Post-It Note Poetry Collection (2021)

February was a huge month of poetry, with the successful hosting of Post-It Note Poetry by Christina Hira and myself. It was our first foray into the world as public partners of a creative or poetic project (though if we’re honest, Post-It Note Poetry is less of a project and more of an ocean with a tide and mind of its own).

This year, we chose to infuse the month with the theme of ‘poets write poetry’. This was all about claiming ourselves as poets, something both Christina and I have struggled with…how the word ‘poet’ holds a torch for our words in a very different way.

Among the possible ideas we entertained under this umbrella of ‘poets write poetry’ was to publish a collection at the end of the month.

We are very proud today, to share with you the very first collection of Post-It Note Poetry, containing the work of the following poets from the 2021 round:

Effie Katrakazos
Yvonne Sanders
Adam Byatt
Christina Hira
Jodi Cleghorn
Dianna Manjarrez
Nichole Pace
Robert G. Cook
M.X. Kelly
Denise Sparrowhawk
Janette Dalgliesh
Jessica Morgan
Tiare Snow
Heartland Magic
Robin Bower
Trish Weill
Judith Milburn
Marion Taffe
Jen Byrne
Rebecca Bielik Zick

You can download the collection here for free.




Mount Pleasant – A Track By Track Breakdown

Here is a track-by-track breakdown of the songs on the record, what inspired the band and how I used those ideas to create the narrative of each song for the book.

Listen to the album here: MOUNT PLEASANT


I wrote the Prologue as a way of establishing the setting and motifs of the collection, that of deceit, deception and false facades. The setting of Western Sydney was inspired by the origins of the band, and it is the city I live in.

The Prologue is a fictional retelling of the changing of the name of the suburb where three of the band members grew up. There is no music for this piece of flash fiction but it explains the origins of the album’s title and frames the inspiration of each track, and allowed me to explore a set of stories based in Western Sydney in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The title of the album comes from the name of the suburb where three of the band members grew up. As a name it no longer exists. The local council wiped its name to clear itself of the violence and dangerous youths inhabiting the space. Nothing changed except the name.

Track 1 Holding Pattern

This was the first song released off the album and the first story I wrote. The title of the song is an in-joke as a close friend of the band claimed they were being kept in a ‘holding pattern’ due to the band’s lack of decision making. The band describe the song as being a bit all over the place but feeling right.

It was released with the cover art of the album which gave me the idea of a young girl living in an apartment complex, running up and down the stairs as a means of having some form of control in her life. She meets a recently arrived young boy and the story explores the holding pattern each of them lived in based on their suburb and how it affects their lives.

The song is angular and emphatic in the opening before a pause, a held breath leading to a crushing crescendo, and I wanted the narrative to have that same sense of movement. To have the reader imagine what it means to run, to be held within social strictures, and to be left behind.

Track 2 – Potemkin

The song title refers to the Potemkin village. The myth of the term comes from stories of a fake portable village built solely to impress Empress Catherine II by her former lover Grigory Potemkin, during her journey to Crimea in 1787.

I translated the original setting of Crimean Russia to that of a high school student, the pauper queen as she is named in the story, attending a performance of King Lear and explores the artifice of theatre as a metaphor of the schoolgirl’s existence. This existence extends to where she lives and how it defines her life and the life of her younger brother.

For the ending of this story I channelled John Hughes and The Breakfast Club for a monologue that would look great as a short film or a slam poem.

Track 3 – Pendock and Progress

This is my favourite song on the album. It is fast, frenetic, chaotic and triumphant, yet has pauses for breath. And I love the sound of the snare drum; it’s a perfect sonic fit in the track. It is the names of the streets where the band grew up.

It was the second song released and the second story I wrote. Pendock Close became a cul-de-sac, a dead-end street the protagonist rides his second-hand bike around. The cul-de-sac stands as a metaphor for the facades of society we inhabit, those we are forced to live and yet have no understanding there is something other what you consider normal.

