Collective Effort Press

This is not another ‘slim volume’ of poetry; no way would it fit in a coat pocket. Ten years in the writing, weighing in at 740 pages, it is a brick of a book – well-bound paperback, heavy covers, designed to last. The poet had full say over not only the content, but the design, typesetting and production, resulting in a book unlike any produced under the nervous economic dictates of mainstream publishers. Six turned this manuscript down. Unsurprised, p.O. published it himself.

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The Fitzroy Poems by Π.Ο. & Night flowers by Thalía

August 1989, no. 113

Con the Fruiterer bears the same relation to Australia’s Greek community as the Melbourne Moomba procession does the Eight-Hour Day. Doubtless, there are Hellenic-Australians who relish the performance of whatever WASP funny-man plays him; some Australians are known to approve lovingly of Sir Les Patterson, but at least Barry Humphries always belongs to the nationality he portrays. What really propels Con is that Aussies feel he talks (and therefore thinks and probably acts) funny. It’s all an Edwardian ‘Coon Show’, with Mr Bones and Mr Interlocutor, 1980s style. The kind of society which tolerates this phenomenon with yawn-inspiring regularity (and terms it comedy) might be the subject for any number of sociology essays. Let’s hope that poets never attain the status of Con and his kind, though it’s a fair bet that poets find people far funnier than any comedian.

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