ANDREW LANSDOWN

AUTHOR & POET

Poetry
Poetry

Andrew’s poetry works.

Fiction
Fiction

Andrew’s works of fiction.

Children's Writings
Children's Writings

Andrew’s childrens writings.

Andrew’s latest posts

Andrew Burke’s poems on this website

A new page has been added to this website, to the OTHER POETS & POEMS section. It contains eight fine poems by Andrew Burke, along with some biographical and bibliographical information about this highly regarded Australian poet. Have a gander here!

Here is an exquisite poems to arouse your interest:

SITTING TOGETHER

There are prayers
that rise
from our wind chimes

as we sit
together
in veranda shade

smoke rises
from the hills
around us

Alice cannot keep
all her songs
inside her

So she gently hums
not to interrupt
our worrying

         © Andrew Burke
          from Mother Waits for Father Late

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5 Poems in Quadrant

Five of Andrew’s poems have been published in the April 2018 issue of Quadrant magazine. The poems are: “On the Composition of Haiku”, “Ukiyo-e Kawaii”, “Kyoto Maple Conceits”, “Cane”, “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Poetry”.

“Kyoto Maple Conceits”, a suite of eight tanka, was published late last year in The Crows In Town, the 2007 Newcastle Poetry Prize anthology.

“Miscellaneous Thoughts on Poetry” is another tanka suite (gunsaku), consisting of three tanka, the second of which is:

On Imagist Poetry

Precise imagery,
plausible and original,
is strangely moving:
who can define or dare dismiss
the emotion of exquisite?

© Andrew Lansdown

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Poem in The Mozzie

Andrew’s poem, “Mummy-Long-Legs” (a 4-haiku gunsaku), was published in the April 2018 issue of The Mozzie.

Although it is only a small, no-frills magazine, the monthly Mozzie publishes some big-name poets, such as Bruce Dawe, Shane McCauley, Kevin Gillam and Thomas Shapcott. Its (usually) short poems are (usually) refreshingly accessible.

The April issue of The Mozzie also contains a poem by Shane McCauley, “Kyoto Temple Dedicated to Jizo”, which bears the kind dedication, “for Andrew Lansdown”.

Unfortunately and inexplicably, The Mozzie typesetter/copyist made several mistakes when transferring Andrew’s “Mummy-long-legs” into the magazine. The copyist added the words “for him” in the third line of the first haiku — turning a 5-syllable line into a 7-syllable line and destroying the balanced phrasing of the poem. The copyist also changed the wording of the second line of the fourth haiku from “… told daddy’s legs” to “… told daddy-long-legs” — turning a 7-syllable line into a 9-syllable line, and destroying not only the balance of the haiku, but also the point of it, which is that “mummy” has eaten “daddy” right off his legs (and hence, only his legs are left for her to address).

Perhaps more problematically, the Mozzie copyist removed the Roman numerals above each haiku, giving the impression that “Mummy-Long-Legs” is a single, four-stanza poem, when in fact it is a suite of four distinct poems that have been combined under a single title to explore/expand a common subject. The reader who mistakes “Mummy-long-legs” for a single poem will have a disappointingly “jerky” reading experience because the supposed “stanzas” are not integrated with each other. However, the reader who understands that he/she is reading four distinct poems (haiku) can relish each poem in its own right (and perhaps even settle upon a favourite) and enjoy the way that each poem supports and supplement the others, so that the sum of the four is greater than any one of the four.

Well, this is serious talk for such a light poem! The correct wording and layout of “Mummy-long-legs” is:

Mummy-long-legs

.         i
Too late daddy
learnt mummy-long-legs only
wanted his body.

.         ii
Long-legged mummy
simply cannot stop—she finds
daddy so yummy!

.         iii
Legs numbering eight—
all that’s left of daddy since
mummy-long-legs ate.

.         iv
Merely a reflex
mummy-long-legs told daddy’s legs
shortly after sex.

© Andrew Lansdown

This poem is included in Andrew’s new collection, Distillations of Different Lands, scheduled for publication by Sunline Press next month.

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4 Poems in Quadrant

The January-February 2018 issue of Quadrant magazine contains four of Andrew’s poems: “These Astonishments”, “Dog”, “Bamboo Dragonflies from the Bamboo Forest”, “On the Fear of Foxes in Ancient Japan”. “Dog” is a haiku gunsaku, consisting of three haiku, and “On the Fear of Foxes in Ancient Japan” is a tanka gunsaku, consisting of four independent tanka linked together on the basis of a common subject.