Track 4 – Meet Me In The Meadow

This is a softer sounding song, and the narrative follows the burgeoning relationship a girl has with her crush, and the metamorphosis of adolescent sexuality. It is almost romantic in its feel, and the band used a quote from the Wes Anderson film, “Moonlight Sunrise” as the title.

In reading a synopsis of the film, the romantic element stood out. Not wanting to frame a narrative with a Wes Anderson style I diverted it to examine how boys and girls engage with the facades of masculinity and femininity; how they are both forced into frameworks that are detrimental to their developing sense of emotional, sexual and mental identity.

There are echoes and facets of these facades found in other stories in this collection, notably “Potemkin,” “Time Away” and “Gueules Cassees.” We need to interrogate who we are and understand how we have been deceived into accepting less than what we are worth.

Track 5 – Shambles

This story has a lightness in the music and in the content in comparison to the other stories. It is more comic in its approach than the other stories but still reflects the divide we encounter between what we think we are and what we really are. It is tongue in cheek in places, and it was definitely fun to write, and is reflected in the bouncy joyfulness of the music.

The protagonist is in his last year of high school and his academic life is a bit of a shambles. He’s a Western suburbs philosopher who likes grunge, works in a fish’n’chip shop and says there are two types of people in every situation. It even had my editor, Jodi, using “There are two types of people…” in her vernacular after editing this story.

I don’t think we use the word “shambles” enough. Time to bring it back.

Track 6 – Time Away

The band describe the song as an attempt of taking “time away” from all of the pitfalls of life but the escape is never found. Therefore my vision for this story was the father of a family who get to go on a holiday to the Gold Coast only to come home and find out he has been retrenched.

When Jodi sent back her initial edits, the email began with an expletive enhanced exclamation. I know if I get that then the story is working. Ben Hobson, who provided the quote on the cover, also connected with this story. I believe it is the heart of the collection.

The opening of this song has two parts. The first sounds like a demo track, setting up the motif of the track. The second part of the opening is a favourite section of mine as it has the drum track muted, all the top end rolled off so there is no sibilance in the hi hats, and it feels like a heartbeat, which was channelled into the father in the story. When the track kicks in proper, the bass drum is a thumping vibrancy underpinning the remainder of the track. There are so many layers to this track in its construction as it builds and builds in the midsection of the track before pulling back, and it is in this section, the return to the muted drums, that the father in the story wrestles with himeself.

It is perhaps one of the “softest” stories to read but the resonance is unsettling. Stories of masculinity and what that means, are in the forefront of our minds, and how that affects us, our children and families, and the wider community. From that central story, which as Track 6 is like the halfway point, every other story resonates from that point and reflects the broader perspectives and perceptions. One action can have far-reaching consequences.

Track 7 – Summer Sun

This story references the horrendous summer bushfires of 2001/2002 in Sydney where the paradoxical beauty of the world is slowly being destroyed. Our understanding of the macro comes into focus when we see the lives of individuals in the micro.

Bushfires are a constant threat in Australia and in 2019-2020, from September to almost March, significant parts of the country were on fire. This year we have had significant rainfall and lower temperatures.

We will within this dichotomy, between risk and reward, and the story focuses on a young man who observes the destruction of the bushfire even as his own body undergoes chemotherapy treatment.

Track 8 – Well, Go Well

This song serves as an interlude before “Gueules Cassees” and the band was influenced by Boards of Canada in the composition of this track.

I used it as a platform to lead in the final track, and once I knew what the focus was for “Gueules Cassees” I focused on developing a masculine voice for this interlude. A Twitter thread gave this piece its impetus where the user asked people to respond with apologies used by men in situations of domestic violence, sexual assault or manipulative behaviour in relationships. This narrative is a compilation of various apologies which frames the final track on the album.

The opening of the narrative begins, “APOLOGISE LIKE A MAN.” and uses various iterations of this sentence with different punctuation and capitalisation. It is also the final line. I was interested in how punctuation and capitalisation affected the reading experience and the intended meaning.

