Reading Notes:

Billy Tea and Sand Ballet

The poems in this collection are grouped under headings such as ‘Zen and the Art of Hope’, ‘One for the Road’ and ‘A History Lesson’. The great themes of poetry are all there, encapsulated in verses about the ordinariness of life as it presents itself, or is presented, daily, but it is the migrant experience—this being caught between pulling out one’s roots and planting them anew—which has particularly influenced Stein’s poetry.
‘Stein’, writes Lynette Kirby, ‘dares us to confront pretence and fundamental human issues of suppression and misused power in an incisive mix of exploration and analysis which goes straight to the emotional core’ (cover blurb). In reading this poetry, Maureen Cooneys finds herself exploring aspects of herself (Women’s Library Inc. Newsletter, Vol 6, Issue 6, December 1998); Susan Lever classifies these poems as being written ‘in the self-expressive mode’ (ABR, Oct 1996, p.57); Roslyn Gross emphasises ‘the deep love of the Australian landscape, which is evident in many of [the] poems’ (The Australian Jewish News, Melbourne Edition, Friday July 18, 1997), and Jane Stranger describes this collection as one which ‘you will read many times to taste [its] full flavour’(Womens VIEW, Autumn 1999)

About the Author

Clarissa Stein, Diplom Finanzwirt-(FH), was born in Munich, Bavaria. She graduated from the Bavarian Beamtenfachhochschule in Herrsching, in 1975, and worked as a public servant in the Bavarian Taxation Department before moving to Australia.
She currently lives in the Melbourne suburb of Upper Ferntree Gully with her husband, dogs and cats.
She began writing poetry in her native language, German, in the early 1970s. In her eighth year after coming to Australia she founded Papyrus Publishing. She is the inaugurator and editor of the Australian Multicultural Book Review, and has since 1991 been struggling to publish mainly the voices that need to be heard.
Stein has been a guest speaker at Monash Alumni 66 and the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, and has read her poetry at various festivals, such as The National Poetry Festival at Prahran (1997) and Montsalvat (1994). Her short story, Transition, written while studying Literature at Deakin University, was selected by Frank Moorhouse and published in Fiction 88, ABC/ABA Literary Awards-Best of the State of the Art Short Stories by ABC Enterprises for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1988.
Stein is available for interviews or one day seminars on writing and publishing.

For further information please contact:

   Papyrus Publishing, PO Box 7144
   Upper Ferntree Gully, Vic 3156 Australia.
   Phone: 03-9758 7395; Fax 03-9752 4034

Other poetry collections by Clarissa Stein

   New Melodies—Neue Melodien (1991, bilingual)
   Notes From My Land (1993)
   Hermit Woman and Butterfly (forthcoming 2002)

Questions Raised by the Book


Fragments of Laughter

Fragments of laughter
in the yellow house
despite fear
Yesterday children were skating
on the frozen lake
today they skate
on the image of war
their eyes, camellia-red roses
burning themselves
into the sorrow of the icon
Fragments of laughter
despite fear
Spring hanging in the air
like a stained
glass-window above the altar.