Evening all,

After receiving a second complaint, and reviewing the most recent comments of Stephanie Esther, we have decided to remove her from the site. 

In line with the moderation policy Stephanie was warned about the nature of her comments in June. I had hoped – we had all hoped – that after that message her better angels might prevail.

Sadly it looks not to have been the case. Her comments since then have not been constructive, nor well-founded and certainly not positive. 

This is not a decision we take lightly. As you know we prefer to warn first and hope for the best. However when the experience of the many is continually degraded by the behaviour of one, well, we really must act. 

I apologise to any who have felt lessened by the tone of Stephanie's comments. 

If you have any comments on this please add them below.

Best wishes,


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Thanks Alan, I know you know your comments will not make me feel personally accused of tyrannical attitudes. I find the issue important, because I know what cyber-bullying is about. My Thai mother has been vilified by neo-Nazis who are too cowardly to risk being sued for their filthy comments. What sort of cause justifies their violence? OK, take the IRA model - political wing (identifiable, named members) and a militant one (masked gunmen). Sorry, a bit tasteless but I mean yes, I acknowledge anonymity is a form of guerilla tactic. But what target are we talking about here? What worthwhile cause? Freedom to hurt others? I don't think you intend to imply Sydney Poetry is becoming a closed shop like many of the insitutions that are? It's hardly part of any "machine". Sorry, I may have missed something, but came into this discussion quite cold.

Best wishes


Sorry to hear about your mum. As i said at the beginning i condemn bullying in all its forms - including cyber-bullying. I absolutely condemn the actions you speak of. 

And no i don't think that Sydney Poetry is a closed shop otherwise they would have flushed me by now ; ) 

But i do believe Australian poetry is a closed shop (and by the way -  it is famous for being so in overseas circles) and i think that needs to be challenged. 

What worthwhile cause you ask... 

Well, poetry... If you think poetry is a worthwhile cause

best wishes to you and all those dear to you


You are spot on Alan re the Oz poetry scene being a closed shop, and your allusion to Dransfield's exclusion from a recent anthology only underscores that. But surely if sites like Sydney Poetry are going to continue to offer a viable alternative, then they need to maintain certain standards. If that makes me sound like messrs Gray and co then so be it.

Dransfield gets it from both ends don't forget. He was grudgingly accepted by the mob of 68 while at the same time they continue to anthologize his weaker poems, They belittle his achievement as being minor and "promise tragically cut short", meanwhile he continues to attract fresh readers and his books outsell theirs by the bucket-load.

I don't care what anyone says - audience is important and
the lack of recognition of Dransfield's achievement in finding one is a disgraceful reflection of the state of poetry in this country. (fullstop)

According to some, all of the above is due to the myth of the tragic poete-maudit who died young. To them i'd say - IT'S THE POETRY STUPID !!!

Another thing that is not recognized is the incredible number of contemporary poets who found poetry through Dransfield's work.

Anyway, don't get me started!

I agree with you Justin that poetry forums such as SP could be more rigorous. "Standards" is a word i probably wouldn't have used preferring rigour.

By the way, thanks for your contribution to this discussion...

Dear Everyone, The amazing Stephanie has gone now, but like that

proverbial bus . . . there will be another one coming in a minute

or two !  someone always has a whinge, it is part of the culture.

Heap scorn and pity on them, but, carry on writing poetry,

not writing about poetry, and as an almost well known Irish

singer sings . . .'Get on with your short life"  yours as ever William x

I had my life changed by Dransfield, especially by the depth and breadth of his reading, on music on history.The doomed poet thing is just what appeals to lazy minds. Maybe Ms Esther could be laid to rest now? 

lazy or petrified

Hah! It's not easy to tell!


This issue goes beyond one person’s perceived transgressions.


Justin: I agree ‘…Maintain certain [established community] Standards’. Perhaps as indicated by the moderators welcoming policy message and, of course, conditioned by the natural courtesy of the well brought up poet.


Alan: I agree ‘…Rigorous standards’:  Rigidly accurate, allowing no deviation from a standard, demanding strict attention to rules and procedures, naturally tempered by human kindness, of course.


Both writers, I think, are seeking to achieve, for Sydney Poetry, a sense of quality, a degree of excellence, recognition and respect.


William: I hear your cry from the heart, however I do not detect a cogent argument why one should not write poetry and also write about poetry. I refer you to the essay ‘In Defence of Poetry’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley; ‘An Essay on Poetry’ by Steven C Scheer; ‘Reading Irish Poetry’ an essay by Maria Johnston.


To add to the laudable ambitions of the correspondents, I would like to see a broader range of work appearing on the site, more variety, and a little light and shade perhaps, a little humour, and a little joy.


I have no desire to see the world of poetry through the prism of the gut-wrenching despair of blubbering Bob because Darling Millie has run off with Bad-Arsed Billy the Biker. Equally, I find the tear-stained malapropisms of cruelly dumped Debbie of Deniliquin heavy-going.  I am not suggesting, however, that they should not bare their troubled souls when the need arises.


