More Details on the FSP site here
More Details on the FSP site here
Near Ridge Park, Adelaide is a traffic sign, which used to warn of elderly people crossing. For some weeks now, the sign has been upside down (see above). It’s on Glen Osmond Road, near the bottom of the south-east freeway. It would be one of the first things people driving from Victoria see on arriving in Adelaide. (For non-Australian readers, there is a fair bit of animosity between Victorians and Adelaideans). I often wonder what they might think of the sign, especially if they’ve looked at optical illusion pictures. On the other hand, they probably just see an upside down warning of elderly people ahead.
Caution – One-eyed rabbits smoking cigars
Caution – One-eyed rabbits line-dancing
Caution – Abusive two-finger gestures ahead
Caution – Abusive two-finger gestures combined with A-OK gestures ahead
Caution – Abusive one-balled rabbits ahead
Caution – Elderly people helping each other across the road whilst doing head-stands
Caution – Elderly Inverted Line Dancers Ahead
Caution – Fancy cocktails with two straws ahead
Caution – One eyed rabbits drinking fancy cocktails ahead
Caution – One eyed rabbits spitting out fur-balls ahead
Caution – Double Fuck off back to Victoria
Caution – Bad shadow puppetry ahead
Caution – Rabbits cleaning their ears with Q-Tips
Hey Victorians: Fuck off back to Melbourne and take your bloody one-eyed, one-balled, cigar-smoking, fur-ball-spitting, cocktail-drinking, line-dancing, hitch-hiking fucking rabbits with you.
Glen Osmond Road, Myrtle Bank
Copyright Mike Hopkins 2018
Louise Nicholas is a much-loved and admired Adelaide based poet. This book, about her mother Dorothy, builds on the writing of her mother, and supplements it with Louise’s recollections of her relationship with her mother. There are poems by Louise about her mother, poetic letters which her mother wrote to her in Louise’s adult travelling years, and sections of prose providing a timeline through her mother’s life.
Louise describes her mother’s life, in a non-pejorative way, as ‘a little life’. Most of us indeed lead little lives, without achieving or experiencing anything world shattering, getting through life as best we can. This book shows that a little life can still be an incredibly rich life, where the day-to-day challenges of childhood, family and ageing are wrestled with. It is written with the gentle humour and accessibility which characterises Louise’s poetry. And in Dorothy’s poetic letters to Louise, one can detect the seeds of Louise’s poetic style – just one of the many gifts that her mother left her.
A lovely book.
Well, not quite free, but only $5 on the door. A reprise of the launch of the 2016 Garron chapbooks at The Artisan Cafe, 252 Main Road, Blackwood, South Australia.
Probably advisable to book a table in advance.
For bookings/info call Rebecca Edwards on 8278 2473
I’m a finalist in the Spoken Word SA / Draw Your (s)Words Summer Slam, this Friday 10th February 2017, from about 7 p.m at Jive, in Hindley Street, Adelaide.
Thanks to Jules Leigh Koch for inviting me to be feature poet at the FSP reading at St. Peters Library on Saturday afternoon, 4th Feb 2017:
Along with a number of talented performers, I am guest poet at the SPIN gig in McLaren Vale on December 3rd 2016. I’ll be reading from my recent chapbook, “Selfish Bastards”, plus other work. Thanks to Julia Wakefield-Houghton for inviting me. She’s given me a 20 minute slot, which is long by poetry reading standards. Perhaps an opportunity to respond to world events of 2016!
(Assembled using Lightroom custom templates)
I’m doing a photography course at the Centre for Creative Photography in Adelaide, the second module I’ve studied there. This week, the subject was formalism, and the assignment for the week is to take some formalist photographs. I particularly liked some of the “typological” photographs which the lecturer presented. “Typology is the study of types, and a photographic typology is a suite of images or related forms, shot in a consistent, repetitive manner.”
