Category Archives: Melbourne

Black Rider says thanks for the 25,000 listens

After putting out the recently brilliant BRP podcast 05, a live recording of Marcus Roloff’s German spoken word with the swooningly bright-eyed sounds played by Christian Löffler, and while I was setting up to record Corey Wakeling all lofi over the phone for BRP podcast 06, a quick tally showed:

The Sound of the Black Rider has had over 25,000 downloads and streams. (It’s closer to 27,000 but I rounded down.)

Ok, so, it’s irrelevant that compared with internet standards and stories of trillions of views on YouTube, this is a miniscule amount. We’re talking about lofi recordings of authors and poets reading their work. It’s poetry and fiction, you guys!

Also, we’re a micropress from Fremantle, Western Australia – publishing like thieves in the night. 25,000? 25,000!

For that, I say thank you.

To all of you who are reading, streaming, downloading, buying, and telling your friends about the Black Rider, thank you.

You’re the sweethearts who keep this all going. Thank you for having Black Rider in your life. Your kindness abounds.

The Sound of the Black Rider is made up of the Black Rider podcast, the Lyrics audio book series, the Garage Sessions and poets and authors reading their work at and PoetrySpeaks.

Look homeward, angels!

The Black Rider

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Filed under Australia, Black Rider podcast, Black Rider presents Lyrics, Black Rider Press, Melbourne, Perth, Poetry, Spoken Word, The Garage Sessions, The Sound of the Black Rider

Visible Ink & my Confession; or, Saint Mathilda & the 69th Psalm

The cool kids’ kindness abounds over at Visible Ink, having included a li’l something of mine in their 22nd edition. It’s a story-as-letter called Confession; or, Saint Mathilda and the 69th Psalm.

It may or may not be about lots of things like Fantastical Realism and ish like that in Regensburg Germany and Wien Austria.

I think it’s been out for ages and I think I missed the party by a month, but my copy arrived in the post today.

It’s available for acquisition in Melbourney-type places I presume.

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Filed under Fiction, Journal, Melbourne, Published

The sound of the Black Rider: Joran CA Monteiro

Download Joran CA Monteiro reading Winter Glass as featured in The Diamond & the Thief 2010.

You can also stream it at Poetry Speaks or below.


Joran CA Monteiro – Winter Glass from The Black Rider on Vimeo.

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Filed under Australia, Black Rider Press, Melbourne, Poetry, The Diamond & the Thief, The Sound of the Black Rider

The sound of the Black Rider: Shane Jesse Christmass

Download Shane Jesse Christmass teaming up with alter ego Mattress Grave to produce Thermometers & Metronomes & Riddim, soon to be featured in The Diamond & the Thief 2011.

Or stream it here:

Shane Jesse Christmass – Thermometers & Metronomes & Riddim from The Black Rider on Vimeo.

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Filed under Australia, Black Rider Press, Melbourne, Poetry, Spoken Word, The Diamond & the Thief, The Sound of the Black Rider

The sound of the Black Rider: Allison Browning

Download Allison Browning reading Fuel as published in The Diamond & the Thief. Fuel was included in The Best Australian Poems 2010 (Black Inc).

You can also stream it below or at Poetry Speaks.

Download Allison Browning reading these gods as published in The Diamond & the Thief.

You can also stream it below or at Poetry Speaks.

All artwork by Ryan Michael Swearingen.

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Filed under Allison Browning, Australia, Black Rider Press, Melbourne, Poetry, The Diamond & the Thief, The Sound of the Black Rider

Pulsatin’ to the back beat… It’s page seventeen!

hey ho, let’s go!
hey ho, let’s go!

They’re formin’ in a straight line
It’s page seventeen!

Melbourne’s annual literary mag covered in leaves features my poem ‘tempest, steal me away’.

& who else is pilin’ in the backseat? Oh, only AS Patric, Graham Nunn, Matthew Hall, Allison Browning, Matt Hetherington & a revival of all kinds of other hepcats!

It can be bought.

Hi-fives to Tiggy Johnson & Ashley Capes.

This issue whooshes as much as the ipad Eric Yoshiaki Dando made out of leaves!

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Filed under Journal, Melbourne, Poetry, Published

Verity La gets to know the Black Rider

Literary recreants - by Danny Khoo

Brazenly seductive, new online journal Verity La has been wooing us all with forward-thinking stories and poems by many of my favourite contemporary poets and authors here in Australia.  Taking the time to get to know these literary cats is where Verity La really puts its ear to the virtual soil.

Co-editor Alec Patric is so punk rock he contumeliously published my dusty hinterland villanelle narrative Gather Darkness! and play your songs of heartache.