The text of “Bamboo Dragonflies from the Bamboo Forest” is posted below:

Bamboo Dragonflies from the Bamboo Forest

They journeyed from Japan,
the bamboo dragonflies
buoyant by my bookcase.

Members of a squadron
of small fixed-wing flyers,
they zeroed in on me

as I walked with my wife
through an ancient forest
of tall timber bamboos.

And I quickly yielded
to the craftsman for them
my every yearn and yen.

Now they hover weightless
above papers and books,
upheld by just the tips

of their noses touching
the raised sticks of their stands,
the weight of their bodies

and long tails magically
offset by the weight of
their forward-thrusting wings.

They float dreamily there
in the still air above
the tarmac of my desk,

tempting me to puff them
into storm even as
I marvel at their poise,

reminding me always
of the balance and grace
they own but I must chase.

© Andrew Lansdown

This poem is included in Andrew’s new collection, Distillations of Different Lands, scheduled for publication by Sunline Press next month.

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Poem in The Canberra Times

The Canberra Times published Andrew’s poem, “Sketches of Life”,  in its Saturday Panorama arts section on 24 February 2018. “Sketches of Life” is a set of six haiku. The first and sixth haiku of the set are posted below:

Sketches of Life

.         i
The scent of onions—
from the kitchen the sound of
a knife tap-dancing.

.         vi
A shrugging gesture—
the child making it uses
even her eyebrows.

© Andrew Lansdown

This complete version of “sketches of Life” is included in Andrew’s new collection, Distillations of Different Lands, scheduled for publication by Sunline Press next month.

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MacMillan Makes Good

As mentioned in a previous post, Andrew recently learnt that one of his poems, “Mr James”, was published without his knowledge in a text book by MacMillan Education Australia 14.

Andrew approached MacMillan last week and the publishing house responded with an apology for the oversight and an offer of a $400 payment. Needless to say, Andrew happily accepted both.

 

The full publication details of the book in which “Mr James” appears are:

Simply Poetry: A student workbook

eds Rex Sadler & Sandra Sadler
MacMillan Education Australia Pty Ltd (South Yarra)
First published, 2004. Reprinted 2005 (twice), 2006, 2007 (twice)
ISBN: 9780732997755

The poem “Mr James” was first collected in Andrew’s book, Counterpoise (Angus & Robertson, 1980) and is reproduced here:

Mr James

When I was a boy
and needed birds, Mr James
built a cage for me
from large pine-wood cable-reels.

And at church on Sundays
he stood at the door,
crushed my knuckles
in the vice of his hand,

handed me a hymn book
from his brick-like stack
and banged me with the hammer
of his voice.

Of all the kind people
I have known in my life
this man is set apart,
having raised a cathedral in my heart.

© Andrew Lansdown

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Back in business for book orders

Andrew’s books have been unavailable through this website for some weeks because PayPal was disconnected while changes were made to the website.

PayPal is now reconnected and books can once again be purchased using PayPal or Credit Cards (Mastercard, Visa, etc).

Go to Buy Books to make your purchase.

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Unauthorised publication of Andrew’s work (1)

From time to time Andrew discovers that his work has been published without his knowledge — and therefore, obviously, without permission and without appropriate payment.

Andrew has only just learned that his poem “Mr James” was published in a text book by MacMillan Education Australia 14 years ago.

More often than not, such unauthorised publications occur because the publisher has been unable (despite reasonable efforts) to contact the author. Presumably, that is the case here and the publisher will (when approached) pay Andrew back royalties.

The full publication details of the book in which “Mr James” appears are:

Simply Poetry: A student workbook
eds Rex Sadler & Sandra Sadler
MacMillan Education Australia Pty Ltd (South Yarra)
First published, 2004. Reprinted 2005 (twice), 2006, 2007 (twice)
ISBN: 9780732997755

(Further details about this book can be found at Google Books, here, and at MacMillan Education, here.)

While Andrew is always delighted when editors and publishing houses want to showcase his work, he nonetheless would like a heads-up first.

“Mr James” has been published in two other anthologies and was first collected in Andrew’s book, Counterpoise.

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Allsorts in Singapore Libraries

Copies of Andrew’s book Allsorts, a collections of poems for children illustrated by Susan Lansdown, are held in nine libraries in Singapore.

