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75 for the 75th – Selected: 2002-2022

In his brand of multiverse, David P. Reiter probes planetary identity as exploratory memoir, ‘tweetem’ snapshots of the mind and body from stress to recovery, and fanzine remixes of Dr Who. In these key selections from the award-winning My Planets: a fictive Memoir, Timelord Dreaming, and Time Lords Remixed: a Dr Who poetical, he tests the limits of genre and text.

The physical edition features colour images and links to external sites intended to spur the reader’s imagination.

ISBN 9781922332851 (PB, 124pp);
140mm x 216mm
AUD $30 USD $20 NZD $33 GBP £18 EUR €20
ISBN 9781922332868 (eBook)

AUD $15 USD $10 NZD $16 GBP £9 EUR €10


Here we have a satirical, surreal and insightful narrative that invites readers to click through, look up, chuckle and question everything. In this complex world of prokaryotic spiders, robots, Light Eaters and other science fiction treats, readers encounter poetry that serves as its own Tardis. Using the persona of Dr Who, Reiter warps dimensions and definitions. All is not as it seems though. Beyond the sci-fi fandom and miscellany is a distilled and vital poetry that deserves multiple readings.
– Jayne Fenton Keane, author of The Transparent Lung

Whether you’re a proper Whovian or someone who’s never encountered the Doctor before, you’re going to find plenty in Time Lords Remixed to intrigue, entertain and surprise you. David Reiter’s cunning, elegant poetic recaps of several seasons’ worth of Doctor Who take the Doctor through the most significant regeneration yet: from him to her, from Peter Capaldi’s practitioner of the midlife crisis to Jodie Whittaker’s lighter and more optimistic touch. David Reiter skilfully captures this change in voices, while bringing along for the ride all manner of companions, adversaries, monsters, and recurring characters and themes. Time Lords Remixed is bigger on the inside: climb in.
– Tim Jones, author, and co-editor of The Stars Like Sand

Time Lords Remixed is a collection of poems for Whovians or whoever likes their poetry fast-paced and clever (but not smart-arsed). It’s one for disciples of the time lords, but written by a poet who can turn a tercet or two. Reiter wants to know what makes a good man (it comes up more than once):

I realise I’m
not a good man, or a general, or even
President of the Earth, but an idiot
– (from Death in Heaven)

Why do people talk aloud
when they know they’re alone,
skipping heartbeats in the dark?
– (from Listen)

Sometimes you think you’re in a surrealist dream (also in the manner of the Doctor):

Reality has a glitch in it
as you watch for the trap street
There are only two

ways to escape a quantum shade:
undo your tell-tale tattoo or
unplug the raven’s death counter
– (from Face the Raven)

Time Lords Remixed stitches in references to just about everything (in the manner of the series) from Christie, to Dickens via Valhalla and the rest with a short salute to politics and more deeply to current eternal issues:

At what point does migration become
invasion? The trick is to go opaque,
shapeshift your skin or better yet

your small talk. And fine-tune your grammar
to the edge of visibility. I consider these portals
as I saunter through “Amazing Grace”
– (from The Zygon Invasion)

which feels very much like the life of a poet (or is that just me?).

Inevitably physics comes into it:

How can you doubt that poetry and physics
are the same? They almost rhyme except
when they don’t but even then their tune

begs to be discovered. Most people
frown when they don’t understand,
– (from The Pilot)

There were many things I didn’t understand because I’m not a Whovian, but there was much I did and all of it was interesting. And there are references which can be followed (I did sometimes). You could spend days inside this world if you wanted to. Whatever a day might mean in this world.

Time Lords Remixed is confident. It moves with assurance and intelligence and has something to say, then enacts it:

Trust nothing.
Interrogate everything.

There are some things we should never
proxy to our dreams.
– (from Last Christmas)

– Chris Mansell, author, and publisher of PressPress

In this volume, Reiter presents the reader with a poetic response to his experiences in hospital, as the cause of extreme pain is diagnosed, treated, and operated on.

