Sunday, November 14, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Ken Bolton, Sal Brereton, Alan Jefferies, Pam Brown, Denis Gallagher, Laurie Duggan, Barbara Atkinson, Anna Couani, Tom Thompson, Adam Aitken, Steve Kelen, Erica Callan. More to be added of course if hands go up.
The following afternoon Saturday April 16: Legends v Young Guns in association with The South Coast Writers Centre. Leading local Illawarra young poets will read.
A detailed program and poster will go up closer to the event.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The house stood
The house stood as though it had been washed there by an enormous tide.
Lodged above the tree line, between it and the escarpment
that rose directly behind it.
It stood weathered like a wooden raft. Still in one piece
but leaning gently in one corner.
The house had been weathered like the bare wood
growing out of the side of the cliff. Everything set at weird angles,
like the undersea frozen in a strong current.
Even the garden had something of a sunken quality to it.
as though, in order to find the existing form you might have to dig down
one foot- discover the original bones of plants
gleaned white by the moon.
Trains are shunting up and down the track. It’s early morning
and the hill cliffs beyond the road are hit by the first bits of sunlight.
A movement so slight, like the buzzing of a butterfly coming
closer to the ear.
Some construction sheds are erected across the road.
Little white ones that look like toys in comparison to the hill
that rises behind them.
I imagine what they must look like from the very top – more toy-like
probably. These sheds that have been constructed to house the thirty
or so men employed to build the new railway.
I spend too much time in front of the radio.
I hear the floorboards and I know you’re out there somewhere
drawing me into your place. Curling in the space between two large rocks
behind the sand dunes.
On the other side of the house, ocean-blue Pacific O.
Windows that open out suddenly to the extended relief of coastline.
There has been a significant change in the size and placement of the horizon.
The trees upon the hill are reflecting the sun as though they are made of
some resilient galvanized iron – they are reflecting the light everywhere in
strips of green.
I stayed up reading late. My light was the last one to go out
on the whole block. I checked.
And every now and then I leave this book in which i have been looking
for the last few hours, at poems etc… mostly not reading them
and go outside and piss over the verandah into the front garden.
Feel the cold creepy feel of August wind creeping up my bare legs and
looking up to the sky, which is unarguably full of stars and bright almost
full waning moon giving everything that moves a definite shape
that sways in what now is an energetic breeze.
Among the Living
alone in Ken’s house
it can be funny sometimes
when it’s late and you’re up
reading one of his books
from his endless collection of books
and all around you
the walls lined with the shrouds
lying next to each other
or on top of each other
or standing back to back
spine to spine
how some poets must be dead already
and some must be dying
and some must be living
and it makes me feel good
in a funny sort of way
to be still such a young writer
with so much yet to write about
and with such a long way to go.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I was a fairly regular visitor when Alan Jefferies was the bearer of the legacy (& yes, he deftly carried on the tradition that made the place so memorable). As before, the only constancy was words, music & friendship. Extraordinary.
The Coalcliff cottage was also a doorway for many of us to that mysteriously industrial city of Wollongong. Rae Jones was there, it had its own branch of the Poets Union -- oddly including pio who had split from the Melbourne branch. Five Islands Press & Scarp were yet to emerge.
The only time I visited when Ken & Sal were there was a time they weren't. Went down there with Donna Maegraith (sorry Laurie, she was a fine reader!) & Alan Jefferies. Pam Brown and Micky greeted us on arrival. A superbly relaxed night followed by a fragile morning. Donna and I went onto Burning Palms, another Illawarra place of resonance for a number of us.
A great mutual friend of Alan's and mine -- Mark Leabeater (artist muso and latterly poet) died some five years ago. His life has also been profoundly marked by the Coalcliff house. Some of his ashes were scattered on the rock platform down below & on the escarpment above.
More than once I've stopped at the site of the old cottage & had a couple of quiet for him & the succession of bright moments.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Kurt has been after me for months to contribute to this blog: but I’m too inept technically to do it.
Well, except that I’ve finally broken thru, here, now: like the kid with trainer wheels, pushed by admiring — or doubtful — parents, skooting a few yards, legs trailing either side. Pitiful, isn’t it?
I’ve written a long essay that will introduce the show & will send you each your bit of it (yes, there is a cameo spot for each of you, in which you appear as I remember you. My memory is inept, too. So you may want me to change things. And I’ll do it, too, to a degree.
Last night I turned my room over to find a photo Sal wants because it features in a watercolour one of us painted showing our 1981 interior. If I find it it will verify the watercolour as ‘accurate’ — or will at least look amusing & ’curious’ if placed beside the watercolour. Which is what we intend to do.
Anyway, I still haven’t found the picture, but material we used as a table-cloth back then turned up. I had emailed Sal just the day before that, despite having kept it all this time, I thought I had thrown it out just recently. Possibly you will all be conducting similar searches soon.