Also, I do not wish to encounter, every time I open a screen or a book, an impenetrable wall of words. Must every poetry publication be a tsunami of the unintelligible, the incomprehensible and the brain numbingly dull?  ‘Sydney Poetry’ need not emulate the poetry publications of the grant funded ‘poetry big end of town’.


Now this is where the work really starts. There are many rewarding alternatives to the ‘stream of consciousness’ abyss. Consider this a twelve step program to build experience and confidence, to achieve enjoyment and to produce a variety of poem types. Accept the challenge, write one each [or more] of the following:


1.01   Nonsense Verse: A type of poetry containing fantastic images, non-standard words and designed to entertain. Refer: Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll.


1.02   Villanelle: A nineteen line poem: The first and third lines of each stanza rhyme with each other and with the first and third lines of every other stanza. The second lines of all stanzas must also rhyme. Refer: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas


1.03   Limerick: a five line vignette where the first and second lines rhyme, the third and fourth lines rhyme and the final line rhymes with the first.          Refer: Edward Lear and numerous others.


1.04   Haiku : A seventeen syllable poem in three lines [5] [7] [5] usually commenting on the seasons originally written by Japanese greenies and non Japanese esoteric trendies. Refer Yosa Buson and Kobayashi and many [anonymous] others.


1.05   Clerihew: A humorous mocking verse with two rhyming couplets naming a famous or infamous person. Our good friend ‘anon’ has written a trillion of these.


1.06   Narrative Verse: A story told in the form of a rhyming poem. Refer: Paul Revere’s Ride by H W Longfellow and The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes.


1.06   Lyric Verse: Takes several rhyming forms including Pastoral, villanelle, sonnet and ode and is usually about romantic love. Refer: A Red, Red, Rose by Robert Burns.


1.07   The Big Ballad: is a big poem that tells a big story in an exciting and entertaining way.           Refer: The Pied Piper Of Hamlin by Robert Browning, The Man From Snowy River by Banjo Paterson; Charge Of The Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.


1.08   The Pastoral, or Watching-Sheep-Sleep poetry, is a lyric verse about shepherds, nature in general and about country living. Refer: The Passionate Shepherd by Christopher Marlow and The Nymph’s Reply to The Shepherd by Sir Walter Ralegh.


1.09   The English [or Shakespearian] sonnet, most commonly written in iambic pentameter and captured in a fourteen line rhyming scheme of ABAB or ABBA is a popular vehicle of interesting topics.


The sonnet started life in Sicily in the 13th century. It comes in several forms, all worthy of consideration. The most influential early sonneteer, with over 300 poems, was Latin scholar and father of Humanism, Francesco Petrarca [1304-1374], known to the English as Petrarch.  


Chaucer [1343-1400], Sir Thomas Wyatt [1503-1542] and Henry Howard Earl of Surry [1517-1547] are largely responsible for the introduction of the sonnet into England. Will Shakespeare [1564-1616] wrote 154+ sonnets [mostly about a young man] try number 18.


1.10   Blank Verse: is poetry that is in meter but not rhymed. Edmund Spenser [c1552-1599] created many of his early sonnets in this form. John Milton [1608-1674] also used it from time to time and to good effect. Focus on Spenser, Milton or indeed the Great War sonneteer Edward Shillito [1872-1978].


1.11   To facilitate odd moments of madness there are also: Alphabet Poems, Riddles, Epitaphs and all manner of ‘poems peculiar’. Each of above has a set of clearly defined rules. Conforming to the rules can be a challenging and rewarding exercise.


1.12   Finally: There is ‘Free Verse’ this is sometimes described as unrhymed verse without a consistent metrical pattern. It appears to have no rules. Much ‘Free Verse’ reads like a short story cut up in verse form. It often seems to be the last refuge of the textually incontinent. Approach it with trepidation and suspicion. So is it actually poetry at all?


After all this, if you feel the urge to produce a long, rambling, self-focussed, self-revealing pastiche, that is your privilege, so go right ahead and do it. When family and friends tell you that it is truly wonderful, be warmed by their kindness but give more weight to the body language and verbal response of strangers.


Finally, a thought on criticism:  Remember, if you cut us, we bleed… Also, a useful convention for the emerging critic to adopt is: When you criticise the work of another writer always give ‘reasons for comments’ and include a couple of verses of your own to demonstrate your ability and to show that your criticism comes from a courageous and knowledgeable person.


L’envoi:       By our thoughts may you know us,

                   our perceived best intentions applaud,

                   as in all discussion we encourage you

                   to contribute your own intriguing word.




Dermott Ryder

Wow...this discussion was informative and humorous. I admire intelligent people so I really enjoyed reading this....but I have to admit, some parts sounded condescending and elitist. Please don't take this the wrong way as I don't mean any disrespect, but it would be a lot more constructive if you used your obvious knowledge about poetry to encourage and assist those who are just starting out. I am one of those novices and I didn't feel very welcome here after reading some of this thread.

Leigh, Please feel very welcome, and yes . . . a novice should be helped along.

It would be amazing if we all wrote a brilliant poem every time !

but most of us are living in a real world, so we do what we can.

Carry on and do what you do, over time a voice will emerge . . . your voice.

good luck.   William.


Thank you William... :)


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