In Associations, Patric gets to the bottom of translating, filtering and decoding communication, so he only lets me answer his questions with quotes from others.

For example:

Using a quote from your favourite poet, tell me the secret to your soul.


the dew
the boy’s soul
is luminous

the wisdom
from finger
through finger

the plant
makes its own little sun
for us
a big drop in the ocean

hope is a transparent mirror
— Amber Fresh, excerpted from It’s the same thing again

Strange enough without shadows.
— Amanda Joy, Vasilissa’s Doll


Filed under Australia, Black Rider Press, Interview, Melbourne, Perth, Poetry, Published

Black Rider Lines: In conversation with Maxine Beneba Clarke

by Mark William Jackson

Maxine Beneba Clarke is a fugitive on the run from conventionality. She’s been spotted in the dark corners of Melbourne’s literary scene where she takes hostages in various poetry slams. She demands to be heard. Her essays, fiction & short stories have been broadcast & published nationally, including Voiceworks, the Age, the Big Issue, Overland, Kunapipi, Peril & Going Down Swinging, on 3CR radio’s Spoken Word and Hip Sista Hop and on RRR radio’s Aural Text and Max Headroom. Maxine’s second poetry collection Gil Scott Heron is on Parole was published by Picaro Press in 2010.

Mark: What, or who, got you in to poetry?

Maxine:  Poetry always just seemed to be around. My favourite book as a kid was a picture book called Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp. I remember being amazed that writing could be so lyrical and poetic. Instead of Church clothes, there was Sunday-go-to-meeting-finery. Instead of being careful, plucky little ittle afroed Lou was told ‘mind you keep your wits about you’. The rhythm of it all was spell-binding.

In my early years, my mother was a sometimes-actress. Sometimes, not because she wasn’t formally trained, but because she was a young, black actress in seventies and eighties Australia, with three young children. When we were old enough, we helped her with her lines and I remember then, loving the repetition and rhythm of calling out the line before hers, hearing and checking her response.

I guess I never started writing what I’d deem to be real poetry until I was a teenager though. And predictably, most of what I wrote in those early years was cringe-worthy. I wrote enough to realise though, that if I persisted then one day I just might have a chance of being be half decent, and that I loved writing. Later, there was a Creative Writing degree which was instrumental in honing my writing skills.

Awesome response!  And a great insight into the birth of one of my favourite poets – no grovelling intended, a simple statement of fact.  Are you addicted to poetry? If there was a Poets’ Anonymous, would you attend?

Yes, I’d say I’m a poem addict. There are times, months even, when I either don’t read, write, blog or perform poetry, but these times have never all coincided – poetry has always been there in some way at least over the last six or so years.

As for poetry rehab: that would entail some kind of willingness to change, or an admission the addiction was somehow detrimental to my health, so I’d say no. I’m the Amy Winehouse of poetry addicts. My loser gold-digger hubby could be in jail, my beehive could be dreaded into a skanky rats nest, my boobjob could be caving in, tacky tatts could be inching their way around my rapidly shrinking body, and it probably still wouldn’t occur to me to kick the shit.

Let’s rip it off the page and take it to the stage.  Can you put together your ideal backing band, musicians, poets, actors, anyone you’d want up on stage with you for a slam to end all slams. Your backers can be living or dead but cannot be Jon Bon Jovi!

Great question. Okay, Let’s see. I’ll go Ben Harper, The Last Poets, Tracey Chapman, Staceyann Chin, Gil Scott Heron, Imiri Baraka (aka Leroi Jones) Leadbelly and Odetta…and that’s just for starters. How much space is there on stage? Could we add Ladysmith Black Mambazo – the whole entourage of them?

Cool, I’d make the stage huge to contain all that talent, Leadbelly is angst personified, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s version of Amazing Grace is the definitive. I might‘ve thrown Nina Simone up there with you and had you slamming over Strange Fruit, bringing home the history. Just between you and me, and the Black Riders, what’s the Melbourne literary underbelly like?  I’m no lawyer but I don’t think slander exists on the internet so please let fly!

Incidentally, in my ‘Clark Kent’ life I am a part-time lawyer, and I’m not so sure about your interpretation of cyber-slander laws, but here goes…Melbourne Literary Underbelly? Well, it’s seedy as all hell, violent and as dangerous and volatile as a bob-cat let loose in a crowded elevator. Only the clever and cunning could ever hope to survive it.

