2016 Poetry d’Amour ‘Summer of Love’ evening :-)

For those of you who live in Perth, Western Australia, or who may be in Perth on November 19th, all are welcome to an ‘evening of love poetry under the stars’, to be held in the Japanese Garden at the Perth Zoo from 7pm. My poem the sheet could be silk is a finalist for this year’s Poetry d’Amour Award, for which prizes will be given and the Summer of Love anthology launched on the night!¬†Hope to see you there. ūüôā



Details are available on the WA Poets Inc. website.


KSP Poetry Award 2015 results

Last Sunday, December 6th, the results for several writing awards were announced, including the Katharine Susannah Pritchard Poetry Award. My poem ‘Hermes Transcribed’ was among eight finalists, and received a ‘Commended’ from judge Shane McCauley, a very well known Australian poet – who has had more than a thousand poems published over his four decade writing career. Whew!

He had this to say about ‘Hermes Transcribed’ in the Judge’s Report:

‚ÄúHermes transcribed‚ÄĚ (is) by another Western Australian poet, Joanne Mills. This is a complex poem, hard to summarise, save to say that here mythology meets and mingles with science, and the poet muses on the nature of creation and perhaps destiny as well. The images and language are luscious and mesmerising: ‚Äúechoes of honeycomb, nectar, the hum of his queen/ touching the breast of life, he lays his wand inside her heart‚ÄĚ.

It was a pleasure to attend the awards, and meet up with Kevin Gillam, a wonderful poet, who won First Prize and two Commendeds this year (I also awarded him First Prize earlier this year for the Interstellar Award for his poem ‘Napkin Man’).

The full list of place winners in the 2015 KSP Poetry Award can be found at the KSP website, along with the complete Judge’s Report. Here are Shane McCauley’s closing comments:

It is always a great thrill to read a body of Australian poetry that is so strong that it counters the claim that the genre is dead or at least moribund. Here is the proof that this is not so, and you have heard some of it today. My appreciation goes to all those at KSP involved in the complexities of organising such a competition, and I especially thank Shannon Coyle for her diligence and skill in doing the overseeing and communicating. I thank all the poets who entered, whether mentioned or not, as they help to keep the vital blood of this art form circulating. Thank you.

Congratulations to all the place-winning poets, and to all who entered, see you again next year! ūüôā


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Australian Speculative Poetry: ‘The Stars Like Sand’ now available!

I’m delighted to have a poem in this new anthology of Australian Speculative Poetry, The Stars Like Sand, edited by Tim Jones and P.S.Cottier, published by Interactive Press. From the editors:

Travel to the stars and beyond in this anthology by Australia’s leading poets. Witness the end of the world, time travel to the future near or far, or teleport with a fairy or witch. Ghosts, dreams and strange creatures breed and mingle in these pages. Poetry has never been so mind-bending, or so entertaining.

It’s rare to see anthologies of speculative poetry (fantasy, science fiction and all manner of hybrids), and The Stars Like Sand represents a wonderfully diverse array of voices and visions past and present, leaping into multiple futures. My poem ‘Folds’ is joined by creations from the likes of John Tranter, Sean Williams, Judith Beveridge, Simon Petrie, Kevin Gillam, Diane Fahey, Les Murray, Chris Wallace-Crabbe and Aussie icon A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson, to name but a few.


The Stars Like Sand is available at Amazon on paper and for Kindle here.


The Stars Like Sand

I’ve just heard that my science fiction poem, ‘Folds’, has been accepted for publication in The Stars Like Sand, an anthology of Australian Speculative Poetry, which will be published early in 2014.

I’m looking forward to seeing this collection, and to celebrate, here’s another poem (in the form of a non-rhyming villanelle, a nineteen line poem composed of five tercets and a quatrain, with two refrains and two repeating lines).


spring arrives


spring arrives with solar sparks

wattle frays pompom yellow

across the guiding arc


optic refractions shimmer in

the light-lace of her nerves

spring arrives with solar sparks


she looses days, weeks, seasons

old prophecies run like sandstars

across the guiding arc


hieroglyphs float on moonlight

honeyeaters could drink rivers

spring arrives with solar sparks


angels curve through her dreamtime

blue star prismatics pirouette

across the guiding arc


‚ÄėMy love, feel this sky-stillness

enfold the time-space dimple’

spring arrives with solar sparks

across the guiding arc


wattle in bloom in the garden

wattle in bloom in the garden

‘Crown of Stars’ wins third prize in the Banjo

Lovely news: my poem Crown of Stars has just been awarded third prize in the Open Poetry section of the Banjo Paterson Writing Awards, run by Central West Libraries in Orange, New South Wales (writing as Jo Mills ~ details of other poems can be found in the Awards and Publications sections of my blog, including Walyunga and Orpheus, in the Desert, which won the Banjo in 2008 and 2011 respectively, and Ledge Beach, which placed third in 2009).

This year’s place in the Awards is particularly pleasing (and to me, funny), since I’ve been mostly focused on novels. So much so, that I had nothing ‘right’ to enter in the Banjo this year (which is for poems with an Australian theme, flavour or content). Crown of Stars ‘arrived’ as a stream of consciousness onto the screen two days before the entries closed. This meant I had to express post the poem (ordinary post taking three days from Western Australia to New South Wales). Unfortunately, I managed to just miss the post from my nearest post office, so found myself driving down the hill through peak hour traffic ¬†to get to a larger post office before close of business…and having a good laugh at myself along the way!

When I passed this tale on to the convenor yesterday, she said ‘It’s good to see such a high level of commitment’.

Ah, the joys of poetry! Thank you, dear Muse. I love you.

The results can be found here. I’m looking forward to reading the first and second prize winners when they are published on the Library’s website. You can read my poem below:


 Crown of Stars

desert wind at night
strands silt-lines     
colour of blood
she walks     
gathers velvet wings
so old     
only the land remembers
how her bones      
were carved
in wandjina days     
her face painted
crowns of stars on walls     
ochre stains
this town of ghosts     
casts sentinel shadows
iron corrugations rust     
salt of the earth
sand runs snakes on wind     
no roads
left under wedgetail shadows     
no sky
colour of blood     
in this darkness
she walks     
crescent sliver silvering
Isis of the south     
searches dust-storms
this empty doorway     
free-standing recalcitrant
carries silhouettes     
trick of the eye she fancies
stoops under the lintel     
finds velvet wings
flutter round the lamps     
grey moth-spirals
as her memories     
ephemeral bodies
relinquish names     
they dwelt here
gone now
chased their tracks     
colour of blood
veiled stubborn human prints     
land remembers
older days     
tall shapes
roamed unformed hills
desert wind at night     
into waiting arms
she walks     
her face painted     
gathers velvet wings