The WILD Ones

Coming up on 3 December at The Front Cafe Gallery in Lyneham: Genre-Crossing Mayhem !

I will be reading with novella-ist Nigel Featherstone, Young Adult author Rebecca James, and political thriller writer Paul Daley. In a very non-boring manner. Which is why the event is called THE WILD ONES. Plus there will be music from the talented Chris Endrey.

Fun starts at 6pm. Does what it says on the tin.

Also, the lovely people at Electric Shadows Bookshop will be there to provide copies of books for purchase, should you be so incredibly moved by what you hear that you simply must have one (or several) of your very own.

Image of The Wild Ones promotional poster

Really Not Boring At All

Making a list and checking it twice

So I had a pretty quiet Sunday last weekend. I spent all morning doing my tax, and most of the afternoon planting some salad vegetables with my eight year old in a pathetic attempt to develop a hitherto-non-existent green thumb. And to stop him asking me so many questions about germination.

Around 5pm my partner took our other son, the ten year old, out for the evening. Around 6pm I got a text from my good friend @hackpacker:

“Congratu-bloody-lations ! You are shortlisted for the Prime Minster’s Literary Awards !”

Oh. I thought. Am I? Wait….WHAT ?

I refused to believe him until he texted me a link to the press release.

Then I sat down and had some heart palpitations.

I couldn’t ring my partner as I knew he was in the middle of driving to his destination. My eight year old was playing in the front yard and couldn’t care less about such things. I was alone in a silent house with some very very big news.

Eventually I did make contact with my partner, who when he finally returned brought home a bottle of champagne. The sort we don’t usually drink because we are not extravagant types. And we shared the whole bottle.

Image of champagne bottle and two full glasses

Not extravagant at all











Once I calmed down (about 24 hours later) I realised many things. One of them is that I am a fan of all the other poets on the shortlist (Sarah Day, Jakob Ziguras, Stephen Edgar and Geoff Page), so whoever wins I will be happy. No, really. If I were a horse I would give me about 50-1, so this is also helpful thinking.

Another thing I realised is that because in my day job I am a public servant, I am legally prevented from commenting publicly on political matters. So while there has been plenty of discussion of panel composition, etc elsewhere, not to mention discussion of the policies of the Abbot government in general, you will not be getting any of that from me. I’m just making it clear that I am not ignorant or naive, merely obliged to silence on some things.

The final thing I realised is that sometimes, it really is worth buying the expensive champagne.

PS. My favourite bit of the press release is the bit where it says

These thirty books have become part of the contemporary Australian literary canon

Bit soon for mine, I thought. Which is, incidentally, called Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call (Pitt St Poetry, 2013). Just because I haven’t mentioned that yet.


Reading in Sydney 13 September

Apologies for the long silence. Long story. Poems to follow. Happy National Poetry Week !

On the good news side of things, I am pleased to announce that I will be giving a poetry reading in Sydney on Saturday evening 13th September, at the Stanley Street Gallery in Darlinghurst.

Reading and signing

It is a double reading with poet Nicola Bowery. Nicola will be reading from her brand new book married to this ground, and I will be reading from Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call (Pitt St Poetry 2013), and also possibly from First… Then… (Ginninderra Press 2012) and from some unpublished new material.

The event kicks off at 5pm. There is a $15 cover charge which does include a glass of wine.

Here is a Facebook Event for the reading, and here is a link to the event details at City of Sydney What’s On.

The reading is organised by Poetry Alive, which is Nicola and her partner Harry Laing, who will MC. Should be a fun night, and the formal part of proceedings should all be over by 6.15pm, so you can start your evening in Darlinghurst and then kick on to wherever your other plans take you.

Love to see you there !

First… Then… wins award

I’m very pleased to announce that my next-to-last book, First… Then…, has won the Poetry category of the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards, for books published in 2012.

Many thanks to the publisher, Ginninderra Press for nominating it, and to the judges Judith Crispin and Michael Farrell for picking it. The judges’ citation was: “[First…Then… is an] emotionally brave and truthful testimony of raising a child with autism, elegant poems across a range of diverse styles, unashamedly feminine, humorous and lively forms.”

