Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Onwards to 2010

Our 2009 blog is closed now, but if you're following us, we'd love to see you visit us in 2010. You can link to our new blog here.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Final Rotunda night

Here's a reminder from Bruno about our final Rotunda event for this year:

Professional Writing and Editing (TAFE) presents

ROTUNDA in the WEST: Conversations with Australian Writers

Michael McGirr -“Lost Art of Sleep”
-“Things you get for free”
-“Bypass: The Story of a Road”
Enza Gandolfo -“Swimming” - recently launched at Melbourne Writers Festival by Helen
Garner and VU lecturer in Professional Writing and Editing
John Weldon -writer of “In Sunshine”(short piece) lecturer in Professional Writing(VU),
former CAE lecturer and much more

Thursday 12th November
6.30pm for 7pm start
@ Toniq BarBuilding M (level 0)
-drinks at bar prices
Footscray Park campus
Victoria University
Ballarat Road
$10 or $5 concession (includes finger food)

RSVP (Essential)

-Last Rotunda for 2009
William McInnes as promised will come in 2010

Wave back very soon per favore - let us know you’re coming and put on your dancing shoes
http://groups.vu.edu.au/wws/arc/st.albans/2009-11/bruno.lettieri@vu.edu.au 0422 29 86 43

Rotunda is proudly supported by
Office for Industry and Community Engagement
Office of Vocational Education

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Another Rotunda event

Here's a reminder from Bruno:

Dear Rotundians, dear lovers of books and beautiful language, dear chance visitors to Victoria’s, dear never-beens to Victoria’s (everybody welcome!!)

This is our last chance to gather there for..


READINGS and MUSIC and delicious food and wine and heartening conversation
(and perhaps some dancing-who knows??)

Guest readers: Poet extraordinaire Kristin Henry
Local legend Barry Garner
“Westgate Sister” Margaret McCarthy
Plus music and songs
Light meal $20
Drinks available from bar

Wednesday 21st October
kicks off @6pm
Victoria’s Restaurant
Building 1
Sunbury Campus
Victoria University

We are strictly limited to 60 places. Please book early. We need exact bookings too

-per favore
RSVP (essential):
0422 298 643
Please give me a wave to let us know message received! Grazie.


Monday, 7 September 2009

My Writing Process

I have been writing since I was a small child, though back then most of my manuscripts never made it past the first chapter before I either got bored or had a burst of inspiration for another story. Cleaning out my desk a few months ago, I found about twenty different exercise books, in which I had scribbled out plots and character templates to use for a series of stories I was planning to write.
The matter is now humorous considering, ten or so years on, I am studying how to do that professionally. What seemed like years of mucking around and having fun, may in fact turn out to be what I do for a living one day. It goes to show that people can discover their calling even at so young an age.
Despite all those years, however—all of the high school English classes and a year and a half’s worth of studying professional writing, I find that my methods of creating a story haven’t changed that dramatically. I still write in exercise books and write out my ideas on post-it notes; I still draw inspiration from music, film, literature and art, and continue to plunge into a story that has not yet revealed itself to me.
I have always believed that characters make a story. If they are not strong or relatable enough, the story will not be as successful. This is why I tend to start with them.
I feel as though a writer must care for and treat their characters as though they are their own children. Of course, we all want to look after our characters, to protect them as we would our kids. But we also know that they have to make mistakes and run into trouble every now and then in order to survive and grow. It’s a harsh world and we cannot mollycoddle them forever. It has been a struggle to do so, but eventually I had to learn to just let go and let them experience that thing called life.
Once I feel I have a grasp on who my characters are, the rest kind of writes itself. Every other aspect of the story holds a smaller significance and I tend not to spend much time on those things. I choose whatever setting feels right for the characters or the storyline. Something I feel I know reasonably well and that speaks out to me. The rest, you can say, is history.
Lucky for the trees, I now have my own computer, so I don’t use as many exercise books as I did before. Though, I’ve still kept them all, hoping that one day I’ll finish one of them off.
They also serve as a security blanket and a reminder, on those days when I don’t feel as motivated or inspired, that this is what I have always wanted to do, and will hopefully continue to do for a great while longer.