The short poems inhabit a region between reality and the speculative. The treating doctors merge with images of Doctor Who, and various inhabitants of that Doctor’s universe, or multiverse, appear in the pages. Daleks, Cybermen and equipment such as the sonic screwdriver run shoulders with nurses, spirometers and the dubious properties of hospital food. The result is a vivid and, at times, moving chronicle of the journey through serious illness, and the mysterious world of medicine from the patient’s perspective.

Here is an example, from early in the process of diagnosis, where the poet is in the Emergency Ward:

"Excluded your heart. Now for the shadows.
My 10#sonic screwdriver will scan for 11#aliens."
Yes, my pain is there, and there – a solid 8.

Immediately apparent is the inclusion of links, which take the reader from the text of each poem into the worlds of the internet. These links are repeated in footnotes. The "aliens" link in the poem above, for example, takes one to a web page outlining identifiable mistakes in Aliens, the 1986 film. We immediately see the hideous attraction of mistakes to someone caught in the terrifying parallel universe of medical diagnosis. The ebook, of course works more efficiently in this regard than the printed book, although one could use the links given in footnotes to explore the added dimensions.

Personally, while I chased some of the links, and found some of them fun or illuminating, I also found the appearance of the poems a little cluttered. At least in the printed book, I would have preferred simple footnotes (or end notes) containing some of the linked information, and the poems presented without the underlining and tags. Others may delight in the intertextual voyages being ticketed from within each poem.

David Reiter dubs the form of these poems, which he writes that he invented while in hospital, the tweetem, which he states is a cross between the "character limited tweet" and "Japanese forms like the tanka". I have to say that I do not like the word "tweetem"; to my ears it sounds too cute. But there is no denying the powerful kick of some of these works, whatever one thinks of that name.

Many people are writing poems combining the exigencies of Twitter and either haiku or tanka, and finding this to be a convenient and portable way of composition without the need for pen, paper, or even sonic screwdriver. A phone is all one requires. At, tweeted poems from around the world are brought together, allowing the curious to find poets of interest. Most of the poems here are, in some way, derived from Japanese forms. Tinywords, founded in 2000, is a daily magazine publishing and distributing haiku, tanka and brief haibun by web, email and SMS. Timelord Dreaming can be seen as part of this developing tradition.

This book is disconcerting, amusing, timely and adventurous. It should be of particular interest to those undergoing medical treatment. In reusing motifs from popular culture, particularly that of science fiction, the poet ties deeply personal experiences to those we share through the web and other created worlds.

– P.S. Cottier, Sydney Morning Herald

Illness as altered reality isolates us from the world. Sharp as a scalpel, David Reiter beams trippy tweetems from his hospital bed, cracking sterile walls and piercing us with poignancy.

Dr Leah Kaminsky, Deputy Editor, Poetry & Fiction, Medical Journal of Australia

In the half-life world of hospitals, pain and medication, Dr Reiter has taken us on his journey into and through his mind. Taking twists, turns and delightful detours, he has developed a new form of digital communication – tweetems. While some draw on visitations of Doctor Who, the tweetems also take us on a myriad of musical and educational voyages. Between sonic screwdrivers and white cell scouts, Timelord Dreaming ensures our normalacy bias will be prodded and deconstructed.

Anna Maguire, Digireado

At one level, David Reiter’s My Planets is extremely complex (verse, prose poems, autobiography, short fiction, photographs, etc.), but at another it is quite simple. The author, a Jewish only child, at the age of 50 with both his adoptive parents dad suddenly discovers his birth mother, Eileen, and that he is in fact the eldest of seven across the combined families of his genetic parents.

In common with the memoirs of many of other adoptees, Reiter’s also brings out the insecurity the process almost necessarily involves – and the long-standing question, "Why was I given up?" Luckily, Reiter’s adoptive parents were by-and-large supportive, though the death of his father when Reiter was only 11 was clearly a setback.

Reiter grew up in one of the poorer areas of Cleveland, Ohio, where he seems to have been one of the very few white kids in a black neighbourhood. A further isolation was that there were very few Jews in the suburb. His frustrations in this context and well brought out and there is a child-like envy of some of his (adoptive) relatives who live in the richer, white part of town. Reiter’s treatment of this early part of his life is almost a bilungsroman, albeit told in fragments.

