Tuesday poem: On editing

September 11, 2017

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Irma Gold has written a thoughtful piece about writing her story ‘The Line’ that appears in this year’s Award Winning Australian Writing.

My poem in this book, which covers both prose and poetry, is three lines in length, although I did not write it as a ‘real’ haiku. It won a contest for a poem in 50 characters or less, which means that the emphasis was on what was not spoken as much as the words that appeared. Editing and writing become virtually inseparable when the poem is so short.

I took the ‘How Tweet It Is’ title of the Fellowship of Australian Writers’ contest literally and wrote a poem called ‘The Cat’s New Beard’ which is not in the least bird-friendly. It’s about a cat eating a bird. I won’t post it here, as the book just came out, and I can’t really post an extract of a tiny poem. But here’s another short poem about the process of editing a wee poem about a bird.

Plucking words
too many feathers —
bantam or robin?

Now a bantam is bigger than a robin, just as Batman is bigger than the Boy Wonder, so robin is probably the better option.

I am enjoying reading the book, which contains everything from evocative stories (Irma) to dead canaries (me). Why not purchase one? The editor is Pia Gaardboe.

I just had a poem called ‘On Nothing’posted at Right Now: Human Rights in Australia, on the subject of climate change, inspired (if that’s the right word) by Peter Dutton, when he was recorded saying ‘Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to … have water lapping at your door.’ This was in reference to people living on small Pacific islands, who are already suffering obvious and dangerous effects of climate change. You can read it here.

This gives me an excuse to post one of my favourite images again.

giant-drink-stream

So you like football (the round ball one)?  So you like poetry?  Well here’s a  publication you might find appealling.  Boots is an anthology of poems about football, edited by Mark Pirie of New Zealand.  I have a couple of football related poems in it, called ‘Passing beauty’ and ‘Side netting’.   The first book was published to coincide with the (men’s) World Cup in 2014, and is out in lots of time for the next one in Russia, in an extended form.

I am entering something of a publication frenzy, having several pieces in that mysterious machine known as ‘the works’, which I’ll link to as they appear.

To celebrate this flurry of forthcoming publications, here’s a new poem about handbags, appearing under a photo of my favourite bag, which was made in Russia.  (A soft Dalek is no Dalek at all.  Discuss.)  There is a football reference in the poem, but to a football of a different shape.

After that appalling segue-ing, I hope you enjoy the poem.  I read somewhere that each blog post should contain one idea; I’ve certainly stuffed that up today, like a bag that has mistaken itself for a wardrobe.

dalek bag

Twenty ways to keep your essentials to hand

Lucite pillbox flaunting small pearls
Shell shape clutch for pocket Venus
Curious net of cunning gold mesh
Eyebending sequins intricately sewn
Art deco black silk organically clasped
Ten thousand beaded fine French paisley
Quaint cigar box rolls lipsticks and tampons
Roomy Mexican holdall hammock wide
Oval pigskin (and it’s not made by Sherrin)
Faux leopard snarls and real pony kicks
Kawaii Japanese anthromorphic bear
Modest exquisite goldchained calf
Ironic grannysquared seventies repro
Tikis barkclothed for quick souvenirs
Crocodiles taught Parisian accents
Poodle pregnant with pompom coinpurse
Felt dubiously coloured and Etsyfied
Blue papoose flaunts fat fleshy handles
Concertina traincase bakelites makeup
Poet’s tote with slant Dickinson quote

PS Cottier

 

 

Not the full Fiat

Pushing up, lying back,
I imagine a Fiat 500
clamped to the end of my toes,
flying into space.
500cc, 500 kilos,
give or take,
that darling wee Italian.
I am at 450kg, so not
the full Fiat, not yet,
but it’s like birthing a bambina.
Or bambino, for weight
doesn’t discriminate.
My knees swell like tyres.

PS Cottier

1968-1972_Fiat_500L

Yes, possibly the boastiest poem ever. I am managing, sometimes, to load 400kg on the leg press and to push it up and back, even if not far enough down to be beautiful.  (The machine itself weighs about 50kgs, without added plates.)

The statement ‘weight doesn’t discriminate’ is a bit iffy, as obviously, most men can move more weight at the gym. Upper body particularly. But the leg press is a bit of an equaliser, I think.  Or could be, as I have to say that most women are less likely to push themselves to the point of vomiting than the current writer, who is just discovering strength at a comparatively advanced age.

I have no idea if this particular 500 is 500 kilos or not, but it looks great, and allows me to include the word Spotto!  Which has to be a good thing.

(Image by TTTNIS Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.)

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bikes sticks birds
inner city Canberra
feathered bustle

PS Cottier

heron july

This beautiful bird was photographed in ‘inner city’ Canberra, a few kilometres from Parliament House. It was walking around a pond, one that was relatively recently created as part of a project to return some of Sullivan’s Creek to a more, um, creek-like state rather than the concrete drain it has been for a while.

In my little book Paths Into Inner Canberra I talk about this effort to recreate a ‘natural’ environment in a little more depth. But it’s great to be able to spot creatures like this heron so near to where I live.