Graham will also be publishing stories, poetry and non-fiction articles on MEDIUM

To access his material follow this link –



Through the Tunnel

Through the Tunnel is the title of the second poetry anthology by Adelaide’s Hills Poets. It was launched by renowned SA poet, Graham Rowlands, at the Box Factory on Friday 26 April.

The collection was edited by Jill Gower, and features selections from 17 poets, including Elaine Barker, Belinda Broughton, Jules Leigh Koch and Valerie Volk.

The Hills Poets group meets each month at the Crafers Inn and has been doing so for over ten years.

Copies of Through the Tunnel and the group’s first collection Frost & Fire can be purchased from the publisher, Ginninderra Press.

Tunnel (Front)

Amelia Walker – Super Poet

It’s hard to believe that nearly three years have passed since the launch of my last poetry collection, The Inverted World. On a hot February night in 2009, a sweaty but amiable crowd assembled at The Jade Monkey in Adelaide to celebrate the launch of my chapbook, as well as the launch of fellow poet and good friend, Amelia Walker’s second collection, Just Your Everyday Apocalypse.

In the years since, while my life has deteriorated into a never-ending, especially painful episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Amelia has travelled the world, completed her Honours thesis, started her PhD, and written and performed lots of great poetry. Some of it is about to be published by Queensland publisher, Interactive Press.

Amelia’s third collection, Sound and Bundy, will be launched at 7.00pm on the 23 February 2012 at the Tin Cat Café in Kent Town. Also launched will be Heather Taylor Johnson’s collection Letters to My Lover From a Small Mountain Town. If you’re free on the night, get along to pick up your copies of two great new poetry books.

I don’t want to tell you too much about Amelia’s new collection, other than to say it’s an absolutely one-of-a-kind, super special project. For those who do want to know more about Sound and Bundy, visit Amelia’s page at the Interactive Press website, where you’ll even get a sneak preview of some of the poems. If you can’t make it to the launch, you can order a copy (print or electronic) of the book online.

Amelia will also be reading at the Wheatsheaf Hotel in Thebarton on the 27 February. As part of the Max Mo Spoken Word series, Amelia will be sharing the stage with Mike Ladd and Jude Aquilina. A great opportunity to hear three top Adelaide poets! The show starts at 7.00pm.



Just Kids – a Review

Just Kids – Patti Smith’s award-winning book – is not your typical rock ‘n’ roll bio. In fact, Smith’s emergence as a fully-fledged rock star is only touched upon in the last quarter of the book. Instead, the focus of this autobiography is Smith’s relationship with photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe – her close friend for over 20 years.

The book begins with Smith’s childhood in New Jersey, where she develops an early fascination with poetry and art, interests she will eventually share with fellow outsider, Mapplethorpe. As a teenager, unhappy with life in rural South Jersey, she scrapes together enough money for a one-way ticket to New York, and with little more than a suitcase of belongings, heads to the city in search of a more like-minded community.

Patti Smith’s trials as she doggedly follows this path are often harrowing. Naïve and socially awkward, she lives on the streets, sleeping in doorways and scrounging for money and food. A job in a bookstore brings some relief, and it is here she meets Mapplethorpe. Like Smith, he has abandoned his life and family in the suburbs for the big city. They become friends, then lovers, forging a partnership devoted to their passion for art.

After establishing this bond, Just Kids, follows the couple as they struggle to stay afloat. But while day-to-day life remains difficult, Smith and Mapplethorpe keep true to their artistic vision. And after several years on the periphery of New York’s art scene, their arrival at the Chelsea Hotel eventually delivers the opportunities and connections that will bring them fame and success.

Smith’s vivid and imaginative description of late 60’s New York is just one of the many pleasures of Just Kids. The hellish Allerton Hotel ‘reeking of piss and exterminator fluid, the wallpaper peeling like dead skin in summer’ becomes a kind of purgatory for lost souls. While the fashionably seedy Chelsea Hotel ‘was like a doll’s house in the twilight zone, with a hundred rooms, each a small universe’.

The book is filled with the unique personalities that made New York the centre of alternative Western culture – the Beat Poets, the Warhol crowd, the Woodstock generation of rock ‘n’ roll stars. Smith has a gift for portraying even the most outrageous characters with great generosity.

