Launch: ‘Awakening’ by Ross Donlon


Ross Donlon’s new Mark Time chapbook, Awakening, titled after Shona Nunan‘s bronze sculpture, is a collection of 18 ekphrastic poems written from the collection of Castlemaine Art Gallery.
Most of the poems were written while Ross was a poet-in-residence at the gallery during the centenary celebrations in late 2013. Some have now been accepted for publication in The Canberra Times, Cordite and elsewhere.
The Rev Ken Parker, who will launch the chapbook, is the past president of the gallery and a great spokesman and appreciator of poetry.
After his launch Ross will do a short walk, talk and read tour of the gallery, chatting about the process and reading some poems.
Morning tea, coffee and biscuits available. Hope to see you there.
To be launched by: Rev Ken Parker
When: Saturday, May 3rd at 11am
Where: Castlemaine Art Gallery

Eat Your Words: Workshop with Ross Donlon

This is a workshop for poetry and prose writers to create work inspired by food. Ross will introduce ideas for writing about fruit, vegetables, meals, food and place, and the experience of eating, so that participants leave with useful drafts to develop. Each participant must bring a favourite piece of fruit or vegetable and a recipe that is interesting or special for them.

Bookings are essential and numbers are limited.
To secure your place contact: Ann de Hugard, ph 54722647

Download ross donlon workshop flyer for booking form.ross donlon workshop flyer

Cost: $ 25 / $20 members

When: Saturday 1 March 2-4pm

Where: Word Mine Room, Anglican Church Hall (cnr Forest & Kennedy Sts), Castlemaine.

Castlemaine Poetry Readings

The Castlemaine Poetry Readings program for 2014 begins with an exciting line up of inspiring poets from regional Victoria, Melbourne and interstate.
There’s also the Open Section with the Castlemaine Cup and fabulous raffle prizes.

February 23rd: Mark Time Poets. A rich reading from the great poets from Central Vic and Melbourne published by Mark Time Books.

March 23rd: Laura Shore (Byron Bay) and Paul Mitchell (Melbourne). Two fine poets and great readers. Laura Shore, the energy and talent behind the Byron Bay poetry scene is only appearing in Castlemaine. Paul Mitchell, known for his dramatic readings and theatrical presentation comes with his new book from Walleah Press.

April 27th: Sarah Day (Hobart) and Stephen Edgar (ex Hobart now Sydney). Two of Australia’s finest poets, both travelling expressly to read in Castlemaine. Sarah has been a very popular reader at various Castlemaine venues and in the famous Carmen’s Tunnel Festival reading of 2011. Stephen is making his first visit to Castlemaine but his reputation proceeds him – a great paring.

May 25th: Peter Bakowski and Bronwyn Lovell. Peter Bakowski is popular reader with a marvellous presentation and a huge following in Australian poetry. He comes with his latest book. Bronwyn Lovell is a rising star in Australian poetry, shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize in 2013 and a standout at the Bendigo Writers’ Festival last year – a fine poet and great performer.

Cost: $3 donation to Pay the Poets

When: 4th Sunday of the month. 3pm – 5pm.

Where: Five Flags Hotel, Midland Hwy, Campbells Creek (few mins south of Castlemaine)

Launch and Performance: Venie Holmgren

Venie Holmgren, an accomplished poet and performer, will launch her latest collection of poetry The Tea House Poems this Saturday afternoon. Venie is Castlemaine Word Mine’s most mature member (91 years of age). To be launched by Nola Firth, MC’d by Ross Donlon.

Cost: free

When: 2pm Sat 30 November

Where: Word Mine Room, Anglican Church Hall (cnr Forest & Kennedy Sts), Castlemaine.
venie poster (1)

Launch: ‘Even if the Sun’ by Nola Firth

141473 MPU Even if the sun COVER-1

‘Even if the Sun’ is Nola Firth’s first collection of poetry, to be published as part of the Melbourne Poetry Union Poet Series chapbooks.

‘This is a remarkable collection, shaped in such a way that it seems wholly natural and inevitable that the poetry should move from personal memories of the dark book case and determined blue eyes of her father to appreciations of the ‘hot, tough and corrugated’ Australian country, and then finally to the ‘unfolded flight’ of an inner journey towards, perhaps, silence. Like all good poetry it is addictive, and of course this small book ends all too soon. These beautifully sturdy light-filled poems deserve a broad readership.’ Kevin Brophy

Readings also by editors: Sue King-Smith, Anne Elvey, Kevin Brophy,
Sue Gillett, and Philton.