Hayley Thom, novel student

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Platform 4 calling for submissions

In another email from Bruno. Contact me Tracey.Rolfe@vu.edu.au if you want me to forward the ideas list -- it's taken from a published book, which I don't have permission to post here...

Dear students, teachers, writers, support staff, counsellors, members of the western suburbs,

We are calling for new writing for Edition 4 of Platform due out in early term 4.

Platform comes out of the program of Youth, VCE and Community Education-within VU College, Victoria University

Everybody welcome to submit pieces and we will endeavour to give as many people a voice as possible.

Writing due: Friday 18th September

Platform is focused at the young student at VU...Platform is about
Age speaking to Youth
Youth to Age

Email your pieces to:

please find attached a list of ideas-but don’t be constrained by that at all...

keep writing!!!!!
Bruno Lettieri
on behalf of

Megan Green and Martina Michael

Another chance to workshop

Want a fresh eye to look over some of your work. Here's an offer by the Higher Ed people, which all of you students are eligible to take up. Obviously the first few dates have passed, but this is in the current global email list, so there are probably spots in later dates...

Writing Central
VU General Writing Workshops for All Students and All Staff.
Up and Running Again for Semester two

This is a wonderful opportunity for all those who love writing or for those who keep their writing cards close to their chest.
Tuesday Aug 11 will be the first writing workshop for anybody at VU who would like their piece of writing read, workshopped, commented on, etc.
Any kind of writing is OK - poetry, short stories, writing assignments, hip hop/rap, lyrics, journalism, plays, early steps towards a novel ...
Anybody is welcome.
Even if all you have is a vague idea for a story.
All workshops will be held in an atmosphere of friendly support and advice.
The sessions are held at St Albans campus and will run for an hour. Bring your lunch, come when you can, sit and listen or contribute.

We can probably look at 4 pieces each workshop. If you have a piece you'd like feedback on send it through to me electronically for photocopying:
michael.hyde@vu.edu.au . First in best dressed.
Feel free to pass on to your lists.

Workshop dates for this semester:

Tuesday Aug 11 Room 4C337 12 to 1pm
Monday Aug 31 Room 4C337 1 to 2pm
Tuesday Sept 15 Room 4C337 12 to 1pm
Tuesday Oct 6 Room 4C337 12 to 1pm
Tuesday Oct 20 Room 4C337 12 to 1pm

Next Rotunda event (after tonight!)

And news of the next Rotunda event, which will be back in the Toniq Bar...

Just when you thought we'd never be back at the Toniq Bar @ Footscray Park and see that river and that racetrack and those open sports fields.
Just when you thought
Don Watson was only on Bruno's wish list and would never materialise.

Just when you were despairing that public language would never find its vitality and vibrancy and poetry.

Just when you thought music and conversation and wine and camaraderie couldn't all meet in the same space

Rotunda in the West: Conversations with Australian Writers
brought to you by

Professional Writing and Editing (TAFE)


Don Watson,
"American Journeys"
"Recollections of a Bleeding Heart"
"On Indignation"
"Death Sentence-The Decay of Public Language"

Thursday, 17th September 2009
6.30pm for 7pm start

Venue: TONIQ BAR (drinks at bar prices)
Building M (level 0)
Footscray Park campus
Victoria University
Ballarat Road

$10 or $5 (concession)

RSVP essential: b
0422 29 86 43

Please wave back and tell us you, your friends, your students are coming.
Grazie mille!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rotunda in the West is proudly supported by Office for Industry and Community Engagement
and Office for Vocational Education

Rotunda tonight!