What is equally remarkable, however, is the author’s more difficult attempt to capture the life and personality of the birth parents he never knew when young. The social context in the United States cities at the end of World War II is graphically brought out, including the sexual recklessness of the time and the psychological damage experienced by veterans, even by those who (like Reiter’s birth father) didn’t see combat. In prose sections like "What a Girl’s Got to Do" and "Dancing Sinatra", Reiter very convincingly recreates a sense of a woman who is drawn to sexual adventure and who feels that a more luminous fate should await her than her circumstances allow. It’s hard to know how much of this material Reiter heard directly from his mother after he met her again and how much he fictionalised from the raw data his birth family must have supplied after the reunion. In either case, it’s done with both an understanding of the times and considerable empathy and affection.

Some readers may wonder why the book is so consciously fragmented and perhaps why Reiter has arranged his material in terms of the planets of our solar system (and the classical myths associated with them). A part explanation might be that the materials of his book are either remembered in fragments or came to him later in that manner.

Another, perhaps, is to give the story of his early life (and those of his relatives, biological and adoptive) a wider resonance, to place himself and them in more universal context. Some may consider the dramatic monologues spoken by some of the planets as distractions from the "real" story but, as Reiter’s concise outlines of some of their associated myths implies, our human behaviours are often influenced by factors well beyond our own knowledge and/or control (including the eternal patterns of mythology).

My Planets is also available from the publisher as an enhanced eBook, which pushes the fragmentation principle even further by adding more images, sound, music and film."

– Geoff Page, The Canberra Times

"David Reiter’s provocative fictional multimedia memoir combines a textual narrative with a rich tapestry of audio, video and animation to explore the meaning of family, connectivity and identity. The planets provide both a narrative structure and a shifting series of perspectives asking not just how we understand who we are, but how that story shifts with different sets of eyes. This is a profound digital narrative which both makes the most of the various possibilities of the digital realm whilst weaving a provocative, engaging and all too human tale."

– Judges’ Report, WA Premier’s Book Awards

"David Reiter subtitles his latest book ‘a fictive memoire’, which is an essentially contradictary term and at the same time complementary. If ‘fictive’ is make-believe and ‘memoire’ is autobiography, where do the two come together?

In My Planets Reiter weaves memories of his own upbringing as a white Jewish boy in an American inner-city, with present-day musings of a fifty year-old American Australian who has just found his birth mother after his adoptive parents have died. These stories, presumably, are true. He also gives a third-person account of his birth mother’s and father’s memories. These, presumably, are not. And I’m not saying that they are false, it’s just that one cannot write about one’s conception from the points of view of the lovers without using a bit of imagination. After Reiter’s father recounts his nightmares of fighting Nazi soldiers in the war, he writes:

The real moon came out from behind a cloud just then, and he looked so pale to her, like an abandoned child. She eased down, covered him with her body. (26)

This has to be imagined. And it is beautifully imagined. These were my favourite passages in the book.

The book is divided into nine parts, each given the title of a planet. This works as a structural link to the psyche of Reiter who, as a child, always felt he didn’t quite belong and must have come from outer space and who, as an adult, lives on the other side of the world from where he was born, seeing a whole new set of stars. Each first chapter of each part is told in the voice of the specific planet so each planet, too, has a story to tell. This suggests that stories are both ancient and endless, and no particular story carries any more weight than the next. I love the writing of the planets and think them a clever strand for Reiter to work with, but conceptually I think it has been taken too far: the book’s title, its cover, the black and white photographs of the solar system throughout the book. Too much ‘planets’.

Alongside crossing over from fiction to memoire, from first person to third person narration and from human to inanimate narrator, Reiter also plays with form. He weaves poetry into prose, and some memories bear both of those titles. This seems a very natural way for a poet/novelist to write and Reiter seems to do it organically. Yet with all of these juxtaposing styles it is no surprise that the chronology of the telling is all over the place: back and forth, and sometimes repetitive. But this is the way memory works. When we think of a person from our past, we don’t create a timeline of images. We remember in a much more fluid way. Though this doesn’t make for gripping storytelling, it does experiment with memory and art, and so the story is told uniquely. I think the patchwork craft of the book works well for Reiter, placing it in the overall literary genre. But with it comes some confusion as to where all of the names fit into the family, and into which family they fit (we are, after all, talking about two mothers, two fathers, both of their mothers and fathers, several siblings, aunties and uncles and children). A family tree at the beginning of the book would have helped this confusion but, given that the crux of the book lies in its disjointed telling, a little confusion doesn’t hurt.

