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Melinda Smith on ‘Open’ by Sarah St Vincent Welch

“Open collects between two covers some of the very best of the thoughtful, wise, mysterious, layered, haunting, lyrical work Sarah St Vincent Welch has been producing over many years. ‘Open’, the verb and ‘open’, the adjective are both hard at work in this book as she engages with memory, myth and dream, while remaining tethered to life’s dailiness, in public libraries and private gardens, on beaches, in houses and among children at play. If you are new to her work you will be enchanted. If you are already a fan you will reminded all over again of what has delighted you in her spare, gorgeous lines and unique consciousness. Here ‘a furled child hides’, and waits, ready to root and bloom in your mind when you open yourself to these poems.
………………………………………………………….– Melinda Smith

Open will be launched in Sydney, along with thinking process by Anna Couani (Owl Publications), at The Shop Gallery, 112 Glebe Point Road Glebe NSW on Sunday 10 March at 2pm.

Open will have its Canberra launch at ‘That Poetry Thing That Is On At Smith’s Every Monday Night’, Smith’s Alternative, 76 Alinga Street, Canberra City/Civic on Monday at 7pm on Monday 8th April.

If you can’t make it to the launches you can order your copy of Open below.

Within Australia $10 plus $2 postage
Overseas $10 plus $5 postage.

Rae Desmond Jones and the suburb that “found its groove”

Rae Desmond Jones leading a protest over the M4 East Tunnel at Haberfield in 2004 (Photo SMH)

An article in the Fairfax, sorry Nine Media, owned Domain Real Estate website site on 1 March sang the praises of the inner west Sydney suburb of Summer Hill. In an article entitled “‘It’s a come-to destination’: Summer Hill, the inner west suburb that found its groove”, Domain went on to say that one of the suburb’s great attractions was its diversity “both in housing styles and the mix of people it attracts. Buyers can find everything from handsome Victorian mansions to Californian bungalows, art deco blocks, 1960s apartments and chic new units”. It went on to say  that “the main shopping area is concentrated around Lackey Street, near the train station, where there’s a supermarket, fruit shop, butcher, doctor, restaurants, cafes and wine bars, including hot favourites The Temperance Society and one-time milk bar The Rio.” The article then quotes from a local resident who says“I know the people in the small shops …… I like the fact that I can have a chat in the fruit and veg shop or the butcher’s. And from where we are, it’s an easy walk to the station, bus or light rail. You really can’t do better than that.”

Being a real estate site Domain doesn’t examine the reasons why Summer Hill has maintained its “village feel,” but poets and local residents alike know that a lot of the credit must be given to poet, community activist and ex-Mayor Rae Desmond Jones. Concerned at proposed over-development at Summer Hill in the 1990s, Jones set up the Summer Hill Action Group (SHAG for short) and the effectiveness of the movement which he helped build is reflected both in the fact that he was elected to council and actually became Mayor of Ashfield from 2004 to 2006.

Rae Desmond Jones – poet, activist, politician – died in 2016 and Rochford Press recently launched his final collection of poetry, The End of the Line, at the Exodus Foundation in Ashfield. As poet Les Wicks said at the launch Rae’s poetry “talks about the environment, inequality, ignorance and genocide all in language accessible to a wider readership”.

Copies of The End of the Line can be purchased from https://rochfordpress.com/rochford-press-bookshop/the-end-of-the-line-by-rae-desmond-jones/

Rae Desmond Jones, Mayor of Ashfield, 2004 to 2006

Rochford Press announces the publication of ‘Open’ by Sarah St Vincent Welch

Rochford Press is proud to announce the publication of Open by Sarah St Vincent Welch.

Sarah St Vincent Welch is a Canberra based writer, editor, writing teacher, and image maker, known for her short fiction about the lives of women and girls, and for chalking her poetry on the footpaths at arts festivals. In 2016 she wrote a poem a day for Project 366, an international poem-centric online project by poets, visual artists and translators. She has worked with writers living with disability and mental illness and facilitates community creative writing projects. She has lectured and tutored at the University of Canberra. Her heart belongs to two cities, and she has worked on novels based in both Sydney and Canberra. Open is her first book.

