Tuesday Poem: “Oysters anyone?” by Robin Fry

The purposeful oystercatcher
bustles about between tides 
probes the wet sand

no one has ever seen it catch an oyster.

The sociable oystercatcher
seldom alone
hurries along the littorals

no time to waste.

It doesn’t suffer from cold feet or
wince as it walks, as I do, barefoot
among the stones & shells

where it raises its chicks … kleep … kleep …

It’s no stick in the mud
this Petone fellow is a ‘variable’

not to be confused with

the ‘pied’ oystercatcher, its cousin.

It comes complete
with waterproof coat
red legs & beak

this haematopodida with a loud squeak … kleep, kleep …

The oystercatcher keeps
a secret for the breeding season
when ‘a trilling, bubbling song is heard’ –

the love song of the wading bird. 

Credit note: “Oysters anyone?” was published in Robin Fry’s poetry collection The Love Song Of The Wading Bird (Submarine, an imprint of Mākaro Press, 2014), and is reproduced here by permission of the author and publisher. The Love Song Of The Wading Bird is available from Mākaro Press.

Tim says: I went to the launch of Robin’s latest collection at Artspace Gallery in Petone – a very enjoyable evening, and I loved hearing Robin reading her poems. This is my favourite from the collection – a busy, lively poem to match the busy, lively bird as it goes about its lawful occasions on the Petone foreshore.

The Tuesday Poem: This week, Airini Beautrais takes us back 32 years to Whanganui and the death of Neil Roberts.

Annual Report: What I’ve Had Published in 2014 And Where You Can Find It

“Strange time for an Annual Report”, you say? Maybe so, but I’m not expecting any more work to be published between now and the end of the year, so I thought it was a good time to do a quick summary of what I’ve had published this year – and where you can get our sticky hands on it. (All of my work comes with a non-stick cover just for you.)*
This is the big one! The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry is an anthology of Australian speculative poetry (you guessed that, right?) – science fiction, fantasy, horror, magic realism, surrealism – co-edited by P.S. Cottier and I and available in so many formats you’ll scarcely notice the lack of a T-shirt edition. 
The Stars Like Sand includes poetry from the 19th century to the present, and the poets involved include such well-known names as Dorothy Porter, Samuel Wagan Watson, Les Murray, Judith Beveridge, Diane Fahey, John Tranter, Peter Minter, Jan Owen, and many, many more.

Don’t let the grass grow under your feet on your way to buy this book – walk smartly off the grass, and then it will be able to grow more freely.

Short Stories
Building the Tree – it’s Christmas time in a near-future Antarctica, but what happens when the kids want a Christmas tree?Available in The Best Of Twisty Christmas Tales.
Tracks – you’d better keep away from the train tracks if the guy in the kiosk catches your eye. Available in Disquiet.
My Occupation – what’s there to do for an army officer stationed in Gore other than get yourself blown up by the locals whose land you’re occupying? Available in Disquiet
The Prime Ministers – after he loses a General Election, the Labour Prime Minister is banished to the night house while the National Prime Minister moves into the day house. Till there’s a knock at the door… Available in JAAM 32.
The Big Baby – how would you feel if you were trapped in a cage at Te Papa with kids pulling your levers all day? Available in Lost in the Museum.
None! Nada, zilch, OK this one on my blog. But true to form, the less of something I’ve had published recently, the more of it I’m now writing, so poems (which will fit either into two collections distinguished by their thematic unity, or one collection with a great deal of dynamic tension) are what I’m working on at the moment.
In Which I Totally Cheat And Include Stories Published in Late 2013
Protein – In a drowning future, fresh protein is the most precious resource there is. Available in Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror.
Rescuing the Airmen – He fell from the sky. She took refuge in the sea. And there’s a war on. Available in Regeneration.
* Disclaimer: No it doesn’t.

You’ll Always Find Me Out To Launch

Well, many of my weeks are pretty vacant, but this one does have two launches of works that contain my stories.

The Best Of Twisty Christmas Tales

On Thursday, The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales, edited by Peter Friend, Eileen Mueller and A. J. Ponder, will be launched at the Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie. There’s an impressive lineup of authors in this book, which is illustrated by Geoff Popham:

Authors:  Shelley Chappell, Michelle Child, William Cook, Debbie Cowens, Joy Cowley, Denise Cush, Marion Day, Simon Fogarty, Dave Freer, Peter Friend, Jan Goldie, David Hill, Tim Jones, Charlotte Kieft, Lyn McConchie, Eileen Mueller, Jeena Murphy, Lee Murray, Robyn P, Murray, Lorraine Orman, A.J. Ponder, D.M. Potter, Dan Rabarts, Darian Smith, Kerrie Anne Spicer, Anne Wilkins, Sophie Yorkston.

My story in this anthology is my first-ever published children’s story – this most definitely showed in the first draft, but thanks to the editors and their very helpful suggestions regarding what does and doesn’t work in writing for children, I hope it doesn’t show in the final version!

UPDATE: The Best Of Twisty Christmas Tales is now available from Amazon.com.


Then, on Saturday 15 November, as part of Wellington LitCrawl, the 2014 issue of JAAM Magazine, JAAM 32, will be launched in Wellington (and also in Dunedin by guest editor Sue Wootton). The issue includes my story “The Prime Ministers” (What’s that you say? Too soon?), and I’ll be reading from it at the launch. It will be like election night all over again … no, wait, I promise it will be much, much better!