Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2007

A Selection of Poems from SECRET LEOPARD by Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Bye-Bye Barbie
A fable of Leah’s dolls

Betty with the home-made clothes
glares across the room at Barbie
who is shop-dressed, brand new,
buxom and coolly smiling.

Betty with the home-made hate
sidles across the room on her rag bum
sneakily, bit by bit, so Leah won’t see.
She is dragging the toy soldier’s axe.

Betty with the built-up hours
of staring across the room
has been inventing stories.
She is calling herself Cinderella.

She is calling herself Beauty
and Orphan, and Princess – and right.
Barbie, watching round-eyed, is mesmerised
as Stepmother/Ogre/Troll lunges for her blood.

© Rosemary Nissen-Wade 1990
First published Second Degree Tampering (Sybylla 1992)
In Walking the Dogs (Pariah Press anthology)
Also in Secret Leopard: New and selected poems 1974-2005, Alyscamps Press (Paris) 2005


My stepfather showed me oceans.

Now these midnight moments
call and flesh the ketch
from childhood,
dusted by moonlight,
perfectly still
at the end of the pier.

That New Year’s Eve we danced
in circles on the sa…


From The Smoking Poet 
Book Review by Zinta Aistars

Secret Leopard: New & Selected Poems 1974-2005 by Rosemary Nissen-Wade

124 pages
Publisher: Alyscamps Press, 2005
ISBN: 0-9764509-1-7

The Australian poet Rosemary Nissen-Wade writes in her poem titled, “Crossing the Great Water:”
Words are such useless things
compared with the touch of a hand,
a smiling mouth, a soft eye…
Useless things, words. But all we have
when we live so distant.
All that we have to cross
the great spaces of air and ocean
lengthening between us.
But Nissen-Wade has taken those “useless words” and given them wings to cross the space between the poet and the reader. In an extensive collection of poetry written over a span of more than 30 years, we are witness to the poet’s literary growth. Her topics are large and timeless, yet Nissen-Wade brings them home to the individual reader in the everyday, una…

A Review of Andrew Wade's JORELL

From  The Smoking Poet

Book Review by Zinta Aistars


* Softcover, 112 pages
* Publisher: 1st ed. Aust. Booksellers Assoc.,
2nd ed. Life Magic

* ISBN: 978-0-9752485-1-5

“For those who believe in fairies .... and those who don’t.”

Fairies... do I believe in them? I had to wonder as I read this slim book by Andrew E. Wade, an Australian author. I wasn’t sure into which category I land, believer or non. Surely I believed as a child? And I remember well how my own children believed when they were small, peeking into bushes, checking behind tree leaves, listening to the rustling in the wind. Perhaps I fall into the group of those who want to believe...
Whatever your outlook on fairies, anyone can enjoy the story of Jorell. She is a tiny fairy in Australian woods who guards the forest, but also seems to keep a kind eye out for the occasional good human who wanders into her woods. …

Responses to Rosemary's Poetry

Rosemary Nissen-Wade is both original and a powerful voice—a voice of humanity in all its suffering and joy.…These are poems of great immediacy and power—but the one word that has been, most accurately, used to describe their underlying unity is love.
– Karl Orend, former Manager of Shakespeare & Company, Paris.

These are poems that look with a steady and perceptive eye on poetry’s grand themes – love, death, the natural world – but can spare a sideways glance for things small and things fantastic – the warmth of a cat curled on the bed, unicorns in the laundry.
— Jennifer Strauss, poet, critic and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Monash University, Melbourne.

... tough-minded when that’s needed, she can be hauntingly, delicately moving ...’
– Philip Martin, poet, critic and translator.

Rosemary, I cannot tell you what a relief it is to read your poetry. It's actually beautifully written! You have no idea how many REALLY BAD books I have been given to read. So when I find one…

Readers' Responses to 'Jorell'


Your book makes me believe in fairies. It is my favourite book that I've got and hope other people like it too. Also your book makes me feel happy, light as a feather and loving of my sister and my mum and dad. It makes my dad feel happy in heart. The book to my mum makes her feel she can do anything. The book makes my sister feel pretty. I would like you to write more of this book. I will pass it on to my children. Your book makes me think fairies are part of my family. Your book makes me feel like I can fly and I hope it makes other people feel they can do the same.
Coen Jennings-McKay 8yrs (2007)

I looked forward to Daddy reading it to us every night. I liked all of the story.
Emilia McDonald 5 years

Most exciting story I’ve read in ages. Very lively.
Joe Jackson 8 years

Jorell is a wonderful story of a young boy called Tim who sees a fairy in the forest and tells his parents. His Dad gets angry and says he’s talking nonsense. It was very beautiful in a way that made yo…