Reiter is the founding publisher for IP, which is an interactive press publishing poetry and fiction in print, e-books and multimedia. A ‘Reunion Page’, as an accompaniment for the book, is soon to be published on IP’s website, but for now you can visit it on"

– Heather Taylor Johnson, Transnational Literature

I am a writer myself, and this work shows me just how many new tricks the simple book still has up its sleeve. There are some amazing samples of it available online, if you go to

The online version is a knockout multimedia show, but there is more poetry here in this version. I met the author when he won the Digital Narrative category in the 2012 WA Premier’s Book Awards, in which I shared the Children’s Literature category. I heard his acceptance speech, and I had a chat with him after. I sensed that this was something different.

I was right. This is a book I will keep coming back to, for the joy of reading, and also to learn more of my craft. Aspiring writers are advised to do likewise–and aren’t ALL readers, at least in their hearts, aspiring writers?

– Peter Macinnes, Feral Word Herder


The Moorings: a poetry workshop collection

Here is an eclectic collection of poems by Janne Graham, Amelia Fielden, Julia Irwin, Neva Kastelic and Meryl Turner.

Together, they have explored forms and themes and triggered ideas for each other. You will find poems following the unusual Golden Shovel form through to three on tomatoes … and much else beside.

The title, a nod to the home address where the group meets, also suggests the sense of a safe place in which they practice their art.

The content is a reflection of a workshop in action, experimental and friendly.

ISBN 9781922332462 (PB, 112pp);
140mm x 216mm
AUD $26 USD $18 NZD $28 GBP £12 EUR €14
ISBN 9781922332479 (eBook) AUD $13 USD $9 NZD $15 GBP £6 EUR €7


What shines out from this anthology is the huge enthusiasm for words – honouring, shaping and simply playing with words. The delight in experimenting with poetic forms indeed reflects the writers’ fascination with life and what asks to be expressed, each writer reflecting her individuality in the process. The book offers encouragement to anyone interested in words and the possibilities of poetry to ‘Have a go!’

– Nicola Bowery

The Moorings is a collection of poetry by five members of a poetry workshop group convened by Janne D. Graham. Graham describes her venture into poetry writing as “newish”, but she has contributed to several other poetry groups for some years, published in their anthologies and in various journals as well. As editor, she is joined by Amelia Fielden, who is well known and widely published in Japanese forms. Three other poets, Julia Irwin, Neva Kastelic and Meryl Turner bring their experience in other art forms to the group. Irwin returns to poetry with a dance background. Kastelic“likes to take photos” and has provided an original cover image. Turner has an interest in art. All these skills and interests have contributed to the richness and diversity of the group. The women have developed a special closeness, enabling them to produce a collection of poetry written between 2016 and 2019, where the joy of words and writing is always present. These poets are not daunted by the diversity of poetic forms They are aware that years can pass before one feels confident to work in a particular structure with all its technical demands, but are still willing to attempt them. Metaphor, rhythm, rhyme, volta, syllabic and stanza length are only a few of the challenges that accompany a poem and allow its story to be revealed. There is too, the problem of choosing a form that will best complement message of the text. For example, Graham chooses repetition to bring childlike simplicity to her triolet “At Three” (p. 26). It is a fine example of the successful blend of form and theme:

You cannot dream what you’ll become
The world is small when you are three
A sandpit and a gate to swing on

Haiku poet Matsuo Basho’s (1644-1694) travel journey The Narrow Road to the Deep North, became his most famous publication. In “Oregon Holiday 2018” (p. 44), Fielden brings her experience in writing tanka journals to the collection as she reflects on the past in this poignant poem:

why should I
climb every mountain
to find my dream
in old age I sleep well
with the sound of the sea

Animals and the environment are prominent themes in this collection. For example, the hare has inspired artists for centuries. Turner’s “New Year’s Day 2017” (p. 59) offers an unusual turn in the final stanza as the live hare of earlier lines becomes a work of art:

I know this hare, it has escaped
from a medieval scene recently
embroidered by me on tie-dyed linen.