Ultimately, though, the story is devoted to Robert Mapplethorpe, Smith’s hero and soul mate and, as he nears a premature death, the final section of the book reads as a kind of elegy.

Just Kids is a fascinating depiction of time and place, a moving tribute to a lost friend, and a recommended read for music fans and general readers alike.


Kate Deller-Evans – Guest Poet

I am delighted to introduce the poetry of Kate Deller-Evans. Kate is the last Guest Poet for 2006. Thank you to all the poets for their contributions, and the readers for their feedback and encouraging comments.

Kate Deller-Evans is acting coordinator of Professional Writing at the Adelaide Centre for the Arts (TAFE South) and a creative writing doctoral student at Flinders University. Her poems have been published in journals, magazines and two collections: Travelling with Bligh (in New Poets 7) and Coming into the World. With Steve Evans she edited Another Universe: FS Poets 28, (Wakefield Press) and their Best of Friends collection (soon for publication) is a 30-year retrospective of Friendly Street Poets. She has an affinity with the visual arts and a number of her poems have been illustrated – exhibited in South Australian Living Artists (SALA), as part of an artists’ book and on a canvas, currently hanging in a Stirling cafe. Her poems have been described by Jeff Guess as “surprising, moving, charged with emotion and beautifully wrought”.

At the Hospital Cafeteria

Overflowing, like the carpark
all coming-and-going
and gabble.

It’s an atmosphere
alien to counterparts
outside the health system.

Where else could you
be seated next to a man
wearing only a dressing gown?

The industrial-strength trolley girl
measures a smile
across our burdened table—

colouring-in books, textas, crayons
designed to allay frustrations
of little ones, impatient

for a grandmother’s return
—she’s upstairs, giving blood
ahead of the dose of chemo

never designed as a cure
but to calm the hacking cough,
companion for the coming months (not years).

You must choose whether you want your last days
to be busy with the regimen of such treatments,
the brochure says.

Air stirs as the mid-shift crowd leave
odd folk crowned with paper
shower caps, spider-spun.

At every table of those left
at least one of each pair
is nodding

there is talk of procedures, operations
outcomes, failures
—the word dead floats by.

It’s a one-stop-shop
heck, there’s even Keno
and an endless queue.

More happens here than in most malls
it’s a microcosm
all hopes and fears.

My mother arrives, resigned
another hour to wait for results
before the first infusion.

School Excursion

at first it doesn’t look too bad
she does a head count: is one of five parents
more than the usual to wrangle the little beggars

but on the train into town the other adults
are a gaggle down one end
and she’s lumped with the left-over boys
already plotting their fall

but they’re not hopeless, she tells herself
and commits their names to memory
so she can bawl them out, as she’ll inevitably do
sometime down the track

at the concert she has the misfortune
of sitting next to the mother-of-the-biggest-thug
who is preening her son, ignoring his fat elbow
as he winds the small boy beside him

they’re not a receptive audience
their upbringing unused to such occasions
more the sort to make good football crowds
not delicately clap hands when the singing’s done

when finally they spill out onto the scrap of lawn
and minimal shade under hot sun
she tears the metal wrap from two dispirin
dissolves them in her child’s drink-cup
awash with brown lime cordial

wishes she’d brought her own
laced it with brandy
medicine for the return journey
fighting all the way


the light is sulphur-yellow
dawn gone golden
ominous, with the birds berserk
screaming tree to tree.

I’m drawn to see what the fuss is
– apart from the odd-coloured sky –
away from my desk and the work
I don’t want, anyway.

Across the road it’s there –
massive arcs of a double rainbow,
vibrant hues of my five year-old’s palette;
she should be here.

I want to wake the entire family,
have them witness, too, this peculiar scene:
the rumble of thunder coming like airforce heavy transports
on a mission to our house.

Then the first fat splot of rain hits my head,
then another and another. Not warm, as they should be
– after days of heat –
but cold as bullets.

And I’m back inside the house,
unplugging the computer,
putting on the kettle, wondering how
I can face the ordinary day.


Please note that all material appearing on this website is protected under Copyright laws and may not be reproduced, reprinted, transmitted or altered in any form without express written consent of the author.

Deb Matthews-Zott – Guest Poet

This month I am very pleased to present the poetry of Deb Matthews-Zott.

