Goodbye, Cruel

Goodbye, Cruel (paperback)
Goodbye, Cruel (paperback)
Paperback with French Flaps. B format 128 x 198 mm. 120 pages. Full colour cover.
ISBN 978-1-922080-76-9.
Price: A$28.00
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Goodbye, Cruel is divided into five sections. An important extended sequence, as the title implies, is an exploration of the often taboo subject of self-destruction.  Another communes with the work of Rabi’a Balkhi, the first female poet to write in the Persian language.

The collection was launched by John Foulcher at the Newcastle Writers Festival on Saturday 8th April 2017

Read the launch speech in full at the Rochford Street Review.

Goodbye, Cruel is also the subject of a recent Verity La poetry podcast.

And you can listen to the poet read two poems here, as part of the Australian Book Review States of Poetry anthology.


in a locked room
I visit between waking and sleeping
is a memory of your chest against mine
everything is brighter, and heavier
and the impossible pounding
under your shirt buttons
which I can almost hear
tells me
this will live also
in a locked room
of yours


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Murder at the poetry conference

The old pesticide factory
casts a buzz-saw shadow
on the wall of the council chambers.
Inside, the poets sit like aldermen.
They talk of war and genocide,
harrowing themselves silly.
At night they retire to soft floral sheets, flocked wallpaper.
They dream
infinite shelves of books with tilted spines –
M and N shapes staggering away;
leather the colour of blood.

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Christmas is in the air.
You are given into my hands
out of quietest, loneliest lands.
My trembling is all my prayer. 

‘Five Days Old’ – Francis Webb*

Poolside baby showers
herald the summer pregnancies.
Sweat caresses swollen knees;
mothers tally labour hours;
giftwrap is everywhere.
Christmas is in the air.

But by the time you come
first frost has been and gone.
A long walk brings you on.
I howl ten hours, a dumb
animal shocked at pain’s demands.
You are given into my hands:

all downy with the smell
of love, my warm wise frog.
Then: eight months of the black dog.
I crawl back from cold hell
that no one understands
out of quietest, loneliest lands.

Now you seem newly-made
or is it me, new-born?
Chill fog melts in the dawn
and now I am afraid
of how much I can care.
My trembling is all my prayer.


‘Five Days Old’ by Francis Webb is from Francis Webb Collected Poems Davidson, T (ed) University of Western Australia Publishing 2011 p225 copyright © 2011. Reproduced by permission.

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No bed

When love is on the wrong side of the sheets

romance must give way to expedience

and, short of coupling in the public streets, 

all places serve at love’s convenience.

Beside stormwater drains; in fields of wheat;

in lifts; against a sturdy paling fence: 

all fifteen-minute feather beds for cheats. 

At best: the boardroom table; worst: the gents.

Yet all this grubby fumbling in the dark

does add a certain spice to things, and while

the rusting old rotunda in the park

may bruise and chafe, it has some outlaw style

– and with no place to spoon after the buzz

we can’t pretend it means more than it does.


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Melinda Smith

Winner of the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry

Melinda Smith won the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award for her fourth book of poems Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call (Pitt St Poetry 2013). Her work has been widely anthologised both inside and outside Australia and has been translated into Indonesian, Chinese, Burmese and Italian. She is currently poetry editor of the Canberra Times.