Here's the latest news from Bruno:

Rotunda in the West: Conversations with Australian Writers

in the spirit of community engagement


Brimbank Literary Festival
@ Australian Technical College, Sunshine

A three way PARTNERSHIP between VU, Brimbank Literary Festival and ATC Sunshine

Tuesday 1st September
free event
Venue: ATC Sunshine
76 Suffolk Rd
(wine and finger food served)

Special Guests:

Hannie Rayson (playwright, columnist)
in conversation with

Michael Cathcart (historian, broadcaster)

Please wave back and indicate your interest...open to all.
Just a five minute drive from Rotunda's traditional home.
Please pass on this invitation.

Grazie mille
Bruno Lettieri
0422 29 86 43


Rotunda in the West is hosted by Professional Writing and Editing (TAFE) @ VU
Supported generously by: Office for Industry and Community Engagement
Office of Vocational Education

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

My writing process: A metaphorical musing

Once upon a time, I approached writing in the way a builder approaches a satellite dish. Writing was the high point I was working towards, but there always seemed to be something more important to do first. I had foundations to lay, walls to build and all sorts of other things that needed to be in place before I had somewhere to install my dish.

After many years of construction, I bolted the satellite dish to my roof, positioned myself in front of the screen and waited for the stories to come beaming in. I realised then that I wasn’t just receiving Channel Write. I’d subscribed to an entire catalogue of entertainment, from blogging and online newspapers to movie reviews and Minesweeper, which tempted me into channel-surfing when reception from Channel Write faltered. Which, to my dismay, it often did.

Like many writers, I’d have some days when the signal was clear and flawless. It was as though words were beamed straight onto the screen from a dazzling distant satellite. Productive though those days were, they were rare and presented a standard against which ordinary days just couldn’t compete. On days when the reception was weak, I’d decide I just “wasn’t inspired” and tune in to something else.

It took years of not enough progress before I concluded that I needed to hire a team of electricians. I hunted around for recommendations, and decided that PWE were the people for the job. Once I had teachers clambering around my roof with tools like deadlines, marks and fellow students, my reception improved dramatically.

Alas, just when my dish was adjusted just right, the entire satellite was knocked off course by Comet Baby. These days, I can only tune in to Channel Write when he’s taken out of orbit, either by another carer or by sleep, something he only does for longer than 45 minute intervals at night.

Complicated Foxtel metaphors aside, a lifetime of procrastination has yielded a few thoughts for writers with self-discipline issues. These are:

1. When inspiration does strike, run with it as far as you can. When it doesn’t, make yourself write anyway.

2. Give yourself permission to write badly. If your scene isn’t working, don’t stop: sling something dodgy together and fix it later.

3. If you know what’s going to happen but can’t bring yourself to write the actual chapter, dot point your way to scenes you *can* write. Writing a scene that works usually helps you see how to write the scenes before it.

4. Don’t kid yourself that your genius needs no writing course! Writing courses can be very helpful for honing your craft and making you write, especially if you’re the sort of person who thrives on structure and deadlines.

I’d best be off to tend to the Comet now. Not sure if the above constitutes a discussion of my writing process, exactly, but hey – if I’m told it’s not appropriate I can always file it under item 2 and whip up something else.


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Details of the next Rotunda event

Fresh in from Bruno:

Rotunda in the West: Conversations with Australian Writers

in the spirit of community engagement


Brimbank Literary Festival
@ Australian Technical College, Sunshine

A three way PARTNERSHIP between VU, Brimbank Literary Festival and ATC Sunshine

Tuesday 1st September
free event
Venue: ATC Sunshine
76 Suffolk Rd
(wine and finger food served)

Special Guests:

Hannie Rayson (playwright, columnist)
in conversation with

Michael Cathcart (historian, broadcaster)


Please wave back and indicate your interest...open to all.
Just a five minute drive from Rotunda's traditional home.
Please pass on this invitation.

Grazie mille
Bruno Lettieri
0422 29 86 43


Rotunda in the West is hosted by Professional Writing and Editing (TAFE) @ VU
Supported generously by: Office of Community Engagement
Office of Vocational Education

Thursday, 6 August 2009

PWE book

Don't forget to submit something for the annual PWE book. This year's theme is fire and flood. Anything's welcome on these themes, so if you have a short story, poetry, script, novel extract that you want considered, we suggest you show it to one of your teachers first to get some feedback, then submit it to Susanna ASAP!

