Saturday, April 4, 2020

Bus Shelter
A wide structure that lets you in and is never trimmed, a space for prams parents and packages. In between it is so clean a place of space and a large awning that is a roof and this shows judgement and outlines are only changes in outer shade where a whole shade within remains cool yet darkness is the least thing for lightness lets the light in and this is surely conducive to the waiting as a shelter is for the waiting watching circling standing a bolster measure for the leaning on brown boards and within a gracious proximity are benches for the elderly for the sitting, the clock tick tick ticking as time strings along like a feather fall and there’s a pointing to several minutes on the list of arrivals within the hour or possibly the half-hour the route traced under finger and there is no reason to say that the timetable could be better or the bus might be on holiday for a courteous occasion is sometimes to slow the senses to a back pedalling of the bike pedal which shows patience as the real reason for a bus shelter is that it is a  perfectly unprecedented arrangement, a holding bay between time and space a place for old ladies children babies and there’s even more expectation when a compressed sound of a engine slows and a line gathers in the momentum.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Ticket Box

A box that is an open window but only open if not closed. Certainly there is service a greeting friendliness chit-chat from within and much the same on the other side when a ticket is purchased. A small wooden house not quite a home as its purpose is not to house but to act and every act should be personable as out of the box comes a piece of paper. A tin soldier is not a box but very well could be a ticket box a sentry with open arms mechanical shutters, a door, there has to be a door for the one person inside possibly two if enough room to work in a room for the people inside work. Tea milk coffee biscuits to wile away the time should sales be slow and this is more likely on a Monday for a Monday is a day past Sunday and possibly the tourist train is getting a wash. Sunday could be crowds queues questions and sighs within and only when sunset arrives does the Sunday sign turn to CLOSED.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Children’s House by Alice Nelson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading The Children's House . A little slow at first, but as one reviewer has stated the text is often meandering and meditative. Once the story got going about the nurturing aspect of "the children's house" on an Israeli kibbutz, themes of love, comfort and Marina's childlessness and her motivation emerged. The association of Marina with the little refugee boy Gabriel, esp. her love for him was heartfelt and appeared to evoke a personal aspect / history. I was drawn into interesting characters such as Constance and wanted to know more about a possible trauma [although imagined], the elderly nun Vera, her part in the chapters with Constance and Gabriel esp. her perspective on what mattered at the convent. I found Jacob to be that typical CIS white male who acts accordingly, exhibiting a dominant post-colonial fear and also unable to place himself in the shoes of his barren wife. While this book was more character driven, the shifting timeline was interesting and certain historical events not well-known personally such as the scarring of Holocaust survivors, the genocide in Rwanda, its aftermath and the effect on families. As Peter Carey once stated, 'No one writes a novel to dramatically illustrate what everybody knows!'
Alice Nelson's prose is florid and poetic, her descriptions in the early part of the novel are worth repeating here.
Page 17: 'The world was offering her the figure of a mother at a time when she thought she had stopped looking behind her for what had been lost.'
Page 25: 'How can they survive this white time with no leaf on any tree, and the cold so strong that even one small square of bare skin can send it deep into you?'

View all my reviews

Monday, June 17, 2019


Lovely yellow golden slippery juicy dribbling from the tongue and the joy of sectioning each section small tasty single bites exaggerating the buds and the slip slip through the teeth a party in the mouth a season of smell touch peel cook with garlic spring-onions mushrooms coconut stock and tender chicken if free range with choices to be made of skinless or on the bone and supposing there is a bone a good meal comes in the order of sound a corkage of wine the clatter of dishes single or large and possibly there is a crockpot of steamed rice with side colours of red and green and an aromatic suspense should arrive along with bated silence as the cooked spices yellow curry and the tender chicken and golden mangoes slip onto the plate.

