Broken Symbolism (Enter At Your Own Risk) - an online book launch

Broken Symbolism

And now...
Aged beyond re-incarnation nor would I wish to,
This weathered worn tree, reaching out for her
And her months.

Closing the door...
In one instant, she sliced my love in two
And fed my half to the bees.

So is...
Sweetness in this aching?
Even wine cannot numb
Why my secret places fail at safety.

And after...
All that is left is the sizzle of the acid,
From her loving gaze.

And what...
Of the loss measured by empty beds and undrunk
Drown me in these tears,
Salty as a kiss and her thighs!

For there is...
No surgery for the thunder,
And roads are littered with discarded hubcaps
Looking for a ride home.

 Fusi & Rob  

In 2001 I received an Australia Council grant to facilitate a creative writing program at Woodford Correctional Centre. 

This centre is a maximum security jail facility for 700 men about an hours drive north of Brisbane. Woodford is more famous for the Woodford Folk Festival (
 held every year between Xmas and New Years eve.

An outcome of the grant was to publish a book of the inmate's poetry and artwork. This was done in May 2002. The book titled 'The Sweetness of Distortion' had small print run of 500 copies, most of which were sold at The Woodford Folk Festival in 2002 and 2003, when released inmates told their stories about the making of The Sweetness of Distortion and shared their personal stories through poetry.

Following on from the success of The Sweetness of Distortion program, Corrections Queensland contracted me for another year with the same proviso, to publish volume of inmate poetry. Well I ran the classes for another year but the publishing of the corresponding book never happened. Not until now. 

Carnarvon Gorge - 10,000 years in the making

My new book, 'Broken Symbolism (Enter At Your Own Risk)' , is a volume of poetry representing the inmate students of the second cohort. It also tells the story of why it has taken me eleven years  to publish this book. The men's poetry is woven together with vignettes of my experiences working with these groups of men within a system that did not totally understand the value of creative rehabilitation. This is a self publish job due to the fact that I understand the difficulty unrecognised poets have getting their work published. I would suspect that jailed, first-time poets, are delegated to a life at the bottom of all publisher's slush piles.

While some of the poetry in Broken Symbolism represents the smouldering pen strokes of fledgling poets, the fire is embedded in the men's stories. Funnily enough Jo and I were approached by a man yesterday as we came out of the surf at Maroochydore beach. He introduced himself as Les. Les said he was in our classes at Woodford Correctional Centre twelve years ago and that he had been released back into the community three weeks ago.  His biggest challenge so far was trying to use an iPhone. They didn't have them when he was sentenced.

The main focus of the programs at Woodford was 'youth at risk'. If you enjoy the creative process, have a penchant for poetry and want to have an intimate look at what really happens on the inside at arms length, I think you will enjoy this book. If you know someone who is at risk of ending up in an institution such as Woodford, the poetry and prose in Broken Symbolism may save them a lot of pain.

Broken Symbolism is available as a paper back and a kindle book on . From Friday 29th November it can also be purchased from Podie Pie (, Jodie's new creative arts co-operative situated at 
Shop 7/1 Howard Street Nambour.

My next trick is to try and embed the the book's Amazon listing. Failing that I will provide the URL for you to click on. Thanks for your support for this community based project.

Ici (hère... in France)


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