Seriously? There are so many branches and sub-branches of ‘literary Melbourne’. The spoken word scene here is amazing: supportive, engaged, innovative and always evolving. In the broader Melbourne ‘scene’ there are so many literary events on all the time though: launches, performances, festivals, poetry slams, that it can become a real effort to stay engaged with everything that’s going on, and there’s a danger that that engagement comes at the expense of creative time, which when you have other paid work and a family, is something that’s already so limited.

With literary Melbourne I’m like a kid in the candy store: I have no self control, will soon be morbidly obese, and I’m almost always on the verge of slipping into a diabetic coma.

When you look back on your career, are you on track, is there anything you would have changed, and what works in the pipeline and dreams can we expect in the future from Maxine Beneba Clarke?

At the moment it’s one of those times for me where I stop at take stock of my writing. I’ll probably be leaning towards more freelance journalism in the coming months, out of necessity. Poetry is my first love, but unfortunately in Australia it’s one of those fields where no matter how many ‘accolades’ you get, how big of an audience you draw, it’s still extremely unlikely you can make a decent living from poetry alone.

I’ve performed on stage at the Arts Centre, on a soapbox in Federation Square, at the Melbourne Writers Festival, in a Buddhist temple in Sunshine, via Skype to a literary festival in Singapore…done some really amazing things through spoken word… and frankly, while it’s been an absolute blast, I’m bloody exhausted.

I’m am excited, though, about my upcoming performance at the Melbourne Writers Festival – a Going Down Swinging Commission – because it’s taken my spoken word (back) into narrative form, and longer format (I first started out performing my work as poetry monologues on the theatre stage in Sydney’s Short & Sweet New Short Works Festival some five or six years ago). In this sense, my performance work has almost come full circle.

I’m also both excited about, and distracted by, another creation of mine – the impending birth of my second child in two months. So writing-wise, I feel like I’m at a cross-roads, and will probably be also focussing over the next year a little more on my prose and non-fiction writing, and on pushing a couple of in-progress prose and non-fiction manuscripts forward to publication.

Thanks for your time Maxine. Good luck, especially with baby number two!


Filed under Black Rider Lines, Black Rider Press, Mark William Jackson, Melbourne, Poetry, Spoken Word

On community gardening, but a good man is still hard to find

We come to Veg out

Alli Browning and I drove down to St Kilda to lunch with A.S. Patric.  Once parked, we found we’d stumbled onto a community garden wherein you rent a l’il plot of land to grow your own veggies.

It seemed so out of place that it seemed exactly in its right place.  Of course we ventured in.

We met Christina and Tim who’d just returned from an extended travel overseas and were planting their plot.  Tim had just jumped out of the ocean.  He swims the bay every day when not out of town.  Even in the dead of winter.  Tim’s a waterman.

Alli and I were immediately smitten with them.

Tim told us that a fox had recently gotten into the chicken coup and had massacred most of the chickens, leaving the bodies, but making off with their heads.  The fence had now been sunk deeper and cemented.  Tim told us that while he and Christina were away, the volunteers at the community had kept fertilising their plot in anticipation of their return.  He told us that veggie stealing was nil and everyone respected each other’s plots.  Christina gave Alli a bushel of rhubarb and a recipe before we left.

A.S. was waiting for us, scribbling and concocting passages he later read to us, and lunch was spent scheming and plotting storylines and situations.  A.S. is a vast soul, filled with clarity and horizons.  We see eye-to-eye; our gaze and gait are parallel.

As we were saying our good-byes, A.S. pressed a copy of Flannery O’Connor’s Complete Stories into my hands, said the story ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ is one for the ages, turned about heel and disappeared into the furor and bustle of St. Kilda.

Once Alli’d fired up the engine and once we’d navigated past Luna Park, I started reading the story aloud to Alli while we drove crosstown back to Carlton North.  Pulling up to the kerb some time later, I read out the final sentences of the story, closed the collection and we both sat for a minute in silence as we seeped out of the O’Connor trance we’d just spent the last 30 minutes in.

Without speaking, we got out, dropped off Alli’s thrift store delivery, bought a bottle of wine and a baguette from the patisserie, and headed back home to Amess Street.

We neither spoke of nor discussed ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’, discussions with A.S., nor community gardening as we later spread butter across slices of baguette and watched the rhubarb boil.  We agreed that everything was exactly as it should be.

Everything was in its right place.

“That’ll do,” Red Sam said.  “Go bring these people their Co’-Colas,” and the woman went off to get the rest of the order.

“A good man is hard to find,” Red Sammy said.  “Everything is getting terrible.  I remember the day you could go off and leave your screen door unlatched.  Not no more.”

He and the grandmother discussed better times.

– Flannery O’Connor, ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’


Filed under Australia, Melbourne