December 2, 2013
Clumsy in love
Clumsy wears ug boots, where others don high heels,
or light reflective slippers of glass. They waltz,
all Straussy and fine in white, with froufrou and swish.
Clumsy stomps. Even his sheepskin words betray him.
He muffles passion in good intention, dags love
in a brown blanket of nag. Clumsy would be lacy,
suggestive, a slight touch between eyelash and wink.
But his eagerness clutches and grabs, rummages
for a lost gold key of ease. He speaks words
subtle as a losing barracker at three-quarter time,
pie’s warm filling dripping onto his mind’s feet.
Dreams subsist, nonetheless, in quiet fleecy nights.
A brand new poem, this one. Unsullied by previous publication, or heavy editorial touch.
I notice that, as the temperature climbs in Canberra, my blog has had snow added by WordPress in North America. I’m leaving it here, as it amuses me to be sitting in 30 or even 40 degree heat (that’s celsius) and look at this cold confetti thrown over my words.
Particularly when the words are dealing with a person who is unlucky in love, for whom cold confetti seems appropriate.
The word ‘dags’ by the way, is usually a noun, here pressed into service as a verb by the pesky sheepdog of experiment. Look it up if you dare.
Click this black swan feather, and check out New Zealand’s peaks of poeticness. Poeticity. Rhymsteration? Just do it.
By the way, we have sent the manuscript of The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, to the publisher, David Reiter of Interactive Publications. There will still be a lot of checking and fiddling, but as I said in a comment to the last post here, it has moved out of our grasp. I have enjoyed aspects of this process, namely, reading the poems, placing them in what seems to be pleasing patterns, and writing the introduction. Other aspects are more tedious!
I don’t think I’ll rush into anthologising again for a while.
The most amazing thing is that Tim Jones didn’t murder me at some stage in the process. Although, to be fair, I think I have slightly more of a temper on me…He is almost annoyingly patient.
This lack of murder is one of the benefits of working with someone from another country.
November 18, 2013
…that I am a poet, not just an editing slave-droid.
My collection of poetry, The Cancellation of Clouds (Ginninderra Press) was awarded Second Prize in the Society of Women Writers NSW biennial book awards in Sydney last week. More to the point, one of Australia’s leading poets, Judith Beveridge was the judge. I look forward to reading her thoughtful comments properly, as I was a little too flustered to take in much more than the words ‘quirky’ and ‘muscular’, and there was a lot there that I wanted to consider. Those two words did bring to mind a combined weightlifter and clown with wacky inflatable biceps that squirt people. Multi-skilling, I think they call it. This is really what is wrong with my mind, I suppose; it does go off on trampolines.
I actually read some of my poems at the airport, and I thought, hm, these are not too bad. Then I lifted up another passenger waiting in the bar, while wearing a purple nose. (Red is so yesterday, dahlings.) The book is still available from Ginninderra Press, by the way, if you go here. Scroll to ‘C’ for Cottier. (Or Clown (Multiskilled).)
And now, back to the wacky world of editing, which is a bit like juggling diamonds, and a bit like cholera.
November 12, 2013
We are finalising The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry. Here is a recent photograph of me as I enjoy the process of fine-tuning things:
I am both the one in the hole and the one with the weapon.
My only consolation is that Tim Jones, co-editor, probably looks worse…
It will be a wonderful day when I hold the book in my hands, and all this egregious checking is out of the way. Then I’ll no doubt find a typo, and hit myself over the head with that.
October 29, 2013
Yes, I’m afraid that use of the wonderful Japanese form of the haiku in these pages (if a blog has pages) is an indication of intense busy-ness. As the anthology The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry demands more of my time, my poor blog has been somewhat neglected. My apologies, dear followers!
This wee SF poem thing was first published in the United States, in Scifaikuest, way back in February 2010.
October 15, 2013
When geeks were women —
or one woman.
Lovelace, unknotting expectations
into programmes; cognition dancing.
Father’s couplets sounding through
the could-be Difference Engine cogs,
but twirling in pas de deux maths;
poetry dressed and transmogrified.
‘Supposing, for instance…’
you saw a computer writing music;
an Aeolian harp catching numbers,
driven by numbers, until numbers
were the musician and the song.
No mere calculator; you sang too.
Your thoughts ring in history’s ear.
Medicine lagged behind your mind,
and the small number 36
is all the years you had. Cancer
bloomed inside your womb;
a sick reminder of biology.
No algorithm could remove that fate.
The same age as your unknown father
who died heroic on the shores of myth.
Ada, when I Google you,
I think of you holding a fan
(lace as elegant as your ideas)
and I want to shout back through clogged time
to deafen sad boors who still say no:
‘Ada, it works! My dear, it works!‘
‘Supposing, for instance’ is a quotation from Ada Lovelace’s writing. Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (1815 – 1852), born Augusta Ada Byron, wrote the world’s first algorithm.
(Note that the first line is supposed to be properly broken into two; so that the words ‘or one woman’ occur at the extreme right of the line. My blog — or, more probably, my ancient difference engine — doesn’t seem to like cleverness today!)
Ada Lovelace was a scientist/mathematician back when women really didn’t do that sort of thing. There are still places where women don’t get any education at all, and even in highly developed countries, there are far fewer women than men who manage to occupy the highest research positions in academia.