Saturday, May 25, 2019


The region is tropical sweltering sun sea dazzle humidity warmth and there is every reason to stay and simpler to be in a room but everywhere life is courage to be there for the light and shadow and shade and coconuts cashews and cocktails by the pool waiter in earnest topping up kindness drink to eyes to the bright of overtaking and that is a turning of sobriety to sway and swagger not fall definitely not as the symmetry of liquid amber is lost drunk but certainly not too drunk to toast another taste difference scull another bottle a golden brew icy lick lips lick lips it is not a birthday to send everything away and there is no use at all denying thirst for respect for thirstiness in any country is mutual. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The late sky is a gate which opens is open at the hour of closing. Summer says it is so. In the middle of a tiny spot a white light is in bright and comes before the blackening. A. an orange balloon and B. not dangerous and never bursting only an explosion of beautiful, beautiful. Go amber, go gold, a football, a goal landed in the sky. Suppose a good seat is mango juice, a front seat with toes dipped, beach in rubbed purr, ooh ooh ooh leather soles gone and a whole time of ladies simple pleasure smiles toes heels calves sales ladies little sales big ladies little feet satin smooth not saddles of mutton. The day again in a bolster, a blessing, warm not hot and another show of sunset shutting in twenty-four hours.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

A square table of a period, French provincial and a joyful array of the region with croissants and slender butter and placed with a little difference is a small white bull. Not a real bull. It shows perhaps a borrowing. Spanish, but not, certainly not, as it holds milk for the tea. The tea is weak but nevertheless the decoration is blue, a kind colour around the room in a choice of chairs, not too small for the back and the leaning yesterday and it is likely that today is a holiday with eggs and coffee. Delicious eating without explaining an accent as food is a language, yes, and no need to explain a carafe of juice with an arrangement of seasonal fruit and a side serving of baker’s crusty snaps. Waiting is lengthening for the bacon and mushrooms if that order is really necessary but if in the eating there is a needed respite, a platter of cheese is there for the tasting, and a declared respect for the cook when the door swings open and a tray of pumpkin soup is strong and mushy with early morning warmth which is a kind of astonishment for tears and fullness and a certain bursting when there is further talk of salmon with a dash of pepper, kind cuts of ham, sausages thick and thin, a breakfast different and pleasanter and certainly there is no surprise waving the chicken away.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The view is wholesome, somewhere a mountain looking back and the town not far off under weary feet. A balcony is a place of shade an open entrance that shows one way in one way out. A balcony for lovers in a play showing we are all much smaller up there if there is ivy and joy and a caller below. A railing is essential strong and not tardy, it should be solid with a table the colour of dishes an open page with spectacles and even when the room is open a book and spectacles will show that the balcony is not empty. The book rests in its own place and there is victory in the borrowing if the author is not cranky. Changing the table might alter the view to a better side if hot and that could make things better and bigger and if it does not make things bigger, then the outlook is not hindered from not being. Should the view grow smaller near the mountain there could be currency in binoculars a movie in the making or a yodeller imitating the lips of sweet sweet sweet Susie Asado. This is so very charming and harmonious for those sharing if there is pleasure under an awning wine and song. Essential too that the slider remains open to the main room inside and if a corridor leads the way every other room will be headway to the balcony and this shows nearly enough choice at midnight or dawn.

A suitable room for sleeping, well housed, a kind of delightfulness without any complaining if the measurement is right. A window is a wide veil and that means a spectacle of shadows and very likely a verdant view below. An arrangement might be two bedrooms of different colours particularly a purple room with a wise chair for thinking. It is so necessary to sit without custody or betrayal when the mind has no vacancies. In a green room there is nothing wasted on waking only suitable bedding is never white and that means changing with special attention if there is no spring or stream to clean, for cleaning is a tradition of gallons given away. Too much devotion to water means reduction and is not lessening in an age of lessening. The main action is washing wearing renewing and certainly a bedroom is not for eating. It is a soft place for reverie if the mood is right, a right place for dreaming and a good place to order titbits of secrets in repose.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

I am listing the steps that have happened towards the publication of my novel The Last Asbestos Town!
Dear Helen,
I read your query and would like to see the complete manuscript for consideration.   
You can send it as an attachment in reply to this email. 

