photo-icon Extract from 'here comes my first book' - poem by Khail Jureidini

Local poet shares his world in words

Cultural Heart People of Adelaide

‘for every furrow in the brow, experience is the plough’

As we shook hands and parted ways on Pulteney Street, these were the words Khail Jureidini spoke to me. It was a fitting end to our chat at the nearby Box Factory Community Centre where the 73-year-old city resident and poet had shared a little about his life and passion for storytelling.

Last December, Khail published his first book, ‘Love Fails-Safe’* – a collection of short stories, poems and original drawings. With an intimate understanding of the challenges life can impose, Khail weaves fiction, imagination, experience, and poetic word play.

Khail jureidini photo credit martin christmas
photo-icon Martin Christmas


Born in Beirut, Lebanon – Khail came to Australia with his family when he was just three and shortly after his father had passed away. After a couple of years in Port Lincoln, the family moved to Adelaide and it was as a young boy that Khail’s interest in creative writing first took form.

For the past 40 years, Khail has been sharing his work at the gathering of the Friendly Street Poets (FSP) Australia’s longest running community open mic, uncensored poetry reading and publishing group – founded on 11 November 1975. Khail is the collective’s longest attending reader and a regular presence at FSP’s meetings – these days held on the first Monday of every month** at the Box Factory Community Centre in the city’s south-east.

Khail is a survivor: a survivor of what he describes as a “bittersweet growing up”, battles with depression, even of Darwin’s devastating Cyclone Tracy in 1974.

“I’ve gone along with all the directions in my life, even though I realise some of them have been ‘wrong road’ directions," said Khail.

"But it’s the lesson of survival. I’ve been through the doldrums of survival, but you’ve also still got to look forward to healing and thriving as much as possible. So, I’m trying to break through to the thriving aspect. It’s not easy.”

‘… and let us consider that it goes without saying that between every
line of what I say
and or write I am also saying that I know that I am not alone
and that I know I am not the only one …’

Extract from here comes my first book, a poem by Khail Jureidini

Writing his poems and short stories, and drawing with his pastels, biros and highlighters in his notebooks, appears to be part of that process of healing and moving on. But there is a leap to be taken from sharing your work with your peers at the monthly FSP gathering and releasing it to the wider community in the form of a published book. So, it’s not surprising to hear that, when his book first arrived, it was a moment of mixed feelings for Khail.

“Oh mate, I was just dumb founded. I was awestruck. It was hard too – I was walking such an emotional tightrope. But I think it speaks for itself and sort of like Simon and Garfunkel – ‘I have my books and my poetry to protect me.’
Khail Jureidini

While Khail thinks he might have another publication up his sleeve, for now he’s content to see how people react to his first book.

“What my interest is mainly, is in feedback on the content. Because you always get people who want to appreciate it a hell of a lot. People that talk about your way with words, and the style, and all that. But I don't get many people actually pinning me down on the content.”

'Love Fails-Safe' is published by Lizard Skin Press. It has quickly moved to a second print run. For orders or book inquiries, please email [email protected]

*Warning: ‘Love Fails-Safe’ contains some experimental, confronting language and challenging themes.

** Friendly Street Poets - Open Mic Readings:
First Monday of each month (except January)
Box Factory Community Centre
59 Regent Street South, Adelaide
6:00 pm start

Article by

Skye Murtagh

Skye Murtagh

Skye is passionate about sharing stories from all walks of life. When she's not busy weaving beautiful words together, she's singing a line or two from her favourite song.