Praise for Open

“Open collects between two covers some of the very best of the thoughtful, wise, mysterious, layered, haunting, lyrical work Sarah St Vincent Welch has been producing over many years. ‘Open’, the verb and ‘open’, the adjective are both hard at work in this book as she engages with memory, myth and dream, while remaining tethered to life’s dailiness, in public libraries and private gardens, on beaches, in houses and among children at play. If you are new to her work you will be enchanted. If you are already a fan you will reminded all over again of what has delighted you in her spare, gorgeous lines and unique consciousness. Here ‘a furled child hides’, and waits, ready to root and bloom in your mind when you open yourself to these poems.
…………………………………………………………………………………….– Melinda Smith

“Sarah St Vincent Welch dangles you under ‘a conker sun,’ wears you like ‘a soft corpse on her shoulders,’ slides you ‘into a bird cry.’ In Open each poem is a world – sensuous, intimate, nostalgic. You feel the rhythmic push and shove of these worlds as the poet folds you into them”.
…………………………………………………………………………………….– Lizz Murphy

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Open will be launched, along with thinking process by Anna Couani (Owl Publications), at The Shop Gallery, 112 Glebe Point Road Glebe NSW on Sunday 10 March at 2pm.

If you can’t make it to the launch copies of Open can be ordered from the Rochford Press On-line Bookshop or by clicking on the button below!

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Within Australia $10 plus $2 postage
Overseas $10 plus $5 postage.

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Anthony Albanese on ‘The End of the Line’ by Rae Desmond Jones

The End of the Line, the final collection of poems by Rae Desmond Jones.

Rae Jones was one of the great characters of the Inner West. His commitment to safeguarding the built environment led him from being an activist to becoming Mayor of Ashfield Council. Rae’s  poetry reflects the eclectic and progressive nature of the community where he lived, as well as his passion for politics. The End of the Line canvasses a range of topics including family, friendships, history and the state of the world.
 …………………….– Anthony Albanese

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The End of The Line is now available from The Rochford Press Bookshop.

The End of the Line will be launched in Sydney on Sunday 24 February at 1.30pm at the Exodus Foundation, the Burns Philip Hall, 180 Liverpool Road Ashfield. https://www.facebook.com/events/242278270027993/

The Perth Launch will be held at Voicebox on Monday 25 March (80 Stirling Hwy North Fremantle), details to come.

The Melbourne launch will take place at the Dan O’Connell Hotel on Saturday 27th April, details to come.

 

Joanne Burns on ‘The End of the Line’ by Rae Desmond Jones

The End of the Line, the final collection of poems by Rae Desmond Jones.

The End of the Line is an animated collection, bristling with the varied perspectives, moods, and colours of Jones’ consciousness and ‘voice’. Jones was an impressive raconteur and his distinctive physical voice echoes through the pages. The poems shift easily from the social/political agora to the deeply personal, to contemplative, spiritual/cosmic dimensions. He investigates individual and terrestrial mortalities, and concepts of being. He can be playful, cheeky, bawdy, satiric, savage and biting – as well as reflective, passionate, lyrical and grave. Shadowy images inhabit the book’s atmosphere at times, but in the final poems there is a sense of achievement – of abundance and joy: ‘Harvest the glow’. This is a vivid book. In ‘To prepare a course of poetry’ Rae advises – ‘ Porridge should be avoided’.
 ……………………………………………………………..– Joanne Burns

The End of the Line will be launched in Sydney on Sunday 24 February at 1.30pm at the Exodus Foundation, the Burns Philp Hall, 180 Liverpool Road Ashfield. https://www.facebook.com/events/242278270027993/

The Perth Launch will be held at Voicebox on Monday 25 March (80 Stirling Hwy North Fremantle), details to come.

The Melbourne launch will take place at the Dan O’Connell Hotel on Saturday 27th April, details to come.