Kind regards,
Stevan V. Nikolic
Adelaide Books / Adelaide Literary Magazine
244 Fifth Avenue, Suite D27
New York, NY, 10001
office: (917) 477 8984  (Mon. - Fri. 9 AM - 5 PM)
cell: (917) 727 8907 

Dear Helen,
I read your manuscript and would like to publish "The Last Asbestos Town"  if you agree with our publishing contract terms. I believe that your book would make a nice addition to Adelaide Books list. Actually, we are in the process of finalizing our publishing calendar for the second quarter of 2020 and if we do a contract now, your book may be scheduled for release somewhere between the beginning of April and the end of June 2020.
We would like to offer you a standard publishing contract where the copyright stays with the author, we cover all costs of book production and marketing and it comes with 20% royalties for the author.  You can find more about our contract terms here:
If you agree to these terms, please reply to this email promptly and I will send you a publishing contract to sign and schedule your book release.
Looking forward to hearing back from you.
With Kind Regards,
Stevan V. Nikolic

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


Blue blue blue as bulbs blown and a size that is not sad while hanging. Silver is every bit blue and as beautiful as gold and the green of giving. Suppose there was a game, a fancier present, or a clean mixture of white and not a coal colour, never a coal colour together but a separation of the sight of blue and green and silver and gold for that reason. Sameness is a negative answer and the sight of colours in glassware in a similar arrangement is sounder. There must be astonishment and an allusion to the illustration. The shape and design is the concentration and the notion of a simpler answer is on the way forward. The sight of a blue jug with a rounder figure will show the shape nicely, the handles delicate and pleasing and not cheap, no not cheap, but there is intention there for the wishing of miniature and to spread certainly something upright on a matching border, if there is a border.

Friday, August 31, 2018

On occasion it is a splendid address. A kind of green and the spark is brighter and the patio indicates wine and winsome should the flowers flow freely over. The game for guests is food and should there be coffee a certain time selected for that is assured, suppose it is even necessary to dress formerly and suppose it was actual in August with music more melodious in spring for spring is the incident of green and everything is breaking loose a little at a time. Nothing quite like a tray that is square and quite flat and young waiters trembling with the weight of serving cuisine and plates more round nothing breaking and the losing of no little piece.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Black Pottery
Pottery is charm a shape nicely a vase, an urn, a holdall for ash and plant. Earthenware may not be strange in colour if cooked in dirt and fire, there need not be distress if the clay cools to black; black pottery not painted, not strange if change is taking place in the kiln. Colour is cunning in nature. So then, the order is round, pear-shaped or statue; life-size is something suggesting honour, a founder of factory and home. It is not disappointing to visit, it is not, it is so rudimentary to analyse and see fine art lovingly lovingly held in masterly hands, it is, it is earnest and stuttering to be art, to remain art, to remain not as loss but worthy of its cause and sign. The perfect way to preserve is to buy its shape and post the solid vase in a corner window or under an arbor of roses where a rose is a rose and black pottery is back and black is back.


A hut suggests nothing except it is old and a measure of length and height and made of stone. It appears lost and alone sitting beside a field on a gravelly road, yet the right reason is utility and certainly it is not negative which means it has a purpose. There’s a strong panting when the wheelbarrow is offloaded and a winter’s fuel is stacked delicately, delicately so as not to fall. Certainly the wood is placed upright wall to wall, never looking out. It’s not necessary for timber to have a view, timber has a purpose to return again to the wheelbarrow and be trundled out of the hut and possibly there is an aching and sweat dripping to the hearth. It’s quite fitting then to have a hut beside a road in a farmer’s field close to the woods with no window, the dry succouring a colour change within.

Monday, July 9, 2018


Flagship Fellowships are offered to writers whose work shows a striking and original voice in fiction, short stories, narrative non-fiction, environmental writing and/or poetry.

