28 October 2014

Tuesday Poem: Hoovering Up The Dollars Leonard Cohen Leaves Behind

My voice is my calling card and I leave it everywhere
A basso non-profundo croaked through nicotine-stained air
My doctor is persistent but his pockets are well lined
I’m hoovering up the dollars Leonard Cohen leaves behind

My band are all anonymous and play in charcoal suits
With autumn-years arrangements built on mandolin and lute
The critics are persistent but I don’t pay them any mind
I’m hoovering up the dollars Leonard Cohen leaves behind

My after-concert entourage is two doctors and a nurse
At my age adding groupies could only make things worse
My ex-wives are persistent but they’re reassured to find
I’m hoovering up the dollars Leonard Cohen leaves behind.

Tim says: I went to Leonard Cohen's most recent concert in Wellington, and, though I yield to none in my appreciation of the master's songwriting, I found the gig itself a dull affair, impeccably played but lifeless. Neil Young wigging out on his electric guitar for two hours while people around me wonder when he's going to get round to playing the acoustic hits is much more my cup of tea when it comes to ageing musicians and their performances.

Leonard was reverently received, however, which led me to wonder ... do I have time for a late-in-life career change? I'm working on songs called "First We Take The Bronx" and "Tower of Rap" as we speak.

The Tuesday Poem: I've enjoyed my three months' stint as "sub-editor" of the hub Tuesday Poem, which I conclude this week. Check out Helen Rickerby's selection for this week, and all the other Tuesday Poems.

13 October 2014

Disquiet: A New Anthology With Two Of My Stories

I have just received my author copy of Disquiet (currently available from Amazon as a paperback, with an ebook coming soon), a new anthology of, as the cover says,

unsettling fiction and poetry to curl your eyebrows from Antipodean authors

It's edited by Tracie McBride and John Irvine, and authors featured include Alicia Ponder, Eileen Mueller, Peter Friend, Lee Pletzers, and others whose work I'm looking forward to discovering.

My two stories have a foot on both sides of the Tasman: the titular "Tracks" are those of the Melbourne tram system, while "My Occupation" is of the military kind - and it's set in Southland. I'll leave you to discover more for yourself...

02 October 2014

Are You Included In The NZ Book Council's Writer Files? If Not, You Can Apply Now

The New Zealand Book Council maintains a set of Writer Files that give generous space to each writer listed, covering their career to date and published books. I'm happy to say that I'm one of the writers included - I've been in since the mid-2000s, after my first two books were published.

Following the publication of the The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, I asked the Book Council to update my page - which they promptly and efficiently did. Along the way, I discovered that there is now a formal selection process for inclusion in the Writer Files, and that if you're a writer who has had at least one book-length project published (print or digital) and not already included, you have until 28 November to apply for inclusion:

We are continually improving our Writers Files to maintain their breadth, diversity and accuracy. If you are interested in applying for a Writers File, please read the criteria below.

The addition of authors to the Writers Files is at the discretion of the Book Council’s Website Editorial Panel. In order to best manage our limited writing and editing resources, this selection panel considers authors for a new intake once a year, in December, and up to ten new authors are added.

Key dates for 2014
  • November 28: Applications close
  • December 09: Website Editorial Panel meet to consider applications
  • December 19: Applicants notified of Panel decision
The minimum criterion for inclusion is that a writer has published at least one book-length publication (print or digital) or, in the case of dramatists and scriptwriters, critically acclaimed performances or productions. Factors that the Panel will consider are:

  • the critical response to published work/s
  • how the author's inclusion in the Writers Files will contribute to the overall diversity of the Writers Files
  • literary profile
  • breadth of readership and/or volume of sales.
Exceptions to this intake process will be made if an author is participating in an event programme managed by the Book Council, such as Words on Wheels, the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards festival, or Writers in Schools. For more information about becoming part of Writers in Schools, click here.

We also require writers who are profiled in our Writers Files to keep us updated (within reason) about new work, reviews or awards that might be relevant to their Writers File.

Download an application form here.

Having a Writers' Files entry is a bit like having a better-formatted Wikipedia page with nice people standing by to update it for you (as long as you don't ask for updates more than a couple of times per year), so if you are an author with at least one published book, I think it's worth applying.