Scissors, Fire, Paper, Water

Sleeve Notes:

In 2007 I set out, on a whim, to put together a collection of poems that played a game of Scissors, Fire, Paper,Water. Though I was not clear where I was going, it was an adventure. And why did I corrupt the classic Scissors, Paper, Rock? For good effect as I found wonderful poems. Adding water and fire gives drama and dimension to this vibrant collection. Do poets keep an eye out for paper? Here you will find their foldings are ingenious. The sharps are here too – finely cutting though with shears, scissors, paper daisies and sharp sand.

Even narrowing the field to four elements this collection, featuring nine Australian poets, some established stars and some newer voices, ranges over hemispheres, our relationships to each other and the planet.

It’s an addictive game to play, so please do.

Carol Jenkins
October 2008

Contributor’s Biographies

Peter Boyle lives in Sydney. He has written four collections of poetry, the most recent being “Museum of Space”. Due out next year from Vagabond Press is “The Apocrypha of William O’Shaunessy”.

Stephen Edgar was born in Sydney in 1951 and grew up and was educated there. In the early seventies he lived in London and, on returning to Australia in 1974, moved to Hobart, Tasmania, where he lived until recently. He currently lives in Sydney again. He attended the University of Tasmania, studying Classics and English. He has published six collections of poetry, the most recent being Other Summers. His previous book, Lost in the Foreground, won the Grace Leven prize for 2004. He won the inaugural Australian Book Review Poetry Prize in 2005 for “Man on the Moon”, which appears in Other Summers, and in 2006 was awarded the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal for literature.

Julie Chevalier writes poems and short stories in Sydney. She has just finished her first collection of poetry, linen tough as history.

Jane Gibian’s most recent collection is Ardent (Giramondo, 2007). In 2002, she was an Asialink Literature Resident in Hanoi, Vietnam. Previous publications include The Body’s Navigation (Five Islands Press, 1998) and a chapbook of haiku, long shadows (Vagabond Press, 2005).

Jennifer Harrison is a Melbourne poet and child psychiatrist. Her fourth collection, Folly & Grief, was published by Black Pepper Press in 2006. She is currently co-editing an anthology of Australian women’s poetry on motherhood and parenting.

Carol Jenkins lives in Sydney. Her first book Fishing in the Devonian, was published by Puncher & Wattmann in 2008. In 2007 she established River Road Press.

Martin Langford is the author of five poetry books, the most recent being Sensual Horizon (Five Islands, 2001). A Selected and New will be published by Puncher and Wattmann in 2009.

David Musgrave has published three books of poetry, the most recent of which is Watermark (Picaro, 2006). In 2009 he will be publishing his first novel, Saturnalia (Sleepers, Melbourne) and a study of Menippean Satire (Cambria, USA). His work has received numerous awards, most recently the Josephine Ulrick Poetry prize, 2008. He founded the publishing house Puncher & Wattmann in 2005.

Vivian Smith grew up in Tasmania but has lived in Mosman since 1966. He taught for many years at the University of Sydney and his publications include seven collections of poetry, most recently Along The Line, various anthologies, and books on Robert Lowell and Vance and Nettie Palmer. A CD of his work The Other Side Of Things has just been released by River Road Press.


Peter Boyle, The One Palace is from The Museum of Space (UQP) 2004.

Stephen Edgar’s The Red Sea and Divine Rights first appeared in Poetry [Chicago]

Jane Gibian’s poems are all from Ardent (Giramondo) 2007.

Jennifer Harrison’s Fraser Island is from The Cows Have Been There The Whole Time, Anthology of the Bundanon Poetry Workshop, 2008, (Australian Poetry Centre).

Carol Jenkins’s poems are all from Fishing in the Devonian (Puncher & Wattmann) 2008.

Martin Langford , Alex Kostava and Slow Rain are from In the Cage of Love’s Gradings, (Island Press) , 1997, and Beach is from Faultlines, (Round Table Press), 1991

Vivian Smith, A Pair of Scissors, is from Along the Line (Salt Publishing) 2006.

Playlist :Scissors, Fire, Paper, Water

  1. Ardent – Jane Gibian
  2. The Red Sea – Stephen Edgar
  3. Unfolding – Jane Gibian
  4. The Lake – David Musgrave
  5. A Pair of Scissors – Vivian Smith
  6. Alex Kostavo – Martin Langford
  7. Leaf and Letter – Jane Gibian
  8. Lagoon – David Musgrave
  9. Fraser Island – Jennifer Harrison
  10. Dispossession – Carol Jenkins
  11. The One Palace – Peter Boyle
  12. Rain-wash – Carol Jenkins
  13. Neighbour Hoods – Julie Chevalier
  14. Divine Rights – Stephen Edgar
  15. Trade-ins: Small Arms – Carol Jenkins
  16. Steam – David Musgrave
  17. Bush Fire – Martin Langford
  18. After the Funeral – Jane Gibian
  19. The Beach – Martin Langford
  20. Glenrowan – David Musgrave
  21. The Slow Rain – Martin Langford
  22. When years take the stars away – Carol Jenkins

Running Time: 36’ 10”

Individual poems © various authors
This recording © River Road Press Pty Ltd 2008