The Flagship Fellowships are:
  • Eleanor Dark Fellowship - Fiction: Established in memory of Blue Mountains writer Eleanor Dark, this writing fellowship will be awarded to a fiction application of outstanding quality.
  • Eric Dark Fellowship - Non-fiction: Established in memory of Blue Mountains writer and social activist Eric Dark, this writing fellowship will be awarded for a non-fiction application of outstanding quality in social, historical or political writing.
  • The Varuna Poetry Fellowship: This fellowship will be awarded for a poetry application of outstanding quality.
  • The Mick Dark Fellowship: Established in memory of Mick Dark, who bequeathed Varuna House to the writers of Australia, this writing fellowship will be awarded to outstanding Environmental Writing.
  • The Henry Handel Richardson Fellowship - Short Story Writing: Offered in partnership with the Henry Handel Richardson Society, this award promotes the life and legacy of Henry Handel Richardson as a significant Australian author and encourages excellence in Australian short story writing. This award is offered every second year and will be offered in the 2019 program.

Friday, July 6, 2018

OOTA's (Out of the Asylum) Spilt Ink Competition 2018 is open to all financial members of writing organisations affiliated with Writers United WA.


Poetry (max 30 lines) and Short Fiction (max 2000 words) - Separate judge for each category
Writers may submit up to three entries in each category

Entry Fees

Poetry - $10 for one poem; $15 for two or $20 for three
Short Fiction - $10 for one short fiction; $18 for two or $25 for three


First Prize - $200 plus Bookshop Voucher ($50)
Second Prize - $100              Third Prize - $50

Winners will be announced at the OOTA AGM in October and winning entries listed on the OOTA website.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

I have to add, that after watching The Project on Sunday night and Lisa Wilkinson's interview with Kate and Rozanne Lilley, I think these women are truly amazing and I admire them immensely. They simply told their story of a disfunctional upbringing by their mother, Dorothy Hewett. Kate Lilley read a poem which was very heartfelt and poignant about her underage sexual abuse. Her new book of poetry is called Tilt by Vagabond Press.

Kate Lilley read her poem Party Favour on the program. Here's a short excerpt.

I'll tell my mother and she'll say
she asked him he said I was into it
from then on I know it's pointless
she's not on my side
From Party Favour

The daughters of Dorothy Hewett, Kate and Rozanne Lilley have come out publicly and spoken about the sexual abuse they received as children. Kate Lilley was raped at the age of 15 (under the age of consent) and Rosanne was subjected to paedophile acts from the age of 11, 12 & 13, Just about every paper in the country has covered their story: The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald,  The Daily Telegraph, The Saturday Paper and The Courier Mail.

Dorothy Hewett is remembered as a leading poet, playwright and novelist. Admired for her passionate and politically charged writing, she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to literature in 1986. But what will happen to her legacy in the light of revelations of the sexual abuse of her teenage daughters? Sisters Kate and Rozanna Lilley say they were sexually assaulted by the men who visited the family home in the 1970s. The abuse, they say, was encouraged by their mother.

The Dorothy Hewett Award is a $10,000 prize for an unpublished manuscript conducted by UWA Publishing.

In a recent statement by the Managing Director Terri-Ann White the award title will not be changed.
White states that she has spoken to Kate Lilley about the award and claims that - [quote} If the family were to instruct us to change our position we would do so, but this is not the intention of Dorothy’s daughters to the ongoing legacy of her writing. [end quote].
    However, this appears as "hearsay" and cannot be substantiated since it has not been published in the public domain or an exact quote documented. Neither has the Lilley sisters mentioned this in an interview on the ABC, and in fact have had this to say.
    "I think that a lot of the blowback saying that we're harming Mum's reputation is really just in disguise a critique of men from that generation, the kind of men who abused us and their supporters, who don't want their behaviour to be examined."
    Lilley says that her mother's work has always been polarising, with many finding her confronting descriptions of sex distasteful.
    I find not renaming the UWA Publishing award - distasteful, ignorant and an act of bloody-mindedness. Why have I written this blogpost? I am an unpublished novelist and in all consciousness have to take a moral stand, so my efforts to have the award name changed are close to the bone. I have entered the competition twice now, but in all honesty cannot enter this UWA award that touts the name DOROTHY HEWETT. In fact, I have binned my three books of Hewett's poetry!
This is an email I have recently written to the head of writing in WA, CEO Sharon Flindell of writingWA.

