Issue 18 Editorial by Angela Gardner


Image Credit – Hobart, 2021, Carmen Leigh Keates

Welcome to another edition of foam:e! This one different in that it catches us up to date with submissions from last year (yes it’s been another one of those years!) Poems have been chosen by new editor Kerry Kilner and Angela Gardner. We will be publishing our next issue, number 19, at our usual time of year in March and submissions for that are currently open until 30th November. That issue will be edited by all our current editors old and new: Carmen Leigh-Keates, Kerry Kilner and Angela Gardner.

In the meantime….Happy reading from Ireland at the Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or “darker-half” of the year!

Angela Gardner and Kerry Kilner


Samhain – Oct/Nov 2021



Share This

foam:e editorial issue 20


Welcome to foam:e issue 20.

This time around we were keener than ever to be surprised, perplexed and strangely
elated by something a little out of the ordinary, something a bit bats, even choppy
and imperfect—as long as it was electrifying.

We were met with strange childhood memories of being surrounded by screensavers
in your mum’s computer lab; pregnant partners who can only stomach ice; “molars of
storm clouds”; and a sister who acts like she’s a small nation with her own army.

It’s good to be back and we hope you enjoy our selections this year. We thank all
contributors for sending their work for consideration.

Angela Gardner and Carmen Leigh Keates

If you would like to follow us for updates between issues, we have been posting on
Instagram where we are @foamepoet (don’t worry if you do not have an Instagram account
– you can see our announcements without signing in).

Share This



Welcome to Issue 19 of foam:e. This is Carmen Leigh Keates and it’s wonderful to now be back on track, following on from the last two issues that enabled us to catch up after the tumultuous shock to everyone’s systems that was 2020.


Issue 19 is drawn from poems sent to us in our submission window that went from the start of September to the end of November 2021. If there is a theme or themes I can start to talk about, I can mostly detect them not only among this issue’s poems , but also in comparison to the submissions from the last few issues. And by ‘submissions’ I realise that I am thinking not only of the poems we accepted, but also those  that did not make it to publication. Undeniably, the experience of being an editor of a poetry journal includes engagement with this whole body of work that is and is not included; all the work that we three editors reacted to, discussed, tried to advocate for, pushed against, championed, panned… All the poems received contribute to the creation of the issue of the journal that we produce.


So, with that acknowledged, if I can try to characterise some of the poetry that is included in the published foam:e 19, I might highlight what I hear as a certain levelling-out, in voice as well as topics, of the more extreme reactions we’ve had—to our circumstances; to our homes and families (I’m thinking here of Amanda Joshua’s poems); our losses; our making sense of this period in comparison to our lives as a whole (to quote Brendan Ryan’s “Driving Through Mallee Towns”: You focus by holding onto the wheel / driven to flee from where the thoughts have led); and definitely to the flow of information we’re drawing on to guide our next concrete steps.


So no poems about depression,

others suffer more.

I wear my roof & a smug brickwork scarf.

The headache is just a mind trying to escape…

my friend’s TV drank until it barfed

then tidied itself up with a toy machete.

I find nothing has changed, just

cave puzzles, leftover fingers.

(From Les Wicks’s “Dive”.)


Some poems feel very literally “timely”, but in the way that events (even historical events that we discover after the fact) make us feel things, and then later, these events stand in for ourselves at a particular moment, as in “Watching Earthquakes at Home” by Rozanna Lilley, and “St Petersburg” by Jill Jones:

There were news reports of a Russian sub in the archipelago – I said –
The clouds were maps of what was coming – you said –

Everyone went crazy with accusations – I said –
Up there the infinities sneak through – you said –

(From Jill Jones’s “St Petersburg”.)


And there’s also a number of extremely different types of poems that I might loosely group under the theme of the ‘aftermath of love’: Luoyang Chen’s “Post Eclipse”; Matt Hetherington’s “My My”; and even Lesley Singe’s quite funny poem “Suzie, One Summer”, where all of a heartbroken friend’s usual romantic behaviours come up and explode in their face again—in the poem there’re a recurring presence of jewellery, jangling, gleaming, seemingly flying everywhere, like the emotional shrapnel that we, for our friends, simply don’t begrudge.

