Rosemary Nissen-Wade: Aussie poet and teacher of metaphysics – a personal view
My bestie nicknamed me SnakyPoet on her blog, and I liked it. (It began as
'the poet of the serpentine Northern Rivers' and became more and more abbreviated.)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Gratitude Quilt


I am grateful for the internet, which so extends my circle of friends, the audience for my writing, my access to the news of the day, and my scope for indulging my hobbies such as photography. ~ Rosemary

That's what I wrote when Laura Hegfield asked me to jot down for her what I was grateful for in that very moment.

Every year she asks everyone she knows to do that, and from all the responses she makes a gratitude quilt of words and posts it at her blog to coincide with (the American holiday of) Thanksgiving.

I've just finished reading the 2014 gratitude quilt. Now I feel wrapped in peace and beauty.

Some people wrote just one word, or one sentence. Some wrote long lists. Some used plain, down-to-earth language. Some wrote in lush, poetic phrases. 

Above is my 'patch', reproduced just as it appears there. But the great joy of the quilt is not in reading any one entry in isolation, but taking the time to read through them all. You have to find enough time to do so at leisure. Each is individual and unique, but there are repeated themes, all adding up to a human appreciation of the great gift of life. 

I hope you give yourself this gift of reading the lot!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Am I Weird?

 Migrated from Live Journal / Dreamwidth

Don't all rush to answer that! I don't mean in general, but in one specific way.

Recently I've taken to writing erotic haiku. And sometimes tanka.  I remind you, I have been widowed and celibate for two years, am not hankering for a new lover, and have just turned 75.

What strikes me as even odder is that I wasn't doing it when I did have an active sex life.

Oh all right, I did write erotic poetry in decades past, and was quite famous (or infamous) for some of it. But that was long ago, and the impetus was more often frustration than satisfaction. Urgency, you know.

One of my friends on facebook must have joined me up to the erotic haiku group. I didn't know it existed until one day the posts started appearing in my news feed. I felt like a voyeur, and said so. 'Voyeurs r us,' a stranger replied cheerfully.

I thought I'd never be able to join in with such frankness.

And yet, the language was far less explicit than my decades-ago pieces of raging lust. Sensuality and romance were the goal, rather than porn. The metaphors were suggestive but delicate. I started to think I too could create something like that. Although I have no lover now, I do have both imagination and memory!

By now I have created 17, since I began in March. I really enjoy crafting them with the right blend of delicacy and sensuality. Other people in the group like what I write. The admins are collecting the ones they like best for possible inclusion in an anthology later. Several of mine have been saved, which is very gratifying.

Perhaps I am sublimating; perhaps I am consoling myself. I don't really care. All I know for sure is that I enjoy making these pretty things. And it seems I have a gift for it. *Beatific smile.*

I post them to the fb erotic haiku group as I write them, and collect each month's efforts into one post on my poetry blog. You can check 'em out here if you like (bearing in mind that November's are not there yet). The fb group is now closed at 2000 members, very few of whom actually post.

Are all the others readers? Probably not; probably they've just wandered away and forgotten. Even so, I'm glad there are enough readers who say they like what I write. And every so often someone I hadn't heard of before posts something, so perhaps they are all still there all the time. I'm so glad my friend (I think I know which one) joined me up before the membership was closed.

I expect it is a bit weird, but that ain't gonna stop me.

Oh, and btw, the link above will also lead you to my most notorious piece of erotica from the old days, lol.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Busy (Old) Dreams

Cross-posted from LiveJournal


Many of the entries in my old handwritten journal that I'm transcribing are recorded dreams. I'm astonished at how long, vivid and detailed these entries are. I certainly don't have that degree of dream recall nowadays.

They're not interesting enough to others to post publicly – full of mundane events, and people no-one would know (many of whom I don't remember either by now) – but they are interesting to me, to observe where I was then.

It was January 1987. My youngest had left for the USA to be an exchange student. His brother was on vacation after his first year of University. Their father was often away interstate for a business venture. Our old dog was getting sick.

What was I doing? Was that the year Mal Morgan took a break from presenting the poetry nights at La Mama Theatre and handed it over to me for a while? Maybe. I forget. No, I think I must have left the Poets Union by then, so the La Mama stint was probably earlier. I know I was publishing books, both as part of the Pariah Press Cooperative and under my own imprint, Abalone Press. I wasn't working as a librarian any more but I was running writers' groups and doing some editing.

I am wondering what in my life could account for the very busy dreams I was having, in which there were always lots of people, lots of activity, and things going wrong or threatening to. (Silly things, like losing travel tickets or not having the correct clothes for some occasion.) I guess it's true to say I had been very busy for many years.

Apart from the fact that they were so busy, I can't interpret the dreams. Perhaps they will become clearer when I come to more of the non-dream entries.

Friday, November 14, 2014

New ebooks, new Amazon page!

How exciting: I have a new Amazon page! Click here to see.

This has been created in conjunction with the release of two new chapbooks which I've been working on for some time. There they are at the right, in my sidebar, look!

LIFE AFTER DEATH consists of poems I wrote in the first intense weeks after Andrew's death, chronicling the adjustment to such a radical change in my life.

THE IMAGINED OTHER is a series of somonka, love poems in the form of pairs of tanka, each pair forming a conversation between two lovers, like a call and response. They were written for a form challenge at Robert Lee Brewer's 'Poetic Asides' section of Writers' Digest. I wrote some by myself, taking both voices; the rest were collaborations with other poets.

These are very short books — but, I hope, not slight!