To be launched by: Ross Donlon, award winning Castlemaine poet
and publisher of Mark Time Books

When & Where: 6pm-8pm Fri 11 October,
Collected Works Bookshop, Level 1/37 Swanston St, Melbourne


Free event, refreshments provided

Arts Fields: Poetry and Art

2013 Art Fields Flyer Front 2013 Art Fields Flyer Back

Castlemaine Word Mine Poets: Ann de Hugard, Katherine Seppings, Nola Firth, Rob Wallis, Ross Donlon, Susan Flanagan and Tru Dowling have joined with artist Lorraine le Plastrier, to exhibit their poems alongside her drawings, paintings and sculptures which inspired them, at Arts Fields, 2013.

When: Poetry reading and Artist talk – 11am, Sat 17 August.
Exhibition open 2-31 August.
Where: Castlemaine Market Building, Mostyn St.

Castlemaine Festival Exhibition – Pictures & Poems

‘Pictures and Poems’ is an ekphrastic exhibition – poems about works of art – to be held by Castlemaine Word Mine poets during the Castlemaine State Festival.

Ann de Hugard, Katherine Seppings, Nola Firth, Rob Wallis, Ross Donlon, Susan Flanagan and Tru Dowling will read their featured poems.

John Flaus will open the exhibition.

When: The Reading and Opening is 12.30pm Sun 17 March.
The exhibition will be open 10-4pm 16-23 March.

Where: Word Mine Room, Anglican Church Hall (cnr Forest & Kennedy Sts).

Click on the picture to download a poster to print.

Click on the picture to download a poster to print.

February Reading: LOVE

Our 2013 program, featuring a wide range of writers, is almost ready to release to the wider world!

To kick off the year, our first reading features our local poet laureate, Ross Donlon.

Since it’ll beValentine’s Eve, we invite everyone to bring along something, original or borrowed, to read on the theme of love in our traditional open mic reading (2 minutes max).

There’ll also be the usual bookswap, raffle, and local writers’ books for sale – if you’ve got a book or somesuch of your own you’d like to sell, by all means bring it along.

You can also join CWM on the night and hear about our program for 2013.

When: 7.45 pm Wed. 13th Feb.
Where: Anglican Hall, Agitation Hill (cnr Forest & Kennedy Sts)
Cost: $5 ($2 members)

Please note the new entry fee for 2013.

See you there, loveys!

The Blue Dressing Gown – Well and truly launched!

Ross Donlon’s book, The Blue Dresing Gown and other poems, has been well and truly launched.

Following a launch at Collected Works, Melbourne’s iconic poetry and philosophy bookshop, and further launches in Sydney and Katoomba, Ross came home to Castlemaine where a good crowd on the afternoon of Sunday 20 November saw Dr Robyn Rowland AO give an insightful and entertaining critique both of the book and Ross’s oeuvre as a poet.

After thanking regional supporters and fellow poets, Ross then read from each section of the book, both light poems, love poems and poems from the “father sequence”, which has gained the most attention from readers and listeners.

The previous Friday at Bendigo Regional Library Ross gave an hour-long talk about the process he used to write the “discontinuous narrative” that makes up the section simply called “Bill”. The poet’s father died in tragic circumstances in San Francisco after the Second World War before being able to reunite with his wife and son in Sydney.

In 2010 the collection’s title poem won The Wenlock Festival international poetry prize, which was judged by English poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, and led to Ross featuring in the 2011 Wenlock Poetry Festival. He will also feature at the festival in 2012, as well as at the Strokestown Poetry Festival in Roscommon, Ireland.

Castlemaine Word Mine congratulates Ross on all of the above achievements and is proud to feature the title poem from his new collection.

The Blue Dressing Gown
Ross Donlon

It hung in my boy’s wardrobe,
an army regulation item
no one could throw out.

And it would be hard, wouldn’t it,
to discard the only thing left
in something like the shape of him.

It hung on a wire hanger,
skeleton of his shoulder
cutting across collar bone,

the drape of it swinging side to side
if nudged into a shy dance,
or if asked up by a breeze.

I used to wear it, with no sense
of feeling weird or spooky,
alternating with a practical flannel,

yet at night sometimes woke
frightened by its doorway shadow,
a man hanging on the moon’s hook.

I never realized I’d outgrown him
walking tall through one summer
while his shoulders rode my back.

The tassels swung like incense
as I walked in his shape
trying to sense the being inside him.

The Blue Dressing Gown and other poems is available at Stoneman’s Bookroom (101 Mostyn Street, Castlemaine) or via Ross’s website: