Australian Poet/Writer/Editor: Phillip A. Ellis

Tell us about yourself—where you are from, education or lack of, family roots, some background.


I am an Australian poet, born in the region called Gippsland, which is in the Eastern part of Victoria. I have, since, slowly moved up the Eastern seaboard of Australia, spending my teen years in Wollongong and its environs, half of my twenties in Sydney, half in Armidale, a university town in the New England district, and the rest of my life around Tweed Heads.


Education-wise, I have a BA (Hons) with a major in English, and I am applying to do an MA via the University of Queensland.


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?


I've always wanted to write, though I've only wanted to write poetry since I turned sixteen.


How long have you been writing? Elaborate, not just yes, no.


I have been writing poetry for almost thirty years, and published for just over fifteen.


Have you always wanted to be a published writer?  Elaborate, not just yes, no.


Being published has always been a goal of mine, but not just one book, rather, many of them.


When do you write?  When do you not?


Most days I write a poem in the morning. I say this because a number of years, over the last decade, have been spent writing a poem a day over a year. Otherwise I write when I can find the time and energy.


What resources online (include links and websites) help you most as a writer?


Duotrope's Digest:

The Internet Archive:


Is being a writer/poet anything like you imagined it would be? Elaborate, not just yes, no.


Since I have always had the desire to write I have always had a strong sense of what it is like to create. So in that sense my imagination has been tempered by reality. However, the development of the internet has changed that reality in ways unimaginable to a child born in the late sixties, so there are aspects which remain unimaginable in my youth.


Have you figured out a way of making money as a writer or poet?  Elaborate, not just yes, no.


I've found that the most dependable money as a poet comes from activities peripheral to the act of writing and getting published. So workshops, etcetera. Grants and competitions and awards are also possible, though requiring hard work with little promise of reward.


What inspires you to write and do you remember the exact moment you knew you wanted to be a writer?

It's not so much what inspires me as what keeps me writing when I get so little material rewards. And that is, I guess, a fear of the misery of not writing, an avoidance of mental and emotional pain.


Who are notable authors who have influence your writing?


Christopher Brennan, Kenneth Slessor, John Tranter and Hugh McCrae are all Australian poets that have influenced me. Others, non-Australian, include Dowson, Eliot, Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and so on. However, the more I read the more I learn tricks, tips, or sleights of hand, from all of the poets I read.


Do you follow a strict writing schedule or just write when the spirit hits you?


Both: I write, this year, a poem in the morning, then, when I get time during the day, up to eight or ten more poems. I also spend a lot of time revising, and making notes and outlines.


What stimulates or motivates you to write: nature, human events, a little wine or vodka, or did I miss something?-this is a being honest with yourself question. Where/how do you find the most inspiration?


Everywhere and nowhere stimulates me. As a writer, the more you write the more ideas you get; as a poet, the more poetry you write the more you are inspired. The muse can be persuaded, after all.


What type of stories, poetry, and/or fiction do you like to read, imitate, or write?


I like to explore lyric and narrative poetry, in particular, and am working towards a series of interlinked verse novels and verse romances.


Can you tell me what tools, resources, or how or your working to grow as an artist? What tools, resources, or how or you working to grow as an artist? Please list their names, websites and links.


The basic tools I use are a word processor, email, and the notebook app on my iPhone. The latter frees me to be able to write in transit, so I can get out of the house, and to email the drafts to myself.


If you had to choose, what would you say are the two best poems, flash fiction, or short stories you have ever written to this date?  Would you like to share a link to those works-or send them the works themselves to my email? Send personal photo if available.


I find it hard to choose among my best outside of a specific need to choose for a book, chapbook, or market. I concentrate more on the poems I'm writing now, and wait until I need to choose. In essence I select based on a theme or narrative arc, with emphasis on those already selected for publication.

Editor note:  Phillip A. Ellis has chosen to share two sonnets with us that are new and unpublished, from a chapbook presently in progress as of September 2012.

"Sonnet I"
By Phillip A. Ellis

I speak in the voice of a catbird,
and echo my mews from tree to tree,
in the rainforests of my continent,
contented with the greenery
and free to echo my muse in,
first, eight lines, then six
as I seal up the box of my verse,
and as I set to flightfulness.

Energy from the sun drives this carbon
as I settle in the undergrowth,
and the canopy drops its leaves around
like a smoker with its residue,
save that the leaves are not litter
to those who would profit by them.


"Sonnet II"
By Phillip A. Ellis

Magpies wolf whistle at the morning sun
yet complain that it has forgotten the urn
of tepid water with which to gargle
and open up their singing voices on,
and in doing so the floodlights purr up,
up in the blank canvas of the sky
and the sun sashays towards the evening
and the bump and grind that is its night-work.

I'm here with a cuppa I made earlier,
speaking to the magpies in a catty tone of voice
as if the sun and I were giggling twins
just gagging for action with the wildlife,
not that it hinders or helps (they keep whistling)
and not that I am anything but stage prompt.

What’ is our opinion on self-publishing as opposed to traditional publishing? Please list for our readers the publisher(s), POD (print on demand) or self publishing you use or have used. If use have used traditional publishers who are they? Give us a sense of your personal experience and attitudes toward them.

Self publishing is, and has always been, one option for poets. It's as valid as any other. I've done limited runs of broadsheets and the like, as it happens, all essentially marked as privately published, rather than under the imprimatur of a publisher. As for conventional publishers, I've had a few, such as Gothic Press, and Hippocampus Press, but for poetry I am very interested in keeping published by places like Picaro Press, places that support Australian poetry in innovative and unique ways.


Do you have any parting words for our readers; any words of wisdom to share?


It doesn't matter how you write so long as you are professional at getting it out there.


Are you trying anything new: video's on line, MP3 audio files, any particular writing forums that attract you? Please list their names, websites and links.


Not at the moment. 2013: I plan on working on video and audio, though, recording as many as I can get and encouraging others to do likewise, as I find the promise afforded by multiple readers to be very exciting and inspiring.


By what methods or sources are you trying to market your works with? Do you find marketing your works for exposure easy or difficult? Please list their names, websites and links.


Part of this is through the usual social media, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etcetera, part is through getting the poems out there and linking to them from my website (see below). Trying to keep an up-to-date bibliography is part of the process, but a lot of the work is forging genuine relationships with readers and fellow poets, and boosting them as par for the course.


Where can we find your works? Feel free to show links or websites.


The best bet is to go via my website, or searching my writing name.  If the latter, the best results are by searching the whole, “Phillip A. Ellis”.



The bibliography links to most of my work online.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Phillip, and writing resources you can share would be appreciated especially from your point of view and your homeland.