This week we talk to Kathleen Bleakley about ‘Loaded Fries’ which appears in Time, the latest Microlit anthology edited by Cassandra Atherton and published in 2018 by Spineless Wonders. In this interview, Kathleen  talks about her approach to writing microlit, what she is reading right now and her favourite time of year for putting pen to paper.

  1. Tell us about the inspiration behind your microlit for the Time

‘loaded fries’ evolved from a growing disdain and at times despair with the ‘franchising’ of the world….mass consumption of fast food – highly processed and seductive….. and of commodities. mass media…masses not thinking for themselves let alone critically….

so no ‘fries with that’ but what can I/we do: keep breathing, thinking, acting, planting trees…seeking alternatives to a franchised world!

globalisation and australia’s allegiances to stars and stripes isn’t a new phenomenon…if the current leader of the world reminds one of john wayne then what does that say!?

  1. When it comes to microlit, do you generally start wide and then cut down or do you always plan to write a particular piece as microlit?

it varies. sometimes i adapt poem/s with line breaks (usually free verse) to a prose poem. on this occasion, the writing group I’m in (facilitated by ron pretty) had an exercise to write a rave, inspired by allen ginsberg’s ‘howl’. my rave got trimmed down to become ‘loaded fries’ the prose poem.

  1. How do you balance reading time with writing time? And tell us about the book/s you are reading at the moment.

i write a daily journal, usually at breakfast. i’m an ultra early riser. journal writing is personal reflection & expression, generally different from poetry though sometimes dreams make it into my poems (& journal).

reading like writing (see 4th Q) varies: sometimes before bed, often travelling even on local busses & trains.

yann martel’s novel life of pi: i didn’t read it when it came out 15 years ago. it was my pick from my partner’s parents book shelves/estate (early this year). am enjoying the witty observations of religious practices and notions from the perspective of an inquisitive youth!

  1. What is your favourite season? Do you prefer to write in winter or summer and why?

summer, i adore swimming! the ocean, beaches & rockpools brought me back to the illawarra after years in canberra. love daylight saving – longer evenings for beaching etc – quality of summer light appeals to my poetic and my partner ‘pling who is a photographer and my artistic collaborator. have also lived & travelled in the northern hemisphere eg in sweden where it’s light almost all night…enchanting! ‘pling and i created lightseekers, a collection of my poetry and his images. (print on demand, Ginninderra Press)

my writing patterns vary: often write when travelling especially on trains. new and changing stimulus, space/time and rhythm to find and play with creative thoughts. i also write to internal and external tasks eg current manuscript; poetry group exercise; submission for an anthology or competition.


KATHLEEN BLEAKLEY has three collections (with Ginninderra Press): Azure, 2017; Lightseekers, photography by ‘pling, 2015; and jumping out of cars, with Andrea Gawthorne, images by ‘pling, 2004.