The End of The Line is now available from The Rochford Press Bookshop

Felicity Plunkett on ‘Truth in the Cage’ by Mohammad Ali Maleki

As part of her review of No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison by Behrouz Boochani in Australian Book Review, Felicity Plunkett says of Truth in the Cage:

Maleki tends a garden on Manus Island, yet his poems evoke images of the natural world thwarted or gone awry – ‘the autumn leaf grows green’, ‘the moon implodes’, ‘the butterfly flies back to its cocoon’. In an allegory of refoulement, everything in ‘Silence Land’ is turned back: the tree to its seed, the sea to its source, the river to its spring. In the more surreal ‘Myself’, groans swell the sky, the sea becomes stormy and fish ‘[scatter] in fear’.

The book’s first poem, ‘Dream of Death’, begins by addressing readers as ‘my dears’, and implores: ‘please, I ask you, listen’. Both Boochani and Maleki evoke the experience of there being absolutely nothing to do and the impact this has on the mind. Each writer has endured this year after year.

Although Maleki writes of blankness and weariness, in ‘Where is My Name?’, he affirms ‘I won’t neglect to report on these days’. From the ‘cursed city’ of Manus, he writes tender works of witness and consolation commemorating others people’s deaths – Hamed Shamshiripour, who died by hanging, and Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian asylum seeker whose body was washed up on a Turkish beach. Yet for all their gentleness, these are steely poems, refusing silence and namelessness

The complete review of No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison can be read athttps://www.australianbookreview.com.au/abr-online-exclusives/5072-felicity-plunkett-reviews-no-friend-but-the-mountains-writing-from-manus-prison-by-behrouz-boochani, and, in the context of contemporary Australian culture and politics, this is an important review about a very important book. It is pleasing to see Maleki’s work linked with Boochani’s.

Truth in the Cage is available from https://rochfordstreetpress.com/rochford-street-press-titles/
No Friend but the Mountain, by Behrouz Boochani, is published by Picador and is available from https://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781760555382/ 

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Rochford Street Press announces the publication of ‘Truth in the Cage’ by Mohammad Ali Maleki

Rochdford Street Press and Verity La are proud to announce the publication of Mohammad Ali Maleki’s long awaited chapbook, Truth in the Cage. Written from within Manus Island detention centre, where Mohammad has been incarcerated for the last five years, Truth in the Cage is a powerful work of personal and political poetry.

Mohammad Ali Maleki is an Iranian poet and avid gardener who has been living in detention on Manus Island for five years. His poetry, written in Farsi, is translated into English by fellow detainee Mansour Shoushtari. Mohammad uses his mobile phone to send his poems to friends in Australia who help to edit, share and publish them. Mohammad’s poem ‘The Strong Sunflower’ was the impetus for, and first work published on, Verity La’s Discoursing Diaspora project. Since then, his writing has been published by online literary journal Bluepepper and by the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. He has been a featured poet on Rochford Street Review and his poems and letters have been included in the Dear Prime Minister Project and at the Denmark Festival of Voice. His poem ‘Tears of Stone’ was shortlisted for the Red Room Company’s 2016 New Shoots Poetry Prize and received Special Commendation for extraordinary work in extreme circumstances. His poem ‘Silence Land’ was performed at the 2017 Queensland Poetry Festival as part of the Writing Through Fences performance, Through the Moon. An essay about his writing is forthcoming in the Extreme Texts Issue of Jacket2 magazine. Despite living in extreme conditions, Mohammad continues to create poetry saying, ‘You can find my whole life in my poems, like a letter to God.’

“Mohammad Ali Maleki, along with translator Mansour Shoshtari, present an intimate and lyrical window into their world of exile as political prisoners of Australia. The work is woven with an embodied sense of their poetic and literary heritages, resulting in deeply engaging, contemplative and passionate poems.  Maleki’s direct use of language often opens out into a magical horror – no less real – implicating the reader as much as the poet in a deconstruction and reconstruction of identity. ‘What if the woollen jacket I am wearing unravels / and begins to fall apart?’. Truth in the Cage delivers truths, uncomfortable and often torturous, through a painterly language, providing much-needed clarity in these times of obfuscation and systematic silencing”

 – Janet Galbraith, Writing Through Fences

There will be a launch for Truth in the Cage on July 17 at The Sydney Poetry Lounge. The book will be available for purchase on the night. All profits go directly to Mohammad.

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Within Australia $10 plus $1 postage
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Outside Australia
$16 including postage