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The Perils of Publishing

(Decisions, decisions …) ‘Why did you decide that you should self-publish the works in question?’ asked a friend — meaning the Pentridge memoir and related volumes I have planned.   ‘Did you send out manuscripts and get rejections?’ [No.] ‘Or was it more to do with not wanting to be edited by others? Or something else?’ Another expressed the opinion that self-publishing is, in practical terms, no more useful than vanity publishing these days and that my memoir (which she has read) ‘deserves better’. Well, it’s like this – One reason I decided to self-publish the Pentridge memoir and the spin-off chapbook is that I realised quite belatedly that I had prepared them that way — because I’m used to doing that. In recent years I’ve mostly self-published. Well, sort of.   I had a great collaboration with a small publishing and design firm in America, run by online friends with whom I first connected through poetry. I was employed to do some editing work for them, and when I wanted to create b
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My publication plans for 2023.

  Photo © David A Nissen 2022. 2022 was largely a year of new writing. 2023 will be largely devoted to new publishing. (And, hopefully, losing some of the weight I've put on in being glued to my desk for the best part of a year.) It turns out I'll be releasing three books in 2023! There's not only  Breaking Into Pentridge , the memoir of my time running prison poetry workshops. There are two other associated volumes.  Letters to a Dead Man is a poetry chapbook, a spin-off from the memoir. It starts at the end and finishes at the beginning, and a lot is left unexplained. In spite of all this, when I've tried the manuscript on people who don't know the back story, I'm pleased they have understood it well. I want it to be able to stand alone, and clearly it can. (However, it would be ideal to read the memoir first.) Also I'm proposing to re-issue Blood from Stone, the 1982 anthology of poetry which arose from the prison workshops. It was published under my Ab

Breaking Into Pentridge – my memoir about poetry workshops in prison

(workshops conducted on behalf of what was then the Melbourne Branch of the Poets Union of Australia). Photo © David A Nissen 2022 It's taken me 40 years to feel able to write about a brief but life-changing experience: running poetry workshops in Pentridge Prison, Melbourne, which no longer exists as a prison – having closed in 1997 and gradually being repurposed – but which, during its long life, was always notorious. Once I finally began to write this story, it poured out! It took me three months to get down the first draft, and it’s been three more of editing, tweaking, and seeking opinions from a small, trusted group of other writers, including some who were very much involved in those workshops too. It involved mentally re-living an experience which, at the time, was both traumatic and transformative.   This process has been painful but also cathartic. And sometimes the memories were warming. Those were times not only of grimness and tragedy, but also of much fun and affectio

Poetry on the Moon.

 How exciting! Two of my poems are going into the Lunar Codex, i.e. will be in a time capsule to be sent to the moon, on the initiative of my online friend and sometime mentor, Sam Peralta. (The person who taught me, among other things, not to be afraid of attempting sonnets – and then, the variety of sonnets one may attempt.) Further details of this project at the link below. The #LunarCodex inducts into the Polaris time capsule the authors of dVerse Poets Pub 's CHIAROSCURO anthology, edited by Björn Rudberg and Mary Grace Guevara Polaris is targeted for the 2023 SpaceX / Astrobotic Griffin lander / NASA VIPER rover mission, headed for the Lunar South Pole. * * Now indexed in https://www.lunarcodex.com/poetry * * My poems in the book are: At Mariner's Café We like to call in here on the way home from Kingscliff or even Tweed Heads (a detour) to catch up with our friend, the new manager – and the coffee’s good. So is the view of the river. In late afternoon sun, we sit bac

Sightlines – a collaboration between poets and artists

Sightlines was the name of an art exhibition held in April 2022 at the Small Works Gallery in Murwillumbah, NSW (Australia) – a unique collaboration between artists and poets, which was launched with a poetry reading.  Five local poets, including me, were invited to submit poems which might inspire 11 local artists.  This collaboration was very exciting for us all! I submitted haiku, for the directness and immediacy of the visual images. Three artists chose four – or five – of them. (In the transcribing, sending poems over the internet, two haiku managed to run together as one poem. And hey, it really worked! An artist responded to it as a whole.)  To read the haiku, see all the artwork they inspired, and read what the artists say about the experience, see here.   Image © Annique Goldenberg 2022, photographed by Rosemary Nissen-Wade .  

Sucking Mangoes Naked

  This wonderful title and book cover belong to a new anthology in which I'm delighted to have several pieces included. Much gratitude to Tad Wojnicki for conceiving, compiling and editing the whole and seeing it through to publication. Here is the blurb from its Amazon listing: You love haiku. You’ve flipped the books, checked the sites, and scrolled the zines. But you’re left craving that special something… It may be something as obvious as love. Well, how about a book of erotic haiku?

 Sucking Mangoes Naked is a no-holds-barred look at the twists & turns of love, spiritual as well as physical, told in a “let’s sit down and chat over a cup of some exotic tea” manner. So brew a cup of Oolong, Yerba Mate, or Acai, and dig in! 

Like you, the poets included in the Sucking Mangoes Naked anthology have had their succinct, nut-shaped erotica scattered here and there – everywhere -- throughout the literary landscape without a tangible proof of their efforts. But starting today, the

Elevensies – a new poetic form

This unique, intriguing form is pioneered by Australian poet Kerri Shying (created by another Aussie poet, Kit Kelen , in conversation with Kerri). She is eager for other poets to try it. See my article about it at Poets and Storytellers United, with some examples of Kerri's elevensies,  here .  And for my own first attempts, click this link .