There’s a rich seam of the more abstract and associative in the compelling poems of Shari Kocher and Austin Miles; there’s a patch of vivid prose poetry too, such as in Janet Jiahui Wu’s “What Suicided Van Gogh”:


… failure to have produced an outstanding artist statement, inability to communicate ideas except through paints and letters to Theo, anger management, other artists, Venus’ sublime torso, art entrepreneurs, art economics courses, definition of success and successful artist, working too hard, being too much on his own, the majority of the ravens above the wheat fields, humanity itself, art buyers’ sheepishness, horse hairs in their eyes, scorn of money, antisociability, anxiety gnawing like ants at his groins, thickness, too much fire—


(From Janet Jiahui Wu’s “What Suicided Van Gogh”.)



There are now things about the editing of foam:e that have definitely changed from before – we editors are now permanently across two countries, Australia and Ireland. This issue has been put together almost to schedule, just with a bit of a lag due to storms, power outages, last-minute travel dashes, and me being on a writing residency in wonderful Hobart where I stayed a bit longer, since I had some family gratefully in my flat in Brisbane while their own place was being confirmed safe from the floods. It’s been quite the summer/winter.


But there has been no change at all in terms of what we look for in the poetry we put in foam:e: something surprising; something timely but beyond the obvious; and maybe a few things that we don’t completely understand but that we can definitely sense are vital and new.


Please enjoy this new issue of foam:e. We extend our thanks to everyone who contributed the poetry that we have read in preparation for this publication.


Carmen Leigh Keates,

and on behalf of Angela Gardner and Kerry Kilner, editors of

Share This

Welcome to foam:e – Issue 17


Welcome to foam:e Issue 17.

Anne Kilner. Bruny Island.We hope you enjoy this issue of foam:e. Such a strange world has manifested since issue 16.

Notes from the editors…


The seventeenth issue of foam:e is finally published fourteen months late after what must have been a strange year for just about everyone. For me it was by turns both harrowing and blissful.

In early 2020, in what is now a different world, I took up a printmaking residency in Belgium but when the borders started to close and with Australia not accepting back its citizens we took shelter in the West of Ireland. Here I met the Hungry Hill Writers and as the months advanced took up brisk sea swimming and hill walking. I am grateful for the wonderful welcome of Ireland. In this issue you will find poets from Hungry Hill Writers: Maxine Backus, John Baylis Post, Anne O’Carroll, Julie Aldridge, Stephen Martin, Sheila O’Neil and Jennifer Russell. There is also a poem from Jena Woodhouse about this very special place.

There are some changes going forward. First of all, a warm welcome to Kerry Kilner who brings new energy, literary scholarship and technical expertise to our editorial team.

We hope to look at all the submissions that came in during the 2020/21 submission window and publish Issue 18 around the middle of this year. Thank you to all the authors who entrusted their work to us we will be in a position to read and select the poems for issue 18 soon. So 2021 should be a year with more than one issue. Submissions will then open as usual September 1 until November 30 2021 for next year’s issue 20.

Carmen Keates anchors our editorial team in Australia but Angela Gardner and Kerry Kilner will be based overseas. Because of this the PO Box is no longer active and so anyone wanting a review of Australian poetry books should first let us know by email at


Some people deal with stress by throwing themselves into their work, and others by taking to their bed, and well before the start of 2020 I had become the latter. Although 2020 was obviously the ‘hard’ year for the global community, my family’s ‘hard’ year was actually 2019.

We had a catastrophic series of health emergencies. I can’t tell you how many times I accompanied someone in an ambulance in 2019, how many times I stayed up overnight helping someone to the bathroom and back to bed, how many times we waited in hospitals all day to see a doctor that never emerged. My family’s 2019 left us all literally, physically exhausted, as well as feeling deeply hopeless, and guilty for not handling things better, with a frighteningly vivid insight into our limitations. It also provided us, within our little group, new knowledge of each of our different strengths and powers. We knew how to deploy each other for different types of missions, and who NOT to ask. This little bit of new knowledge, group coping knowledge, was hard won.