Track 9 – Gueules Cassees

The band describes this as the most brutal track to close on. “Gueules Cassees” is a French term meaning ‘broken faces’ and refers to ex-servicemen of World War 1 who returned home with disfigured faces due to the war. A Google search will provide you with some horrifying images of the reality of war, and the people who tried to assist them in their return to society where physical disfigurement lead to social ostracism, loss of status, breakdown of relationships or being turned away from jobs.

I needed to find a parallel of broken faces and in choosing the issue of domestic violence, I wanted to engage with the issue and the hiddenness of its impact on women. I was hesitant to write this, wanting to be authentic and truthful without getting it wrong, so I sought the opinion of other readers. Three women volunteered to read for me, to ensure I had the veracity of the story correct. Unfortunately, it rang true for those early readers, and they also offered new insights to develop the narrative further. I hope I have done this narrative justice.

It is a brutal concept, reflected in the music and the language. Seeing this song played live at the end of 2020 was remarkable as I had had the story drafted, and the intensity of the track was palapble to me.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for listening.

Mount Pleasant Cover Reveal

Today we can reveal the cover for Adam’s forthcoming release, Mount Pleasant.
Mount Pleasant is a concept chapbook of 10 short stories based on the music of Solkyri, from Sydney, Australia. Solkyri are a post-rock band, and this is their fourth album, released in February 2020. Mount Pleasant is inhabited by individuals who experience joy and laughter, doubt and confusion, fear and uncertainty, revelation and resurrection. These stories invite us to reflect on who we are now and ask us to investigate ourselves in relation to the pasts that may or may not have shaped us and the futures we wish to shape for ourselves. “I am conscious of where I come from and the sadness that grows inside of me. I am curious to know what it means and what it makes me.”

In a Western Sydney suburb that no longer exists, its name erased and replaced with another, a façade is created to mask the truth of its existence.

Behind it is… a girl who runs a young woman dreaming beyond her uniform a boy cycling through his family line a girl who yearns for metamorphosis a young man playing with polarities a father who has lost himself a young man decaying under the summer sun a man’s apology a woman who longs to be seen

When the viciousness of hope is a powerful drug, the inescapability of hopelessness is even more devasting.

What is Post-rock? Post-rock is a form of experimental rock music characterised by an exploration of textures and timbres, structures and forms, soundscapes and riffs, rather than a verse/chorus, verse/chorus structure typically found in rock music. The music has its own narrative through the rise and fall of sounds, textures, tempos, crescendos and decrescendos, aural assaults and minimalist orchestration. Who Are Solkyri? Formed in 2006, Solkyri deliver moments that blend intense vulnerability with pure power built around the interplay of guitars and driving rhythms, with nods to math-rock, shoegaze and ambient music. ‘Mount Pleasant’ strives to push the boundaries of both sides of its personality, its unyielding energy and its tender moments of intimacy. It is the culmination of years of personal reflection and the rediscovery of passion. Prominent radio station Triple J described it as “Beautiful yet precisely chaotic post-rock.” I encourage you to have a listen to the record (link below) via Bandcamp: Mount Pleasant. I have been to many of their gigs in the past and they are always a great live band. And check out other great bands on Birds Robe Records. A huge thanks to Jodi Cleghorn for the design work and layout. Another thank you goes to Ben Hobson, author of To Become A Whale and Snake Island, who said, “Profound slices of human truth. There is such a clarity in character, and a precision in a lived experience of Australia within these stories. Adam’s skill is in making us remember those small moments in our lives that mean so much to us. Read this to engage your heart.” In the next post Adam will explain the inspiration behind each track from the band’s perspective and how it inspired his take on each track. Links for preorder will be available very soon.

Shades of Paradox: From Poet to Reader

Dear Reader (or future investor in words and magick),

This would usually appear at the beginning (or end) of the book, but Shades of Paradox was originally intended for an audience of three (one of whom is writing this to you) and therefore wasn’t created to have something like this in it.

