Automatic Speaking Engine

Some people have been making sound recordings of me. More specifically of me reading my poems.

Drag down to order CD

Firstly the Melbourne independent record label Drums Records have recorded me reading 25 poems from my book Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call (Pitt St Poetry, 2013). Thanks to Drums Records head Robert Neuman, sound engneer Nick McCorriston and, 2XXX FM Canberra whose facilities we used.

The CD is, spookily enough, also called “Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call“.

You can order copies at $18 each here (put 00031 in the Item # column) – or contact me and I may be able to get one to you. If you order through the Drums Records site I recommend using the PayPal payment option as it is the only really secure method.

A Real Poetry Movie

Secondly when I was in Melbourne recently to do a reading for La Mama Poetica, poet Ken Smeaton (also featuring that night) filmed some of it. He edited it together with the text of the relevant poems as part of his Real Poetry Movies series. The results are available here for your viewing pleasure. The poems in the recording are from the book First… Then… (Ginninderra Press, 2012), plus a new unpublished one called ‘Contemplating the Gap.’

Still from Ken Smeaton RPM showing poem text and poet face

White words in the air – a still from the video

That’s the lot – til next time

M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 !

My book reviewed

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My most recent book, First… Then…, has been reviewed in the Canberra Times.  The piece, ‘Another planet, other places’ by Peter Pierce, editor of the Cambridge History of Australian Literature, appeared in the Panorama literary section on Saturday August 25, 2012.

I feel particularly blessed to be reviewed in the Canberra Times literary pages at this juncture, as they are about to lose all local content, thanks to cuts at parent company Fairfax. Many, many thanks to Gia Metherell and Peter Pierce (neither of whom I have ever met) for squeezing this review in before the crunch came.

I was also honoured to be reviewed in the same article as the excellent John Foulcher‘s ninth poetry collection, The Sunset Assumption (Pitt Street Poetry, 2012).

And as for the review ? Not bad, actually. The short version, which I will be bandying about and putting on the covers of all my reprints, goes: ‘imaginatively and formally challenging…plaintive…brilliant…terse, concentrated, questing’. Read the long version here.

#Autism #poetry readings, @geekmook and the Southern Capital

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So I am in Melbourne on a mini poetry tour ! Very exciting. Apologies for not giving more notice – the final details didn’t all come together until kind of the last minute, at which point it was too late to post about them as I was already in transit.

Anyhoo, my ‘tour’ consists of three events. The first two are already over so I’ve written about how they went below.

One, a reading from my book of autism poems First… Then…. at Autism Victoria (‘AMAZE’) on Friday 13 July (yesterday). The poems got an amazing reception and felt really privileged to be able to share them with those who attended. I also recorded a couple of them for the lovely people at AMAZE to put up on their website http://www.amaze.org.au/. This will happen early next week. I donated a copy of the book to their library and left a few more at their office for people to buy.

Two, the launch of Vignette Press’s http://vignettepress.com.au Geek Mook (in which appear some Twitter poems of mine, including some autism ones). This was at Bella Union in Carlton last night. Very entertaining night including a live Klingon translation of Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale (!). Also great to meet Amy Espeseth (publisher at Vignette), Adam Ford http://www.theotheradamford.wordpress.com (author of the Twitter novel Aramis Fox [@arfox] among many other things) and Angela Meyer (@LiteraryMinded) and chat to them IRL as we geeks say 😉 . Many thanks to @hackpacker and his amazing eyebrows for being my plus one for the evening.

Three, another reading from First… Then… this time for the folks at Casey Asperger’s Syndrome Support (CASS http://www.thecass.com.au ). 2 to 4 pm today Sat 14 July at the CASS Headquarters (20 Agonis St Doveton). It’s not too late to come along if you’re free and in that area – just turn up. Again I’ll be donating a copy of First… Then…to the library so if you miss the reading you can always catch up with the poems later.

So that’s all for now folks – happy quatorze juillet.

(Your poet reporting live from Melbourne)

Geek Mook Launch

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So. I have some poems in this hybrid magazine / book thingy Vignette Press are bringing out, called Geek Mook.  It is being launched on Friday 13 July at Bella Union in Carlton (see details below). I’m not even sure I can make it yet, but the launch party sounds fun.

*Geek Mook* Launch

Time and date: 6pm, for 6.30pm start, 13 July 2012

Venue: The Bella Union (Trades Hall), cnr Lygon and Victoria Sts, Carlton VIC

Mr McClelland’s Finishing School (an indie and retro dance party) will take place after the launch ( http://www.bellaunion.com.au/program_guide/show_21/ ).

If you stay in the venue, you get free entry to the dance party!

By the way the poems of mine in Geek Mook are also in my recently launched third book of poems, First… Then…. The poems in that book are all about autism, and the ones selected for Geek Mook were a series of small, haiku-esque Twitter poems (I called them AutisTweets). Here is a sneak preview (this takes you to my autism poetry blog, CircleQuirk).

Enjoy – and maybe see you at the launch party if you’re in Melbourne that night…

My new book First… Then… on sale now

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My latest book of poems, First… Then…, is on sale now.

To buy your copy, go to Ginninderra Press , scroll aaaaallll the way down to Melinda Smith, find my third book ‘First… Then…’ and click BUY NOW.

If you fancy a sneak preview, some poems from the book are on my other blog CircleQuirk.  Enjoy.