Kastelic’s shaped poem “A Photographer on Dairy Farmer’s Hill in July” (p. 34) also contains an interesting turn where she takes the word play to a new level:

This hill was once on fire. Scorched. Black. Lost. A raven soars.
Quick! Before he too is gone… click.

In Irwin’s “A Winter Diva” (p. 85) we have a glimpse of her love for dance. With all the characteristics of tanka, but written like a five line poem withconventional punctuation, it turns in line 3 :

A winter diva –
They pelt me with flowers:
I, the backyard star!
Wattlebirds strew my feet
with next door’s red gum blossoms.

There are many other poems worthy of mention in this collection, including Fielden’s carefully sculptured “Cafe in Burgandy (p.73)”, Irwin’s topical “Tourne-Soleils . . . For Clytie” (p. 58), Turner’s “Another Fall” (p. 70) and Kastelic’s enigmatic “May 2018” (p. 84).

As Graham points out in her sonnet “Cultural Threads” (p. 65):

Food ties our disparate cultures by a thread

The Moorings shows us that poetry can tie us together in a similar way allowing us to experiment with words, share and celebrate our offerings together.
– Hazel Hall

This is an anthology with a difference. In addition to offering ‘an eclectic mix of forms and themes which five women have produced each in her own style’ (Foreword), it manages to convey a poetry workshop experience. While certainly not a manual on how to conduct an ongoing poetry writing workshop, the Foreword, potted biographies of the writers and the concise introductions to the different sections all contribute to a sense of the evolution of a poetry writing group. As do the poems themselves.

The first poem, ‘The Poetry Cat’ by Neva Kastelic, helps to establish this workshop context. The poem begins, ‘Janne’s tabby cat sat not on the mat/ She preferred the top of the sofa back’. This ‘brindled enigma, this cat in the know’ seems to watch them ‘with a look just/ this side of smugness. Call this poetry? / Those marks on the page?’

The book is structured into two main sections: Experimenting with Form and Themes. The concise explanations of the different forms, together with the examples provided, invite readers not only to expand their understanding of these forms, but to experiment for themselves!

In reading the ekphrastic poems (those deriving their inspiration from the arts), I found it helpful to have the poem in one hand and the ‘inspirational work’ – accessed on google – in the other. This was particularly the case in Janne Graham’s response to The Ogress by Peggy Bacon where Graham seems to be inviting the reader to join her in interrogating the details of the painting. Her description of the ogress is particularly telling: ‘head vulture-like settled into the mountainous frame; / ham-bone arms reach out of voluminous sleeves; / pudgy fingers furiously forking the face with food’. I remain intrigued by the title, ‘Focus On the Fan’, which raises other possibilities and questions not addressed by the writer. And that is perhaps as it should be – an ongoing dialogue between writer/viewer and reader– that helps us to see differently.

An important benefit of belonging to an ongoing poetry writing group is that it provides an opportunity for hearing others’ responses to our work. ‘We learned from each other how to notice things differently’ (Janne Graham, p.50). Themes in this section range from the local and contemporary – seasons, food, plants and gardens, wildlife, topical observations, personal experience – to the more exotic derived from travel, history and mythology. Within this eclectic mix, readers should find much to interest and perhaps delight or touch, including Julia Irwin’s image of a ‘moss-backed tortoise crossing/ stalled at our approach … as we lift him, small paws dangling’ (‘At Strathnairn’).

I conclude with two poems that suggest the diversity in setting, mood, theme and overall style encountered in this collection. Amelia Fielden’s ‘Café in Burgundy’, set in Paris, depicts a riveting drama of human passion through the beautifully crafted contrast between the sensuous, almost-bodice-ripping imagery within the burgundy room and the desolation of the scene outside: ‘grey-whiteness/slipping away/down the hill/ to the icy chasm of the metro.’ Meryl Turner’s ‘Music with a View – The Arboretum’ is set in Canberra. The mood is contemplative. Against a carefully layered backdrop of misty limestone plains and benign pewter lake mirroring a formation of blackbirds in flight, the final image that both completes and beckons: ‘Throaty cello plays a Bach suite/ in C Minor./ Transcendence in order.’