Dear Sharon (et al)
As a writer I am now concerned with the news of sexual abuse of Dorothy Hewett's daughters published in The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph, The Saturday Paper, and how this taints her name and the Dorothy Hewett Award 2019. As our representative in the WA writing community pressure should be brought to bear on UWA Publishing and Managing Editor Terri-Ann White to rename the award. The latter unfortunately to date refuses to change the name. Going into the future how can any writer take pleasure in receiving an honour under the name of a dishonourable person? And since I have entered the award many times over, and may so again, I would not want to see my hard work associated with a woman who allowed vile paedophilic acts to occur. We cannot compartmentalize what Dorothy Hewett achieved as a writer with her current fall from grace and the sexual abuse of her children. This is a watershed moment in the history of West Australian literature and action needs to be swift in support of all emerging writers.
Perhaps your 2 day forum on publishing on 10-11th July would be an ideal place to raise the issue as a moral dilemma for writers.

Yours truly
Helen Hagemann
Quote from the Sydney Morning Herald - It took years for Hewett's daughter Kate Lilley, a poet, to fully comprehend what happened when she was still legally a child - and many more to speak out about it.
The English professor says she was raped at the age of 15 by a well-known Australian poet who is still alive. She says a film producer sexually assaulted her during a drug- and alcohol-fuelled party several months earlier.
Her sister, writer and autism researcher Rozanna Lilley, also experienced sexual assault. She names the late playwright and former Labor speechwriter Bob Ellis – who died of liver cancer in 2016 – as one of the perpetrators.
Another Dorothy Hewett Article in the Saturday Paper 

I have been advised that the "RULES" for the Mary Gilmore were discussed at the ASAL's AGM in 2017. A little conference apparently between the board and the hierarchy of past judges. It appears that from now on the award is discretionary, but according to Consumer Rights and I have read some of the new 2011 laws to protect individuals, this may contravene consumer rights according to consumer protection (See rules link below). The general public now in Australia have rights and protections in place to halt this kind of surreptitious activity. Above you will notice a "Screen Shot" (taken 28/5/2018) of the current rules that clearly state 'a first book' - not second, not third, not anything else after chapbook publications. If the ASAL had changed the rules back in 2017, then it should have been clearly stated on their website, applied legally to the two poets short-listed in 2018 who have had previous chapbooks, and also made public in the media (eg the ABR/ASALwebsite and to publishers). They failed the duties of the award, failed to make the change of rules public and have failed the short-listed poets WHO DO HAVE A FIRST BOOK! Under the Australian National Law according to the ACCC, these sort of backroom dealings that have previously occurred in the general community are no longer lawful. The ACCC was formed to protect the rights of consumers and individuals. An award such as the Mary Gilmore Award does not escape this scrutiny: The guardians of this award have failed to notify the general Australian literary establishment, they are culpable for not establishing changes in 2018, appearing to neglect notifying these changes from their AGM. This cannot happen in 2018, this surreptitious collusion between the upper echelons, current judges, past judges and the Association for the Study of Australian Literature cannot happen in 2018!
Here's a link about CHANGE OF RULES.

