Wednesday, March 14, 2012

new from above/ground press: Shikibu Shuffle, a collaboration between Andrew Burke and Phil Hall

Shikibu Shuffle
Andrew Burke and Phil Hall

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
March 2012
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Happy fate brought a poet from Perth Western Australia and a poet from Perth Ontario Canada together in 2009.

Then Andrew had a heart attack and was queued up for life-saving surgery.

With nothing to do but wait, kept alive by sprays and medical potions – to distract himself – Andrew agreed to work with Phil on a collaboration.

Andrew suggested the Japanese court poet Murasaki Shikibu (973 – 1014); her 5-line form might be a place to start.

Phil was thinking of Ornette Coleman: two quartets facing each other and going at it (1960).

We wrote in 5s back and forth, then shuffled our silence-inducing cacophony into 10s, then improvised from there...

Andrew's operation was bumped once, and then happened. He's fine.

The shuffle served its purpose, and now surprises and delights them both.

Andrew Burke was born in Victoria, but raised in Western Australia. Since the mid-Sixties, he has published nine collections  of poetry. His most recent book of poems is QWERTY- take my word for it (Mulla Mulla Press, 2011). He has also published short stories, a novel, and criticism. He has lectured at universities in Australia and China. Readers may read his daily musings at

Phil Hall [see rob mclennan's lengthy essay on his work, here] is the 2011 winner of the Governor General's Award for Poetry in English for his book Killdeer (BookThug). Other recent titles are The Little Seamstress (Pedlar Press, 2010) and White Porcupine (Bookthug, 2007). He is a member of the Writers' Union of Canada. Everything escapes him.

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; outside Canada, add $2) to: rob mclennan, 402 McLeod St #3, Ottawa ON K2P 1A6 or paypal at

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