Steve Evans


Steve Evans teaches in writing craft and literature courses at Flinders University, including Creative Nonfiction, Narrative & Storytelling, Publishing & Editing, and Short Stories & Their Writers. Bonetown (1994), his third collection, was shortlisted for the John Bray Poetry Award in the 1996 Adelaide Festival of Arts Literary Prizes, and he has won numerous other awards. Luminous Fruit and a selected works, Useful Translations, were released in 2003. His sixth collection, Taking Shape, was launched at Writers’ Week in 2004.

In 2002 Steve co-wrote Lift Off!: An introductory course in creative writing with his wife, Kate Deller-Evans. They recently co-edited Another Universe: Friendly Street Poets 28. The latest anthology of poems from the Friendly Street readings, this represents the best of the poems read in 2003, and it will also be launched at Writers’ Week in 2004.

Steve holds several editing posts, is a freelance editor and manuscript assessor, and loves to run writing workshops.

The Invention of Fire

Her stop approaches.
The girl in front of me stands,
shakes her red hair back,
and then it happens.
As the bus leaves the shaded avenue
the light pours in
and her hair ignites.
I gape like a tourist,
want to drift my hands
through this flood of flame.
Such a fiery distraction
I forget the introduction
I’ve rehearsed for blocks
and abandoning care
stare too obviously
as she descends,
a torch in the suburbs.

From Friendly Street No. 10 and Tuesday Night Live


We slake our thirst
mouth to mouth.
The want’s bone-deep
and can’t be shaken.
My hands too few,
kids in a sweet shop
loitering at one delight
while giddily craving the next.
The amazing convexities
the offerings of arc
and circle.
You turn to let a breast
weigh itself in my hand.

We nip and bruise in play
give up to dazzle and
sheets and pillows strewn
the bed can hardly contain
You pull me down
and fall back laughing.
We’re skin-slipping
and kiss-sticky.
The heat’s in us.

We stroke and sigh
on the edge of trance,
a slow languorous sinking
soft as the afternoon shadows
that laze into the room
dappling us like
fish in a sleepy pond.
Your hair’s alight in my fingers,
the day’s last flaring.
I dip my tongue in the hollow
your collarbone makes,
shape a necklace of kisses.
It is loving work.

The dark laps in,
its gradual erasure
of door, chair, clothes
making us an island
of touch and warmth.

From Friendly Street No. 11 and Tuesday Night Live

When I Was Your Mouth

when I was your mouth
I licked your lips
and bit your tongue
I made knots of sentences
that couldn’t be undone
I sang your voice for hours
and said my own name over
just to hear it said
I smacked your lips with pleasure
I poked your tongue at children
made a twisting sort of smile
I argued with the neighbours
painted that full circle wild
caterwauled at moony skies
and pouted film star style
I yawned in crazy ovals
wide as a cat’s miaow
I puckered your lips for kissing
I was so versatile

when I was your mouth
I didn’t want to let it go
I worked out how it worked
the mechanics were easy
an open and shut case
a drawstring purse
a wet pocket I’d pick anytime

before I was your mouth
I wanted only that soft weapon
before I was your mouth
my words only scratched
at meanings in the world

From Friendly Street No. 20