The Coolabah Short Poem Issue

Peter Bakowski


As a practitioner of the short poem for 34 years, I have been and remain on the lookout for other practitioners. By putting on an editorial hat and placing a callout for 1 to 5-line poems via the Australian Poetry e-newsletter, I’ve hearteningly found numerous practitioners. It’s been a rewarding experience for me and now it may be for you, dear reader.

“Make your next poem different from your last” is a quote attributed to Robert Frost and it is quality, difference and variety I’ve sought to honour in my selection. Poets continue to see the world from their own perspective, through their own history, environment and sifting process while keeping in mind what’s universal. What has caught their attention, engaged their senses, thinking and powers of observation they’ve found necessary to reveal via poems. The poems in this selection look inward and outward, span the world and are domestic, they record the “voices” of the child and the elder.

The short poem has its appeal – it’s lean, exacting, pithy – wit, wisdom, wordplay and wonder whittled into a dart aimed to hit the bullseye which is you, dear reader. I don’t want to kill the short poem by defining it. Via the formatting of the poems I’ve given the poems breathing space – as composer Erik Satie knew, the spaces between the notes are as important as the notes. I’ll leave you the space to wander and wonder amongst the poems.


poetry; short poem; contemporary poetry; Australia

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