Joan Small Poetry and Books


Poetry in Paradise 2015

The Gold Coast's ONLY non critiquing or judgmental
poetry meeting/group

Established 11 years

The Poetry in Paradise Group
Photo December 2014 Poetry In Paradise Joan Small

Below - Some of the Poets

Poets in Paradise June 2013

Poetry in Paradise June 2013

The last of the Poety in Paradise Poetry Books

Joan Small Poetry in Paradise

Sad to say, the March to May edition of the poetry book was the last for a while. It has been produced by Joan for nearly two years, and many have obtained pleasure from seeing their poems published, and also having the opportunity to read other people's poems. The book may be re-introduced at a later date, but Joan is doing other things for the time being.

Campfire Poetry

Dave 'The Banjo' Poetry in Paradise Campfire

Poetry Report May 2015.

The afternoon started with a little confusion, as the library staff could not locate the spare master key to the meeting room and we had to wait twenty minutes. Once again no one knew that the poetry recital was on that day. The GCCC Library what’s on calendar has Poetry in Paradise listed as being held on a Wednesday at 1pm to 3:30 pm, I have sent them an email and hopefully they will not do that again.

We had apologies from Sandra, Jean, Gloria, Marina & Bram as well as Eoin and Margaret & Ray.

Jamie was making delicious treats in the library coffee shop and many poets partook in the tastings.

The monthly optional theme was “Hydroponics” and the optional first line was “ I wandered lonely as a cloud….” Judi reminded us that it was indeed the start of a poem by William Wordsworth, (I lost the list I made of where the lines came from).

Bob kicked off the day with his serious Aussie ponderings on what direction our country is going with his poem on the theme of wandering lonely as a cloud, written in his usual vernacular and in true Aussie strine, he mentioned every thing that is at risk in our lives from BBQ’s to meat pies Aussie Pubs Bonza Sheila’s and fair dinkum true blue stuff. His second poem was a comical musical tribute to “My Friend The Witch Doctor” as he Oooh Argh Oooh Oooh Arg’ed to “The Old Fuddy Duddy Boogie Woogie” and got everyone joining in on the chorus, as he moaned and groaned his way through the regular Dr appointments, all over body aches and pains, medications, arthritis, hillbilly heroin and muscles that just don’t perform any more. He closed the day with a very funny poem about a group of Ol’Fellas whining about life and still driving cars.

Joan shared her poem which was based on a song by the “Scrumpy and Western” Band from the UK called “The Wurzels” and their new song “The Mendip Windfarm Song” protesting the construction of 66 metre wide wind turbines all over the country side, how noisy and disruptive they are and how many birds are going to be killed by them, they want the UK Gov to support the new trial putting them out on barges in the ocean!!

Joan’s second poem was a ‘free verse’ poem and was very well received as it was very deftly written and well presented, good job Joan.

Joan passed out the copies of the booklet she has been making for the group and everyone thanked her for all the work she has done and for finishing it with a great final edition.

Graham’s first poem was presented well and needs no introduction, it was written when he and Mac were still in primary school tilted “If” by Nobel Prize winning author/poet Mr. Rudyard Kipling, say no more!! His second poem was inspired by Geoff Sharp questioning what is the best Australian bush poem ever written, he recited his answer, Will Ogilvie’s “The Riding of the Rebel” a true great horse inspired masterpiece, performed by a true great master poet.

David was emotionally inspired by the optional first line this month, as it was from a poem that he recalled as a child in Warwickshire England 1947 and it reminded him of walking with his Dad in the garden that the poem was possibly originally inspired by!! His study into the poem led him to learning of another great UK poet Felix Dennis, a self-made billionaire philanthropist publicist that only wrote his first poem while in hospital in 2001 and went on to publish six books before his death in 2014. He also performed with The Royal Shakespeare Company. David spoke of yellow Daffodils, Blue-Bells, and all the wonderful flora and fauna in that ancient forest. David’s second poem was on the monthly theme and he recited his words on hydroponics to much applause.

Judi shared her words and heart on ‘Australia’ with her love of this country and all it holds and stands for, all the people that make up this great sporting nation making it such a great and proud place to call home. Judi’s second poem was on writing poetry and she shared something familiar to us all, the days when the words just don’t flow and thought’s don’t rise up making it hard to pen a poem, but then the writers block passes and all is well and the words are poured onto the paper or keyboard.