SEED is on the hunt for submissions

This is just in from the Seed editors. Note that as well as offering publishing opportunities, there's a chance to put your hand up to grab some editing or proofreading experience! All three editors are past PWE students, so they know the type of experience you're like to have, so why not go for it? Help them out and help yourselves establish a track record at the same time.

Attention all VU Writers and Artists!

We want to publish your work, opinions, thoughts and ideas!

This is just in from the Seed editors. Note that as well as offering publishing opportunities, there's a chance to put your hand up to grab some editing or proofreading experience! All three editors are past PWE students, so they know the type of experience you're like to have, so why not go for it?

We are now taking submissions for Issue Four (Deadlines: articles/artwork – September 4th; advertisements – September 6th). The theme is CENSORSHIP & the UNDERGROUND.Censorship comes in many forms. There's self-censoring, censoring of children, billboard censorship, government policies censoring our media intake, military powerbrokers censoring what is reported to us—the general public. The underground: pretty straight forward in relation, so interpret however you will—go wild. Sends us your submissions, and do so uncensored. You can choose any topic, touch on any subject: just try to relate it (however remotely) back to the theme.

Submit your essays, reviews, fiction/non-fiction pieces, poetry, artwork, etc to: seedmag@hotmail.com

Guidelines are as follows:


Format: Times New Roman, 12pt, single space

Article word count: 1500 words (flexible for essays)

Reviews, Letters and Opinions word count: between 200-250 words

Any picture you wish to submit with articles will be considered, and should conform to the requirements below:


High resolution digital photo or scan minimum of 300 dpi

.TIFF and .JPG file format

File title to include a brief description of work


All email submissions must have a title and author name in the subject field. In addition, title, author name and contact details must be included in any article, review, poem or artwork.

Writers/illustrators will be notified via email as to whether or not their work has been selected for publication. Submissions will be edited and you may be contacted by an editor throughout the process.

A Few Sections to Poke your Pen at (hopefully regular)

· Letters and Opinions: respond to previously published work, comment on a current issue, or just have a good whinge about something (not a waxing rant though—about 200 words).

· Around Uni: Write about VU—events, services, faculties, internship programs, history, anything.

· Student Successes: know anyone whose taken off from the VU launch pad? Interview them—let us all know what they’re up to and how they got there.

· Reviews: give us your take on a record, book, live performance, festival, venue, sporting event, etc. You can either snatch the material we tee up (email your interest—first in best dressed) or bring your own gear to the party.

The following books are available to review from SEED:

Adam Creed – Suffer the Children

Julie Myerson – The Lost Child

Carlos Ruiz Zafón РThe Shadow of the Wind

Anne Michaels – The Winter Vault

Glenn Cooper – Library of the Dead

Gail Jones – Black Mirror

Jason Goodwin – The Bellini Card

Contact the SEED email to express your interest in reviewing one of these titles.

Act Now

SEED avidly seeks contributions from areas across all VU faculties: Arts, Education and Human Development; Business and Law; Health, Engineering and Science.

If you would like to get your hand into a bit of editing/proofreading, SEED is now also looking for volunteers who would like to become involved in the production of SEED.

For any and all enquires, suggestions, questions and submission pitches, please contact us at seedmag@hotmail.com

We look forward to working with you.



Maria Matina Brewster Hipik Matty Buschmann

Managing Editor Editor Editor

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Fresh in from Bruno

Professional Writing and Editing (TAFE) @ Victoria University

Rotunda in the West: Conversations with Australian Writers
goes to
August Arts =Wyndham Arts Month

Helen Garner :
an afternoon
(The Spare Room, Joe Cinque’s Consolation, Cosmo Cosmolino and more)


Quarter Hour Taster sessions in CREATIVE WRITING (poetry, short short story, non-fiction, life writing)

Saturday 15th August
2pm start for free taster sessions (4 sessions on a speedy rotation)
musical interlude
3.30pm Helen Garner readings

Wyndham Civic Centre
45 Princes Hwy
Werribee (Melways 206 B7)

Free Event

Guests are asked to bring along some wine or soft drinks or a plate for the communal refreshments table

A collaboration between Wyndham Arts and Cultural Development and Rotunda in the West

RSVP (essential): bruno.lettieri@vu.edu.au
0422 29 86 43

Please let us know you are coming
Please circulate among friends and fellow students and writers
Wave back and tell us you’re coming.