(Learn more about Allsorts on this website here.)

The National Library Board of Singapore reports (here) that Allsorts: Poetry Tricks and Treats is available in and from the following libraries:

Library Location Call Number Status/Desc
Ang Mo Kio Public Library
Adult Lending
English
821.408 LAN
Available
Bukit Merah Public Library
Adult Lending
English
821.408 LAN
Available
Central Public Library
Adult Lending
English
821.408 LAN
Available
Geylang East Public Library
Adult Lending
English
821.408 LAN
Available
Jurong Regional Library
Adult Lending
English
821.408 LAN
Available
Jurong West Public Library
Adult Lending
English
821.408 LAN
Available
Marine Parade Public Library
Adult Lending
English
821.408 LAN
Available
Tampines Regional Library
Adults
General Non-Fiction
Level 5 Shelf 56 [View Map]
English
821.408 LAN
Available
Woodlands Regional Library
Adult Lending
English
821.408 LAN
Available

Allsorts: Poetry Tricks and Treats can be purchased through this website here for $25.95 (free post).

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New addition to this website

James McAuley‘s poem “Retreat” has been added to the page on this website dedicated to his poetry. Also reproduced below in this post, “Retreat” is a moving and insightful poem. Read more of this great Australian poet’s work on Andrew’s website here.

Retreat

Come unto yourself a while,
Be deaf to outer cares;
Ask not who wins, who falls, who rages,
Or what each doubtful sign presages,
Or what face treachery wears.

Soon you must return to tasks
That sicken and appal:
The calumnies will never cease,
Look only to the sign of peace,
The Cross upon the wall.

This is that sole instrument
That measures every chart;
This square and level overrules
The subtle calculus of fools
By a celestial Art.

It is not said we shall succeed,
Save as His Cross prevails:
The good we choose and mean to do
Prospers if He wills it to,
And if not, then it fails.

Nor is failure our disgrace:
By ways we cannot know
He keeps the merit in his hand,
And suddenly, as no-one planned,
Behold the kingdom grow!

      James McAuley

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Poem in Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology

Andrew’s poem “Kyoto Maple Conceits” has been included in The Crows In Town: Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology 2017, eds Kevin Brophy & Eileen Chong (Hunter Writers Centre & The University of Newcastle, 2017). “Kyoto Maple Conceits” is a suite of 8 tanka. The first two “conceits” in the suite are:

i
Pretending menace
while riding the current down
the disused canal—
a fleet of little fireboats
set adrift by the maples.

ii
With pinking scissors
and crimson dye, maples make
pretty autumn kites—
but they are mostly flightless,
being bobtailed and stringless.

          © Andrew Lansdown

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4 poems in Quadrant

Four of Andrew’s poems were published in the November 2017 issue of Quadrant: from Vegetal Variations” , “Kyoto Autumn Maples” , “Prattle” , and “The Succour Trees” .

Kyoto Autumn Maples” is a set of six tanka that won the $1,500 2016 Melbourne Poets Union International Poetry Prize.

The Succour Trees” is reprinted below:

The Succour Trees

In Gethsemane
olives were the only ones
(excluding angels)
who stood by the Son of God
as he wept and sweated blood.

          © Andrew Lansdown

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Poem in The Mozzie

The April-May 2017 issue of The Mozzie (Vol. 25, No. 3) contains one of Andrew’s poems—a tanka titled “Fall” , reprinted below:

Fall

Little maple,
I’ve seen pictures of a girl
a German Jew,
who was, like you, skeletal—
and she wore a small star too.


          © Andrew Lansdown

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Poem in Quadrant

One of Andrew’s poems was published in the June 2017 issue of Quadrant. The poem, a suite of five haiku, is titled “Bird Haiku“. The first and last haiku in the sequence are:

Bird Haiku

i
The overhead wire—
a pair of welcome swallows
singing in the sag.

v
Such a lovely note—
how could I not look up to
find the pardalote?

 


© Andrew Lansdown

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Poem in Quadrant

One of Andrew’s poems was published in the April 2017 issue of Quadrant. The poem, a tanka, is titled “Gossiper” and is reprinted below:

Gossiper

As a brass clapper
in a windbell, so a tongue
in a gossip’s mouth.
Any wind will make it swing
to strike out its single note.


            © Andrew Lansdown

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