They are ebooks. I don't intend to produce them as paperbacks.

My Amazon page, set up by my publisher, surprised me in a couple of ways. For one thing, I found out I am included in a Bibliography of Australian Literature — but I am unlikely to find out what they say about me, as the volume costs around $80!  Next time I am in a major city with a major reference library, perhaps I'll check.

The other surprise was to find that my 2005 publication, SECRET LEOPARD, is selling second-hand for over $400! In fact that's the lowest price. Other used copies are selling for over $700! I assure you that neither I nor Amazon set those prices! And if anyone is foolish enough to buy at that price, I won't see any of the money. I did sell it through Amazon myself when it first came out, but it wasn't exactly a best-seller, and Amazon eventually dropped it. Now some sellers are evidently treating it as a collector's item. It's true there are not too many left, but until they run out you can get them from me at $10 each, plus postage. Clearly a bargain!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Disenchanted with the Journals Already

Cross-posted from LiveJournal (including comments).

So my great project was to transcribe both Spouse's and my old hand-written journals, years and years of them. Already, in the case of my own, I am discovering (as Natalie Goldberg said of hers) volumes and volumes of boring crap! After all, journalling isn't about doing good writing, or even recording interesting material. I think a whole heap of stuff will finally get chucked!

I will go through it all, and transcribe anything that does seem interesting or useful, anything that could become memoir or poetry or both. It's just that I see that'll amount to far fewer pages than I had imagined.

It may turn out to be the same with his, but so far his notebooks do contain a fair bit of interesting autobiographical stuff ... amongst outlines for stories that never happened, lists, spiritual reflections — and yes, some boring crap.

Well, the project looks like being quicker and easier than anticipated, anyway!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Raiding the Journals

Cross-posted from LiveJournal


No, not these journals, but old, handwritten ones.

I am going through my own from 1987 (when I began keeping them) and my late Spouse's from whenever (his are in boxes out of order and I'm taking them as I get them) and transcribing them to computer.

I'm posting most of mine to a strictly private blog. But, to my delight, I am finding a number of poems — poems which I didn't at the time know I was writing. These I am making public, at my poetry blog. A lovely, lyrical entry describing my garden (in the Melbourne suburb of Beaumaris) quallfied as a prose poem without any change. Others turn into verses with minimal alteration. I was looking for memoir material, which I dare say is there; the poems are an unexpected bonus.

Some of Spouse's are going into a strictly private blog too. An account of a sexual adventure wth the lady he loved before me — wonderfully written, but his grand-daughters are a little young yet to be regaled with such exploits. A piece on all the things he ended up hating about his first wife. Two sides to that story, I'm sure, but she is no longer around to give hers, and I don't think their children, at any age, need to read that out of context. Perhaps they'll never read it at all, but I do have hopes of creating the autobiography he always meant to write and actually started.

The stuff that's fit to make public I am posting to a memoir blog he began while he was alive. I'm not attempting to put them in chronological order at this point, but my hope is that they will serve as an episodic memoir until (if ever) I can put them into a more coherent sequence.

Tomorrow I turn 75. I recently took part in a successful poetic collaboration with three other poets to produce a wonderful book. Two more collaborations with different poets (except for my LJ friend SatyaPriya who is in them all) will appear next year. And I am getting two little ebook chapbooks out in time for xmas. These faits are pretty much accomplit, and I found myself restless and bored a couple of days ago. You'd think I'd be pleased to rest on my laurels, but that's not how it works for me. I told myself — truthfully — that I have a very pleasant life, but the recognition of this fact did not change the mood. Then I decided it was time to start transcribing both sets of journals, and I cheered up at once. It's good to have a new project!

(Yes I'm back to calling him Spouse. Even though many of you know exactly who the hell I am, and in some cases that's mutual, I still cherish the feeling of LJ being a private 

sanctuary; and one reason I have been here so seldom for quite a while is that I stopped treating it that way. So I'm reverting to the veiling of identity.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

New ebooks, new Amazon page!

How exciting: I have a new Amazon page! Click here to see.

This has been created in conjunction with the release of two new chapbooks which I've been working on for some time. There they are at the right, in my sidebar, look!

LIFE AFTER DEATH consists of poems I wrote in the first intense weeks after Andrew's death, chronicling the adjustment to such a radical change in my life.

THE IMAGINED OTHER is a series of somonka, love poems in the form of pairs of tanka, each pair forming a conversation between two lovers, like a call and response. They were written for a form challenge at Robert Lee Brewer's 'Poetic Asides' section of Writers' Digest. I wrote some by myself, taking both voices; the rest were collaborations with other poets.

These are very short books — but, I hope, not slight!

They are ebooks. I don't intend to produce them as paperbacks.

My Amazon page, set up by my publisher, surprised me in a couple of ways. For one thing, I found out I am included in a Bibliography of Australian Literature — but I am unlikely to find out what they say about me, as the volume costs around $80!  Next time I am in a major city with a major reference library, perhaps I'll check.

The other surprise was to find that my 2005 publication, SECRET LEOPARD, is selling second-hand for over $400! In fact that's the lowest price. Other used copies are selling for over $700! I assure you that neither I nor Amazon set those prices! And if anyone is foolish enough to buy at that price, I won't see any of the money. I did sell it through Amazon myself when it first came out, but it wasn't exactly a best-seller, and Amazon eventually dropped it. Now some sellers are evidently treating it as a collector's item. It's true there are not too many left, but until they run out you can get them from me at $10 each, plus postage. Clearly a bargain!