Bolton, Michael Farrell, Toby Fitch, Sarah Holland-Batt, Jill Jones, Nathan Shepherdson and Fiona Wright.

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Finally, on 16 August I’ll be appearing as a guest at The Lee Marvin Readings here in Adelaide, along with Pam Brown (Sydney), Kent MacCarter (Melbourne) and Dominic Symes. The readings take place every Tuesday night in alternate months, at the Experimental Art Foundation’s Dark Horsey Bookshop. I well remember attending the readings when they were held at the De La Catessen Gallery in Anster Street, Adelaide, as early as 2007, so it’s been nice to become a somewhat regular guest in recent years. The readings feature the best of Adelaide’s new writing – poetry and prose. You can find the full program for the August readings here.

On the Adelaide Writers’ Week Poetry Podcast

A podcast of the 2016 Adelaide Writers’ Week poetry reading is now available.

The Monday afternoon poetry reading is an enduring and eagerly anticipated tradition at Adelaide Writers’ Week. In past years, it has showcased interstate and international guests, however, this year poet and novelist Peter Goldsworthy chose five South Australian poets to read at the session, and appear in a complementary poetry feature for the March edition of Australian Book Review. The feature is part of ABR’s ‘States of Poetry’ project, a federally arranged project, funded by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, that will include poets from all states and territories.

Tom Thom Sullivan Poet Adelaide Writers Week Poetry Reading 1.jpg

I’m among the poets who were chosen to appear at the reading, along with Aidan Coleman, Jelena Dinic, Jill Jones and Kate Llewellyn. The reading, like all Writers’ Week sessions, was a free event and took place in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden. The poetry reading is well attended year-after-year, but this year’s crowd was the largest I’ve seen. Details for the podcast are as follows:

Laura Kroetsch: Director’s introduction (0:00)

Peter Goldsworthy: Chair (0:17)

Aidan Coleman (2:40) @AidanColeman4

Jelena Dinic (17:06)

Jill Jones (28:48) @_jill_jonesblog

Kate Llewellyn (40:50)

Thom Sullivan (53:12)

One poem by each poet appears in the March 2016 print (“dead tree”) edition of ABR, along with a poem by Ken Bolton. A further four poems by each poet will be published on ABR’s website as part of the ‘States of Poetry’ project (forthcoming). ‘States of Poetry’ anthologies for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Victoria and Queensland are already accessible online.

Tom Thom Sullivan Poet Adelaide Writers Week Poetry Reading 2

I’m somewhat sympathetic to Philip Larkin’s view that “[h]earing a poem, as opposed to reading it on the page, means you miss so much – the shape, the punctuation, the italics, even knowing how far you are from the end.” With that in mind, I’m happy to indicate where the poems I read during the session can be found in print and/or online, including a poem by American poet AR Ammons (1926-2001):

“Homo Suburbiensis” (Cordite)

“Threshold” (forthcoming)

“Freehold” (The Best Australian Poems 2015, Black Inc, 2015)

“In Camera” (Australian Book Review, online and March 2016 print edition)

“The City Limits” (AR Ammons)

“Carte Blanche” (Cordite, The Best Australian Poems 2014, Black Inc, 2014)

“All Things Go” (Australian Book Review)

“Nothing Doing” (Australian Love Poems, Inkerman & Blunt, 2013)

As stated by Peter at the end of the session, South Australian poets and ABR’s ‘States of Poetry’ project will feature at Writers’ Week in future years. It’s an addition to a venerable tradition that’s well worth applauding.

Ref.