Alex returned to the fold after a camping holiday across some of the best parts of this great southern land. He shared several little short poems that told of days and nights near Uluru and Kings Canyon, of golden sunrises and sunsets in ancient lands with it ancient peoples; wild brumbies, roadhouses, sticky flies, poor coffee and sunburnt land dry as a SAO. During the half time intermission Alex took us all on a tour of the library and he shared his artwork on display in the library as part of the tribute to the ANZAC Spirit and the 100th Anniversary. On his second turn at the podium after intermission, Alex then recited Jackson Browne’s powerful lyric to “Before the Deluge” written in 1974. (Didn’t know he was born in West Germany Alex!!)

Trish, after much urging and prompting from me many times, finally after a seven year hiatus recited one of her masterpiece poems “Nobody Asked Me!! ” Well somebody did Trish and it was worth the wait, a really good poem and it was well read and performed with much animation and emotion, thank you from me and everyone present.

Ted also wandered lonely as a cloud and ran into some guy called Aussie Man Diaz?? It was a short poem and pretty funny, he said it was written by someone Perched on a Bay with shells??. He then thanked Alex on behalf of the whole group and we all applauded his amazing life like portraits and expressions on War and the ANZAC spirit, truly inspiring and an emotional reminder for many present. Ted then spoke proudly of his second book due out for publication soon titled “Transformed” a book that explores an emotional conflict in depth in its plot. His first book “Killing Season” was well received by Australian readers and can be viewed online if you search Ted Skuse and the name of the book on Google you will find it. Congratulations Ted.

Banjo recited the short poignant poem “Socialist Tax System” written by ANON, highlighting how we are one the highest tax countries in the world. He the recited a poem penned by himself only last week and inspired by a true event, the day he lost his hat of thirty or more years, a search from the cellar to the loft could not find his trusty ol friend, in desperation he made a heart felt emotional plea to the missus and she replied “I’m not sure what you just said but why do you still wear that old thing on your head??” On his second term at the altar he did a very theatrical and entertaining rendition of an unforgivable dog that shat in the tucker box nine miles from Gundagai, written by Jack Moses or Bowyang Yoyke??

Tom was in fine form as he wandered lonely as a cloud and wondered why no one would take him cirrusly ?? He then recited a poem inspired buy the monthly theme and it involved Derek growing a little green crop in the attic and then having a family nosh up and the AC set the produce alight and turned it into a little smoke house, all the relies got the munchies with Nan and Pop getting into some dirty dancing, culminating in a hysterical climax involving the local constabulary but luckily no one was charged and it all ended well.

Tom credited NZ poet Mike Harding “The Rochdale Cowboy” for inspiring him to write comedy poems and in his honor he penned the poem “Blackpool Beach” and introduced us to another fun filled pomme family on their trip to the seaside, from little baby brother Willy to Grandma and Grandpa, it included sunburn or rather rust burn, little Willy vomiting up sand, Grandma burying Grandpa in the sand, lashings of lolly’s and candy floss and Willy vomiting , lots of ginger beer and rides on the roundabout and Willy vomiting and then a trip home in the bus with little Willy vomiting and Nan realizing thirty minutes out that Grandpa was still up to his neck back at the beach in the sand.

Joyce recited a nice poem about our great group and how much she enjoys our monthly recitals and the friendships that have come from it. A thank you went to her from all present and all mentioned in her nice poem. Her second poem was on the optional first line as she found herself in a market that she had never been to and it was full of Asian specialties and Asian people and she felt like she was lost as she hadn’t been there before, but lucky for us and especially Mac, she woke up and it was just a dream.

Mac shared his thoughts and love of our group in a similar emotional tribute to the group and all that it contains, thank you Mac. His second poem was dedicated to one of the greatest women that ever lived, a true Aussie legend and a great human being, a selfless lady that has given to others all her life and continues to do so to this very day, giving away decoupages and necklaces for free with lashings of love and sincerity, her greatest gift was giving her heart away to Mac 76 years ago and for always keeping him by her side.

Manya mentioned one of her favorite authors Henry Miller from the USA He was known for breaking with existing literary forms, developing a new sort of semi-autobiographical novel that blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, explicit language, sex, surrealist free association and mysticism. Her poem was inspired buy his and hers love of life and was powerful and to the point. Her second poem was written while recently in Cambodia and she spoke of her visit to the 800-year-old Angkor Wat Temple, which was first a Hindu temple then became a Buddhist temple in the 14th century. Her poem spoke of the beautiful nature of the Cambodian people and the rich natural beauty of their country, a very nice poem.

Roger joined us for a great afternoon and shared his expertise on Hydroponics as he read all 400-pages of the book that he wrote and published while working in the agricultural industry in a former life, he condensed it into four lines and we were all spared and enjoyed the poem.