In August this year, I put together the images and poems from Shades of Paradox (the May-June chapter of The Daily Breath, my poem a day subscription service) as a present for an old friend (who has been staunch champion of all aspects of my creativity since we reconnected in 2013). The intention was to print three: one for Kim, one for Kaolin—who graciously gave me permission to work with his photos (who many of you know, but perhaps are new to me!) and one for me. The thing was, as the book took shape, well a book took shape. A book that took the physicality of the original poems and the pointy beauty of the words and turned them into something else. Something more.

It is hard to articulate.

When I was younger, I would arrive at a certain destination in my thoughts (often late at night when I couldn’t sleep) and I would wonder how I got there. Then with a meticulous kind of reverse dissection, I would move backward through each permutation to arrive at the seed of the train of thought. It was often a strange revelation—long before I knew about phenomenon like seven degrees of separation (though my thoughts travelled in similar kinds of kinks and ripples). While Shades of Paradox was set into the form you’re holding (or considering holding) in August 2020, it actually began in 2015, with my dog eating Calvino and later, trying to find respite from shingles pain with paper weaving.


I had taken Kim’s copy of Calvino’s Six Memos for The Next Millennium on a day’s outing to the Gold Coast and ended up stashing it in my satchel with a peanut butter and chocolate biscuit. I’d eaten the biscuit when I got home, left the book on the kitchen table and gone out to a QWC event only to arrive home and discover Smuppy had eaten through most of the cover and had got about eight pages in before he realised it only smelled of chocolate and peanut butter. While it was abundantly obvious I was going to have to replace it, I didn’t have the heart to throw the book out. (I can’t tell you how relieved I was that it wasn’t a special marked-up copy, with brilliant observations pencilled into the margins!).

Fast forward several months later to early August; I was weaving paper for a handmade postcard as a form of pain relief for the shingles which had begun blossoming across my back and down my left side. The postcard looked pretty special but it also felt kind of empty. So, I dug out the chewed copy of Calvino and cut into it; retrieving words and phrases, reassembling them, pasting them down…and my first cut-up was born. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d made in a long time.



From then on, I was somewhat transfixed with building poetry from cut-up books. It was the lowest point of my creativity in terms of writing fiction, and cut-up gave me an unexpected outlet. From single pieces created for birthdays, I started to explore longer runs of poems in series loosely umbrella-ed beneath thematics related loosely to the texts they were taken from. I cut up Kelly Link. I cut up Audrey Niffenegger. And yes, I cut up more and more Calvino. I cut up Jeanette Winterson. I even cut up some of my own writing.

The poems were often odd. They formed up in ways my natural thought processes and creativity would never have found their way to organically. And I loved them for that. Bowie said in 1995 of cut-up:

“…if you put three or four dissociated ideas together and create awkward relationships with them, the unconscious intelligence that comes from those pairings is really quite startling sometimes, quite provocative.”

I marvelled at the way creativity could flourish in such small spaces with so few words. I cut up the pages of zentagles I drawn for sleep therapy and pasted micro poems to them. And to my delight and surprised, when I listed them for sale, they sold! I alternated between 10x10cm origami squares and small standard postcards as my canvasses. I used at least three separate Post-It Note Poetry months to go deeper. I went from pasting words onto existing postcards to making my own. I experimented with sample paint swatches from Bunnings. I played with the form and shape the words could take. For several years, I let it be a creative survival space and when I was ready (though I would actually say I wasn’t ready, but when you’re called, you go!), I surrendered into the flow this style of poetry and creativity opened to be a space to thrive in.



In 2019 I launched The Daily Breath: a poem-a-day-for-a-year project. Several things were fundamental to The Daily Breath. The first was it would honour my creativity in a way I hadn’t been quite brave enough to ask for: it would be a private, paid subscription service. In this way it generated a small income but also gave me the freedom to come and go from social media as I chose, which was the second important element. Lastly, it challenged me to show up every single day for 354 days to create (the number of days in a lunar month) regardless of how I felt, how inspired I was or whether I thought I was making a difference in the world (or not).