If you’re free and in Canberra tomorrow night or the night after, you are cordially invited to a launch and a reading.

The launch is on Wednesday 11 April at Smiths (no relation!) Alternative Bookshop, Alinga St Civic, at 6.30 for 7pm. Poet and novelist Alan Gould will be doing the honours. Light refreshments provided, buy your own drinks at the bar.

The night before (Tuesday 10 April) I will be doing a poetry reading as part of the regular series at The Gods Cafe at ANU. Kickoff 8pm. I will be reading some from the book and some new stuff as yet uncollected. Also reading will be PS Cottier and Russell Erwin, both awesome poets and great readers. Should be a fun night.

Love to see you at either, or both !

Launch of my new book ‘First… Then…’

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Hello there. We have a launch date ! Two in fact:

Launch One – for the autism community – is on Easter Sunday Afternoon (8 April), from 2-4pm, in the Chifley Community Hub (old Chifley primary school), at the premises of Autism Asperger ACT, in the Bendigo Room. Light refreshments provided

Launch Two – for the literary community and anyone else who can’t make it to Launch One – is on Wed 11 April, at 6.30 for 7pm, at Smith’s Alternative Bookshop in Alinga St Civic (in the Melbourne Building opposite the GPO). Eminent poet and novelist Alan Gould will be doing the honours at this one. Light refreshments provided, buy your own drinks at the bar.

Love to see you at either – or both !

In between, I’m doing a reading at the Gods Cafe, on the ANU campus, from 8 pm on Tuesday 10 April.

[By the way, also reading that night will be P.S. Cottier , author of the excellent Cancellation of Clouds. Go check out her blog, linked to from the sidebar over there. Go on.]

But back to talking about me and my new book…

About the book

First…Then… is a short collection of 24 poems, mostly dramatic monlogues in various voices. The poems focus on the experience of living with autism, but you do not need to know or be an autistic person to enjoy this book. The poems are by turns moving, harrowing and laugh-out-loud funny, and provide a unique window into a much misunderstood facet of the human experience.

The writing of the poems in First…Then… was supported by an ArtsACT new projects grant during 2011.  You can take a sneak peek inside the book over at my other blog, CircleQuirk.

My forthcoming book of autism poems: First…Then…

Hello again world (or the six or so inhabitants of it who are reading this). And a belated Happy New Year.

So things have been a bit quiet on this blog of late.  That would be because I have been busily working away finishing my ArtsACT-funded project, a chapbook of autism poems.  The manuscript is with the publisher, the grant acquittal is done, and you can read all 24 poems here between now and April 2012, when I will be taking them down and encouraging people to buy the book instead.  The book, to be called First… Then… will be launched at a yet-to-be confirmed location by Alan Gould, with the help of Daltons Books.  It will be launched again a bit later in April at the premises of Autism Asperger ACT. Watch this space for details.

I did actually publish some early drafts of some autism poems on this blog (check out the Autism Poems Category to see some), but after a while I realised the book had such a specific audience that it really needed its own blog.  I also provided a link to the other blog over there in the side bar but have not been very good at drawing people’s attention to it.  Better late than never, I suppose….

I’ll also be reading from the book on Tuesday, 10 July as part of the Poetry at the Gods reading series. Go on, put it in your diary. Surely five and a half months in advance is not too early 🙂

Anyhoo, here’s hoping you, your loved ones and your pet projects all have a happy and productive 2012.

Cheers for now

Melinda

Poem in NZ E-Zine Blackmail Press 31

Just a quick post to say that Issue 31 of Blackmail Press is out now and includes one of my autism poems.

Blackmail Press is an electronic poetry magazine based in New Zealand and edited by poet Doug Poole. This issue is guest edited by another New Zealand poet, Vaughan Rapatahana, and the theme is ‘marginalisation’. Interestingly it includes three poets from Canberra (myself, Sarah Rice and Paul Cliff) – a reflection on the peripheral flavour of life in our nation’s capital, perhaps ? Although mine and Paul’s poems were both about ‘difficult’ (and marginalised) children, while Sarah’s was about a different kind of margin altogether.

Anyway, if you’ve got a spare ten minutes, do have a flick through, there is a lot of really good, thought-provoking poetry on offer. Enjoy.

Poems in October Quadrant including an autism one

I am stoked to have three poems in October Quadrant Magazine. And (in case you were wondering) I do just read it for the poetry. And because the poetry editor is Les Murray, and he publishes my stuff, and I am proud that a truly great poet like Les Murray reads, likes and wants to print my poems (sorry if that seems a little defensive, I’ve just been at a poetry conference where it was made clear to me that publishing in Quadrant was a bad career move because it espouses the wrong kind of politics. I knew that already, but the naive artiste in me resents anything other than poetic criteria being applied to my output – or anyone’s output). Anyhoo…

Once upon a time on a happy occasion like this I would come to my blog and provide a link to the poem(s) on Quadrant Online. Alas, Quadrant Online is now behind a paywall, so this is no longer possible. If you would like to read my poems without going looking for the hard copy magazine, however, here they are:

That’s all for now – I will be blogging soon about the recent Australian Poetry Symposium at Newcastle (when I can summon the energy) so look out for that.  Til then, yours in naivete – M

PS Did I mention I am listed ON THE FRONT COVER next to Alan Gould, Jan Owen and John Whitworth? *happy dance*