IMG_6010 - President Higgins official photograph
02 min 

Michael D. Higgins, Uachtarán Na h-Éireann, President of Ireland

On November 2011, Michael D. Higgins was inaugurated as the ninth President of Ireland.

A passionate political voice, a poet and writer, academic and statesman, human rights advocate, promoter of inclusive citizenship and champion of creativity within Irish society, Michael D. Higgins has previously served at every level of public life in Ireland, including as Ireland’s first Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht.

Michael D. Higgins was born on 18 April 1941 in Limerick city and was raised in County Clare, Ireland. He was a factory worker and a clerk before becoming the first in his family to access higher education. He studied at the University College Galway, Indiana University and the University of Manchester.

Michael D. Higgins is married to Sabina Higgins and they have four children. Sabina was a founding member of the Focus theatre and the Stanislavsky Studio in Dublin.

As a lecturer in political science and sociology in National University of Ireland, Galway, and in the United States, Michael D. Higgins was a passionate proponent for the extension of access to third level education beyond the walls of established universities. He was centrally involved in the development of extra-mural studies at National University of Ireland, Galway, and he travelled extensively across the West of Ireland to provide accessible evening classes for interested citizens.

A desire to work more directly for equality and justice led Michael D. Higgins to enter public life and he went on to serve as a public representative at many levels from Councillor and Mayor of Galway city to nine years in the Seanad and 25 in Dáil Éireann, the National Parliament of Ireland.

As Ireland’s first Minister for the Arts from 1993 to 1997, Michael D. Higgins’s achievements include the reinvigoration of the Irish film industry, the establishment of Teilifís na Gaeilge, now TG4, and the repeal of censorship under Section 31 of the Broadcasting Acts. He also established a rich network of local arts and cultural venues which brought crucial access to citizens across Ireland to these facilities. Moreover, he drove the revitalisation of Ireland’s canal network, resulting in 1,000 kilometres of navigable waterways, supporting thousands of jobs, and creating wealth in many rural and economically deprived areas of the nation.

Michael D. Higgins has, like many in Ireland, seen generations of his family emigrate. He has a strong interest and solidarity with the Irish abroad and has been a regular visitor to Irish Centres in Britain.

Throughout his life, Michael D. Higgins has campaigned for human rights and for the promotion of peace and democracy in Ireland and in many other parts of the world, from Nicaragua and Chile to Cambodia, Iraq and Somalia. In 1992, Michael D. Higgins was the first recipient of the Seán McBride Peace Prize from the International Peace Bureau in Helsinki, in recognition of his work for peace and justice in many parts of the world.

Michael D. Higgins is also a writer and poet, contributing to many books covering diverse aspects of Irish politics, sociology, history and culture. He has published three collections of essays – “When Ideas Matter” (Head of Zeus, 2016); “Causes for Concern – Irish Politics, Culture and Society” (Liberties Press, 2007) and “Renewing the Republic” (Liberties Press, 2012). He has also published four collections of poetry – “The Betrayal (Salmon Poetry, 1990); “The Season of Fire” (Brandon Book Publishers, 1993); An Arid Season” (New Island Books, 2004); and “New and Selected Poems” (Liberties Press, 2011).

Dearborn colour headshot (1)
43 sec 

Tricia Dearborn

Tricia Dearborn’s poetry has been widely published in Australian literary journals such as Meanjin, Southerly, Island Magazine and Westerly, as well as in the UK, the US, Ireland and New Zealand. Her work is represented in significant anthologies including Contemporary Australian Poetry (2016), Australian Poetry since 1788 (2011) and The Best Australian Poems 2012 and 2010. Her latest collection of poetry is The Ringing World (Puncher & Wattmann, 2012).

Dearborn is on the editorial board of Plumwood Mountain, an online journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics, and was Guest Poetry Editor for the February 2016 issue. She has been a featured reader at many events, including the Newcastle Writers’ Festival 2017 and the Sydney Writers’ Festival 2012. Earlier this year she undertook a Residential Fellowship at Varuna, the Writers’ House. She is currently completing her third collection, Autobiochemistry, with the support of an Australia Council grant.

29 sec 
Issue Four & Poetry

On making the Three Decades

To commemorate the Official State Visit to Australia 2017 by Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, we are deeply honoured and grateful to reproduce the following poem, written by President Higgins, with his kind permission:


On making the Three Decades


                                             for Alice Mary


By Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland


Time will never make a boundary that could contain,

nor space enclose,

those moments you turned to gold

with a light that will always be your own.


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Bio for Swinburne
01 min 

Jane Theau

Creating work that is as immaterial as possible is my starting point.

The world is overwhelmed by a surfeit of things, so I try not to contribute to the burden. My work is either barely there, created from thread and shadows, or made using materials that have had previous lives.

The thread works, even as room sized installations, weigh just a few grams and are fashioned from cotton and tarlatan. They are like drawings in the air. Tarlatan is a type of sized muslin that is used in the printmaking process to wipe the ink from plates before printing. I source it from the garbage bins in the printmaking studio at UNSW Art & Design and Cicada Press. Most of the sculptures are made from recycled materials: scientific glassware, broken wine glasses, old spectacles, guitar strings, Japanese fishing floats, cello bows, and from ceramics.