Image of award certificate and sticker

The evidence

The awards are administered by the ACT Writers’ Centre, and were presented last night at Gorman House Arts Centre. Also nominated in my category were books by Suzanne Edgar and Leon Trainor. Very gratifying to win in such a strong ‘field’.

If you would like to find out more about the book, it has its own blog where you can browse the poems and find out how to get your hands on a copy.

Merry Christmas !

Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call

Picture of the book Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call by Melinda Smith

The book itself

Hello, world, here is my latest book – and my first with Pitt Street Poetry. Just in time for Christmas / the holiday giving season !

The book was launched last week, with many kind words, by Geoff Page in Canberra and Mark Tredinnick in Sydney, and is now making its way, a copy at a time, into pool rooms everywhere.

If you were not able to be at one of the launches, and simply must have one of your very own, allow me to recommend a couple of strategies:

  • Front up to your local independent bookseller and demand that they order you in a copy from Pitt St Poetry; or
  • Visit my Pitt St Poetry author page, which has a link to their online shop. Only $2 postage and handling within Australia and delivery is generally within two business days.

There is also a Melbourne launch in the offing, but this may end up being in early 2014. I will post details when I have them.

If you already have the book, why not post your review in the comments below ?


Possets on Poetica

Just re-posting this information, as I now have a definite date for the broadcast:

Another poem of mine will be read out on ABC Radio National’s Poetica program on the Saturday after next (November 9, 2013).  More information about the broadcast is available here. I am feeling very lucky as this is the second time this year I have been Poetica-ed (read about the first time here).



This time my poem, called ‘Possets’ is actually two linked haiku, so it should take up all of 15 seconds of airtime.  It appeared earlier this year in an anthology called Women’s Work, and Poetica will be featuring the book on their program. (You may remember my post about the Women’s Work anthology launch in March 2013. I must give a shout out to Moya Pacey (the poet who Freudian-slipped the word ‘shagging’ into her poem ‘Smalls’ when reading it out at the launch)  as her poem will also be featuring on the Poetica program. Unfortunately without the Freudian slip this time…)

As for my own tiny little poem, it explores two sides of being a modern mother – working ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the home – and shows that neither is an unmitigated festival of fabulousness. This is (I think) why it was originally selected for the ‘Women’s Work’ book.

Anyway, if you are free on Saturday 9th Nov at 3pm (or the following Thursday 14th Nov at 9pm) why not tune in ? Alternatively, for about a month after the broadcast, you can pop over to the Poetica home page and listen online or download the podcast. Enjoy.

My new book of poems and its launches


I am very pleased to announce a few details for the launch(es) of my new book, Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call, out in November 2013 from Pitt St Poetry.

There will be two Canberra launches and one in Sydney (plus possibly one in Melbourne but this is not yet confirmed).

I am also extremely pleased that two eminent poets have agreed to do the launch speech honours: Geoff Page (Canberra main launch) and Mark Tredinnick (Sydney launch).

Details as follows:

Canberra – ‘Soft’ Launch
Wed 6 Nov 2013
From 7.30pm
Manning Clark House
11 Tasmania Circle, Forrest ACT

This was a reading I was booked to do anyway – along with Adrian Caesar and Jen Webb – only now I will have a stack of newly pressed books to sell. The cover charge is $10 non-members, $7 students, MCH members free.  Bookings 6295 1808 or email

Canberra – Main Launch
Tue 19 November 2013
from 5.45pm
Venue TBC

This is a joint launch with Geoff Page, also a Pitt St Poet. I will be launching Geoff’s new Pitt St Poetry book, Improving the News, and he will be launching mine.

Sydney Launch
Sunday 24 November 2013
3.30 for 4pm
Gleebooks Bookshop
Glebe Pt Rd, Glebe

RSVP at this link

Again this is a joint launch with Geoff Page. This time though, Mark Tredinnick will be doing the honours for my book.

Hope to see you there (if you are within traveling distance and free on the right day). There will be nibbles ! There may even be jazz piano ! How can you miss it ?