The Daily Breath, for the most part, was a physical project: where possible, I made everything from scratch. I sometimes used commercially produced postcards, mainly for a particular aesthetic and there were also the occasional digital series (chapter), again mostly because it allowed a flexibility that analogue items couldn’t give to that idea.

Across the 18 months of The Daily Breath, I made more than 500 poems, a large proportion of them actual physical pieces which now reside in the many corners of the world.



I had considered creating collections from the poetry I was building, but reproducing cut-up poetry in digital form is tedious as fuck (I know, I’ve tried). I considered just the words without the pictures but that felt empty because there was always an interplay between the words and the pictures. I considered creating a hybrid but the photos had been chosen to make postcards and were not all in uniform orientation needed for a book.

Shades of Paradox was a perfect storm in so many ways for reproduction. It was the most ambitious series I undertook. They were created as longer, thinner pieces, where the photograph was only pasted at the top and was lifted to reveal a longer poem behind. In the space below the photograph, a short poem appeared. It took me more than two hours to make these every day. While the world hunkered down mid-pandemic and then howled with injustice and erupted in violence across late May and into June, I turned up and found solace in the daily practice as my own trauma bubbled to the surface and ate away at my desire to be here.

All my poems mean something to me, but the poems for Shades of Paradox were more. They were my anchor to stay here when my tired heart really wanted to leave. And as others urged for me to give these particular second life, it was almost a way of inviting myself into transforming the difficulties I’d found in making them: of putting the world ‘trauma’ around my experiences since late 2012.

It was early August, late one night and there were so many reasons why the words and photos I started to assemble in Indesign could have been a hot mess, but there is magick in this collection. It created itself. And when I got parts of it horribly wrong, it pivoted itself into a better fit. And then again, when I returned to my (disappointingly imperfect) proof copies a few months after they arrived. I dug into the poems in a new way so they could be the best possible poems, letting go of the need for them to accurate reproductions of the original, and in doing so, releasing them to be what they wanted to be. So, for anyone who owns an original Shades of Paradox poem, you are more likely than not to see your poem in a different rendering here. Or perhaps yours is untouched.



If nothing else, 2020 has shown us how the concreteness of stability, order and structure is an illusion. The world we live in is far more complex and simple than we thought it was. It is freer moving and more stubbornly resistant than we gave it credit for. The words of Shades of Paradox held me in the most patient and comforting of ways when I was falling apart. The words, the poems and the images exist in the light and the dark, and I believe there is a mercurial nature to them, so they are in no way firmly fixed in either, but have the capacity to morph to be what they need to be for you, in any particular minute of any particular day.

For that reason, it is a wee book, perfect to be tucked away in handbags and satchels, to be ready to hand when you might need it most. My hope is you too find a gift in these words as I did; where they can hold a space, and hold you, in the extreme of times and in all the shades between.

Jodi xxx

You can pre-order Shades of Paradox here.


Kaolin Fire for giving me access to his photos and then bringing his friends to the part to find this book.

Jeanette Winterson for writing the original text of Art and Lies which provided a rich and varied pool of words to work with (and now that I have thoroughly gutted it for my art I can get a second copy and actually read it).

The Daily Breath Subscribers who made it possible for me to build the poems.

Devin Watson who many, many, years ago sent me a wiki article about block-out poetry (and its variants) saying: I think this might interest you.

Christina Hira and Kim Roberts who agitated (successfully it turns out) for these to find a wider audience than the original one they were created for.

Kate Wildrick and my group of magickal women who have helped open new ways of thinking, feeling and dreaming to allow this work to move out into the world in vastly different ways.

Adam and Rus, for their love and support which creates the unique container here at The JAR Writers’ Collective to put works like this into the world and who are quite simply exceptional humans which I have the very good fortune to call friends and collaborators.

And finally Dave, Dylan and Smuppy who are the best home-base a creative soul could ever ask for, especially when they (well, those with opposable thumbs) take the inevitable deluge of word fragments across the house with the good grace of an opportunity to make their own ‘floor poetry’.