I set out from my house to search for ideas and the first thing encountered out of my front gate is a large Stobie pole. “Stobies” are a particularly ugly South Australian invention. They are power line pole made of two steel joists held apart by a slab of concrete and were were ‘invented’ by Adelaide Electric Supply Company engineer James Cyril Stobie (1895–1953). In my view, they are a blight on the urban landscape. However, they make a surprisingly interesting subject for typology photographs.
Here is my first cut:
Image from National Library of Australia
I’ve just started an online course entitled “Whitman’s Civil War: Writing and Imaging Loss, Death, and Disaster“, through the University of Iowa. I haven’t read a lot of Walt Whitman – he wasn’t on the British school curriculum when I was a boy. And the course is not so much an in-depth study of Whitman, as an investigation into the ways in which we might create art, be it prose, poetry, photography, artwork around the subject of loss, death and disaster, using Whitman as an example. Whitman wrote extensively about the American Civil War and the earlier Mexican War.
Assignment one requires:
“In words or images, compose a response to a “rupture” in a particular history – an event that you think was a defining moment at a particular place, a moment when something seemed to break open or to be dramatically exposed, a moment of dramatic importance – and use a constraint to shape your response.”
I did some further research on massacres of the Australian indigenous population during white “settlement”, and came across descriptions of horrific events in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, near the town of Elliston. This was 1839 / 1849, around the same time as Whitman wrote about the Mexican War. The assignment required use of a constraint, such as a poetic form. For this I chose to model Section 34 of Whitman’s “The Song of Myself”.
The Elliston Massacre
(after Walt Whitman)
Now I tell what I knew in Elliston in my early youth,
(I tell not the massacre of Appin,
Not one escaped to tell the deeds of Appin,
Fourteen and many more are dumb yet at Appin)
‘Tis the tale of the murder in cold blood of a hundred or more of Aboriginal men, women and children.
Rounded up by local farmers, angered by the disappearance of but four sheep.
Four sheep and the death of a hanging judge, was the price they took in advance.
The alleged sheep killers already hanged, further retribution was served on the tribe.
They were the Nauo people, who had lived on those lands for tens of thousands of years, subsisting, deeply connected to the spirit of the land.
Matchless trackers, skilled hunters of native animals.
Peaceful, proud people.
Strong, dark, drest in possum and kangaroo skin.
The morning after the hanging judges death, the policemen roused the farmers. On horseback they rode to the Nauo camp, herded all the Aboriginal men, women and children like they would herd cattle, and drove them off the high cliffs of Elliston. From babies to old men and women.
Any who tried to escape were cut down by whip, stick and gun. It was beautiful early summer.
The work commenced about seven o’clock and was over by ten.
None obey’d the command to submit for they knew they would be killed anyway.
Some made a mad and helpless rush over the cliff to their doom, some stood stark and straight and were driven over.
A few fell, shot in the back.
The maim’d and mangled were lifted and thrown to the rocks below.
Some half-kill’d attempted to crawl away. They too were despatched with bayonets or batter’d with the blunts of rifles.
A teenage girl and two small boys survived, by hiding in the saltbush. After the horsemen left, the children peered over the cliff edge but saw only battered bodies on the rocks one hundred and fifty feet below. And some further bodies rolling in the surf.
They set off on foot for Streaky Bay, and with them the tale of the massacre spread. The Aboriginal people they met were terrified, and immediately left, lest they too be massacred. They walked as far as Talewan, the Bight, Yardea, the Gawler Ranges and Ooldea. No Aboriginal person has lived in Elliston ever since.
The cliff is now known as Blackfellas Cliff.
I was one of those small boys, hiding in the saltbush.
That is the tale of the massacre of the Nauo people.
The constraint I used was to adopt Section 34 as the model, and superimpose on it details of two massacres of aboriginal people that occurred in South Australia in 1839 and 1849. The two South Australian massacres were remarkably similar, both involving the rounding up of Nauo people and driving them over a cliff. The above is not meant to be a historical record, but conflates details from both massacres. It is therefore a work of fiction, written as a ‘version’ of Section 34 and acknowledging Whitman’s work.
There are several sites with information about the Elliston Massacres, including here
Copyright Mike Hopkins 2016