Bruno Lettieri

Ps-Look out for Hannie Rayson, Michael Cathcart, Don Watson, William McInnes, Sarah Watt @ Rotunda in the West

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Poetry compilation from Rob's Poetry 1 class

Food for thought


Your light is like a pizza
It fills the pan and tastes like love
has been baked deep dish into the very crusts
I want to cut it up and share it with the rest of my friends
And I want to save some for the hungry days without hope
The uninspired, tasteless days where nothing is good
Or the crazy flavoured days
where the mix should be tossed out and tried again or given up
burnt pan, cold stove,
I want to melt in the warmth of your deliciousness and fold
generous portions in half and savour each bite
yet gorge myself ‘til I’m sick with you and
still lick up every last crumb.



Chocolate makes you feel sick
It rots your teeth, gives you ulcers
It melts into your clothes
It’s brown and disgusting
360 degrees fat.

Chocolate ate all your homework
It changed the score on your test
It killed your best friend
And when they came to arrest you
No one suspected.

Chocolate is evil
It will betray you
When you need it, it’s not there
It will break your heart and make your head spin
It will contaminate you.

Chocolate sank the Titanic
It started World War 1
It rigged the election
It spat in your face
It didn’t care when you cried.

Chocolate is a drug
It’s a crime wave, a mob boss
There’s no going back
You can’t help it
There’s never enough.


A Gourmet’s Delight

Mamma Mia an abundance of choice
Spaghetti, Ravioli, lasagne
Hot from the pan
Delicious and yummy
Filled with cheese
Layered with meat
Oozing with flavour
Spinach and ricotta
Tortellini if you please
No wait a minute, maybe
Macaroni and cheese.

My favourite dish
when I was a kid
Spaghetti and meatballs
piled high on my plate
Swirled around and around
On my fork,
Strands sucked in till
It hurts my cheeks
Dripping with sauce
Rolls down my chin
Play catch the meatballs
If you can.


Cake is the Food
that everyone loves.

Cake is the Wedding,
the love, the dancing,
the icing.
The way to celebrate forever.

Cake is the Pan
on a cold winter’s morning,
smothered in butter,
strawberries and syrup.

Cake is the Fairy
that sprinkles its sugar
like dust across
eager fingers.

Cake is the Devil’s Food
that grows in Eden.
It’s forbidden, delicious
and tempting with every bite.

Cake is the Mud
spread across your face.
When you’re a child
everything brown is suspicious.

Cake is the Birthday
the presents and candles,
that represent
a passing year.

Cake is the Sponge
that soaks up the sadness,
bathes you in happiness.
Washes your worries away.


Death By CheeseCake

I swallow
My eyes closed
Enjoying the sin
I mourn
the calories
that will forever
blossom across my
ever-expanding hips
I grieve
loss of discipline
hours wasted in the gym
in just one mouthful
Finally when the last crumb
is laid to rest
On my tombstone
will be written


Liquorice Allsorts

Liquorice Allsorts
are what they were called
Soft and sweet
a taste to behold.
Yellow and green
pressed between black
a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
A sugar attack.
Long sleepless nights
spent in awe of their taste
Where they hung in darkness
Full of soft sugar paste.



The Cheese is not old;
it’s not mouldy anymore.
It no longer smells;
there is no offensive odour.

It no longer makes you
sick to your stomach.
it’s like Brie cheese;
A treat before dinner.
It’s turned into the
cheesy goodness
of a perfectly made sandwich
satisfying and fulfilling
like Christmas lunch.