Disclaimer: These are my personal opinions as I have been affected by the Mary Gilmore Award in 2010 and therefore wish to state that my post is "without prejudice" to any party.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Emerald: Of Forest and Stone by Paula Lang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With echoes of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series and The Lord of the Rings, Paula Lang has published her first fantasy novel Emerald: Of Forest and Stone. While the Twilight Saga and The Lord of the Rings has made it to film and also to the top of the best seller list, it is interesting to note that it is younger readers that have made this possible. Why is this so? My theory as a reviewer of adult fiction is that the new and ever-evolving generations of kids have fresh eyes and minds on what they like; they like something new, something netherworld, and surreal stories they can get lost in. Take for example, the Harry Potter Series. Young readers absorbed J K Rowling's literature at a faster rate than has ever been seen before. They all waited patiently for each new book, they all took that quantum leap of faith for her characters, loved wizardry and magic not known to them before, and astounded parents, adults and reviewers alike.
While coming to grips with reviewing Paula Lang's new book, I decided to read some of the "adult" reviews of Meyer's Twilight Saga and surprisingly, though not really, they found them trite, bizarre and hated the 'glittery vampire thing.' However, these novels were a market for the younger reader, the Generation X, and still are a market for the Millennials and Post-Millennials.
Lang's fantasy novel, or should I say, her fan fiction is also meant for that readership. Younger minds can get their head around the myriad of characters all laid out neatly as Preface pages of the book. And on the back blurb we are told that the main protagonist is Layla. Layla has the ability to "shape-shift" and is the only female ever to receive this gift, a duty bestowed on her as part of the Connor pack to protect her people. Similarly, symbolic to Thetis - Greek goddess of the sea who was particularly known as a shape-shifter: when Peleus desired to marry her, she transformed herself into fire, water, a lion, and a serpent in order to escape him. Lang's inclusion of her character Layla who is struggling to find balance and happiness in her life is an interesting juxtaposition to Greek mythology since "Shape-Shifting" is the quest for permanence and stability in a world of seemingly ceaseless destruction and change.
As mentioned previously, this book while reviewed here on Goodreads, should be marketed to teenagers and young adult readers. Especially, those readers who have enjoyed Harry Potter, the Twilight Series and The Lord of the Rings. Readers of science-fiction and fantasy novels often enjoy these other-worlds that do not exist in realism.
I also believe that the market prefers one main protagonist and one main point of view, and I would also argue that this lightweight fiction makes lazy readers of us all. Let us not get into the position of criticising a work for its many characters, it's imagined, surreal worlds of vampires, wolves, wolf ancestor spirits, half-humans, and full humans. Brian Stoker brought us Dracula, Mary Shelley brought us Frankenstein, and Buffy and companions fought an increasing variety of demons, as well as ghosts, werewolves, zombies, and unscrupulous humans.
I admire an author who takes risks. Paula Lang has taken that risk with a work of dense proportions. Self-publishing is not an easy road to take, but often a necessary one for a beginner writer.
Here's a section of writing (among many others) that I found to be excellent!
Chapter 15 - No Balance.
Without stopping to see if her mother was home, Layla ran to the bathroom. Overwhelmed by her anxiety and confusion, she dry retched into the toilet. Everything she had learned and knew of her existence was unravelling.
What was it that made it so hard for her to accept the Ambroses and Natanual? Was it the fear of losing control?
She had been disarmed at Jack’s; she had felt Beatrice’s affection and the humility of Natanual. She wasn’t meant to feel anything from them or for them.
She cleaned herself up and headed to the beach to think.
Sitting looking out at the ocean, she let her tears freely run down her cheeks. She wiped her face dry with her sleeve and looked up at the sky, trying to blink the rest away.
Again, she caught the scent as she wiped her eyes and face. It was the scent of orange blossom; to her dismay, she liked it.
Layla reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out her necklace. Her chest burned, overwhelmed with the disdain she felt for herself and the guilt for indulging in the intoxicating scent that permeated from it.
The necklace also had the smell of citrus, but also of other blended spices, of leather, and of him.
Layla looked more closely at how it had been mended. Natanual had replaced the leather cord. She remembered the tribal necklaces he wore when he first arrived; the cord was the same.
In an action that was totally driven like a drug addict wanting and needing more, she cupped the necklace in her hands and breathed in deeply, drinking in its divine scent.
It smelled dangerous, earthy, human, and beautiful.
Catching herself and disgusted with her actions, Layla didn’t know whether she would vomit again or faint; her head swam with guilt and confusion.
Needing to get home before Shay, Layla jumped down from the log. Reaching the road, she ran herself hard without stopping, trying to burn away her emotion.

In her bedroom, she took a small wooden jewellery box out from her bedside drawer and tipped out the contents.
Still catching her breath, she put the necklace inside instead. Snapping it shut, its smooth and flush closing mechanism locked the scent in tight.
Layla then threw the box angrily away into the back of her wardrobe and out of her thoughts.

Helen Hagemann (c) 2018

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