Underpinning my work is a worry about the unsustainability of continual economic growth as society’s dominant, unchallenged paradigm, the consequence of this – unthinking consumption, and the outcome – climate change. I try not to be heavy handed, and rather hope to create works that impinge lightly on the world, and have a bit of humour, but it’s not so funny. We need to consume less, or we will soon be sunbaking in Oslo.

I have a Master of Art from Art & Design, University of New South Wales, a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, NewYork, and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Biomedical Science) from the University of Technology, Sydney.

18 sec 
Editorial Team

Nikole Eugeniou

Nikole Eugeniou is a poet and creative writing student at Swinburne University. Residing in Melbourne, Nik shares her cheerful and quirky personality with all she can. She uses writing to express herself and hopes to fill the world with words, one piece at a time. She currently tweets at @onefuturegrad and details of her future writing will be found on twitter.

25 sec 
Fiction & Issue Four


By Nikole Eugeniou 

Mostly, Papou wins at cards. Although after every game, he’ll say that I won. I visit when I can, which is less often these days. Every time I visit we play cards. We play rami-gin and Bastra; which I just call ‘the jacks game’. Occasionally, Blackjack. Sometimes we’ll do Sudoku together. All of this is done over a cup of tea. Since his son, my grandpa, died, Papou hasn’t had anyone else to play cards with. Most days he plays solitaire.

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Edward Hodge
14 sec 

Edward Hodge

Edward Hodge grew up in a small seaside town. He went to a small school with a small library. He feels very lucky to have a family as kind and good as his family. Friends as good as his friends. Opportunities as good as the ones he’s been given.

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31 sec 

Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith is the author of, most recently, Good Bones (Tupelo Press, 2017) and The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015), winner of the Dorset Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the New York Times, The Best American Poetry 2017, Ploughshares, Tin House, AGNI, and elsewhere. In 2016 her poem “Good Bones” went viral internationally and was called the “Official Poem of 2016” by Public Radio International. Smith is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. She lives and writes in Ohio, USA.

Eleanor Hooker - Photograph by George Hooker
33 sec 

Eleanor Hooker

Eleanor Hooker’s second collection, A Tug of Blue (Dedalus Press) was published in October 2016. Her first, The Shadow Owner’s Companion was shortlisted for the Strong/Shine award for Best First collection from 2012. Her poems appear in literary journals internationally, including: Poetry (Chicago), Poetry Ireland Review, PN Review (UK), The Stinging Fly, Punch Magazine (India), and Kalligram (Hungary). Her profile and a selection of her poems are featured on the Irish page of the Poetry International website. Eleanor holds an MPhil (Distinction) in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin, an MA (Hons) in Cultural History from the University of Northumbria, and a BA (Hons 1st) from the Open University. Website

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18 sec 

Maeve O’Sullivan

Maeve O’Sullivan’s poetry and haiku have been widely published and anthologised. She is the author of three collections from Alba Publishing (UK): Initial Response (2011), Vocal Chords (2014) and A Train Hurtles West (2015). A fourth travel-themed collection, Elsewhere, is published by Alba in November 2017. Maeve is a founder member of Haiku Ireland and the Hibernian Poetry Workshop. Twitter: @writefromwithin.

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41 sec 

Nathanael O’Reilly

Nathanael O’Reilly was born and raised in Australia. He has travelled on five continents and spent extended periods in England, Ireland, Germany, Ukraine and the United States, where he currently resides. His poems have appeared in journals and anthologies in nine countries, including Antipodes, Australian Love Poems, Cordite, FourW, Glasgow Review of Books, LiNQ, Mascara, Postcolonial Text, Snorkel, Tincture, Transnational Literature, Verity La and The Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology 2017. O’Reilly is the recipient of an Emerging Writers Grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. He is the author of Preparations for Departure (UWAP Poetry, 2017), Distance (Picaro Press, 2014; Ginninderra Press, 2015) and the chapbooks Cult (Ginninderra Press, 2016), Suburban Exile (Picaro Press, 2011) and Symptoms of Homesickness (Picaro Press, 2010). He was the writer-in-residence at Booranga Writers’ Centre in May 2017.