Deb first read at Friendly Street in 1989. She was treasurer of Friendly Street Poets from 1997-1999, and co-edited the anthology # 23, Beating Time in a Gothic Space. Her collection Shadow Selves was published by Ginninderra Press in 2003. She is currently working on a new collection of poems ~ Learning Meditation.

Copies of Shadow Selves can be purchased directly from Ginninderra Press.


I have the body of a guitar.
When I lie down to meditate
my neck is straight
I clear my mind
of things I’ve fretted about
let go my strings of attachment.

My soul is a sound box
it draws in the songs of birds,
the pulsation of insects,
the gentle movement of breezes,
transforms the vibrations of nature
into meditation music.

I breath in
breath out
repeat the cycle
creating chords of calm
to lift me above the physical
resonating with riffs of bliss
tuned to perfection.


The day her boyfriend came home from gaol
She spilled out onto the quiet street
In a sheer red dress which showed
Her flattened breasts, her bones.
And the mad edge of her laughter
Held itself to the neighbour’s throats.


They all wished she would go back inside
And lie on her bed with a bottle of gin,
Or sit in a haze on the lounge-room floor
Flicking her lighter at a pack of burning cards.


The street could not contain
The riot of her voice;
Her stumbling red shape;
Her bare white feet on their bitumen road.

They preferred the hysteric of her scream
Bouncing off inner walls
Of crushed and shattered plasterboard.
There a fist or two,
There the crater of a skull.
A whole panel gone
Where he pushed her body through.


Her ecstasy lasted a day or two.
Then, in the middle of a night,
They screeched in the yard
Like a pair of ill-matched cats
Tearing at cloth; at hair and skin,
Drawing each other’s animal blood.

previously published in Cordite, Friendly St. and Shadow Selves

Lava and Rain

the lava sun burns and runs
concrete is volcanic ash

there’s a fire
and the sprinklers
are on heat

in the shade house, out back,
green corrugations distil light
to feeble shadow

a honey-eater drips
from the shade cloth sky
to steal a drink

I lie naked on a sofa
that’s drawn its own heat
and compete with silent monstera leaves

to catch the drift of liquid mist
the fragile cool
of fine green rain.

previously published in Shadow Selves


Please note that all material appearing on this website is protected under Copyright laws and may not be reproduced, reprinted, transmitted or altered in any form without express written consent of the author.

Jill Gower – Guest Poet

This month I’m pleased to introduce the poetry of Jill Gower.

Jill has published in Friendly St anthologies #27, #28, #29 and #30, ArtState Issue 21-02, 02 and 03 2004, The Mozzie (2006) and Positive Words (2006). She is a regular reader at Friendly St and is the Convenor of Hills Poets in the Adelaide Hills. Jill has been a Friendly St committee member and in 2004 she was one of the judges for the Spring Poetry Festival.

Red Geraniums

brilliant red geraniums
lie bleeding in the sun
against the white skin
of a Mediterranean wall

the wounded sit
in terra cotta beds
being tended carefully
by silver-haired matriarchs
in black dresses

from Blue: Friendly Street 27 and Artstate 21

Pomegranates of Kandahar

Afghan girl
takes her children
takes her few belongings
all that she can carry
always running
to a better place

runs and runs
comes full circle
back to Kandahar
city of pomegranates
shiny blushing skins
encasing countless red cells

she recalls the taste of the
sweet and sour love fruit
each bead unique
each red and crunchy
with juices that ooze
between teeth
and run down chins

colouring lips red
like blood running
from the mouth
the blood of afghans
injured in wars
the blood of afghans
running over minefields
the blood of afghan women
stoned to death for
someone else’s crimes

love apple
hate apple

all this she remembers
from her childhood
nothing has changed

from Blur: Friendly Street 29 and Artstate Issue 3 2004


when the little bird sang
outside my window
i thought it was because it liked
listening to my poetry
so i pulled up the blind
and spouted freely

for breakfast
bacon and five lines
for lunch a sandwich
filled with a sonnet
in the evening
a four verse dinner.

but the bird’s tune was
so sweet it made its own poetry

miniature rainbows
arced from its beak and landed
in sparkling dew

and its song was a haiku

from Positive Words August 2006


Please note that all material appearing on this website is protected under Copyright laws and may not be reproduced, reprinted, transmitted or altered in any form without express written consent of the author.