Mike Ladd

In 2009, Australian poet Mike Ladd spent some time at Rimbun Dahan working on four-lined poems inspired by the Malaysian pantun form, as well as writing a prose fiction work about corruption and the world trade in orangutans as pets.

In July 2010 Mike Ladd launched “The Eye of the Day”, a film poem he made during his residency at Rimbun Dahan, at the Lit Up Festival in Singapore. The film features Rumah Uda Manap, the restored Perak kampung house at Rimbun Dahan. Former resident artist Tony Twigg exhibited the film at his Slot Gallery in Sydney.

In September 2010, “The Eye of the Day” won equal first prize for the best new media poem at the Overload Poetry Festival in Melbourne.



Mike Ladd is currently producer and presenter of ABC Radio National’s poetry program PoeticaThis link will open in a new window..

Born in 1959, he grew up at Blackwood in the Adelaide Hills. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy at Adelaide University, he began to publish his poetry widely in Australia. He has often collaborated with musicians, including the groups The Drum Poets and newaural net. Mike has published 6 books of poetry. The latest, Transit, was published by Five Islands Press in 2007.

In 2006 he was awarded the Barbara Hanrahan Fellowship at the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature and was a guest of Venezuela’s World Poetry Festival.

Works in Progress

Here are some of the “Pantun Rimbun Dahan” in progress during Mike’s residency:


I start the great four-bladed ceiling fan.
Seconds later, a gecko drops to the floor,
stunned. Yes, the world’s like that.
We all hang on as long as we can.


From the estate’s wall grey macaques leap
into the laden mango tree.
From your side of the bed, you told me to sleep,
but the night’s so warm, and I want something juicy.


Oil palms, oil palms, oil palms, oil palms.
Freeways, freeways, freeways, freeways.
Oil palms, oil palms, oil palms, oil palms.
Smoke-haze, smoke-haze, smoke-haze, smoke-haze.


In the warm evening, smoke drifts from the end
of a sweet and unhurried clove cigarette.
Your mind has thinned, then gone, old friend.
But the sense you made, I won’t forget.


That cicada sounds like a dentist,
drilling all day into my eye-tooth nerve.
Shrilling on and on about Time,
everything you love,  but can’t preserve.


Out of the sky of luminous black
rain falls joyfully. You and I
who lived so long alone together
now walk again under one umbrella.