– Dr Frances Mackay lives in Canberra. She confesses she has done more appreciating and teaching poetry than writing it herself.

Outer Space, Inner Minds Cov

Outer Space, Inner Minds

Ever since humans have looked up, we have been mesmerised by the changeable wonders of an evening sky.

Even more so, they have speculated on the celestial objects that we can see with a naked eye and those beyond the reach of our most powerful telescopes and space probes. We continue ask is there life beyond our fragile atmosphere, our solar system, our galaxy—or are we alone, a cosmic accident in an otherwise lifeless universe? And, if other lifeforms do exist on moons or distant exoplanets elsewhere, what form/s does it take? Is it intelligent, more or less so than we humans are?

The sheer volume of unknowns involved with exploring what might be out there seems daunting to many of us, but this only makes our scientists and the adventurers all the more determined to find answers to the most challenging questions that will engage generations well into the foreseeable future.

For this anthology, we asked artists to respond creatively not only to these cosmic questions but also from an internal angle, from the perspective of a mind trying to make sense of elusive notions of “reality” in time and space, and who we are in the scheme of things. We offered them the freedom to present us with work on and beyond the printed page. So here you’ll find not only stimulating words, but images and audio, and thought-provoking links to external websites that will prompt you to further explore the frontiers of our constantly expanding universe and our responses to it.

ISBN 9781922332394 (eBook, 184pp);
152mm x 229mm
AUD $13 USD $9 NZD $15 GBP £6 EUR €7



For thousands of years, humans from all around the world – from different cultures, different regions, different views – have looked up. We have looked up and wondered what was out there? Who is out there? Will we be out there? Why we are here? It was only in fiction that we could get answers to these questions. That was, until recent times.

It is no surprise that many kids want telescopes for birthdays or to be astronauts when they grow up. Knowing and exploring is literally built into our DNA. To be human is to wonder, and there is no better place to wonder than space.
We are living in perhaps the biggest growth in our exploration of the Universe. Technology has allowed us to look wider, peer further, and visit our neighbours in our Solar System. Our ability and knowledge of the Universe has now surpassed the answers that fiction gave us. This expansion gives us a window into an exciting future. One that offers us hope, answers, and a new view of the Universe.

It is safe to say that the Apollo 11 Moon landing was one of the most influential and memorable events in human history. The fact that people use it as the event of which to compare other big events to, “You’ll remember it like the Apollo 11 landing”, shows its importance. For the first time, humans set foot on place that wasn’t Earth. Only 25 years before, the world was at war. It showed what humans could achieve when we aimed high, were driven, and worked together. It brought out the best in us.

Now, our rapid advancements in technology are bringing out the best in all of us. Space is no longer just for rich countries, or a select few. More and more countries are launching probes into space, astronauts into orbit around the Earth, and even looking towards Mars. There are countries that were not even countries when humans landed on the Moon that now have probes in orbit around Mars.

In 2019 alone, three different countries attempted landings on the Moon. China landed on the far side of the Moon, a private company in Israel attempted a landing on the Moon as well as India. For all of human history up until 2019, only two countries had landed on the Moon. In 2019 alone, three more were added to this illustrious list. It doesn’t stop there.

Now, we are not just talking about going back to the Moon, but staying there. What may have been depicted in fiction decades ago, like bases on the Moon, reusable rockets, and mining, are currently being planned for this decade. The Moon is the key to exploration. It allows us an easier and cheaper means to launch into space due to the low gravity and little atmosphere.

The Moon is the gateway to Mars, asteroids, and even further. Exploring Mars is now part of our regular exploration. And it may hold the answer to “are we alone”.
The clear evidence of water having once flowed on the surface of Mars, and water currently underneath the ground, means Mars has a lot of the conditions needed to support life. While the life that we may find is unlikely to be anything big – most likely bacteria or something small, it probably is (or at least was) there. Don’t be surprised that, by the end of the decade, we have clearly found life there. That by the end of the decade, we’d have an answer to “are we alone?”. That indeed, we are not alone.