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36 sec 

Tiana Clark

Tiana Clark is the author of Equilibrium, selected by Afaa Michael Weaver for the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. She is the winner of the 2017 Furious Flower’s Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize, 2016 Academy of American Poets University Prize, and 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Best New Poets 2015, BOAAT, Crab Orchard Review, Muzzle Magazine, Thrush, The Journal, and elsewhere. She recently graduated from Vanderbilt’s M.F.A. program where she served as the poetry editor of the Nashville Review. She is currently the 2017-2018 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. You can find more info at

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25 sec 

Michele Seminara

Michele Seminara is a poet and editor from Sydney. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Cordite, Tincture, Seizure and Mascara Literary Review. Her first poetry collection, Engraft, was published by Island Press (2016), and a collaborative chapbook, Scar to Scar, (written with Robbie Coburn) was published by PressPress (2016). Her latest publication is HUSH (Blank Rune Press, 2017). Michele is the managing editor of online creative arts journal Verity La. Find her on Twitter @SeminaraMichele and on her website at

Tess Headshot 12 Mary
32 sec 

Tess Barry

Tess Barry was shortlisted for the 2015 Manchester Poetry Prize (UK). Twice a finalist for North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize and Aesthetica Magazine’s (UK) Poetry Award, she also was shortlisted for the 2014 Bridport Poetry Prize (UK). Most recently, her poems appeared in or are forthcoming in And Other Poems (UK), The Compass Magazine (UK), Cordite Poetry Review (Australia), Mslexia (UK), Mudfish, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, The Stinging Fly (Ireland), and The Woven Tale Press Literary and Fine Arts Magazine. Barry is a Fellow of the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project and teaches literature and creative writing at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, USA. Website:

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17 sec 

Geoff Budden

Geoff Budden lives in St John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada, where he practices law. He is the father of two teenage daughters. Geoff is a published poet. Many of his poems are founded on what he had been told, or overheard, or has come to believe about his own family history. He is working toward his first collection.

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47 sec 

Gerrit Bos

When not studying or working, Gerrit Bos has written creatively for over half his life. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Melbourne – graduating in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Philosophy. Before this degree was conferred, he went abroad studying and working in England and Holland respectively.

Upon returning to Australia, he completed a Master’s degree in Information Management & Systems at Monash University. And at the age of thirty, he returned to part-time study completing a further Master’s degree in Arts (Writing) at Swinburne University of Technology in 2006. At the beginning of the 2007 academic year, he commenced work towards his PhD in Writing at Swinburne, which is now complete. He has also published the short stories The Painter’s Swan (2014) and Echo as a Painter (2015) in Bukker Tillibul, the online journal of writing and practice-led research & is seeking a home for his PhD novel, The Night-shift Ending

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31 sec 

Rachel Flynn

Rachel Flynn is an occasional poet with a list of publications ranging from cultural commentary to observations of weather and landscape.

She is best known for her picture books and novels for children (Penguin), some of which have been translated into French, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese and Korean. Her most widely read novel is Sacked in which Edward sacks his mother for not doing her mothering job to his requirements. Her most recently published book is Gus Dog Goes to Work (2017, Working Title Press).

Rachel has been teaching in Professional Writing Programs around Melbourne since 1995, and currently teaches subjects in fiction, non-fiction and research at the CAE.

18 sec 

Sean O’Leary

Sean O’Leary is a writer from Melbourne. His fiction, non-fiction and interviews have been published in Quadrant, FourW, Page Seventeen, Bravado, Takahé, Wetink, Famous Reporter and He has published two short story collections, ‘My Town’ and ‘Walking’. His novella, ‘Drifting’ was the winner of ‘The Great Novella Search 2016’ and was published by Busybird Publishing in September, 2017.

Sophie portrait shot very recent
27 sec 

Sophie Masson

Born in Indonesia to French parents and brought up in Australia and France, Sophie Masson is the award-winning, internationally-published author of over 60 books, for children, young adults and adults. Her latest books include the YA historical thriller, Jack of Spades, three picture books, Two Rainbows, illustrated by Michael McMahon,  Once Upon An ABC, illustrated by Christopher Nielsen, Building Site Zoo, illustrated by Laura Wood, and the adult paranormal thriller duology, Trinity: The Koldun Code and Trinity: The False Prince, set in modern Russia.





24 sec 
Fiction & Issue Four

Creatures of the Forest

By Michael Stracke

Darkness surrounds you. You can’t remember how you got here, or even where ‘here’ is. A soft glow appears before you. Silver light begins to form and suddenly you are joined in the darkness by a spectre of sorts. A well-dressed man with a long winding moustache and a friendly grin floats towards you. His body seems to be slightly transparent, and he emanates the same soft glow that was just in front of you.

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18 sec 
Issue Four & Poetry


By Geoff Budden

(July, 2005)


Summer school; after school; help from his patient mother;

but his stammering tongue still betrayed him in class.

School books ill-fit his hands; another bother.

Grade Ten was the last one he passed

But hammers, planes, plank; these he understood.

“Measure twice, cut once”; confidence and certainty.

He was articulate with saws, numerate with wood.

A man sought out for finish carpentry.


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Dearborn colour headshot (1)
29 sec 
Interviews & Issue Four

Interview with Tricia Dearborn

Tricia Dearborn was interviewed by Oscar O-Neill-Pugh

What are you currently reading?

I have a passion for chemistry – my first degree was a double major in chemistry and biochemistry – and my next poetry collection, Autobiochemistry, takes its title from a poem sequence that’s largely autobiographical, but seen through the lens of the chemical elements. I discovered recently that Theodore Gray, who wrote The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe, has written two more books, and am now reading Molecules: The Elements and the Architecture of Everything.

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