By the time COVID happened, I was in an automatic “no, thank you” stance to taking on any outside challenges at all. Although in terms of writing—I always need to write, and did throughout the whole period—I never tried to build anything, or edit anything, as that was too hard, too much like an individual coping, which I definitely wasn’t.

So foam:e was put on the backburner in a semi-permanent way that was initiated by what Angela was going through and confirmed by my inability to focus or engage… on the computer. I also just needed privacy, and in an environment where you were expected to ‘try’ all the time to stay connected by being on the computer, I felt sickened at this entire situation that had brought outside work into my home, my bedroom, my kitchen, my nights.

I am so glad to see this 2020 issue of foam:e finally emerge. Apart from the special Irish cadre of poets with whom Angela became connected, the poems in this issue are from the submission window that was open September-November 2019, before COVID.  To everyone who had tried to contact us, my sincere apologies. To everyone who has waited so long, thank you.


I’m delighted to be joining Angela and Carmen as co-editor of foam:e. Although I’m not a poet, I’ve watched foam:e persist over its 17 year history and continue to publish some of the best contemporary poetry around. With another hand on the helm we’re looking forward to increasing foam:e’s profile in Australia and internationally. When the land you’re in takes its poetry seriously, we’re bound to be inspired to expand our horizons.

NB – A note about the author biographies: we are aware of a little glitch in the linking to the biographical statements directly from the poems. This will be fixed shortly. To find out more about the authors, simple search the page for their name from the author page.

Photo credit. Anne Kilner Bruny Island

April 2021

Share This

Issue 16 Editorial by Angela Gardner and Carmen Leigh Keates



Welcome to another edition of foam:e!

It’s another bumper issue, packed with poems and reviews.

Languages play  a crucial role in people’s daily lives. The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019) to raise awareness. In Australia, of the estimated original 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, only around 120 are still spoken. Of these approximately 90 per cent are endangered.

If you’d like to do something for poetry and Indigenous Languages then Red Room are still hoping for donations. Red Room Poetry’s Poetry in First Languages project just raised $6000 via the ACF Crowd funding campaign but they didn’t reach their $20,000 target so you can still donate directly just click on

the link for more information 

IY2019 is an opportunity to continue raising awareness and taking further actions to improve preservation and promotion of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. Why not check out this Australian Institute for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies playlist on Spotify and get some Indigenous Australian music in your ears!

We are very pleased to be bringing you a review of Lisa Bellear’s Aboriginal Country in this issue, written by Dr Estelle CastroKoshy, a French scholar who has been working with Indigenous Australian writers, performers, and filmmakers, for over 15 years. Check out all of the reviews here

As always there were many books that we didn’t manage to get to in the Reviews section. All are well worth a look, including…

I Love Poetry, Michael Farrell, Giramondo

Joao, John Mateer, Giramondo

Poor Man’s Coat: Hardanger Poems, Kit Kelen, UWA Publishing

Open Door, John Kinsella, UWA Publishing

Aqua Spinach, Luke Beesley, Giramondo

Broken Ground, Steve Armstrong, UWA Publishing

Green Shadows and Other Poems, Gerald Murnane, Giramondo

The Bright and the Cold Selected Poems of Anne Elder, Lauranton Books

Legacy, Julie Watts,  UWA Publishing

Moonlight on Oleander Prose Poems, Paul Hetherington, UWA Publishing

Legacy, Julie Watts,  UWA Publishing

Satan Repentant, Michael Aiken, UWA Publishing

Green Dance Tamborine Mountain Poems, Jena Woodhouse, Calanthe Press

Renovating Madness, Karen Knight and Liz McQuilkin, Walleah Press


There’s a lot going on in Australian poetry! And lots for you, the reader, to explore and enjoy in this issue of foam:e.

Click here to read the whole issue, or Poetry, or Reviews

Happy reading

Angela Gardner and Carmen Leigh Keates


Dydd Dewi Sant – March 2019


More information from The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies can be found using the link below. (AIATSIS is an independent Australian Government statutory authority).

Share This

Back to Authors