But if we are not alone, is there someone , or rather something else, out there, looking for us and asking the same questions? Does intelligent life exist?

It was only in 1992 that the first planet around another star, an exoplanet, was detected. We know of thousands of planets, and we think that billions if not trillions more exist. There are about 300 billion stars in our Milky Way Galaxy, and we think that most of those stars have planets around them. There could be over a trillion planets in our Galaxy alone, and 20 billion or so planets could be like our own Earth. Then there are all the potential moons that may exist.

When we look at our Solar System, moons of Jupiter and Saturn offer even better places to look for life. Moons like Titan around Jupiter, or the ice- and water-rich moons like Europa are interesting places to explore. Both of these have more water than Earth, and soon, we’ll have probes on them looking for life.

And yet, this is just in our Milky Way Galaxy. There are about 2 trillion galaxies in the Universe, each of these galaxies with billions of stars, and probably planets orbiting around them, and moons orbiting around those planets.
The Universe is a big place. Our knowledge, or rather, our discovery that our Universe is a big place is rapidly increasing. It puts into scale our movement around this planet, and how relatively small we are.

While we are small, when we work together, we can unlock the secrets of the Universe. We can not only look up and wonder, but then solve. We can question and find the answers. The Universe has a lot of secrets out there, but when we humans are at our best, they are not out of our reach.

– Brad Tucker, Mount Stromlo Observatory
Australian National University


Philosophical, descriptive, thought-provoking, evocative. Those are some of the adjectives that sprang to mind after reading Outer Space, Inner Minds, a collection of 80 poems edited by David P. Reiter. To augment the written content, images from NASA and from Dr. Who episodes are paired with some of the poems.

The anthology includes the works of 35 contributors. Building off the title, the collection is divided into four sections: “Outer to Outer,” “Outer to Inner,” “Inner to Outer,” and “Inner to Inner.” The latter section in particular includes a number of thought-provoking pieces, among them Richard James Allen’s “When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be”:

. . . poetry is not just

a clandestine language we are condemned to teach each other

on death row, but a set of keys we have smuggled in

to unlock the internal stratosphere of our freedom

Although new volumes of speculative poetry often hail from North America or England, that’s not the case with Outer Space, Inner Minds. Many of the contributors are based in Australia, and references and descriptions woven into some of the poems reflect that fact.

Many of the entries have intriguing titles like “The Man in the Quantum Mask,” “Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror,” and “Mummy on the Orient Express.” A number of poems tip the hat to pop culture or famous historical figures such as Dr. Who, Pink Floyd, Frank Sinatra, and Agatha Christie. One of the more impactful poems is Mark Tredinnick’s “The Trees on Little Mountain Creek,” which contains the lines:

. . . And how the fire leaps is how

The earth pines for the sky, how long the sky

Has hungered for the ground. And all life longs.

For what it’s not or can’t: a fish to breathe;

The air to swim; the wolf to pasture; trees

To take up their beds; the barn owl not to know.

And we, to forest. But this is just a way

To say: there’s a divinity we know but cannot

Touch, even when it touches us.

Several poems reference the moon, including “Supermoon,” “Full Moon in May,” and “Peregrine Moon.” In Ron Usher’s “The Dark Side,” the moon is personified, becoming The Man in the Moon:

Fairy tales and Pink Floyd

had us believe one side of the cheese

Moon is forever in darkness.

Truth is, half’s merely unseen

because the Man takes the same 28 days

to turn on his axis as he does to orbit Earth.

It’s called tidal locking by those who read poetry

through telescopes, astronomers.

Marion Wighton Packham’s “The River Calls Us” muses on the nature of time: “Water is slipping through our fingers. / And time stands still watching us in that precious moment smirking at our carefree ways.”

