Mok 5 40th anniversary re-issue spring 09

$AUD 25.00

Published by Artpoem in collaboration with The Narrows 2/141 Flinders lane, Melbourne 3000


Mok 5 was printed offset edition 1000 in Spring 1969 This issue laser printed in a numbered edition of 100 in Spring 2009

ISBN 978-0-9805877-5-3

all copyrights remain with the authors

A$25 including postage within Australia

Artist's Statement

A magazine of contemporary ink and paper

The production of Mok 5 – the fifth issue of the magazine Mok - grew from a wide range of collaborations. Richard Tipping sent poems and ideas from Sydney – where he had moved for a year in 1969 - while Rob Tillett typed out all of the copy on an electric typewriter (very advanced for the time) in Adelaide and worked on production with a small offset printery. The layout and design was influenced by Marshall McCluhan's The Medium is the Massage, putting words and images together in dynamic relationships.

Mok was the first of what became a wave of alternative magazines in the late 1960s, introducing new ideas of what poetry could be and attracting contributions from across the country. This was “when Adelaide / Melbourne / Sydney took a formal step towards the New Australian Poetry we felt in our bones!”, as Kris Hemensley has said.

Rob Tillett writes that: “Offset was a new toy and we fooled with its potential (probably a bit much, as some of the text is too small and the layout's a bit erratic). Some of the pics were originals, but others were lifted from various sources, unacknowledged, as property is theft etc etc. The mag was assembled and bound by the Holocaust drama group’s members and associates on a big table at the old Jam Factory. Some of these luminaries helped with the actual production and layout, too, in the spirit of ‘contemporary dissolution and intemperance’. At the launch party we had music by the Red Angel Panic, a barbequed pig on a spit and a lightshow room in the basement.”

Richard Tipping’s poem Soft Riots / TV News was first published in Mok 5 and has been constantly in print ever since through anthologies, the latest being The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry, edited by John Kinsella (Penguin, 2009).

“Of the 57 contributors to Mok, 34 currently appear in AustLit despite the contents of the Mok magazines not yet having been included in the AustLit database.” *         

Richard Tipping was 19 years old and Rob Tillett 20 when Mok 5 was published in September 1969. The magazine was completely self-funded and independent, and relied upon sales to return its costs. Whereas the first four issues (in 1968) had been printed with a Gestetner roneo machine (with a screenprinted cover, in a run of 300 copies), the 5th issue leapt into offset printing with its graphic possibilities and a large print run of 1000. Unfortunately, although the edition sold out, it was hard to keep the finances together – and Mok 6 remains in manuscript. Richard had connected with many poets in Sydney through moving there from Adelaide in early 1969, and both editors were frequent visitors to Melbourne as the half-way point on this pendulum swing between cities. In 1970 Richard returned to Adelaide to continue studies at Flinders University, and co-edited several issues of a broadsheet called Mok Up included in the student newspaper Empire Times.


 * Sabrina Caldwell, in her PhD thesis, Australian National University 2008

Richard Tipping and Rob Tillett in Tattered Sole 1968

Tattered Sole (before Red Angel Panic) 1968. Lead singer Richard Tipping (tambourine), Rob Tillett (lead guitar) with John Freman (drums), Chris Bailey (bass) and Robert Jacobs (rhythm). Photo: Ian Page