But it is more than food
more than the fulfilment
of cheese and wine.
It’s a daily intake
of necessity
in my bones.

I could never turn vegan.


Eat this Poem

Overwhelmed with

The variety

“If you don’t eat something you will die.”

But I can’t decide
what to eat!

“Just take from this fruit bowl for
‘yes to food is yes to life’.”

suck suck. suck that orange
swig swig. swig my champagne
swimming up through my nose and around my head

cut cut. cut the camembert
taste taste. taste the meat sauce
Dangle the olives still attached to the vine

try try. the Cajun trevally
sip sip. at the curry laksa
hot to kill any lurgy, taste buds at the fore

swallow swallow the apple and guava juice –
Bite bite the papaya –
See see those northern lights –
Ride ride that motorbike –
So much to eat!

And if I see a vague customer I’ll shout at them to:
Eat the moment.
Eat the song.
Eat the book.
Eat the world
Eat the feeling.
Eat the person.
Eat the menu.
Eat this poem.


Layered biscuit dessert

Layered biscuit dessert
Unforgettable like yesterday
Mysterious like tomorrow
Like life, has three layers
Childhood, youth and adulthood.
Each stage is carefully layered

Layered biscuit dessert
Biscuits come first
Representing childhood
Sour cream next
representing mistakes
Thick custard last
representing consequences.

Layered biscuit dessert
Be careful with each stage
Once it’s done, it cannot be undone
Once a mistake is done it cannot be undone.

Control each stage.
Plan each move.
Perfect each layer.


Recipe for Poetry Class
Start with a tablespoon of Steph
to add decency
As well as a dash of Antoinette
to add loveliness.

Followed by a half a cup of Christine
to add simplicity
And a pound of John
to add wisdom.

Next add a litre of Judith
to sweeten things up
And a pinch of Mel
to add liveliness.

Mix in a teaspoon of Sarah
to make things sincere
Add a handful of Tai
to add romance.

Splash in some Antonia
to add generosity
as well as three drops of Andrew
to add life experience.

Plus half a loaf of Melita
to add quirkiness
and two cups of Tommy
to turn the mixture honest.

Add in seven grams of Austin
which will make things unique
and a touch of Huda
for wittiness.

Sprinkle in some Tarryn
to inspire
and five mills of Elyse
to add grace.

And last of all
add in an ounce of Rob
to make everything

Bake in an oven with love
kindness and friendship.
And please
handle with care.


Thursday, 11 June 2009

My Writing Process

A blank screen: I stare at that a lot. I know it as well as the back of my hand (I stare at that too). So much, so, that I’ve even named it…Blanky, Oh, when Blanky shows up I feel like throwing myself down a flight of stairs. Luckily for me, our house has no stairs. Instead, I scream out vulgar phrases at the screen, being typing, stop, delete everything (I don’t get far, maybe a sentence) I’ve just written, then go back to screaming. It’s a tedious routine.

And this only happens when I’m writing the one, the novel I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into (evil, soul-sucking novel, ggrr!). For this novel, (titled: Bloodstone), I can’t write a chapter unless I know EVERYTHING: from an insignificant butt scratch, to the bloodiest gun battle. I need to know, because if I don’t know, it doesn’t feel right. When it doesn’t feel right, I dump it into my draft folder and let it rot there for all eternity. Yes, I probably should see some counseling…after I write this damn thing!

So, my writing process? PLANNING, lots and lots of planning. Some say that too much planning takes away the ‘magic’, and so, you don’t want to write it anymore. I hope I’m not the only one, but it’s different for me. I don’t ever come across such feelings. I get a lot of joy from planning, a lot of inspirational thoughts, moments, etc. And then, when it’s a great idea, I’m hyped and ready to write. If I don’t plan, I feel like I’m stumbling around in the dark, looking for the light-switch.

And whenever I’m in doubt, I run to Jess and Marie. THANK GOD FOR JESS AND MARIE! Feedback can open your eyes to an undiscovered route.

So there, my not-so-amazing writing process.

By, JJ :)