Peter Cartwright’s “Time” also resonates:

I dwell or rather exist

at this bone hard time

of cold dark weather

of cold dark change

this time of closure

like the last grand closure

of the Morning Glory that the frost will kill tonight

The poems are not without humor, as seen in Tony Steven Williams’ “Pluto speaks out”: “I have to say how demoralised/ I felt in 2006, when you constructed/ those rules for planetary definition . . .” In addition to speculative references, many of the poems capture the magical moments of everyday life. Turning to another poem by Tredinnick, this one titled “Cycles of the Moon”:

Evening now, the darkness just beginning

To tell, and low above the paddocks, where

The kite was up early getting the hang

Of herself again in the sallow morning light,

Going nowhere very very fast;

The contributors employ a variety of styles, including free verse, rhyming poems, haibun, and prose poetry. While some poems are more powerful than others, the collection as a whole is enjoyable. As an added bonus, Outer Space, Inner Minds provides North American readers with an introduction to some talented poets they may not have previously encountered.



Dark Sky Dreamings: an Inland Skywriters Anthology

When you look up at a midnight sky, what do you see—mottled stars and a full Moon trying hard to compete with the street lamps for your attention? You might be situated in a city, or its sprawling suburbs, where the ever-present urban glow tends to keep your gaze horizontal, missing out on the beckoning mysteries of the Universe.

This Skywriters anthology will change all that. Through the eyes and creativity of people who write about south-eastern inland Australia, we’ll redirect your vision upwards to a brighter Moon, the subtle presence of nearby planets, the cosmic spectacular of our Milky Way galaxy and those celestial bodies even further away.

You’ll find inspiring stories, poems and essays by a great diversity of Australians responding to what some have called the ‘Inland Astro-Trail’, which connects rural and remote communities with world-class astronomical observatories such as those at Parkes, Siding Springs and Narrabri. Some skystories are “literary”, others intensely personal, but all are guaranteed to widen your horizons—upwards!

ISBN 9781922332059 (PB, 264pp);
152mm x 229mm
AUD $33 USD $24 NZD $36 GBP £16 EUR €19
ISBN 9781922332066 (eBook) AUD $17 USD $10 NZD $19 GBP £10 EUR €12


This anthology beautifully tells the stories from the perspective of people who live on the land, and their connection to Space in this most important of astronomical areas.  From behind the scenes of some of the biggest astronomical events, to stories of viewing parts of our galaxy—views that billions of people across the world can no longer see—we gain an insight into a new universal reality as humans on our planet Earth, orbiting around our star, the Sun, in our galaxy, the Milky Way.
– Brad Tucker, Research Fellow, Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University

The many voices of Dark Sky Dreaming speak to the canopy of stars that web our memories, carbon cells and spirit, reminding us that we share the same wide sky. Though each Skywriter charts a different astral track, this celestial compendium connects us to something numinous, inviting us to see the universe anew. 
– Tamryn Bennett, Artistic Director, Red Room Poetry

In the company of these stargazing storytellers, under a night sky so exuberant and immense, it’s possible to loosen yourself from the world of cities and forebodings and experience again that childhood sense of being an enchanted guest in a majestic and marvellous world. 
– Peter Bishop, Writers’ Advocate


Michael Andersen
Damian Balassone
Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya
Tom Bristow
Val Clark
David Clarkson
Rosemary Curry
Garry Dean
Merrill Findlay
Martha Morrison Gelin
Ian Gibbins
Emma Gibson
Suzie Gibson
Leah Ginnivan
Bonita Gwyn
Miranda Gott
Allis Hamilton
Barbara Holloway
Natalie Holmes
Katie Hopkins
Shannon Jade
Neville Jennings
Jane Fenton Keane
Gai Lander
Phil Leman
Carly Lorente
Sarah MacKean
Elizabeth Macintosh
Alice Mantel
Sophie Masson
Brydie O’Shea
Marion Packham
Pepa Paiva
Helena Pastor
Simon Pockley
Rhonda Poholke
Max Pringle
Sarah Pugh
David P. Reiter
Alison Rumps
Robert Salt
Phil Sanders
Braam Smit
Alicia Sometimes
Tracy Sorensen
Stephen Turner
Robyn Warrick
Leanne Wicks
Wing-Fai Wong and Juanita Kwok