A very educational time at our group on most afternoons as Roger shared that the word sacred means ‘that which cannot be moved’ this was inspired by Manya’s mention of the Angkor Wat Temple and David’s forest in the UK and delighted in telling us that we have our own sacred site mentioned by Alex, Uluru and how 90% of this truly beautiful monolith is beneath the ground!! His second poem was a question to us all to identify the subject of the narrative poem he penned earlier that day, “four brothers went out on a journey with Mathews” as the story rolled along we realized it was the four tyre’s under Rogers car on his trip out west, good one mate!!

Geoff Sharp came down from the Valley and raised the question of what is the greatest Australian poem ever written, his answer was a poem written by a lad that was only twenty years of age when he penned it and it went on to become one of the greatest poems expressing social issues in this country, it is still relevant today. The poem is “Faces in the Street” by Henry Lawson. Geoff did a great job reciting all thirteen verses from memory, I have attempted to remember it but get lost about half way, thus far.

He also wanted to know if anyone knew of two poems rolling around in a back part of his memory and he wanted them printed so he could learn them, he recited the first verse of “Should You Go First” – by A.K. Rowswell and the first verse of “The Ocean Burial” which was written by George N. Allen and published in 1939, with the help of the W-W-W, I was able to find the whole version of each poem and have mailed them to Geoff.

Tracey had a similar youthful experience to David and in a similar part of the UK, she also was inspired by the Wordsworth poem, her memory was taken back to a day that she and her sister met some wild horses in the forest and followed them to a beautiful woodland filled with flowers and all the beauty that David had mentioned earlier in his poem, a really nice descriptive poem. Tracey’s second poem was inspired by the life and struggles of the famous actress, Mariel Hemingway and it was nice poem.

Kathy was last to arrive again and has a started her own tradition of being last to arrive. Kathy recited “Mean Machine” her poetic tribute to the automated car park machine recently implemented and installed by a twisted sadistic mind at the Australia Fair car park, not a human being in sight and just some lonely person behind a little red “Help” button that is connected to an anonymous desk somewhere in the bowels of the car park basement?? Her struggle with no cash and no credit card was funny for us but at the time Kathy was ready to tear strips off any representative of the owner foolish enough to make an appearance, lucky for her a man allowed her to back her car up so she could unblock the traffic jam she had created and go find the “Pay Machine”.

It appears Kathy has had a tough week as she met a friend for a catch up but it was ended abruptly by herself when he was too focused on his ‘smart phone’ to give her the attention she required and she left him searching the net for that lost shaker of salt?? Some people claim there’s a woman to blame!!

Another great month of wonderful poetry and talented performances came to a close in our eleventh year of Poetry in Paradise. We look forward to another recital next month as the old hospital, like a decaying set of teeth or maybe a rusty lead painted bassinet, sinks slowly from the view in the western backdrop of the new library; I wonder where all those ghosts will go now??? See you in June.

Jeffrey Irene and Joan the webmaster.

2014 Themes & Optiional First Lines

18/01/2015 1 A New Year
15/02/2015 2 Electronics
15/03/2015 3 Graduation
19/04/2015 4 Australia
17/05/2015 5 Hydroponics
21/06/2015 6 Commonwealth
19/07/2015 7 Music
16/08/2015 8 Gratitude
20/09/2015 9 Computer
18/10/2015 10 Callipygous
15/11/2015 11 Shine
20/12/2015 12 Friends, Family, Love

Optional First Lines

18/01/2015 1 “It is New years day and I rise to state that here on the …..
15/02/2015 2 “Some people are so keen on sport…. ”
15/03/2015 3 “As I lie at rest on a patch of clover…..”
19/04/2015 4 “Endless lanes sunken in the clay……”
17/05/2015 5 “I wandered lonely as a cloud…..”
21/06/2015 6 “ Here I sit in silent Wonder….”
19/07/2015 7 “I piled all the dishes into the sink ….”
16/08/2015 8 “The roads we take on the highway of life….”
20/09/2015 9 “I thought I’d get a new computer…”
18/10/2015 10 “Hold me close and tell me what the world is like……”
15/11/2015 11 “Out of the night that covers me…..”
20/12/2015 12 “With fingers worn and Weary……..”

Bob Dever
"The Mudgeeraba Budgerigar"

Merry Christmas

It’s not too long now, Christmas is almost here
And soon after that, we’ll see in the New Year
This is the season for some cheer and goodwill
Time for resolutions we hope to fulfill

We should resolve to be kind to one and all
Offer some courtesies, either big or small
Life is for living, we surely all know that
So let’s get out there and be ready to bat

Poetry in Paradise is here for us
And our togetherness is such a big plus
Thanks very much Jeffrey for all you have done
In helping to unite each of us as One

Here we can recite and there’s no critiquing
We are applauded when we’ve finished speaking
Then we leave the lectern feeling all aglow
And so together as Poets, we will grow

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too
To all the poetry members, I thank you
Wishing you all the best and season’s greetings
And here’s to continuing next year’s meetings

(c) Judi Connor Nov 2009


GCCC Library
Cnr Lawson & Garden Streets Southport
Third Sunday every month
1pm - 3.45 pm

Next Poetry Day

21st June 2015
1pm to 3:45 pm

21/06/2015 Commonwealth
Optional First Line:
“Here I sit in silent Wonder….”

