December 1, 2012
What a lovely present for a launch speech! Yesterday it was about 36 degrees in Canberra and unusually steamy, and I gave my first launch speech for the pamphlet In Response to Magpies. This was organised by Hazel Hall, Australian Poetry’s café poet at Biginelli’s café.
It went quite well, and the readings by the poets included in the collection were enjoyable. Here I am looking up in the air, as if there is an invisible magpie swooping:
I am hoping to write up the speech for publication. The wine remains intact, as it is gin weather.
Last night I went to a poetry slam, co-organised by fellow Triptych poet J.C. Inman at The Front, and it was so steamy and hot we were all like pieces of tofu floating in a laksa. Here is a piece of poetic tofu, also known as J.C. Inman:
I realised how exhausted I was when I read a poem before the slam and my hands were literally shaking. People must have thought I was a very sensitive flower, but that was not it at all. It was: half heat, half gin, half gym. So what? A mathematican I ain’t.
Canberra: freezing one day and Brisbane the next. If only I could afford a pankawallah. Or another gin.
Now I’m off to be languid. After the gym.
November 26, 2012
Silver-eyes and figs
Each bird a single note, played
between the heavy figs, swollen
breves in this flighted music,
swing accents in an airy score.
The eye does not dissect
any swift segue of feather,
rather the bird breeze shakes
the hand-leaves, palms turned away.
It is the movement we see, not
a display case specimen mounted,
spread eagled for our slower eyes.
To watch this quick-silver is to
turn away from focus, to become
silver-eyed ourselves, as the ruffled
feathers of the fig
breathe scent of bird.
This uncharacteristic poem appears in my first book, The Glass Violin, copies of which are still available from Ginninderra Press. (Scroll down this linked page to Cottier.) Annoyingly, the last two lines above should appear as a broken line, with the word ‘breathe’ under the word ‘fig’, but this broken line keeps being removed before I can post this entry, creating a lovely chunky effect. Sigh.
I still remember how nervous I was before the launch of that first book. Geoff Page did the launch speech.
And now I am doing the launch of a book for the first time on Friday. The book is called In response to magpies, and is a small pamphlet of nine poems dealing with this charismatic Australian bird. The idea is that it would make a wonderful alternative to a mere Christmas card. The authors are Denise Burton, Amelia Fielden, Hazel Hall, Norma Hayman, Kathy Kituai, Sandra McGahy, Fiona McIlroy, Sandra Renew and Jill Sutton.
Details: Biginelli Expresso, 5th floor, School of Music, Australian National University, 2pm. Please come along if you feel like poetry or coffee (or both) in the middle of the day.
I understand that magpies cause some havoc in New Zealand, where they are an introduced species. So even though one might say Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle, I doubt somehow that this feather represents the magpie. Click it, and you will fly to New Zealand, where further poetry awaits you.
September 21, 2012
Last night Paul Hetherington launched Triptych Poets Issue Three, and a good time was had by all. I enjoyed Paul’s comments, although I became quite alarmed as he emphasised the way I use ideas in my poetry. I had had one or two drinks and could feel the few remaining ideas in my brain rapidly taking leave through my ears, their little wings stroking the lobes as they took off. It’s the sort of situation where you just nod and smile.
Fortunately I read first, before the last idea fairy had flown to a more fertile and curly cortex, throwing a look of disgust over her fickle shoulder.
J.C. Inman (Josh) gave an energetic and charismatic reading.
The launch was quite interesting in that it brought together people with their roots in the slam poetry scene, and those whose emphasis has always been on the written word. There were lots of people and I think we sold a few books too.
Thank you to Paul Hetherington. I would love to read what he wrote, as I am always too edgy at launches to take everything in. Thanks also to Paperchain Books, and all the people who came. Here is the MC for the evening, Lesley Boland from Blemish Books.
I bought myself a Where’s Wally? lunchbox as a souvenir. See, I really am an intellectual… I also have an idea for my next book’s title. A lady said that I was quite well-dressed, for a poet. Well Dressed for a Poet could be a goer. What do you think of that for a title?
If you would like to partake of the book, please head here, and Blemish Books will assist you in your noble endeavour.
September 17, 2012
I am fully focussed on the launch of Triptych Poets Issue 3 on Thursday evening.
(Manuka, Paperchain Books, 6pm.)
So please see me as NASA, pre-launch mode, all nervous nail-biting and tapping. Although I hope I am somewhat less daggy than the average NASA scientist. (No offence. I’m sure some of them are totally gorgeous, comb-overs or thin ponytails and all.)
Regular readers will notice that I have removed the sticky page introducing myself that has graced my blog since time immemorial. It seemed a tad dated.
But details of my books and how to order are now on the ABOUT page. So go there and buy!
And head over to New Zealand for a poetic fix. Unless you’re in Canberra, in which case, save it for Thursday. And enjoy wine with Josh and myself. And the luvverly publishers, Lesley and Greg of Blemish Books.
September 13, 2012
The first was on the Poets Train from Canberra. Four leisurely hours to take in the scenery, to read, to compose a poem (we read out our efforts every hour). Arrival at the beautiful Central Station where we read to ourselves again, and a couple of punters.
The next day we read at The State Library. Here I am doing just that, in a photograph taken by K.A. Rees. (Note the staring into the middle distance):
And that night we read at the Friend in Hand pub in Glebe, where a cockatoo, George, chats to the customers. I chatted to Martin Langford, whose vocabulary is much greater than George’s. (No offence George!)
And in between, I enjoyed all Glebe has to offer. Interesting food, cheaper than in Canberra. The big vegan breakfast at Badde Manors, for example. Lying on a chaise longue that was used as a prop in the film Moulin Rouge, writing a review. Drinking wine. Longing for the ability to stay in that fair city. Sigh. As usual, I found myself looking at real estate agents’ windows, doing very unpoetic calculations.
Then four hours back, dozing and composing on the Sunday.
And today? (That’ll be yesterday by the time I post this.) Up to Sydney again in 23 minutes by plane. Barely up before you’re down; the landscape something to get over rather than through. State Library again, where I was lucky enough to pick up a third prize in the Society of Women Writers poetry competition, judged by Judith Beveridge, for my poem ‘A brief history of fun’. Judith gave a wonderful seminar focussing on sound in poetry, and although her ideas are quite different from mine, I left feeling inspired. There was a haiku/ haibun/tanka reading. There was Mark Tredinnick, although I had to leave his PowerPoint talk early to catch the flight home. A fire siren test provided the ideal moment for slipping out.
Throwing steel through air
We scorch the sky
Now I’m in pre book-launch mode! Radio interview on Friday on local station ArtSound. But I am haunted by a most beautiful spirit at the moment.
A ghost called Sydney
Lithe warm and lively
Winding me back home
Home that is, to a city I have never lived in. And against whose inducements I must block my ears, and tie myself to the cold mast of common sense.
Also known as Canberra.
I’ll love it again in a few days, but I have to learn to do so again.