“Hang on,” I hear you say, “I don’t recall them ever stretching to table-cloths!” It was just cheap material we bought as a bargain in Thirroul or somewhere. I don’t know why I kept it. Maybe it reminds me of Coalcliff.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Ken Bolton will be sending out an invitation letter to you all next week asking for contributions to the book/catalog in more specific terms. We hope to have everything back to us by the end of October so we can start the production process. The show is coming along well. Ken and I had a good production meeting recently (ie when his book A Little Bit of Bop was launched in Sydney) and we are all excited to start compiling all the various contributions.
We have had no luck tracking down Erica Callan so if anyone knows where she is and a contact email etc please let us know. We want her involved if possible. thanks Kurt
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
16th October 1981 Ken rang last night - he's due to go to Adelaide for a few weeks on some kind of grant from an art institution & intends to produce pamphlets on the equipment down there. Asks for a 20 page booklet. I figure on maybe ‘Adventures in Paradise’ & ‘The Great Tradition’ (with notes) - Ken's idea, and, in addition, the fake anthology [‘The New Australian Poetry, Now’]. Looks like the A.I.P. book will have to appear in pieces [this book, the present Adventures in Paradise, appeared early 1982. Ken is still in Adelaide].
Sunday, March 7, 2010
8th January 1981 This morning Sal's at work in W'Gong & Ken has gone to Sydney to the arts workshop [tin sheds] to get photo done for poster. I'm listening to early Coltrane (with Miles) & then the Giant Steps album, trying to write a parody of Les Murray.
15th June 1981 Arr. Coalcliff yesterday 3 p.m. No-one about. I hide bag & walk down to beach via milkshake. Back up to house - enter spare room window & hang around for evening train. Find The Diamond Noodle with great picture on back - Whalen looking like a delicate version of Donald Sutherland. Ken & Sal arrive abt. 1/2 hour before the train. I stick around - produce bottle of Riesling & eat with K, S & NZ woman. Down to her place for more booze & dope & T.V. Get very stoned on one joint. Silly movies. Back up to the house to crash on living room bed. Up this morning to hang about kitchen table. Ken & Sal do Go-poet interviews [these were a series of interviews I conducted in the manner of 1960s pop magazines]. Ken gives me a prepublication copy of his new book, which I advise him to call Alcohol. He has a possible cover - imitation Persian painting with donkey like bicycle-pump inflatable.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
2nd October 1979 Train down early Sunday morning to Coalcliff & a walk by myself down to the beach while Ken & Sal put together posters & magazines for the evening. I have a calm & generally gregarious weekend. By 2 p.m. a lot of people have arrived at Coalcliff - the Hammials, Denis Gallagher, ΠO, Nigel, Phil Roberts & others. We head in to the Gong but the Al Monte reception room isn't open. Check out the station & streets then back to Al Monte's to shift tables & chairs & wait over a beer or two.
Phil Roberts delivers a paper called ‘Death of the poet’ (rather melodramatically) then there's a break & the W'Gong writers read. Ken & Sal first, then some unbelievable local writers [probably including Leigh Stokes], then another break & the Sydney contingent read. Phil R. is interrupted by the response of some Pyrmont anarchist whose kid is playing with a soccer ball during the proceedings. There's a shouting match with quite a few having a say till Claire gets the reading going again. Others read - Denis, ΠO (Mayakovsky & Nelson Algren & the fuck poems shouted from a tabletop), Tranter finally (performing the ‘Foucault at the Forest Lodge’ series of pieces in a totally unsuitable dramatic manner). Then another break & a band play lounge lizard music (Girl from Ipanema) while everyone drinks on & eats lukewarm lasagne &c. Three carloads of us go to a coffee house & ruminate over the proceedings.
I sleep in the pantry & wake early, the sun up over the ocean. A morning long breakfast turns into a picnic lunch in the back yard, then in the afternoon with Kurt & Anna we go back into Wollongong to look at the Art Gallery (2 coloured photos of Micky's on display) & walk down to the beach - barbed wire & factories - tankers out on the Pacific - ought to be mines buried there. It's grey & there are only a handful of people down that end of town.
More snapshots from the Al Monte reading:
- best readings from Nigel, ΠO, Ken & Denis.
- Lyn Tranter (to the Pyrmont anarchists): ‘What are you doing with that child!?’
- Nick turning up & catching a late train home
- Les Wicks reading in the open section - very drunk (& very broke)
- a local W'Gong hippy woman reading with the ‘jazz’ band
- Donna Maegraith prefacing each poem with ‘O'-kay then . . .’
Friday, February 26, 2010
Some photos by Micky Allan
Barbara Brooks & Sal Brereton, Coalcliff, 1980
Laurie Duggan, Coalcliff, 1980
Sal Brereton & Ken Bolton, Coalcliff, 1980
Pam Brown & Sal Brereton, Coalcliff, 1980
Handy Hint to The Coalcliff Days visitors - if you click on the images they will
enlarge (this especially helps with reading scans of pages of text)