IT'S BEEN a tremendous few months - and I am struck so deeply again by the power and meaning of community. We writers are often thought of as solitary creatures, housing ourselves within - and there is definitely a truth in the need to be able to burrow out of the world to find the words that make our creative life and work what it is. But so much of what I do, and want to do, is fundamentally linked to others and the idea of contributing to creating and supporting an enriched cultural and political community. THE SALON The new monthly Port Phillip Gilgamesh Salon at Evening Star, which I co-host with owner Renan Goskin, has just completed its third event and the next six months' line-up of stellar Australian writers, poets and thinkers is organised. Join Port Phillip Gilgamesh Readings FB page to review what has been and to stay updated on upcoming events. Next up, 6 May, are poets Homer Rieth and, presenting his digital poems, Benjamin Laird. Celebrated book artist Nicholas Jones, in fellowship presently at the State Library of Victoria, will be showing and discussing some of his precious objects: books regenerated into new forms and being. MC is Matt Hetherington. June 3 features are Gig Ryan and Kent MacCarter. June 16 is a Bloomsday event. One of the core pleasures of the Salon is its Open Mic section to which I am consciously committed: it allows new younger, and older, writers to come forward and to experience and mature themselves in reading and performance. It allows the Salon to 'guest' well-known writers, outside the features, who are attending that month's event. The idea of the salon is to create a space for the generation and discussion of ideas and progressive, current literature. On 15 April, my brother and colleague Dr Kieran Le Plastrier presented a moving paper on the interconnectivity of New Physics, creativity, psychosis and language - and his faith in humans' ability to create alternative pathways to resolve complex issues.The paper and filmclip will be posted to the Port Phillip Gilgamesh Readings FB page soon. CORDITE GUNGOTTON BLOG The two links below go to the first two posts I have made as the new blog editor at online poetry and literary journal CORDITE (www.cordite.org.au). Along with monthly personal posts on writing and literature, there will be guest-posts from Australian writers living in or visiting fascinating places across the globe (a continuation of the NOTES FROM series last year) and other guest-posts as they arise. The first two posts are an interlinked review on Finola Moorhead's reissued A HANDWRITTEN MODERN CLASSIC (Spinifex) and an anthology of Australian female poets WOMEN'S WORK, compiled by Libby Hathorn and Rachael Bailey (Pax Press) - http://cordite.org.au/guncotton/iwd-murder-she-wrote/ - and a kind of literary journalism review of The Real Through Line Poetry Symposium (Monash University/RMIT) on 5 April, convened by Ali Alizadeh and Jessica Wilkinson. The conference, featuring 11 poets, was a brilliant pressurisation around the power of poetic language in relation to 'reality'. Link: http://cordite.org.au/guncotton/suspensions-of-the-real/ POLITICAL COMMENT For this year's International Women's Day, The Age published an opinion column I wrote in response to what I see as a tremendous upswell in the attention being given to women's rights in the past 12 months. Link: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/world-stands-up-for-womens-rights The piece was also written ahead of the rally by the new action-based collective, MELBOURNE FEMINIST ACTION, on 9 March, opposing violence against women. MFA is another example of the potency of community; six months on from its founding by writers and activists, Jacinda Woodhead and Stephanie Convery, it's a privilege to be one of this group, comprising passionate and compassionate, issues-knowledgeable and courageous women and men who still believe in the good fight on behalf of oppressed others - and doing something about it. Next action will be around opposing mandatory detention. Join the Melbourne Feminist Action FB page for updates.