The joy and sadness of finished things

June 15, 2014

Last Thursday the second launch of The Stars Like Sand occurred in Canberra. Novelist Kaaron Warren, pictured here, did the honours, and spoke of her love of poetry, despite not writing it herself. She compared it to those without the skill watching someone crochet or knit, and distributed woollen bookmarks. Another ten poets read, and they read beautifully.

kaaron at launch

This is a photograph of Philip Salom, who launched the book in Melbourne. He spoke of play and ‘pataphysics, that is,”the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments.”(Jarry)*

Alternative pedigrees. Different ways of being. Garments we put on. The sinuous muscles of poetry. Lines of knitting. Each launcher took a different direction to describing a book that tries on different worlds.

I am in a state of mild grief now as the book that was once a near endless possibility, is now a thing; a physical object that has its own place in the world. It is what it is (subject to interpretation) and it is no longer mine. What once existed into multifarious complexity is now rendered actual. That’s always a bit of a bummer, even if it’s also a delight. It’s a bit like the difference between hearing a joke told for the first time, and hearing the same joke again. Something is lost, isn’t it. Something that leaps in the mind and the body at exactly the same moment.

But what a misery guts I am being; mulling over mental gruel rather than Pantagruelling! I should be revelling in the joy and enjoying myself! It is, I think, in many ways, a wonderful book. But it seems that some of us are more attuned to loss than achievement…even if we like funny poems.

I certainly enjoyed meeting my co-editor Tim Jones for the second time, as opposed through working through the aerial guts of Skype, with its weekly digital farts. Here is a photograph of Tim listening. He is much better at that than I am. He is listening to the wonderful Joe Dolce read his poem at the Melbourne launch. Tim has a new post about the Canberra launch too, at his blog.

We have forwarded the list of poets’ addresses to the publisher, so all contributors should receive their copy soon. Thank you to all the poets who contributed, and also to our two wonderful launchers.

And because I am vain, here is a photograph of me; on a high, reading my poem from the book at the Melbourne launch. My hair was much better at the Canberra one, though…

Now I am going to revel in The World Cup for a month. In another universe, Australia will be winning.

*Spellcheck kept trying to render ‘pataphysics as pasta physics, by the way. Love those alimentary lineaments.

6 Responses to “The joy and sadness of finished things”

  1. Sorry I couldn’t get to the Canberra launch – Kaaron is wonderful – but the Melbourne launch was fantastic. It was so good to meet you and Tim, and so many of the fine poets.

  2. Kathleen Kituai said

    Dear Penelope,

    I’m glad this went so well for you and identify with your grief, having edited four anthologies my self. I apologise for not letting you know that I was unable to be at the launch. I have just returned from facilitating a weekend retreat for the Limestone tanka poets at Blackburn Homestead and would have exhausted myself had I attended. Where can I get a copy? Victoria McGrath read her contribution at our retreat yesterday.

    Best thoughts, Kathy

    • pscottier said

      Thanks for that Kathy.

      I will sell you a copy direct if you like, with one of Kaaron’s bookmarks.

      That way we can catch up.

      I am not yet sure where it will be stocked in the ACT. Alternatives are the IP site and Amazon.

  3. moya pacey said

    It’s a very accomplished anthology which holds so many delights and surprises- it’s great to have poets from the past sitting comfortably alongside contemporary ones- I really like the lay-out
    Hope you get great reviews –
    The MCH launch was excellent- quite a crowd for a winter’s night and Kaaron was wonderful and your hair was too Penelope!!

    • pscottier said

      Thank you Moya! I really enjoyed the launches in both Melbourne and Canberra. Manning Clark House is a wonderful venue, both in summer in the garden and tucked inside in winter.

      So glad you have been enjoying the selection, and I too hope for good reviews!

      And the hair was beyond wondrous…(-:

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