May 17, 2013
Australian poets! If you have been sitting on your elegant bottoms thinking ‘I may submit this excellent poem to an anthology of speculative poetry written by Australians some day,’ well that day is today.
Submissions for The Stars Like Sand close on June 4th, so read the full submission guidelines:
And submit yourself to my tender mercies, and those of my co-editor, Tim Jones.
The poetry semi is about to leave…
We have already received a large number of submissions from Australia and from Australians living in other places. Add yourself to this roll of honour today! And next year you may be reading your work in an Interactive Publications tome.
April 26, 2013
I’m letting the emails pile up and ignoring everything to attend Conflux, the science fiction convention here in Canberra. There was a steampunk high tea yesterday afternoon, which allowed me to don a hat that has graced my wardrobe for some time:
Today I have attended two panels; one on publishing and one on horror and the body. Tonight I’m doing a poetry reading, so I’ve escaped for lunch and to get my thoughts together. Then back into the fray.
I really admire those who attend everything possible at conventions; I just lack the stamina.
So far it has been a terrific convention. And it gave me an excuse to wear that hat…
UPDATE: We were a small but enthusiastic group of poetry lovers at the reading, so I turned the chairs around and we had a more casual event. Enjoyed it immensely, and assembling all my speculative poetry made me realise that I have enough for a small collection of my poetry in hat field. Sorry. That field.
Heard Sean Williams talk about TM, which existed long before Scotty beamed up Kirk.
Heard Nalo Hopkinson talk about her early writing career.
Attended an interesting panel on appropriating the sacred.
Caught up with various people, including Gillian Polack.
I’m stuffed, to put it in a most non-poetic way. (Although I am not the sort of poet who tends toward the flowery. Unless that flower be a pavement daisy. Yes, you may sneer at that, in a sneery way.)
March 26, 2013
I’ve had two articles published in other places this week, talking about the wonders of poetry, in prose.
Here is a link to a launch speech I gave last year for the pamphlet In Response to Magpies. It deals with that most Australian of birds, its colonial conquests, and some very well known poets. That’s in the Australian Poetry members magazine, called Sotto.
This second link is to the ACT Writers Centre blog, where I mentally swear at a stupid person, and talk about Byron, as per usual. It is a defence of poetry. It contains jokes.
So busy have I been writing prose about poetry that I have no Tuesday poem for you today! But fear not. Click this feather, and other poets will satisfy your cravings:
Next week, the third anniversary of the Tuesday Poem group, we will be writing a joint poem, starting on Tuesday, to be posted gradually at that link as each poet writes a section. It should be a lot of fun!
Have a wonderful, reflective and chocolate flavoured Easter.
February 22, 2013
Sometimes you forget why you started writing in the first place. You get so caught up in minutiae: rewriting an article for the fifth time, or compiling endless lists of addresses to which you need to send something, or writing careful emails to other poets so you don’t inadvertently hurt their feelings…which is about as possible as teaching a walrus to tap-dance.
And then you come across a poem that reminds you why it is all worthwhile. These things often happen through serendipity. I was lucky enough to be short-listed in a Canadian literary competition a while back, and have been receiving the journal CV2 (Contemporary Verse 2) from Canada for a year. It is most excellent, and the Summer 2012 issue (which translates in Winter 2012, for Southern Hemisphere dwellers!) contains some truly beautiful work by John Steffler. I can’t reprint the poems here, as I don’t have the rights. But there are poems about rock art and trees and people living in snow and, yes, moose, that stole my muscles for a moment or two.
Mr Steffler is on the cover of the journal, wearing a black beanie. (I get the impression that everyone in Canada wears a beanie all the time…) He is, to put it euphemistically, no spring chicken, even an autumnal chicken, and the backs of his hands are deeply mottled, as if they have poems bubbling away, just waiting to filter into the fingertips and onto paper.
A lot of poetry comes about from the sort of chance meeting that led me to this journal. (And please note I am talking about my own poems and methods here, not those of the far more experienced John Steffler.) You see an orange-tinted cloud that reminds you of the flavour of ice-cream. You don’t know why exactly, and then you remember an orange dress that you were wearing where you smelt the first drops of rain while eating an icecream and how they drew you outside into the sudden cold. You notice the particular curve of certain words; yes, obviously, the word curvy (not in this angular font, though) but also cove. Does the word cove change its meaning when written in the longhand of say, James Cook, to when it is dashed off on the spur of the moment blog entry on a computer? These thought can lead to a poem. It’s the quirk of things; the infinite jest of language itself; grinning from its deep grammar into the everyday exchange of inanities.
And that’s why you say yes to poetry, even when you have a cold. Even when you just wish you were a tad more ‘normal’ and didn’t get excited about words in a way most people don’t, and wish you didn’t see a misplaced apostrophe as a knife stuck into a sentence’s bowels.
You feel even better when you can indulge in a little schadenfreude: Clarise Foster’s editorial to CV2 for Summer 2012 mentions that there are only a few months of the year in Canada where you can get out ‘without ubiquitous winter gear’.
Makes the first signs of Autumn seem bearable. (Autumn translates to Spring, Canadians! And our Autumn, even here in Canberra, is probably a lot warmer than Canada’s Spring, I suspect.) Sometimes we even go out without beanies!
January 14, 2013
Genius comes in many forms: scientist
to poet, astrophysicist or scribe,
and from its milky way we imbibe
a celestial drink. We’re often pissed
on the fluffy ducks of cleverness,
garnished cocktails of the everafter.
But if you would engender laughter
and gales of glee quite effortless,
suggest that genius might reside
in knitting, crotchet or a recipe
for jam, or scones, or fricasee.
They’ll call you mad, in accents snide.
Quite different from the game of cricket
where it takes a Shane to take a wicket.
Yes, it’s summer, and a young (or autumnal) woman’s fancy turns to cricket. And in keeping my poetry on its toes, at least as alert as a New Zealand batsman. (*I lied….)
In that spirit of relaxed experimentation, please find above a wee sonnet on a gender and cricket theme.