Check out the Southport Star here

Korean Boys read poetry
Above: Young Boys reading 'Triantiwontigongolope' - CJ Dennis, encouraged by Jeff The Banjo recites at Robina Library
Above: Dave 'The Banjo' Farrer dramatising Banjo Paterson's poetry

Poetry in Paradise

At Poetry in Paradise
I meet my monthly mates
we chat and laugh and spin a yarn
and the atmosphere is, well, great.

Some stick to subjects that are set
Others do what they do well
One never knows what comes to mind
When we ask: “What story can I tell?”

Paper, once blank, begins to fill
As we jot our ideas down
Our pencils take on a life of their own
Our brows, at last, lose their frown

We ponder all the quirks of life
and tell tales, tall and true
of personal things and make believe
Aaah, some of Bob’s are close to blue!

We’re a higgledy-piggledy mob of folk
Who come from all stations in life
But here we’re all equal, we do not judge
If you slip up, you’re never in strife

There’s them who are traditionalists
Writing with rigid metre and rhyme
Hey, it matters not what we recite
We all have a bloody good time

There are purist poems tightly formed
radical free forms and haiku
Limericks, ditties … even songs
There’s no limit to what we can do!

Our names go up on Jeff’s whiteboard
So we’re queued in an orderly line
We listen distractedly until … oops,
Is it me? Is it now my time?

There’s hardly a subject left untouched
On listening, over the years
Sometimes we smile, or we set free a laugh,
While often, we’ve been bought to tears.

On the third Sundee of every month
You’re invited to come through these doors
One thing’s for sure, I guarantee this
At Poetry in Paradise, you’ll never be bored.

© eoin macdhugail august 2013


Hi Jeff,
     I just had to say that I was stunned by some of the poetry today. I thought Bob's "Sign of the Times" was absolutely fantastic.

I initially felt sorry for Joan having to follow such a great piece. But Joan's poem was brilliant too and I was blown away.

On top of that your rendition of the poem on depression in the outback had me hiding the tears. (softie). I wanted to tell you afterwards how good I thought your delivery was but I suppose I might have cracked up, which I know is not acceptable for a bloke in Oz.

There were many more moments there that were memorable and the whole day passed in a blink of the eye which of course had a tear in it.    

Congratulations on the 9 years. I wish I had been with you all earlier. You must be very proud of your achievement.

... Tom Jones

Hi Jeff
I gotta say I really enjoyed today
For something I've never done before
By the end I was craving more

I'll  be back... :)

The Poetic Virgin

I heard about a poetry group
I thought that I may go
Then I wondered who would be there
And now I just don’t know.

Would they all be professionals?
Even though the ad said they are not.

Will they be wearing poetry uniforms?
That’s something I haven’t got.

Will they all be women?
Will they be young or grey?
Are there any men there?
And would they all be gay?

What if my poems are crap
And they all laugh at me?
The ad did say no judging
And the subject theme was free.

Decisions decisions
Are such hard things to make?
Do I be adventurous?
Such a chance should I take?

Bring your friends along it said
Yes come along one and all
You can be a supporter
Or sip your coffee and be enthralled.

Life is such a dilemma
I just don’t know what to do
Just what does a poet look like?

Are they just like me and you?

I guess I’ll just have to front up,
Stick out my chin and stand up tall
ll my questions will be answered
When I walk into that hall.

I’m sure they're all just human
And most will be more nervous than me.
If I’m not brave enough to read something
Then I’ll just smile and drink all of the coffee.

So come along one and all.
Yes! Lets all decide to go.
We’ll see what a poet looks like
Then next time we’ll all know.

(c) Copyright Poetry in Paradise 2004 Trade mark no. 1028534. Jeffrey.N.Goudy Jeff at the Podium
he made for Poetry in Paradise

Helensvale Writers' Group
Helensvale Writers Group - Joan Small3rd Thursday each month
Helensvale Library - ground floor meeting room
11.30 am to 1.30 pm


Contact Joan:

Poetry in Paradise
Poetry Club
Poetry in Paradise - Joan Small
3rd Sunday
each month
Southport Library meeting room
1 pm to 3.30 pm